Sunday, July 31, 2011

MMMM # 156-- Now the sets are REALLY empty.

      Friday was lockup day for APT in Montgomery. The final employees (except for one, an engineer needed to keep some of the nine stations on-air) left the building and locked the doors. Now there isn't a single APT locally produced program.
     Even On The Job, a business program, is produced by AIDT and handed over to the "network" for broadcast. The studios are silent.

     The Washington Post had a column on Sunday about PBS, from which a huge chunk of APT's programming now comes. The column says the PUBLIC network is exploring little, er, "breaks" during programs. If it sounds like a commercial and looks like a commercial and....yup, they're considering what looks for all the world like commercial breaks. The primary thing that used to make PBS different.

[The Monday Morning Media Memo is a regular feature of this blog.]

Drake Drops "HEADLINES", 1st Single from Take Care


On vacation, full of debt ceiling rage

I'm currently on vacation and won't be blogging all that much over the next few weeks. Here and there, when the mood is right, but otherwise not. Rest, relaxation, and family are the priorities.

But, fear not, Richard and the gang will keep things rolling, and so I hope you keep checking back for new posts from my wonderful team.

Actually, though, I'm full of rage at the moment. I'm generally trying to avoid the news, and especially U.S. politics, but, well...

What has me enraged? The Deal, of course.

Yes, the new bipartisan deal to avert default by raising the debt ceiling and, to please Republicans, slash spending (of course, mostly spending that benefits the poor and downtrodden, the usual GOP targets, those no one in power seems to give a shit about).

Now, it's not yet a done deal. President Obama and the Democratic and Republican leadership have agreed to it, but not the rank and file -- and there are sure to be many on both sides who object to it.

Democrats have good reason to object. The deal is heavily Republican, a largely right-wing fix to a crisis created by Republicans. It's all about cuts, not revenue increases, and cuts that, again, will hurt those Democrats supposedly care about. Some Republicans will object as well, but only because -- let's put it kindly -- they're a bunch of petulant extremists who refuse to compromise and who are willing to let the country go into default, and face economic calamity, to get everything they want.

In fact, it has come to this largely because Republicans, from the top down (the leadership included), are bullies crazy enough to risk the country's health, so "patriotic" are they, having basically held the country hostage throughout this entire process.

Sure, I'm deeply critical of Democrats, including the president, for not fighting harder to prevent this, and for not standing up more determinedly for what they purportedly stand for, but, honestly, what were they supposed to do? Let the country go into default? Let the debt ceiling deadline pass, come what may? Sure, maybe. Maybe they could have spun that and kept the blame on the other side, and even come away with a political win, and maybe the impending crisis and public outcry would have forced Republicans back to the negotiating table with their tails somewhat between their legs, but... should they really have taken such an enormous risk?

Maybe Republicans were always going to win this, maybe it was inevitable, because all along they were willing to go further and risk more. That's the problem trying to negotiate with crazy people. They're willing to do things you're not. (Isn't that how Keyser Söze solidified his power?) In this case, Republicans were willing to sacrifice their country for their ideological demands. Democrats, being mature and rational and responsible, were not. And so they had to agree to a deal on Republican (i.e., insane) terms.

There was a brief time when Obama had the upper hand, after he had turned the tables on Republicans and back them into a corner, and with public opinion on his side, but he was only going to win this if he went all the way. And, say what you will about him, he wasn't prepared to play that game, not with so much at stake.

I suspect the deal will pass tomorrow. There will be major defections, but surely enough arms can be twisted, enough dissenters bought off, to make it happen.

And then? Crisis will have been averted, at least temporarily, but Republicans will declare victory -- for getting most of they want (loads of cuts, no new revenue).

The Democrats? They'll get nothing out of this politically.

Obama? Yes, probably. He'll be able to reinforce his credibility among independents by presenting himself as a bipartisan leader who got it done when it mattered (no matter the awful details of what got done).

But unless Democrats can gain control of the narrative and make the debate about ending the deeply unpopular Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and protecting deeply popular entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, etc.), this deal won't do them any political favors next year, with with Republicans set to hammer them, however dishonestly (as usual), for being tax-happy, spend-happy socialists.

