Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Guns Again

Holy shit.  Almost every day feels like a whole new depressing world if you attend to the news.  (There might be a lesson there.)  What does it mean?  What if all those NRA-cheerleading ballplayers had been carrying?  That would have made everything better somehow, right?  Maybe only 17 casualties instead of 5 or whatever it was?

Why do they focus on carrying guns in schools and churches and theaters and such?

Making money off munitions has sadly and obviously overtaken democracy and the associated very-labored-over foundational documentation of our country.  Gun sale profits have obviously come to trump personal rights.  And, in particular, the right to Life.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Young Man

Way too many musicians seem to be recently falling like Autumn leaves.  I especially hate it when I have to go looking for recordings to add to my collection after the artist is gone.  I try to reassure myself that you cannot possibly be on top of all of music unless you have a much narrower focus than I do.  E.g., you might be able to be a full maestro (or at least far more a savant than I) on the topic of Cambodian Calypso.  I hope there is such a thing.  But it is impossible to be truly aware of more than a fraction of the fabulous composers and performers, actually.  I'm delighted to be schooled on at least several seminal recording artists every year these days.  This is one.

I knew the name Mose Allison, probably just because I am a music nut.  I could not have told you anything about him.  When I heard he'd died recently, with that first name and musical genre, I admit I assumed he was an Afro-American.  From the description of his music in his obit, I needed to know more.  Finding he was from Louisiana and for a spell did college with the idea of Chemical Engineering of course intrigued me even more.  I had made a point of finding a music room where I could (as it happens, fruitlessly) tootle with my trombone while studying Chem E.

This guy could both compose and play, with a distinctive style.  And other musicians definitely picked up on that.  I had already bookmarked a couple YouTubes to illustrate my first remarkable finding on that score when I ran across an actual semi-professional blog post on the same score, although it pretended to be about Hulk Hogan.

But, for the record, I give you Mose and the Who:

Mr. Allison

The Who

For extra credit, here is what most of us probably have embedded from Live at Leeds

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Urban Gardening Addendum

Besides the bed-planting last weekend reported in prior post, I also started in 4" pots White Echinacea (2), Mixed Sunflowers (2), and for the first time here experimenting in tomatoes from seed, one each of Yellow Cherry and Yellow Ground-cherry.  I have all of those working their magic in our kitchen window.

Meanwhile, I started some Sweet Pea seeds soaking Monday night, and last night as a result planted 30+ from each of two packets, "Blue Reflections Mix" and "Old Spice" mix into eight 4" pots, also in window for now.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Ah, Domesticity! Or is That Urban Farming?

It is that season when many of us are inspired to put seeds in the ground or otherwise get busy playing with dirt and the out-of-doors.  My first offering of the year was a small planting (half a seed-pack) of snap peas a few weeks ago.  It took only the slightest of requests to interest granddaughter Jardyn in helping me yesterday plant out some scarlet runner beans and another allotment of snaps that I had soaked overnight.

The fava beans and garlic I planted late last Fall are coming along nicely, the former just threatening to bloom.

The wife has been intent on adding at least one raised bed in the front yard, which gets maximal sun in our location.  I was a little chary of this but finally conceded there could be some distinct benefits both in terms of sun exposure and in having the planting surface a couple feet elevated, sparing my lower back.

In the process of settling on a trough roughly 2'x6'x2' I also was able to track down a new saw blade for my pole pruner, allowing me to more-or-less finish taking the remarkable 8' water sprouts out of our most vigorous apple tree.  I am definitely feeling the effects of hoisting that pruner overhead for an hour+ yesterday and today.

Marg has been doing yeo-woman labor on the weeding of our flower and shrub beds, not to mention some tidying of the spillover of my pruning debris.  I still need to spend a couple more hours on the magnolia, being late in getting to that this year, but finding it possibly a bit easier after the bloom is done.

And I also today stripped the arugula and mustard that was headed for seed out of the new bulkhead planter Sean built for us last year.  Originally I was just going to get a start at some new seeding there, but when all was said and done it's full again: beets, three different lettuce and mesclun mixes, and interspersed poppies, cosmos, and malva.  It will be interesting to see how my last-minute frenzy plays out.

Monday, February 22, 2016

I Never Thought I Would Be Sayin' This

Maybe it is sort of like a broken clock.

Accurate twice a day as long as you don't attend to the Anno or Post business.

Before we dive in, do any of you recall the song My Grandfather's Clock?  I had not thought of it for years and yet it came upon me almost complete a couple months ago.  I heard a lot of fun anachronistic music growing up.

I dare not dwell on my abhorrence for the wholly gag-worthy trumpomania.  Leaving aside the all-too-numerous unnecessary wars our country has promulgated since the early 1960's, his campaign might leave the biggest single stain on the reputation of our country as a supposed bulwark and model of actual democracy and openness since the reign of reagan and before that of the noxious nixon.

Donald Trump, for all his obnoxious demagoguery, is adding value to the presidential campaign by calling former President George W. Bush to account for 9/11 and the Iraq war, which set in motion the growth and spread of al-Qaeda and the rise of the Islamic State. Former U.S. rulers rarely face consequences for the horrible things they do in office. Condemnation is considered impolite.
So good for Trump. Unfortunately, he shows no sign of having done his homework; so his charges against Bush are little more than soundbites, allowing Bush defenders to dismiss Trump as a kook. But this time he is not a kook.
Trump presumably does not mean that Bush knew where and when al-Qaeda would attack. Detailed foreknowledge is not part of the case against Bush. All we need to know is that Bush and his top people, starting with Vice President Dick Cheney, were too busy in their first eight months in office to bother about al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Too busy doing what? Among other things, they were too busy looking for an excuse to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
So excellent to hear the leading candidate of the party that has gone completely off the rails, no matter how loathsome he is as a person and demagogue and etc. actually speak those words.  The "party" whose banner he has more or less stolen is now conspicuously crippled by the spawn of their own long-time insistence on using hate-mongering, racism, and fear to motivate their pitifully whiny entitled white male former majority.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Where Are Hitchcock's "Birds" When They Could Really Do Us a Service?!

