Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday Gold and Silver Prices

From Gold Is Money.info
Silver is $10.81 (noooooo!) and gold is a few cents about $844.

Where's my cheap silver!?!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday Poetry




Paul Curtis

"Christmas Shocking"

Well worn festive tunes
Blare out
Hapless faces
Stare out
Faces strained
Bemused, Confused
Lists gripped tight
Pens ticking or deleting
Then onward
Loaded trolleys
Wildly steering
Zig zagging
Aisle to aisle
Every item
Must be had
Gin for her
Beer for dad
Chocs and cakes
Chops and steaks
Turkey, stuffing
Nuts and fruit
Frozen this
Pre-packed that
Pop and juice
Something’s loose
Everything ticked
On the tight gripped list
Nothing missed
Merry Christmas wished
Hundreds of pounds
Of Christmas bought
The festivities can begin
Relax in the knowledge
The shops will only be shut
For twenty four hours

Paul Curtis on Author's Den

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A New Gun

I want a new gun. I need a new gun. What I want/need is a .22 auto pistol. The leaders in that field are Ruger (ehh...), Browning, Smith and Wesson, Beretta...anybody else?

Hmm. Looks like my first job is finding out who makes .22 pistols. Oh dear--research.

Ha!

Gallery of Guns Gun Genie

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Intelligent Design

my ass.

The weekend after Thanksgiving was LosCon, a local science-fiction convention.

Saturday night of the weekend was the masquerade. I sat on a chair in a ballroom behind some guy who was photographing or videotaping the event. This guy held his camera up to get a better angle; that angle pretty much blocked my view. So I ducked down to see around his arms and killed my back doing so.

It's over a week now and I'm still recovering. Grr.

Samantha was cute as "Young Kaylie" in the masquerade.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Saturday Poetry

When I post Saturday Poetry, I try to find poetry that's different, interesting, relevant.

Well, it's December and I hate the Christmas season. So I don't want to post any Christmas poetry. So what else happens or happened in December?

From Brainy History, lots of stuff happened on December 6th:

In 1992, SF 49er Jerry Rice catches NFL record 101st touchdown
In 1957, AFL-CIO votes to expel Teamsters (readmitted in October 1987)

In 1732, 1st play in American colonies acted by professional players, New York City
In 1492, Haiti is discovered by Columbus, at Mole Saint Nicolas
And in 1160, Jean Bodel's "Jeu de St. Nicholas," premieres in Arras.

Well, Brainy History screwed that up--scholars believe Bodel was born about 1165 - 1167. But December 6th is the feast day of St. Nicholas, and the prologue references that day, so the date of the premiere (but not the year) is correct.

"The Play of Saint Nicholas" is a miracle play, in that "Musselmen" (Muslims) are converted en masse through a miracle performed by St. Nicholas.

From Robert Levine's English department page at Boston University, here is some of Eugene Green's translation of Jean Bodel's Le Jeu de St. Nicholas:

The Preacher

Listen up, listen up, ladies and gents
--'cause God Almighty is keeping your souls--
For your own good, don't screw up!

I'm aiming to speak to you all tonight
Of St. Nick the true confessor
Who's turned over many an outrageous trick.

Those knowing who he is have been often struck,
As perusing his life, to find

That a king of pagans sometime ago
Had Christians neighbors, almost cheek by jowl.
Every day gone by brought another scrap. 10

Day one the pagans launched an attack
Just at the time the men of the Church
Had no idea of the fight coming on.

At once tricked and surprised,
Many died or had to give up.
The enemy Christians quickly flaring out,

The pagan pursuit turned up a sage in a chapel
Kneeling in prayer, before him a carving
Of venerable St. Nick. The felons
Seized him, the curs, and soon 20
Mocked him enough and knocked him around.

Then they took the carving and sage,
Ringed him tight and held him close,
Till they had him down before their king,
Himself aroused by the victory.
It took no time to lay out the tale,

For the king to know the Christian's fate.
"Old geezer," said the king to the sage,
You put your faith in this piece of wood?"

"My lord, indeed, for this is Saint 30
Nicholas' statue, the saint I most love.
To him I pray and cry that no one
Who speaks from the heart will
Be lost to him for good and all.

And he's the great guardian
Who triples and profits
Whatever one asks him devoutly to keep."

--"Old sack, I'll have you stuck,
If he doesn't triple and guard
What I own; I put it to him 40
To save your rotten skin."

So the king had him locked up,
His neck in an iron sling;
Then he had his coffers opened
And laid the statue right on top.

At which he said, "If anyone
Steals it and if he can't
Bring it back, it'll be
The Christian who'll have to pay."

Thus he had the business done 50
Until thieves had wind of it;

One night, some three hatched a plot
To grab the carving and steal away.
And when they made off
God soon stirred them to find
some sleep: a drowsiness fell

So strong they had to take rest,
Somewhere, I guess, in a shed they had.

But to the point of Nick's miracle,
I'll go on to what the book says. 60

When the king heard and saw
That he'd lost the carving,
He understood that he'd been had.

He ordered that the sage be brought to him;
Eyeing him now, the king then said:
"Old bag, you think I'm tricked!"

The sage could barely answer the charge,
So hard his guards twisted his arms,
One way pushed, pulled the other.

The king ordered his death, 70
A hateful end, execrable pain.
"Oh king, in God's name, a brief delay!"
Not now or tonight!" the Christian said,

"Just time to see if St. Nicholas
Will come and rescue me."

Reluctantly the king agreed.

And here the book says that
He had him collared again,
In his cell praying till dawn,
In tears as he called his saint. 80

Not forgetting his sage,
Saint Nicholas was underway;
He'd come as far as the sleeping thieves,
Stirring them up where they lay.

And now when they saw him,
They at once were moved
To do what he willed.
And he, without delay,
Made them return the statue
In all haste right where 90
They'd first seen it,
Just where it had been.