At least for now, there is reason for cautious, extremely cautious optimism. The deal would allow the president to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion (with $900 billion in spending cuts):

That will be paired with the formation of a Congressional committee tasked with reducing deficits by a minimum of $1.2 trillion. That reduction can come from spending cuts, tax increases or a mixture thereof.

If the committee fails to reach $1.2 trillion, it will trigger an automatic across the board spending cut, half from domestic spending, half from defense spending, of $1.2 trillion. The domestic cuts come from Medicare providers, but Medicaid and Social Security would be exempted. The enforcement mechanism carves out programs that help the poor and veterans as well.

If the committee finds $1.5 trillion or more in savings, the enforcement mechanism would not be triggered. That's because Republicans are insisting on a dollar-for-dollar match between deficit reduction and new borrowing authority, and $900 billion plus $1.5 trillion add up to $2.4 trillion.

However, if the committee finds somewhere between $1.2 and $1.5 trillion in savings, the balance will be made up by the corresponding percentage of the enforcement mechanism's cuts, still in a one-to-one ratio.

Democrats say they're confident that the enforcement mechanism is robust enough to convince Democrats and Republicans to deal fairly on the committee -- to come up with a somewhat balanced package of entitlement reforms and tax increases. However, the White House assures them that if the committee fails to produce "tax reform" he will veto any attempt to extend the Bush tax cuts, which expire at the end of next year.

Again, the focus is on spending cuts, not revenue increases, but at least cuts to defence spending are on the table and at least it's possible that revenue increases will be part of any future deal.

Actually, scratch that. I'm still highly enraged. And there's really no good reason for optimism at all, even cautious optimism. Obama may want to use the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in his re-election campaign, as a winning issue (assuming public opinion stays roughly where it is), but he has shown little to no willingness to stand up for progressive principles -- indeed, for principles that are simply not Republican, so much of a moderate Republican does he appear to be -- and, what's more, neither have most Democrats on Capitol Hill, it seems.

All of which is to say, if Obama and the Democrats have been willing to cave so much already, what should make us think anything will change?

ColeWorldSundays: J Cole "Any Given Sunday" ;EP]

Click Cover to Download


Ramblings of Creativity

dia duit

pronounced gee-ah ditch

Gaelic, literally 'God be with you'

I have browsed a few of my older posts.
My goodness I am a 'Chatty Cathy' !!!!!
Some of them look like mini-books!

So, perhaps I need to post a note above the computer saying:

Michael says:
You don't need to write a book every blog.


Today I am in a
wandering through my creative processes kind of day.
this could be scary to some...

Yippee - Laundry Day

I just posted 5 new Collage Art Dolls on my etsy shop.

I also added a set of Happy Hollister Books
(3 with 1 free bonus book)

and a couple of bottlecap magnets
When I work on my bottlecaps, my table looks like this:

actually, that's kind of clean for my usual mess...

I cut all my graphics and words from junk mail,
catalogs, recycled magazines, brochures,
those annoying ads people stick in between your door,
or on the outside of your mailbox...
pretty much if it's paper, I have fun with it.
That's where the quirky humor comes in.

you know, a dog has questions....

and we ALL know cats get messages from the cat planet...

It is way too frightening to take a picture of me going through the magazines, et al. I have stacks in various stages of being cut apart.  My living room chair is surrounded by little bits of cut paper.

Cinderella's Stepsister Steppin' Out
Collage Art Doll, one-of-a-kind (ooak)

Currently I have been doing some cut art work.
The little scraps of black paper look like spiders.

a black widow spider beaded necklace I have for sale

I can't show you my finished pieces,
as The Printer is being returned as I type....
A new one, from Costco (great prices)
only the window with lights that lets you copy from the machine (not using your computer) is blank.
No lights.
Can't use that function.

So I can't scan right now.
Here are some of my older cut-work
also called scherensnitte

This one I actually did do a couple of weeks ago.
I haven't attached it yet,
but I do have a frame ready to go!

