Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ill Wind

You have to listen kinda close but it's a good song. The Santa Ana helps start fires and drives people nuts. Maybe similar desert winds are one reason the Middle East and North Africa are the way they are.

The second song of his second set at the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland on Wednesday, October 7, 2009; a track from his latest release, Blood and Candle Smoke, performed with an assist from Thad Beckman on guitar.

Tom Russell ~ Santa Ana Wind

Thanks to kingofthecastle7.

The Cow

Man, did I start something! And it was wonderful! The other day I posted a picture of a fraulein catchin' hospital air in a Bovino-Cross or some such. Two of our friends, Jay in N.C. and Sarge, then carried on a lively discussion of their histories with cows and other livestock. It was mostly on a high plane, which means they never once mentioned the term 'stump broke'. Gentlemen, they are.

My Dad sold cattle ranches for a living, and I got to travel around California, Nevada, and Oregon with him in the summers when I was a kid. Out West is different from Back East or The South, but the cows are pretty much the same.

I got to thinkin' about an old book I have and dug it out. It's called, simply enough, "The Cow" by Joe M. Evans and is subtitled "About all I know I learned from a cow". It was first published in 1944 and cost a dollar. This book is available from Amazon at an amazingly high price. Much less expensive here and there is a picture of the cover on the edition I have (scroll down a little). It's a slender tome and can be read in an hour or so.

The first line of the book is as follows:

The cow is a four legged animal with horns, hide, teats and tail. She produces beef and milk and calves, and is surrounded by cowboys and mortgages.

It goes on from there to describe the differences in the cattle biz from 1884 to 1944, and a few life lessons learned from observing these critters for many years.

Since raising cows is all about feeding them, one of the best chapters in the book is an essay about grass. The version here is slightly different from the version in the book, but I would rather c&p than type. I think it's beautiful. In the book it is called simply "Grass".

"In Praise of Blue Grass," John James Ingalls*

*Proving that at some time in the far past there was at least one good Republican in Kansas. It was "The Party Of Lincoln" then, but no more.

[Lying in the sunshine among the buttercups and dandelions of May, scarcely higher in intelligence than the minute tenants of that mimic wilderness, our earliest recollections are of grass; and when the fitful fever is ended, and the foolish wrangle of the market and forum is closed, grass heals over the scar which our descent into the bosom of the earth has made, and the carpet of the infant becomes the blanket of the dead.

Grass is the forgiveness of nature--her constant benediction. Fields trampled with battle, saturated with blood, torn with the ruts of cannon, grow green again with grass, and carnage is forgotten. Streets abandoned by traffic become grass-grown like rural lanes, and are obliterated. Forests decay, harvests perish, flowers vanish, but grass is immortal. Beleaguered by the sullen hosts of winter, it withdraws into the impregnable fortress of its subterranean vitality, and emerges upon the first solicitation of Spring. Sown by the winds, by wandering birds, propagated by the subtle horticulture of the elements which are its ministers and servants, it softens the rude outline of the world. Its tenacious fibres hold the earth in its place, and prevent its soluble components from washing into the wasting sea. It invades the solitude of deserts, climbs the inaccessible slopes and forbidding pinnacles of mountains, modifies climates, and determines the history, character, and destiny of nations. Unobtrusive and patient, it has immortal vigor and aggression. Banished from the thoroughfare and the field, it bides its time to return, and when vigilance is relaxed, or the dynasty has perished, it silently resumes the throne from which it has been expelled, but which it never abdicates. It bears no blazonry or bloom to charm the senses with fragrance or splendor, but its homely hue is more enchanting than the lily or the rose. It yields no fruit in earth or air, and yet should its harvest fail for a single year, famine would depopulate the world.]

I hope you enjoyed this. I'll keep this little book close to the top of the pile and may post short bits of it from time to time.

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Looks like Austin City Limits.

With the Hot Band 1992

Emmylou Harris ~ Two More Bottles of Wine / Ooh Las Vegas

Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Burger Wars! Eas' Coas' Invades Cali!

This is big! LATimes:

Jessica Gueghlein never used to give it a second thought when she wanted a good hamburger — she headed to In-N-Out, that drive-through icon of Southern California car culture.

But her affections have strayed. Lately she's been hitting an East Coast upstart aggressively expanding in California — Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Any comments on this upstart from you Right Coast folks?

Quote of the Day

From an article in the LATimes about the Marines and their families at Camp Pendleton bracing for the gummint shutdown and possible lack of pay for a while. It's a serious thing for them and nothing to joke about, but this cracked me up:

"If they're not going to pay the military, to turn their back on the guys defending this country, then they're going have trouble" recruiting, a sergeant's wife fumed. "I'll personally tell the C.O. that he can…."

