Wednesday Reads: There goes the neighborhood

Comic by Jack KirbyComic by Jack Kirby

Good Morning

So, it is Wednesday? Really? I have lost track of time, spending most of the day and night listening to my daughter coughing her lungs out. It is so frustrating, after the doctor offices, hospital ERs and walk in clinics that we have sat in the past few days, well…week, I am over it! (So is she.) I just want her to get better.

As it goes now, I am on five hours sleep for the past 36 hours. I don’t even know what I am writing anymore. So take this post to heart and have a little mercy on the mama.

b754095c2223f96c31327f1bef084fc3Pictures are from pinterest…and there is a connection, you will see. From the start to the finish. Even throughout the post, you will find a theme, missing shall we say.

But for the post’s news links, I really do not know what is going on in the world. My dad mentioned something about cutting the military force down to WWII levels yesterday while we were coming back from the Girl’s doctors appointment.  Is that true? I haven’t looked it up, yet. Hmmm, lets give the Google a twirl…Hagel’s Military Budget Cuts Will Start a Fight in the Republican Party

5679b701aaf372007f372d61e9461209It was like a throwback to the world of Franklin Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh and the fight over America’s entry into World War II.  This week, the Pentagon leaked a preview of its 2015 Budget and it contains plans to reduce the size of the Army to its smallest number since 1940–about 440,000 troops, down from the current 522,000.

Everyone expected a decline. After all, we’re poised to leave Afghanistan. But the number–and passing the 1940 benchmark–was still startling. In his trademark restrained and respectful style, Dick Cheney used a Fox News Channel appearance to declare Barack Obama “would rather spend the money on Food Stamps” than on keeping America strong.

Divine as 'Edna Turnblad' in Hairspray (1988)

Divine as ‘Edna Turnblad’ in Hairspray (1988)

Typical Dick….ugh, Cheney.

Yes, The number of troops in a Hagel Defense budget would see the number of Army troops sink to pre-1940 levels, but America’s defense strength would still be overwhelming compared to the armed forces of the rest of the world.4738b9ffd6beb9d8ad293bede507644d

There would be 11 aircraft carrier groups — far ahead of Russia and China which have one each and neither a match for ours. America’s old Cold War nuclear triad of bombers, submarines and missiles would remain intact. And some big new projects like the $400 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would keep rolling off the assembly line, albeit at a slower clip.

The U.S. would still be the most formidable military in the world. The question is, by how much? And could it conduct two land wars simultaneously, as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Besides, this is just a proposal. The budget process, even in times of comity, is a messy scrum of the defense industry, veterans, pols, and everyone else, since Pentagon spending touches so many aspects of American life.

In other news, do you remember Miles O’Brien?  He was co-anchor with Soledad O’Brien CNN’s American Morning show from 2003 to 2007. (I always liked the two of them on the show…more than any of the other host, who I think are all shit.) O’Brien Arm Amputated | Mediaite

O’Brien, a 16-year-veteran of CNN, had recently finished shooting in the Philippines and was packing his belongings on February 12th when a heavy Pelican case fell on his forearm. Though it hurt, he “figured it would be okay without any medical intervention,” and didn’t seek medical attention for two days. On the 14th, however, his arm had swollen to the point where he asked for the hotel to refer him to a doctor.

Take a look at O’Brien’s blog post, the title is perfect: “Just a Flesh Wound”   Miles O’Brien | Journalist

I wish I had a better story to tell you about why I am typing this with one hand (and some help from Dragon Dictate).

A shark attack would be interesting. An assassination attempt would be intriguing. Skydiving mishaps always make for good copy. An out-of-control quad copter that turns on its master would be entertaining (and would come complete with a grim, potentially viral, video).

No, the reason I am now one-handed is a little more prosaic than those scenarios.

2456e1edfc9a807318afc924b2c9ce1aPlease go read his story at the link.

All the more reason this next story as such, what is the word…damn I can’t think straight. Resonance? From BBC News – Virtual arm eases phantom limb pain

Doctors have devised a new way to treat amputees with phantom limb pain.

Using computer-generated augmented reality, the patient can see and move a virtual arm controlled by their stump.

Electric signals from the muscles in the amputated limb “talk” to the computer, allowing real-time movement.

5bda57b8649f6c66ca647eadffb0f838Amputee Ture Johanson says his pain has reduced dramatically thanks to the new computer program, which he now uses regularly in his home.
He now has periods when he is free of pain and he is no longer woken at night by intense periods of pain.