So when the king had discovered
The miracle's truth,
He had the Christian sage
Summoned, freed of his bonds.
Baptised himself, he stood
As godfather for his men;
He soon became good and wise,
And never more committed a crime. 100

My friends, we can read the saint's life-
Tomorrow's his day, his feast.
Yet there's no need to marvel
If ever you've had a bad break;
For all of you will see us show,
For sure, some clear examples
Of Nick's great feats
As I've told you just now.
This miracle of St. Nick's
Is the story of our play. 110
Then, quiet everyone and give us an ear.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Poetry

From American Rhetoric

Washington's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, delivered 3 October 1789, New York:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their Joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the greatest degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executived and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

From Early America.com:
While there were Thanksgiving observances in America both before and after Washington's proclamation, this represents the first to be so designated by the new national government.

After their first harvest, the colonists of the Plymouth Plantation held a celebration of food and feasting in the fall of 1621. Indian chiefs Massassoit, Squanto and Samoset joined in the celebration with ninety of their men in the three-day event.

The first recorded Thanksgiving observance was held on June 29, 1671 at Charlestown, Massachusetts by proclamation of the town's governing council.

During the 1700s, it was common practice for individual colonies to observe days of thanksgiving throughout each year. A Thanksgiving Day two hundred years ago was a day set aside for prayer and fasting, not a day marked by plentiful food and drink as is today's custom. Later in the 18th century each of the states periodically would designate a day of thanksgiving in honor of a military victory, an adoption of a state constitution or an exceptionally bountiful crop.

Such a Thanksgiving Day celebration celebration was held in December of 1777 by the colonies nationwide, commemorating the surrender of British General Burgoyne at Saratoga.
And from The Papers of George Washington:
On 25 September 1789, Elias Boudinot of Burlington, New Jersey, introduced in the United States House of Representatives a resolution "That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness." The House was not unanimous in its determination to give thanks. Aedanus Burke of South Carolina objected that he "did not like this mimicking of European customs, where they made a mere mockery of thanksgivings." Thomas Tudor Tucker "thought the House had no business to interfere in a matter which did not concern them. Why should the President direct the people to do what, perhaps, they have no mind to do? They may not be inclined to return thanks for a Constitution until they have experienced that it promotes their safety and happiness. We do not yet know but they may have reason to be dissatisfied with the effects it has already produced; but whether this be so or not, it is a business with which Congress have nothing to do; it is a religious matter, and, as such, is proscribed to us. If a day of thanksgiving must take place, let it be done by the authority of the several States." [1]

Citing biblical precedents and resolutions of the Continental Congress, the proponents of a Thanksgiving celebration prevailed, and the House appointed a committee consisting of Elias Boudinot, Roger Sherman, and Peter Silvester to approach President Washington. The Senate agreed to the resolution on 26 September and appointed William Samuel Johnson and Ralph Izard to the joint committee. On 28 September the Senate committee reported that they had laid the resolution before the president. [2] Washington issued the proclamation on 3 October, designating a day of prayer and thanksgiving.

Whatever reservations may have been held by some public officials, the day was widely celebrated throughout the nation. The Virginia assembly, for example, resolved on 19 November that the chaplain "to this House, be accordingly requested to perform divine service, and to preach a sermon in the Capitol, before the General Assembly, suitable to the importance and solemnity of the occasion, on the said 26th day of November." [3] Most newspapers printed the proclamation and announced plans for public functions in honor of the day. Many churches celebrated the occasions by soliciting donations for the poor. Washington's secretary, Tobias Lear, wrote to John Rodgers, pastor of the two Presbyterian churches in New York City, on 28 November, that "by direction of the President of the United States I have the pleasure to send you twenty five dollars to be applied towards relieving the poor of the Presbyterian Churches. A paragraph in the papers mentioned that a contribution would be made for that purpose on Thanksgiving day; as no opportunity offered of doing it at that time, and not knowing into whose hands the money should be lodged which might be given afterwards--The President of the United States has directed me to send it to you, requesting that you will be so good as to put it into the way of answering the charitable purpose for which it is intended." [4]

Washington enclosed the Thanksgiving Proclamation in his Circular to the Governors of the States, written at New York on 3 October 1789: "I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency a Proclamation for a general Thanksgiving which I must request the favor of you to have published and made known in your State in the way and manner that shall be most agreeable to yourself." [5]
The bracketed numbers refer to footnotes at the above website.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Depression and Me

I'm not really depressed. My therapist told me, early on, that I was dysthymic, which meant instead of the ultra-highs with depression, I just get "exhilarated".

Hmmph.

I'm on a mood leveler, Lexapro, 30mg/day (one 20mg tablet and a second tablet snapped in half). It's a daily practice, one I've tried to keep to with religious fervor, because if I wind up skipping a day...or more...when I run out...and don't or can't renew the prescription...dumbass...I get kinda emotionally unstable.

I feel less grounded, less centered, less in control of my emotions and reactions to them and to other people (hey sweetie!), more reactive (in a bad way), less thoughtful or mindful of what's happening to me as a result.

But I'm not under indictment for anything that I've done while off my meds. And that's a good thing!

From the Revolution Health Network,
Exercise isn't a cure for depression or anxiety. But its psychological and physical benefits can improve your symptoms.

"It's not a magic bullet, but increasing physical activity is a positive and active strategy to help manage depression and anxiety," says Kristin Vickers-Douglas, Ph.D., a psychologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
So right now I'm aware that I need to exercise and that I'm not making the time to do that.

Dumbass? Yes...

So Obama won the election, strange people are coming for Thanksgiving next week, Christmas is coming and there are birthdays right behind Christmas.

I'm fat, I hate the way I look, I have no money of my own and I'm afraid to go back to work.

Sigh.

I suppose confession is good for the soul, but there's no guarantee that it'll be my soul that it's good for.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day

November 11th is the most famous armistice of recent history (20th Century), but it is not the only one.

From Wikipedia:

An armistice is a situation where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but can instead be just a cease fire. It is derived from the Latin arma, meaning weapons and statium, meaning a stopping.

A truce or ceasefire usually refers to a temporary cessation of hostilities for an agreed limited time or within a limited area. A truce may be needed in order to negotiate an armistice. An armistice is a modus vivendi and is not the same as a peace treaty, which may take months or even years to agree on. The 1953 Korean War armistice [1] is a major example of an armistice which has not yet been followed by a peace treaty.