Her rant was cut short when her husband told her to "be quiet. Right now."

Heh. I bet the Times cleaned that one up a little for publication!

The original comment was probably something like:

"Jesus fucking Christ woman! Shut the fuck up right fucking now! You bitch about my E-5 pay all the goddam time, ya wanna see how much I get without these three measly stripes?!"

My sides hurt...

Headline of the Day

Archeologists unearth first-ever ‘gay caveman’ skeleton

An immaculately kept and remarkably tasteful yet colorfully decorated cave, no doubt...

Why Republicans Persist in Demanding the Elimination of 700,000 Jobs

Robert Creamer, who is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky's husband, the lucky dog! I know a little about Polish girls from Chicago - hotter'n a habanero pierogi! But I digress. A 'recommended read'.

Why do Republicans persist in demanding that we eliminate 700,000 jobs? It has to do with the influence of four major groups:

1). The CEO/Wall Street Class.

2). The second influential group pushing for policies that would eliminate 700,000 jobs are the intellectuals and academics who work for the first group. And I do mean "work for."

3). Many in the third group actually understand the budget-slashing proposals being made by Republicans in the house would cut massive numbers of jobs. This group is the Republican political class


4). Of course the final - and most visible -- group clamoring for draconian cuts that would cost 700,000 American their jobs is the Tea Party

Many of these extremist Members of Congress actually believe that the voters sent them to Washington to "shrink government." Of course the Tea Party - and its corporate sponsors -- did exactly that.

But this gang has a real problem.

When you were a kid at a Fourth of July celebration, remember how fascinated you were by sparklers? They erupt in a bright flash of sparkles and light up everything around - for about 3 minutes. Then, as they begin to burn down, they fizzle out and then suddenly, everything is dark.

In your hand where once was a bright shiny sparkler, you are holding a dark, blackened, slightly-twisted six-inch strand of wire.

Well, that's what's happening to the Tea Party. To put it bluntly: the Party's over.

We need to make it clear that the budget debate is about choices - moral choices about what is important, who should pay and who should sacrifice. The question is simple: Do Americans want to cut education and all the rest in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations? America's answer to that question in poll after poll is a resounding no. Americans want to invest in their future, not cater to the short-term greed of our home-grown class of economic royals whose answer to the pain of middle class people is the modern-day equivalent of "let them eat cake."

The Republicans thought that the budget debate would give them the high political ground. That's why they were willing to go so far out on an extremist precipice. Now the political ground is beginning to crumble - and it's a long way down.

I want to wave to them like they're a wide-eyed Wile E. Coyote, though not near as cute, until I see the cloud of dust at the bottom.

Scandal in Fitzwalkerstan


Scott Walker's Attorney Says Justice David Prosser Is Vital to Anti-Worker Agenda

I find it not the least bit surprising that a county clerk, a former accomplice employee of Walker and Prosser, found 14,000 'misplaced' ballots with exactly enough winning votes for Prosser to avoid a recount.

You can't beat a Repug/'Bagger by 200 votes. You just can't. They just pulled 7000 "votes" outta their ass. They have a well-oiled election-theft machine*, but I think this election surprised 'em and for this particular clerk with a history of dereliction and partisan malfeasance to come up with it sounds like a Hail Mary pass straight from Desperation Row.

*Some folks think they stole as many as 2,000,000 votes from Obama, but he won by too many votes for them to steal enough of them to throw the election into Scalia's hands for the winning vote.

Let's hope this helps and sends a few of 'em to jail:

Federal probe, full recount required in high court race

We will see. Sigh. Repug crimes never fucking end.


The Political Carnival

As a key sign of just how much Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser’s corporate supporters are willing to spend to keep him on the bench, Prosser’s campaign just announced its hire of one of the most high-profile election lawyers in the country — Bush v. Gore recount attorney Ben Ginsberg.


Here we go again.

All I have to say about this for the moment is that you can't set an ambush in the same place twice. Unless you wanta be flanked and die.

It may take 27 years to undo the damage Beck caused in 27 months

Will Bunch on the start of Miss Becky's slide to oblivion:

But I think that progressives might want to hold off on that victory lap -- unless it's to get in better shape for the long battle ahead.

Because the truth is that Beck's ouster isn't really the end of the nightmare, but just the beginning of the end. Over the last 27 months, Beck -- and let's be clear that he had a lot of help from the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity and Rand Paul and all the folks in the Tea Party Movement -- managed to do incalculable harm to the American body politic, that Beck was exactly like Tom and Daisy Buchanan in "The Great Gatsby" who "smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness.."

