Friday, April 27, 2012

Faces of Death 2012.03.23

Latest offering from my cat Mucha - actually this wasn't the most recent but since that was just a pile of fly-covered entrails I thought I'd publish these photos. This is a very large chipmunk 6-7 inches from nose to butt.

-- John

Monday, November 28, 2011

Interesting factoids - Peter Tosh and Moai on Easter Island

We we driving back from Thanksgiving with my brother's family in Clarksville, TN and hit an inevitable airways dead-zone (we were switching to the various NPR stations along the way) so we resorted to the CD player. Out of 6 discs it went to number 5 and the music of Peter Tosh "Legalize It" started blaring from the speakers. Cindi asked me if Peter Tosh was dead and I said "I believe so" but couldn't remember the details so I looked it up on wikipedia. I'm not quite sure where I was or what I was doing when he died, but the end for Mr Tosh was quite shocking to me.

It seems Tosh had been on tour but made a trip home to Jamaica, where his house was invaded by 3 thugs - they were there to rob him (I guess touring makes a musician lots of money and you know you keep all that cash under the mattress or something?). In any case there was much torture involved and intermittent visits by friends and well-wishers, which seem to have spooked the robbers. One in particular decided to blow Peter's brains out - wow! That was September 11, 1987. Note the date - I wonder if this murder has been totally obscured by the 911 attacks to the US.

The murderer was a guy named Dennis 'Leppo' Lobban who Peter Tosh had befriended - the guy had been in jail a while and Peter had helped him to find work - I guess he got paid for that kindness. Lobban was sentenced to execution which was commuted in 1995 (he remains in jail).

After 7 studio albums, 5 live albums (4 released posthumously as well as 11 compilations), you would think Peter Tosh would be a household name. Instead his music is often just thought of as another Bob Marley tune when heard on radio. Let's take a moment to both praise him, and burn this entertainer's works to memory.

On a lighter note, there's some interesting information on the Moai of Easter Island - seems they have bodies carved beneath the heads? I had never heard this before, more information here:“heads”-have-bodies/ and here:

-- John

Friday, June 17, 2011

Faces of Death - Kitchen Sliding-glass door mat - Vole

Once again my cat Mucha has contributed to the population control of voles in the back yard - this one was already being consumed by ants when found on the sliding-glass door from the kitchen. Seems he likes to chew the tail a bit as the tip is missing - but they must be foul tasting indeed if my cat (who will eat anything) leaves the body....

There have been a few other critters since my last post - a couple of small snakes, and lots of feathers. This was the only offering to the house.

-- John

Friday, May 20, 2011

Faces of Death - Front Yard - April Images

I forgot to publish these and ran across the photos today - these are from April 16. The first is a small bird on the front stoop - the head has been eaten and is now being enjoyed by ants. I think my cat Mucha is responsible for the head - the bird was probably still alive as he normally only goes for fresh kill.

The second fatality (same day) was found in the front yard below the carport clerestory windows.

I also just yesterday found my second snake (the first one was still alive when Mucha brought it to the door) - this one was dessicated with the head eaten. Also a still fresh chipmunk was under one of the chairs. Seems he doesn't really like the taste of rodents (as mentioned before) but foul is very tasty.

-- John

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Faces of Death - Kitchen Sliding Glass Door 01

In my continuing series on evidence of death around my house, here's a dead shrew or vole. I'm not exactly sure which as I didn't research the difference until after I had disposed of the body. A vole is a small rodent related to the mouse and rat - it's sometimes called a "field mouse" and they like to burrow under plants, eating the tender roots or bulbs and sometimes stripping off a ring of bark around the base - either way they're fairly destructive of the garden. This one is the second or third "offering" that my cat, Mucha (large, furry black male) has left at the slider opening into the kitchen. He's also left several birds, a mole or two and I've found skulls of various small beasties around in the yard - presumably left as warnings to other creatures that a ferocious animal's territory is nearby. Since these (and moles) are rather destructive, I don't mind a bit when he leaves these at the door - I do mind when he tries to bring them in, often holding down his head so the carcass (sometimes still alive and meekly struggling) is difficult to see - you glimpse a flash of tail or an odd snout. In that instance I demand he drop whatever it is.

I did make the mistake once when Mucha brought a small bird to the door - I think it was some type of thrush. When Cindi argued that he needed to drop it I recommended that we let him finish it off (he was about 1/4 way through eating it) and "see what happens" - my thought was that since he was a natural predator and this was a natural prey, there might be components in the bird that are good for him (if you've done any research on "fresh" food for cats, it's usually a ground up mess of meat, bones and feathers, each has a benefit to the cat to aid in nutrition or digestion). In any case, I learned my lesson, as after he was in for about an hour he basically sprayed feathers and disgusting vomit in several heaps on the living room carpet. Of course I was forced to clean it up - not a job I particularly enjoy. Luckily, he doesn't appear to like the taste of the shrew/vole.

