Monday, January 2, 2012

Dear Diary - 1/1/12

This year I'm going to use this blog as a "Year in the Life of a Waterfall Hunter" type diary. This is the first entry:
1/1/12 - We spent the day in the Columbia River Gorge today. I finally visited Upper Latourell Falls for the first time and it was great. The waterfall looks like they took the top half of Bridal Veil Falls and glued it together with the bottom of Ponytail Falls. The wind was insane at the top of Latourell Falls; I kept waiting for a tree to come down. After a quick stop at Multnomah and Horsetail Falls, we hiked into Wahclella Falls for the first time. It's an amazing hike with a gorgeous creek, an amazing canyon with tons of little streams dropping hundreds of feet down the side of the canyon, and a great waterfall at the end. You even pass Munra Falls on the way, which drops about 3 feet away from the trail. I can definitely see why this is such a popular hike.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Holy McGillicuddy

About a month ago I found a spot on the Topos in the Deer Creek drainage that looked like a potential waterfall. The satelite imagery was inconclusive but it looked good enough for me to check out. After driving through a maze of logging roads, I located the creek. It was pretty good sized but it was rainy that day so I elected to save it for a better day.

Today became that better day. With crystal clear, sunny skies, I didn't expect to get any great photos of the possible waterfall but I figured I could determine for sure whether it existed or not. With dog in tow, I drove up the road to a spot above the falls and began a short, but fairly steep climb down towards the creek. As I got close, I noticed not one, but two waterfalls side by side.

The lefthand segment has the higher volume of the two and drops around 55' in two tiers. The right hand segment is smaller in volume, but drops a sheer 80' in a plunging drop. On the day I first scouted the creek, the volume of water was easily three times as much as today so this waterfall could potentially be much more impressive under the right conditions. I'll head back up in the near future with higher water levels and better photography conditions to really do this one justice. Until then, enjoy the video of the falls below:

Monday, January 31, 2011

No Name Nation's Top 7 Candy Bars

What are the greatest candy bars in the world? We polled the listeners of the No Name Show in an effort to find out. The results were stellar . . . and here they are (definitions from

7. Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme is a flat, white candy bar containing uniformly-shaped cookie bits similar in taste and texture to an Oreo. It was introduced in 1995.

6. Abba-Zaba are taffy candy bars with peanut butter centers, made by Annabelle Candy Company in Hayward, CA. According to the Candy Wrapper Museum, the first Abba-Zaba bars were manufactured beginning in 1922 by Colby and McDermott. Before Annabelle Candy Co. started manufacturing Abba-Zaba, the packaging featured imagery which some now consider to be racially biased. Annabelle Candy Co. will only say that the wrapper has been the same for as long as they have manufactured the candy.

5. Reese's Fast Break is a candy bar similar to the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. It is coated in milk chocolate, and filled with peanut butter on top of a nougat layer. While the bar initially had a blue and orange wrapper, the color scheme has since been inverted. Later formulations of the Fast Break have a stronger peanut butter taste. This candy bar was originally intended to replace breakfast, hence the name "Fast Break", as in fast breakfast.

4. Butterfinger is a candy bar made by Nestle. The bar consists of a flaky, orange-colored center -- somewhat similar in texture to crisp caramel, with a tast similar to peanut butter -- that is coated in compound chocolate.

3. Kit Kat is a chocolate confection which was originally created by Rowntree's of York, England, and now produced world-wide by Nestle, which acquired Rowntree in 1988, except in the United States where it is made under license by The Hershey Company. Each bar consists of fingers composed of three layers of creme-filled wafer, covered in an outer layer of chocolate. Each finger can be snapped from the bar one at a time.

1. (Tie) Snickers is a brand name chocolate bar made by Mars, Incorporated. It consists of peanut nougat topped with roasted peanuts and caramel, enrobed in milk chocolate. Snickers has an annual global sales of over $2 billion.