You'll probably hear a lot about how Beck coarsened the political debate and how his words may have incited violence, but I think the wreckage is a lot more substantive, to actual policies that affect Americans every day. You see, there was a reason that Beck was so fond of a political theory called the Overton Window-- so enamored, in fact, that he made it the title of his (officially) fictional "thriller" novel last summer. The Overton Window is a notion that you can radically move the parameters of political debate by pushing talk to the outer limits, so that ideas that were once deemed as extreme suddenly appeared to be normal.

You could go on and on -- the talk-radio jihad against big government that has put gutless Democrats so on the defensive that they no longer fight to protect vital programs but only over whether to agree to "steep" spending cuts or "draconian" ones, or the fear-mongering on terrorism and Gitmo that made quivering congressmen afraid to house terror suspects in our maximum security prisons. Don't think that Beck's nightly burst of insanity didn't have a lot to do with these things, because they did.

Don't believe me? Then ask a fellow in South Carolina named Bob Inglis who was a Republican congressman until he told his constituents to "turn off Glenn Beck," and lost a primary to an upstart who got 71 percent of the vote. Why do you think the Republicans in Washington remain in lock step, even as 90 percent of what they stay in lock step for is bat-guano crazy.

The solutions to these problems are out there, but they are stymied by a two-year explosion of madness, the right-wing backlash, which I reported on my book that is called "The Backlash," and it was Glenn Beck that lit the fuse. Yes, his reign on the Fox News Channel may last little more than 27 months. But it may take the rest of us 27 years -- or more -- to undo all of the damage.

The motto of the Bush and Beck and Teabagger years as the short strokes of three decades of the Reagan Delusion is, "Act in haste, repent at leisure".

There was nothing hasty about the Repug conspiracy of course. It was well thought out since about Nixon's day, but its fruition occurred during the eight years under their trained chimp. If they'da got one who could throw feces correctly we'd be in even more trouble than we are.

Given that our wrongest and most obtuse and loudest Dead Enders are so slow to learn and can't recognise truth or even reality when it hits 'em in the face like a dead carp, I think Bunch is wildly optimistic that the cumulative damage these wingnut bastards like Beck and Bush have done will be anywhere near corrected in only 27 years.

Ludicrous and Cruel

Here's the last ¶ of a column by Paul Krugman on Lyin' Ryan's anti-New Deal right wing 'budget' proposal:

So the pundits who praised this proposal when it was released were punked. The G.O.P. budget plan isn’t a good-faith effort to put America’s fiscal house in order; it’s voodoo economics, with an extra dose of fantasy, and a large helping of mean-spiritedness.

Typical Repug bullshit.

The "worst of the worst" ...

More exactly:

"Teabaggers are the worst of the worst. Self-centered, greedy assholes bent on destroying every decent hard fought civil right we have. To Hell with the lot of them."

That's our pal David Aquarius in comments here.

Thing is, they don't even bother to hide it anymore. Mr. Amato has a video up of one of them with Mrs. Greenspan:

Amy Kremer of the Tea Party Express was on with Andrea Mitchell and acted like a spoiled child who was going to hold her breath and turn blue until she gets the $100 billion cuts in the budget for 2011, even though four months have already passed and Obama has agreed with Boehner's original asking price of a little over $30 billion in tax cuts. Many of the Kremer Tea Party crowd showed up on TV today and demanded they get their cake, eat it and then cry for some donuts immediately if Democrats and Republicans do not do what they want.


All the teabaggers are is a buncha gullible teenagers being used by adults to further a corporate agenda.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Run what ya brung

"Fixer's People" are amazing sometimes!


Horse dreams dashed, German teen turns to cow Luna

This is a heartwarming story. Go read.

Shave an' a haircut, two bits and not worth a plugged nickel

Ever had yer hair cut by a freshman at the Barber College? A cheap amateur butcher job. Samey-same with Ryan's dreamworks budget. You'll never get a date looking like that. Heh.

Click to embiggen so you can read it better

From YubaNet.

Pence Lets The The Truth Slip

The 'baggers sometimes have a little trouble keeping their lies straight. Also, 'truth as gaffe' occasionally slips out even on FOXProp. Condolences to those who have to watch this shit to let the rest of us know.

Via Think Progress:

Thanks to ThinkProgress2.

Since that vid talks about the troops, let's talk about not paying them should there be a Repug gummint shutdown.

Again, Think Progress:

One painful consequence of a possible looming government shutdown is that U.S. troops, many of whom are currently stationed and fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, will not get paid. “You could have forces deployed in the field, with their families back home, and no one’s getting paid. And that could be an issue,” one defense department official said.

