Sunday, November 16, 2008

So Inspiring

People who are completely paralyzed due to illness or trauma are getting help communicating with a new technology that connects their brains to a computer.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Awesome condom ad from Kenya

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Florida delegates bark at Montana Governor

DENVER -- At every convention there's an unlikely star. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer lit up the convention hall Tuesday night and gave a similar firecracker performance at this morning's breakfast for Florida delegates.

Schweitzer said Montana hasn't voted for a Democrat since LBJ, but he's got a good feeling about 2008.

"Florida, you're the big dog,'' he said. "Are you going to let a tail like Montana wag the dog or are you going to stand up and bark?

To which the delegates responded: "Woof! Woof! Woof!''


Sunday, June 29, 2008

More than you ever wanted to know about FLEAS

A flea and a fly flew up in a flue,
said the flea to the fly 'Oh what shall we do?'
Let us flee said the fly
let us fly said the flea,
so they fluttered and flew up a flaw in the flue.

...and then went to hang out at Kristen's house...

Hey All Ya'll (the plural for Ya'll!) -

Here is some disturbing and interesting stuff I found out about fleas after doing a google search, as i continue to fight the Bruya War on Fleas in my new house. My landlord hired yet another exterminator today (who is going to do a number of repeated treatments over the course of the next few months), and so I'm practicing and hanging at the hall today, as I allow another batch of chemicals to infiltrate the war zone. This blows. For the remainder of my days here in Nashville, before heading out to Boulder, I will be a vacuuming FOOL - YAAAAAAAAAA! I just love vacuuming - makes me feel like a real woman - doing the work that real women are meant to do. Anyhow, my landlord is paying for all the treatments, and is also cutting my rent in half for july and aug ----as he should ---- I wish he could come over and vacuum the house for me every day..........but it's a small place anyhow and doesn't take long. I got some white knee highs to wear around the house so that I can stop mistaking the various moles and freckles on my legs for fleas - not to mention delaying any biting that might happen. Hope you enjoy the reading material below.

KB Fleabags

The adult male flea is the sexual marvel of the animal kingdom and possesses the most complicated genital armature (sexual organs) of any known animal.

Fleas are highly specialised bloodsucking parasites belonging to the order of insects called Siphonaptera, which means 'wingless siphon'. They have a formidable reputation of claiming more victims than all the wars ever fought, as a result of the 'bubonic' (Black Death) plague they spread throughout the world in the 14th century causing the deaths of over 200million people. Now, these insects are better known for their irritation and pest status worldwide.

On average, a flea's lifespan is two to three months. However,pre-emerged fleas (not living on a pet) can survive undisturbed andwithout a blood meal for more than 100 days. Adult fleas are very small insects (up to 1/8 inch), so it is difficult to see a number of the characteristics used to describe them. These reddish brown to black, wingless insects are compressed from side to side so that they look like they are walking 'on edge.' They have piercing-sucking mouthparts through which they obtain blood meals from their hosts. Flea larvae are tiny (up to 3/16 inch long), hairy, and wormlike with a distinct, brownish head, but no eyes or legs. Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up toseven inches and horizontally thirteen inches. (An equivalent hop fora human would be 250 feet vertically and 450 feet horizontally.)

The biggest flea in the world is the North American Hystrichopsylla schefferi which is about 12mm long.

The largest flea in the world,
Hystricopsyllaschefferi, is only known from collections made from mountainbeaver and their burrows, and grows to 9 mm (over 1/3 inch) in length!The coevolution of these two organisms has never been investigated but,given the ancient lineage of mountain beaver, may provide someinteresting insights to both.

Depending on environmental conditions, it can take between two weeks and eight months for flea eggs to reach adulthood, although the average is three to four weeks in most homes. While you may think the fleas are dead today, in as little as two weeks, your home and your pet could be re-infested with hungry adult fleas. (In just 30 days, 10 female fleas under ideal conditions can multiply to over a quarter million different life stages.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Hats Off!

This is a proud moment for our country.
Congratulations Barack Obama!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Interview with Mike Mansfield

I just found the following journal entry that I wrote on February 4, 1996 about my visit with Senator Mike Mansfield.

