Bitsy Barked

When they hauled her truck off on the flatbed — again. You remember the last time we hooked the truck up to the horse trailer it died flat just when we got it hooked up and before we could load the washer on board. Because believe me I am not in condition to lift a washer up into a pickup truck. This time we got the trailer attached, backed it straight into a rather tricky place where the washer was, and managed to get the washer into the trailer before the truck died.

Bitsy was angry. She barked at the man who was carrying off her truck, but at least this time we also had a cell phone on hand so we didn’t have to walk all the way back to the car. So maybe we are making progress.

The goal for this weekend was to get the wheel back on the flat trailer and drag some things out — bookshelves, stuff like that. We got the wheel on, but of course without the truck — oh well.  And we are also happy that the tensioner on the car broke LAST week rather than halfway to Dallas.

If you want to hear about our much more carefree last summer go to Bitsy’s Dog Park Diary at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3631026.

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CNN Photos

As Bryan Schutmaat was working on his project about small mountain towns in the American West, he was invited to hear old stories from mountain men over whiskey and beer. He even enjoyed a turkey dinner with some locals.

Schutmaat had always been fascinated by the West and drew inspiration mainly from literature on Montana. He said poems from Richard Hugo, who wrote about the Northwest during the Depression, often directed him to certain towns. Schutmaat tried to emanate the beauty and sorrow of Hugo’s poetry in his photos.

Schutmaat had people’s kindness supporting him through the project, but he also had car trouble, law enforcement run-ins and self doubt setting him back.

“There were some cold mornings when I woke up in my tent or in my car along some desolate highway and wondered what I was doing with my life,” he said. “Even when people stand in…

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Bitsy Bored

This is the week of the insurance. Bitsy’s daily routine, usually, is to jump in the car, drive to the Peach Clubhouse at whatever time in the morning I manage to wake up, which always is by 4 am, which used to be 5 am, a time established by our old cat, Buttermilk Pie. I guess it is her memorial, at 5, now 4, Bitsy’s tail begins to thwack the mattress. Today I grabbed it to keep it quiet, and she took that as an invitation to 50 pounds of active playtime, so we were up and had to go to work. Then usually, early afternoon, work finished, we come back and she plays outside for the rest of the day.

But this is the week of the insurance, so we piled back in the car each afternoon, and went to all the various insurance carriers to get everything straight for the coming year. What a load off. I really don’t like these responsibilities, but I’m thankful that my contacts are local, accessible, not some machine in Utah or some place, and they do what they say they will do. Next will be the month of the greeting cards and book !!, Outside the Circle, twelve years in the making will be finished before the year-end holidays. After that the month of the taxes and then we will be off again. Meantime, Bitsy is bored sitting in the car every afternoon, and even bored in her own yard with no trips to the dog park and nobody to play with. Well, except that this morning she called my attention to a dead possum in the neighbor’s yard that I tossed in their trash can. She enjoyed that. Now — bored again.

But if you would like to read about Bitsy’s adventures last summer, in Bitsy’s Dog Park Diary, you can buy the cute little stocking-stuffer book that contains world-class photos on each of 20 pages, for only $15 from me or $15 plus tax and shipping from BLURB. It’s a nice small guest-gift for people who like dogs. Would be an excellent small gift, for example, at the BACH christmas party. Maybe next time I’ll make a horse book.

Bitsy’s Dog Park Diary is posted on BLURB, with the option to look at a few internal pages. At
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3631026
Or go to the bookstore and plug in Lynn Lamoreux, or click on the link above.

Bare Bones Biology 132 – Community Environments

Joseph Campbell said: “The ancient myths and rites were a means to put the mind into accord with the body, and the way of life into accord with the way nature dictates.”

Homo sapiens
, that’s us, we are a social, communal species. We aren’t the only social species. There are many, and each is different, because they are each genetically adapted to a particular environment or niche in the biological community.

The biggest difference between humans and other social species is our brain. Humans have a marvelous brain that brings us at least four qualities, or aptitudes, that are important to human survival and welfare. We use all four, and the better we use them to help fulfill the biological needs of the living earth ecosystem, to “bring our lives into accord with the way nature dictates” — the more likely we are to survive as a species, and the more fulfilled we are likely to be as individuals.

The first and most basic function of our nervous system is to control our autonomic (automatic) life processes. Breathing, eating, nursing and so on. These activities generally can proceed without our conscious attention because they are genetically programmed to respond to the environment.

Second, the human brain generates our emotions. Our emotions are very important, because they are at the heart of our social communities. Emotionality is also a genetic characteristic, coded by our genes. We know this, basically, because all human societies have the similar emotions. We can’t change the fact that we have emotions, because that portion of our human-ness is encoded in our genes. We can’t even describe all the genes that control our emotional reactions and interconnections, because there are too many genes acting in too many different combinations. Believe me; I have some experience with genetic engineering. Or – better yet – don’t believe me. Study it for yourself. The point here is, if we want to grow better human communities, trying to change our genes would be a worse idea than frontal lobotomy. It won’t work; therefore we should spend our energy on something that will work. We need to learn how to use what we’ve got. Fortunately, the third and fourth qualities of the human brain are eager to learn to do just that.

