Thursday, July 29, 2010

Neat band

Somebody touted us off on this group a while back. They're really fun to watch and to listen to. I'm not sure anyone under 13 years should be allowed to watch the little gal playing kazoo on the first vid.

And as along as I'm tossing out quirky music, try Jake Shimabukuro, ukulele ace. Nah, really, he makes it sing.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


We love to boast about our extreme weather here, but the Great Plains states have some pretty scary stuff, too. Just last week an almost-two-pound hailstone was captured in South Dakota.
The damage is proof that it wasn't a typical South Dakota thunderstorm. Holes were punched through the top of buildings, and Les Scott will never forget what it sounded like.
"A guy throwing bricks at the house and many of them and it was scary," Scott said.

Read all here. Heavy hail is about the scariest weather I've encountered ... had an apartment totaled in Austin when big hail knocked out glass French doors and water from heavy rain poured in the place. I remember another a couple years later that left half the cars in Austin looking like someone had gone over them with ball-peen hammers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nor any a drop to drink

There's a site, Business Insider, that has wonderful, gooey doom in great measure and heaped up and overflowing. Look at this for some water doom. You'll come up on the Texas map, but click around to look at the others. There are too damn many people in the world, y'all, and they're all thirsty and hungry. Water is the next oil or maybe the oil after next.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Who could resist

Beethoven's #5 played surf guitar-style by The Ventures?

Just happened on it. I love that Fifties and Sixties surfer music for its essentially happy, angst-free spirit.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why are we in Afghanistan?

So, there I was this morning, settin out and smoking a cigar, reading, and finishing my coffee, when i caught on the edge of my peripheral vision a blip of tiny motion down on the sidewalk. Thought at first it was a cricket, but it moved froggishly and, in fact, turned out to be a frog no larger than my thumbnail and smaller than a cricket. Thinking to save it from the murderous feline vermin my wife cultivates, I moved it to a potted plant on the side porch. It was a beautiful bit of miniature amphibia.

What I was reading was von Clausewitz, Principles of War, not that I'm that mad at anyone. Clausewitz, in his section on strategy, wrote:
In regard to mountain warfare in general, we should observe that everything depends on the skill of our subordinate officers and still more on the morale of our soldiers. Here it is not a question of skillful maneuvering, but of warlike spirit and whole-hearted devotion to the cause; for each man is left more or less to act independently. That is why national militias are especially suited for mountain warfare. While they lack the ability to maneuver, they possess the other qualities to the highest degree.

Or, don't mess with mountain people in the mountains.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Inspiration to all eaters

This fat and furry little rascal, a marmot, nibbles its cracker with punctilious daintiness and obvious delight. As a fellow fat-and-furry, I salute him for his obvious good appetite.

I kited this funny vid from comments on a Serious Eats post. If you like food, Serious Eats is a fun browse, and there's a New York edition that makes understandable the impulse to live in that metropolis.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Got a note from and old-and-dear who happens to be the librarian here in **Adrift. Seems a county-wide blanket 10% budget cut will include the four libraries in Calhoun County. She wrote, in part, 'We need MORE open hours and activities for our children, NOT LESS. The bad guys are out there, ready and anxious to provide them with nurture of a sort, inspire them to illegal activities, and give them a home that's called a gang. Then there is the larger facility under renovation up the street. We're going to move into a larger library, and there will be NO additional staff hired? Sounds like all of us are going to be asked to work harder and do more, for less money.'
Governments all about the country at all levels are in terrible trouble, and something very like bankruptcy looms for several states. Still, libraries use such relatively piddling amounts of money and give so much to life ...
And, then, the Onion does one of their joke articles with more truth than not. Struggling High School Cuts Football—Nah, Just Kidding, Art It Is They chose Pennsylvania for this dateline, that state being as football-besotted as Texas.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Big boat race

The Texas Water Safari was postponed from an early June weekend and ran this weekend with a slightly attenuated field on high water. Boat #314 won, coming in at 7:40 this evening, several hours before the usual time. Most years, we're sitting down at the pavilion straining our eyes out over the bay, trying to catch a glimpse of a running light on a canoe; lot to be said for a finish in broad daylight.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A life well lived

Sometimes you come across a person in the public prints and wonder why you never heard of him before. Amedeo Guillet, recently dead, was an Italian aristocrat described by his biographer as 'too conservative to be a Fascist.' From the Financial Times:
Amedeo Guillet crammed rather a lot into his 101 years. He is best remembered for leading, on his white Arabian stallion, Sandor, a potentially suicidal cavalry charge against the tanks and 25-pounder artillery guns of Britain’s advancing “Gazelle Force” in the Horn of Africa in 1941. It was the last ever cavalry charge against British troops and earned the then Lieutenant Guillet the nickname Comandante Diavolo – the Devil Commander – from both his own men and an enemy that came to respect and even befriend him. Usually dressed like an Arab or Ethiopian tribesman, he became known in his native land as “Italy’s Lawrence of Arabia”.