I have just passed my 23rd birthday and this is my first entry of this new year.
On Friday, I traveled to Washington D.C. to meet Mike Mansfield. It was a one-day trip--I left Sarah Lawrence College at 4:30 am to arrive in D.C. by 11:00 am. Perhaps it was all of this travel time that lead me to expect a great "meeting of the minds" for my trip to be worthwhile, but of course I would have expected this anyway.
What I really expected to find (or maybe to get) was some sort of great wisdom from a man who has spent his lifetime in politics, shares my love of Montana, and has nine toes in the grave, as they say. I expected him to be willing to pass on the baton, in whatever capacity, to a younger person.
In retrospect, maybe he did--but it wasn't the answer I wanted to hear.
We sat down, he offered me some Sanka with creamer and sugar, and his secretary brought in some chocolate chip cookies. I presented him with a copy of We Are Missoula which he thumbed through and then set aside. He seemed to be expecting a question from me and I had one ready for him:
"You have helped me a great deal, through your Foundation, to produce this book. With our shared love of Montana, is there anything that I can do for you for Montana?"
I suppose this is a difficult question to answer on the spot, but what surprised me was that he really didn't address me at all. He talked about Montana and then when he had finished, said "next." As in, next question.
He did this at the end of every question, as if I were a reporter. He even asked me where my tape recorder was. We really didn't have a conversation except at one point when I had asked him what parallels he noticed between the cultures of Japan and Montana. He said he didn't really see any parallels, only comparisons.
Then he asked me what parallels I saw, and I mentioned that I found it interesting that Japan and Montana share a similar chronology. Japan started "Westernizing" in the Meiji period beginning in 1865, about the time that Montana was first being settled and developed. I suggested that although the cultures are quite different, as are the economies, attitudes of the people, etc., I felt that they are both experiencing periods in their history where their identities are being challenged by outside influences.
"But Montanans have a strong identity," he argued, and we left it there.
Before I left, I asked him if he had seen the Vermeer show at the National Gallery, thinking that he might like to go with me. "I'm not much of a Veneer man," he said. "I'm a Charlie Russell man, myself," adding that he used to deliver groceries to Charlie Russell.
A veneer man.
I thanked him again for his help on my project, adding that if he ever needs my assistance in any capacity, and especially where Montana is concerned, I am at his service.
His last words--and maybe the only words of the kind of wisdom I was looking for--were, in effect, "It's up to you. You and your generation are responsible for the future."
He walked me to the elevator and as I entered, he said, "I am going to give you a Japanese farewell." He took a deep bow with his arm outstretched above his forehead as the elevator doors closed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Granny D

Nonagenarian activist Doris “Granny D” Haddock is the subject of the HBO documentary film Run Granny Run. At the age of 90, Haddock walked across America to rally against the influence of big money in elections. Her journey brought national scrutiny to the system’s flaws. Years later, she ran for U.S. Senate against incumbent Judd Gregg. The film captures the challenges she faced with just four months until Election Day. Haddock is the author of Granny D: You’re Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell (Random House, 2003) and Granny D: Walking across America in My Ninetieth
Year (Random House, 2001).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Idiom of the Hero

by Wallace Stevens

I heard two workers say, "This chaos

Will soon be ended."

This chaos will not be ended,

The red and the blue house blended,

Not ended, never and never ended,

The weak man mended,

The man that is poor at night


Like the man that is rich and right.

The great men will not be blended...

I am the poorest of all.

I know that I can not be mended,

Out of the clouds, pomp of the air,

By which at least I am befriended.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Monday, April 07, 2008

My latest web design

check out

This is a Capybara from the Bolivian Amazon--the world's largest rodent.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Invite a friend to Meet Me in Missoula

Our latest cultural promotion at the Missoula Cultural Council...Read more

Friday, March 07, 2008

Cool stuff

To see more cool stuff made from recycled materials, click here.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Zou Town

The poster boys for the "Keep Missoula Weird" campaign...
Zou Town

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Very Exciting Magic Carpet

GREAT FALLS - A fourth-grader at Riverview Elementary has won the National Geographic planetary mnemonic contest, developing a handy way to remember the newly assigned 11 planets, including three dwarfs.

