Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tango y fĂștbol

Perhaps one would do better to bet on the Argies in the next match, one against the Germans.

San Telmo is a neighborhood with a big street market, on Sundays I believe. They really dance tango in the street. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hurricane season

Well, Alex's about to be licking at the toe of Texas, and we're in for a couple, three days of hard rain falling, it appears. If it comes in as predicted it won't be stirring the BP spill into an emulsion that eats the north shore of the Gulf.
From an article on Grist by our very own Diane Wilson:
There are politicians out there -- we've all heard them -- who say this oil spill is just one accident and one accident does not a case make. Heck, one plane crashes and you don't stop flying, do ya? Well, this isn't just one accident. This is the biggest flame among the thousands of fires set by Corporate America on its Sherman-like march across the Gulf.

Read all that one here. The miseries with oil will only grow in the coming years; it won't get any better with the petroleum situation.

Vuvuzela chorale

Everyone's complaint about the World Cup [besides the officiating] has been the incessant drone of the vuvuzelas played by the locals during a match. Some whimsical German classical musicians have undertaken to demonstrate the versatility of the vuvuzela by playing a Brahms chorale and the old chestnut 'Bolero.' Watch and grin. These boys are working hard.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Korea photos

There's been recently a gathering in Victoria on the Korean War, and way overdue it is. Here is a series of Korean War pictures that ran in Life magazine back in the day. Vets of that war are saying that attention must be paid. Texan T. R. Fehrenbach wrote a fascinating history of the Korean War titled This Kind of War. I used to have it, but I lent it out, and now I don't have it. I should; it's insightful enough that I believe it's required reading at the Army War College.

The blob that ate Florida

The videographer-narrator is a bit of a twit, but the film is righteously scary. Please, no hurricanes this summer. Poor Gulf. I'm just sick of the oiled-pelican pix.
Saw Internet chatter about plans to evacuate Tampa if oil gets into the bay there. Can't vouch for veracity, but it would seem like a good plan to have ready if things come to that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gooool! USA 1, Algeria 0, TimeWarner –10

For some reason, we got into the World Cup this year and have been watching matches for two or three days, enough to understand some of the pleasure. Yesterday, between the morning and afternoon matches, ESPN and ESPN2 disappeared from our TV stations. No World Cup. Seems TimeWarner just shut them down. I watched this afternoon's USA game on streaming Univision, which offers distractions and a small screen.
It sorta tore things for us with TW, an ongoing stone in our metaphorical shoe. Last fall, they somehow lost the last game of the World Series, and stations disappear all too often. We decided to cancel, and herself tried, first by e-mail, which is disallowed, then by phone, which is futile. After four or five stabs involving long waits, she finally got a human. Said human wanted her to present at Corpus, about 80 miles away, with some paperwork we didn't have. We get maybe three or four dozen channels when we get them and habitually watch about six of them. Mostly, chugging through channels, I see trashy people sitting around pools or in hot tubs making inane conversation and ogling each other. Then there are the bogus science shows, where the narrator says stuff like, 'Some say the noise may have been made by the creature' or 'Science hasn't yet determined ... [whatever goofy idea they're hawking].' We're still not disconnected, but we'll figure out how to do it. Then we may just live cable-free for a while and see how it feels. TimeWarner sux.
Addendum from the primo having his own TW problems out in the West Texas town of El Paso: 'Numerous phone calls, 3 days waiting for them to arrive to turn on service, and 2 trips to tw offices by biggs field. No service yet. Grrr.'

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Learn to Operate a Linotype!

You gotta be pretty old to even remember the Linotype machine. It was invented about 1885 and revolutionized the printing trade, allowing an operator to do the work of several compositors setting type by hand. For a century-old ad in the LATimes offering Linotype instruction, look here. I was lucky enough to catch the end of the age of hot-metal printing. It was hot metal because it used a molten alloy of lead, tin, and antimony to cast slugs – the line o' type – that were used to print. It mostly replaced handset type, done by putting one piece of type after another in a composing stick, a little adjustable gadget, held in the left hand. When I started in the trade in 1962, handset was still in use for some big display work and top-quality ad work, where the compositor made aesthetic judgments about spacing between letters.
Benjamin Franklin could have walked into the Stilwell, Okla., Democrat-Journal, put on an apron, picked up a stick, and gone to work pegging type. The Linotype would have been exotic to him, but he would've loved it for its mechanical ingenuity, and the big press, powered by an electric motor, would have delighted him. We even had a little job press powered by a treadle, and on that Ben would've been right at home. Printing was a beautiful way to earn your daily bread back when it was a skilled trade instead of an office occupation. I wish I could do it all over; it was a very well paid, respected trade, and you could do it anywhere that printing was done.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Friend sends me this link to the 'most revealing pin-up calendar ever.' All is exposed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Miracle of science

Take a peek at this vid, sent by a friend who sends me stuff, of a baby hearing sound for the first time, thanks to a cochlear implant. His face tells the whole story.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rebellion in the hinterlands

Lee Harris, writing for the Hoover Institution, has some cogent observations on the Tea Partiers. Despised by the Establishment, the movement has some good points, the best of which, Harris observes, may be a healthy disrespect for the Establishment. Harris writes, in part:
The lesson of history is stark and simple. People who are easy to govern lose their freedom. People who are difficult to govern retain theirs. What makes the difference is not an ideology, but an attitude. Those people who embody the “Don’t tread on me!” attitude have kept their liberties simply because they are prepared to stand up against those who threaten to tread on them. To the pragmatist, it makes little difference what ideas free people use to justify and rationalize their rebellious attitude. The most important thing is simply to preserve this attitude among a sufficiently large number of people to make it a genuine deterrent against the power hungry. If the Tea Party can succeed in this all-important mission, then the pragmatist can forgive the movement for a host of silly ideas and absurd policy suggestions, because he knows what is really at stake. Once the “Don’t tread on me!” attitude has vanished from a people, it never returns. It is lost and gone forever — along with the liberty and freedom for which, ultimately, it is the only effective defense.

