Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hail, Spring

In honor of the first day of spring, the A.E. Housman poem that I have read [or thought, since I pretty well know it by heart] every spring since I was the age of the one who tells the poet. I'm damn close up on my allotted threescore and ten, and it's still a good poem.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

No Irish Need Apply

It's a long-held grievance that Irish were systematically discriminated against in employment in 19th-Century America. A University of Chicago historian, Richard Jensen, has done a long and carefully researched paper indicating that the legend is simply that, a legend, and that Irish did about as well as anyone in similar circumstances. Teddy Kennedy was simply lying when he claimed to remember seeing 'No Irish Need Apply' signs. [It wasn't the only time Teddy lied.] Read the paper here. It's long but worth the trouble.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Día San Patricio

Here's to the great Gaels of Ireland
The race that God made mad
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad

So for St. P's Day, a vid I've lifted from a friend's Facebook posting:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lookie here!

Go to
lite-photos-japan-before-and-after-tsunami.html?ref=asia [copy & paste it; I can't make it co-operate] interactive story in the NYTimes. You can move the little bar in the middle from left to right and see the same scenes in Japan before and after the quake/wave. It's an amazing world, ours.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Antipodes

So, there's this half-frivolous bit going on about the China Syndrome on my favorite blog. Someone wondered where the Japanese reactors would come out if they melted all the way through the earth, and someone else posted that to find out you only had to go to an Antipode map. What more marvelous thing than the Internet to have an Antipode map? Here's an Antipode map. How could anyone resist finding about the place exactly against our feet – which is what antipode means – from where we stand now. For **Adrift, the antipode is about halfway between Madagascar and the western tip of Australia. You move the arrow on the top map to your locations, and the antipode shows up on the bottom map.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Late night, dark skies

Some nights I oughta go to bed early. Seems like tonight's Internet noodling has produced a deluge of depressing stories. First, there's a quake in Japan that's reported as an 8.8 Richter. That's a big mama-san quake. Then the econ news sites are surmising about $200/bbl oil if things get nasty in Saudi Arabia.
Then on Energy Bulletin a gloomer about impending unrelieved food shortages:
[F]urther expansion of the food supply appears problematic. World grain production per capita peaked in 1984 at 342 kg annually. For many years production has not met demand, so the gap has been filled by dipping into carryover stocks; currently, less than two months’ supply remains as a buffer
Read all that one here.
Wife went shopping today and came home complaining about the price of everything.
And then, from the Chronicle of Higher Education, a story about a bunch of smart Harvard low-lifes minting $$$ by thumping tubs for Gaddafi [or everhow you spell his name ... you seldom see it spelled the same twice]:
A consulting firm founded by Harvard professors in Cambridge, Mass., received $250,000 a month from the Libyan government to help polish the image in the West of its leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi ...

Read all that turpitude here.
Recently, Harry Reid has complained about the brothels in Nevada. The brothel operators oughta offer him a deal: You close yours and we'll close ours.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Honey badger

A bizarre vid I kited off a Facebook posting. Back in the Fifties there was a sorta bush-league Hemingway named Robert Ruark who wrote pelo-en-pecho books about mostly outdoorsy stuff. His book on the Mau Maus in Kenya may have had some useful warnings about the inevitable end of African independence movements. He wrote a book called The Honey Badger, more or less about his misadventures with women. The idea was that the honey badger purportedly goes for the crotch of men it attacks and literally castrates them. I have no idea if this is true. I don't imagine anyone has read Ruark for thirty years, though his hunting stuff was not bad. He wrote a good column for one of the outdoors mags.
Anyhow, this vid has the damnedest narration that ever you heard. You just hafta admire a beast as gritty as the honey badger. They are mustelids, one of my favorite animal families. When I was a little kid, I read a little-kid book about mustelids and have been fascinated by them ever since. Around here, mustelids are represented mostly by our friend Mr. Skunk. One occasionally grazes on the porch catfood. Met a guy over in Olivia who fed by hand his skunk residents. I always feel sorry for skunks this time of year, when the yearning for romance leads them to roam and get squashed on the road.

Monday, March 7, 2011

This is the coolest ...

The best technology almost always wins in the end, in this case a super air gun. Gives new respect for the old Daisy pump i used to murder sparrows when I was a kid. [Ain't the Internet a fabulous thing?]

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Food porn foto from wife in Austin

Some people like to excite envy in some other people when some people get to eat Thai curried noodles for lunch. But maybe, just maybe, if some other people had a big ol bowl of delicious homemade chili for lunch, then some other people are not quite so susceptible to excitation of envy.