I'm a little hot under the collar over this "occupation" of the Malheur Wildlife Sanctuary headquarters building by these yahoo self-appointed "militia" types.  They apparently believe that the idea that they have bought into right-wing propaganda as to how bad the Federal government is should inoculate them against charges of sedition and criminality.  Or at least some of them, maybe.  There is pretty clear evidence that at least a few are only slight mutations on the career-plan, in lieu of actually having a career or a plan, that suicide by federal agent would make them forever a hero in the eyes of the children they were eager to leave behind for this "mission."

It only increases my sense of outrage that we enjoyed visiting this refuge a while back, including I believe the occupied building and a Round Barn in the vicinity that has been visible in some press photos.

I have been very tempted to label this an act of terrorism.  It certainly seems to have a lot in common with the idea of abandoning the accepted rules of established domestic protest, much akin to terrorism.  But I find the argument of UCLA Professor Mark Kleiman at Washington Monthly pretty compelling.  This is not an act intended to trigger feelings of terror, e.g., via a lethal attack on random civilians.

It is a traitorous act attempting to undermine the lawful authority of our government.  Kleiman describes it as a seditious conspiracy punishable by 20 years in prison.  Sounds about right to me.

As I assume was also the case for the 2014 Bundy compound faceoff with Federal authorities regarding their $1M in unpaid lease costs for grazing cattle on our public lands.

Let us hope both of these incidents are still very live topics for the Justice Department.

Incidentally, the third quite-long paragraph at the K link (I didn't really expect that you would peruse the whole article!) includes this:
The patriot side in the American Revolution, Algerian rebels against French rule, the Viet Cong, and elements of the ANC in South Africa and the IRA in Northern Ireland all used terrorism with some success.
Interestingly, posted side-by-side with the Kleiman article at Washington Monthly is an article by David Atkins arguing that the occupying militia folks should be treated just the same as ISIS terrorists!  I can't sanction his characterization of the thugs or his confrontational approach.  I would definitely approve of gradual snugging in of the net on these criminals.  Turn off the utilities.  Close the roads.  No deliveries (see below).

I'm not sure whether to compliment the WA Monthly site for their open-mindedness or slam them for lack of editorial consistency.  Given how frustrating I find the increasingly frequent evidence of on-line lack of even simple re-reading of posts, never mind proofreading or (gasp!) actual use of a trained editor, frequently low quality of on-line text, typos, repeated words, homonyms, and etc., the latter reaction is a strong temptation, but I am going with the former.

Meanwhile, there is some incriminating evidence that these folks and their supporters may be more than a few bricks short of a load.  If only that gummint check would come in so I could afford the gas I would be with you fighting oppressive government, brothers!  By all means at least skim the comments on these.

Oh wait, we're going to be staying for a whilePlease send snacks and socks!

Truly incredible.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

What Me Worry - Climate Change?

It was sort of a Rip van Winkle moment here for me, fighting through annoying error messages from this host that I have wasted too long trying to resolve for years.  No way I would have guessed that my last appearance here was in September!  Not that anyone hears this tree falling unless I catapult it out.

I ran across today perhaps the best and most succinct exhibition I have yet seen as to what we mean when we say "climate change," and likely due to human activity.

This is courtesy of Dan Satterfield, one of the meteorologists (another) that I tend to track regularly.  They're very smart and opinionated.  You might check them out if you are interested in weather, climate change, or the science (yikes!) involved in these pursuits and unafraid of troubling news.

Recent Dan:

The Climate’s Always Changing
This has to be the climate denier myth of the year, and it’s especially popular among politicians. I know of more than one climate expert, who upon hearing it from someone, likes to say:
 “Really?? I had no idea!! All those courses, all that math! All that physics! No one ever said a thing about that! I should get my tuition back!”

Okay, there should have been a sarcasm tag in there somewhere, but I know you understood that.

But just look at Dan's graphs.  The first shows temperatures for our orb for the last couple thousand years.  That's freaky enough, the way the right side seems to be headed into orbit, but the second graph to me is even more scary, showing how even in the overall rise-and-fall pattern of one climate variable over more than ten thousands years, we are now experiencing something entirely new and quite disturbing.

That is giving you credit for respecting science and considering factual knowledge a matter of some importance.  We are not going to convert any mouth-breathers with this post.

And Dan's parting words

So, the short of it is this: The silly claims by politicians that the temperature record (by 4 separate groups in 3 different nations) is not trustworthy, or that climate change stopped in 1999 (and all the other crackpot ideas) don’t amount to a hill of beans. If you want to prove that we have nothing to worry about, then you need to prove that greenhouse gases don’t trap heat. Good luck with that because you’ll have to overturn a century of physics. 

And his footnote

Note: I wrote this for the many folks who hear this “climate is always changing” claim on cable news and from politicians. Don’t waste your time sending it to your uncle who thinks the chemtrails are real, and climate change is a commie plot, because it won’t work. When your are beyond accepting evidence based fact, there’s little that can be done. It’s just for those of you who have wondered what the real science looks like.