1. (Tie) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are a brand of candy filled with peanut butter, marketed by The Hershey Company. They were created in 1928 by Harry Burnett Reese, a former dairy farmer and shipping foreman for Milton S. Hershey. Reese was inspired by Hershey so he left the dairy farm to start his own candy business. The H.B. Reese Candy Co. was established in the basement of Reese's house in Hershey, PA, and used Hershey chocolate in his confections. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were his most popular candy, and Reese eventually discontinued his other lines. Several years after his death, Reese's company was sold to the Hershey Company in 1963 for $23.5 million. The H.B. Reese Company is maintained as a subsidiary of Hershey because the Reese plant work force is not unionized, unlike the main Hershey plant.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lying To Our Kids

What if you were reading through your child's history book and found the story of Abraham Lincoln leading the Revolutionary soldiers into battle against the Brits? What if the article included a photo shopped picture of Lincoln doing just that? What if you brought it up to the textbook manufacturer and they admitted that they knew the picture was fake but left it in there anyway? I suspect this would bother you. Yet our science books do this all the time.
One of the best known examples of "evolution in action" is the story of the peppered moth. The story goes like this:

The peppered moth comes in two forms, white with speckles and dark. During the industrial revolution in England, the pollution killed the lichen on the trees and covered the trues with soot, turning them black. Because of this, predatory birds were able to clearly see the white moths on the tree trunks and they got eaten. The population changed from mostly white moths to mostly black. After the pollution was cleaned up, the population reverted back to mostly white. This was supposed to prove evolution.

Most of the research on this subject was done by H.B. Kettlewell in the 1950s, but it turns out there are some issues with the story. Assuming the story is accurate, it doesn't provide a bit of evidence for evolution and many scientists no longer use it as an example. The only thing the story showed was a temporary shift in gene frequency within the given species. The genes for both white and dark moths was already present in the moths' DNA. No new genetic information was created with this shift in moth color. In fact, if the pollution had continued and every light colored moth had been eaten, the genetic information for light colored moths would've been lost! This is the exact opposite of evolution.
Of course, that's all assuming that the story is true. It turns out that those famous pictures of moths resting on the polluted tree trunks were staged. In some cases, dead moths were glued to the tree trunks for the pictures. And yet, every year, your kids are shown these pictures in their science textbooks and told that they provide proof for evolution. There is even debate about whether the moths rest of the trunks of trees. Other scientists have determined that bats may be the primary predator of the moth so the color of the moths would be irrelevant in the first place. Clearly, there's more to this story than what the kids are taught in school.
No matter where you may stand on the issue of creation vs. evolutionism, I think everyone will agree that the makers of our children's textbooks should not be knowingly using fraudulent photos in the textbooks and yet they do. This bothers me and I think it should bother you too. The End.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Top 7 Disney Animated Classics

On last night's No Name Show, Steve and I discussed our Top 7 Disney Animated Classics. The members of the No Name Nation also got in on the action by voting for their favorites as well. I have combined all three lists and now present to you, the official . . .

7. MULAN - To save her father from death in the army, a Chinese maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China's greatest heroes in the process.

5. (TIE) FANTASIA - A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.

5. (TIE) ALADDIN - Aladdin, a street urchin, accidentally meets Jasmine, who is in the city undercover. They love each other, but she can only marry a prince.
4. LITTLE MERMAID - A mermaid princess makes a faustian bargain with an unscrupulous seahag in order to meet a human prince on land.

3. ROBIN HOOD - The story of the legendary outlaw is portayed with the characters as humanoid animals.

2. LION KING - Tricked into thinking he killed his father, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future king.

1. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - Belle, whose father Maurice is imprisoned by the Beast (really an enchanted prince), offers herself instead and finds a prince inside the Beast.

There you have it. Now if you haven't seen any of these movies, go watch them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top 7 Filthy Baseball Terms

A while ago I put out my list of the Top 7 Filthy Bowling Terms. After giving it some thought, it turns out that baseball may be even dirtier than bowling! So, I figured I should probably list the seven filthiest baseball terms as well. As always, there are some honorable mentions (or in this case, dishonorable mentions). These include the term "up the middle", "choke up", and the various terms for bats (stick, lumber) and fast throws from the outfield (hose, rope). Now, the actual Top 7:

7. Foul Ball - This is a term so dirty and filthy we've used it for the name of our softball team for the past 3 years. In baseball terms it means a ball that is hit outside of the fair lines. In dirty terminology it refers to a malodorous scent proceeding from the scrotilia. A corollary to this term would be "foul pole".