And from Web site World War 2 Talk:
[The Italian commander in East Africa] gave Guillet command of the locally recruited Amhara Cavalry Bande, as well as 500 Yemeni infantry – approximately 2,500 men. With almost no armour, the Italians used Guillet's horsemen to delay the advance of the British 4th and 5th Indian Divisions when they crossed the Eritrean frontier in January 1941.
For nine months Guillet launched a series of guerrilla actions against British troops, plundering convoys and shooting up guard posts. At his side was his mistress, Khadija, an Ethiopian Muslim, for he never believed he would ever see Italy or [his fiancée] again. Two curious British intelligence officers pursued him: Major Max Harrari, later an urbane art dealer who would become Guillet's close friend, and the driven intellectual Captain Sigismund Reich, of the Jewish Brigade, who was eager to get on with the task of killing Germans.

Read the WW2talk post here. Pipe the pic of Khadija. Sounds like a guy who had a lot of fun in life. Our modern world leaves little room for men of Guillet's stripe to find their niches ... leading cavalry charges beats the hell out of trading stocks. Unfortunately, these are not times that favor romantics.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Public Radio

I listen to the radio only when I'm driving, and my station is almost always KVRT, the public radio station. Of late the KVRT announcers have begun nattering about HD radio and what a wonderful thing it will be. An old and dear has engaged himself against the UT public station in Austin and against HD. He got pissed when KUT set out to drop some longstanding programs generated locally. Once he got the management suits in his sights, he has persisted in his war against progress, for which all right-thinking Americans will commend him. You can see his side of the battle lines here. Austin's amazing in the way that people can get all fired up about something such as their public radio station. I remember maybe 20, 25 years ago everybody was so mad at the editor of the American-Statesman that there were 'Fire Ray Mariotti' bumper stickers all over town. That's real involvement with your local paper. 'Fire Chris Cobler'? Probably not gonna happen.
And off-topic, but interesting, this photo, meaningful today when the DJIA managed to ootch just above 10k, putting us back to where we were late in the last millenium.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

And a Happy Glorious 4th to all

We mostly kinda did our observance last night when the Pirate crew came visiting and we ate ribs and potato salad and sat out and drank wine. There was a little visible celebration coming from out on Swan Point, but I'm hoping for more tonight.
And for some of our accustomed decay, this, from Marist Polls:
'On July 4 we celebrate Independence Day. From which country did the United States win its independence?' A gimme, right? Everybody knows this, right? Look here for the results. Not as good as one might wish. Generally the older, the whiter, and the maler a respondent was, the more likely the right answer

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Obama makes expected immigration-amnesty move

And John Derbyshire, sly conservative, rips it:
Hoo boy, I've got a big fat juicy target here. Barack Obama delivered a speech on immigration. My mouth was watering.
The president did not disappoint. Every weary old cliché of the open-borders lobbyists was in that speech. "Nation of immigrants"? Check. "Seeking a better life"? Check. "Broken system"? Check. "Impossible to deport 11 million people"? Check. "Breaking up families"? Check. "They must get in line"? Check. "E pluribus unum"? Check. "Statue of Liberty"? Check. "Emma Lazarus"? Check. This speech was a cliché-o-rama.

Derbyshire is a mathematician, an immigrant himself from America's mother country, and thoroughly entertaining guy. Don't nearly agree with him on everything but always enjoy his take on things. I read the transcript of his weekly radio program here, though you can also listen to a rebroadcast.
The longer Obama runs, the less confidence I feel in his judgment. If there's a move that will anger almost everyone but the cheap-labor Rs and the racialist pressure groups, it's a move to hand out amnesty to illegal aliens present in the country now, and as far as most people are concerned, if the illegals are still here when the dust clears, there has been an amnesty. Why don't we find out if we can deport 12 million people before we just declare it impossible?