Saturday Morning Open Thread

I've got lots of errands today.

Has anyone seen The Reluctant Fundamentalist or Silver Linings? This is one of those months I'm wondering why I need Xfinity at all, since there's nothing great on pay per view and their movie offerings seem to be slipping away from the kind of movies I like to watch. I'm hardly tempted to shell out more dollars on top of the $200 a month I already pay them just to see something I'm not sure I'd like.It's like we've gone back to the days of "57 channels and nothing on."

Here's an open thread for you, all topics welcome.

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    Bloomie implodes. (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by lentinel on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:33:04 AM EST
    From the NYTimes Editorial page on the subject of Mayor Bloomberg's defense of the Police Department's alleged penchant for stopping and frisking citizens based on race:

    Mr. Bloomberg denied that police officers stop people based on race, adding that members of minority groups were more likely to be stopped because minorities committed most of the crimes.


    People are not stopped based on race, but they are stopped based on race because they are more likely to be criminals.

    That is the logic of the Mayor of the Empire State.
    Welcome to 1955 Mississippi.

    Has anyone ever heard the following adages? (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by mplo on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:28:54 PM EST
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.


    History doesn't repeat..it rhymes.

    Both of these adages apply here, perfectly, imho.


    Another gem from ... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Robot Porter on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:47:44 AM EST
    Prince Tuesday.  I guess he wants to got out with neither a bang nor a whimper, but a sad trombone.

    I just don't get Michael Bloomberg. (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:22:31 PM EST
    He exhausts me with these schizoid policy stances of his. I'll be applauding him wildly and gratefully one day, and then I'll be totally freaked out by what he's doing the next, and want to pull my friggin' hair out at the roots. I'll be so glad when he finally exits the stage.

    The May 6, 2013 NYT op ed page (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by KeysDan on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:55:08 AM EST
    should have switched the headline of Paul Krugman's piece, "The Chutzpah Caucus", to the one just above it--Bill Keller's, "Syria is Not Iraq."   Keller argues for intervention in Syria by urging us not to compare but to contrast Syria and Iraq-- "whatever we decide, getting Syria right starts with getting over Iraq."  

     His admonition to his readers starts with an admission that does not seem all too reassuring: "...at the outset of the Iraq invasion, I found myself a reluctant hawk.  That turned out to be a humbling error of judgment, and it left me gun-shy."  

     Of course, as then Executive Editor of the NYT, his little slip contributed, along with journalists such as Judith Miller,  to catastrophic actions by the less reluctant Cheney, et al.   Keller seems to have gotten over his gun-shyness just fine

    Keller's was humbled so much that his bad judgment did not go without some education: Make  sure your intelligence is top notch, and  unspoken, from Viet Nam,  we need act even wrongly, so that other enemies will not, wrongly, think we are toothless tigers.  And, what about those WMD and intelligence?  Maybe, Keller should check out suggestions that sarin was used by the "rebels"  whomever they may be, and try to conjure up some less shop-worn arguments for war.   Better yet, all those with Keller's judgment skills, should remain silent and enter a peace-convent, where they remain for the rests of their days.

    "Silver Linings Playbook" is ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Robot Porter on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:49:36 AM EST
    quite good.  It takes the trappings of the romantic comedy and twists then in interesting ways.  I have some quibbles with the film, but it's very much worth seeing.

    I'll second that, Jeralyn. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:51:52 PM EST
    I understand your hesitation, because I was dragged just short of kicking and screaming to "Silver Linings" by The Spouse and really didn't expect much, but was instead happily surprised. It's a great story (even if it did drag a little in a few places), and everyone in the cast was at the top of his / her game, creating the best ensemble performance I'd seen in ages. I think you'd enjoy it.

    It got the Iggles/Cowboys scores (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:52:33 PM EST
    right....That's impressive...

    Huh? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:59:14 AM EST
    Wait a minute. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:18:52 AM EST
    Do you actually remember pro football scores from five-plus seasons ago? Now, THAT'S impressive -- anal retentive, as well, but still quite impressive.

    I'm so glad to see that someone else here besides me is a walking repository of otherwise useless information.


    Not all games (none / 0) (#49)
    by MKS on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:21:26 PM EST
    Just the ones that end the Cowboys' season at the hands of an arch rival......I watched the Ice Bowl live with Pops....

    I too was not to keen on seeing (none / 0) (#44)
    by samsguy18 on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:49:05 PM EST
    Silver linings....We watched it last night and I loved this movie !
    I agree with Donald...the ensemble performance was the best I've seen in a long time...it was an uplifting movie.

    Really liked it too (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by ruffian on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:52:10 PM EST
    Truly was laughing till I cried in that final sequence.

    yep, go see Silver Linings Playbook (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by womanwarrior on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:41:41 PM EST
    One of the best.  Had me laughing and crying.  Helpful on mentally ill people being human beings.  
    And it is so Philadelphia.  