6. Hidden Ball Trick - With a runner on first, the first baseman will call time out and have a conference with the pitcher at which point the pitcher secretly hands him the ball. After returning to his position, the first baseman proceeds to tag out the clueless runner as he leads off first base. I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out the dirty version because I haven't quite worked the details out myself.

5. Get Good Wood - In baseball this means to make good, solid contact with the ball when hitting. The dirty use of the word is pretty self explanatory. If you can't figure it out for yourself, the good folks at Pfizer can help you out:

4. Bush League - The "bush leagues" are any of the small, independent leagues that used to be popular throughout the country where has-been and never-will-be players would find themselves stuck. The term could also refer to a competition in which the goal is a certain part of the female anatomy.

3. Find A Hole - Hitting it "where they ain't", or finding a spot in field where the defense can't get the ball. In baseball, there are a vast number of holes you can find. In the business of love there are only 3 or 4 possibilities.

2. Chin Music - Throwing a high, hard fastball at the hitter's head in order to "send a message". Without getting into all the sordid details, the filthy use of the term is synonymous with the phrase "take one off the chin".

And finally . . .

1. Double Header - In baseball, two back-to-back games in one day. In adult talk, it means . . . oh come one! You can figure this one out for yourself.

There you have it! The Top 7 Filthy Baseball Terms. If you feel I've missed something, feel free to post it in the comments below. Keep your eyes open in the future for other Filthy Sports Lists and anything else I fee like commenting on.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Heath Care

So Congress today passed the "Historic Health Care Bill". So, you ask, "What does Aaron think of this load of crap?" Wait! Maybe you should rephrase that question. "What does Aaron think of the health care bill getting passed?" That's better.

Pretty much anyone who knows me knows where I line up politically. I'm very conservative; and when I say "very conservative" I mean Reagan is Lenin and W is . . . I don't know . . . some sort of semi-retarded communist dictator. I think the Federal Government's job is to protect us if we get attacked and ensure my rights aren't violated. That's it. It's not the government's job to make sure I can get my lung cancer operated on after I've smoked for 30 years. If I slip down a cliff and break my neck while trying to get to a waterfall, that's not your responsibility and you shouldn't have to pay for it. I'm tired of people thinking the Federal Government is a momma cow and we're the calves in there trying to find a teet. Where do you think that milk comes from in the first place? The "30 million Americans without health insurance that are now covered" is a huge steaming pile. A third of that group are illegal immigrants who shouldn't be covered to begin with. Another huge chunk are people in their 20s and 30s who could afford insurance but have decided they don't want to buy it because they don't think they'll need it. Three quarters of the citizens in the country were against this particular version of health care reform. How in the world did this get passed? It's just like how the "pretty, popular girl" wins the Prom Queen every year even though most of the kids in the school secretly hate her. The Congressmen are voting yes because they'd rather impress the Prom Queen than vote for the girl who deserves to win.

So now what happens? The state of Idaho has already passed a bill/statement/resolution/whatever saying they will sue the Federal Government if they pass the bill. Something like 37 other states are working on similar bills. The tenth amendment to the constitution (remember that thing Congressmen, Senators, and President?) basically states that any task that isn't specifically given to the Feds in the Constitution is off limits. The Feds have no right in schools, the arts, and certainly not in health care. With the passage of this bill, the Federal Government is requiring citizens to spend their money on something they may or may not want. This is unconstitutional no matter how badly you want health care for all. Idaho and other states are perfectly within their legal rights to sue on the matter and they will. Ultimately this whole thing is going to end up in the hands of the Supreme Court where we will have another States' Rights Issue to resolve. The Supreme Court has generally sided with the states in these issues but I'm having my doubts. In the words of the ancient philosopher Obi Wan Kenobi, "I've got a bad feeling about this." This decision will be about more than just health care. It will be about how far the Feds are willing to go to push their agenda on the states and how far the Court is going to allow them to go. No matter which way they decide, this is an important moment in America's history. We will either confirm that we are indeed a Republic of individual states and the most free country in history, or we will confirm that the original ideas of our founding fathers are no longer important. Let's hope for the first one.