So in any case, my research revealed that the shrew family of animals is not related to rodents at all, and that a distinguishing feature is the shrew's five toes, where rodents only have four. Also, rodents have matching incisors that meet growing from the top and bottom like buck teeth that never stop growing. Shrews have pointed teeth - often with gaps as they teeth they get after the "baby teeth" fall out are all they get until death. As I mentioned, I didn't know these distinguishing features so this could be either - I rather suspect a vole, however as I've had problems with bulbs in the bed behind my patio being eaten. On the flip side, if you study the photo there does seem to be five appendages on one of the front paws - your guess is as good as mine.

-- John

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Faces of Death - Front Window

So this is a weird natural phenomena - for some reason the birds around my house like to commit seppuku by ramming into my windows and breaking their necks. There's nothing quite as disconcerting as seeing a flash out of the corner of your eye, followed by a thump - happens all the time in the clerestory and large picture windows of my house. Recently I noticed an interesting artifact produced by the bird strike - a "print" in the glass, I'm guessing of the natural fibers in the bird's feathers, adhering to the glass from the impact. I've started to photograph these as they're sort of a final image before the bird dies - morbid, yes but still rather facinating to me. Here's the first - this is the Front series of windows that look into the living room. I'm not sure of the bird species, as the corpse was long gone (frequently I have to do "clean up duty" and get to see the corpse - it's often still warm...) - one of the cats may have made a meal of this one (word of advice, don't let them eat birds unless you like cleaning up messy feather-filled vomit on the carpet - ugh).

The photo was taken on 01-07-2010 however it had been in the window for a couple of days.

-- John

Friday, October 16, 2009

My list for the top 100 SF Books

Arranged Alphabetically:

Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo
The Artificial Kid by Bruce Sterling
Babel 17 by Samuel R. Delany
Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Callahan's Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
A Case of Conscience by James Blish
Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
City by Clifford D. Simak
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
Crash by J. G. Ballard
Cyteen by C. J. Cherryh
Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear
Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison
A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
The Diamond Age by Neal Stephensen
The Difference Engine by William Gibson
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Downbelow Station by C. J. Cherryh
Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre
The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
Dune by Frank Herbert
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Flow My Tears the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
Footfall by Larry Niven
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
Gateway by Frederik Pohl
The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything by John D. MacDonald
The Gladiator by Philip Wylie
Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein
The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
The Green Brain by Frank Herbert
Green Eyes by Lucius Shepard
Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams
Hiero's Journey by Sterling E. Lanier
Highways in Hiding by George O. Smith
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer
The Humanoids by Jack Williamson
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Jaguar Hunter by Lucius Shepard
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Jumper by Stephen Gould
Kiln People by David Brin
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg
Macroscope by Piers Anthony
The Maker of Universes by Philip Jose Farmer
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
The Many-Colored Land by Julian May
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon
Neuromancer by William Gibson
Peach War by Vernor Vinge
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Planet of the Damned by Ray Harrison
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
The Reefs of Space by Frederik Pohl
Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Ringworld by Larry Niven
A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
The Star Surgeon by James White
Startide Rising by David Brin
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Tau Zero by Poul Anderson
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Two Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Uplift War by David Brin
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
Var the Stick by Piers Anthony
Way Station by Clifford D. Simak
When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie
Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
Who Goes There by John W. Campbell

Fantasy Books:
Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The Serpent Mage by Greg Bear
And the Gods Laughed by Frederick Brown
Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card
The Power that Preserves by Stephen R. Donaldson
A Feast Unknown by Philip Jose Farmer
The Maker of Universes by Philip Jose Farmer
Magician by Raymond E. Feist
Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
Watchmen by Alan Moore
King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein
Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard
Brak the Barbarian by John Jakes
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz
Stinger by Robert R. McCammon
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard
The Sunset Warrior by Eric Van Lustbader
Seven Footprints to Satan by A. Merritt
The Knight of Swords by Michael Moorcock
The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock
Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore
Watchmen by Alan Moore
From Hell by Alan Moore
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Merlin's Ring by H. Warner Munn
Silverlock by John Myers Myers
Outlaw of Gor by John Norman
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers
The Golden Compass by Philip Pulman
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Potter
Tomoe Gozen by Jessica Amanda Salmonson
The Fellowship of the Talisman by Clifford D. Simak
Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons
A Warlock in Spite of Himself by Christopher Stasheff
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Jack of Shadows by Roger Zelazney
Darkness Weaves with Many Shades... by Karl Edward Wagner
The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe
The Wizard Knight by Gene Wolfe
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Windham
Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
My Name is Legion by Roger Zelazny
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock
Gloriana the Unfulfilled Queen by Michael Moorcock
Dragon Flight by Anne McCaffrey

-- John