This is the pattern I used. If I am careful in how I cut,
and of course the right kind of pattern,
I can use the pattern paper as framed art also!

another example

I don't know, maybe I really should finish this net-beaded bracelet
 I have in-the-works next to my living room chair.
It's a pattern that I am trying to remember from two I did before,
but have lost the directions to.
There is this new pattern in a Bead&Button magazine that looked interesting, but I just couldn't figure out their directions.
It looked similar to my previous bracelets, in the starting bit,
so, I am practicing.
I can't stand to just do something for the sake of doing it
(like practicing!)
so I thought I would just make it into a bracelet.
Four tries later, I've got it down,
but now I'm so bored with it, it is hard to finish!
Sound complicated?
I did warn you that my brain paths may be scary....

This is a truly stunning netted necklace I beaded.
My photos don't show up the pearlescent beads, silver accents and the pearls I used in it. Alas, after I photographed it I accidentally dropped it, and my Great Dane Koda stepped on it.
Broken thread, little tiny seed beads on my front porch..
not a pretty sight.

Sigh. I'm going to have to do major re-work to fix it now.
So, it sits in my 'Jewelry That Needs Help' box.

This is a very simple netted pattern that I made when I was first learning the netting stitch, using tiny seed beads.

my daisy chains -
Whenever I get 'stuck' trying to sort out a difficult pattern,
or I want to do beads, but just am not in the mood for following a pattern, I make a daisy chain!

I call them my happy beads!
I learned the pattern in junior high school, I think.

Here is another pattern I do when I want to bead,
but again I am watching tv or something,
and don't want to concentrate on a difficult pattern.

all the same basic pattern, which I have modified from the original

I am starting a new Michael Jecks medieval mystery,
and sure would like to spend some time reading....
this is one of the ones I have recently finished:

I really like these cover graphics. The 'new' ones have more of a realistic close-up of a warrior in armor.

My sister-in-law via my mom-in-law just loaned me a copy
of Carol Burnett's memoirs.
Love that lady!
Great actress!

I'm writing a blogbook again.
And I'm getting side-tracked.
Think I will go watch my 'new' John Wayne movie
'Alleghany Uprising'
and do some more scherensnitte,

although there's that bracelet,

and I just received some 'new' magazines to cut apart,

and I need to match up some words with some bottlecap graphics,

and, oh yes! I haven't eaten lunch yet,
and it's 4:30pm!

recycled bottlecap magnet,

Think I better quit while I'm....


with recycled junk mail graphics and words.

This day in history - July 31, 1981: A 42-day Major League Baseball strike ends

Now that the football lockout is over, I was just thinking about other memorable labor issues, past and present, in professional sports.

In fact, the 1981 baseball strike was the fifth work stoppage in Major League Baseball (MLB) since the 1972 baseball strike. The 1981 strike forced the cancellation of 713 games, which accounted for 38 percent of the MLB schedule.

And who could forget the 1994-95 baseball strike, which was the eighth stoppage in MLB history. This one was a 232-day strike, which lasted from August 12, 1994 to April 2, 1995, and led to the cancellation of between 931 and 948 games, including the entire 1994 postseason and World Series.

I was going to list all strikes and lockouts for MLB, the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL), but I counted 17 and just don't have the patience. If you're interested, you can find the info here.

And if you follow round ball you know that the NBA is currently in a lockout situation, which is now going into Day 28, and guess what else? The Collective Bargaining Agreements for MLB and the NHL expire on Dec. 11, 2011 and Sept. 15, 2012, respectively.

As I have said elsewhere, I don't begrudge players fighting for better deals, but, as a fan, I hate to see the games get damaged.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

Guy Clark: "Dublin Blues"

Music on Sunday @ The Reaction

Every now and then, I fool around with songwriting. Not that I think I'll ever be any good at it. I don't. But I am so impressed with the craft that I can't help but dabble in the process just on the possibility that something interesting and unexpected might happen when I put words to music.

Mostly I just love great songwriting. If I knew what it was about it that I loved so much maybe I'd be better at it myself, but I do recognize quality when I hear it.

Guy Clark is a phenomenal songwriter. He's had a great career writing mostly in the country / folk / Americana genre. Those who have recored his songs include Jerry Jeff Walker, Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Ricky Scaggs, Steve Wariner, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Rodney Crowell, Asleep at the Wheel, and Jimmy Buffet. And a lot of artists have charted with songs written by Clark.

He is also known for helping Steve Earle develop his career and for his friendship with the late Townes Van Zandt, whom Clark credits as a major influence in his own songwriting.