    Ah, Philadelphia....... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by NYShooter on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:23:08 AM EST
    Did some flying last week, and as luck would have it, we had a stop-over in Philly. Everything was fine, we left the gate right on time, taxied around for a really long while, but finally we were positioned in the #1 slot, ready for take-off. And, we waited.....and waited...and waited. The pilot revved up the engines, then decelerated, again, and again, and again.

    After about 20 minutes, when it was obvious this wasn't just a normal "delay," the pilot came onto the intercom: "Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong, no mechanical problems, no emergencies out there, I'll keep trying to get an update, and report back to you as soon as I know something." Another 15, or 20 minutes went by, and now this was getting to be really aggravating. The pilot did his best in talking to us, and not leave us just hanging there in complete silence. Finally, at exactly the 45 minute late mark, he comes on, and tells us we're ready to go and informs us that he found out what the problem was: "He laughed, and said, "the problem is, well,................we're in Philadelphia."

    Funny guy.


    I have never been there (none / 0) (#32)
    by MKS on Sat May 04, 2013 at 11:13:04 PM EST
    but I have been told by East Coast types that they think I came out of South Philly.

    What a shame, to supposedly ... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:06:16 AM EST
    ... come from a place where you've never been -- although it's probably better than people thinking that you're from a place you otherwise wouldn't be caught dead in.

    And people in Mexico think, (none / 0) (#50)
    by MKS on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:24:54 PM EST
    or used to, that I'm from Argentina.

    But I will be from Hawaii soon, I hope.


    Almost moved to the big island (none / 0) (#51)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Sun May 05, 2013 at 10:34:41 PM EST
    after college. An extended stay there convinced me that I would not have enjoyed the smallness.

    Island fever is the unknown variable (none / 0) (#52)
    by MKS on Sun May 05, 2013 at 11:00:27 PM EST
    Can't really test it until after there for months...

    Oahu would be the destination....Big city....I'd stay on North Shore.  Mrs. MKS likes urban settings....So, Honolulu appears to be it...


    We really like the Big Island, and ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:04:30 AM EST
    ... own a condo in Hilo. At about 40,000 residents, Hilo's great if you like a small town atmosphere with friendly people. But if you're a dashing urbanite who loves the night life and likes to boogie, its rustic plantation town setting is probably not for you.

    Further, Hilo's averages 275 rainy days per year, and its annual precipitation rate averages 125 inches, so you need to take wet weather into account, too.


    Silver Linings Playbook: A very good movie! (none / 0) (#41)
    by mplo on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:30:38 PM EST
    I saw Silver Linings Playbook, which I liked a great deal.  It's so much better than most of what's been coming out these days, which is junk, junk, junk!  Need I say any more?!?  LOL!

    Isn't this amazing? (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Sat May 04, 2013 at 11:37:27 AM EST
    She seemed to embrace her new religion willingly and enthusiastically, said someone who occasionally attended Russell family gatherings, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to betray the family's confidence. "She was infatuated with this guy, and she adopted that religion," the person said, recalling a dinner in Boston when she announced that she had decided to start wearing a head scarf as part of her faith. "It was a big surprise."

    reason for anonymity

    That story is straight out of the sixties. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:18:49 PM EST
    Children of privilege...

    I'm confused (none / 0) (#8)
    by CoralGables on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:36:45 PM EST
    I know a handful of people that have switched religions and none would be considered children of privilege. Personally I've always found their original religion as odd as their second choice.

    Always fighting against the 60s (none / 0) (#28)
    by MKS on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:50:48 PM EST
    Or punch the hippies once again (none / 0) (#30)
    by MKS on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:53:08 PM EST
    Well, dagnabbit an' confonnit, ... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:07:45 AM EST
    Major spring cleaning op here, (none / 0) (#6)
    by brodie on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:21:06 PM EST
    about 14 years worth of junk and debris and outdated household items.

    So as part of this comprehensive program of cleaning and renewal, I go into the local HomeGoods store to purchase a few funky items to place inside my house and freshen things up.

    On prominent display in a major aisle is a large 6' tall stone Easter Island statue replica, rather imposing and kinda scary looking.  Price $999 (plus CA tax).

    Got to talking to a store clerk about it and the real statues on that remote isle, and she disclosed she was a big fan of the Ancient Aliens show occasionally seen on the History channel.

    Thought it was kinda interesting how quickly she offered up the AA hypothesis to explain the statues' existence.  Looks like that show has been having some quiet influence out there among the people.  Maybe some of the elite too, who knows.

    Not much more to this.  Just another colorful episode in the ongoing series of The Things I See The Things I Hear as I go out to mingle with the masses.

    lol; Jared Diamond offers a better hypothesis (none / 0) (#7)
    by Mr Natural on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:27:26 PM EST
    Familiar w/Diamonds work (none / 0) (#13)
    by brodie on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:19:21 PM EST
    Mostly in accord with his view that Easter Islanders squandered/overused native resources etc.  Though I'm more interested in the mystery of how and why those huge weird statutes were put up.  My guess is the locals had some outside assistance in the overall plan.

    The large statue for sale at HG was missing those spooky big white eyes (made from coral on the island) as well as the peculiar 5-ton red hat that was placed atop the head in some sort of notch.