(snip)

The key aspect in an armistice is the fact that "all fighting ends with no one surrendering". This is in contrast to an unconditional surrender, which is a surrender without conditions, except for those provided by international law.
Other armistices in history:

--Armistice of Copenhagen of 1537 ended the Danish war known as the Count's Feud.

--Armistice of Stuhmsdorf of 1635 between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Sweden.

--Peace of Westphalia of 1648 that ended the Thirty Years' War.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekly Silver Melt Price Report

$10.19 / troy ounce. Hmmph. Well, better than $20/oz.

And gold is under $750! ($744.36). Hmm.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Poetry



The Mayflower Compact 1620

The artist, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris depicts how he thinks passengers of the Mayflower looked signing the "Mayflower Compact." Included are Carver, Winston, Alden, Myles Standish, Howland, Bradford, Allerton, and Fuller. Starting in the early 20th century, Ferris created a series of commemorative interpretations of early American development called "The Pageant of a Nation."

Created/Published : July 28, 1932

Creator : Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1863-1930, artist.

Notes : Reproduction of an oil painting from the series: The Pageant of a Nation


From The Avalon Project at Yale Law School (documents in law, history and diplomacy)

Agreement Between the Settlers at New Plymouth : 1620

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

From The U.S. Constitution Online: The Mayflower Compact

The Pilgrims are a revered and honored group in American history. The stories of survival, of relations with American Indians, of the first Thanksgiving, and of religious freedom found, are the stuff of American legend. One of the cornerstones of the Pilgrim ethos is the Mayflower Compact.

The Pilgrims were a small group of people bound by common religious beliefs. They did not believe in the influence over the church that the English king held, and preached separatism. This position did not sit well with the King, and by 1608, many of them left England for Holland, which was more tolerant of religious diversity. Though some of the group prospered, the time in Holland was hard. In particular, the group saw the children assimilating into Dutch culture, and they lamented the lack of opportunity to spread their interpretation of the Gospel to the far corners of the world.

The leaders began to think about moving. The two main proposed destinations were Guiana and Virginia; there was also some thought of going to Dutch America, specifically to settle near the Hudson River. Eventually, though, financing was secured to pay for settlement in New England, an area north of the Virginia settlements. Two ships were hired for the voyage - the Speedwell, to transport the passengers, and the larger Mayflower, to transport cargo and to do exploration. The Speedwell turned out to be unseaworthy (reports arose that its crew sabotaged the ship to get out of their contracts), so the Pilgrims and other colonists brought in by the investors crowded into the Mayflower; about twenty passengers had to be left behind. The ship finally sailed for America in September of 1620.

In November, the Mayflower spotted Cape Cod. They tried to sail south to the Hudson River, but turned back north when they encountered shoals. They anchored at Provincetown Harbor, at the northern tip of Cape Cod. While anchored and awaiting exploration to find a suitable place for colonization, the colonists decided that their contracts with their investors were not valid, not the least reason being that the promised land grants for New England were incomplete (the grants were finalized while the Mayflower was in transit). The colonists decided to enact a contract among themselves. This contract, later known at the Mayflower Compact, is now seen as one of the first forays into democracy on the North American continent.

In the Compact, the signers agree to bind themselves into a society to preserve order and to help further their aims. They agree to create offices, laws, and constitutions that will aid the common good. Finally, they agreed that such laws would be supreme and agreed to abide by them. In a nutshell, this is a classic embodiment of the Lockean idea of government (though it predates Locke), an idea carried on to what some consider its ultimate embodiment, the U.S. Constitution.

The original Compact is lost to history, but its text was recorded in 1622 in a book about the Pilgrims and the founding of the colony at Plimouth (now Plymouth), Massachusetts. The book, entitled Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth, was published in London.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday Poetry


Matt Mason
Matt Mason

In Support Of A Ballot Measure Permitting Major
Political Candidates To Eat Their Young (1992)

I will do whatever it takes to be re-elected.
--George Bush

I
Wee Willy Clinton refueled his bus at the Casey's
down the road last week, every wave and word
creating unnatural frenzy. And Georgie-Porgie-
President-Pie kissed my ass
and made me cry, but when the boys
came out to play, it was Ross who ran away.
(AP Washington When rearranged, the letters in "George Herbert
Walker Bush" can spell "Huge, berserk, Rebel
Warthog." So far, the president has refused to
comment except to blame his opponents for
"negative campaigning.")

II
Larry Agran calmly waters his lawn,
speaks without a teleprompter, doesn't seek motes
in the political pasts of anyone.
He dressed for the party
but went to the wrong address (they
assure him).
Lenora and Andre show far less tolerance,
throwing popcorn at Larry King
as the leading three candidates pose like bachelors
on The Dating Game and promise
two thirty second spots in every hour
and a value on every family.
Their writers and coaches are state of the art,
veterans of Cold Wars and Cola Wars;
every inflection is artfully crafted for
we hold these truths to be self-evident
that all polls
are created equal.

III
And it is our duty,
one nation under
goddammit, Madonna wants me to vote,
Jesus hasn't endorsed anyone
(despite what the press releases claim) and no one
bothered to channel Elvis or take
an informal survey among the voting-age
members of New Kids On The Block
yet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Silver Down!

Under $9/oz! (8.94)

Which means? Cheap silver, eventually.

(And gold is under $750...hmm...)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Poetry



Hilaire Belloc

1870 - 1953

October

Look, how those steep woods on the mountain's face
Burn, burn against the sunset; now the cold
Invades our very noon: the year's grown old,
Mornings are dark, and evenings come apace.
The vines below have lost their purple grace,
And in Forreze the white wrack backward rolled,
Hangs to the hills tempestuous, fold on fold,
And moaning gusts make desolate all the place.

Mine host the month, at thy good hostelry,
Tired limbs I'll stretch and steaming beast I'll tether;
Pile on great logs with Gascon hand and free,
And pour the Gascon stuff that laughs at weather;
Swell your tough lungs, north wind, no whit care we,
Singing old songs and drinking wine together.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Poetry



William Cullen Bryant

1794 - 1878

October

Aye, thou art welcome, heaven's delicious breath!
When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
And sons grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief,
And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delay
In the gay woods and in the golden air,
Like to a good old age released from care,
Journeying, in long serenity, away.
In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
Might wear out life like thee, 'mid bowers and brooks,
And dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
And music of kind voices ever nigh;
And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.

