The Snoozeletter @

Right action at cusp.

"He grokked that this was one of the critical cusps in the growth of a being wherein contemplation must bring forth right action in order to permit further growth. He acted."

--Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
Hummingbird K.O.

A hummingbird crashed into our patio door this afternoon. The impact sounded like a gunshot. When we arrived at the door to look, the poor little guy was lying on his back, out for the count. We were hoping against hope that he hadn't broken his neck, so when he flipped himself upright a few minutes later (first pic, below), we both cheered. But he was obviously still dazed, and sat on the patio stones for a couple of minutes, collecting his wits. When he attempted a 5-second flight, we cheered again. But the effort was obviously too much for him, so he sat on the back of a patio chair (second pic, below). And sat. And sat. After 10 minutes, I put out a saucer of water, in case he was thirsty. I kept watching him, and after another 20 minutes, he finally shook himself mightily, and flew away.

I hope he learned his lesson about patio doors.

Ours aren't even that CLEAN. ;-)

hummingbird on patio
hummingbird on chair
Words & Music.

"Words! Words, when spoken out loud for the sake of performance, are music. They have rhythm and pitch and timbre and volume. These are the properties of music, and music has the ability to find us and move us and lift us up in ways that literal meaning can't."

-Aaron Sorkin, writing for the Josiah Bartlet character (played by Martin Sheen) in The West Wing episode entitled "War Crimes," broadcast November 7, 2001

"You think that I think that an artist's job is to speak the truth. An artist's job is to captivate you for however long as we've asked for your attention. If we stumble into truth, we got lucky, and I don't get to decide what truth is. I write poetry, Toby. That's how I enter the world."

-Aaron Sorkin, writing for the Tabatha Fortis character (played by Laura Dern) in The West Wing episode entitled "The U.S. Poet Laureate," broadcast March 27, 2002
Do you xkcd?

New York Times article.

You will like it. Or else.


Bored with the Internet
Pilgrimage to Prescott. 

In October of 2007, my Hungarian wife Anikó and I took her adult children (who were visiting from Budapest) to see the sights of Arizona. One of our stops was Tombstone, which is now a touristy little re-creation of the original town. It's sort of like an Olde West theme park, with O.K. Corral gunfight reenactments, stagecoach tours, Wyatt Earp sarsaparilla for the kiddies, that sort of thing.

At lunchtime, we chose a quaint Western saloon/eatery at random, and the waitress made a big deal out of having foreigners at her table. But when she heard they were Hungarians, a strange look came over her face. She said, "I think this saloon was named after a Hungarian." So she went to check with her manager, and sure enough, the fates had decreed that three Hungarians and an American would end up eating at Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Kate had never owned the place - it was simply named after her, just as some of the other saloons/eateries were named for other Tombstone-related characters. We knew nothing about Kate, and the waitress didn't know much either, other than the fact that she was Hungarian and that she was somehow connected to Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp's sidekick. So we did some research after we returned home, and the more we learned about Kate, the more fascinating she became.
Doc Holliday's Gal
Then I wrote a short script about her last summer, and it became clear that Kate's high-spirited personality could easily carry a full-length movie.

A few days ago, I created a Facebook page for Kate, and it has already attracted 53 fans (update: 2,031). This surprised the heck out of me; I didn't think that many people were aware of who she was.

CUT TO: this weekend - Anikó and I just returned from our pilgrimage up to Prescott, where we visited Kate's grave (f) and the Pioneers' Home where Kate spent her last ten years. Recently, our short script has attracted some interest, and there's even talk of expanding it into a feature film. Kate wanted to be famous during her lifetime, but she was always in the shadow of Doc and Wyatt... so I'm hoping we can finally make it happen for her.

Grave marker for Kate ("Mary K. Cummings 1850-1940") (update):
grave - tap to view photo on Facebook

Kate's signature is on this admission form to the Home for Aged and Infirm Arizona Pioneers ("Application For Mary K. Cummings, 'Big Nose Kate,' Admitted--March 10, 1931"):
application - tap to view photo on Facebook

See also: Anikó & Kate (below) and Big Nose Kate in Globe, Anita and Sziasztok.
Anikó & Kate. 