National Geographic Children's Books created the contest in response to the recent announcement by the scientific community that there are now 11 recognized planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and Eris. Ceres, Pluto and Eris are considered dwarf planets.

Maryn Smith's winning mnemonic is "My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants."

Smith's mnemonic will be published in astronomer David Aguilar's next National Geographic book, "11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System." It also will be recorded into a song by Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Lisa Loeb. Both are scheduled to be released in March.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

The epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer, THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN documents the dramatic failure of Farmer John's conventional farming operation and its resurrection into a thriving, organic Community Supported Agriculture farm. By Melding the traditions of family farming with the power of art and free expression, the quintessentially American story heralds a resurrection of farming in America.
This film would win in many categories--quirky documentary, personal memoir, organic farming, overcoming adversity...I'm sure I'll see it again.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Moon Moment

The most beautiful thing about the full lunar eclipse the other night was to see so many people out standing on street corners gazing up at the sky. People streamed out of bars downtown to watch the celestial event. It's a special moment when a single event transcends everything else people are doing and briefly creates a communal experience.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Political Epithets

In my house, we watch a lot of CNN and MSNBC political analysis these days... I'll be adding to this list as the ridiculous categorization continues. Feel free to add your own:
  • non-college whites
  • beer-drinking democrats
  • downscale democrats
  • blue-collar gritty democrats
  • white ethnic women (?? What does this mean...Jews?)
  • struggling black democrats

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

Proof that bass players, worldwide, are totally nuts!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Career Strategy #1: Trash Parents' House

Being in the events business myself, I see I've gone about the job hunt all wrong. I just need some funny glasses, a bad attitude, and $20,000 in damage to the neighborhood.

From The Week:
A Melbourne teenager was on the run this week after throwing a wild party that caused thousands of dollars in damages and took 30 police officers, a helicopter, and the canine squad to break up. Police said they would bill Corey Delaney, 16, about $20,000 for damages to police cars and other property. Delaney, who is camping on the beach near his home, said that in the few days since his party and its aftermath made international headlines, he has fielded several job offers to work as a party planner. "He's a bigger party animal than all the girls put together: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears," said celebrity agent Max Markson. "He could easily earn $50,000 to $60,000 in the next fortnight." At the time of the party, Delaney's parents were out of town.

And I thought a Master's degree would open doors! Silly me...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


A giant Pacific octopus living in a Cornish aquarium has formed an unlikely bond with Mr. Potato Head.

Louis regularly plays with the Mr Potato Head figure which was given to him as part of an enrichment project at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium. Read more...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Two Good Movies

Street Fight is the story of Corey Booker, an Ivy League lawyer who moves into a housing project, "lives among the people" and challenges Sharpe James in the mayoral race in Newark, NJ. A really interesting documentary about a grass-roots election campaign. Booker is currently the mayor of Newark.

The Great Debaters is loosely based on the story of the Wiley College debate team that goes on to defeat Harvard in 1935. In reality, they beat the University of Southern California...still a great victory for a team that went on to be undefeated for ten years. The film also portrays the young life of James L. Farmer, Jr.--one of the fathers of the Civils Rights movement.

25th Infantry Buffalo Soldiers

Bicycle Corp from Fort Missoula at Yellowstone in 1896

The 25th Infantry arrived at Fort Missoula in May 1888. The regiment was one of four created after the Civil War that were made up of black soldiers with white officers. In 1896, Lieutenant James Moss organized the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps to test the military potential of bicycles. The corps undertook several short journeys - up the Bitterroot Valley by bicycle to deliver dispatches, north to the St. Ignatius area, and through Yellowstone National Park - before making a 1,900 mile trip from Fort Missoula to St. Louis in 1897. The Army concluded that while the bicycle offered limited military potential, it would never replace the horse. The 25th Infantry returned to Missoula by train. When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, the 25th was one of the first units called to fight. The regiment served bravely in Cuba and the Philippines, but was reassigned to other posts after the war's end.