The third important quality of the human brain is its ability to learn, and that brain is absolutely obsessed with learning. It does not need to be taught or told to learn; it never stops learning. Whatever is out there in the environment, that’s what the brain is learning, and squeezing into its world view, integrating the new information with its emotions, which is one good reason to not watch television.

Babies, of course, mostly learn to use emotions to benefit themselves, but as soon as they are old enough they tag around after whatever moves and copy whatever it is doing. This enormous capacity for learning molds the child to the normal behaviors of his environment. If he is growing up in a stable, sustainable community, then he will grow behaviors that mold his use of his emotions so that they contribute to the welfare and stability of that community. The problems arise if the community is not stable or sustainable.

The fourth important quality of the human brain is our intellect. Intellect is a very human and elegant tool for figuring out what went wrong if problems do arise. It’s a miracle, really, our human logic that can recognize and interact with the universal law of cause and effect to solve novel problems. And human creativity that can generate novel solutions to the problems. And human communication that can share our learning throughout our communities and through the generations, in the form of myths, religions, rituals, works of art, textbooks, literature, and even Facebook.

At this point in human history, we need mostly to educate our intellectual brain, and the first thing we need to understand — we are not God. We do not understand the infinite meaning of life, nor can we control it. Our need to control, our ego, our desire to grow life in our image, whether the image be evil or even if it is a good image – that is the source and cause of most of our disasters.

Lynn Lamoreux

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that will play next week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. Bare Bones Biology is a completely nonprofit project. The podcast can be downloaded at


Question for Discussion
: What is a community? What is your community?

Suggested Action
: Purchase a $20 copy of the movie Economics of Happiness, or borrow a copy from the Peach Clubhouse. Find a couple of friends who have not seen the film. Invite them to dinner, a viewing of the film, and discuss the question above. Better yet, go to The Economics of Happiness second annual convention in March — in Australia!! And/or, join The Economics of Happiness networking hub http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/

Recommended References:
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. PBS. http://www.jcf.org/new/index.php?categoryid=83&p9999_action=details&p9999_wid=765

Bare Bones Biology Ecology Handbook – https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/
On the right side of the page click on the link under “Chapters” to download the PDF.

Thanks to the Red Wasp Film Festival for use of the Photos by Lynn.

Amelia’s Uganda Diary

OK, so I took a couple of days off. I had a sudden craving to finish posting everything from the crashed hard drive onto Quicken and spent two days doing that. Odd, very odd, I wonder if it’s a symptom of something. Anyhow, here is Amelia.

Home at Last

The Muazzin (man who calls people to prayer at Mosque) of our neighborhood, I am pleased to say, has a magnificent voice. So much so that I almost look forward to his 5:30am wake up calls, wondering what amazing vocal feat he will accomplish with each breaking day.

And then, the dogs start. Their response, a full ranged choir with every style of howl you could imagine, bounces off the compound walls. It must be every single pooch within a mile radius, and they never fail to reply.
Yes, my morning has begun.

It’s funny how the small things like the acrid smell of burning trash, or the sound of the Pied Crow cawing right outside your window, are the things you didn’t even know you missed.

And then there are the big things as well. The seas of smiling, snaggle toothed school kids, smartly dressed for their morning classes, or the sporadic commotion of dancers and drummers flooding into the already chaotic streets, waving tree branches and egging on their fellow Bagisu tribe members for the Imbalu Circumcision Rites.

I’ve unmistakably arrived in my new home, Uganda. Although I am not a native, this place, as overpopulated, polluted, and down right backwards as it can sometimes be, has burrowed itself deep inside my heart. I am for sure at home at last.

-Amelia Marie Ssentamu

Those of you who are keeping up with the adventures of Bitsy and her owner as they try to find a healthy home — you will remember the last episode was about trucks and trailers. I had finally gotten them together at the same time and place and was hitching up, when the truck died and had to be hauled off to have its alternator replaced. I thought we did that when we were in Chama? Anyhow, the goal is to get the lawn tractor and the washer moved, but we can’t do this while driving the car.

I’ll leave out the part where the car broke down just when we got the truck back. Isn’t that sweet?

And then, yesterday, truck purring like a kitten, we backed up under the horse trailer, which is good for this job, low enough and wide enough, and needs to be removed from the weed patch. I let down the gooseneck on the truck bed, hooked it up and pulled the trailer forward far enough to see that I had not raised the tailgate before leaving last March or april or whenever it was. The tailgate is extremely heavy from being waterlogged, and my strength has unaccountably diminished over time. OK, I thought, I’ll just drag it around where the washer is.

The short answer is we hit the corner post of the fence (yes, broke it) and couldn’t go any more forward. I can’t back up the trailer with the tailgate down, and I never DID find my two come-alongs that used to be standard equipment in my pickup before I went trailer-parking. So today I’ll try the same recovery method I used when I couldn’t find the chain to haul out the hay. Buy a new one and maybe I will instantly find the old one someplace I wouldn’t have guessed.

Meantime, I managed enough strength to block up the tailgate so it’s not setting on the dirt wicking up water. Assuming any water is left in the dirt.

And for those of you who don’t CARE about the adventures of Bitsy and her owner, tomorrow we will begin a series of the adventures of Amelia in Uganda.

Earth Systems Final2