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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Updates on Rikuzen Takata, walking with Scrappy, Eurohockey, and general stupidity

The plan here is to start tomorrow on a fresh slate by talking about all that is crossing my mind now.  Let's start with the general stupidity- or should that be Gen. Stupidity, 4 stars.  I am referring to the Dove world outreach boys, "pastors" Terry Jones and Wayne Sapp.  Long story short (er), Jones et al went to Dearborn, MI, to stage a Good Friday protest in front of the city's Islamic center.  The city police hauled him in, citing the potential for violence and lack of a permit.  As peaceful citizens, veteran's groups, and the Mayor begged him to reconsider, Jones faced a judge who was not thrilled with him.  Jones was told he would have to post a $46,000 "peace bond".  Jones deferred and asked for the proper permits (hmm, shoulda thought about that earlier) and was denied.  The judge told him, pay the bond or face trial by jury in the morning.  Apparently having spent all his money on Qurans and lighter fluid, he chose trial.

Then he goes to a local radio station for an interview, and afterwards shot his floorboard by accident and got the police's attention a second time.  Then came the trial today, where officials and community leaders claimed that the planned demonstration would cause severe problems and lead to unneccessary police headaches.  Jones and Sapp, defending themselves as all true whackjobs do,  claimed they would burn no books (I've heard that one before, and people died when it wasn't true), and presented corroborating nutjobs who basically said that the problem isn't Jones, it's the bloodthirsty Muslims who don't apreciate the humor in burning their sacred texts.  The jury just came in as I was typing, and agreed with prosecutors that Jones and co. are not only a nuisance, but a danger.  We're still waiting on the judge to issue his conditions for Jonsey's bond.  Jones claims that if he can't do it today (which looks pretty certain), he'll be back next Friday.

We'll check back here later.  Let's move on to another story, from Rikuzen via the Dialy Yomiyuri:

Battle to protect sole surviving pine tree

Toru Asami / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer

RIKUZEN-TAKATA, Iwate--Local people have embarked on an attempt to protect a 200-year-old pine tree--the only survivor from a Rikuzen-Takata pine forest that was wiped out by the March 11 tsunami--from decay caused by seawater salt.

Takata-Matsubara area--a two-kilometer stretch of seashore with 70,000 red and black pines--is a nationally designated scenic spot. Now the area lies in ruins with debris widely scattered after the pines and sands were swept away by the tsunami.

The 10-meter-tall solitary pine tree that miraculously survived is now drawing attention as a symbol of recovery. "The city will come together to protect this pine tree at all costs," Mayor Futoshi Toba said.

However, a recent survey conducted by the prefectural government found the pine tree is in danger of dying.

Before the disaster, the forest was about 300 meters from the water's edge, but the sea encroached on this area after the tsunami struck the Tohoku coast.

Due to the resulting erosion, the pine tree now stands at about five meters from the water's edge, and this puts the tree in danger of being killed by salt in groundwater, sources said.

Although the prefectural government scraped out the sand around the tree and built a makeshift barricade with scrap wood as an emergency measure, there are still fears that waves will wash over it all.

Meanwhile, the prefectural and municipal governments have their hands full with the task of supporting disaster victims and removing debris, so have few resources to devote to the protection of a pine tree.

After learning that the tree is in danger of dying, Takata-Matsubara o Mamoru-kai, an association devoted to protecting the pines of Takata-Matsubara, set about trying to find a solution to the crisis.

The association's vice chairman, Yoshihiro Oyama, 59, and two of its members started investigating the salinity at the root of the tree, and are also considering erecting a two-meter-high protective fence to prevent the tree from exposure to seawater.

The association was established 10 years ago when Seiko Yoshida, a former middle school principal who lived near Takata-Matsubara, invited about 50 local people, including landscape gardening contractors, to the association.

They held study meetings to prevent the pine trees from being infected with pine wilt and protected the trees for free.

Sadly, Yoshida lost his life to the tsunami.

"It's difficult for us to take full-scale measures to protect the tree, but we cannot let the Takata-Matsubara area that we've all protected simply die out completely. I'm sure Mr. Yoshida would agree," Oyama said.

Wow.  Of all the miraculous survival stories, how about being the only tree in a FOREST swept away?  It is seriously hard to comprehend the beauty washed away here.

Next up, a brief word about the protests in Syria that today claimed seventy-five lives.  Why do we not have NATO moving in to do something here?  Not in their area?  Turkey and Greece are neighbors and NATO members.  Not an evil dictator killing the people?  People are still dying, you judge.  Not an enemy of the USA? Please.  Because they have no oil?  Iraq does, where's our share?  How about because the same reason we went after Iraq instead of Iran-  one is a desert, low population, no mountain areas or jungles.  Which means, a battle we COULD win.  Which brings us back to my main point about Libya- this was a chance for Obama to gain popularity by waving the flag- unfortunately, he found out that, like many other important things other than making promises, he wasn't very good at it.  Thus, he passes it off to NATO and hopes for it to go away quietly.