    Be the first on your block to buy one and start a home fashion trend, supplanting the existing Buddha statue fashion.


    According to oral histories, ... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:10:32 PM EST
    ... Easter Island (the indigenous Polynesian name for both the island and its native people is Rapa Nui) became overpopulated and islanders warred incessantly amongst themselves, not unlike the Native Hawaiians prior to the rise of Kamehameha in the late 18th century.

    The famous statues, or moai, were carved by the natives themselves. The massive stones were most likely first hauled by hand from a quarry in the center of the island, and then carved and set in place. Historically, Malay-Polynesian societies were highly industrious, and its peoples were fully capable of such prodigious feats of construction without outside help. Some of the structures here in Hawaii were absolutely massive.

    The stone agricultural terraces of Luluku in Kaneohe here on Oahu were eight square miles in area, and nearby Kukuiokane Heiau was so large that it could be seen from well out at sea. Both structures, along with other valuable historic and archaeological sites on Oahu, were tragically destroyed by westerners during the 20th century in the name of progress. The Luluku terraces were demolished in the late 1970s to make room for the H-3 (John Burns Freeway) between the Marine Corps Base-Kaneohe Bay and Pearl Harbor Naval Base / Hickam AFB. Thank you, Sen. Inouye. (Cue rolling of eyes.)

    The largest stone platform that served as the base structure for one of the temples at Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau, on the bluffs of Pupukea up on our north shore, covers two full acres. The great Pu'ukohola Heiau in North Kona on the Big Island, built by Kamehameha in 1790-91 as he set out to unite the islands, encompasses 86 acres.

    These are peoples, after all, who were voyaging freely throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans and settling lands from Rapa Nui, Tahiti and Hawaii to New Zealand, New Guinea, the East Indies, Ceylon and Madagascar for well over a millennium. Further, they were doing so at a time when the peoples of western civilization were firmly fixed in and around the Mediterranean Sea, and most of their sailors hardly dared to venture out of sight of land.

    Let's please give them some credit. Aloha.


    An interesting perspective (none / 0) (#39)
    by Pablo Ortega on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:45:37 AM EST
    is that King Kamehameha was not a great leader bit just an effective despot who used domestic terrorism to force the general population to do his bidding.

    Also, the overall meme taught by Hawaiian studies is that white people picked on native Hawaiians. In actuality, as with many groups and cultures, Hawaiians fought and killed each other for thousands of years.


    White people were initially ... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 05, 2013 at 04:30:09 PM EST
    ... responsible for having introduced heretofore unknown diseases to the Hawaiian population in the late 1700s and early 1800s, for which their bodies' immune systems had never developed antibodies to protect them from infection, which resulted in something that had the practical effect of a genocide. By some modern estimates, it reduced the indigenous population by some 80%, from an estimated 800,000 at the time of Kamehameha's conquest of Oahu in 1795 to a little less than 150,000 sixty years later.

    In particular, whooping cough and the measles -- childhood diseases in whites which had long been otherwise shrugged off as little more than a nuisance -- proved devastating to native Hawaiians. Contemporaneous accounts of the disastrous October 1848 - May 1849 measles epidemic that have been left to us by Drs. Gerrit P. Judd and Dwight Baldwin, the American mission's primary physicians, noted whole native villages being completely wiped out to a person in only a matter of months.

    Further, once white Americans began gaining increased political influence and power over the islands in the late 19th century as native numbers dwindled, indigenous Hawaiian cultural practices such as the hula, etc., were banned outright and ruthlessly suppressed.

    Following the U.S.-sponsored and American-led coup d'etat against Queen Liliuokalani government in Jan. 1893, the U.S. military's suppression of the Hawaiian insurrection two years later (which also resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of the Queen herself), and the outright annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States in August 1898, native Hawaiian suffrage was curtailed and the use of the Hawaiian language in both schools and business was expressly outlawed by territorial statute.

    In that regard, it should be noted that the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1890 actually had the highest literacy rate in the world, and native Hawaiians were fluent in both their own language and English. The statutory prohibition of their native tongue had a chilling effect upon their economic prospects under American rule, and was undoubtedly highly detrimental to their overall emotional and intellectual well-being.

    The legal prohibition against the teaching of the Hawaiian language in island schools was formally repealed only by the public's 1978 approval of an amendment to the State Constitution, which re-affirmed after an 80-year hiatus that the state's official languages were indeed Hawaiian and English. Not coincidentally, only then did the native Hawaiian language begin to be resurrected and used again in everyday life, which allowed the Hawaiian culture to undergo and sustain a profound renaissance that continues to this day.

    Native Hawaiians have every right to harbor bitterness against na haole (white people) for what has happened to them as both a culture and a nation. That it hasn't ever manifested itself in more explicitly confrontational terms is to their infinite credit.



    The locals probably did (none / 0) (#42)
    by brodie on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:33:24 PM EST
    carve the moai.  But the bigger, obvious question is were they directed in their efforts by some other or outside person or group which was responsible for the impressive and even stupendous overall architecture and engineering.