From http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art46821.asp

William Cullen Bryant, most noted for his poem “Thanatopsis,” a study of death, also wrote numerous sonnets on nature. Born in Cummington, Massachusetts, November 3, 1794, Bryant was an early nature lover and much of his poetry focuses on nature subjects.

Bryant’s literary career had begun in his teens. He wrote and published a satirical poem titled “The Embargo” and several other poems when he was only thirteen. He wrote his most widely read poem, “Thanatopsis,” when he was only eighteen.

He moved to New York in 1825 and with a friend founded The New York Review, where he published many of his poems. His longest stint as an editor was at The Evening Post, where he served for over fifty years until his death. In addition to his editorial and literary efforts, Bryant joined in the political discussions of the day, offering clear-headed prose to his repertoire of works.

In 1832, Bryant published his first volume of poems and in 1852 his collection The Fountain and Other Poems appeared. When he was seventy-one years old, he began his translation of the Iliad which he completed in 1869; then he finished the Odyssey in 1871. When he was eighty-two, he wrote and published The Flood of Years, which remains his strongest work.

Bryant’s dedication to his literary career as well as to his homeland could not be emphasized any better than by the poet himself when he said, "We are not without the hope that those who read what we have written, will see in the past, with all its vicissitudes, the promise of a prosperous and honorable future, of concord at home, and peace and respect abroad; and that the same cheerful piety which leads the good man to put his personal trust in a kind Providence, will prompt the good citizen to cherish an equal confidence in regard to the destiny reserved for our beloved country."

Despite the shrill voices of many of today’s poets and political pundits who denigrate their country with their undisciplined art and polemics, Bryant’s hope has well been realized.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Down Baby! (2)

Silver's dropped to under $9.50--$9.3425/oz.

Keep going! Cheap silver!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Down Baby!

Silver is well below $10/oz finally! $9.69 at Gold Is Money.info

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What I Know

I've previously said that all politicians lie and if I haven't, well, they do.

From The Hunt for Red October:

I'm a politician, Dr. Ryan. Which means that when I'm not kissing babies, I'm stealing their lollipops.
I love that line!

But another thing to remember is that "journalists", "the media", the people who cry that "the public has a right to know!" have an invisible agenda that always takes precedent over any responsibilities they might have to the public:

Let's you and him fight.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Poetry




Ellis Parker Butler
December 5, 1869 - September 13, 1937

October

The forest holds high carnival to-day,
And every hill-side glows with gold and fire;
Ivy and sumac dress in colors gay,
And oak and maple mask in bright attire.

The hoarded wealth of sober autumn days
In lavish mood for motley garb is spent,
And nature for the while at folly plays,
Knowing the morrow brings a snowy Lent.

From Ellis Parker Butler.info

Author of more than 30 books and more than 2,000 stories and essays, Ellis Parker Butler is most famous for his short story "Pigs is Pigs" in which a bureaucratic stationmaster insists on levying the livestock rate for a shipment of two pet guinea pigs that soon start proliferating geometrically.

Working from his home in Flushing (Queens) New York, Ellis Parker Butler was -- by every measure and by many times -- the most published author of the pulp fiction era.

His career spanned more than forty years and his stories, poems and articles were published in more than 225 magazines. His work appeared along side that of his contemporaries including Mark Twain, Sax Rohmer, James B. Hendryx, Berton Braley, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Don Marquis, Will Rogers and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Despite the enormous volume of his work Ellis Parker Butler was, for most of his life, only a part-time author. He worked full-time as a banker and was very active in his local community. A founding member of both the Dutch Treat Club and the Author's League of America, Butler was an always-present force in the New York City literary scene.

Monday, October 06, 2008

"You Gotta Be Twice As Good"

The Black Informant has an interesting post up:

As long as I can remember, this has been the advice given to many bright-eyed Black kids as they looked down the street of possibilities. This advice oftentimes was given by adults who lived in an era where being “twice as good as White folks” was practically a requirement if you wanted to move ahead.

Not to be racist or anything, but why doesn't he include the rest of the advice?

Luckily, that ain't that hard.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saturday Poetry



George Cooper
1838-1927

October's Party

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday Poetry



Jerry Lee Lewis

September 29, 1935 -

from http://www.metrolyrics.com/whole-lotta-shakin-goin-on-lyrics-jerry-lee-lewis.html

Whole Lotta Shaking Going On

Come over baby
whole lot of shakin' goin' on
Yes, I said come over baby
baby you can't go wrong
We ain't fakin'
Whole lot of shakin' goin' on

Well I said come over baby
we got chicken in the barn
oooh... huh..
Come over baby
babe we got the bull by the horn-a
We ain't fakin'
Whole lot of shakin' goin' on

Chorus

Well I said shake baby shake
I said shake baby shake
I said shake it baby shake it
I said shake baby shake
Come on over
Whole lot of shakin goin' on

Ahhhhh Let's Go !

Bridge

Well I said come over baby
we got chicken in the barn
Who's barn
what barn
my barn
Come over baby well, we got the bull by the horns
We ain't fakin'
Whole lot of shakin' goin' on

Easy Now (lower)
Shake it Ahhhh... Shake it babe
Yeah.... You can shake one time for me
Well I said come over baby
Whole lot of shakin' goin' on

Now lets get real low one time now
Shake baby shake
All you gotta honey is kinda stand in one spot
wiggle around just a little bit
thats what you gotta do yeah....
Oh babe whole lotta shakin' goin' on

Now let go one time

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_Lotta_Shakin%27_Goin%27_On

"Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On" (also rendered "Whole Lotta Shaking Going On") is a song best known in the 1957 rock and roll hit version by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Origins of the song

The origins of the song are disputed, but the writing is co-credited to Native American (Crow) / African American Kentuckian singer/songwriter Dave "Curlee" Williams, and white pianist, bandleader and songwriter James Faye "Roy" Hall (May 7, 1922 - March 2, 1984). Hall made the first recording of the song in September 1954 for Decca Records, and maintained that he had written it under the pseudonym of "Sunny David". However, a Decca sample copy of Hall's recording lists Dave Williams as the sole writer. Hall was also a Nashville club owner, who later claimed to have employed young piano player Jerry Lee Lewis at some point around 1954.

