Apr 30, 2014

Hole in the firewall

A spammer has bored through the Blogger filter. I don't want to moderate or apply the fuzzy word game. For the time being I'll just trash them as they appear, accounting for the deletions you may see.

Apr 29, 2014

Fashion, Sports, and the Bug-Eyed Luddite

No matter how fast I run, I can't even catch the first slight rise in the cultural curve.

For instance, watching the Drake Relays, I wonder when girl pole vaulters started buying their leaping suits from Victoria's Secret.

(I can not find it in myself to condemn this instance of gratuitous modernism.)

Apr 28, 2014

April comes like an idiot, babbling ...

It has been a tough month on the racial front. Bundy allows as how Jews are this and that. The inarticulate old guy who owns a basketball team announces blacks are that and this. Television goes bananas, and "social media" wets down its share of the spectrum.

It seems to me we're about halfway to symmetry on the bigotry front so far in this episode. If someone would hunt up a network news crew and hurl a few ignorant slurs at Hispanics and another sling some generalized abuse at us white guys, I would be content. It would be just another saga of racially fused and made-for-teevee outrage, but at least even-handed in real time and therefore -- somehow -- less objectionable. If he had known how to write Karl Popper might have expressed it as, "When everyone is is a lunatic, then no one is."

Mark Twain: "Man is a sorry piece of work."


One ray of hope occurred in the silly mess of April. Government was again reminded that a number of Americans get irritated when it deploys platoons of slightly upgraded  mall ninjas, equipped like Seal Team Six, in case it decides to shoot down an American citizen and his family over an alleged civil infraction.

There was a little pleasure there, too, when the button-down BLM administrators noticed that some of the citizens, not necessarily limited to the certifiables among them, were in a mood to react in kind to a federal "shoot" order. It was literary pleasure. I don't think I've ever witnessed government's professional "communicators"  whip up the standard "only to preserve public safety" news releases so quickly. You admire professionalism under pressure no matter what the source.

It up to us to gently remind our brothers and sisters that a deeper motivation was to head off rude historical allusions to Ruby Ridge and the dead mother there, Waco and the dead kids there.


H/T to Edna St.Vincent Millay for the subject line

Apr 24, 2014

The Hog Ball Lady

Joni Ernst is drawing more attention lately, but I'm told her rallies are a little funny-looking. All the guys sit with their legs crossed.

"I'm Joni Ernst and I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm," she reported in the now-viral teevee spot. The conclusion is left to the viewer : Ergo Joni really needs to be a United States senator, so let's all send her some money."


It's part of the 2014 through 2016 Iowa political circus. The ultimate purpose is to decide which president-thing-hopefuls you will be allowed to vote for if perchance the nation survives  the remaining 32 Obamanation months.

It's a dreary show, a reprise of the banal. but this time without the interest of a Ron Paul semi-libertarian presence. Joni's cutting remark may be the only noteworthy snark of the revue, and she must concede some credit to  congresscritter Bruce Braley. (Joni is in a GOP primary fight; Bruce has been slated by the White House Office of Iowa Affairs and will be the statist nominee.)

They both want to replace Tom Harkin who is retiring to his Bahamas home after 30 years of pretending to represent Iowa as water carrier for the Ted Kennedy  senate tribe. (As a frame of reference, he was elected to the senate when Pete Rose was still hitting homers for Cincinnati instead of dodging process servers; the same year Madonna was still singing on American Band Stand. And, get this, he is still Iowa's junior senator.)

Braley's handlers made the fatal mistake of letting him speak without a teleprompter, and he decided to bitch slap our senior senator, Chuck Grassley,  as an "Iowa farmer who doesn't even have a law degree."

Joni's surgical line is a direct result of Bruce's ad lib, and Braley operatives spent the next three nights foetally under their blankies, sucking thumbs and wondering if things were as bad in the private-sector job market as they were hearing.


And there it stands as a soft April rain nurtures the fresh grass seed on the Camp Jiggleview grounds; as the Trail  (phhbbbtt)  Trial Lawyers Association rallies with massive Citizen's United cash to redeem their artless colleague; as the evil Koch Brothers lurk behind the barn, trying to decide which of the primary Republicans would be their best senatorial buy.


All of this overlays something I need to get to before long. Libertarian forces are in disarray around here this season. They had a decent presence on the state GOP Central Committee, but it has just been recaptured by the church-basement faction.