Phantom limb pain

  • Almost all people who have lost a limb have some sensation that it is still there
  • A majority of amputees will also experience phantom limb pain – painful sensations associated with the missing limb
  • The exact cause is unknown but it is thought that nerves in the severed limb continue to communicate with the brain, which interprets the mismatch as pain and discomfort
  • It can manifest as an insatiable itch or a stabbing or niggling pain

15c6c1f36e97443661d79c63198389d8More at that link, plus a video.

Few more stories this morning:

Charts: The Most Ridiculously Expensive Olympics Ever | Mother Jones

For the cost of the Sochi Olympics, we could have gone to Mars 20 times.

Yeah, let that sink in.

From the, “this is fucking ridiculous” page: Minnesota nursing home defends rapist: 89-year-old victim was a ‘flirt’ | The Raw Story

7a9377db63e908f5ad19260068dd6182And…for those dental floss freaks:‘Microbial Pompeii’ Found on 1,000-Year-Old Teeth From Germany – NBC

A “microbial Pompeii” has been found on the teeth of 1,000-year-old human skeletons. Just as volcanic ash entombed the citizens of the ancient Roman city, dental plaque preserved bacteria and food particles on the teeth from a medieval cemetery in Germany.

“One thing that is clear about the population we studied is that they didn’t brush their teeth very often, if at all,” said study leader Christina Warinner, an anthropologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The study was published Monday in Nature Genetics. [5 Surprising Ways to Banish Bad Breath]

3f9f66cc327ad82989c0ca5ca0ad8805Dental plaque is a dentist’s worst enemy, but it turns out to be a great time capsule for preserving the bacteria (or “microbiome”) and bits of food on the teeth of humans long after they die. Sticky material trapped particles of food and other debris, and over time, the calcium phosphate in saliva — the same mineral found in bones and teeth — caused the plaque to calcify into tartar, also known as calculus.

Ah, even when I did not realize it, I did manage to tie this all together.

I guess you noticed all the grave stones in the post this morning, there is a story behind this.

While spending so much time listening to the Bebe version of “Camile” or any other film where the star has a chronic cough…

I found myself lost in the world of pinterest.

Specifically, pictures of classic movie stars, where I happened upon an image of Yul Brynner.


I thought…damn, that is a lot of skin. But an artistic pose. So I Googled the image and what did I find?

Mmmm….it was a hell of a Yul.

I will tell you the next two links are NSFW!!!!

Yul Brynner’s erotic photos by George Platt Lynes «

Yul Brynner began acting and modeling in his twenties and early in his career he was photographed nude by George Platt Lynes (1907-1955). These shots were taken in 1942. No comment necessary.

Tasteful. Yes?

Okay. When Google pulled up the image, it also pulled up other George Platt Lynes photos. And that pulls up additional “similar” photos. That of course got me started on one or another thing and before I knew it there was Burt Lancaster. Now that was a beautiful man.

Well, check this out…Burt Lancaster Nudes! NSFW!

Eh…sort of ruins it. Yeah? Nothing like the artsy photos from Yul. In fact, I was so bush shocked:

That it got me on to another tangent, Famous Graves | Pinterest

Some of the graves are freaky, like Jules Vern crawling out of his own grave:


Others are touching, take Ann Bancroft:


other sentimental or thoughtful tombstones:




or funny:






Leona Helmsley


Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones

Billie Burke

Billie Burke

Billie Burke

Wasn’t she beautiful?




Danny Kaye

Danny Kaye

Some are defined by who they knew in life:


Others are over done and tacky:


Classic and peaceful:

Richard Burton

Richard Burton

Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner

And still there are some that seem self-deprecating, look at Marlene Detrich’s tombstone:

After we have been asked over and over again

After we have been asked over and over again
for the meaning of the inscription on Marleneís
tombstone (ÑHier steh ich an den Marken
meiner Tageì) we finally asked Maria Riva what
the translation would be like: And here is her
“Here I stand in the benchmark of my days.”
“I remain as/in the proof of my days.” (loose)
What Dietrich liked was what she interpreted as
its meaning:
1. I am what I am.
2. I remain the proof of me.

Then there are those with no tombstone at all…

Which brings me to this last story, of Thelma Todd and Harpo Marx

First this picture of the both of them, it just tickled me:

thelma todd and Harpo marx

Now for Thelma Todd’s tragic story, you can read about it here: The Marx Brothers and Celebrity Death Mysteries

Thelma Todd - GM CollectionIn the 1931 movie “Monkey Business”, Groucho Marx tells the vivacious Thelma Todd: “You’re a woman who’s been getting nothing but dirty breaks. Well, we can clean and tighten your brakes, but you’ll have to stay in the garage all night.” Just 5 years later, Todd was found dead in a garage. The cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning but the circumstances remain shrouded by conflicting stories, conspiracy theories and rumors.


