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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Northern VA
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 10:34 AM
Number of posts: 40,384

About Me

I've been a member of DU for over 14 years, but now it is time for me to check out. The glee people on this site took over bashing Gov Northam is too much. EW Jackson, VA's version of a RW troll is being respected and his options considered while the Gov who expanded medicare to 800,000 citizens of my state (including an adult son) is bashed over a 35-year old indiscretion. I see DU as being infected by RW trolls and ratfuckers while the admins are largely absent. See 2016 if you don't believe me. While Northam was being bashed, threads appeared bashing Harris (she took a hard stance against Franken) and Booker (he's corporate) and promoted people who will never be elected in America such as Gabbard and Sanders. Their indiscretions are ignored. For what reason? Their unelectability? The members here that aren't RW trolls or ratfuckers are attempting to achieve some type of purity that will never happen due to mankind's flawed nature. People ar human and prone to mistakes. The rhetorical tools that attack people such as HRC, Franken and Northam will be turned on people like Kamala Harris and Justin Fairfax. It is only a matter of time. I refuse to help the RW and the PURE destroy people and our party. DU was a noble idea, but is a tool on the internet being used to ruin the Democratic Party, suppress the vote, and destroy decent candidates. I won't take part in this crap any longer. To my couple of friends here, so long, it was nice chatting with you. You know how to reach me if you want.

Journal Archives

IKEA Border Wall provides Trump with affordable construction option

A spoof of an IKEA flat-pack furniture kit shows how to cheaply build Donald Trump's proposed Mexican border wall.

The Börder Wåll offers a "practical, ready-made solution" to the US president's plans for a continuous barrier between the two countries, according to satirical news site The Postillon.

At just $9,999,999,999.99, the IKEA product would be a steal compared to a traditional wall, which is currently estimated to come in between $15 and $25 billion (£12 and £20 billion).

A graphic mimicking a typical minimal instruction sheet provided by the Swedish furniture giant has been mocked up for the builders. It lists hundreds of thousands of panels and barbed-wire coils, along with millions of screws, but only specifies a single Allen key for assembly.

more at


Why'd it have to be snakes?"

A new 47-unit mixed-use building in Grenoble, France had a strict set of features specified by the client, leaving little room for design experimentation by the architect. The recessed top floor was to be flanked by two duplexes, a platform at the bottom would contain retail space and be fitted with large glazed shop windows, and large balconies and openings on the façade would allow natural light deep into the building’s interior.

With so many major design elements set in stone, the project’s architect, Maison Édouard François, began to worry the 48,000-sf building was becoming too “predictable.” What was the cure for this predictability, you ask? Snakeskin-inspired cladding, obviously.

The scaly idea was planted in one of the designers’ minds while looking at a handbag in a Prada boutique. It was determined the graphic skin of the python would blur the project and add a level of chicness the area sorely needed. The handbag was scanned, digitized, and “mapped” onto the building form, causing the windows and overhanging balconies to disappear into the reptilian patterns.

The façade was created from diamond-shaped “scales,” each one identically reproduced in cut metal. The scales were then oxidized to create the three different colors and assembled to create the design of the skin. Because the cladding was so expensive, it was only applied to the façades that required some type of screen. The result is a mixed-use building that rises like a coiled python overlooking the City of Grenoble.

More at Building Design and Construction:

Blogging in 2019

Question: Suppose I wanted a blog or some such option for some hobby-type posting. What's the best way to do it in 2019?

Am I missing some social media option? I have a mostly unused twitter account in my FSogol identify and always have avoided facebook.

What's the best program/service to use? TIA

Malaysian design firm imagines Trump's wall as a 1,954-mile-long dinner table

Malaysian design office No-To-Scale Studio has issued a satirical proposal to President Trump, suggesting a radical means of representing the US-Mexico border: a 1,954 mile-long dining table.

Citing "logistical, financial and nationality" limitations, the studio's design claims to be cost-effective in taking a domestic item and scaling it to massive proportions.