Danny Caroll is the name you want to Google. I know him only second-hand, but I hear he's a very nice guy if you can get him to quit quoting Genesis 1:1 in response to any question, from farm bills to Russian expansionism to making Janet Yellan slow down the goddam printing presses.

Apr 20, 2014

Resurrection Day, 2014

Religious feast days can be difficult for non-celebrants, particularly apostates living among the faithful. Even hard-logic skeptics, however, can surely find room for a sliver of poetry, a sense of renewal.


Without ambition to play St. Francis, I have nevertheless created a local congregation of happier birds. It happened this way:

For three or fours years a simple auto tow-bar lived in the large-project pile. The intent, finally fulfilled on Wednesday,  was to bolt on a spike-studded timber, creating a tractor-drawn groomer for the gravel lane which might also serve as a dethatcher for the unruly grass and weeds which make up the Camp Jiggleview grounds. It works better than expected.

The was no aim to fatten the the robins, but that unintended consequence occurred, Oh those lovely little worms and grubs and other tasties, all freshly exposed for easy hunting. The tweets are deafening but wasted, of course, on a no-account man.


Part of my Easter pleasure has for years been dinner with the incomparable C's. Sometimes I contribute wine, sometimes the regionally famous baked beans a la Jiggleview. This is a bean year, speaking of the Boston Marathon.

May it pass without new drama, although we can depend on our electric media to resurrect every tear, every fear, every snippet of 2013 Oh-My-God! tape.

In the 1980s it occurred to all sentient humans that people running down the street for hours had decidedly limited news value and entertainment potential.

The same thought penetrated teevee producers' skulls about 20 years later. As much as they may personally abhor violence, it is not lost on them than a bomb here and there does wonders for the Neilsons.


Happy Easter, Friends.

Apr 16, 2014

God: Bought and Paid For

A nice boy from the Jewish tradition, MAIG boss Michael Bloomberg certainly loosens jaws when he lines up with the most anal of the Calvinists and Weberites; you know, the folks who deem Tesla drivers holier than poor schmucks  tooling around in rusty pickups.

Bloomberg is going to Heaven because wealth is a sign of God's favor, don't you know?

Honey, I shrunk the camel.

His Gate pass wasn't free. He bought off St. Peter with deposit of  $103 million to pretend to clean up the coal and motivate fish to fuck more frequently. He now  announces he  getting his halo out of layaway with another $50 million to ensure that only criminals are armed.

No one is making this up:

I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.

So be it, and we can hope that former mayor Bloomberg enjoys an eternity in close companionship with Abner Scofield, of whom our friend Mark Twain wrote.  You'll recall, of course, that the wealthy coal dealer secured his seat near the Throne of God as a reward for sending $15 to his impoverished sister. The Recording Angel confirmed the arrangements in a personal letter to Abner:

"... (St.)Peter, weeping, said, "He shall be received with a torchlight procession when he comes"; and then all heaven boomed, and was glad you were going there. And so was hell."

Apr 15, 2014

Which Twin Has the Sanctimony?*

I don't know why an excellent science site is running the story this week. There's no news peg I can see, and the space launch doesn't happen until next spring.

But it is still interesting that identical astronautical twin brothers are teaming up to let scientists compare human bodies in space to those on the ground.

Scott Kelly will fly to the ISS for a year. Brother Mark will stay down here with Gabby. Each will be poked and prodded and tapped to observe and compare  physiological changes.

It sounds like a reasonable experiment to me, but I note a flaw. Let's reverse the roles and send Mark up there, sparing Earthlings a full year of his pestering us about new gun laws.


*I told you early exposure to electric teevee sets makes you weird.


H/T to brilliant No. 2 grandson (to brilliant No. 1 grandson on Facebook)

Apr 12, 2014

Nothing Runs Like a Deere and Murdering Endangered Turtles

The two-tractor fleet has raised steam and stands ready to sortie at the command of Higher.

It is an annual event, a spring tuneup and oil change combined with this-and-that small rehabs and upgrades. The process brought no real trouble. Both 318s popped off quickly with a battery boost. The  mower version did choose shortly thereafter to reject its ancient battery. Down-home fixes to flush out the sulfate no longer worked. A trip to Arnold Motor Supply and $80.37 solved the problem.

The baby bulldozer -- same model with a blade instead of a  mower deck --  was more tractable and wanted only a few body bolts tightened. I was grateful enough to do a polish job on the plastic hood. That looked so nice Ms. Mower got a similar beauty treatment with Turtle Wax that has hidden in the shed since an  auction during, probably, the Clinton Administration.