There are a lot of names mentioned here that you may know better than Clark's, but he's probably okay with that as long as the royalty checks keep on rolling in.

The song below, "Dublin Blues," performed by Guy Clark, was on my iPod for the longest time. It really does set a mood.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


By J. Thomas Duffy 

Well, if we see President Obama sporting a black turtleneck over the weekend, perhaps that will signal that Apple has purchased the U.S. Government.


U.S. balance now less than Apple cash 

Steve Jobs is now more liquid than Uncle Sam...

As Republicans and Democrats continue to work towards a compromise to the country’s debt ceiling crisis, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday that Washington now has a total operating balance of only US$73.768-billion.

Meanwhile, Apple currently boasts a cash reserve of US$75.876-billion, as of its most recent quarterly earnings report at the end of June.


If that happens, I suppose, we'll all be mandated to purchase iPhones (which will help streamline the iLocater program), and changes will include download apps for things like Social Security and Food Stamps.

And Jobs can scratch the plans for building his new spaceship office, as, no doubt, he'll move straight into the White House, incorporating the Apple logo into the presidential seal. 

Welcome, to the good ol' iUSA!

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

'Hate Preacher' Posting Scary Islamic Signs, Declares Intent To Impose Islam

Story here.

Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has claimed responsibility for the scheme, saying he plans to flood specific Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the UK and ‘put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term’.


Choudary, who runs the banned militant group Islam4UK, warned: ‘We now have hundreds if not thousands of people up and down the country willing to go out and patrol the streets for us and a print run of between 10,000 and 50,000 stickers ready for distribution.


‘We are going to go to all these same areas and implement our own Sharia-controlled zones.


‘This will mean this is an area where the Muslim community will not tolerate drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, usury, free mixing between the sexes – the fruits if you like of Western civilisation.

‘We want to run the area as a Sharia-controlled zone and really to put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term.’

Oh, don't worry, folks.  There's no problem with religious zealots actively plotting to impose their values and views on us.

 The hateful Islamic supremacist who openly declares intent to impose his extreme, intolerant values onto all.  Nice looking fellow, right?  Oh, no need for "hate speech" laws to be enforced... Muslims are peaceful, eh...  Now let's scream instead about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, those horrible Christian fundamentalists who want to impose Canon Law on all... right?

Now go and vote for the nice, very-devout Muslim candidate in the election...  And don't vote for the hateful Christian running against him, because you know about them Christians... they want to impose, to take your rights away...  right?

So if the above is ok, then it's got to be ok to post anti-socialism, anti-abortion and anti-gay-marriage signs and declare areas to be Christian-controlled...  Ok, let's do it, eh!   Man... I loooove being sarcastic!

Pleasant Grove

     I visited with friends in the Jefferson County town of Pleasant Grove on Saturday, one of the places hit so hard by the Alabama tornadoes of April 27th.
     Among the hundreds who died in the state that day, ten people died there, nine women and a man, but after seeing the three-months later ruins it is hard to believe there weren't more people killed there. Block after block is now empty. Only by looking closely for portions of foundations or the outline of landscaping can you even tell there were even home there.
     My friends' home is one the way to returning to "normal", though you can tell nothing will be the same again.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Last Day in Office

     Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb in the Supreme Court chamber in Montgomery, the day before she left.
     You can watch the report I filed after an exclusive interview with her here...including her wondering if budget cuts to the State Courts were punitive.

How do you kill the economy? Pass a balanced budget amendment.

Guest post by Publius

The House recently passed “Cut, Cap and Balance” (see John McCain’s fantastic take on it here). Republicans are convinced of the need for a balanced budget amendment, and one of the most cited arguments for they give for a balanced budget amendment is that 49 states have one so the federal government should too.

The concept of a balanced budget amendment sounds intuitive enough. “Ordinary Americans and 49 states have to balance their budgets,” the argument goes, “so Congress should too.” Well, not exactly.

First, there is a huge difference between the balanced budget “amendments” (several states have laws instead of constitutional amendments) at the state level and the proposed amendment at the federal level. The state amendments, for example, do not even attempt to balance the entire state budget. Instead, they almost exclusively only apply to a state’s “general fund.” The general fund oftentimes constitutes less than half of a state’s budget. It is the fund out of which general expenditures flow and into which general revenues enter. “Special” expenditures and revenues, such as gasoline taxes, education expenses, etc., have nothing to do with the general fund and are exempt from the balancing requirement.