While the proposed slab of "continuous polished marble" may prove costly, diners will bring their own chairs in order to participate.
No-To-Scale imagines Donald Trump's US-Mexico wall as a 1,954-mile-long dinner table

No-To-Scale Studio champions the idea of a border relying on the coming together of people in order to function, rather than acting as an alienating structure.

More at: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/21/no-to-scale-donald-trump-wall-us-mexico-border-1954-mile-long-dinner-table/

Martin O'Malley: Here's who I'd like to see run for president. (Hint: It's not me)

I will not be running for president in 2020, but I hope Beto O’Rourke does. And this is why.

In 2016, my long-shot presidential candidacy found its flame extinguished between a rock and an angry place in my own party. America wasn’t in the mood for new leadership. We were in a mood of anger, rage and retribution. And in this mood, Donald Trump’s candidacy rose. It was good for ratings, and good for the Russians; but, bad for America. And, we got what we got.

But now, there is a different mood in our nation. People are looking for a new leader who can bring us together. They are looking for a unifier and a healer. They are looking for a leader of principle, and they are now looking for a fearless vision.


All of which brings me to Beto O’Rourke.

In his courageous run for U.S. Senate in Texas, O’Rourke ran a disciplined and principled campaign that also managed to be raw, authentic, and real. He spoke to the American values of honesty, compassion for one another, and courage in the face of a rapidly changing future. These are the American values alive and well in the hearts of our young people. These are the values which tell us where America is headed. And with these values, O’Rourke very nearly defeated the incumbent senator and Republican runner-up for president — in Texas.

Much more at the Des Moines Register:


A dying man bought 14 years worth of Christmas gifts for his 2-year-old neighbor

Owen Williams and his wife befriended their octogenarian neighbor when they moved into their home in Wales three years ago.

When their daughter, Cadi, came along two years ago, their neighbor in the town of Barry, Ken Watson, became a grandfather figure, taking the time to drop off Christmas presents for her. Then Watson died in October.

On Monday, Watson’s daughter stopped by the Williams home with a large bag, and Owen thought perhaps she was on the way to take out the trash. It turns out, she was dropping off 14 wrapped Christmas presents her father had bought and wrapped for Cadi.

Watson had intended the girl to get one gift each year.

“The thing that stands out to me is how few people know their neighbors,” Williams said. “People are saying, ‘That’s so lovely. I don’t even know my neighbors.’ . . . This Christmas, take your neighbors a bottle of wine or a small gift, a token. Just say, ‘Hi.’ You can open a new world like we did.”

More by Allison Klein at


A father and his sons cut wood to fill 80 trucks. Then they brought it to homes that needed heat.

Shane McDaniel posted photos on Facebook of him and his twin sons surrounded by enough chopped wood to fill 80 standard-size pickup trucks. They’d spent months chopping and stacking the firewood, valued at about $10,000. But they had no intention of selling it — they were giving it away to people in need.

“No one goes cold in our hood this holiday season,” McDaniel, 47, wrote in his post, offering to deliver wood, free of charge, to neighbors who needed a hand heating their homes near Lake Stevens, Wash., about 35 miles north of Seattle.

Within days, the post had spread not only in his Lake Stevens community but also to people across the country and even around the globe. Messages started flooding in — requests for firewood, offers of help, notes of thanks and even marriage proposals.


Many recipients are effusive with tears and hugs and heartfelt gratitude, but Shane McDaniel said there are plenty who are not. “Some aren’t even friendly. It’s just not in them. They are mad at the world and mad that they had to ask for help,” he said. “They just have no other option than freezing.” He understands. He is not put off.

“Some still just say, ‘thanks … put it over there’ and walk back in their house and never say another word or even come back out,” he said. “But I’m okay with that. Giving is the reward — it has nothing to do with how well it’s received, but it’s about how much it’s needed.”