Read all here. Here's to that attitude.


U-Haul indicator:
Sacramento to Austin $2087
Austin to Sacramento $932
Pore ol Austin fills up with even more Californians.
An interesting map from Forbes on migratory patterns here. N.B.: These map data are from '08, before unemployment blew up. No doubt movement is more frantic now and more people are headed out of places like Phoenix and Las Vegas. Still, it's kinda neat ...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Our govt in real action

I guess everybody in the world's already seen this, but it's pretty amazing, a video of a a D rep from North Carolina and a college kid who asks him a question. Looks to me like a simple assault, but I suppose nothing will come of it. Something should.

What is it with the Carolinas?

The horror!

Here, from the American Bird Conservancy, is a map to chill the blood. It shows the big dump in the Gulf and areas of importance for birds. What a mess they have made in our water. This will take years, maybe decades, to sort out.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sat night misc

GM's Mexican employees make$26.40 a day, and US car companies are moving work down there.
Mexico’s share of North American auto production may rise at a quicker pace as General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC seek out workers making less than 10 percent of what their U.S. counterparts earn.

Read all that here. Thanks, guys. Could we shovel a little more money your way?

An interesting interview by German pub Der Spiegel Online with Daniel Ellsberg, the guy who leaked the Pentagon Papers:
Daniel Ellsberg: I voted for [Obama] and I will probably vote for him again, as opposed to the Republicans. But I believe his administration in some key aspects is nothing other than the third term of the Bush administration.

All that story is here.

And an interesting specter raises up out there in the bigger world. From The Telegraph of the UK, "Rising food prices could threaten political stability around the world, the UN's leading humanitarian official said yesterday." Read all that cheery news here. We are truly lucky in the US that we have loads of arable land we've not yet wrecked. If we can stop the suicidal tendency to invite the world in and crow about population growth, we are well situated to survive, and even thrive in, a time of food shortages.
Ag from the producer's point of view: "There are three easy ways of losing money - racing is the quickest, women the most pleasant, and farming the most certain." --William Pitt Amherst

Shrimpfest has been a huge success, with our usually empty streets full of cars and partiers. Had a first-rate lunch from the food stands - brisket taco, shrimp taco, and a big container of seafood gumbo. Good digestion is truly a blessing in the sunset years. It's reported that the local law had to drive one drunk home today, and that's the extent of mischief from Shrimpfest.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Brethren, ye are born to die

Nothing like a little jaunt around the **Adrift waterfront to remind us of the great cycle of life. The dead gar hanging on the pole put me in mind of a low-rent Damien Hirst piece, but grittier. The flies and the vulture know what it's all about. Something's waiting for them, too. Nothing is wasted in the bay.

And in the midst of death there is life; this is the weekend of Shrimpfest, our major civic celebration. It starts Friday night and goes on pretty much all of Saturday. They street-fair food is usually great, and the various pageants and contests are a sight to see. Regrettably, the Water Safari has been postponed until July, so there will be no sitting at the pavilion waiting for the boats to come in.
From the Shrimpfest Facebook page: "Tell everyone! Shrimpfest Seadrift, Texas June 11 & 12 / $5 Gate Fee. Volleyball tourney, softball tourney, horseshoes & washers tourney, beauty pageants, karaoke contests, tin boat races, seafood cook off & more. Entertain the entire family all day Sat. "

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I once had a midget from Prague ask me to hide him from the authorities.
I refused to cache even a small Czech.

Ha! That'll fetch 'em.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Well, in the last week I've covered fifteen hundred miles. More time out on the plains. I went to a 50th class reunion in Fort Sumner, N.M. Had a fine time, saw some people I've always considered friends but haven't seen for a half century. Stayed with a guy who's been a great friend since maybe 1953.
As an added bonus, I learned about a Web site that you can use to swap books with people all over the place. Go look at it at
My devotion to full and frank disclosure requires me to report that I was one of three nominees for 'Most Changed' on the male side. I can happily report that I lost. I think maybe my beard wasn't yet white back in the Fifties.
Sunday morning I was sitting smoking a cigar and got a call from a piratical friend who was about to get on the ferry to go out to see Fort Sumter, site of the first shots of the late unpleasantness. So, there we were all forted up two-thirds of a continent apart. I must report that New Mexico air makes happy my old bones, all dry as it is.
Things happened in my absence, the most interesting of which was the revelation that the phones in the Victoria County jail weren't secure for attorney-client communications. My primo, a public defender in El Paso, commented, 'We just went through that here. It's illegal in two different ways.
'Only cure is a warrant.'
And that for that. An old and dear who edits the house organ of the state defense lawyers' org also had the story posted, so Victoria got some attention in the lawyer trade.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Diane weighs in

**Adrift's very own Diane Wilson has a thing or two to say about the BP spill and all the other offenses against our sea:
There are politicians out there -- we've all heard them -- who say this oil spill is just one accident and one accident does not a case make. Heck, one plane crashes and you don't stop flying, do ya? Well, this isn't just one accident. This is the biggest flame among the thousands of fires set by Corporate America on its Sherman-like march across the Gulf.

Read all the story