Hall's version was rapidly covered by Big Maybelle whose recording was produced by the young Quincy Jones, and by others including The Commodores (no relation to the '70s Motown group). However, none of these early recordings found much commercial success.

Jerry Lee Lewis version

Jerry Lee Lewis had been performing the song in his stage act, and recorded it at his second recording session for Sun Records, on May 27, 1957. Supervised by producer Jack Clement, Lewis radically altered the original, adding a propulsive boogie piano that was complemented by J.M. Van Eaton's energetic drumming, and also added suggestive spoken asides. Lewis later stated : "I knew it was a hit when I cut it. Sam Phillips thought it was gonna be too risqué, it couldn't make it. If that's risqué, well, I'm sorry."

In Lewis' autobiographical film, Lewis is shown spying in on Black American speak-easy type club, listening to Whole Lotta Shakin Goin' On by a Black female soloist. The next scene depicts Lewis using this song, discrediting the original artist.

Released as Sun 267, the record reached # 3 on the Billboard pop charts, # 1 on the R&B charts, # 1 on the country charts, and # 8 in the UK. Lewis became an instant sensation and, as writer Robert Gordon noted: "Jerry Lee began to show that in this new emerging genre called rock 'n' roll, not everybody was going to stand there with a guitar."

Jerry Lee Lewis's version of the song is ranked as the sixty-first greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. In 2005, it was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress.

Happy Birthday, Killer!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

National Firearms Day

Oooh! The Only Life has a great idea!

So, we propose that each year, the Saturday after the first Monday in November be proclaimed National Firearms Day. This day will be in celebration of those elected officials who support the 2nd Amendment, and in defiance of those who oppose it. We feel that this day more than any other is appropriate for its symbolism and ability to send a very loud and pointed message to our elected officials.


That's the second Saturday in November this year-November 8th!

h/t Say Uncle

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Culture of the Now

Last night, I was able to watch a little more than half of the third episode of the show "Fringe".

I was probably okay with it, even with the gross image of the mad scientist (one of the good guys!) drilling a hole into a patient's head with a little electric drill. Did I mention the total lack of anesthesia? Consent forms? A sterile environment?

Yeah. Let's just have a hole drilled in a guy's head right now, and worry about way bad infection later on. Oy.

Apparently it all took place in one 24-hour period. Hmm, the lead investigator never goes home to sleep, never changes her clothes, runs hither and yon all day long and is just fine chasing down a bad guy and pointing a gun at him.

Um. And no pesky internal affairs asking how the bad guy got away from her (he committed suicide by stepping in front of a speeding bus).

So. She's still chipper at the end of the day, after witnessing one murder and one suicide, having drawn her gun and been ready to shoot (Condition Red, I believe). She doesn't need any down time or a drink or a a couple of pills. No, she just wants the mad scientist's son to play her a little Bach on the piano. In the lab.

"Nah," he says. "Bach is too stuffy. What you need is some jazz." And he starts noodling around, playing a version of a jazz standard (Someone to Watch Over Me, maybe?).

I wanted to kick the smug son-of-a-bitch in the balls. The show's writers and almost certainly the producers just made their allegiance to the current hipster generation known.

Hipster? You know, the generation that doesn't like anything that was created before their tastes were formed, decided, jelled.

I suppose it's actually more of an attitude than a generation, but it's an attitude that dismisses history as irrelevant, favors appearance over substance, the culture of the now over civilization.

Had the investigator stopped (shot) the piano player and insisted on her Bach, I would have been thrilled! To see a character with values other than those of the culture of now and to see her maintain, defend, demand those values would have been wonderful.

As it is, "Fringe" is just another stupid show.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thoughts Upon Having Read Jon Land's "The Seven Sins: The Tyrant Ascending"

My God, this is terrible writing. And he's a successful professional writer...

Thoughts Upon Having Read John Ross' "Unintended Consequences" For the Fourth Time

Gah. That's a big book. More minor details stood out--FN continued to develop the Browning automatic rifle, culminating in the model D (Wikipedia has an interesting article on that)...gosh, I don't know what else.

Thinking about the plot, that's big too. But we're not at that point yet, and I hope we never get there. Purposeful, self-directed, political / bureaucratic assassination is somewhat too anarchic for my taste.

The writing is terrible. But Ross finished the book, told an exciting story, created memorable characters. I still read it, so what's he got that I haven't?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday Poetry




Cole Porter

1891 - 1964

From http://www.lyricsfreak.com/f/frank+sinatra/ive+got+you+under+my+skin_20055638.html

I've Got You Under My Skin

I've got you under my skin
I've got you deep in the heart of me
So deep in my heart, that you're really a part of me
I've got you under my skin

I've tried so not to give in
I've said to myself this affair never will go so well
But why should I try to resist, when baby I know so well
That I've got you under my skin

I'd sacrifice anything come what might
For the sake of having you near
In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night
And repeats, repeats in my ear

Don't you know you fool, you never can win
Use your mentality, wake up to reality
But each time I do, just the thought of you
Makes me stop before I begin
'cause I've got you under my skin

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27ve_Got_You_Under_My_Skin_(song)

Written in 1936, it was introduced in the Eleanor Powell MGM musical, Born to Dance, in which it was performed by Virginia Bruce. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song that year.

Sinatra first sang the song on his weekly radio show in 1946, as the second part of a medley with "Easy to Love". He put his definitive stamp on the tune ten years later, in a swinging big-band version that built to successive crescendoes on the back of an arrangement by Nelson Riddle. He usually included the song in his concerts thereafter.

In 1963, Sinatra re-recorded "I've Got You Under My Skin" for the album Sinatra's Sinatra, an album of re-recordings of Sinatra's personal favorites.