Could be an issue? Let me say something about that - our soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines mostly don't give a shit about being in harm's way. You can fuck with their chow, fuck with their sleep, send them to shitholes the devil shudders at the prospect of being in, and they will do their duty, give it their all.

Fuck with their pay and they're liable to go on strike. Remember, these days we have a married military. The troops have wives and kids and live off base and have bills to pay. As Gates says, they live from paycheck to paycheck, and fuckin' with their families won't fly.

In my day (read "Once Upon A Time..."), about 99% of us were single and lived in the barracks. In my meteoric rise from a lower-than-whale-shit Private making $73 a month to my lofty final princely sum as an E-4-over-two of $212.50 a month, I never once didn't get paid. We got a place to live, our chow, we could wash our own clothes if we had to and find a free haircut that would satisfy regs if not style, and you'd be surprised how many guys can shave with a worn-out blade (to Marines, pain is weakness leaving the body). All our pay really did for us was let us buy smokes and beer and an occasional civilian cheeseburger and unnecessary luxuries such as shaving cream and starched utilities. The powers-that-be made damn sure we got it. I've stood in line for an hour aboard a ship in the middle of the Nowhere Ocean to get my pittance in cash even though we were six weeks and thousands of miles from anywhere but the ship's store to spend it. You couldn't get into the ship's store for two days after payday but that's another story. You could get in any of a hundred card or dice games of your choice. Heh.

Point is, money wasn't all that important to us other than we had it coming and had better get it, and the Brass made sure we did.

The goddam 'baggers want this government shut down and the hell with supporting the troops. Just collateral damage in their pathetic ideological wet dream.

"a wishlist of every conservative wet dream"

El Rude-o on Ryan's "budget" proposal:

[...] Because you know what would have happened if the situation was reversed.

If a Democrat had proposed a budget that radically cut the military, raised the top tax rate by nearly a third, ended all the wars, created a national health care system through a new payroll tax (thus relieving businesses of a huge financial burden), expanded EPA and food safety enforcement, and jacked up discretionary spending on education, scientific research, and more, and still yielded trillions of dollars in long-term savings, and then explained the document by saying, "This isn't a budget. This is a cause," do you think that that Democrat would have been hailed as "courageous" by any Republicans? Do you think that anyone in the media would have taken the thing seriously? Don't be fucking stupid. What would have happened is that most Democrats would have run away like beaten bitches afraid of Rush Limbaugh's switch, Republicans would have called it "un-American" and "the mostest radicalest budget that anyone has ever put out in the history of forever" and taken the word "cause" to mean "Marxist rape of your children," and Fox "news" would have gone to TardCon 5 in demonizing everything: "Do you want the government telling you what diseases you can have? Do you want Barack Obama to decide how much shit should be on your chicken?"

Paul Ryan's budget is not a serious document. It is, instead, a few pages of dried ejaculate on paper. It is a wishlist out of every conservative wet dream, and, as such, it is ballsy just how brazen it is. If nothing else, you can't say in the future that Republicans didn't warn us. Ryan's plan, his "Road Map," sets the bar so low that it pretty much guarantees that Democrats will be negotiating away many of the programs they worked on for decades and then declare victory because they didn't give in to everything Republicans wanted.

The fuckers swung for the fence all right. Let's hope it's a called strike.

Getting stoned ...

Firstly, I feel a lot better than I thought I would. I guess I'm still in half-decent shape. Heh ...

The real bitch about these "dry" (no mortar) stone constructions is getting the first course level. The entire job took me about 8 1/2 hours (stopping only for 3 smoke breaks), but laying the first course took about 5 of them.

I got my tools together first. Sharp spade, ruler, square, 4' level and a little rake.

The biggest bitch was breaking down the pallet and sorting the stones according to size and shape. This should be done before laying the first stone. They vary in size from approx 3' square down to stuff as small as a computer mouse.

I started by laying out the stones for the first course in approximate position. I laid the longest, straightest edge of each stone toward the outside, measuring out from my line to keep them fairly straight. That's the big rule here. The first course has to be level.

The trick is to start at the lowest side. Since the backyard is pitched to the west, I started on the west side. Once I got the first stone leveled, I moved on to the next, leveling each one to the preceding stone.

Notice I started a few feet off the corner. In my initial sorting, I picked out 4 corner pieces that were big enough to take up the whole corner, giving a good base as opposed to several small stones to make the corner.

Now, in the pic above, you see the west and south sides of the garden. Thanks to the difference in pitch, I had to go pretty deep by the time I got to the southeast corner (the first course is essentially buried). So what I did was start the first course on the east side at the same depth as the second course on the south. Observe:

This is the same corner with the east side leveled.