If Congresspeople would stop and think about their argument for a moment, they would quickly realize that the balanced budget requirements at the state level either can’t apply to the entire budget or are laxly enforced. Most every single state is currently running a deficit, and has been for several years! Further analysis by these Congresspeople would also show the issue isn’t lax enforcement- at least exclusively.

In 1987, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations published an oft-cited study (PDF) of state balanced budget requirements. The study examined each state’s budget balancing requirements and the mechanisms each used to enforce the requirements. It then ranked each state on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being no enforcement mechanism and 10 being the strongest possible enforcement mechanism. 26 of the states ranked a “10,” and in 2004, California recently became the 27th state to join that category by adopting an amendment to its constitution. Here’s how those states have done with their deficits since FY 2009:

States in categories 3-5 (fairly lax enforcement) had the largest deficits by far over the measured periods, but states in category 10 (most stringent) were the next worst deficit spenders. Ironically, states with little to no enforcement mechanism had almost no deficit (though only 2 states fit in this category, so not much of a sample size). This suggests that stringent enforcement of a balanced budget amendment is insufficient to produce a balanced budget for the states.

The scatterplot table below (amounts in thousands) shows the deficits by year, state and category. California’s enormous deficits and NY’s 2010 deficit were removed from the scatterplot because they shrunk the scale of the chart so much the rest was not legible:

Deficits by year
The scatterplot is a bit messy, but it shows the size of the deficit for each state within the 0-10 enforcement categories described above. There’s no getting around it. No matter how strict a state balanced budget requirement is, states continue running deficits during this economic downturn. This doesn’t mean the balanced budget requirements have no impact- only that they don’t accomplish what Republicans in Congress think they accomplish.

One might ask, “Why isn’t the federal proposal (which demands that the entire budget be balanced) more workable than the state proposals?” Well, first consider that the federal “general fund” only accounts for about about 35% of the entire federal budget. That number includes defense spending, however (which is considered “discretionary” even though it has a history of only going up). Non-defense discretionary spending only accounts for about 15% of the budget.

A true “balanced budget amendment” like what Republicans have proposed could require that money which is allocated to defense spending or other mandatory spending (social security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest on the debt, etc.) be cut in order to balance the budget. In FY 2010, for example, the deficit was about $1.3 trillion. Total non-defense discretionary spending in FY 2010 was only $714 billion. Even if all non-defense discretionary spending was eliminated in FY 2010 (no spending on education, justice, health, roads or other infrastructure, etc.), we would have still had a $586 billion deficit. Total defense spending in FY 2010 was only $663.7 billion, meaning to avoid any cuts to mandatory spending (which, as its name implies, is money we must spend), the Department of Defense budget would have been reduced by 88% (to a total of $77 billion). The last time defense spending was that low was 1973.

As should be obvious, when a severe recession hits, it’s quite difficult to balance a budget. In fact, it’s also precisely the wrong thing to do in a recession (when spending should go up as a stabilizer). The federal government has a macroeconomic role through fiscal policy which it cannot play if it is hamstrung by a balanced budget amendment. But even assuming that wasn’t the case, there’s just not enough discretionary spending to cut to balance a budget in a severe recession. Recessions reduce tax revenue dramatically because people lose jobs and stop paying FICA and income taxes. There just aren’t enough discretionary dollars to eliminate to keep pace. That means defense spending and/or mandatory spending has to be cut. So who should cut it?

This is the next problem with the balanced budget amendment. The enforcement mechanism. If the Constitution requires Congress to balance a budget and it doesn’t- what happens? In some states, the governor can eliminate spending without legislative approval (like a line-item veto). In 2010, however, there is no chance any politician would have voluntarily eliminated 100% of discretionary spending plus a large amount of defense/mandatory spending. The courts, then, would be required to mandate the cuts or, alternatively, raise taxes (also a bad idea during a recession). One can only imagine the Republican cries of “activist judiciary” in such an instance- and ironically they would have been the ones demanding that the judiciary take such an activist role. I should mention that tax increases could be adopted in lieu of spending cuts, but I haven’t spent much time on that option because: a) Republicans would never agree to tax increases; and b) to ensure no tax increases are passed, Republicans have proposed in Cut, Cap and Balance that all tax increases require a 2/3 vote, effectively making them illegal.