Leaving only the trim mower still untouched, a $99.97 WalMart special which has run an amazing number of years for an obvious throwaway machine. It will get its share of attention, but no polish. When a guy gets fussy about pretty push mowers -- in  fact, about much "trimming" at all -- he enters the danger zone for Spandex, cross Nike trainers,  and a cute cement skunk under one of the river birches.

it all took some time, so I wasn't able to write my essay on the Bundy Ranch travesty and the federal government decision to murder the desert tortoises it has been using as an excuse to steal Mr. Bundy's cattle.  Never mind. Joel did it.

Apr 11, 2014

Place holder complete with lame excuses

I'm in debt, in the hole, owing my blog quite a lot. A promised report on the local loophole two weeks ago, the end of the maple syrup saga, further ruminations on the Coltoid Commander project, an embarrassingly self-congratulatory report of progress in bringing Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant, up to at least Pa Kettle standards. Lord knows what else.

I haven't even vented my spleen on the increasingly mournful assault on the American dollar by those hired to protect it.  (Sorry, for "dollar" read "Federal Reserve Cartoon.")

Honest, Pa, I'll do 'er but I cain't find my round tuit yet.

For the moment, however, non-journalistic demands are in command. New Dog Libby, for instance, is being an incredible nuisance in the spring sun, bitching constantly -- if articulately only in lab language (nose on lap; drool on shoes)  -- that we haven't played fetch for, why, it must be twenty  minutes now.

Also, I come to you as of an hour ago from the official Base Administrative Center rather than the Great Room of the CO quarters. It's nice to be nestled again in the big library. The books don't make me any smarter, but they make me feel smarter, and, damn it, that has to count for something.

Apr 7, 2014

A once and future life

Three days ago, in the deary morning:

A little later that day;

A few minutes ago:


In a few hours, supper. Eggs over, buckwheats, maple syrup which never saw a truck,  a supermarket, or a fossil-fuel fire


CBS teevee reminds me this morning that  a golf tournament happens later this week. This excites me because it could easily produce news of sufficient drama and significance to push the hide-and-seek for a Malaya airplane off Page One.

It would help this national media  rebalance if professional feminists, strangely silent this Master's season, would tune up their shriek cords and track down some network news crews.  It could be they are still sedated by recent pro-diversity decisions in Augusta, but certainly there's something still bitchworthy, maybe a lack of unisex locker rooms or something like that, Anyway,  without socio-cultural drama, all that really happens down there is a golf game with muted baritone announcers saying, "Let's go to 17."

One other possibility exists, though I may have to orchestrate the national outrage all by myself. CBS chose to hustle the tournament today with a darling feature on some  pre-pubes playing the course, including a lovely 11-year-old Chinese -American lass who "drives 163 yards ... you will hear more of her."

That's sad in and of itself, but another factoid adds to it. This youngster was handed her first mashie at age six and ordered, or encouraged, to practice golf, and if that doesn't constitute actionable child abuse, I don't know what does.

Apr 1, 2014

Second Prelude to a Loophole AAR

Not meaning to over tease, but the loophole isn't actually over yet. The afterglow continues tonight with a rendezvous in the Great Room of the Commandant's Quarters here at Camp Jiggleview of which I am Commandant. Please stay tuned.

Meanwhile, my existential crisis is over, thanks to four astute readers. She stays:

She remains out in the cold:

(Sister Ship)

I sort of hate to pass a dolled-up JMB adaptation in moderately convenient carry size,  but my commenters made their case on romantic and theological grounds. (JAGSC: Savage more huggable. and GMA John warned, Lose the Savage, lose your soul. Both Stephen and Stretch endorsed them in one way or another.) I am grateful for the counsel and will be until I see some friend -- or, worse, a jerk I dislike -- wearing one at a barbecue.

My gratitude, Gentlemen, moves me to award you each a Dr. Lucy:


All is not lost in my mild urge to downsize my main carriable from the big SW 645. The Sig is offered at $800, and I suppose I could resolve to live on Kraft macaroni and cheese for several weeks and just buy the danged thing.

Or I could get off my butt, turn off the computer, quit blogging for a while, and finish the half-done Commander project. The big hangup is lack of a slide for the short AMT frame. If any of you happen to have a spare one for a 4 1/4 barrel, I'll give you a Lucy, too. And some money if you insist.