“You’re out of your damn mind!”

That’s what Stephen A. Smith would say to Max Kellerman – who (along with Molly Qerim Rose) is his co-host on First Take – if Kellerman had come up with this list. I adore Stephen A., but REALLY!?! I have to call him on it…

Last Friday, Stephen A. Smith unveiled his Stephen’s A-List: Top 5 Sports Movies:

  1. Rocky III (WTF!?!)
  2. A League of Their Own
  3. Friday Night Lights
  4. Jerry McGuire (again, WTF!?!)
  5. Any Given Sunday

A shout-out to A League of Their Own but I’ve never liked the Rocky franchise and stopped seeing them after Rocky II. (Although I admit to loving the Rambo series.) And Jerry McGuire?? What the hell is up with that? When I hear the words “sports movie”, that is one that NEVER – EVER – comes to mind.

So, what would be on MY A-List: Top 5 Sports Movies? Glad you asked!

  1. Driven

    C’mon the film has Burt Reynolds, Stallone (who wrote the screenplay and co-produced), Kip Pardue, AND Gina Gershon – plus some killer special effects – where tasteful amounts of CGI were used! (Yes, I have the DVD.)

  2. The Replacements

    An all-too-oft-told story (My favorite!) about a group of misfits who save the day! Solid cast: Gene Hackman, Keanu Reeves (I’m a BIG fan.), Orlando Jones (Office Space, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant), Don Favreau, Rhys Ifans (Vanity Fair, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Informers), Jack Warden, and a number of NFL alumni. My favorite scene involves the Replacements’ cheerleaders:

  3. Slap Shot

    FUCKING HANSON BROTHERS!! (Can you guess which two were played by brothers?) Stars Paul Newman (He needs NO introduction.), Michael Ontkean (Twin Peaks), Lindsay Crouse (Bye Bye Love, The Arrival), Swoosie Kurtz (Sisters) in her first movie role, and Paul Dooley (Breaking Away, Sixteen Candles, Grace Under Fire). A classic. (I have the DVD…’cause it’s a CLASSIC!!!)

  4. Remember the Titans

    Set in 1971 and based on a true story, the movie has a stellar cast: Denzel Washington (Philadephia, Fallen, The Bone Collector), Will Patton, Wood Harris (The Wire), Donald Faison (Clueless, Scrubs), Ethan Suplee (Blow), Kip Pardue (Driven), Hayden Panettiere (Raising Helen), Ryan Gosling, Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush). I especially loved the ongoing repartee between the two little girls. Inspiring – with the underlying message still relevant today.


  5. AND MY TOP PICK…drum roll, please…

  6. Major League

    Again, top notch cast and a Sports Movie CLASSIC! (Do I have the DVD? Need you even ask…) We’re talking a bunch of rag-tag misfits saving the day once again, only this time it’s MLB. Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen – an underrated actor who I love, and fuck all you haters (Two and a Half Men, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – the only one worth watching in that film, Wall Street, Young Guns, The Arrival, Spin City), Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law), Margaret Whitton, James Gammon (Urban Cowboy, Silverado), Rene Russo (The Thomas Crown Affair), Wesley Snipes (New Jack City, Rising Sun, Demolition Man, Blade franchise), Neil Flynn (Scrubs), and Dennis Haysbert (Waiting to Exhale, Allstate ads) as Pedro. To this day when I hear the song “Wild Thing”, this is what plays in my head:


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The Emperor governs Earth Day 2021

Every year the heavens celebrate Earth Day by having a meteor party – and we’re all invited! The April Lyrids last from April 16 to April 26 each year and will peak on April 21-22 here in the Bay Area – with peak viewing just before dawn on Thursday, April 22nd. Well, I awoke early intending to catch the display only to find it overcast here…

Many people who recorded the event live posted their videos on YouTube. If, like me, you missed the Lyrids you can catch the show here.

Happy Earth Day!

When I sat down to write this Post my thoughts invariably turned to the usual suspects: Conservation, volunteering, recycling, etc. (Search “Earth Day” for more ideas.) However, I realized I’d just be repeating that which has already been written. Instead, I thought I’d write about what “Earth Day” means to me and what I’m doing – and pledge to do – in support of Mother Earth. Gaia.