This past weekend, Anikó and I drove 124 miles to Prescott, Arizona. We've been doing some research on Budapest-born Big Nose Kate (Mary Katherine Horony Cummings), and I wanted--among other things--to take a photograph of her grave. My Hungarian wife was tagging along mainly to see the sights between here and there. She likes to visit new places.

But Anikó is not a big fan of cemeteries. Like many Hungarians, she thinks that Americans are too preoccupied with death. For her, funerals, coffins and graves are not acceptable topics for polite conversation. So I knew that if I didn't insist on making the visit to Kate's grave a priority, we would probably never see it.

When we entered the cemetery, I noticed that Anikó was tense. She wasn't very enthusiastic about getting out of the car, but I told her that it would take at least 15 minutes to make a couple of good pictures, so she reluctantly walked over to the grave with me. But after noticing that some of Kate's flower containers had fallen over, Anikó worked diligently to prop them up again. Then she rearranged some of the loose stones that had been placed around the grave, dusted off the grave marker, and moved some loose coins into two votive-candle holders that were already half-full of other coins. She discovered that they were mostly U.S. coins, with one Canadian quarter, so she placed a 100-forint coin on Kate's grave. This beautiful modern coin features Hungary's coat of arms on the zinc-plated copper center, surrounded by a ring of nickel-plated steel. Even though Kate was born nearly 160 years ago, she would have instantly recognized the coat of arms.

At that point, I started taking photos and quickly became absorbed with the task at hand. From the corner of my eye, I could see that Anikó was scurrying off to distant corners of the cemetery, and bringing back pretty stones to place around the grave. I didn't pay much attention, but I was aware that she made at least three or four rock-gathering trips.

Twenty minutes later, while we were walking back to the car, I noticed that my wife had become very, very quiet. When we drove away, I could see that she was attempting to hold back her tears, so I said, "You weren't just waiting around for me, back there. Why did you pick up all those stones?"

"I don't know. I couldn't stop myself. It was almost like an instinct." She searched for a Kleenex. "I think I was trying to pay respect to a fellow Hungarian." Then her tears really began to flow.

"What did you feel?" I was trying to figure out what was going on.

"I told you, I don't know." She paused for a long time, sniffling. "No Hungarians were there to comfort her." Anikó smiled bravely, through her tears: "Kate's all alone. And she's so far from home."

The next morning, we bought a couple of small glass containers, with little white roses. And my lovely Hungarian wife, who hates cemeteries, insisted on making another trip to the grave site of Big Nose Kate.

100 forint - tap to view photo on Facebook

See also: Big Nose Kate in Globe and Pilgrimage to Prescott.

Redheads is a paean to freckle-faced carrot tops, by photographer Joel Meyerowitz:

Was it that Cape Cod, being close to Boston, brought out the "Boston Irish," among whom there is a disproportionate number of redheads? Or was it that in Provincetown, the easternmost destination for the summer spawn of American tourists, I found myself like a fisherman in a spot where there were lots of people and, therefore, a great abundance of redheads? I have a feeling that it was a combination of summertime, when we all expose ourselves, and of being on the Cape with that blueness of the sea and the sky that, more than anything else, drew me particularly to the flamboyant qualities of redheads. Their hair and the exotic flourish of their skin in sunlight were even redder and more visible in that blue surround. They, as we, are heliotropic—but more so. Like film itself, redheads are transformed by sunlight.