More by Caitlin Huson at:


The Donald the Impaler

This is what Trumpy and his sidekick the execrable Stephen Miller want:

A legacy like the real-life model for Dracula with Salvadoran Children impaled on a fence.

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 25: The Story of No VA's Second Hand Santa

In Franconia, VA, a small suburb located in between Alexandria and Springfield, a Metro bus mechanic lived with his wife in a quiet little house in the late 1960s. That mechanic, James (Jim) W. Thayer worked downtown in Washington, DC repairing city buses. One day while eating his lunch he saw some kids throwing rocks in alley and asked why they weren't riding bikes on such a nice day. He was shocked when they said they didn't have bikes.

That night he went home and asked his neighbors for some old bikes and collected a couple from sheds. He greased the chains, adjusted brakes, and cleaned then up. Not satisfied he stripped them down and gave them fresh coats of paint. He painted racing stripes on one and flames on a couple. Jim threw them in his truck and took them to work and gave the kids each a cool bike. The next day the brother of one of the kids showed up, so he found and modified a bike for him too. Kid after kid started showing up at the garage to see if he had a bike for them. Word began to spread and people began to drop bikes off at his home and at the Metro garage. Jim was a good mechanic, so his boss cleared out a space and they stored the bikes. People started dropping off other used toys too. Dolls, puzzles, board games, and baseball gloves started to pile up.

In the days before Springfield Mall was built, a local Kiwanis group sponsored Santa's Village and Workshop for the kids. It consisted of a small house on a trailer decorated like Santa's home and workshop. Kids could stare into the windows and see elves building toys, Mrs. Claus making cookies, and reindeer in stables. In the front was a chair for Santa and kids would sit on Santa's lap and tell them what they wanted for Christmas. The Kiwanis would tow the house to a shopping center parking lot and the kids would line up. When the mall was built (1973) the Kiwanis moved their operations inside. The unneeded Santa House was towed to Jim's backyard in Franconia. Jim stored toys there and created a portion as a work shop. Santa's North Pole workshop now sat in a suburban backyard.

By now, Jim had learned about the local orphanages, the sick children at NIH, and several homes for disabled and challenged kids. He began to supply those places with toys each Christmas. His operation got bigger and bigger. He recruited neighborhood kids to assist him. (By the mid 70s, I was one of those kids) His volunteers would strip, sand rust, and paint bikes. They would put puzzles together to see if all the pieces were there, and double check board games. The gifts would be boxed up and placed in his Santa's workshop until Christmas time.

Companies like Hasbro found out about him and sent him boxes of replacement pieces for games, dice, a box of monopoly money, a box of barbie dresses.

A local Ford dealer (Jerry's Ford of Springfield) gave him the use of a panel van a couple of days after Thanksgiving until Christmas. On all the Saturday mornings in December, we'd load the boxes of toys in and deliver them. The kids and nurses at NIH called him Santa Claus and were overjoyed to see him. The press caught on and he was referred to as the "Second Hand Santa."

I assisted him for about 7 years until I moved away. He kept his operation running until his death at age 84 in 2003. He was possibly the friendliest, most selfless person I ever met. He didn't look like Santa Claus, but to thousands of children, he was.

Merry Christmas, DU.

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )

FSogol's 2018 Advent Calendar Day 24: Baby Gift Shopping Guide - 4 BCE

Earlier, I wrote about the Christmas Star and the 3 Kings. Today, I'll look at the gifts they brought. In many Catholic countries in Europe and South America, the arrival of the 3 Kings on Epiphany (Jan 6, also known as the 12th day of Christmas) is the day of the real celebration and gift giving.

From the King James Bible, Mathew 2:11:

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

From top to bottom: myrrh, gold, and frankincense.

We don't really need to think about gold. Good gift then, good gift now.

But what are frankincense and myrrh and why would they make good gifts?

