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Mighty Ash Yggdrasill

Norse god Odin formed the earth and its surrounding sea from parts of the evil giant Ymir he had killed. And so, the World Tree, the Mighty Ash Yggdrasill, grew up to hold earth in place. Or so the beliefs of the northern Germanic people held.

Along its branches roamed four stags—Dain, Dvalin, Duneyr, and Dyrathror—constantly feeding on the foliage. The mischievous red squirrel Ratataoskr was to be found running backwards and forwards, delivering insulting messages from the hawk Ve≈ërf√∂lnir perched at the top of Yggdrasill to the evil dragon N√≠≈ëh√∂ggr, ‘Malice Striker,’ down in the three roots that supported the Tree of Life and on which it constantly gnawed.

Also, down there, in a handsome hall, dwelt the Norns, three seers who predicted ørlơg, the destinies, of men. Uror, Veroando and Skuld were also charged with watering the mighty roots of Yggdrasill. Daily they drew water from the well of Urd, the spring of Hvergelmir, and the well Mímisbrunnr to which the roots grew.

For in those for off times, neither ash blight nor emerald ash borer were to be found . . .

By Wes Porter - Saturday, February 11, 2017 - Full Story

What? MLB considers starting every extra inning with a runner on second base

I believe it was 23 years ago that I played in a summer softball tournament, and our team’s first game was tied at the end of regulation. Since tournament organizers didn’t want games going on forever, they expedited the likely end of an extra-inning game by having each extra inning start with the bases loaded. Whoever was due up in the lineup would get his regular at-bat, but the three hitters before him would be placed on the bases.The theory was that inning were unlikely to end scoreless when they started like this.

It felt forced, illogical, impure and all that. But what the hell. It was a pickup softball tournament. The baseball record book would not be tarnished by what we did that day. It was not the Major Leagues, where no such apostasy would ever be considered.

By Dan Calabrese - Thursday, February 9, 2017 - Full Story

Angels v. Devils: Revealing Plant Names

Back in the 19th century, an English clergyman wondered whether the number of common names applied to plants in the name of angels exceeded those credited to the devil. His research revealed that the devil, botanically speaking, won out.

Updated delving into the subject confirms the man of the cloth’s investigation—with a few strange twists. Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is known to some as Angel Flower. However, it has also been labeled both the Devil’s Nettle and the Devil’s Plaything, perhaps because it naturalizes so easily.

More understandably, Datura also appears in both lists, and several times at that. Valued for their magnificent trumpet-shaped blooms they are also known to be hallucinogenic even causing fatalities. Thus, Datura sanguinea, a fragrant shrub from southeast Brazil may carry name Angel’s Tears but Angel’s Trumpet, D. inoxia, might also be the Devil’s Trumpet. D. stramonium doubles as both the Devil’s Apple and Devil’s Weed

Perhaps we shouldn’t take these juxtapositions too seriously though. As G. K. Chesterton once pointed out, “The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly.”

By Wes Porter - Thursday, February 9, 2017 - Full Story

Those Three Most Beautiful Words

On that unusually warm February evening, a fresh breeze wafted through the window, and no doubt the full moon’s alabaster face gazed down on lovers everywhere. One of my favorite singers, “Babbling” Brook Benton, crooned across the radio waves, and I thought … I’m a romantic!

Why? Women. But since no such creature shares my humble abode, and since the babbler rolled back the years to my youth, I couldn’t resist an overpowering urge to get up and dance. Living alone isn’t fun, but has its advantages. If you want to act a fool, you can, so I waltzed with a broom.

By Jimmy Reed - Thursday, February 9, 2017 - Full Story

Practical Pollinators

According to the Kama Sutra, oriental book of instruction, there are some seventy ways of making love. It has been claimed that only the camel knows the last one, which is why he looks so superior.

Much later, in his celebrated Let’s Make Love in 1928, Cole Porter warbled, “And that’s why birds do it, bees do it. Even educated fleas do it . . .” So when it comes to moving pollen from male stamen to female pistil, the ways could, and indeed do, vary.

Of course, Cole failed to mention among many other animals, bats and gnats, flies and wasps, skinks and geckos, lemurs and honey possums . . .amongst others, although perhaps not fleas. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

By Wes Porter - Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - Full Story

RENEWED INTEREST IN INDOOR PLANTS

Cactophiles rejoice! Predictions are that your prickly passions are due to make a comeback this year. So say Brits, often ahead on such matters. Those eschewing genetic engineering need not be off-put by reports that bibulous botanists have crossed citrus and cactus to get spiked orange juice.

An amazing 52 percent of home owners now use houseplants to counter pollution, say market researchers Mintel. They say the interest in anti-pollution products is influenced by Chinese Feng Shui and the spectre of the Paris Climate Summit while ignoring an equal spectre—a Trumpeting Donald.

Many might be supported in macramé hangers, also making a comeback from the flower child days half a century past. Alas, most of those latter have sadly gone to seed.

By Wes Porter - Saturday, February 4, 2017 - Full Story

A Fish No Man Could Catch

Deep down in his mute, cool, dimly lit domain, the monarch of the Mississippi Delta swamp hole lay in patient ambush while the terrified shiner just inches above him swam round and round in frantic arcs, desperately struggling to break free of its tether to the red and white bobber floating on the surface. 



My mentor and boyhood best friend Jaybird relaxed, mopped his sweaty brow, and set his pole aside for a while.

By Jimmy Reed - Monday, January 30, 2017 - Full Story

Historic Day at March for Life

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an historic event, Vice President Mike Pence will address the hundreds of thousands of pro-life citizens who are participating today in the annual March for Life in Washington. A U.S. president or vice president has never spoken in person at the event, now in its 44th year. One of President Donald Trump’s top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, is also on the list of speakers.

By Liberty Counsel - Friday, January 27, 2017 - Full Story

Upcoming Book Signing Events with Dr. Robert Owens

  • January 27 – 29 Des Moines, Iowa @ Iowa State Fairgrounds 4-H Building Friday 5-9PM, Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM
  • February 3 – 5 Cedar Rapids, Iowa @ Hawkeye Downs 4400 6th St. Friday 5-9PM, Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM, Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM
  • February 10 – 12 Ottumwa, Iowa @ Bridgeview Center, 102 Church St. Friday 5-9PM, Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM
  • February 24 – 26 Waterloo, Iowa @ McElroy Auditorium 257 Ansborough Ave. Friday 5-9PM, Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM
  • March 10 – 12 Des Moines, Iowa @ Iowa State Fairgrounds 4-H Building Friday 5-9PM, Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM
  • March 17 – 19 Cedar Rapids, Iowa @ Hawkeye Downs 4400 6th St. Friday 5-9PM, Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM, and Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM
  • March 31 – April 2 Marshall Town, Iowa @ Central Iowa Fairgrounds 1308 E Olive St. Friday 5-9PM, Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM, Sunday 9 AM – 3 PM
By Dr. Robert R. Owens - Thursday, January 26, 2017 - Full Story

Think no mo’ o’ Dolly Jo

I always wanted to be a cowboy, but once I lost my enthusiasm for being one — all on account of Dolly Jo.

Now, a fellow can’t depend on his eyes when his imagination is out of focus, and at age seventeen, I imagined Dolly Jo was the most perfect female the Lord ever created.

By Jimmy Reed - Friday, January 20, 2017 - Full Story
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