Monday, November 29, 2010

Long time no tango

And then I found this, a five-year-old Chinese girl, an accordion whiz, doing 'La Cumparsita':

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Antipodal mockers

The tui is a bird of New Zealand, a bird that goes even beyond our beloved Mimus polyglottus in mimicry.

More Woof Woof talking here, but embed is disabled, so you'll just have to click it.

Break time

We've been in the full family mode this past few days. It's a truly amazing thing to hear grown women doing sing-song falsetto coos about poopies, but that's life with a baby. This baby happens to be a creature of rare beauty and intelligence [i.e., our baby], and I had a good time with her and never hit one falsetto note. We sat out and smoked cigars, spit, and cussed the gummint. She has a sly, if as yet inarticulate sense of humor, and can actually eat spicy food. Can your grandbaby do that? Hah. I thought not.
And besides that, the top executives of the pirate crew came by Friday night for dinner. Last week, the Mad Kayaker and his light-of-love came to dinner. They even brought me a gift, a book of limericks, almost none suitable for a family blog. I love it. It has scholarly disquisitions on the development of the limerick. Maybe we'll explore that later.
So, a bit of slack until the madness of Christmas ...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

& a wee dollop of gloom

Here's a repost from a guy who dwells on Peak Oil. It's painful to see how many of our half-baked economic stimuli are predicated on the idea that oil will just keep on a-coming. We talk new big highway projects, car companies surging back, loads of cheap energy flowing just like always. Ain't gonna happen.

Best holiday

As always, the excesses of Thanksgiving come through for me. I ate about six hours ago and intend never to eat again. I love cornbread dressing, maybe for the infrequency of its appearance. We have pretty much a standard meal, except for the cranberry chutney we have instead of that jellied stuff.
We have many occasions for gratitude: We stand upright and cast a shadow on days the sun shines. We have plenty of food and digest it well. There's a charming little girl churning around the house, throwing off giggles and glee. Nothing purer than the laughter of a little kid – no hip PoMo irony, no sarcasm – just unadulterated pleasure and delight in the present, emotions we olders catch only occasionally and for brief moments. We might oughta study toddlers for lessons in spontaneity.
On pleasure and delight, go here and find the magic of Israel Kamakawiwo╩╗ole, a voice so clean it will make you all teary. Can't embed, that's disabled. Poor Bruddah Iz did himself in with Spam and excess, I believe, and it's a loss for all.
And go here a raft of reasons that vodka is 80 proof. It's fun.
Mad Mike, the Pirate King, is back in our part of the world and has bought himself a motorcycle. Sixty-year-old bones knit slowly, but he knows that.
I hope everyone in the republic had as good a day as we did.

Monday, November 22, 2010

'Genealogy carried too far'

was the subject line on an e-mail from my wife, who's been on a genealogical tear for the last two or three months. She's been mucking around in Kentucky records and came across a wonderful quirky bit of research, some folks who have posted what they figure is their lineage dating back to Adam. Some examples of the assertions made about ancestry, jumping through the generations:
ADAM was born about 4026 B.C. in Garden of Eden and died about 3096 B.C. in Olaha, Shinehah. First man. Lived in the Garden of Eden until expelled by God. Name Meaning: man; red skin; red earth; clay; to be red. Patronage: gardeners, tailors. He married EVE about 4022 B.C. in Garden of Eden. (Click link for more on Adam and Eve) Children are: 1. Akilia (Aklemia) *2. SHETH(SETH) 3. Cain 4. Abel 5. Luluwa
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
BRUTUS (Brwt) APSYLVIUS , King In Britain who died about 1091 B.C. He married UNKNOWN and was the first King of Britain who ruled for 23 years. He leads his people out of Greece and settles on the island of Britain (in those days called Albion), where he becomes its first king, roughtly 1100 years before the birth of Christ. When a young man he makes a journey westwards and wandered forty-two years in Africa, and arrived, with his family, at the altars of the Philistines, by the Lake of Osiers. ...
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
SIR DAFYYD DAVID "SQUINT EYED" GAM was born in Wales and died October 25, 1415 in France. We are from the line of David Gam who was killed at battle of Aggencourt [sic] fighting for Henry V. His units actions got him knighted although he died of his wounds. ...
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
ROY THOMAS KASSINGER was born July 1, 1945 in Henderson County, Kentucky and married DORIS JUNE "JUDY" KASSINGER July 20, 1966 in Mclean County, Kentucky. Judy is the daughter of George Davis and Bertha Richardson and was born October 3, 1946 in Mclean County, Kentucky. (Adam and Eve are the 114th great grandparents of Roy Thomas Kassinger).

Pipe it all here. They claim to be pretty heavy on kings and such way back when but appear to have become rather more ordinary in these latter days.
Genealogy is interesting, but it's always felt to me like a term paper for no credit. I couldn't resist her nifty research site and ran a couple of my own lines back before 1650 here in America but saw no connection to Adam.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dog tucker for me

When I got back last Saturday from my little road trip, herself greeted me with a lovely plate of braised lamb shanks. Though they've gotten a bit dear of late, I've loved lamb shanks for years, started eating them in Chicago back in the late 60s. Because of rising prices for meat, New Zealanders find themselves eating lamb shanks and feeling reduced in circumstances because lamb shanks are considered fit for dogs down yonder. From the Press-News of New Zealand:
The price hikes are driving changes in eating habits.
Families are moving from expensive steak cuts to mince [hamburger] and lamb shanks, says William Eriksen, director of Auckland's The Neat Meat Company.
"They're getting the cheaper frozen cuts to try to stretch the budget out over the week, to try to feed their family.
"They're moving to cheaper cuts like oxtail, things that traditionally they wouldn't have fed to their dog a while ago."

