Monday, October 31, 2011

Dia de los Deados

A greeting from our own witch's familiar, that limb of Satan, Verminella. We kinda keep the black cats close to home on Halloween.

And from the World's Worst Newspaper, an AP story by a woman returning to Mexico after a long absence:
The Mexico that I enjoyed so freely before has shrunk by as much as half if measured in territory no longer considered safe: The states of Durango and Tamaulipas, off limits, as is most of Michoacan. The cities of Monterrey and Guadalajara, the resort of Acapulco, and most recently, the port of Veracruz, bad and getting worse. Bodies are hung from bridges or dumped by truckloads in the street. Many victims are beheaded, and heads are put on display like Aztec trophies - or Day of the Dead candies.

Read it all here. It's a sad story, written by someone who obviously knows and loves Mexico. One reads little these days about the PRD, the breakaway leftist party, but I expect that we will hear from them on the next presidential elections. Bad economic times will make the old-time leftist message attractive in Mexico.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


One blessing for a newspaper is having editors on the desk who have the wit to pick up entertaining news off the wire ... stuff that's not local and maybe inconsequential but anyhow fun to read. So, this from the LATimes:
Who among us hasn’t barbecued a raccoon in a Tennessee parking lot and then gotten caught up in a meth bust?

Read it all here, and who could resist that lede?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maybe there's hope for the 4th Amendment

as it appears that more Americans have come to appreciate the intent of the 2nd. An interesting result from a recent Gallup poll:
A record-low 26% of Americans favor a legal ban on the possession of handguns in the United States other than by police and other authorized people. When Gallup first asked Americans this question in 1959, 60% favored banning handguns. But since 1975, the majority of Americans have opposed such a measure, with opposition around 70% in recent years.

Read it all That's gonna make the NYTimes ed page crazy. Snicker. Now if we'd just reclaim the 4th Amendment from the thugs at Homeland Security. And then there's the 1st, with its guaranteed right to peaceably assemble to seek redress of grievances, like maybe a grievance against crony capitalism and bought politicians. Buy a pistol, paint a protest sign.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ron rebels

My U.S. rep, Ron Paul, said in an interview that he found the exchanges disgusting in Tuesday's Republican debate. Paul's problem is that he is a gentleman in a scrum of ugly careerists and people ambitious far beyond their capacities. His gentility is likely to be mistaken for weakness by the pig-ignernt watcher used to seeing argument framed in a Jerry-Springer setting of unreal reality where the most overbearing participant prevails. Read all of Paul's comments here on Yahoo.

Reign, reign, go away

One of those annoying little aggressions on decent usage is 'free reign,' most often found in stupider comments on blogs but popping up today on the NYTimes, a paper – annoying PC quirks and crotchets notwithstanding – that purports to hold the highest standards of usage. The offending headline, 'Free Reign to Play Free Spirits,' is in some movie column today.
What they want is, of course, 'free rein,' as when a rider lets the reins go slack and allows the horse to go as it will. The Rants and Raves section in Spanish-language Craig's Lists is 'rienda suelta,' meaning the same thing – running free – and it's a good equivalent for RnR. It's easy to see how the idea of 'reign' in a sense of governance, of control, got this meaning in the minds of marginally bright Websters, but still, folks ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


We're whining lately about the amount of money we spend on groceries. About once a month, we have beef liver ... we both like it, and I cook it by a Marcella Hazan recipe that consists in simply flouring it and cooking it very quickly in a mixture of oil and butter, then squeezing a lemon into the pan. Lemon subdues the livery whang. I'ts delicious and cheap. But thereby hangs a tale. Maybe a year ago, the little one-lb carton of liver would cost one tiny American dollar. Such a deal for a bunch of protein for two people. Then a little while back, the price started showing up at $1.50. That's a 50% rise. The last carton was priced at $2. The gummint keeps on saying that inflation is minimal, but they don't count food, the thing we use every day and buy most frequently. We're supposed to get a little raise in SocSec in Jan, but it'll be all gobbled up by raise in Medicare premium. According to the HuffPo, we, collectively, aren't too happy with all this.
The misery index -- which is simply the sum of the country's inflation and unemployment rates -- rose to 13.0, pushed up by higher price data the government reported on Wednesday.