Redheads, by Joel Meyerowitz

62-forint Easter stamp from HungaryMy Budapest in-laws love the Easter holiday. In Hungary, Húsvét is a two-day affair, starting with the traditional Sunday feast and continuing with the Monday "pourings." My relatives were never able to fully explain the origin of these unusual rituals, but then I discovered the following text on Hungary's Post Office website:

Today's popular Hungarian custom of sprinkling young girls with perfume on Easter Monday has its roots in the rural tradition of dousing young women with a pail of water. The origin of this has a religious explanation referring in part to christening and in part to the legend according to which the soldiers guarding Jesus' tomb tried to stop the women of Jerusalem spreading the news of the resurrection by dousing them with water. The tradition of children in towns sprinkling girls with scented water and reciting short verses in the hope of receiving a gift in return is more modern. Easter Monday sprinkling is general in the whole country, and in the past used to be done at a well with buckets. If the girls did not come by themselves, then the young men dragged them there by force. Basically, sprinkling with water is connected to fertility rites. Later sprinklers began to use perfumed water, but received colored and decorated eggs just as before. (Source:

The stamp design shows a cheerful folk scene recalling the tradition of Easter dousing. The first day cover and the postmark are decorated by Easter motifs.
Peter Cottontail.

The Essential Gene AutryLyrics: Walter E. "Jack" Rollins
Music: Steve Edward Nelson
Performance: Gene Autry (1950)

Peter Cottontail

Here comes Peter Cottontail,
Hoppin' down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppin', Easter's on its way.

Bringin' every girl and boy
Baskets full of Easter joy,
Things to make your Easter bright and gay.

He's got jellybeans for Tommy,
Colored eggs for sister Sue,
There's an orchid for your mommy
And an Easter bonnet, too.

Oh, here comes Peter Cottontail,
Hoppin' down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppity, happy Easter day.

Here comes Peter Cottontail,
Hoppin' down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppin', Easter's on its way.

Try to do the things you should.
Maybe if you're extra good,
He'll roll lots of Easter eggs your way.

You'll wake up on Easter morning
And you'll know that he was there
When you find those chocolate bunnies
That he's hiding everywhere.

Oh, here comes Peter Cottontail,
Hoppin' down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppity, happy Easter day.
Hippity hoppity, happy Easter day!
T&A, hold the A.

Profiles is a very personal work by photographer Baron Wolman. The book is a beautifully produced collection of 44 black & white portraits of the female breast in profile. According to Wolman, the idea for the book came long ago when he was a student and found himself regularly doodling sketches of the breast in profile in his class notebook, even during the most serious lectures. Years later, after a particularly productive nude photo session he discovered the same image on the contact sheet, the same image he had sketched so long ago. The idea of the book was born at that moment. Models were his friends and friends of friends. There was no end of volunteers who were ready for their fifteen minutes of fame and (anonymous) immortality.

Profiles, by Baron Wolman
Palin comparison.

There's a new comic book due out in June - BARACK THE BARBARIAN: QUEST FOR THE TREASURE OF STIMULI.

"In the distant future, the story of Barack Obama has become a little... distorted. According to THE MADDOWIAN CHRONICLES, he was the one destined to save the great republic of America and dethrone the overpaid despots of the time. Join Barack, Sorceress Hilaria, her demi-god trickster husband Biil, Overlord Boosh and Chainknee of the Elephant Kingdom. Who can the lone barbarian trust, if anyone?"

Certainly not Red Sarah, his formidable adversary from the frozen north. She wears a wolf pelt cape, a fur bikini, and very little else... except for her trademark spectacles.

[Update: Palin comparison(2).]

Red Sarah
Disneyland Memorial Orgy. 

"Tinker Bell's tw*t and Snow White's nipple are best viewed in the original B&W," purists complain, now that Paul Krassner has colorized this classic poster:

Pluto was pissing on a portrait of Mickey Mouse, while the real, bedraggled Mickey was shooting up heroin with a hypodermic needle. His nephews were jerking off as they watched Goofy fucking Minnie Mouse on a combination bed and cash register. The beams shining out from the Magic Castle were actually dollar signs. Dumbo the elephant was simultaneously flying and shitting on an infuriated Donald Duck. Huey, Dewey and Louie were staring at Daisy Duck’s asshole as she watched the Seven Dwarfs groping Snow White. The Prince was snatching a peek at Cinderella’s snatch while trying a glass slipper on her foot. The Three Little Pigs were humping each other in a daisy chain. Jiminy Cricket leered as Tinker Bell did a striptease and Pinocchio’s nose got longer.

