Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

It's midnight, fireworks are sounding all over town, the blue dog is cowering in the bathroom, and my guests have departed. Had a splendid group of friends and a great meal. A fine evening and a good year to all.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas [little boys' delight edition]

Folks, I don't have to make weird things up ... the world provides them. The Catalans of Spain are a singular bunch of people. The singularity extends to their Christmas customs. They add an extra character to their creches, traditionally a little shepherd boy squatting with his pants down, evacuating, as we say. They've expanded from that to putting in eminent people in the same role, caught with their pants down, but not in the usual way. Some recent ones have included the Pope and the Queen of England, not to mention American presidents. You have to read the whole story here and watch the little vid.
One of the interesting insults of age is the partial loss of hearing. What happens is you lose the consonants and pick up the vowels when people speak, then guess what the whole thing was when it was spoken. Sometimes, you just smile and nod, hoping that was the appropriate response. It saves asking Huh? over and over.
I was astonished a couple weeks ago when I heard my wife say something from the next room about 'foxy gays farting.' That's the sort of thing that can't be dismissed with a smile and a nod; it demands an explanation to the baffled auditor. Turned out she'd received an invite to a Boxing Day Party. Oh, well.

Coastal Christmas

Despite a chilly norther that's blown in, it's pretty good here. We opened our presents this morning. I'm happy to report that I got a new veg peeler and can opener, juniper berries, cardamom, and black mustard seeds, plus a splendid pepper grinder from my best foodie buddy. Oh, and a new toothbrush. At this point, we like utilitarian or consumable for our presents. We're gonna have prime rib and a good bottle of Chilean red in a bit. Good friend's coming across the street to join us.
My mother was born a hundred years ago today in a dugout on a homestead claim in Cuervo, Guadalupe County, New Mexico Territory. She saw a lot of change in her lifetime, from riding in a stagecoach to watching men walk on the moon.
The mobile with the flamingos lives a couple blocks down the street from us. The inhabitants pay attention to their place; herself calls it The Martha Stewart Trailer.
I hope everyone else had as good a Christmas Day as the one we've enjoyed. We actually have some tomatoes getting ripe in the back yard. Paradise!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

OK, OK, can't resist 'em

A nifty job of putting clips together to make a nice little vid.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A real smile

A digital rendering of the Christmas story. Click it and enjoy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Poking the tiger

Crazy Koreans are messing about with bad joss. Look on this map of shipping traffic in real time. Click on it to enlarge, then put your little rectangle over the coast off Korea. Someone on another blog points out that there's not a bunch near Korea. Click on a ship and you can even get data on the individual ships, vessel's names and speeds, country of registry, and like that. Pretty cool, huh?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wings over the border

From the world's worst newspaper, an odd bit of borderiana:
A Mexican drone crashed in El Paso's Lower Valley, sparking a federal investigation and raising questions about why the aircraft was in U.S. airspace.

Read it all here. The story didn't say anything about cargo on the little-bitty airplane, but it would surely have occurred to the narcos that radio-controlled planes would be a nifty way to move stuff across the border. I should thing that anything like this flying anywhere near Ft. Bliss would be likely to upset the U.S. military more than a little. The comments are nearing 500 on this story and some of them are a hoot to read.
In other border news, doctors in Cd. Juárez have been on strike this week in protest against the impotence of the Mexican gummint against the violence in poor Juaritos. Doctors can get caught in the middle when the shooting starts. Cartel gunmen have been known to barge into hospitals to put the finishing touches on botched assassinations, and those people don't much worry about collateral damage such as nurses and doctors and non-target patients.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Inspired madness

One beauty of the Net is the possibility for truly peculiar people to put themselves forward and to find each other. This Brit with his crooked teeth is a prime example:

Ain't it wonderful? Vid thanks to Oompa Ma, who knows my delight in such.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

PSA, sorta

My friend McKee, kayak paddler, archaeologist, cemetery boffin, a guy I met while I was working for the Vicad, has a ladyfriend, charming woman, who scuffles dealing antiques and tchotchkes at various trade fairs and such. Her HQ is the Canton First Mondays. She has a Web site here that is kinda fun to look at, and she might have something that appeals to you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

'Tis the season

We went to town Tuesday, mostly doing some clean-up Christmas shopping. I was at the big mall around 11 that morning, and if I were subject to feelings of loneliness, I woulda felt lonely, because there weren't many people around. I have no idea how retail receipts are running this year, and I understand that it was a weekday. Still, things looked sparse, with clerks outnumbering customers. Whipped through Ross Dress for Less checking out the goods on the day of the Old Guy 10% Discount. Not much there ... they seem to have spaced out their merchandise to make it looked stocked but with much less actually on the racks. We ate lunch at the intermittent pizza joint - Melanzana, I think - next to Hastings, which joint I am happy to see is operative for the moment. It's a shrunken descendant of the lamented Toscana, but the food is top notch and service was good, not always true in the last go-round there. I bled out money at the customary rate of about $60 an hour, and was happy to get home. Truthfully, I've done most of my shopping this year on the Internet, as I imagine a lot of people have done.
More in anger than sorrow, this story from the Guardian about a bank in Ireland paying out outrageous bonuses while the people of that country are beat bloody by demands for austerity to bail things out. Wonder if there are any POed Paddies who remember how to build a bomb?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday travails and pleasures [mostly pleasures]

We ran up to Goliad yesterday to hit the Christmas market and visit friends and their new house. Goliad is refreshing among SoTex small towns. It is clean, lively, and seems to be thriving, in contrast to such sad dumps as Bloomington and Refugio, places that are hangdog and defeated. Refugio has history, Refugio has some nice old buildings, so why doesn't Refugio have tourists swarming around for Christmas shopping? If I knew how a village can be made to thrive, I'd bottle it and sell it, but anyhow Goliad seems to have found the recipe. Regrettably, Ralph with the cheap spices wasn't there this weekend. I'd meant to restock some things. Maybe we'll catch him later.
Our friends have built a beautiful new house in a bosky dell a few miles out from town. They scuttle out for their jobs and get home as quick as they can, and I don't blame them. It was a fine thing to see, and peace comes dropping slow, with critters domestic and wild and lots of native flora. The full-length windows were crowded with ladybugs who'd miscalculated a hatch because of the warm weather, a move they're no doubt regretting by now. No traffic on Hennig Road, no madding crowds, no noise. These folks have it figured out.
And a bonus: 'In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.' -John Adams

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I love it

Pipe this. Kids' underclothes imprinted with 'Read the 4th Amendment Pervert' done in magnetic ink that will show up on the TSA's scanners. This is a proper spirit of rebellion.