Read all that here.
And from CNBC, more of the same:
Think life is not as good as it used to be, at least in terms of your wallet? You'd be right about that. The standard of living for Americans has fallen longer and more steeply over the past three years than at any time since the US government began recording it five decades ago.

Read all that here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


There appears to be a another movie I won't see, this one called 'The Thing.' That will resonate with those of an age to have achieved perspective – a flick of the same name came out in the early 50s, starring Marshal Dillon in the title role of The Thing. May have been Arness's breakthrough part. Nothing new under the sun.
And another thing that came to mind with the announcement of the new movie:

This song was all over the radio when I was seven years old, but I find I can still sing along with Phil Harris. It was roughly concurrent with Hadacol jokes. You'll remember those, of course. Phil Harris was a funny guy and a good musician.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Too-damn-many-people dept

It has seemed to me for years that almost every problem in the world today – immigration problems, water shortages, unemployment, peak oil – is a function of overpopulation. Economists and industrialists love population growth ... pinheads boast about population growth, chambers of commerce encourage it, real estate people thrill to it, and it will destroy us all before we're done. Paul B. Farrell, a MarketWatch writer is one of the few people around who will engage with the subject. He writes that the Great God Gates has taken notice:
Overpopulation. That was the consensus “biggest problem” when a group of billionaires that included Gates got together at a secret meeting in Manhattan a couple of years ago.
Get it? Out-of-control population is the world’s No. 1 problem. Yet, governments with their $65 trillion global GDP aren’t even trying to solve the world’s overpopulation problem. They’re clueless. Can these philanthropists and their billions stop the coming disaster? No. In fact, their billions are accelerating the problem.

Read it all here and go write a check to Planned Parenthood, or by nastier second choice, hope for plagues and pestilence. Nature will assert her balance if we refuse to face the problem rationally.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs

Go here and read a wonderful address that Jobs gave at Stanford a few years ago.

Drier, more desperate

I read that Boone Pickens is manipulating to get access to large amounts of water out on the Plains, intending to sell the precious stuff to parched Texans. Atlantic Cities has a recent piece on the drought here.
As Texas struggles through the worst single-year drought in its recorded history, the state is looking uneasily toward its future. Rainfall is down, groundwater sources are being depleted, and the state is growing. All these conditions combine to envision a not-so-distant future in which Texas won’t be able to meet its water needs, according to warnings in a draft of the 2012 state water plan.

Read the whole thing I thought the dipstick on your doom tank might be showing a little low.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm an older man, so you can trust what I say ...

The Onion is so funny because it catches the inanity of the journalism we suffer under every single day, as when the nets focus on a fairly insignificant trial in Italy. Pipe this, with the proviso that it may bring a piddling blush of shame to the innocent cheek.

And, while I'm lagging the news biz, I gotta share this little gem by Gheni Platenburg from Page One of the Sept. 28 Vicad:
Tongue titillating smells of carne guisada filled the air as men on the Golden Gecko dance floor sensually and rhythmically turned and dipped women with flowers in their hair and high heels on their feet to the pulsating bongo beats, ardent guitar rifts and sultry lyrics of Enrique Iglesias' "Bailamos."

There is a category in the Bulwer-Lytton 'dark-and-stormy-night' contest for actual egregious journalism. I thought of entering this passage. Them little rifts'll get you every time.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Never dis the other guy's bbq

Pore ole Rick. Venturing out of the friendly confines of the Lone Star Republic, he's found many ways to alienate people whose goodwill he wishes most devoutly. The latest faux pas was a resurrected disparagement of Carolina barbecue that he made almost 20 years ago. The LATimes reports the story here. I'm pretty sure he was kidding, but it's funny nonetheless.