Read it here and try to imagine that oxtail is cheap somewhere in this world.

Ron Paul Responds to TSA: Introduces 'American Traveler Dignity Act'

There's an interesting undercurrent of anger out in the ether about the obnoxious and invasive procedures at airports. Airport hassles make me so angry that I scarcely want to go anyplace these days. Yesterday, our own U.S. Rep Ron Paul throws a beautiful rant on the subject and says things that should be said more often and more loudly. We travel in misery, and it seems like the tearists have succeeded in disrupting the natural order of our lives.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Funny vid

They've got this thing you can do to make vids from input text. Some funny people are doing some funny stuff with it. I offer this example of goofy little cartoon characters discussing quantitative easing and the fed and like that.

And to boot, an economist joke I lifted from a site I like:
"A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, "Let's smash the can open with a rock." The chemist says, "Let's build a fire and heat the can first." The economist says, "Let's assume that we have a can-opener..."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rancho San Fulano Huitlatepec, the Summer White House, my dacha

A couple of months ago, I bought some acres, nearly six of em, on the outskirts of the Greater Buffalo (Kan) Metropolitan Area. There are nearly 300 people in Buffalo, but mi ranchito is just outside the city limits, so escaping some of the hurlyburly of people driving to Drake's for morning coffee at 10. Imna run up there this week to try to figure out what to do with it, shelterwise. There are two good wells, fine prairie grass, a pretty good old barn, and a bunch of peace and quiet. The treeline comprises mostly pecans and black walnuts, and poking around you'd find wild asparagus, morel mushrooms, and blackberry bushes. May just buy a FEMA trailer and pop it in the back corner, though I'd prefer something a little more substantial.
How far wrong can you go with good fertile soil in a crime-free community? I don't really expect a Mad-Max denouement to the current economic chaos, but it would be a good place to be if there were one. If, as I suspect, we merely continue to slowly deteriorate and to unravel the pathetic remains of the American middle class, el rancho will also be a pretty good place to have on reserve.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where's my pitchfork?

Want to know how low the American justice system has sunk? Wonder if the courts will provide a bulwark against the malefactors of great wealth? Snicker, snicker. One system for them, another for the rest of us. Be horrified by this story of a Colorado DA from the Daily Mail of the UK:
A financial manager for wealthy clients will not face charges for a hit-and-run because it could jeopardise his job, it has been revealed.Martin Joel Erzinger, 52, was set to face felony charges for running over a doctor who he hit from behind in his 2010 Mercedes Benz, and then speeding off.

Read the entire enraging story here.
And for an extra cringe, from the Web site of the prosecuting atty who didn't press felony charges:
As an experienced prosecutor, Mark [Hurlbert] knows it is important not to simply secure convictions, but to seek justice. He makes victims a priority and is dedicated to providing victims a strong voice in the justice system. ...
I don't suppose disbarment is possible here for this DA, but it should be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Striking a blow for freedom

We went and voted yesterday, but without much enthusiasm. I managed to run the table, voting for Ds, Rs, Greens, and Libertarians. I think the only winning votes I cast were for county judge and precinct commissioner and, of course, one for my quirky U.S. Rep, Ron Paul. Rick Perry and his overweening ambition are starting to get on my last nerve. You can just see the little wheels grinding slowly beneath that fine head of hair, and what he's thinking is, 'I can be president of the U.S. Why not? That other dumbass Texas gov did it.'
A comment from a blog I favor:
Today a friend, who is quite well educated (Texas Law Review, published on NAFTA in 1993 and predicted lots of the related problems with NAFTA and globalized trade generally), said he heard if Rick Perry is reelected as Texas governor and wins by a double digit percentage then Perry will run on the top of the GOP ticket for President with Palin on the bottom. I laughed. Then I realized he was serious. Then I threw up in my throat just a little.

And a joke a friend sent me:
"John Boehner will be the new Speaker of the House. It is the highest
elected office ever to be reached by an Orange-American." - Olivia

I noticed that Boehner had on an orange tie today at one of the press conferences. Could this be a secret signal to the other Orange-Americans that the time to strike is near? Nobody else in any of the political mobs wears orange ties. Boehner is such a hack. On the other hand, Nancy Pelosi is really creepy, a little more sinister than a hack. I spect the establishment Rs will be a little less pleased with their Tea-Party newbies the first time the TPers scuttle some move to shovel more gummint money on Wall Street. Assuming they would actually scuttle such a move.
And from German paper, Der Spiegel, a long and carefully written article on the American Dream that you can read here. It's very even handed and written more in sorrow than sch├Ądenfreude. For a long time, we ran an admirable country sorta devoted to the well-being of its citizens.