Frankincense and myrrh are both resins extracted from trees in the Burseraceae family, also known as the torchwood or incense family. Frankincense comes from the dried sap of Boswellia trees, while myrrh comes from the lifeblood of the Commiphora. Extracting the sap is a tenuous dance—you must injure the tree without killing it. If done properly, the wound will stimulate a process called “gummosis,” which is exactly what it sounds like: the tree tries to gum up the damage, and you can carve off the resulting ooze for your own uses. “Over millennia, people have learned just how far you can go,” Daly says.

Burseraceae may be associated with the ancient world, but it’s still found in tropical regions from Africa and Asia to Central and South America. “Wherever I go,” Daly says, “they’re all used for the same thing… by people who never had any contact.” Everything from the bark of the tree to the sap inside is fragrant, so both frankincense and myrrh are used as incense and perfume. Historically, myrrh was also an embalming fluid—hence Hapshetsut’s dogged interest in the plant. Both have religious value; they were set aflame to honor the gods and ward off evil spirits. But, Daly says, they also have deeply practical uses, even today.“You find that people use the frankincense and myrrh plant for dozens if not hundreds of purposes, from helping you get pregnant to helping your cows produce milk,” he says. Mixed with other compounds, the resin can even seal the broken hull of a boat. “It’s bewildering the number of uses they have,” Daly says.

Today, gold, frankincense, and myrrh seem like unequal gifts. But in ancient times, the botanical extracts were worth the same, or even more. In the 1st century A.D., the Roman Empire was in deficit spending, Daly says, as it imported hundreds of tons of the smelly stuff each year. Daly likens frankincense fever to the oil wars fought in modern times. Hapshetsut’s spies, who ventured to the “Land of Punt,” or modern Eritrea, weren’t innocently looking for pretty plants. They were trying to secure their own homegrown sources of frankincense and myrrh, “because they were tired of paying through the nose for it,” Daly says. If cultivation didn’t work, conquering the land these plants naturally grew on would not have been above any of these ancient rulers.

More at: https://www.popsci.com/what-are-frankincense-and-myrrh

On Amazon frankincense oil costs $12 for 10 ml and myrrh oil cost $24.50 for 4 oz.
Gold Price per Ounce is $1,264.30 today.

Cecil Adams from The Straight Dope points out that:

in this age of online commerce you can buy frankincense direct from the sultanate of Oman? Also “top-quality myrrh”? I mean, lest you feel you have to settle for the Walgreens kind.

He also adds:

Frankincense was used to make eyeliner. But not just any eyeliner — I mean that weird Egyptian stuff Elizabeth Taylor wore in Cleopatra. This was back in the days when they weren’t clear whether the purpose of cosmetics was to enhance womanly beauty or scare off birds.

Myrrh was used as a perfume and was also added to cheap wine to make it more drinkable. Such a mixture was offered to condemned convicts to numb them out before death. You might remember that Jesus declined some before his demise (Mark 15:23). Myrrh was also used in cosmetics and medicines. Evidently, given the limited pharmacopoeia of the time, myrrh was the default answer to all problems. “So, Brutus, the differential go out? Better put some myrrh on it.”

Frankincense, one reads, has historically been used in Christian and other religious rituals to “purify the air.” This was obviously written by someone with very limited experience of religious rituals. When I was an altar boy, the most coveted job (which I had) was to be “thurifer,” or incense hassler. This job was great because you got to (a) light the charcoal in the thurible (incense burner) before the service, which gave my natural desire to play with matches a religious significance that I still feel when lighting coals in the Weber; and (b) you could ladle in all the incense you wanted. The result was not purer air; on the contrary, I routinely produced enough smoke to make it look like the church was on fire. In my case this merely annoyed the priest. But in the old days, you’re talking about a congregation that slept with camels and didn’t have the benefit of refrigerated mortuaries. No doubt smelling frankincense was preferable to smelling anything else.


If you haven't purchased any gifts yet, get some books or Legos. They'll be a bigger hit than oil. Of course, if you can afford it, gold is the way to go.

(For an explanation of my advent project and a link to last years posts, see
https://www.democraticunderground.com/10181152160 )
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