People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Roanoke Firefighters

I'd like to welcome a new entry to the world-famous Blog From On High blogroll (off to the left). It's called Roanoke Firefighters.

The author dedicates the site to the Fire-EMS department in the city of Roanoke.

But I link to it here so that I can get the latest news about my son - station # 3 - who never calls HIS FATHER.

It's a good read too.


A Very Expensive Chicken

I heard the other day that a flatbed load of stuff traveling from Atlanta to Virginia Beach would cost - just the freight charge, mind you - as much as $700. Diesel fuel is getting very expensive.

That being the case, the cost for transporting this clucker, before the truck overturned, had to be astronomical.

Truck Carrying Chicken Overturns on I-81
Josh Smith, News Channel 11 (
What would make a chicken so valuable as to use a truck to transport it to Colonel Sanders?

After reading the headline, I noticed that the story was somewhat different.
One lane in both directions of Interstate 81 at the Washington County / Smyth County Virginia line is shut down after a tractor trailer overturned around 1am.

The truck was carrying 70-thousand pounds of frozen chicken.
Oh. Frozen chicken. These newspaper people need to be more careful.

Perhaps the headline, in order to have avoided the confusion, should have read:

Breasts, Thighs Splayed Across Landscape; Local Residents Eat It Up

Quote of the Day

Britain is now desperately trying to correct its never-never land hospitality to agitators and inciters. It is proud of its long history of harboring exiles, misfits and revolutionaries from just about everywhere. After all, Karl Marx lived, wrote and died in London. But 52 victims dead and the near-miss two weeks later are helping Britain place necessity above nostalgia.
Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, July 29, 2005 (link)

Quote of the Day II

Speaker Dennis Hastert had barely waited for dawn to break after the midnight Cafta vote before he directed the House to pass a $286.4 billion highway bill. He expects Mr. Bush to sign this because it is "only" $2.4 billion more than the President's 2005 veto limit, which is "only" $28 billion more than his 2004 veto limit of $256 billion, which was "only" a 17% increase over the previous six-year highway spending level. "Only" in Washington could spending so much money be considered an act of fiscal discipline.

The bill is all about "jobs, jobs, jobs," declared Mr. Hastert, and he's right if he's referring to the Members' re-election prospects.
Wall Street Journal Editorial, July 29, 2005 (link)

I Want To Be There

Now this is fascinating:
Search for Missing Da Vinci Work Hits Wall

Florence Officials Block Sleuth's Quest to Solve Mystery
of 16th-Century Fresco
By Daniel Williams, Washington Post Foreign Service

"On the 6th of June, 1505, a Friday, at the stroke of the 13th hour, I began to paint in the palace," [Leonardo da Vinci] wrote in a journal.

The painting's impact lived up to its thunderous conception, according to critics and commentators of the time. Such was the beauty of the fresco that it was dubbed a "school for the world," that is, a model for all artists to emulate.

A few years later, the room was remodeled. No one saw the painting again.

Fast forward to this summer and meet Maurizio Seracini, a biomedical engineer and art conservationist. He believes he can bring the "Battle of Anghiari" to light.

Using lasers and other electronic sensing devices, he has conducted a painstaking study of the Room of the Grand Council, where "Battle" was located. The results, he said, suggest that da Vinci's fresco still exists. When the room was altered in 1563, a separate wall was built in front of the painting and, Seracini maintains, a cavity exists between the new wall and the old. Look behind the newer wall, he says, and you will see the fresco. (link)
The story goes on to discuss the attempts of the city of Florence to steer the exploration in a different, more lucrative, direction. Which is fine.

But the bigger story is the painting. By Leonardo da Vinci. Unseen for centuries. Waiting to be revealed.

I'm adding this to my list of things to accomplish before God and me become regular mates.

So let's go, fellas. I've only a short time on this earth and so much to see and do.

The "Battle of Anghiari" awaits.

Keystone Kops

What is it with British law enforcement efforts - or lack thereof - to prevent terrorism?
By NILES LATHEM, The New York Post

An Al Qaeda operative, identified as the "fifth man" in the July 7 London transit bombings, could have been captured by U.S. authorities weeks before the carnage — but British authorities balked because he was one of their citizens, investigative sources revealed yesterday.

Instead, Haroon Rashid Aswat, 30, remained free until Saturday, when he was arrested in Zambia in what U.S. and British officials are calling a major break in the investigation.

U.S. authorities had hoped to capture Aswat weeks before the attacks, which killed 52 bus and subway commuters in London. (link)
British "authorities" have proven themselves capable of cleaning up the carnage after terrorists have struck, and they have shown that they can shoot straight when there are six of them sitting on a Brazilian electrician whose crime turned out to be his wanting to make it to work on time.

But the bobbies can't seem to bring themselves to stop terrorists before they slaughter dozens of innocent civilians.

London is now off my list of places to visit. Until further notice.

Space Shuttle Okay So Far

We all wait with breathless anticipation for the space shuttle to return to earth.
Shuttle Docks; Shield Damage Is Called Minor

HOUSTON, July 28 - The Discovery astronauts worked through their second full day in orbit on Thursday, executing an elegant orbital back flip and docking with the International Space Station. Back on Earth, hundreds of engineers scrutinized startlingly clear pictures of the shuttle's delicate protective tiles to see whether they had sustained the kind of liftoff damage that would make it unsafe to come home.

So far, the engineers said, they saw nothing that would threaten a safe return, though analysis is not yet complete. (link)
So far so good.

Funny thing is, there isn't a person in the entire USA outside of a room or two at NASA who can tell you what these astronauts are up in space doing. They're probably watching mice fornicate or trying to grow tomatoes from seed, as has been done in the past.

I'm told we spent over one billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) on the new foam insulation that was guaranteed not to peel off when the shuttle launched (if you weren't paying close attention, the guarantee was mentioned in passing when the stuff started peeling off). This is in addition to the hundreds of billions we spent for those twelve nice ripe tomatoes.

I'm all for space exploration. Mars beckons. But I'm also for my hard-earned tax dollars to be spent wisely. And wasting hundreds of billions of dollars to send a handful of Americans into space to watch mice get their jollies is not a good application of those dollars.

But that's only me. What do I know.

Blood Flows on the Fuhrman Farm

Paula and I have had a tough time this summer with black snakes eating barn swallow babies. (I know there are men and women in uniform dying in Iraq, but I'll concentrate on them after we finish picking up tiny feathers and body parts).

I took a picture once of a black racer that had to have been six feet long slithering across the pasture and posted it to this weblog. We grow them really big on the farm. Well, they are quite common around here and one (or more) is (are) raiding the swallow nests when the four, five or six fuzzy little birdie heads are just starting to appear over the rim of the dried mud nests. One day they're all there; the next day, they're all gone.

And they ain't flying away.

I thought for a while that it was a barn owl coming in at night but signs are pointing more toward snakes.

We have had about fifteen nests of swallows this summer, all high up in the rafters of our barn (there are three active nests right now even this late in the summer) and few of them have seen chicks grow to adulthood.

Paula would probably prefer that I shoot the snake but I won't. Such is the way of nature.

But I will strangle the little bastard if I can catch him in there late at night.

Such is my nature.