This resonates with me because no matter how much we try to convince ourselves that humans are above all other life here, we most certainly are not. Consider this:  Earth is taking a beating from us. But no matter what horrors we inflict upon her, Mother Earth will always choose to survive. But if humans persist on racing down the path we are currently on, Earth will have no choice but to terminate us in order to survive. Of course, our demise will be on us. For we are dependent upon this beautiful world and if we continue to decimate it to the point where it can no longer sustain us, well, it won’t. We can no more run away from this hard truth than we can DEATH itself. As animals, I believe human beings instinctively know this but we talk ourselves out of it at every turn…

For instance, I Reuse and Recycle but don’t REDUCE as much as I should. I’m a Vegetarian but not a VEGAN. I don’t use LED bulbs (Gasp!) because I prefer softer lighting in my home. I volunteer and support charitable organizations but never feel I’m doing ENOUGH. I regularly donate items I no longer need but I’m still BUYING more items. (I take good care of said items so I won’t have to constantly replace them, but I’m still buying stuff…) I take BATHS and let the water run while brushing my teeth. The hardest thing for me to admit? Despite my deep love for non-human species, and despite the fact that I volunteer/support animal-related charitable organizations, I recently purchased a new pair of boots and a new purse. Both made of leather. My justification was that I’d been buying purses at the local Goodwill for years and wanted to treat myself. (No excuse for the 80s-style, purple-and-black boots. They were ON SALE.)

So you see, I’m still fucking things up. But I work towards fucking things up LESS.

  • Meals are planned around seasonal produce, most of which is purchased at one of the local Farmers’ Markets.
  • I only eat food that’s certified organic or verified to be non-GMO (by the Non-GMO Project).
  • Interestingly, PETA (an organization I’ve supported for years) posted an article on a vegan product they were recommending. I noticed it was labeled neither “organic” nor “non-GMO”. I’ve done – and continue to do – a ton of self-education on the subject and have concluded that genetically-modified organisms are not healthy for humans, animals, plants, or the earth (dirt) itself, so I asked PETA if the item in question was “non-GMO” and got quite a snobby reply back stating that it was “vegan” and “that was the point”. It is my belief that the health and welfare of animals begins with the health and welfare of the food they consume, the pesticides/fertilizers used in growing the food, and the dirt in which the food is grown. End of story.

  • Although cats are obligate carnivores and cannot follow either a vegetarian or vegan diet, Ramses gets the highest quality grain-free (non-GMO) cat food: Fussie Cat.
  • Although my hobby of growing carnivorous plants means I must use CFL’s for CarnieVIL, used bulbs get recycled responsibly (meaning not in the trash bin).
  • Ditto for batteries (My ROKU remote uses them up like crazy!) and electronics.
  • We religiously put all recyclable items in the recycling bins here in the complex. (I’m happy to report that we tenants are filling these huge trash-bin-sized containers to the brim every week, while the trash bin is only half-full.)
  • I walk or use transit to run errands; otherwise, two of us share the one car.
  • I use leftover cooking water (veggies and pasta) to feed my outdoor plants. Lots of good nutrients!
  • Speaking of outdoor plants, when I have to use a pesticide/fungicide I choose ones that are safe for organic gardening.
  • I use AmazonSmile because Amazon donates a portion of my purchases to the charity of my choice:  Milos Sanctuary and Special Needs Cat Rescue Inc.
  • For those of you who shop Amazon but don’t login at AmazonSmile because you think your purchases won’t make much of a difference, CHECK THIS OUT:

And this is what I need/want to do:

  1. Use Amazon Second Chance. Find out more about the program here.
  2. Although 90% of the household cleaners we use are non-toxic, we could do a better job.
  3. Be more cognizant of how I waste water. This is of special concern here in California where we are facing another year of drought, water-conservation, and risk of more devastating fires.
  4. A week ago I saw one Monarch butterfly and one Swallowtail butterfly here in the complex. Two insects we don’t normally see around here until late summer. WTF? I discovered that Monarch butterflies are in danger of becoming extinct. Seems what’s killing them are the same things that have been decimating bees for some time now (Yesterday, I saw my first bee of the year right here in my Concrete Jungle.).
  5. I have PLEDGED to plant a bee-friendly, butterfly-friendly garden in my little slice of heaven. I have limited access to all-day sun and no soil. But I have plans. I will work around the concrete and less-than-optimal sunlight and plant insect-friendly herbs and flowers that will thrive in the environment. Oh, and I’m getting a Bee House ’cause the bees around here are solitary bees (like Mason bees). Here’s the low-down on Bee Houses. As butterflies can be particularly finicky about the flowers they sip from, this year I’m making them a Butterfly Feeder!

