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Saturday, December 21, 2019

What is the Purpose of Flies?

Is There A Purpose of Flies Or Are They Just Here to Annoy Us?

Flies are one of the most annoying and irritating insects.

Flies are extremely stubborn and do not go away despite trying to get rid of them. Now, do flies have a purpose at all? Let’s discuss the purpose of flies and why they are important for the ecosystem.

The Purpose of Flies

Flies include more than 110,000 species!

A few species do not fly but live as parasites or on islands or alpine areas!

Even mosquitoes are a part of the fly family! 

1. Flies Act As Pollinators

Flies like the bee flies and hoverflies pollinate flowers. They aren’t as efficient as bees but they visit flowers that are commonly never pollinated since they don’t contain the nectar that attracts bees. The odor of such flowers may not be very appealing but that doesn’t affect the flies. They include the red trillium, wild ginger, catnip or paw-paw.

Were you aware that if flies didn’t exist you wouldn’t be enjoying the taste of chocolate on a bad day? That’s right. The species of flies are known to pollinate seeds from cacao trees which help in the making of chocolate.

2. Flies Are Part of the Food Chain

The food chain is extremely necessary for the ecosystem to function right, and flies form an important part of it. They act as both a predator and a prey. Flies are a source of food for birds, other insects such as spiders, and mammals. Flies are also a part of the food source of fish, and fishermen sometimes use them as bait.

Other flies like the flesh fly act as parasites or active predators. Fruit flies are known to feed on yeast cells.

Flies are huge sources of protein and thus constitute a delicious meal.

3. Flies Contribute to the Process of Decomposing

Flies form part of the entire cleaning process of the Earth. They are great contributors when it comes to decomposing waste material. For instance, blowflies use rotting carcasses to lay eggs.

Maggots are known to feed on flesh that is rotting and thus contribute to decomposition. They can even be used in times when medical services are unavailable for certain types of wound care, as they feed on the rotting flesh of a wound, but they leave the healthy tissue untouched. These digestive processes are responsible for the release of all nutrients back to the soil.

By carrying out the process of the breaking down of organic matter they help make the soil a lot more fertile. This allows plants to grow better.

A few species of flies are referred to as “detritivores” which means they survive on the decaying matter. This is specifically beneficial when it comes to recycling.

Flies also lay eggs at places with a lot of garbage and trash so that when the eggs develop into larvae they have food nearby and can grow into adults. Fungi and bacteria also use the nutrients released by flies.

4. Carrier of Diseases

An important role played by flies is their ability to transmit diseases and diseases control the overpopulation of other animals. They are easily capable of flying up to two miles without too much effort, which makes them capable of spreading diseases in large areas without meaning to. They could have walked on garbage and then graced your dinner table.

Common house flies are known to spread diseases like dysentery, typhoid fever, and anthrax while mosquitoes might spread diseases like the Zika virus, yellow fever, and malaria. All this is just the byproduct of the natural behavior of true flies.

Concluding the Flies Purpose in the World

If it weren’t for the flies, it would be difficult for bacteria and other organisms to decompose dead matter. Their ability to help decompose matter quickly works on increasing the fertility of the soil.
They’re also very important for the food chain, as many species could be affected if they go extinct.
Several reptiles like the lizards feast on these tiny flies who act as prey. As predators, flies have a diet that consists of other tiny insects.
Not just the basic food chain, but these flies are pollinators as well. While bees usually drink nectar from attractive flowers and pollinate these, flies do the more gruesome job of pollinating those with horrible smell or that look rotten. This is one way in which rare plants are able to reproduce with the help of flies.

So like all other insects, animals, reptiles, birds, and fishes, flies also play a role in balancing the ecosystem and even though they’re absolutely annoying, they need to hang around for things to work right.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Saving the Seeds

So I did a little research this morning on how to save the seeds of my favorite plants in my garden so that I can use them next season to plant those same varieties and enjoy the deliciousness for yet another year. I found out that some seeds (my tomatoes and cucumbers) need to be fermented and some seeds do not (green beans and watermelons). I've picked a few tomatoes for the "experiment" and we'll see how it goes. With a little luck I'll have another round of delicious Tommy Toes, Cherokee Purples and Better Boy tomatoes, as well as Burpless cucumbers and pole beans (stringed green beans) for next year.