    And -- to indeed give the native inhabitants some credit, via their oral traditions -- we should listen to who they say came up with the original moai idea and how they were set in place.  Local legends speak of a supernatural god-king being (Uoke) from a far off land (Hiva) accompanied by his queen and a magician who through an out-of-body experience was able to precisely locate the very remote island as a place of refuge from their destroyed homeland.

    Local legends also speak of how the magician was able to make the carved moai move by mana or sorcery, commanding the giant statues to move by words from his mouth.

    Other Polynesian societies such as at Nan Madol, site of some very extensive megalithic architecture, also have oral traditions claiming that some magician or god-king type possessed of remarkable power could cause stones weighing many tons to float in the air.

    And as far as observable influences on the locals, the evidence shows a mix from both the west, other South Pacific cultures, and the east, South America.  Interestingly too there are some curious similarities in EI culture and language with ancient Egypt.


    One should differentiate between ... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 05, 2013 at 05:12:48 PM EST
    ... legend and oral history in Polynesian societies, for they are not necessarily one and the same.

    For example, native Hawaiian legend would tell us that by lifting the great Naha stone singlehandedly above him, Kamehameha was thus ordained by the gods to unite the Hawaiian Islands under the rule of one king -- who, of course, was further ordained by the gods to be none other than Kamehameha himself.

    While there's no doubt that as a man and warrior, Kamehameha was physically imposing, extraordinarily strong and powerfully built, for obvious contemporary political reasons he never dispelled anyone of the highly unlikely possibility that the story ever occurred in that exact manner. And anyone who sees the great Naha stone today -- which is actually quite real, weighs 2.5 tons and sits curbside on Wainuenue Ave. in front of the Hilo Public Library -- would have to concur that the story is pure myth. That stone is huge.

    Native Hawaiian oral history, on the other hand, suggests to us that Kamehameha simply ignored the warnings of local kahuna (priests) guarding a significant heiau housing the great Naha stone near the caves at Kaumana, and had the sacred rock removed by his men from that heiau and carried to a new locale about one mile away (near its present siting by the library), where he was building another rival heiau dedicated to the war god Ku. And when nothing bad happened to him, the kahuna lost credibility and the local populace were instead attracted to the charismatic and great warrior.

    Far from being dogmatic and inflexible, Kamehameha was nothing if not eminently pragmatic and practical. If something suited his purpose and got him what he wanted, he was perfectly content to allow it to be. And thus, the legend of the great Naha stone remains with us to this day.



    So the indigenous Polynesians (none / 0) (#48)
    by brodie on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:45:53 PM EST
    have in effect two sets of oral histories?  One a fanciful legendary telling perhaps intended for entertainment purposes, the other the more fact- and rational-based one that can be considered as the real history?  

    I'm no expert in Polynesian oral history, but my understanding of native peoples' oral traditions generally is that they tend not to have two sets of parallel histories, two sets of figurative books, but instead one which however can be categorized by sensitive and skeptical non-native western ears into terms such as "legend", "myth" and, on the other hand, "history".  I'm not sure all the native peoples passing along this oral tradition make such distinctions, or if that's the case just in Polynesia supposedly.

    In the Easter Island situation, I can only recount what I've come across wrt indigenous traditions, and it's only the colorful story as I related above.  Perhaps they also have a second long oral tradition that explains the building of the moai that fits the modern western mindset more suitably and that scientists and anthropologists would not be embarrassed to repeat, but I don't recall reading about it.


    It's not a "parallel set." (none / 0) (#54)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:46:54 AM EST
    It's just not necessarily one and the same, that's all. Hawaiians in particular were great storytellers, but also put great stock in their oral histories and traditions. While the Kumulipo is the Hawaiian culture's story of creation, it also includes an accurate and traceable genealogy of native Hawaiian royalty dating back to the time of migrations from Tahiti and the Marquesas.

    Western scientists and archaeologists long used to scoff at the idea that Polynesians were voyaging across open ocean and using the stars to navigate their way to and from their destinations.

    Those patronizing western notions about Polynesian capabilities were never completely dispelled until the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the University of Hawaii undertook to build the voyaging canoe Hokulea in the 1970s in accordance with native oral traditions, and then using only the stars to guide them, a crew of native Hawaiian scholars sailed the Hokulea from Hawaii to Tahiti and back in 1976, thus finally proving to the world what the oral traditions had been saying all along.

    My original point dating from Saturday was that Polynesian societies were not remnants of the Stone Age, but were rather highly accomplished and actually quite sophisticated. Again, any peoples who were capable of building large double-hulled outriggers for long distance ocean voyages of thousands of miles across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, were also fully capable of carving and setting the moai on Rapa Nui without outside help, and we should be giving credit where it's properly due.



    Just wanted to go on record (none / 0) (#55)
    by brodie on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:17:23 AM EST
    as properly crediting the locals where credit is due -- i.e. for keeping a long tradition of oral history by which they pass down their belief system and so forth and which needs to be taken seriously by the outside observers.

    Were they also responsible for independently designing and building their nifty sea-worthy boats?  I'm not sure on the design, but again, as with the moai, I don't doubt they did the actual building.

