American Elephants

The Concours de Castells in Tarragona, Spain by The Elephant's Child

The Concours de Castells in Tarragona, Spain is a human tower-building competition. It is a long tradition in the region, castells began at the end of the 18th century. The sport has rules, techniques, and team responsibilities to guard safety and success. The pinya or base is made of a few hundred people that can catch anyone who falls. The tower itself has a variety of different formations. The top three levels are the pom de dalt, made up of children in helmets. This 2010 video by Mike Randolph shows why safety and teamwork are so important.

Strange and interesting sports. I’d be a spectator.

Can We Just Talk Straight About Terrorism? by The Elephant's Child

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have charged two men living in Canada with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack against a VIA Rail passenger train inside Canada. The RCMP said the two men planned to carry out an “al Qaeda-supported” terror attack to derail a train, which was also aimed at harming the economy.

The Police said, at a news conference, that the two men were receiving guidance and direction from  al Qaeda related elements in Iran. The men are not Canadian citizens. There was no imminent threat to the public, but had the terror project come to fruiting, innocent people would have been killed or injured.

The Obama administration has gone out of their way to make light of the threat from terrorism, but the evidence merely points out the presidents state of denial about the rising threat. CNN’s homeland security analyst, Juliette Kayyem asserted “We have not had (even) a small-scale terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.”

We have suffered a number of major attacks, and most of them have taken place on Obama’s watch. Since 2009, terrorists have attacked our military bases, assassinated our diplomats, burned our embassies and murdered  innocent spectators at a sporting event and ambushed and shot police officers.

— June 1, 2009: Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad shot and killed a military recruiter and wounded another at a Little Rock Arkansas recruiting station. A convert to Islam, Muhammad identified with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

— September 2008: Afghan native Najibullah Zazi was arrested before he could blow up the New York City Subway.

— September 2009: Police nabbed Jordanian  Hosam Maher Husein Smadi before he could plant a bomb in a Dallas skyscraper.

— November 5, 2009: Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major psychiatrist opened fire at Fort Hood Texas, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” as he killed 13 fellow soldiers and wounded 29. He was advised by al Qaeda operative Anwar Awlaki. Homeland Security has defined this as a workplace incident.

— December 2009: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was tackled by passengers before he could detonate explosives sewn into his underwear. He was trained in Yemen by al Qaeda.

— March 4, 2010: John Patrick Bedell, a Muslim convert, shot and wounded two Pentagon police officers at a checkpoint in the Pentagon station of Washington Metro in Arlington, VA.

— May 2010: A massive bomb was planted by Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan failed to explode in an SUV parked in Times Square. He was trained and funded by the Taliban.

— October 2010: Chicago synagogues discovered explosives packed inside two printer cartridges shipped by cargo planes from al Qaeda in Yemen. The attack failed.

— Sept. 11, 2012: On the anniversary of 9/11, al Qaeda operatives attacked the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. The armed assault targeted the consulate compound, and a nearby CIA annex. The U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens was killed along with three others and ten others were wounded in a 7 hour gunfight.

— April 15, 2013: Two Muslim jihadists set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 183.  The terrorists shot two police officers, killed one, and injured several others. One of the brothers is dead, the other in custody.

The administration continues to downplay Islamist terrorism, and proposes talks with the Taliban and with Iran.

The “Arab Spring” was mistakenly assumed to be a movement for democracy in Arab North Africa. The movement was perhaps inspired by televised shots of Iraqis, male and female, proudly voting in free elections. That was considered the equivalent of an earthquake in the Arab Middle East, where oppressive dictatorship was the norm. But Arabs had no experience of Democracy, and the Muslim Brotherhood was ready to step in.

No terrorism here, nothing to see. Just move along.

How Crayons Are Made by The Elephant's Child

I love watching assembly lines, seeing how things are made. It’s no wonder so many science fiction stories portray a society that suddenly doesn’t work at all; and we’re all left to try to cope, and we don’t know how to make anything useful. Did you learn how to make fire in Boy Scouts? And snares? We are useless without our electricity and creature comforts.

Bach, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” from Cantata 147 by The Elephant's Child

In a Japanese Forest, — and Sung By Alien Robots.


Things Are Not Always What They Seem. by The Elephant's Child

(h/t: thekidshouldseethis)

The Making of Nike Football National Team Jerseys by The Elephant's Child

Football here refers to Soccer, not American football. But this is what happens to all your recycling. Well, not all, just the plastic bottles. Kinda cool though.

[(h/t: NikeBetterWorld)

Automation is now complete. Robots learn your last useful skill: by American Elephant
March 24, 2013, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Fun n Games, Humor, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

Your last useful office function has been automated — you are now obsolete.

Why We Love Our Cats, Illustrated. by The Elephant's Child

Some are cat people, and this charming video explains why we love our cats so much. Some are dog people and have no understanding of affection for cats at all, and vice-versa, of course. And some of us are cat and dog people, and as far as that goes, horse and bunny as well. I briefly had a pet chicken, but that wasn’t too satisfactory and he ended up as dinner.

We once, against my better judgment, had a rat. Nice spotted one from the rent-a-pet facility at the children’s museum. This was oldest son’s idea, and the rat seemed to be a nice fellow though I can’t get over my problem with rat’s tails. This was before we had a cat, I should add. Anyway, we were transferred, put the house up for sale, and had an interested couple looking at the house with hopes for a quick sale. Which were dashed as the rat dashed out from behind the washing machine. Son had let him out to play. Sigh. Never saw that couple again, though the rat was returned to the children’s museum, and we did eventually sell the house.  We are now more deeply informed about the process of selling a home.

Ravi the Juggler by The Elephant's Child

Have you ever tried to solve the Rubik’s cube? How about solving it while juggling?  Thought not. Never fear. Just Google Rubik’s cube and all sorts of helpful guides will appear, or videos if you prefer. Ravi, however is pretty amazing.

Christmas Gifts for Republicans! by American Elephant


There is still time to order our authentic reproductions of the official, iconic 1980 Reagan campaign t-shirts, and other great designs and have them delivered by December 24th using standard shipping. Our t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, mugs & other gear make perfect gifts and stocking stuffers for every member of the family!

Shop now!

Cat People and Dog People by The Elephant's Child

Love me, love my idiosyncrasies, accept my nature, for I am a dog.  I am a cat.

(h/t: Vanderleun)

I’ve Got a Bunch of Drunk Robins In The Yard by American Elephant
October 23, 2012, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Environment, Fun n Games, Science/Technology | Tags: , ,

Dozens of robins are in the midst of a three-day, fermented-berry-bender in my yard. They spend the whole day eating berries, getting plastered, cackling, flying about drunkenly, smashing into windows and pooping on everything in sight. It’s quite amusing.

The trees are mountain ashes. There are two at my house. The picture undoubtedly comes from a gardening book because it is quite perfect. Mine are scraggly and yellowed, having dropped half their leaves, partly because it is October, but more because the berries have now reached a stage of desirable fermentation. The robins are having a blast.

I’ve no idea why robins are such notable alcoholics, there are lots of other kinds of birds here who don’t seem to succumb, but these birds are partying like they’re out to prove something.

I’ve been told that the robins in the Bay Area go after Pyracantha berries, also red,  as well, get stinking drunk and poop all over everybody’s cars. Lots of Pyracantha in California. The people who plant them have no idea what they’re getting into!


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