For more information you can Google the ISSI (International Seed Saving Institute) for more information.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pickled Green Tomatoes

I ran into a small problem of the branches on one of my tomato plants broke off, and I was worried about losing all that delicious fruit. Life gave me I made lemonade! I knew from previous experience that I loved pickled green tomatoes, so I found a basic pickling recipe, added acouple of ingredients to it to fit my tastes, and wa-la...lemonade! Once the jars cool off I'll put them in the fridge for a few days to let the flavors soak into the tomatoes, then I'll update this page with the recipe and directions.

Wish me luck

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Parking Lot Etiquette

We've all either seen or experienced the following:

A vehicle is backing out of a parking place. The back-up lights are on, and you can tell that the driver is doing everything "by the book." about two parking spaces away a pedestrian is walking towards the already-in-motion vehicle. The pedestrian sees the vehicle moving but continues walking anyway. The pedestrian/moron decides that the driver is an idiot for not watching where they are going and either yells at the driver or smacks the body of the vehicle. The driver immediately stops. The pedestrian walks past the car, makes eye contact with the driver, then makes some form of gesture - verbal or "hand signals" - indicating to the driver that they are the ones that made the mistake!

Personally, I own a lifted truck, designed for on- or off-road travel. The top of the bed of my truck is five feet off the ground. One thing I've noticed since I bought the truck is that there are a great many people in the Los Angeles area that are LESS than five feet tall! The only thing that saves their lives when I'm backing up is the fact that the wind caught their hair and blew it up into my line of sight. I even watched one man walk behind my truck while it was rolling and throw his hand in the air to let me know where he was (probably the smartest thing he's ever done).

When I grew up, parking lot etiquette was understood by everyone. The basic rules are as follows:
  1. If you are walking through a parking lot and see a car coming out of their spot, stop walking until it is clear! This way you don't "accidentally" get run over.
  2. When walking through a parking lot, cross the driving parts of the lot as if you were crossing a street! Look both ways, then cross at your own risk. Don't walk through the middle of the lane as if you are the king or queen of Dipshit Island!
  3. If you are driving through the parking lot, either looking for a spot or leaving the lot, and a car begins to back out of their spot just ahead of you...STOP YOUR CAR! The ten to thirty seconds that you are delayed will simply not ruin your day (and if it does, you were already going to be late anyway). The driver of the other vehicle doesn't get the crap scared out of them when they almost make impact with you or you lay on your "asshole button" (also known as the car horn). No one's day gets ruined. As a matter of fact, that person will probably pay it forward and not ruin someone else's day!
Those are pretty simple rules. Not all that complicated as far as I can tell. I used to think that maybe those rules were only taught to American children while they were growing up, because when I moved to San Diego it was only other ethnicities (i.e. not white or black...ahem...sorry...not "Caucasian" or "African-American") from other countries (read: Mexico) that broke basic rules of parking lot etiquette. But after I moved to L.A. I realized that it had spread like a disease through that area, to the point that I, myself, am the occasional offender!

We need to get back to basics in the parking lots. We need to teach our children the right and wrong ways before they become offenders. And maybe, just maybe, I need to pretend that I really didn't see that tuft of hair fly up over the bed of my truck!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Proposed Texas immigration law contains convenient loophole for ‘the help’
By Brett Michael Dykes

Texas has long been a hotbed of controversy on immigration issues. And a proposed immigration bill in the Texas state House is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows. The bill would make hiring an "unauthorized alien" a crime punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, unless that is, they are hired to do household chores.

Yes, under the House Bill 2012 introduced by a tea party favorite state Rep. Debbie Riddle -- who's been saying for some time that she'd like to see Texas institute an Arizona-style immigration law -- hiring an undocumented maid, caretaker, lawnworker or any type of houseworker would be allowed.