So, what happens if the courts also don’t act to force the budget to balance? The Constitution is violated and, as we are seeing with the debt ceiling debate, the nation’s credit rating would beat risk as a consequence (thereby threatening global economic instability).

Of course, the federal amendment could be fashioned to look more like the state balanced budget requirements and only apply to discretionary spending. Needless to say, such an amendment would not eliminate federal deficits (which is the stated purpose of enacting such an amendment). The amendment would be circumvented entirely in recessions (appropriately so from an economic perspective) which would only serve to undermine the Constitution and the rule of law. The accounting tricks employed by states to “balance their budgets” would only be magnified at the federal level thereby creating far more frustration with the system (California technically has a balanced budget this year, despite its projected $17.9 billion deficit).

The balanced budget amendment as included in Cut, Cap and Balance is quite possibly the worst economic idea any major party has actively promoted in modern history. It can’t work- except to wreak havoc. Few other proposals stand to do as much harm to the US and global economies, particularly during recessions.

(Cross-posted at The Fourth Branch.)

The tracklists for Cuban Linx Pt. III, God Forgives...., R.E.D. Album etc.

Theres bout to be some classics droppin....

Ayo whattup its ya boy P-Tone aka Typhoon Hands Deini namsayin. The god back wit more exclusives for yall niggas nahmean. I kno yall gettin restless n been waitin on niggas to come smash yall over the head wit that marvelous shit. Jus wanna let yall kno off top that the wait is almost over yo....n the Cuban Linx III tracklist is now available exclusively rite here son. That shit gon be ridiculous so watch for it. I can tell yall right now firsthand that that nigga Chef bout to deliver those succulent type meals once again nahmean. Son got all the burners on his his stove cookin up  that fly shit. My nigga got cakes n pies flyin across the room landin in stacks n shit. He got plates spinnin on his fingers...he jugglin knives n shit nahmean. Son got pots n pans twirlin in the air n shit yo.  Im tellin for that shit son. Or or or if you dont Imma come see you nahmean. Word n Imma hit you wit bout 2 tons of pressure per slap for sleepin on niggas yo. Thats my word. But yo thats neither here nor there namsayin.  Nobody gon need they fingers broke jus yet. Word.... I also came across a couple a tracklists for some other joints. There been songs droppin by these dudes over the last few months but it dont seem like a lot a them shits made the final cut for they albums n shit son. Which is good cos that means we gon get some fresh bangers from these niggas namsayin. But I guess we gon see in the end nahmean. Anyhow hope yall dig these shits the way I be diggin em. I think all these niggas is bout to drop some classics b. Word is bond.
Aight peace.

Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...Pt III

 1. Legend of the Iron Lobster (feat. Popa Wu)
 2. The Egyptian Rigatoni Files (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks)
 3. Electric Sun Tans (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks)
 4. Thor Molecules [Tony Starks Interlude]
 5. Leather Umbrella Episodes (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Blue Raspberry)
 6. Bulletproof Midgets (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Method Man aka Johnny Blaze)
 7. Confidential Watermelonz [skit]
 8. Divine Ovary Smugglers (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks, U-God aka Golden Arms, RZA aka Bobby Steels, GZA aka Maximillion & Masta Killa aka Noodles)
 9. Tandoori Foreplay (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Nas aka Nas Escobar)
10. Lava Jacuzzi Niggaz (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Justin Bieber aka Swollen Knuckles)
11. Magnetic Tuxedos [skit]
12. Pelligrino Viking Essays (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Inspectah Deck aka Rollie Fingers)
13. Barbwire Sunglasses (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Beanie Sigel aka Mack Mittens)
14. Fishnet Polo Mamis (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Cappadonna aka Cappachino)
15. Titanium Beard Syndrome (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks, & Rick Ross aka Albert Anastasia)
16. Velvet Laptops (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Lloyd Banks aka Blue Hefner)
17. The Rootbeer Aquarium [Tony Starks solo joint]
18. Executive Barbell Syndromes (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Jadakiss aka Montega Jada)
19. Bunk Bed Politics (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Mary J. Blige)
20. Saltwater Infants [outro] (feat. Papa Wu)