Further Resources on the Buffalo Soldiers

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Love, Work and Gossiping

Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.
-Sigmund Freud
Kiki suggests that this doesn't take into consideration human negativity. He suggests:

Love, Work and Gossiping are the cornerstones of our humanness.

Flowers on my mind

We've had about 6 inches of snow since yesterday, and all I can think about is gardening. I can't wait for the ground to thaw so I can go reserve one, two, maybe three (!) gardening plots in our community garden down the road. The other night, in addition to a vegetable garden, I realized I have enough seeds to plant an entire plot of flowers for cutting, and maybe selling. I can't think of a more enjoyable summer hobby than growing flowers!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


On June 3, 1912 my great grandparents, with my grandmother Magdalene, crossed into the U.S. in Laredo, Texas on their way from Argentina to North Dakota. For more Merck Family history, see Cousin Ed's wonderful research.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


If you've got a few minutes, take the time to listen to MLK's speech Beyond Viet Nam--A Time to Break Silence at Riverside Church in NYC, April 4, 1967.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Hello friends and fans of food,
Check out edible MISSOULA and my interview with our new Missoula Symphony maestro, Darko Butorac, on "How to Feed an Orchestra". (Click on the picture above)

From John Kerry

Hi Friend,

Martin Luther King said, "The time is always right to do what is right." So I'm choosing this time to share an important decision I've made, one I believe is right for this country.
[...] I want to share with you my conviction that in a field of fine Democratic candidates, the next President of the United States can be, should be, and will be Barack Obama. Each of our candidates would make a fine President, and we are blessed with a strong field. But for this moment, at this time in our nation's history, Barack Obama is the right choice.

Please join me in supporting Barack Obama's candidacy.

I'm proud to have helped introduce Barack to our nation when I asked him to speak to our national convention, and there Barack's words and vision burst out. On that day he reminded Americans that our "true genius is faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles." And with his leadership we can build simple dreams, and we can turn millions of small miracles into real change for our country.

At this particular moment, with our country faced with great challenges in our economy, in our environment, and in our foreign policy, and with our politics torn by division, Barack Obama can bring transformation to our country. With Barack, we can build a new majority of Americans from all regions who can turn the page on the politics of Karl Rove and begin a new politics, one worthy of our nation's history and promise. We can bring millions of disaffected people - young and old - to the great task of governing and making a difference, child to child, community to community.

Please click here to give what you can to Barack Obama's campaign for President and help build this future for our country.

The moment is now, and the candidate for this moment is Barack Obama. Like him, I also lived abroad as a young man, and I share with him a healthy respect for the advantage of knowing other cultures and countries, not from a book or a briefing, but by personal experience, by gut, by instinct. He knows the issues from the deep study of a legislator, and he knows them from a life lived outside of Washington. His is the wisdom of real-world experience combined with the intellect of a man who has thought deeply about the challenges we face.

History has given us this moment. But we need to decide what to do with it. I believe, with this moment, we should make Barack Obama President of the United States.

Thank you,
John Kerry

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy 2008

Happy New Year Friends! I'm happy to announce that First Night Missoula was a big success this year, with record attendance, second only to 2000. While I spent most of the day on the 31st coordinating volunteer efforts from our basement command center, I was encouraged by the lack of any major catastrophes reported from the field. After working so hard on such a big event, I expected I'd have some sense of how it went when all was said and done. But I've had to rely on volunteer accounts and the lack of complaints from participants to assess that all must have gone well! I did get out for about 20 minutes to view the ice carvers and pony riders in Caras Park, light a candle for peace, and read a Shakespeare sonnet (#108) on the sidewalk. I was also in charge of the First Night Idol competition at the Wilma theater--a contest for high school karaoke stars that went off without a hitch. The rest of the evening was spent manning the First Night table at the University Center, where people were still buying buttons up until 11:30! And finally, a week later, I'm having a chance to reflect on the New Year...I wish you a very prosperous and happy 2008! SB