Then it's just a matter of stacking stones where they fit without wobbling. Also, the "seams" of the upper course shouldn't line up with those of the lower course.

And then, after a couple hours of stacking and moving stones around, it comes together.

I still have to pick up some topsoil to fill in the bed up to the top of the wall, but I sure as hell ain't swinging 500lbs of soil this morning. Maybe tomorrow. Heh ...

As always, click on the pics to make bigger. If you have any questions, leave 'em in comments.

Note to John Gall: I have no idea what kind of rock this is (I'll ask Sam the next time I'm at the nursery) but if I had to guess, I'd figure either a shale or slate of the kind you see in eastern Pennsylvania, very stratified.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

That's the problem ...

The mind still feels 25. Got my stone work done but I'd be surprised if I can stand up straight in the morning. I'm shot, the Mrs. just cracked a beer for me, and the dogs are rushing me along for bratwurst. I'll document the adventure in the morning. Heh ...

Miss Becky Outed!

Nah, nothin' as juicy as my title suggests. Dammit. Heh.

Think Progress

Why Beck Is Out At Fox: Poor Ratings And Paranoid Rants

I would say more the former and less the latter. Murdoch and Ailes like ads, which Becky has cost them many of, and it's only their poor beknighted ignoramus viewers that lurves them some paranoid rants.

Liquid alert!

Last month, Fox News officials told the New York Times anonymously that they were “contemplating life without Mr. Beck.” The Times also reported that “[m]any on the news side of Fox have wondered whether his chronic outrageousness — he suggested that the president has ‘a deep-seated hatred for white people’— have made it difficult for Fox to hang onto its credibility as a news network.”

Glad I warned ya, huh? Difficult for Fox to hang onto its credibility as a news network? Bwahahahahahahaha! What credibility? Dude, that ship sailed a long time ago.

Becky deserves to be relegated to the AM radio in some old Studebaker pickup out in goat country. I don't think the goats will be any more retarded by him. Or the goatherd who probably doesn't understand English very well anyway.

Prost to that!


It's become fashionable in American beer-geek circles to talk about the dire state of beer in Germany. The story is usually based on this fact: Germans are drinking less beer, about 101 liters per capita last year, down from more than 130 liters in the mid-1990s.

The story usually then leaps to questionable assumptions about why this is happening. Chief among these: German beers have become boring because the big six Bavarian beer producers make exactly the same beers. A conclusion is arrived at: What Germany really needs to regain its former glory is some gosh-darn, rootin' tootin' American innovation - namely in the form of American-style craft brews.

Call me an unrepentant Europhile, but I get a little uneasy when I hear Americans talk about how our innovations can save the world's oldest beer culture. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Coors' "cold-activated can" also a so-called American "innovation"? And let's be clear about beer consumption: The United States consumes a little over 80 liters per capita. Even with the decline, Germans are still drinking significantly more beer than we do. Until I walk into the average bar and see everyone drinking barleywine or barrel-aged sour beers rather than Bud Light or PBR, I suggest we should be a little more humble when it comes to commenting on other established beer cultures.

Heh. People who drink Goat Piss shouldn't throw (kidney?) stones!


If The First Amendment Had To Be Ratified Today…

This is all too true. Tina Dupuy:

Republicans will tell you they’re the sole Constitutional purists in the country; they worship the document more/better than you do. But imagine if the First Amendment had to be voted on today. It would need two-thirds majority in both Houses just to be proposed.

Consider it: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

First, it’s way too progressive for today’s rabid rightwing. And if the Republicans saw this Amendment as a win for Obama – it would have to be stopped by any means necessary.

All the President would have to do is say he thinks it’s important for Americans to have freedom of speech, religion, the press and assembly.

Then the Tea nee Republican Party would call them “Obama Freedoms.”

Right-wing blogs next would tap, “What do Hitler, Machiavelli, Darwin, Che Guevara and the New Black Panther Party all have in common? They all love Obama Freedoms.”

“Obama Freedoms will indoctrinate our children to be secular Islamists who want taxpayers to pay for gay marriage abortions at Ground Zero,” Newt Gingrich would say in some Vaseline-lensed ominous music-packed video he’d hawk on his website.

There's more. This is the upshot:

The First Amendment – arguably the foundation of our democracy – if brought up today would die in committee.

Yes, our time is just that stupid.

Yes, our time is just that stupid.

Frances Fox Piven: Still Tougher Than Glenn Beck

The American Prospect

The legendary anti-poverty activist, who is leading a nationwide teach-in on the corporate-fueled austerity movement with Cornel West today, talks about the current political moment -- and what can be done to reclaim government for the people.