Disneyland Memorial Orgy

LATER: Paul Krassner (April 9, 1932 - July 21, 2019), who published this drawing by Wally Wood in The Realist, was a cool guy. He was the youngest person ever to play Carnegie Hall, at the age of six, and was a founder of the Yippies in 1967. He edited Lenny Bruce's autobiography, performed stand-up comedy and wrote a sh*tload of books. When I invited him to headline the "Blogfest" I was putting together in 2006, he didn't hesitate. I still can't believe I got to meet him and spend some time around him. R.I.P. Paul. Safe travels.
FedEx just brought my copy.

It's always nice to get paid--my check arrived last week--but nothing beats holding the book in your hands.

And cracking it open to take a deep whiff.

And reading it, of course. (p.107)

My Dad Is My Hero

"My Dad Is My Hero" Table of Contents: In My Father's Truck, by Laura Pritchett; Driving Toward Yes, by Dawn Downey; God Almighty, Damn!, by Ramon Carver; Carry On, Dad, by Andrew McAleer; The Exalted Big Dipper of Chicago, Illinois, USA, by Jan Henrikson; The Woodworker's Song, by Roxanne Werner; Pop, the Unpretentious Guru, by Jim Schieldge; That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine, by Paula Munier; Of Pigs and Wren, by Carol E. Ayer; Use Your Brains, by Elise Teitelbaum; For The Things He Taught Me, by Gary Luerding; Priceless Treasures, by Katherine Hedland Hansen; Fireworks, by Judith Freeland; Be Quiet... We're at War, by Ronald Hurst; A Whap on the Head, by C. Lynn Beck; Save the Children, by Tim Elhajj; Whittling Words, by Carol L. MacKay; The Shadow, by Julie McGuire; Foxhole Fathering, by Anna Aquino; The Day Will Rogers Died, by Kathryn Thompson Presley; Ruffling Feathers, by Wayne Scheer; Beethoven, Jersey Tomatoes, and Whales, by Susan J. Siersma; Pop's Album, by Kenda Turner; The Last Lesson, by Alan C. Baird (p.107); A Quiet Carpenter, by Harriet Parke; My Defender, by Margaret Lang; The Fall of the Nicotine Kid, by R. Gary Raham; Winged Victory, by Linda Markley Gorski; The Grasshopper, by Heidi Grosch; The Colonel to the Rescue, by Susan Reynolds; Here's to You, Dad, by Dennis C. Bentley; Year of the Schwinn, by Susan Sundwall; Changing Tires, by Morgan Baker; The Greatest Dad Award Goes To..., by Sylvia Bright-Green; From Chicken Farmer to the Chicago Bears, by Erin Fanning; Kite Lessons, by Kim Klugh; When No One Was Watching, by Susan Breeden; Grandpa's 'Possum, by Doyle Suit; Daddy versus the Golden Gate Bridge, by Susan B. Townsend; Riding with Santa Claus, by Donna Matthews; There and Back Again with Daddy, by Eva Melissa Barnett; Daddy and the Dodgers, by Terri Elders; His Way, by Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow; Stepping In, by Elizabeth King Gerlach; Rediscovering Casanova, by M. Carolyn Steele; Wampum Doesn't Grow on Trees, by Robert F. Walsh; More Than Mentors: Providential Dads, by Priscilla Carr; A Winter's Tale, by David W. Bahnks; Well, I've Had a Plenty!, by Lawrence D. Elliott; Let's Dance, by Heather Anne McIntosh.
Size matters. 

Penises shown on the poster below, left to right: Whale, Elephant, Giraffe, Bull, Horse, Pig, Porpoise, Ram, Goat, Hyena, Dog, Man.

