Category Archives: noteworthy

belden’s book

belden's guide

The Layman’s Library

There was a time when it was not easy for the farmer to know the nature of science, or to stay abreast of modern – or even more ancient – history. His library consisted of the Bible, Magner’s Farm and Stock Book and Complete Instructor, and perhaps just one other volume – one which could convey succinctly and with clarity all knowledge heretofore worth knowing. With the Bible, man’s spiritual purpose and the foundation for his life would be elucidated. With Magner’s, he would be ready to tend the soil and care for livestock – and practice law on the side. But what would be the final book, the one which completed the human condition? It must explain our understanding of the natural world, and of great figures in human history, and works of high esteem in artistic, poetic, and philosophic circles.

It is Belden’s Guide to Natural Science, History, Biography, and General Literature.
Continue reading belden’s book

northern nature

We endeavored to traverse the weald, and arrived in a region of isolation and unspoiled beauty, gratefully basking in seemingly ethereal splendor. Once among the lodgepole pine in the seclusion of ancient valleys, we reveled in the permanence of raw nature. It was a foreign sight, that of no intrusion of mankind, that from which a hand of verdancy embraced and enraptured all. This was a land with no falsehood or pretense, at once fragile and savage and powerful, with a visage that harked back to its upheaval and its sulfuric origins.

The  picturesque landscapes afforded serenity, but also provided innumerable coverts which thwarted our attempts to observe the native speciesIt was not all futile, as we did witness myriad pronghorn, as well as chipmunks, ground squirrels, bald eagles, bighorn sheep, bison, grouse, an elk, a rabbit, a moose, and a bear – and possibly wolves. But none of these was as readily discernible as the native deer, which had become so accustomed to the visits of man that they were oft nearly underfoot. Naturally, these animals were ensconced in a variety of flora sorely unlike any from whence we came.

The harsh inclinations of the weather forbade us from prolonged reveries, but all is not lost. The visions of natural beauty will forever be ingrained within us, for us to conjure when the world apportions more than we can stand. Taken in its entirety, we were given a glimpse of God’s creation as it was intended, and that unadulterated view was intrinsically invaluable.

Postscript: The new splash page background was taken from the final leg of this journey, just as the preceding background was taken from the final leg of the last journey.

beaver watch

River otters may be cuter than beavers – that is of little debate. But in nature, function trumps form – and I have yet to see a river otter in person. Fortunately, from my recent time spent observing beavers in the wild, I can say that the traditional understanding of these large aquatic rodents is rather correct; id est, they are industrious lumberjacks with dull senses and portly physiques. But they do take time for recreation, and their speckled hides create dazzling shapes as they glide through the water.

The beaver is commended for being a familial creature, and for paying such regard to the state of its abode. Still, the potential environmental deterioration at the incisors of this beast is plainly evident. They enjoy felling trees for nutritional, decorative, and protective purposes, and they despise the sound of running water (I posit this is their main motivation for creating dams). They do provide some good entertainment though (videos are 720P, so go full-screen):

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My beaver background comes from Red Dead Redemption, where the beasts lumber aimlessly near the shores and provide ample opportunity for skinning. I could have taken so many pelts this weekend…

the natural menagerie

Ofttimes when I am aimlessly ambling through the sanctity of the wood, as I am wont to do, I encounter the signs of beasts who dwell within the untrodden groves. Much less often am I fortuitous enough to strike upon these creatures themselves, and I have found myself supposing where the nocturnal beings find refuge from the midday sun. When I have, on occasion, spied such a milieu as would be conducive to the escape and regular attendance of such creatures, I have had my visions thwarted by mere vacuousness.

One can imagine how delighted I was, therefore, when upon a common afternoon stroll I spotted an animal bearing the singular markings indicative of Procyon lotor – the northern raccoon. He was foraging, whereupon my scent – and sight – caused him to retire into the confines of a hollowed tree. I pursued with aspirations of capturing him on film whilst he capered about, but my hopeful vigil saw only a visiting bird with curiosity of his own.