Todd was cremated and, after her mother’s death, her remains were placed in her mother’s casket and buried in Bellevue Cemetery in her hometown of Lawrence, Massachusetts. In her will, she left her entire estate to her mother and one dollar to her ex-husband.

0267091620eda0d53e531b115f64987fWhile Harpo was also cremated, his ashes were scattered (remember what I said about no “grave” at all?):

Specifically: Ashes allegedly sprinkled into the sand trap at the seventh hole of the Rancho Mirage golf course

I don’t want you to think it is all morbid, look at some of those tombstones and the epitaphs. I love going through old cemeteries.

Cemetery Girl | Pinterest

Mourning Woman hugging her son, historic grave sculpture, Nordfriedhof Cemetery, Duesseldorf,

Mourning Woman hugging her son, historic grave sculpture, Nordfriedhof Cemetery, Duesseldorf,

In love even after their death, must really stand out at the cemetery.

In love even after their death, must really stand out at the cemetery.

Hauptfriedhof Frankfurt

Hauptfriedhof Frankfurt

The Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Genoa, Province of Genoa, Liguria region Italy

The Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Genoa, Province of Genoa, Liguria region Italy

Melaten cementary, Cologne, Germany

Melaten cementary, Cologne, Germany


When we lived in Connecticut, that was a special treat because there were some cemeteries that really went back hundreds of years and were so beautiful…and strange.

This one in Rhode Island:

Pin by Teri Steele on Cemetery Girl | Pinterest


Newport, RI 18th c gravestone for 2 babies & wife’s amputated arm: WAIT daughtr. of WILLIAM and DESIRE TRIPP died April 24th 1780 Aged 10 Mo. 10 days. Also WILLIAM their Son died March 17th 1784 Aged 22 Mo. Also his Wifes Arm Amputated Feby. 20th 1786.

As for today’s offering, my favorite is Rodney Dangerfield’s


Let’s end this post with another laugh and a smile.

Have a good day…and leave a link or two or three in the comments below!

BTW, did you catch the running theme?

56 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: There goes the neighborhood”

  1. Yeah it is late today, Bebe is still sick. And I wanted to get this post organized. There was a lot to put together, with the arm theme and the Marx Brother start and finish. I am going back to bed. Zzzzzzzz….

    • bostonboomer says:

      I love the tombstones. I’ve always liked to wander around old graveyards. We have lots of them around here.

      Probably the best graveyard in the Boston area though is a more modern one, the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. It’s huge–I’ve gotten lost in it multiple times. It’s more like a wildlife refuge than a cemetery in some ways; it’s a wonderful place for birdwatchers. All kinds of birds stop there as they are passing through in the fall and spring. The gravestones are amazing, and all kinds of famous people are buried there, and lots of the gravestones are really ornate.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Mary Baker Eddy’s grave takes up about 1/4 acre in Mt. Auburn. It includes a lake and a number of structures. Here is a photo:

        IMG_7251 - Mary Baker Eddy Gravesite Monument, Mount Auburn Cemetery

        I wish I could figure out how to put the image in this comment!

      • Delphyne49 says:

        I loved seeing the tombstones, too!

        I love cemeteries and wandering through them – the older, the better. There in one in Linden, NJ nearby where I live that has a entire section for “gypsies.” The headstones are amazing! Here’s a link to a picture for the “king of the gypsies.”

        King Me

        There is also a section for Chinese that has places to burn incense and one tombstone, if you would call it that, is a life size Mercedes Benz for a young man who died in an accident. Here is a link to a picture of it, via Weird NJ.

        I hope BeBe feels better soon and you get some rest, JJ!

        • bostonboomer says:

          Wow, those are pretty garish. Did you check out the Mary Baker Eddy grave though? Please do.

        • Fannie says:

          Wow, big and beautiful. I mean to say somebody could get hurt in that cemetery.

          • Fannie says:

            I have done several censuses at cemeteries, and I luv getting the history, and helping people, and family, and getting funds for upkeep and improvements. It is great to have people show up and come to you and ask how they are related to those buried at the cemetery?

            What a pleasure to show and tell them, and find those missing babies, wives, and husbands, etc. I use to talk to Jessica Mitford (she wrote the American Way of Death) when she was teaching in California, she was great, all the way around, great woman. She spent some time at several big Cemeteries.

      • NW Luna says:

        When I & my mother were in Boston for a visit (my mother had been born in Cambridge), she took us there. I was fascinated by the age of the gravestones, and the history.

  2. Fannie says:

    Hope Bebe gets better real soon. It’s worrisome when your kids are sick. Rest up JJ.