Informative flyer: "Penises of the Animal Kingdom" is a comparative anatomy chart featuring the male copulatory organs of several animals, including man. Each illustration was rendered with close attention to proportion and scale, the size determined by the average physical dimensions of the genitalia of adult males.

With the exception of man, the entire organ is represented, from tip to base. In other words, each figure includes the segment of the penis contained within the animal's body. For most species, the internal portion is a significant fraction of the overall penis length. All organs are depicted erect at twenty percent actual size.

Each penis has certain outstanding features. The human organ possesses a well-defined glans, or tip. This mushroom-shaped end is one of the most evolved glandes of the animal kingdom.

The dog penis has a bulbous enlargement that is present only during erection. This bulb is the reason dogs "get stuck" while copulating. The female contracts her vagina around the trapped penis to extract seminal fluids.

Hyenas are well known for the similarity of the male and female genitalia. A female's erect clitoris is nearly impossible to distinguish from a male's penis. Covering the glans of each organ are sharp, backwardly-directed spines.

The penises of the ram, giraffe and goat have extensions of the urethra. The urethras of the giraffe and ram can extend up to four centimeters beyond the glans of the penis, forming a pliant hook.

The porpoise has a remarkable penis. The longer branch of its forked end is jointed, allowing the tip to rotate or swivel. The animal has voluntary control over this action and uses the finger-like appendage to manipulate and investigate objects in its environment.

Perhaps the oddest penis is that of the pig. During erection, the end of the penis convolutes into a corkscrew, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the animal's coiled tail. The helical end of the erect organ conforms to the twisted contours of the female's vagina.

The horse penis is similar to that of the human; it also has a well-defined glans. A dissimilar feature is a slight extension of the urethra.

The bull penis has an interesting history. Because of it rope-like consistency and proportions, it was used in the Middle Ages as a flogging stick. Today, in some parts of the world, it is dried and used as a walking cane.

The elephant has a very muscular penis. Half of the curved organ forms the pendulous portion, yet only the very end penetrates the hard-to-reach vulva of the female during copulation.

Whales have the largest penises of all animals. A blue whale penis can measure thirteen feet in length and one foot in diameter. The poster depicts the sperm whale penis with a length of over seven feet.


Originally available here. Winner of the 1992 Ig® Nobel Prize in Art (awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research): Presented jointly to Jim Knowlton, modern Renaissance man, for his classic anatomy poster "Penises of the Animal Kingdom," and to the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts for encouraging Mr. Knowlton to extend his work in the form of a pop-up book.

Penises of the Animal Kingdom

See also: Barnacle, Kangaroo, Dolphin, Argonaut, Bee and Bedbug penises. Later: Walrus sucks own dick (video). The walrus, like most mammals, possesses a baculum (penis bone). A walrus baculum may reach up to 63cm (2ft) in length, the largest of any mammal in both absolute and relative sizes.
If you can't beat him, eat him.

From our What-The-Hell-Were-They-Thinking Department: Russians and Germans have come up with two new taste(less) treats, capitalizing on the worldwide Obama craze - ice cream and chicken strips. Some say it's racism. Or even cannibalism. With curry dip.

Obama foods

Other Obama products, like the Ikea Oval Office.
Endangered Feces Nature T-Shirt.

Toilet humor for tree huggers. Perpetrating animals: Grizzly Bear, Point Arena Mountain Beaver, Woodland Caribou, Key Deer, Black-footed Ferret, San Joaquin Kit Fox, California Red-legged Frog, Mona Ground Iguana, Island Night Lizard, Florida Panther, Utah Prairie Dog, Sonoran Pronghorn, New Mexican Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake, Shenandoah Salamander, Bighorn Sheep, Dismal Swamp Southeastern Shrew, Virginia Northern Flying Squirrel, Wyoming Toad, Amargosa Vole and Gray Wolf. Available here.

Endangered Feces Nature T-Shirt -
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