21. Lesbian Acrobat Therapy (feat. Ghostface aka Tony Starks & Game aka Butterfly Cheeks) [Bonus Track]

Rick Ross - God Forgives, I Don't

 1. From C.O. to C.E.O. [Intro]
 2. Real Niggaz Don't Die(t) (feat. DJ Khaled)
 3. $75,000 Shades On (feat. D.A. from Chester French & French Montana)
 4. Dupont Registry Music
 5. Audemars Music
 6. Chandeliers On My Wrist (feat. Kanye West & Wale)
 7. Who's The Bawse? [Interlude] (feat. Tony Danza)
 8. Sports Bra Music
 9. Maybach Music 12 (feat. T-Pain, Birdman & Lil Wayne)
10. Bugatti Music (feat. Diddy)
11. 100" Flatscreen Music (feat. Meek Mill & Pill)
12. Grand Slam Breakfast Music
13. Weed Carriers (feat. Torch, Gunplay & Memphis Bleek)
14. A Thousand Keys In The Trunk [Interlude]
15. Yayo In My Bitch's Ass (feat. Pill)
16. Fuckboy Music (feat. Phil Collins)
17. McGriddles Music
18. C.O.C.A.I.N.E [Choosin Our Careers As Ignorant Niggas Errryday] (feat. Meek Mill & Asher Roth)

Game - The R.E.D. Album [No Typo]

  1. Watch The Throne (feat. Chris Brown & Nelly)
  2. Heir To Aftermath  (feat. Dre* & Pitbull)
  3. Skateboard Killerz (feat. Lupe Fiasco,Tyler The Creator & Frank Ocean)
  4. Still D.R.E. Pt II (feat. Dre* & Snoop Dogg)
  5. Hydraulics & Hydroponics (feat. Lady Gaga)
  6. Coconuts & Lipstick (feat. Black Eyed Peas)
  7. Imperial Clientele (feat. Raekwon & Enrique Iglesias)
  8. Another Hit Single (feat. Pharrell & Justin Timberlake)
  9. R.E.D. [Really Envy Dre] (feat. Dre*)
10. Ciroc & Pantees [No Typo] (feat. & Pharrell)
11. Blood Niggaz (feat. Drake & Marc Anthony)
12. Nas Approved [Interlude] (feat. Nas)
13. Cali Hovito (feat. Solange)
14. Be Original (feat. Fat Joe, Ja Rule & Big Sean)
15. The Autobiography of Christopher Shakur (feat. Sean Kingston)
16. Prayer [Outro] (feat. DMX & Ma$e)

Bonus Tracks:
17. 1,000 Bars Pt. 1 (feat. Pink)
18. 1,000 Bars Pt. 2 (feat. Trey Songz)
19. 1,000 Bars Pt. 3 (feat. Jamie Foxx)
20. Soo Woo 2011 (feat. Lil Wayne, Jim Jones, Drake & Fergie)

*Of Cool & Dre

Soulja Boy - The Malcom Luther Bojangles Way

 1. Ha-Coon-A Matata (feat. Gucci Mane)
 2. Sperm That Hoe
 3. Twerk It Like A Jackhammer
 4. Do It Xtra Plenty 
 5. G5 Negroes (feat. 50 Cent)
 6. Snap Ya Caps
 7. Niggalicious (feat. Riff Raff SODMG & V-Nasty)
 8. Drive My Lambergeeny
 9. Bojangle That Hoe
10. Whoop Yahh Brrrr (feat. Birdman)
11. Do It So Swag Big
12. Potato That Hoe
13. Dat Chicken n Dat Watermelons (feat. Arab)
14. Swag Tha Economy
15. Young, Rich & Inteligence (feat. Bow Wow, Lil B & Shawty Lo)

Paradise in a Flower

Bula Uro

(Fijian for an informal 'Hello')

Let's step into 'paradise' for a moment,
and check out
the Bird of Paradise flower

I fell in love with the Bird of Paradise flower
at my Grandpa Troup's funeral.
I was 8 years old.
I know, odd connection.
But that was the first time I had ever seen a flower like that.
It was stunning!
It was so bright!
The stem was thick, and the flower petals...
just so sci-fi amazing to me!
My parents let me take one home.
It lived in the back window of our car from Michigan to Kentucky.
I was very sad when it 'died'.

courtesy of TeleFlora

The history of the Bird of Paradise flower I find interesting.