    Love the post, love the cemeteries.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Gov Bobby Jindal insists he’s not insane, which is exactly what an insane person would say

  4. bostonboomer says:

    From Driftglass, a breakdown of the Glenn Greenwald’s latest “scoop,” and why Greenwald has no clue if the Powerpoint slides he published are from a presentation on internet trolling or if the GCHQ actually did some childish stuff on the internet. Greenwald doesn’t get the basic journalistic concept that if you can’t prove something you find additional sources or you don’t print it.

    What is genuinely charming about this story is that, of all the (presumably) skajillions of tales available for the telling via Mr. Snowden’s trove of stolen documents, First Look chose to run the one that would most richly oxygenate the Purity Angels’ First Article of Faith — that anyone anywhere who offers even the mildest critique of anything coming from the keyboard of Mr. Greenwald is obviously a paid gummint sockpuppet, or unpaid dupe.

    I’m wondering why with all the info available to him, Snowden mostly downloaded stupid Power Point slides.

    • RalphB says:

      Snowden seems to have been a dunce about what he was looking for and I have doubts about his vaunted computer expertise. Skills kiting is so rampant in the industry and, so many people are somewhat phonies, they can largely get away with it.

    • RalphB says:

      I love this comment…

      Meanwhile, on all the wingnut, lunatic, and psychopath sites, this latest Greenwald excrescence is being heralded as proof positive that every web site on the internet has been compromised and is rife with inflitration, that anyone who disgrees with you online is an agent working for the Stasi-Illuminati-NSA-NWO-Agenda 21 Muslim Marxist conspiracy.

      I’m really sick of living in a country infested with so many tens of millions of certifiable morons. I really don’t wish them well, at all.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Which Classic Author Is Your Soulmate?

    I got Henry David Thoreau.

    • dakinikat says:

      I got Virginia Woolf

      You’re not daunted by women who are brilliant but emotionally fragile. On the contrary, you’re selfless and kind enough to want to really nurture someone and support their illustrious career. Yours is a truly deep love because it is a love of the mind, and it will surpass all the hours.

    • RalphB says:

      I got Anton Chekhov

      Calm and contemplative, you need someone who shares your desire to lie in a hammock in the Russian countryside, drink champagne, and think about the meaning of life. Both of you know that love, alas, is a fickle emotion, so you must cherish it for the fleeting moment in which it graces you.

    • Beata says:

      I got Jane Austen – which seems fitting since she is my favorite author.

      • That was the other author I got, I could not decide between the house (country house and the light house) and the movie (Pulp fiction and John Malkovich) So I did one test with one pair and one with the other pair.

    • NW Luna says:

      I got Chekhov?! I have nothing in common with Chekhov except some Russian mixed in with the rest of my mongrel mix. But I did pick one of the movies at random, since I had not seen any of them.

      • RalphB says:

        Me to and I was surprised as well 🙂

      • NW Luna says:

        Oh, but then I can hang out with Ralph, in the country, with champagne, talking about Skydancer issues and more! That’s OK, then. 🙂

        • RalphB says:

          I read the description again and it may be that we’ve been called lazy drunks? I’ve been called a lot worse so I’m OK with that.

      • Beata says:

        You have medicine in common. Chekhov was a doctor. He also had a deeply compassionate and insightful view of human nature which was evident in his writing. You have that, too, Luna.

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    OK….here we go, again. The judges ruling

    Texas Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Judge (but he issued a stay on his ruling pending an appeal)

  7. dakinikat says:

    I love this post. I read it this morning on my phone. It was a delight to wake up to with coffee and my snuggly Dinah.

  8. RalphB says:

    Teen Invents Flashlight That Could Change The World

    Absolutely brilliant…a flashlight powered by the heat of the human hand. Could impact billions of people.

    • NW Luna says:

      That is amazing — what a creative use of electrical engineering know-how. And I love that it was invented by a girl.

      • RalphB says:

        The video of her and her explanation was fantastic. I hope her future is as bright as it should be!

  9. dakinikat says:

    The definitive case for ending solitary confinement:

  10. dakinikat says:

    BREAKING: AZ Gov. Jan Brewer has VETOED S.B. 1062, the “Turn Away the Gays” law. So very glad to hear she has listened to the thousands of citizens, businesses and civic leaders who urged sanity and a quick end to the new segregation.

  11. RalphB says:

    balloon-juice: Alison Lundergan Grimes Is A Smart Campaigner

    Can she beat Mitch McConnell? Well, she’s got the right instincts. The Washington Post sent an interviewer who went full-metal CW today trying to undermine her, and failed miserably: …

    Good post on the Grimes campaign.

  12. RalphB says:

    Estonian and Finnish researchers think they have found a simple blood test that accurately predicts five year mortality.;jsessionid=208472FDCFE1A0D469F2708051C4155A