Okay, now we finish off the Eurohockey updates.  In Germany, we left 4th place Eisbaren Berlin with a 1 to 0 lead on Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg, the season champs, in a best of five final.  In game two, goals by Sven Fels and Florian Busch snapped a 3-3 third period tie and Berlin won 5-4.  Game three saw Derrick Walser hit a shorthanded goal and Constantine Braun snap a 4-4 tie with 3:22 left to overcome 2 John Laliberte scores and give Berlin the 5-4 win and sweep over Wolfsburg.

Eisbaren Berlin was founded in 1954 and won 15 East German championships.  Moving to the German Bundesliga and its DEL successor after reunification, the club has 5 DEL titles, tied for most with Adler Mannheim.  They play at 02 World (cap. 14,200), where locals sing the EB fight song, Hey, wir wollen die Eisbaren Berlin ( roughly "Yeah we wanna see the polar bears").

Berlin, at 3.4 million, is the largest city we've featured, and 8th largest metro area in Europe.  Needless to say, we all have a pretty good idea of Berlin's history from its division in 1945 to its reunification some 46 years later.  It first came to light as a twin city of Berlin (founded 1244) and Colln (founded 1237, which Berliners call the official founding).  The two towns united in 1307.  It became the seat of the Margraves of Brandenburg (and later the Electors) in the 1400s, and in the Thirty Years War lost half its population.  In 1640 an edict of religious tolerance was enacted that led many of the Salzburghers we mentioned last week there, as well as French Hugenots in the early 1700s.  In 1701 it became the capital of the new Kingdom of Prussia.  It was occupied by Napoleon in 1809 (the last time a Frenchman with a gun got that far), and in 1999 officially resumed its place as the capital of united Germany.  Still heavilly populated by non- natives, Berlin is 25-30% non German, the largest part of these being Turks.  It also has the odious distinction of being the most heavily atheist city in Europe.  Somewhere, I thinkl there's a moral to that story.

In Finland, the finals revolved around 3 players for HIFK.  Robert Nyholm scored crucial goals in the first three games, after netting just 5 on the season.  Juha-Pekka Haataja had 2 goals, including an empty netter, in both game 2 and 3, after 16 on the season.  And Ville Peltonnen, the team's leader with 28 goals on the regular season, gave HIFK the lead in game one and had a hat trick in game four.  All of which led to a 3-2, 5-1, 5-3, and 4-2 series sweep and the S-M Liiga championship.  This championship is curiously called the Kanada Maljia ("Canada Cup") since it was donated by Finnish expats in Canada.

                                                                There it is!

HIFK is one of the teams in Helsinki, bitter rivals with the other, Jokerit.  The club was founded in 1897, their first hockey match in 1928, and the hockey team founded in 1945.  They play in the 8,200 seat Helsinki Ice Hall, and hold 7 titles from when Finnish hockey was basically amateur, and 4 now in the S-M Liiga which was started in 1975.  The 1998 team, considered the best in Finnish history, included 14 NHLers Christian Ruutu among them as well as at least four current NHLers.

Helsinki, at the far south of Finland, was founded by Swedish King Gustav I Vasa in 1550 to be a competitor for the Hanseatic city (and current Estonian capital) of Tallinn (then called Reval).  But Gustav soon acquired Reval, and Helsinki, well, hellsanki until Russia annexed Finand in 1809.  What there was of the town was near wiped out by plague in 1710.  A city built on bays, penninsulas and islands, Helsinki has a population of not quite 589,000.

UPDATE:  Jones and Sapp were ordered to pay $1.00 bail.  They refused, and were led to jail amidst catcalls and supporter's boos.  As the Detroit Free Press reporter said, what a day.

Finally, here are some pictures of Scrappy's first trip to Johnny Appleseed yesterday.

Here's the re-filled swamp on California rd. That tiny white dot in the center was a white duck that I tried to catch.

KC called while we were walking, and Scrappy took advantage by plunging into every muddy puddle along the way.

                                                That's the path under Coliseum Blvd.

                                                             Underneath the bridge...

                                                         General Beagle and his tank.

                                                      Seriously fast-moving water.

Among the things you don't know about when you just go to Appleseed for the festival- ther's a overlook for the spillway.

                                                   A boat ramp!!??!! Aces!!!


  1. I am so enjoying your walks. Thanks so much for the pictures. Bob may have asked for them but I am getting so much enjoyment from them. Not sure how much you know about me but I have COPD and am on O2. So I am some what confined to my home. Just wanted to say Thanks for taking me along.

  2. So glad to do it. I guess taking the camera is about as close to putting you in my pocket and taking you along as we can get. I just wish the camera was a little better, so you could actually see that white duck, the big fat squirrels at Appleseed, or the huge goose in the middle of the channel in that river picture. Anyway, you're very welcome.

  3. CWM:
    Yes sir...Kudos to you and Scrappy for the "walk-alongs"...!

    And I thought you drove a TAURUS???
    You trade up for that M-41?
    (mileage sucks but people DO get out of your me)

    And please advise the "general" there will be NO leg-lifting on the vehicle.

    Thanks again for the stroll.

    Stay safe up there.