In 1993, Sinatra once again recorded "I've Got You Under My Skin", this time as a duet with Bono of U2, for inclusion on Sinatra's commercially very successful Duets album. It was also released as a B-side of U2's "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)" single.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Silver Up

Silver is back over $12.50, oof.

Blasted Weather

Blasted weather in Houston may have snarled up my internet connection. All is much better now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Poetry


Gus Kahn

1886 - 1941

The Carioca

Say, have you seen a Carioca?
It's not a foxtrot or a polka
It has a little bit of new rhythm, a blue rhythm that sighs

It has a meter that is tricky
A bit of wicked wacky-wicky
But when you dance it with a new love, there's a true love in her eye

You dream of a new Carioca
Its theme is a kiss and a sigh
You dream of a new Carioca
When music and lights are gone we say goodbye

Two heads together, they say are better than one
Two heads together, that's how the dance is begun
Two arms around you and lips, that's why I'm yours and you are mine
And you are mine

Now that you've done the Carioca
You'll never care to do the Polka
And then you'll realize the blue hula and bamboola are through

Tomorrow morning you'll discover
You're just a Carioca lover
And when you dance it with each new love, there'll be true love just for you

Now you'll dream of a new Carioca
Its theme is a kiss and a sigh
You'll dream of a new Carioca
When music and lights are gone and we're saying goodbye
Goodbye

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who Am I?

Curtis Lowe has an amusing post up re political experience, and who has it or has had it.

Enjoy.

September 11, 2001

I haven't blogged about 9/11 before. I was home that day with Samantha, who was not yet 8 months old. Everything on the television was the news about the first plane flying into the World Trade Center towers.

Then the second plane hit. And the Pentagon was hit by a plane. And a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.

In the days and weeks and months and years that followed, I was angry that my country had been attacked, and that we were not able to strike back, directly, cleanly, at those who had initiated the attack.

I was a Democrat that day, until I saw the damage and said to myself "Thank God the grownups are in charge."

Politicians and news commentators and people with political influence muddied the waters, trying to convince us that we must have deserved, did deserve, the attack. Those of us who wanted revenge joked grimly about turning the Middle East into a sea of glass.

But the grownups were in charge and pursued a more rational response, trying diplomacy and firing warning shots. The US invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq, fighting the terrorists and those who lead them on their ground, taking the fight to them.

If there may have been further attempts of terrorism on the US, they have been foiled.

In my time, I have hated and it is a self-destructive choice. I do not hate the people and the countries who have chosen terrorism as their path to power, but I do not question their failures or their deaths. I don't care. Die already.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Silver Way Down

Just checked goldismoney.com, silver is down to 10.65 per ounce. Whoa!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Melt Prices

Silver's down to $12.05!

Gold's back up to just over $800.

Thoughts About A Next Gun

I thought some over the weekend about what gun I'd like to get next. But remember, this is thinking, not buying.

I'd probably shop for a used bolt-action in .308. Scoped, with studs for sling swivels. I'd be shooting paper and steel, at distances from 100 yards to 400 - 600 yards.

Wooden stock preferred, just because I like wood more than I like a synthetic stock, but that's not a deal breaker.

Heavy barrel? Varmint contour? Sporter? Depends on what I find out on the web. If necessary, I can put together something to counter any barrel whip that might exist.

Aargh

John Farnam's Quips is now officially on my "once a week peek" list. This is just too frustrating. The man's a damn tease!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saturday Poetry




George Gershwin, 1898 - 1937

They All Laughed

The odds were a hundred to one against me
The world thought the heights were too high to climb
But people from Missouri never incensed me
Oh, I wasn’t a bit concerned
For from hist’ry I had learned
How many, many times the worm had turned

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
When he said the world was round
They all laughed when Edison recorded sound
They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
When they said that man could fly

They told Marconi
Wireless was a phony
It’s the same old cry
They laughed at me wanting you
Said I was reaching for the moon
But oh, you came through
Now they’ll have to change their tune

They all said we never could be happy
They laughed at us and how!
But ho, ho, ho!
Who’s got the last laugh now?

They all laughed at Rockefeller center
Now they’re fighting to get in
They all laughed at Whitney and his cotton gin
They all laughed at Fulton and his steamboat
Hershey and his chocolate bar

Ford and his misery
Kept the laughers busy
That’s how people are
They laughed at me wanting you
Said it would be, "hello, goodbye."
But oh, you came through
Now they’re eating humble pie

They all said we’d never get together
Darling, let’s take a bow
For ho, ho, ho!
Who’s got the last laugh?
He, hee, hee!
Let’s at the past laugh
Ha, ha, ha!
Who’s got the last laugh now?

from http://www.allthelyrics.com/song/1105660/

Friday, September 05, 2008

Silver Down

Melt is approaching $12--cheap silver is coming again!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Problem of 05Aug08

John Farnam's last update to his "Farnam's Quips" was 05Aug08. I know that Mr. Farnam is a busy man, but for the love of God, update your dang site!

Thank you.

A Melange

First day of school! First day of school!

Ah...Samantha went back to school this morning. She's a second-grader this year, in a different classroom with a different teacher. She had the same teacher for K/1, and that was very good for her. New room, new teacher--I'll just have to wait and see how it goes for her. May have to spring into action, hmm.

Inasmuch as she's the Republican VP nominee, I should say something about Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and mother of five. I was excited by the announcement of McCain's choice; now, I'm not so excited. McCain chose her because she would energize the base, but not overshadow him as President.

Plus, like it or not (and I don't), she is a politician. Which means when she's not kissing babies, she's stealing their lollipops. I'm thrilled that she's a life-member of the NRA; how much that'll mean to me, to others, to anyone, nobody knows.

Finally hit the range today! Came home from taking Samantha to school, cleaned the Marlin downstairs (ran a Boresnake through it, then a wet patch, couple of dry patches, finally an oily patch) and it was off to Angeles Shooting Range with a box of Federal (40 rounds?!? Cheapskate bastards...) and thirty rounds from a box of CCI Mini-Mags.