Cornel West is one of my favorites, a liberal's liberal, and one fast-talkin' smart brotha!

Here's a couple of the questions asked of Professor Piven:

The old canard is that the Republicans are the party of the wealthy, while Democrats speak for the poor, working class, and middle class. So why does this situation appear to be as bad under Obama as under the Bush administration?

The Democrats' attitude toward their voters appears to be, "We're the best you've got. What are you going to do, vote Republican?" How do progressives manage to actually push the Democrats left?

You can go read her answers.

From wipin' yer ass to $4 gas to the 'bagger House


You knew they were big. You knew they were evil. From the union-busting actions of their minions in Wisconsin and Ohio to their war on health-care reform, to their assault on the environment and their attacks on the science of climatology, Charles and David Koch have earned their place as the focus of progressives' scrutiny in the age of the Tea Party -- the destructive and regressive movement they bankroll. But a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that, as bad as you thought the Kochs were, they're actually worse. And their reach into virtually every aspect of political, economic and physical life on the planet is probably greater than you thought possible.


The great Barack Obama conundrum

If it's Wednesday, it must be Morford, who does his whole column in one* timely 'must read' paragraph.

*The printable version breaks down into normal ¶.

...turns out he's not been nearly fine enough. Just the opposite, in fact. To the sneering disappointment of the puritanical left, Obama has turned out to be pretty much exactly what he said he'd be during his '08 campaign: flawed, exceedingly moderate, a resolute compromiser, overly pragmatic when he should've been a badass, temperate when he should've been white hot and furious, offering concessions when he should be bringing the hammer down. In short, Obama has failed. He has not at all been the delicious chocolatey superjesus of radical sociopolitical transformation most on the hard left hoped, prayed and sacrificed precious Prius bumper ad space he would be. Hence, the conundrum.

Let us now check the liberal Whine-O'-Meter.

That's easy - the needle is wrapped around the 'max' pin about three times.

The solution to this conundrum is actually very easy. If you're unsure of Obama because he's been less the demigod superhero studbunny you hoped for, well, you have but to merely glance at the competition. Across the board and down the line, the GOP contenders for 2012 so far are laughingstocks and charlatans, complete caricatures of actual humans with brains. The Palins and the Bachmans, the Huckabees and the Newts, the Trumps and the Romneys -- it's all birthers and paranoids, adulterous slugs and ditzball sociopaths, fringers and terrified Mormons, a bloody madhouse clown car of cutesy whiffleball glop. I can hardly wait for the debates.

So count your presidential blessings, libs, for while they may be tattered and rashy and often pinch and ride up, they are, on the whole, still plentiful and hugely impressive and just shockingly better than any alternative you can name, much less vote for. And you know it.

Mr. Morford could have been channelling me. That's exactly how I feel.

How it works ...

From our pal Michael:


It's their vicious circle, you see:

-- People are ignorant.
-- Republicans make more people ignorant and people more ignorant.
-- More people vote Republican.
-- More Republicans make more people even more ignorant.
-- Etc., etc., etc.


In a nutshell, yes.

This ...

Should be etched in marble somewhere:


And once again a stupid Conservative acts on a stupid Conservative idea and ends up costing the taxpayers money they can ill afford thanks to the stupid Conservative tax cuts for the rich.


Maybe etched in a whole buncha pieces of marble so we can mark conservative failures (and there are a lot of them) for future generations to see and learn from.

No tongues ...

The stomach heaves ...

Rock and Roll ...

Got tons of rocks coming in a few hours ... Not-So-Great Wall of Long Island to follow.

Thunderstorms last night and the intarwebs were the major casualty. Thankfully, the cable was up and I got to see FC Schalke 04 hand Internatzionale Milan their ass.


They've arrived, and a half-hour early I might add.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fuck it

Nuthin'. Zip-point-zilch. Same old shit. Ennui. Boredom. Nothing's goin' on that rocks my boat, pops my cork, blows my skirt up.

Hoping for news from Fixer's garden, gonna go shovel snow for the 14th day in a row to get outta the rut. That's bad. Heh. Later.

Ignore them at your peril ...

Mr. Mass-transit states it plainly (in toto):

The disparity in media coverage between what right wingers get anywhere anytime and what lefties have received over the past decade is so huge that when I reach for reasons I tend to get more paranoid about news organizations than I usually am. It's hard not to see it as a deliberate decision from the top. Ignore the protesting hippies.