    But back to my original point, we still are left with the mystery of who were the architects and engineers of the massive stone structures.  And just stating that b/c (perhaps) they were capable of building their boats doesn't necessarily mean they could put up the moai.  In the latter case we're talking about a significant engineering undertaking for a small population never amounting to more than 4,000 people tops.  

    I think the who and why of the design remains a deep mystery, and I've seen nothing to prove any theory they were imagined and built entirely indigenously.

    And that isn't to discredit the natives or consider them mere Stone Age primitives.  It just acknowledges the very difficult, one might say near-impossible, engineering required.  A very advanced building skill which, if it arose organically, was not passed on to descendants -- there or anywhere else, to my knowledge, where ancient megalithic structures were built supposedly by the locals.


    You're also talking about ... (none / 0) (#63)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:17:09 PM EST
    ... moai that were carved and set across Rapa Nui over the course of a few centuries, and not all at once. Why is does it appear inconceivable to you that the natives could have erected these stone statues themselves, without outside assistance?

    Granted, they're big -- but not so big that 20 to 40 men could not have dragged the original stones from the quarry to wherever they decided to site them in place. The majority of the moai on Rapa Nui are actually not all that much taller than you and me.



    The statues (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Zorba on Mon May 06, 2013 at 05:31:26 PM EST
    could certainly have either been dragged there on logs, or even moved upright with ropes of some kind, by "walking" them slowly into place.  I do not find either idea to be inconceivable, Donald.  People with a lot of time and determination can do amazing things, and I do not at all believe that any kind of "outside intervention" is needed.
    But then, I suppose that some people may believe that Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids could not have been built without outside help.       ;-)

    Thor Heyerdahl experimented with (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by oculus on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:22:07 PM EST
    various methods of moving the statues from the quarry. He agrees with you.

    PS. I eventually caught on that Easter Islanders despise him. He promised to return artifacts after he studied them. But the artifacts are in his museum in Oslo.


    Seems like an enormous undertaking (none / 0) (#65)
    by brodie on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:47:00 PM EST
    for any society, let alone one of such small population.  And there were some 600 (roughly) moai carved and erected, some of which were 12, 15 and even 18 ft tall, one of which had to be dragged some 5 miles from the quarry site.

    I strongly suspect some higher technology was involved or the engineering of a more advanced civilization. And yes I think that was probably the case in the other instances as well, Stonehenge, the Egyptian pyramids, etc.

    And again I'm intrigued not only by certain similarities in the overall project -- certainly the massive scale and the large sized structures -- but by the fact that none of these indegenous societies anywhere (to my knowledge) ever passed on its supposed secrets of their construction to succeeding generations down to recent times or the present day.

    They've passed along other aspects of their culture, boat building, weapon making, natural healing remedies and so forth, but not the knowledge of the major massive engineering projects.  And the oral histories we have, or the reliable ones, suggest outside influences and not an organic undertaking.


    These sculptures are not sophisticated. (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by oculus on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:16:20 PM EST
    Plus may were abandoned in the quarry or as they were being moved but did not stay intact.

    Well yes they are sophisticated (none / 0) (#68)
    by brodie on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:01:41 AM EST
    considering all size weight and engineering factors. And many hundreds --about 600 I believe -- we're successfully put in place. Some were toppled, probably during the later Long Ears vs Short Ears conflict. One giant statue remained, carved, in the quarry.

    Heyerdahl iirc showed one poss way they could be moved but his demonstration was only over a short distance, not 5 miles.

    In any case my questions are about who was probably behind the entire undertaking.  TH didn't answer that or not definitively. But yes I can see, just as with Giza, how the local work force could have been used for aspects of the project. I just doubt they were the overseeing architects and engineers, for reasons stated prev.


    Yeah... (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by ScottW714 on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:12:50 AM EST
    ...aliens came to planet earth to help them construct stone monuments.  Never occurred to them to use a technology beyond the time period.  Nope chisels, rock, and logs.  Even though they machines that are capable of going near light speed.

    It would be like us visiting Mars, if there were primitive life, and helping them construct piles of rock in the shapes of crosses and jesus.  Then never returning or contacting them once they possess the technologies that would make the tasks infinitely easier.

    Aliens on a mission to help other life forms construct stone monuments...  funny.


    Kentucky Derby Day (none / 0) (#9)
    by CoralGables on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:23:43 PM EST
    or better known in Louisville, Kentucky as, the day the ladies get their big hats out of storage. (where do they keep those things the other 364 days of the year)

    For what seems like the first time in a lifetime I know nothing about racing this year other than:

    Crazy Cajun Calvin Borel is riding Revolutionary
    Female jock Rosie Napravnik is aboard Mylute
    Old Timer Gary Stevens is atop Oxbow

    One scratch: Black Onyx

    Coverage has started on NBC
    Post Time: 6:24ET

    Another aspect on the Derby this year (none / 0) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:49:39 PM EST
    Kevin Krigger could become first black jockey to win Kentucky Derby since 1902.

    I usually have a favorite but muses are completely silent this year.