The rifle stovepiped (jammed) a couple of times with the Federal, and I had to wiggle the stuck cases out with a punch I happened to have in my range bag. Ran just fine with the Mini-Mags and I had fun banging away at the steel silhouettes. Maybe I should've done more, but I shot as much as I wanted to, packed up, came home...and cleaned the gun again. A very mellow experience.

And silver's under $13! And gold's under $800! And gas in our neighborhood is holding steady at $3.859!

But when is this heat ever going to break?!? I'm so tired of it being hot hot hot every single day!

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Reprieve, Huzzah!

Well, the great migration is sucessfully underway, and it seems that Bridget didn't want me moved as much as she wanted me out of Samantha's bedroom.

No luck on the great desk hunt; the ones we find for Samantha that we like ("Oooh...") are a bit...expensive ("Gack!"), and the ones that are affordable ("Oooh...") are somewhat lacking...in something ("Hmmm...").

More of the Ted Mack Amateur Hour of Moving and Physical Therapy tomorrow.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Life Downstairs

The townhouse we live in has a small bonus room, with laundry hookups, off the garage downstairs. When we moved in, 12-13 years ago, Bridget offered me the choice of that space for my "office". Sad to say, I probably laughed in her face and raced upstairs to claim the second bedroom with attached bathroom. She wound up with the downstairs bonus room as her sewing room.

Well, along came Samantha and I got booted out of my "office" because that was now her room. Eventually, this began to bother Bridget and she decided that she would take down her sewing room, move it into storage except for a few necessities, and put those necessities into the nook outside of Samantha's room at the top of the stairs.

It's taken her 3 years to achieve her goal, and tonight she made it. Everything in the bonus room, except for what I'm keeping, is in her storage unit or awaiting transport to same. Huzzah!

So. Tomorrow, I start moving all of my stuff, my junk, my toys, my crap downstairs. Oy...

My wife. Doer of great deeds. I salute you!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Poetry









Cole Porter, 1891 - 1964

I Get A Kick Out of You

My story is much too sad to be told,
but practically everything
leaves me totally cold.
The only exception I know is the case,
when I'm out on a quiet spree,
fighting vainly the old ennui
and I suddenly turn and see,
your fabulous face.

I get no kick from Champagne
Mere alchohol doesn't thrill me at all
so tell me why should it be true
that I get a kick
out of you

Some get a kick from cocaine
I'm sure that if I took even one sniff
that would bore me terrifficly too
yet I get a kick out of you

I get a kick every time I see you standing there before me
I get a kick though it's clear to me you obviously don't
adore me

I get no kick in a plane
Flying too high
with some guy in the sky is my idea of nothing to do

Yet I get a kick
Out of you

Lyrics from http://www.stlyrics.com/songs/c/coleporter5950/igetakickoutofyou235307.html

Picture from http://www.sacos.co.uk/Anything%20Goes/Anything%20Goes%20Page.htm

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Poetry



Conrad Aiken
1889-1973

All Lovely Things

All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that's now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.

Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
And goldenrod is dust when dead,
The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
And cobwebs tent the brightest head.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!—
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!—
But goldenrod and daisies wither,
And over them blows autumn rain,
They pass, they pass, and know not whither.

Poem found at "American Poems"

Picture found at "Poetry Pearls", a Russian-language site

I'm in the money...

So. One of my household chores is the recycling. Mostly this entails packing up the cardboard of various sizes, the plastics (sorted by type) and miscellaneous (magazines, old phone books, tin cans, what not).

But then there's the cash recyclables, the ones that California requires retailers to charge on such items as bottles of water and soft drink cans. When I bag those up and finally get around to running them through a self-serve machine, that's a couple of bucks at a time for my fun fund.

It was my SKS fund, then it was my gun fund, now it's my fun fund. I'm finally starting to get it through my head that owning and shooting guns is an expensive hobby, and I can't afford to do that based on what I can find in my jeans pocket at any given moment.

Dang.

Plus, Appleseed shoots cost money--$70 per weekend, I think. If I don't save up for these purchases and activities, I'll never get beyond what I have, where I am.

So, after responsibly saving the recycling money for, um, a month, I think, I've got $21. Yay me. It's a start.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dinner Conversations

Another evening, another delightful meal. My wife Bridget does a wonderful job of balancing nutritional requirements against Samantha's medical limitations (i.e., no tomatoes, no dairy, never any foods too high in galactose).

Prompted by who-knows-what, I remembered a book I had seen, possibly during my book store employment phase, about pre-Columbian cooking. No, not what the Mesoamericans ate, but what the Europeans ate before Columbus sailed to the New World and opened a new frontier of cooking and eating and taste.

I'm a garbage gourmand on a non-stop "see food" diet. Samantha, thank God, can't eat sweet breads, so fun things like kidneys and brains will never cross our plates, but beef and potatoes and typical American vegetables (carrots, peas, onions) do. Yum!

So what did the Europeans eat before Columbus? Remember, this was a dinner conversation, so it drifted, rather than flowed. We came up with:

--domesticated meat: beef, pork, chicken, fish (yeah, yeah, what're you gonna do, it's gotta go somewhere)

--game of all kinds: venison, boar, birds, rabbit

--fruit: apples, pears, grapes, berries. Bananas? (Nope.) And no tomatoes!

--vegetables: carrots, turnips, onions--but no potatoes! That and corn are New World foods! No sweet potatoes? No strawberries?

--grains: wheat, oats, barley. Rice?

From the "Home and Garden section of the New York Times, October 9 1991":

WHEN it comes to Columbus, Luisa di Giovanni, a biologist and historian, is less than sanguine. Ms. di Giovanni, a native of Genoa, will acknowledge that the foods brought back from the New World enriched the diets of various countries, but Italy benefited less than others.

As far as she's concerned (the tomato notwithstanding), Columbus's impact has been greatly exaggerated in his native land.

"It could be argued that in the exchange of foods, the newly discovered lands gained more than they gave," said Ms. di Giovanni. "Europe had a much richer variety of food than the Americas. We already had plenty of grains like wheat, rice, millet, rye and barley, so corn did not have that much impact, except to the poor. We also had domesticated animals, which we introduced to the Americas, plus plenty of fruits and vegetables."