Which is why the social media (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs) worry the government and "mainstream" press so much. It's not run through the corporate filter before the masses get to consume it. Ask the former and current, soon-to-be-former, Middle East despots how that goes. Like them, those here with all the power believe ignoring a problem will make it go away.

Word always gets out, now more than ever.


Gotta do some maintenance work over at Dad-in-law's place. Later ...

Of course ...

I'll vote Dem, but I certainly ain't happy about it. I expected better and no, I'm not in. Let him get his money from the corporations he's already sold out to. I've given enough to politicians before the fact. Ain't none of them getting a dime from me anymore until they prove they're worth it. Barry sure as hell hasn't.


Carl puts it well:


Trillions for banks. Nothing for Americans except a tax cut that no one even noticed and a healthcare reform bill that, if it survives, won't even kick in for another three years. Ahead of it, HMOs are gouging rates and doctors are overbilling all in the name of the rainy days to come.

When do we get to fight this class war back? When do we get to untie our hands and instead of being beaten, slapped and punched, maul those who harm us daily, with no regrets, without honor or loyalty to the nation that bestowed upon them the very gifts that our soldiers, We The People, have fought so hard for over the centuries?

When do you champion us? I'll give to your campaign. I may even contribute the same significant amounts I did in 2008. But it won't be with joy in my heart and hope for the kind of change we can believe in.


Indeed. Mr. Obama only gets my vote because the alternative, or not voting, is so much worse.

In a sane world ...

They'd all be in jail:

Transocean Execs Get Bonuses For 'Best Year In Safety,' Despite Gulf Disaster

But this is America in the 21st Century.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Garden update ...

Oy. Well, first off, I was gonna surprise the Mrs. so I ordered up a little shitbag plastic fence from Home Depot online. Unfortunatley, H-D didn't email me when the stuff shipped. I'm usually around when UPS comes and I deal with it. I figured I'd be outside and intercept him before he rang the bell and set it up while the Mrs. was working. Well, today, while I was running around, the shit came and was waiting inside the front door when I walked in. There were 6 boxes.

Needless to say, the Mrs. and the dogs interrogated me until I spilled the beans (the dogs were only happy to see me, the Mrs. wanted to know what was in the boxes).

So here it is. This took me 4 hours. The Mrs. likes it and it doesn't look half-bad (it'll do the trick until I get my buddy Ed the Welder to make me something out of wrought iron - 2 or 3 years maybe), but I had to engineer it a bit.

Like I said, it's shitbag plastic, probably made in the same place they make those shitty plastic coat hangers. But it's cheap so I won't mind ripping it up when Eddie gets "a round toit" (I introduced him to the mother of his 6 kids so he owes me one ... or not).

The little clips connecting the pieces are shitty, and it was an ass-puckering experience trying to lock them together without breaking (I broke 2). Fortunately, being in the auto repair business for 30-odd years, I got a million black cable ties. I ended up using a tie at every joint and it really stiffened everything up. The Mrs. likes it, I'm happy.

I also added some more plants to give the perimeter some more depth and color.

On the east side, I put a couple Sedum on either side of a Red Dianthus.

On the north side, I did the same thing on either side of the Japanese Holly and the Juniper, though instead of the succulents flanking the Dianthus, I used English Daisies.

I used the same combination on the south side.

On the west side I put a Sedum in the center and two varieties of Phlox (Emerald Pink and Emerald Blue).

And last but not least, I added a Clematis to the center bed (in the tripod) and I'm gonna let that grow up the tree.

Time to have a beer, take a shower, and wind the dogs up to have the Mrs. make us dinner (I send surrogates, heh ...). Later.

Quote of the Day

A comment on this article:

"The invisible hand of the free market does not do safety inspections.”

Nor, unregulated, will it.

Verrrry Interesting...


While intensive agriculture, highways, and cities have put pressure on ecosystems and species in most parts of Germany, the so-called “Death Strip” was off limits to most humans for decades, and thus became a safe haven for rare wildlife and plants.

You vill go see. You vill enyoy. If you do not, ve haff vays of making you...

The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Gail Collins (NYT) on The Donald:

During one down period, I referred to him in print as a “financially embattled thousandaire” and he sent me a copy of the column with my picture circled and “The Face of a Dog!” written over it.

This from a guy who carries an embarrassed bleached blond dead skunk around on his head? Chutzpah, thy name is Trump!


Vanity Fair

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

I find 'One-Percenters' to be a very apt title for the wealthiest among us. In the world of motorcycling, the 1%ers are the outlaw bikers. They are proud of it and a lot of them wear 1% patches on their cuts. Walk right up to one of 'em and stare at it. Heh.

Many of the outlaws also wear 'Filthy Few' patches, which I think applies to the richies as well.