Chuck Burgess
 is an HGIC Information Specialist at Clemson University.
He has a very informative page on the Bird of Paradise.
I also found some good info from Teleflora.

A photo I took at DisneyWorld

 The Bird of Paradise is native to South Africa.
It's botanical name is "Strelitzia reginae".
At first, botanists didn't know what to do with this odd flower!
It was once classified in the banana family because of it's leaves.
It didn't really fit.
They finally gave up, and gave it its' own botanical place!

a vintage hand colored engraving, 1840

Because the flower looks like a brightly colored bird in flight,
they gave it it's common name:

Bird of Paradise

Works for me!

painting by Johnny Karwan

Birds of Paradise Flower Meaning:
Birds of Paradise represent joyfulness and
[no surprise here]
They are also the 9th wedding anniversary flower!
Well, I agree. I think the Bird Of Paradise is a joyful flower.

Some Amazing Facts:

The plant will grow to a height and width of about five feet.
It has a trunkless, clump-forming pattern of growth.
The thick, stiff leaves grow to be
 about 6 inches wide
and 18 inches long.
The leaves are attached to a long stalk that sometimes reaches
5 feet high
Are you getting a picture in your mind, here?

I just never thought of Birds of Paradise growing in

Okay, there's more!
On the same up to 5 feet high stalks, the flower is blossoming.
And what a blossom it is!
Modified leaves at the end of the stalk
form canoe-like structures,
4 - 8 inches long.
Out of the 'canoe' leaves the blossom is formed.

{Check them out, they have fantastic patterns!!}

As the flowers open, pointed petals of brilliant orange are contrasted with the arrow shaped 'tongue' of vivid blue.
Beginning in late winter/early spring the flowers will open
one right after another.
Unless you live in Disneyland,
where you can find Birds of Paradise almost year 'round.
It is a magical place you know...

There normally are 1 - 3 flowers on each stalk.

note her website on the photo

There are actually 4 different kinds of Bird of Paradise.
They are identified by their color.
The most common,
Orange Bird of Paradise
is the one we all think of.

The second one is the
White Bird of Paradise.
The thing that impresses me about this one is
It is even Huge-er!!!
[gotta' love those made-up words...]
So it grows 5 - 6 feet wide
and about 18 feet tall.
The leaves look about the same, only much larger.
18 - 24 inches wide
and 3 - 4 feet long.
The flowers are larger (10 - 12)
and white, with a light blue tongue in a purplish bract.

I didn't find very many pictures that looked very attractive!

The 3rd kind is called
Juncea Bird of Paradise.
It is a variation of the Orange Bird of Paradise,
but produces a smaller flower.
It also has leaf blades that do not develop!
The leaves rise up from the base, at the soil line
(instead of the 5 foot high variety!).
The flowers do grow on a stalk, just like the one we're familiar with, but again, smaller flowers.

Okay, last but certainly not least,
The Giant Bird of Paradise
Just when I was trying to get my head around how big the flowers are, the 5 foot tall stalks, the clumping...
now we have GIANT.
Probably not a good backyard garden type.
It can grow 30 feet high.
The trunk (think clump) can be 20 feet.
The leaves are identical to the White Bird of Paradise,
except they are attached to the trunk in a fan pattern
on opposite sides of the trunk.
The flowers are white with blue tongues and reddish-brown bracts
only about 18 inches long.
They can be difficult to see as they are so high up.

Ya' think??!!!

Birds of Paradise are so striking.
They have inspired a lot of creative thinking in the arts.
Here is just one example:

Colleen, the Queen
birdofparadisegown, califashionista

Birds of Paradise, not blooming yet

God's creations are so stunning!
Think about all the unique characteristics,
coloring, sizes and shape -
All that effort into just ONE flowering plant.
He made a whole lot more,
all unique and special in their own way.
Big Wow.

I hope you have enjoyed today's step into paradise.
Maybe you need to add a little
into your life today.
I bet the town florist just might have a bloom for you....

You can even go get that hula skirt from
my past blog on Hula!