There would be no contentedness in leaving the bandit undisturbed without luring him from his shelter, so I endeavored to draw him forth with the presentation of berries and meat. This proved a futile effort, until I returned after evening had fallen and discovered the bounty put to use. I considered this to be a mildly successful gest, but it was not until the next day that I could grasp the implications bestowed by this chance meeting.

After twenty four hours had elapsed, I ventured back to the wood whence the beast had hid. My motive was the suspicion that the raccoon frequented the breach, or dwelt therein. It was with great joy that I again observed the matted gray fur tinged with white so faintly visible within the hollow, and I withdrew without harassing him. This development was a valuable one, for it marked the first time that I could, at my will, identify a specific location inhabited by an animal.

I have seen far grander sights; I am less than one year removed from witnessing a consortium of raccoons and an opossum meandering seemingly within my grasp, and I have sat for an hour in the company of wild deer. Still, I hold this newfound knowledge to a higher degree. It is as though God has opened more fully the verdant door of His natural creation, and in doing so has inspired me with its rare and delicate, fragile sights.

May I never look upon them lightly.

the dentistry of vampirism

the simpsons, (c) foxVampirism has profound effects on the dentition and supporting tissues of the undead.

The exaggerated protrusion of the maxillary canines requisite for the taking of a blood meal deviates from the normal average of 17 mm to upwards of 24 mm. As a result of the increased crown length, vampire “fangs” are prone to fracture, often leading to pulpal exposure and subsequent endodontic treatment (root canal). Furthermore, increased crown length produces an interference to normal canine guidance when undergoing a lateral excursion of the mandible. This essentially prevents the jaw from moving to the side unless opened, and acts as a great hindrance to the normal chewing loop. An additional consideration is that during the transformation into an evil creature, a vampire’s canines extend apically in an attempt to maintain an ideal crown/root ratio. This often leads to a puncture of the maxillary sinus, which could produce further complications. Bruxism (teeth grinding) can be especially disastrous in the mouth of bloodsucker.

The frequent consumption of blood has unique effects on a vampire’s periodontal and systemic health. Studies have shown that the frequent consumption of blood can offer the benefit of a basic pH, inhibiting caries (tooth decay) in that regard. However, since vampires frequently have poor oral hygiene habits, tooth decay is still a concern. This leads to an increased prevalence of gingivitis and periodontal disease in this demographic. These creatures also present with hyperalbuminemia and increased iron levels due to their diet. Increased diligence should be given to infection control when treating the followers of Dracula, as nearly all have some form of communicable disease (exclusive of porphyric hemophilia). This will often be chronic hepatitis B or C, although HIV is not uncommon.

In terms of general dental health and occlusion, vampires suffer from significant issues. This, in turn, impacts their lives in such a way as to promote a temperamental and irritable demeanor. Some vampires subsequently develop depression-like symptoms. Therefore, many vampires are prescribed antidepressants which can create xerostomia (dry mouth). On the other hand, compliance with dosing instructions is universally poor in these immortal beings, so rampant caries caused by a lack of saliva is not a primary concern.

As the population of vampires increases exponentially in the coming years, further studies will be needed to monitor the success of current dental methods for those with a vampiric lifestyle.

law without lawyers

The venerable D. Magner, having decided the arrangement of his Farm and Stock Book and Complete Instructor, places penultimately the law without lawyers section before an appendix. His book has run the gamut from soil to bugs, from trees to horses, from diseases to remedies. It is time that he conclude with knowledge for all men, farmer and city-slicker alike.

As usual in this series, the literature page contains links to scans of Magner’s full text (in PDF format), as well as links to the previous discussions. He who eschews the conniving attorney will welcome this free advice.

farm (magner 839)

Continue reading law without lawyers

on diddling must admit, I was caught completely unaware by the magnitude of Edgar Allan Poe’s awesomeness. True, I knew his tales of the raven and of walling people up alive, and I knew about heartbeats from murder victims and seemingly unsolvable homicides. I also knew about tintinnabulation and black cats from beyond the grave. All of those are unarguably fascinating and make for great reading, but I was still unprepared for an essay recently found in my Poe anthology: Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences.

Continue reading on diddling

damn you, axminster!