    I'm rooting for Rosie; she went to the (none / 0) (#11)
    by Anne on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:04:15 PM EST
    same high school with one of my daughters, and got her racing start here in MD.

    What I'm really rooting for is for Preakness weather to be sunny and clear, as that is my daughter's wedding day...sure hope we don't have a duplicate of Derby weather - it looks awful there.


    Mylute is definitely a long shot (none / 0) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:15:58 PM EST
    Last I looked it was 25/1. Of course that is better than Falling Sky at 75/1.

    Think I'll put all my effort into rooting for the Preakness weather to be sunny and clear.


    I didn't see this before I posted my comment (none / 0) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:20:03 PM EST
    The only horse track I've visited ... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 04, 2013 at 05:00:20 PM EST
    ... that's east of the Rockies has been Arlington Park outside of Chicago. One of these days, I hope to see Pimlico in person.

    Been to the Derby twice (none / 0) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Sat May 04, 2013 at 06:01:40 PM EST
    and Churchill Downs one other time when it wasn't the Derby.

    Derby day and weekend is great fun even if your horse doesn't win. Have had better luck picking the winner in St. Louis than when in KY. Did pick a couple of winners when I was at Churchill Downs when it wasn't Derby week.  

    Today the favorite Orb won and a long shot Golden Soul (34-1) came in second with Revolutionary third.


    I'd like to see Churchill Downs, too. (none / 0) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:36:44 PM EST
    I'm not a gambler at all, but I just love to watch horse races. The innate grace of those animals has always enchanted me. When I'm in Southern California, I'll accompany my mother and aunt and their friends to Santa Anita and Del Mar, just to see the horses run. (I'll place a $2 bet just to be social.)

    Well your $2.00 bets put you in the same (none / 0) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:04:01 PM EST
    league of "gambler" that I am in. When I use to take my dad to the track he would say he would pay me for that d@mn $2.00 bet if his horse won instead of mine. Needless to say he had more than $2.00 bet on his horse or horses.

    Churchill Downs is a nice experience even when it is not Derby week. Hope you make it there sometime.


    Hunter Thompson... (none / 0) (#23)
    by desertswine on Sat May 04, 2013 at 07:39:59 PM EST
    wrote a great story about the Derby.  It was called "The Kentucky Derby is Depraved and Decadent" or something like that.

    From what I know about Hunter Thompson, (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by MO Blue on Sat May 04, 2013 at 08:07:08 PM EST
    the title should have been "The Kentucky Derby is Depraved and Decadent and I love that about it."

    Your wish is my command. (none / 0) (#27)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:57:11 PM EST
    Critics would later note that "Decadent and Depraved" marked the debut of gonzo journalism:

    "I got off the plane around midnight and no one spoke as I crossed the dark runway to the terminal. The air was thick and hot, like wandering into a steam bath. Inside, people hugged each other and shook hands ... big grins and a whoop here and there: 'By God! You old bastard! Good to see you, boy! Damn good...and I mean it!'

    "In the air-conditioned lounge I met a man from Houston who said his name was something or other -'but just call me Jimbo' - and he was here to get it on. 'I'm ready for anything, by God! Anything at all. Yeah, what are you drinkin?' I ordered a Margarita with ice, but he wouldn't hear of it: 'Naw, naw ... what the hell kind of drink is that for Kentucky Derby time? What's wrong with you, boy?' He grinned and winked at the bartender. 'Goddam, we gotta educate this boy. Get him some good whiskey ...'

    "I shrugged. 'Okay, a double Old Fitz on ice.' Jimbo nodded his approval."

    Classic Hunter Thompson. Aloha.


    Hunter Thompson: (none / 0) (#43)
    by mplo on Sun May 05, 2013 at 12:34:50 PM EST
    I remember Hunter Thompson quite well.  I read his first book, Hell's Angels, which was an excellent book about his travels with a bunch of dangerous outlaws on motorcycles, and he spoke at UMass/Boston one year, when I went with a couple of other women from Boston University (where I was then attending school) to hear him.  The UMass/Boston kids acted like a bunch of Middle School Juveniles, asking the lamest questions, about drugs, etc., but, well, what can we do.  

    Too bad about his untimely death by suicide (gunshot)  RIP, Hunter Thompson.  We could've used you around a lot longer.


    Orb! (none / 0) (#18)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat May 04, 2013 at 05:53:19 PM EST
    What a true mudder!

    no one has mentioned (none / 0) (#31)
    by Amiss on Sat May 04, 2013 at 10:54:35 PM EST
    the boxing match tonight!

    You just did. (none / 0) (#34)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:02:13 AM EST
    But you forgot to tell us who won. Don't tease us like that.

    P.S.: I already know who won -- but I'm not telling.


    West Side Story--The Classic that Never Grows Old: (none / 0) (#45)
    by mplo on Sun May 05, 2013 at 01:47:16 PM EST
    Okay, folks!  I realize that this is an open Thread, but I feel that I have to post it here, and can't refrain from posting about this great, golden oldie-but-keeper of a classic whenever the opportunity arises.  