To prove her point, and to put a somewhat different spin on the hoopla for the upcoming quincentennial of Columbus's voyage, she has devised an eight-course menu of dishes typical of 14th- and 15th-century Italy. The $45 meal is being served this week at Caffe Bondi, 7 West 20th Street in Manhattan...

Work on this week's pre-Columbian menu began about a year ago. (That's what happens when academics become interested in food.) Sure, there will be pasta, but no tomatoes. Potatoes, beans, sweet and hot peppers, turkey and chocolate are also noticeably absent from the meal.

"Potatoes have never been as important in our diet as in that of other European countries," said Ms. di Giovanni, "and the role of the tomato is exaggerated, especially by Americans whose idea of Italian food is mainly Neapolitan. The fact is that neither of these vegetables gained any acceptance in Europe much before the 18th century."

The meal will begin with fresh fruit -- grapes and figs -- because Ms. di Giovanni said doctors of Columbus's time thought raw fruit could only be eaten before a meal. And it ends not with coffee, which did not become popular in Europe until the 17th century, but with herbs and honey.

She said the difference between today's table and the historical example she developed for Caffe Bondi has more to do with how foods were prepared, combined and presented than with the ingredients. For example, a rich chicken soup is seasoned with pungent spices and thickened with ground almonds and Parmesan cheese. The bread is fragrant with rosemary and studded with raisins. A pudding-like concoction of sweetened and spiced rice with chicken and almond milk called bramagere is served as the third course.

Fried ravioli with a pork-and-cheese filling comes with a dusting of sugar; quail wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with pomegranate seeds has quince jam on the side; fritters of eel with dried fruits and herbs are accompanied by a mellow carrot confit. Wines like Chianti, which Ms. di Giovanni said was first documented around 1400, are served with the dinner but not watered, spiced or sweetened as they probably were in the old days.

The dessert, a kind of fried custard with sweet preserved green squash jam (squash-like edible gourds were common in pre-Columbian Europe), was not much sweeter than the other dishes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

MAS 1936

Went out and about this past Monday, wound up at Martin B. Rettig's in Culver City, prowling the rifles on the floor, looking for something <$250 OTD.

Found a MAS 1936--which meant nothing to me. After a day or so on the web, searching a ton of military surplus forums, I know quite a bit more.

It's a French bolt action in 7.5x54mm. Ammo suitable to shoot at Angeles Range (lead or copper-plated lead (FMJ))is not easy or cheap to find ("load your own!" seems to be the common retort), the stock is a little short (a rubber boot from the 36/51 grenade launcher update is available), and only the rear sight adjusts via an almost impossible-to-find set of replacement leaves.

It's $189.99, about $234 OTD.

But, it can be rechambered to 7.62x51, which is to say, .308 Winchester.

Hmm...

UPDATE: After I found the MAS at Rettig's, I ran up to Santa Fe Gun Galeria in Palmdale to see what they had. I had a vague memory that maybe they might have 7.5 MAS ammo...

And they're closed, Sunday and Monday. Well...spit.

So I ran back up there today, they were open, and sure enough they had 7.5 MAS. Two kinds! One was in small, anonymous packages with Arabic writing--probably Syrian mil-surplus steel-jacketed, but the other was blue box FNM, non-magnetic! $17 for 20 rounds, 4 boxes available with no certainity of getting anymore in stock. Ever.

So there you have it. A French mil-surp weapon at one store, commercial ammo at another. And only 60 miles apart.

Friday, July 04, 2008

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware:
Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

From http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/index.htm (but I had to go in via Google's cache).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quote for the day

Talking to gun control advocates is like talking to five year-olds. Tell a five-year-old it's time for bed, and he'll say "No." Ask why not, and he'll say "because." That's his whole reasoning, unfounded - "because". But that's a subject for another post.

from Home on the Range

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Poetry





image from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16786/16786-h/16786-h.htm

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

from http://www.sonnets.org/longfell.htm

Mezzo Cummin

Half of my life is gone, and I have let
The years slip from me and have not fulfilled
The asperations of my youth, to build
Some tower of song with lofty parapet.
Not indolence, nor pleasure, nor the fret
Of restless passions that would not be stilled,
But sorrow, and a care that almost killed,
Kept me from what I may accomplish yet;
Though, half-way up the hill, I see the Past
Lying beneath me with its sounds and sights,--
A city in the twilight dim and vast,
With smoking roofs, soft bells, and gleaming lights,--
And hear above me on the autumnal blast
The cataract of Death far thundering from the heights.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"You Must Be A Gentleman"

Over at Seraphic Press Robert J. Avrech has a post up about Jews expelled from Algiers.

"How long did your family live in Algeria?"

My friend sits back and ponders a moment: “Oh, since the churban, [586 BCE] the Destruction of the Temple. That's when our family made its way from Babylon to Algeria.”


The story has quite a satisfactory ending, hence the title of my post. Enjoy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pondering the Unthinkable

My daughter goes to a private school. As a parent, I volunteer my time there and so I'm fairly familiar with the physical layout of the school.

The front door of the school opens directly onto the administrative office. Someone opens that door, and steps inside.

*boom* *boom*

That was the two women at the front desks. They're dead or dying. No one has called 911.

*boom*

That was the large window that glasses in the director's office. He's dead or wounded.

*boom*

That was anyone at the copier, or anyone coming in from the hallway.

Three steps into the hallway and one step to the right is a K/1 classroom. Six steps to the left is a 1/2 classroom.

Is someone scrambling for a phone?

Farther down the hall are two K/1 classrooms that face each other. There are two more classrooms past them.

A teacher or teacher's aide might be opening a door, looking out in the hall.

At the end of the hall, a left turn takes you out onto a fenced-off playground. There's an exit gate in the fence.

This could be a lunatic, a vengeful ex-spouse or ex-lover, a gang banger. And unless they choose to take hostages, it's all over in less than a minute.

If I'm there, I'm probably dead in the hallway or the office. And there's nothing I could do to change the outcome. Aside from response time issues, California is a "may issue" state; the city of Los Angeles defers to the county of Los Angeles, and both of them are "won't issue".

I'm glad I often tell my daughter that I love her.

So. I'm at the mercy of fate, just like everyone else.