Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Only in California

Headline from LATimes:
Warren Beatty's transgender son Stephen Ira slams Chaz Bono

Get the whole story here. And people always say that Cali is America's future. Maybe I'll manage to die before the future ambushes me here.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I filched this from another blog and don't know its provenance. It should stifle any passing ingratitude. We're still lucky to be Americans, relatively prosperous, stable, and well nourished in a world mostly poor, shaky, and hungry.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mamawing & Pappying

Just see what you can do with trimmings from the neighbor's garden and a little fashion savvy.
Lily's been with us since late last week. She's generally an entertaining addition to the household. She's quick enough with language that you can actually hold a conversation with her, real exchanges of information delivered in words. Being in the presence of that much vigor is enervating for people our age, though. Even when she's not being obstinately two years old, she runs at pretty high rpms.
We're working up to the Thanksgiving holiday, my favorite of the year, it being dedicated to excessive eating and little corrupted by commerce beyond the selling of a lot of food. [The opening of the Christmas season is another thing altogether.]
We started expecting just three of us to eat here, but it seems to have grown into maybe eight or nine. I'll make cornbread dressing tomorrow, maybe put the capon in to brine [a small innovation this year], piddle at such things as I can do ahead.
We have a distinguished guest list this year and after-dinner conversation should be first rate ... and a generous hand has given a jug of aged Puerto Rican rum that sips almost like brandy ... and I have some pretty good cigars on hand. It's not hard to find things that merit gratitude in this life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fred on Ron

Fred Reed, my favorite public intellectual, writes on Republican candidates:
After all, Ron Paul is tiresomely predictable. He would say hateful anti-American things. You know, we should get out of damn-fool wars, pick the military leech off the back of the republic, dismantle an empire that bankrupts the US, and end our perpetual state of martial priapism against Iran. Completely unelectable. A commie, I figure.

Ron Paul is the only gentleman in anybody's party these days. Too bad that his gentility is read as weakness by those who prefer bluster and braggadocio. My wife threatens to send the Paul campaign a contribution. The big-time press continues to ignore or low-rate him, but I'd love to see an audit of the Fed and a pullback to Fortress America – a couple of things Paul espouses – and I suspect a lot of other people feel the same way. How can they take seriously Newt's logorrhea and ignore all of Ron's ideas, even the good ones?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dry, hot, and crowded

Lots of fuss a few days back about the seven billionth soul to arrive on this earth. Perhaps even some economists will have the wit to be scared, as there's no way we can begin to provide for that many people. The rebalancing is likely to be unpleasant and may, at worst, be violent.
I made a trip to see an old friend last weekend, drove out on I10 to Fort Stockton and up the east side of New Mexico. The only crops I noticed in southeast New Mexico were cotton, pecans, and alfalfa, three great water suckers. Guy at the motel where I stayed told me that they'd only had three inches of rain all year. Coming back, between Muleshoe and Lubbock, I saw a tumbleweed the size of a Buick rolling down the median. Soil from plowed fields darkened up the air, and there was scarcely a bit of vegetation. I lived in that country during the big drought of the 50s, and it looked a lot like what I saw out on the road.
From The Economist:
This year Texas had the hottest summer ever recorded in any state. In September wildfires swept through the town of Bastrop, outside Austin, destroying more than 1,000 homes. Thousands of cattle have been sold. The town of Big Spring, up the road from the oil hub of Midland, is planning to recycle wastewater for drinking; two of the reservoirs that supply the city are almost empty. The severe drought that has parched most of the state this year shows no signs of abating. The state climatologist reckons that it could last for the rest of the decade.

Read all that here. Nonetheless, people speak of growth as if it were desirable. Too damn many people in the world.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pipe this ... percussion by tractor

If this doesn't make you smile, there's something wrong with you.

Friday, November 11, 2011


We got lots of owls this year for some reason. Neighbor lady says that the big ones get right beside her boys' bedroom and make owly noises in the night. We walked across the street tonight to try to see one and finally caught it silhouetted against the moon. Pretty neat. We came home to establish which owl it was and found a perfect duplication of its song here. Click it and hear the thing talking.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Guy who sends me graphic stuff sends me a graphic of pain-reliever choices:
The graphic is really funny in a painful way. The painkiller thing is interesting, since I do a little more pain every damn day. One of the stranger conversation I've had in the last few years was at a poker game with a bunch of old pirates - shrimpers, gamblers, commercial fishermen, an oil well driller, poachers - tough old birds all. The subject of painkillers came up, and all went on for some time about their preferred analgesic. Everyone engaged with the topic.
The natterers do natter on about choices in life, how wonderful it is that we have such variety available. As with most purported progress, it ain't necessarily so. I eat only two kinds of cereal – Grape Nuts and raisin bran – and my wife pretty much eats only one. The cereal selection at the grocery store is five or six shelves high and runs the complete length of a aisle. I'm not convinced that this selection of cereal is essential to an orderly and happy society. I'd feel happier with a better selection of politicians and about a quarter of the available cereals and nothing more than ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin for the aching bones.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween in the Land of the Lotos Eaters

In the Republic of Peter Pan, Halloween's maybe the biggest holiday of the year. The Halloween parties in Austin are pretty much the nearest that the city gets to Mardi Gras. Look here for photos of H'ween on Sixth Street. No country for old men but a hell of a lot of fun for the young.