Why? As Texas state Rep. Aaron Pena, also a Republican, told CNN, without the exemption, "a large segment of the Texas population" would wind up in prison if the bill became law.

"When it comes to household employees or yard workers it is extremely common for Texans to hire people who are likely undocumented workers," Pena told the news giant. "It is so common it is overlooked."

Jon English, Rep. Riddle's chief of staff explained that the exemption was an attempt to avoid "stifling the economic engine" in Texas, which today is, somewhat ironically, celebrating its declaring independence from Mexico in 1836.

"Excepting household workers from a anti-immigration laws renders the law impotent and self-contradictory, just like the current U.S. immigration policy, of which it is almost a perfect microcosm," legal ethics writer Jack Marshall wrote on his blog. "It guarantees a measure without integrity that sends a mixed enforcement message and does nothing to stop the long-standing deplorable 'we don't want you but somebody has to do those menial jobs' attitude that has paralyzed our immigration policy for decades."

Rep. Riddle made headlines last year when she claimed unnamed FBI officials had told her that pregnant women from the Middle East were traveling to America as tourists to give birth, and then raising their children to be terrorists who could later enter the U.S. freely as citizens -- so-called "terror babies," a devious offshoot of "anchor babies." She became somewhat infamous on the web when she stumbled repeatedly in a CNN interview about the claims, complaining later that host Anderson Cooper's line of questioning was more intense than she had prepared for.

"They did not tell me you were going to grill me on specific information that I was not ready to give to you tonight," Riddle said when Cooper pressed her for more details. "They did not tell me that, sir."

Cancer - A Long Overdue Update

Part III – A Long Overdue Update

    It's been a while since I've updated this part of my blog; things have been a little crazy. My wife has now completed five of her six cycle of chemo, with the sixth one scheduled for Friday. Before the last cycle we received some amazing news; she's now cancer-free!

    She's still suffering from the side effects of the chemo, and she's confused as to why the sixth cycle is required, knowing that the side effects are cumulative (each cycle is worse than the last) and that she's cancer-free. The doctor has explained to her that the minimum treatment is six cycles, but she's concerned that the chemo drugs are indiscriminate in their killing, and that if there are no remaining cancer cells to kill, how many "good cells" are going to suffer? I understand her logic, but I'm the type of person that tends to "follow protocol" when I'm dealing with important things like this.
    The side effects are bad enough that she had to take a medical leave-of-absence from work. She's been home for about a month now. As far as we can tell she's probably going to be out until the end of July; maybe even longer, but we hope not. The sooner the chemicals are ot of her system the better as far as we're concerned. She was sick before we knew that she had cancer, then had three surgeries in January, directly followed by the chemo treatments. She's tired of "recovering," and she's defensive about getting the final chemo treatment.
    On a good note, now that we know she's cancer-free we're making plans for a victory celebration. Ideas are "a-plenty" for ways to celebrate; the most popular being a family vacation centered around either a cruise or a trip to another country. She also wants a formal party of some sort where the men's dress is coat-and-tie and evening gowns for the women. Whatever we end up doing, it's going to be amazing!

    When my wide was first diagnosed, one of her main concerns was, "Will I live through this?" The doctors assured her that she would and tried to calm her fears, but our day-to-day life, as well as our outlook on life-in-general, immediately began to change.

    Before the diagnosis we lived day-to-day; well, we existed, that is. But things we were either afraid to do or that we didn't want to waste time day-dreaming about suddenly had more of a sense of urgency about them; they needed to get done, and we needed to do them! My fear of heights took a back-seat and I decided that if she wanted to do something, I was going to do it with her! I didn't care if she wanted to do something as crazy as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane! Thank God she's dead-set against riding the rides on top of the Stratosphere hotel in Vegas!

    Personally, I had already made the decision that even if her condition had been terminal (and thank God that it isn't!) that I was going to do my best to complete the items on her bucket list before I even started on mine. Now that she's cancer-free we've decided to not only dream about things that we want to do, but we're going to do everything in our power to make those dreams happen.