A villain is only truly successful if he:

  • Strikes fear into the hearts of his foes
  • Is purely bloodthirsty with no remorse
  • Is incessantly persistent
  • Has an incredible name

Enter Axminster, the unbelievably fantastic arch-nemesis found in the tenth episode of MacGyver’s first season. He meets all the necessary enemy criteria and exceeds each in his own hilarious way. Axminster, a deadly assassin who is fond of peanuts, is sent to kill MacGyver in the mountains. He brings only an AK-47-toting posse, a couple of Jeeps, and his finest sunglasses. Despite the name “Axminster” being said at least fifteen times throughout the 50-minute episode, Axminster never returns in a follow-up episode to continue his normal Axminsterish shenanigans. Instead, Murdoc picks up that mantle and does a respectable job. Video after the break…
Continue reading damn you, axminster!

can’t someone else do it?

You might have noticed the decline in original content on this site. I would like to say that it is because I’m very busy with more important things, but that’s only partially true. The truth is, my creativity seems to be waning. If I had to choose some culprits in this productivity heist, I would suggest video games and technology fatigue – as well as the education system.

Yes, video games have many admirable qualities, not the least of which is the ability to frustrate for hours on end. They also have a quite unique talent at making one feel as though he has accomplished something, when clearly he actually has not. The feeling that accompanies an in-game promotion or the unlocking of a difficult “achievement” is hard to emulate in every-day activities. But upon looking back, there’s really nothing to be gained. The next great game will come out and your previous successes will have instantly vanished. You could try something like World of Warcraft, the persistence of which is downright frightening, but there are surely more cons than pros to be had.

And then there is the Internet, and the expansion of readily-available template websites and “blogs,” and media-sharing outlets. I stopped any real learning of code when I found out how easy it was to just use WordPress, and I stopped working on my most time-intensive website when I finally realized that I couldn’t keep up with the pace of what everyone else was doing. The material was popping up elsewhere and mine was largely unnecessary. Now I’ve found that just about anything I would ever need to read, or watch, or study, or even write is already propagated throughout the world (except, of course, for one thing).

Physical technology itself is tired too. Now every 12 year old has an iPhone with the ability to play media and browse the Internet wirelessly from anywhere (even with all its drawbacks), netbooks are bringing tiny, ultraportable computing to the masses, and $500 computers have 4 GB of DDR2 RAM and quad-core processors. Hence, there’s nothing really to be excited about; everything is ubiquitous.

Finally, after high school it is exceedingly unrealistic to study the classics or philosophy or art, or any form of expression that would actually foster originality. An appreciation of these must be cultivated in spare time, as a distraction from drudgery and monotony. And since it’s much more fun to watch TV or play games (see above), this usually doesn’t get done.

So because of games, and other people’s websites being awesome, and gadgets lacking appeal, and my slowly dissolving knowledge of Emerson and Keats, I feel like any expression of creativity must be forced and deliberate. This won’t stop me from writing absurd time-wasting posts (like this one), but it’s just something to consider. And it’s an explanation for why ManBoyChildGuy IV will likely never occur…

…Or will it??

on order

It seems odd, and even a bit disturbing, how easy it is to be at peace when everything is in order in our lives. Perhaps this is because such order is deceptive; we can never have everything exactly how we like it, or do exactly what we would like to. But at times it appears that if we have the bills paid and the test material learned, or our home cleaned and our relationships in working order, that all is well and nothing further need be done for happiness to come about.

And it can be that illusory “happiness” that drives us on – the belief that “now that I have this, my life is somewhat more complete.” “Having,” in this sense, need not refer to material possessions, though it surely may. It can refer to any thing, or thought, or feeling, or any distraction that would have the seeming of more than ephemeral substance. These are powerful opiates, but we become more desensitized to their effects with each passing day.

It may be, at first, dismaying to admit that any pleasure we derive from our well-executed plans is so terribly fleeting, but it is only when this is done that we can take the next step forward. There is joy to be found even when the bills are unpaid and the exam material remains frustratingly unlearned, or when our websites have been stagnate for days or weeks. Our false order is truly the grandest hollow pursuit.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7