    I was first introduced to West Side Story in the summer of 1962, prior to entering the 6th grade, while attending day camp out west, in Tucson, AZ.  Another girl in the group I was with, who'd received a copy of the LP soundtrack of the original Broadway stage production of West Side Story for her birthday, brought it to camp and played it for the group.  My love for WSS and the music took off instantly.  West Side Story-mania was in the air that summer, as kids went around in packs,  snapping their fingers, and the songs from West Side Story rang through the buses every day of the week, both to and from camp.  It was cool.

    Despite all that, however, I would not get to see the movie West Side Story until several years later, after it had passed the heyday of its popularity and newness, but I more than made up for lost time, as we shall see.  

    I first saw West Side Story (the film) around Christmastime of 1968, as a high school senior, and fell in love with the film instantly.  Little did I or my family/friends know that my love of West Side Story would be a lifetime love affair for me (lol!)!  

    West Side Story is a beautiful film that encompasses everything, from urban gang warfare, racial/ethnic tensions, delinquency and conflict with the law, love and romance from people of different ethnic groups and backgrounds.  It also depicts the destructive consequences of racial/ethnic hatreds and the senselessness of gang violence (Tony and Maria's love going up in smoke, plus three deaths), and yet it also sends the message that reconciliation between people, as difficult as it often is, is not impossible.  

    With the exception of Richard Beymer, who, imo, played kind of a weak, lacklustre Tony, all the actors/actresses who played the various characters in West Side Story were wonderful.   Not long ago, however, I learned several things that made me more willing to give Richard Beymer the benefit of the doubt, especially since the Beymer-bashing in some circles has really gotten out of hand.

    A)  Natalie Wood, who played Maria, made no secret of her hostility and resentment towards Richard Beymer, at least in part because she was dating Warren Beatty at the time and wanted him as Tony.  Moreover, Natalie Wood tried to get Richard Beymer kicked off the set on several occasions. Richard Beymer was hurt by Wood's hostility, and it kind of showed.  (Not that long afterwards, however, she and Richard Beymer met in a California diner, Beymer felt attracted to Natalie Wood, and they made up.)

    B)  The way in which the original script for both the film and the stage version of West Side Story had been written in such a way as to portray Tony as a soft, tender person, and therefore a truly reformed gangster who was no longer interested in street-fighting and gang warfare.  

    C)  Richard Beymer also had certain directorial constraints placed on him by Robert Wise, the director of West Side Story.  Wise wanted Beymer to play a totally soft, gentle, reformed Tony, but Richard Beymer admitted to  having preferred to play the role of a Tony with somewhat more of an edge, if one gets the drift.  It's also said that Beymer walked out of the premiere of the film WSS due to his disappointment in his forced portrayal of Tony, but I'm not 100% positive about how true this is.

    Having said all of the above, however, I believe that had Beymer and Wood gotten along better on screen, if the script's Tony had more of an edge, and without so many directorial constraints placed on him, Richard Beymer would've played a much stronger role as Tony.

    Tony Mordente (Action), Tucker Smith (Ice), Russ Tamblyn (Riff), George Chakiris (Bernardo the Sharks leader), and Rita Moreno (bernardo's girlfriend, Anita) all played really strong, believable roles, and did excellent jobs,  as did the other actors/actresses.  Simon Oakland was excellent as the bitter, bigoted and cynical Lt. Schrank, and so was Bill Bramley, as Officer Krupke, who was equally cynical, but quieter about it.

    The songs were wonderful, especially Dance at the Gym, America, Cool, the Jet Song/Prologue, the Pre-Rumble Quintet, and the Rumble itself.  I have no real favorite scenes and sequences in WSS, due to  my intense love for this film, but that's okay.

    The beautifully-choreographed dancing by Jerome Robbins was far-out, as was the Leonard Bernstein musical score.  The cinematography was beautiful, too.  All of the songs, the musical score, the dancing, the actors/actresses, and the cinematography, as well as the story itself, are all packaged together to make West Side Story the dynamic classic film/stage play that it really is.  

    Although West Side Story's enjoyable on TV, this great classic film absolutely cries out for a great big, wide movie screen, in a real movie theatre, with the lights down low.  When shown on a great big, wide movie theatre screen, WSS takes on a whole new almost 3-dimensional, magical quality to it.  The scenery seems more expansive and one can see all of everything.  The Bernstein musical score, the great dancing, scenery and everything about WSS seem even more brilliant and intense, on a great big, wide movie theatre screen.  Richard Beymer's Tony, too, comes off as being more vital and alive on a great big, wide screen, as do the other actors.  

    From the warring Jets and Sharks to the romancing Tony and Maria, the various characters in West Side Story seem to move much more freely and fluidly, in a much wider, more open space, on a great big wide movie theatre screen.  

    I have admittedly seen the film West Side Story more times than I'm now able or willing to count, including the 40th-year Anniversary special screening of WSS at Radio City Music hall back in early October of 2001 (less than a month after 9/11 yet!), as well as the 50th-year national re-release of this film in the fall of 2011.  