    We already have a Hummer Café and recently installed one for the birds. (Ramses thinks all the activity is fun stuff to watch! Kitty TV.)

    I’d love to make the patio a sustainable Wildlife Habitat – ’cause if balconies can become such, so can the Concrete Jungle.

‘Kayso, this brings me to The Emperor. How does HE fit in to Earth Day?

The Zodiacal Trump of Aries, The Emperor is also known as “Sun of the Morning” and “Chief Among the Mighty”. Normally one thinks of conquest or domination when this card appears, but he also represents the Archetypal Father figure.

Take a close look at the card and you’ll see abundance and life in the red apples and BEE. (Don’tcha just LOVE synchronicites…) The regal Vampyre embodies strength and confidence which comes from a place of love and support. He is the Earthly Father. A leader who does not rule with an iron fist but with intelligence, courage, wisdom, justice – and a bit of passion. Although a man of action (Mars rules Aries), his decisions are not made in haste. Like King Arthur, The Emperor wants nothing more than to see his kingdom (The Earth) and all who live within it to thrive and prosper.

Today’s the day to begin creating OUR Camelot right here on Planet Earth – for all its creatures, not just man. Instead of pillaging and destroying, let’s evolve into being PROTECTOR. Let’s take care of each other. Let’s give a voice to the voiceless and become their CHAMPIONS – for there is room enough for all to live and flourish within Camelot.

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
– James D. Miles

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A Playlist for the Rest of Us

To counter those creating Vaccine Gene-Therapy-Inspired playlists on Spotify, this Playlist is for the rest of us. You know:

  • We who are being labeled “conspiracy theorists” – even though we’re not.
  • We who are being characterized as “un-patriotic” – even though we’re not.
  • We who are being attacked as “superspreaders” – even though we’re not.
  • We who are rational and are intelligently digesting both sides of an issue – even though we’re…wait a minute – that’s US!
  • Pariahs

The Dope Show (Marilyn Manson, 1998)
We’re all stars now in the dope show
We’re all stars now in the dope show

Fight For Your Rights (Mötley Crüe, 1985)
Can’t rhyme problem with reason
Not taking sides
Just asking why

Cult of Personality (Living Colour, 1988)
I sell the things you need to be
I’m the smiling face on your T.V.
I’m the cult of personality
I exploit you, still you love me

Lust for Freedom (Grim Reaper, 1987)
You will never get a second chance
You won’t mess with me again

In Fear We Trust (Hatchet, 2015)
The Lies – begin to unfold
Beyond control designed to take hold
It steals – The mind!
So real it feels we taste it at times
We’re Dying – Inside!
Release – The mind – We’re losing time

Symphony of Destruction (Megadeth, 1992)
Just like the pied piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like Marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Swaying to the symphony of destruction

Me Against the World (Lizzy Borden, 1987)
If I’m an outcast
I’m not the last
I’m gonna have my say
They’ll never take me in alive

Killing in the Name (Rage Against The Machine, 1991)
…And now you do what they told ya, now you’re under control
…Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me
Motherfucker


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Got Bats?

Bats are Cats with Wings.
– M

If you don’t agree with my declaration this video* should convince you:

(Yep. That face reminds me of Ramses.)

*James is not a pet and is in this person’s care until he can be released back into the wild.

April 17th is International Bat Appreciation Day. I love bats. One of the things I actually enjoyed “up north” was seeing the bats come out at dusk and gobble up all the nasty mosquitos. (Yum yum.) Fun fact:  A single Brown bat can eat 1,200 mosquitos in one hour.

Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera. With their forelimbs adapted as wings, they are the only mammals capable of true and sustained flight.

Bats comprise about 20% of all classified mammal species worldwide, with over 1,400 species.

Many bats are insectivores, and most of the rest are frugivores (fruit-eaters) or nectarivores (nectar-eaters). A few species feed on animals other than insects; for example, the vampire bats feed on blood. (Vampire bats don’t “suck” blood. They create a small incision with their teeth and lap up blood from the wound.)

Bats are present throughout the world, with the exception of extremely cold regions. They are important in their ecosystems for pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds; many tropical plants depend entirely on bats for these services.

[source]

We’ve all heard of DC Comics’ Batman – and to a lesser extent, Bat Girl – but did you know the Mayans worshipped a bat god? Camazotz means “death bat” and is associated with night, death, and sacrifice.