Naturally, the rest of us card-carrying motorcycling 99%ers are a cut above and spend our time sipping tea and carrying on deep literary and philosophical discussions...

Headline of the Day

Fed Judge: State Legislatures Don't Have Authority To Limit Collective Bargaining Rights

This is good. 'Rights' not specifically enumerated in the Constitution were generally hard-won to redress grievances left out or not thought of at the time. Or left in like slavery. We do not get to vote away other people's rights and they do not get to vote away ours, the Repug M.O. be damned.

HPUB Website


The Huffington Post Union of Bloggers, a non-profit corporation affiliated with Local 1981 of the National Writers Union, announces the launch of The Union calls on Huffington Post readers and bloggers to utilize this new and exciting website.


What is HPUB?

The Huffington Post Union of Bloggers (HPUB) is a non-profit corporation affiliated with Local 1981 of the National Writers Union.

Who are its Directors and members?

Current and former bloggers and employees of the Huffington Post and their supporters. Their names are confidential.

What does HPUB want?

To build a news and views website for change and transformation; not driven by advertisers and a Board of Directors beholden to shareholders.

What are the criteria to have work published?

HPUB policy is to promote quality original and reprinted material that reflects Progressive values and vision of change.

Good for them.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

But keep sending them their Social Security checks

Economy Added 216,000 Jobs in March
Analysis: number of bartenders hired more than offset number of school teachers fired.

Chinese Activist Gets 10 Years for Libeling Leadership as Autocratic
Proving his point.

Toy Maker Raises Ruckus With “Breast Milk Baby”
Decides to delay release of “My First Delivery” and “C-Section Sally.”

Can "Penis Pump Peter" be far behind?

Top Ten ...

No, not Letterman, JP has a rundown of the Top Ten in the Rethuglican Clown Car for 2012:


A recipient himself of the Franklin Graham Islamophobic Asshole of the Year award for two years running, this hypocritical serial adulterer made national headlines by screaming about Sharia law in the US and the erecting of the Cordoba Center two blocks from Ground Zero. The anti-Nostradamus, Gingrich has been wrong about everything yet still vacuums up enough money from mindless, racist minions every year to form exploratory committees that invariably tell him he's unelectable.


Errands ...

This morning. Be back later with a garden update at the least.

"Got a problem wid dat?"

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Last snow post of winter 2011?

I hope so. Since my roof got cleared last Sunday, the weather has been mahvelous dahling! The warm temps caused my little bit of residual ice to start creeping off the roof. I whacked at it with my ice whacker to seemingly no avail. Five minutes later, whoomph! and thirty linear feet of ice came down. This is nothing, happens every few years and I have all I need to repair it in stock.

Click to embiggen

I am damn glad I had the roof de-snowed. If that had come down with 5 to 6 feet of snow on top of it the damage would have been a lot worse, and that has happened. One year we had so much ice and snow come down that it broke the deck, the railing, and the steps. We went in and out through the garage for about a month while I waited for massive chunks to melt so I could begin repairs.

This video shows the awesome power of my Honda and what's left of its winter-worn simple-minded operator. At one point about 4:00 I am about to take a cigarette break, remember the camera is running and think better of it. A coupla times you can see me having to physically pull the machine when the treads stopped motating and just churned snow.

Also, you'll hear a coupla airplanes, or maybe the same one circling to gain altitude from our 6000' airport to get over our 9000' mountains (see 'density altitude'. Pilots who don't take it into account on takeoff crash around here more frequently than you might think). Airplanes fly low over my house all the time. Whatever they're lookin' for, it's already gone.

I left this for late in the day so you could see it first thing in the morning when all your mental power is occupied with that first cuppa and a smoke. Trust me, this is not a mental workout. Heh.

Wasn't sure if my Honda could blow a way through that snowpile. With a little shovel work it can. This is the last few minutes of an hour and a half job. Took a few more minutes to clear the finished way back into the garage.

Boring I know, but my dog is always fun to watch.

The GOP Is Great!

Wow. After that title, I gotta read the directions on the air sickness bag - "after use, fold toward you". Gotcha...

This is "if you can't say something nice..." along the lines of "gee, for a fat girl you don't sweat much".

Bill Maher thinks of something nice to say about republicans

Via Raw Story.

Must See!

This is good! I will admit to having this story every bit as wrong as the teabaggers albeit in a different direction. Hartmann be esplainin' it well.

See also the Tea Act of 1773. If you don't believe Wikipedia, pick your own. See the Boston Port Act as well.

Thom Hartmann: The TRUE story of the Tea Party

Thanks to TheBigPictureRT.