    The lessons we're taking away from all of this:

        Follow your dreams!
        Live! Don't just exist
    ...and the old cliche:
        Don't sweat the petty stuff!
        Cuz it's ALL petty stuff!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

To Run for the Los Angeles City Council or Not?

I've been considering running for the office of L.A. City Council. Why not? I would have to be better than any of the current members! I'm fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and politically independent.

One of the things Southerners learn early-on (read: "in childhood") is a saying that goes like this: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!" Loosely translated it means that if you have something, use it until it is useless in its current form, then let it transition into its "next life"; worn out t-shirts became dust rags; worn out jeans became patches for other jeans that still had life in them; broken toys either became spare parts for other toys or targets for our bb-guns. And if you grew out of clothes before they had formally expired, they were passed on to someone else who could use them, or donated to a church or the Salvation Army. I've kept this mentality throughout my life. I also firmly believe that if I'm able to do something for myself, I would be silly to pay anyone to do it for me.

I struggle to maintain my frugality, but living in L.A. doesn't make that easy. L.A. and the state of California are going a HURRY! And my frugal nature has urged me to look into local and state governmental issues. I have learned that the base pay for a City Council Member in the City of L.A. is $171,648.00 per year with automatic raises every time the county judges get a raise...not to mention the perks! To break it down, that's $14,304.00 a month, $6,731.00 every two weeks, or $3,335.00 per week! Personally, I'd be willing to do it for about half that; a mere $85,824.00 a year. Better yet, round it down to an even $85,000.00 a year. I'd be fine with that. I'd also challenge the other council members to do the same, but I won't hold my breath.

So far I've saved the City of LA $86,648.00! And if all the other fourteen council members followed suit (HAH!) it would be a combined total of almost $1.3 million...per year!

Let's talk about pay raises. According to an article by Jill Stewart in the L.A. Weekly blog, INFORMER ( on October 16, 2008, the L.A. City Council members are the highest paid in the nation; $71,648.00 ahead of New York City. The L.A. council members' raises are tied to county judges' raises, which rise annually by the average pay raise of a state employee. Steeper boosts in judges' pay have also been approved by the legislature. "As the budget balloons in Sacramento and new rounds of pay raises are granted, judicial pay raises increase steadily - far beyond jumps in the cost of living." To make matters even more interesting, "Mayor" Villaraigosa, whose salary was $223,142.00 as of November, 22, 2009, makes 30% more than City Council members. Only one council member, Dennis Zine, who receives an LAPD pension on top of his council pay, voluntarily took a modest 10% pay cut of about $18,000.

Now, about those perks...L.A. council members enjoy huge staffs as compared to council members of other large cities, eight free cars per council member, virtually string-free $100,000 personal slush funds, about $1.2 million annually for office expenses; they even have a special clause that lets them get out of any parking tickets. Some council members, Janice Hahn, Richard Alarcon, Herb Wesson and Ed Reyes, for example, employ about 20 aides - each! The council continues to fight efforts to take away its controversial slush funds that are hidden from the public in plain sight under the misleading title of General City Purposes Fund.

I figure that if I run against my current council member and win, I can save the city's taxpayers several hundred thousands of dollars annually. The first year I would only accept aforementioned $85,000.00 for my salary. I would refuse the eight cars and use my own, accepting only the federal tax deduction of $0.51 per mile for all miles used for city business. Staff member positions would be combined until I was down to  staffers, who would also be responsible for providing their own transportation. Any thing remaining in my slush fund at the end of the year would be shifted to a budget in need, as long as that's actually possible. Office equipment would be used until useless or when it became more cost-effective to replace it, and the office goal would be to go as paperless as possible. There would be no city-provided cell phones; everyone has their own already, so why would they need two? And as far as parking tickets goes, I know the rules to parking on city streets. No need to get a ticket, much less dodge the fine for one.

And all the while I would be publicly denouncing the other council members for not following suit, and encouraging their constituents to run against them until either they did or they were removed from office! After that…on to the office of L.A. City Mayor!