Of the 1,400+ species of bats in the world, 43 live right here in the United States:

  1. The Florida bonneted bat is endemic to Southern Florida. Being that the species has one of the smallest geographical distributions of any New World Bat it’s earned the title of being “one of the most critically endanged mammals in North America” and is protected under the Endangered Species Act.
  2. Wagner’s bonneted bat
  3. Western mastiff bat
  4. Underwood’s bonneted bat
  5. Velvety free-tailed bat
  6. Pocketed free-tailed bat
  7. Big free-tailed bat
  8. The State bat of Texas and Oklahoma:  Mexican free-tailed bat
    Though abundant and widespread, some local populations have prompted protection and conservation efforts. The bat is considered a species of special concern in California as a result of declining populations. Bat Conservation International bought Bracken Cave (Texas) from private ownership in 1992. BCI planned to revert any land changes that were a result of farming or ranching in order to conserve the biodiversity and wildlife there. Preserving the land around Bracken Cave was important, as it is home to the world’s largest bat colony, and any human encroachment would be detrimental to their population. BCI also protects the land from artificial light pollution, which can distress the bats. [source]

    I remember watching a documentary on bats which talked about a large colony (over 15 million) living in a cave in Texas and I’m guessing it was Bracken Cave. Anyway they used doppler radar to show their emergence from the cave at dusk and the path they took during the night looking for food. It was HUGE! One can only imagine the number of insects they hungrily devoured.
  9. Ghost-faced bat
  10. Mexican fruit bat
  11. One of three nectar-eating bats in the U.S., the Mexican long-tongued bat feeds on nectar, pollen, and fruits of flowering desert species like agave and cacti. The species has been classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to ongoing habitat loss, which includes loss of roosting sites in caves to mining and tourism. It is regarded as a species of Special Concern in California and Arizona.
  12. The migratory Mexican long-nosed bat is the main pollinator of several nocturnal blooming cactus species.
  13. Pallid bat
  14. Rafinesque’s big-eared bat
  15. One of the subspecies of the Townsend’s big-eared bat is the State bat of Virginia. Townsend’s is a “whisper bat” which means means that it echolocates at much lower intensities than other bats and may be difficult to record using a bat detector.
  16. Big brown bat
  17. Spotted bat
  18. Allen’s big-eared bat
  19. Silver-haired bat
  20. Western red bat
  21. Eastern red bat
  22. Hoary bat (see below)
  23. Southern Yellow bat
  24. Seminole bat
  25. Southwestern myotis
  26. Southeastern myotis
  27. California myotis
  28. Western small-footed bat
  29. Long-eared myotis
  30. The Gray bat is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN and the Endangered Species Act, which requires that 90% of the most important hibernacula be protected and that populations at 75% of the most important maternity colonies be stable or increasing over a period of 5 years for the gray bat to be down-listed from endangered to threatened status.
  31. Keen’s myotis
  32. The Eastern small-footed bat is listed as Endangered by the IUCN.
  33. Little brown bat As of 2018, the little brown bat is evaluated as an Endangered species by the IUCN.
  34. Arizona myotis
  35. The Northern long-eared bat is considered federally Threatened by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act.
  36. The Indiana bat was listed as federally Endangered under the Endangered Species Preservation Act, on 11 March 1967, due to the dramatic decline of populations throughout their range. Reasons for the bat’s decline include disturbance of colonies by human beings, pesticide use, and loss of summer habitat resulting from the clearing of forest cover. As of 1973, the Indiana bat has been listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act (as amended), and additionally protected by the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988, to protect hibernacula on federal lands. In 2013, Bat Conservation International listed this species as one of the 35 species of its worldwide priority list of conservation.
  37. Fringed myotis
  38. Cave myotis
  39. Long-legged myotis
  40. Yuma myotis
  41. Evening bat
  42. Western pipistrelle
  43. As of 2018, the Tricolored bat is listed as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN.

We’ve all seen pictures of vampire bats, brown or gray bats, and Flying Foxes but when I was researching this Post I discovered there are many really unique and fascinating bats!

Fringe-lipped bat

Found from southern Mexico to Bolivia and southern Brazil.

The current conservation status of the Fringed-lipped bat is Least Concern because its populations are currently stable. Because it is stable there are no conservation action plans. But because of its feeding habits, it is placed in a precarious position that puts it at a risk from human activity.

Hammer-headed bat

Lives in West and Central Africa.