    Believe it or not, I've not only viewed virtually every screening of West Side Story in the independent movie theatres in our area, but have actually made road trips to the opposite end of the Bay State, and even to neighboring states to see this great film.

    In addition to another West Side Story screening coming up in our area in early July, I'll be going to Tanglewood to see a West Side Story/Boston Symphony Orchestra concert, in mid-July.  (A restored, HD, remastered version of the film West Side Story will be shown, while the score is played live by the Boston symphony orchestra.  I've bought my ticket, made my room reservation for that night, and am excited about going to both of those showings.

    West Side Story is a film that I never ever get tired of seeing over and over and over again, but, as some people say, I'm not harming myself or anybody else.   I know...I know...I can see where people think i'm nuts to love a 50 some odd year old movie, but hey...we're all stuck with that.  It's a wonderful alternative to a lot of the crap coming out nowadays in the way of movies, imo.  

    Pardon my rambling.

    West Side Story has been digitally restored and it's beautiful as ever.  I agree with the MGM adage  

    "Unlike other classics, West Side Story grows younger."  
    it's so true!

    As a recent saying goes:  Everything old is new again.  

    Five Myths about (none / 0) (#56)
    by jbindc on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:35:59 AM EST
    Scary (none / 0) (#57)
    by jbindc on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:10:19 AM EST
    The World's First Entirely 3-D Printed Gun

    All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the exception of a single nail that's used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition.

    Technically, Defense Distributed's gun has one other non-printed component: the group added a six ounce chunk of steel into the body to make it detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. In March, the group also obtained a federal firearms license, making it a legal gun manufacturer.

    Of course, Defcad's users may not adhere to so many rules. Once the file is online, anyone will be able to download and print the gun in the privacy of their garage, legally or not, with no serial number, background check, or other regulatory hurdles. "You can print a lethal device," Wilson told me last summer. "It's kind of scary, but that's what we're aiming to show."

    Seems Like a Big Deal... (none / 0) (#59)
    by ScottW714 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:49:10 AM EST
    ...over nothing.

    Today's airports don't use metal detectors and they are single shot weapons with an almost zero accuracy.  Until they become more gun-like and not model weapons that people have been making at home for years, there isn't much to fear.

    Just seems like a kid with too much time on his hands trying to stir up something.

    Reminds me of the big "It's made of plastic" Glock craze that never came to be. And that is made of a polymer far superior to ABS.  Now many cops standard issue weapon is a Glock.

    And the printer they used costs about $30,000.


    Well, (none / 0) (#60)
    by jbindc on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:03:44 PM EST
    It's not far off. Technology prices come down quickly, as it improves.

    And no,the printer they used cost $8000, - not $30,000.


    I Thought the Printer... (none / 0) (#61)
    by ScottW714 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:37:40 PM EST
    ...they actually used was leased because the company had taken it back after they found out what they were doing with it.  From your link:
    In October of last year, Stratasys seized a printer it had rented to Defense Distributed after the company learned how its machine was being used.

    IOW, even the designer couldn't afford the printer.  They are $30k new.

    I'll stick with worrying about real guns that real criminals use.

    This is a non story the media tried to drum up 6 months ago, it never got any traction then because everyone knows actual guns are dirt cheap and are available to anyone at the nearest gun show.


    From our "Father Knows Best" file: (none / 0) (#62)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:07:14 PM EST
    "Kamuela" is the U.S. Postal Service name for the pleasant and lovely upcountry town on the Big Island that's really much better known to us locals by its proper name of Waimea.

    Waimea is situated in the district of North Kohala on the north side of the island, about 15 miles inland at an elevation of 2,671 ft. It's the home of Parker Ranch, which few people realize is the oldest cattle ranch in the United States (predating spreads in Texas and elsewhere by some three decades), and at a quarter million acres, also one of the country's largest.

    Back in 1910, the white men running the then-U.S. Post Office decided on their own to unofficially rename the town after then-ranch owner Sam Parker ("Kamuela" is the Hawaiian version of Samuel), the ostensible reason being that their mail carriers would thus not confuse it with the town of Waimea over on Kauai -- which is perfectly understandable since, after all, they're only  300 miles apart from one another and on different islands.

    When you mention the Big Island's Waimea to local residents, it will often evoke images of and na paniolo (the Hawaiian word for cowboys), and of verdant pastures, with cattle and horses grazing in its gently rolling and (often fog-shrouded) hills.

    But when you mention "Kamuela" to the folks at Parents magazine, they're thinking that it's one of the "Top Ten Beach Towns for Families in the United States."

    And why is that? Because Hapuna Beach and the three nearby hotels masquerading as "Gilligan's Island" sets, as mentioned in this obviously cut-and-pasted little Parents blurb, are actually in an unincorporated area of North Kona. And per a U.S. Postal Service directive back in 2004, the hotels' mailing addresses are now in -- you guessed it -- "Kamuela."

    I think I'd like to start a petition to have the USPS unofficially rename the city of Springfield, MA as "North Hartford," so that nobody who works for them will henceforth ever confuse it with the state capital of Illinois.