As of 2016, it is evaluated as a Least Concern species by the IUCN — its lowest conservation priority. It meets the criteria for this classification because it has a wide geographic range; its population is presumably large; and it is not thought to be experiencing rapid population decline. It is not a common bat species in captivity, though it is kept at the Wrocław Zoo in Poland as of 2020, and was kept at the Bronx Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the 1970s and 1980s. In captivity, it is vulnerable to stress-related illness, particularly males. [source]

Hoary bat

Endemic to North America, South America, Galápagos Islands, and Hawaii.

The coat of the Hoary bat is dense and dark brown, with white tips to the hairs that give the species its ‘hoary’ appearance for which it is named. While not listed as threatened or endangered, hoary bats suffer significant mortality from wind turbines. Across the United States in 2005, 40% of all bats killed by wind turbines were Hoary bats — over 1000 Hoary bats were killed in 2005. [source]

Hoary bat numbers are plummeting in the Pacific Northwest, according to a recent study, raising concerns about the ability of the species to survive throughout the United States as growing numbers are found dead at wind power facilities. [source]

Northern Ghost Bat

Found in South America, Central America, and Trinidad.

This is a relatively rare and completely white insectivorous bat, which is considered a Least Concern species by the IUCN.

Ghost Bat

The Ghost bat lives in northern Australia.

Listed as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN, it’s estimated that several thousand Ghost bats remain in existence today. [Adelaide Zoo]

Wrinkle-faced bat

Endemic to Central America, the Wrinkle-faced bat is considered a Least Concern species by the IUCN.

Bumblebee bat

Also known as Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, it’s found in western Thailand and southeast Myanmar and is the smallest mammal in the world. (How can you NOT love a bat whose body is about the size of a large bumblebee!)

Its relatively wide, long-tipped wings enable the bat to hover like a hummingbird. It has been hunted and harassed by collectors and tourists wanting to see the world’s smallest mammal, but the main threats are from burning of the forested areas near the limestone caves in which it lives.

As of the species’ most recent review in 2019, Kitti’s hog-nosed bat is listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened, with a downward population trend. In 2007, the Bumblebee bat was identified by the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered Project as one of its Top 10 “focal species”. [source]

Bat World Store
Why Bats Matter

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Playlist::Power Walk 6

I’m constantly creating new playlists for my Power Walks. Any new song I add to iTunes is my “favorite” one at the moment. Of course, I never tire of CRASHDÏET’s “Chemical” or the Black Veil Brides’ “In The End” – these are the songs I most often SPRINT to. Did I mention I cannot “jog”? Everyone’s anatomy is different and mine doesn’t do jogging. I feel it instantly in my knees. I can high-impact aerobics until the cows come home and I can RUN VERY FAST for short increments without any complaints from my body.

In Junior High I participated in track (or track-and-field). I was good at two events:  Standing Broad Jump (I could jump a little over 6′ which for someone 5′ tall was evidently quite good.) and the 50-Yard Dash.

When I entered High School my petite stature failed me in the 50-Yard Dash, as there were plenty of girls who were much taller – with longer legs to match. But I could still jump like a grasshopper!

Interspersing sprints in my Power Walk acts in the way High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) does. I also found that because I “bounce” along at a good clip, I was putting my calves, thighs (upper, inner, everywhere), and glutes through their paces!

Plus I’m getting fresh air, sunshine, and plenty of entertainment along the way. This morning I passed a lone goose who was keeping an eye on me as I approached, then decided I was no threat and started plucking the grass blades at its feet (Or maybe it was just PRETENDING to ignore me so it could bite me in the butt as I bounced by…). No longer had I passed the goose when I heard it make a HORRIBLE RACKET. This was over the music which I had turned up fairly loud. Turning around I saw a woman walking her German Shepherd behind me and the goose was giving the dog HELL. The dog did not know what to make of this creature. Finally the goose flew off onto the roof of an apartment house across the street. The dog’s owner and I both shook our heads and laughed – then we all went on our way. With Nature I’ve found, there’s never a dull moment.

I put together this particular Playlist to span 1-1/4 miles (It takes me 22 minutes to walk a mile.) and match my preferred walking pace. Enjoy!

Songs without embedded videos contain links to them on YouTube (Which will open in a new browser window).

9 songs
34 minutes

In The End Black Veil Brides
You Can Call Me Al Paul Simon

My favorite Elton JOHN song. It reminds me of Summer…


The War Song Culture Club

Keep It Comin’ Love KC & The Sunshine Band
Chemical CRASHDÏET
Rock the Night Europe
The Boys Are Back In Town The Bus Boys

Little Bit O’ Soul The Music Explosion

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