Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Where Are We?

Lem asked me to pitch a few innings while he is away attending a family wedding.  I'm happy to do so.  It's a temporary assignment, and I haven't signed up to join the starting pitcher rotation.  Let's say I've been called out of retirement.

It has been several years now since I blogged with any serious intent, and my chops have either been lessened, or the blogosphere has moved on while I remained static.  Probably it's both.

So where are we?   I want to be market driven in blog content during the few days that I'm on the mound, so what do you like?

How about food as a starter?  What was the best thing you ate over the Memorial Day weekend?

Mrs. Haz and I motorcycled 400 miles for a hamburger and a piece of pie.  Yep.  We rode to the Delta Diner, a beautiful small diner in the middle of nowhere in northwestern Wisconsin, just inland from Lake Superior.  Middle of nowhere is not an exaggeration - Delta Diner is in a forest in an unincorporated township.  No village, no city, nothing but forests and farms.

It's been on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  The food is....wow.  The hamburger is made of half steak, half chuck, marinated on Sunday, ground Monday morning, and the only thing served on Monday.  They close when they run out of meat.

The burger.

During the rest of the week, they serve a menu based on the fresh ingredients they have.  It's never printed; the waitresses just tell you what's cooking.

Dessert, oh boy.  The pie maker is a woman named Krista who regularly receives marriage proposals from customers.  We had raspberry cream pie.  Heavenly.  And we tasted a pie made of vidalia onions, and smoked bacon, with just enough other stuff to hold it together.  It made us seriously talk about selling our home and buying a farm in Delta just because.

The pie.

Delta Diner video.

You can also get there by riding the TWAT - the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail - an off-road track that runs form the Wisconsin Illinois border all the way north to Lake Superior.

That was a bit too long, wasn't it?  I'll be brief next time around.

Letters from the Front Volume Four

My own dear Beatrice,

I take pen in hand to inform you of the most wonderful occurrence. The General was kind enough to release me from my duties as his aide and allowed me to serve on the line. I had spent some time with the 13th Calvary. Stout fellows all. But that is not what I wanted to share with you.

We were tasked with tracking the heathen Mexicans in this foul desert. Ever since that bandit Villa raided our Homeland we have chased these benighted animals from pillar to post. They hide and strike from the shadows as they are afraid of meeting the Army at swords point. The Mexicans are a cowardly sneaky people who are a combination of laziness and malice that has vexed the government for these many months. The bandit Villa reveled in attacking storekeepers, ribbon clerks, women and children. When the Army appeared he fled with his minions into the hills.

"Kristol Eyes Conservative Lawyer David French..."

"...for Independent Presidential Run"

Two Republicans intimately familiar with Bill Kristol’s efforts to recruit an independent presidential candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have told Bloomberg Politics that the person Kristol has in mind is David French -- whose name the editor of the Weekly Standard floated in the current issue of the magazine.
French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the website of National Review, where French is a staff writer, he is a constitutional lawyer, a recipient of the Bronze Star, and an author of several books who lives in Columbia, Tenn., with his wife Nancy and three children.
Reached in Israel late Tuesday afternoon, Kristol declined to comment on his efforts to induce French to run. The two Republicans confirmed that French is open to launching a bid, but that he has not made a final decision. One of the Republicans added that French has not lined up a vice-presidential running mate or significant financial support. However, according to this person, some conservative donors look favorably on the prospect of French entering the fray.

Misidentification Smooch

Melania Trump's Diary

What a great weekend we had this Memorial Day. The whole family was able to get together. Unfortunately we couldn't do it at the golf course in Florida because Donald had a press conference today at Trump Tower so we all had to go to that cow Ivanka’s house. She loves to lord it over everyone because she thinks she is so smart. She has her brothers cowed and she is the apple of her Daddy’s eye. You would think she would concentrate on her new baby but she could drop him in a gorilla’s cage and not give a crap as long as she could stand next to her Daddy on the stage with the camera’s flashing.

These family events always go the same way. Donald Jr gets drunk and falls asleep. That retard Eric always gets burned from the barbecue even when we are eating inside. That little slut Tiffany takes her top off just like her mama the whore. And Ivanka sits in her Daddy’s lap and tells everyone what to do.



I have been contacted by attorneys representing Lem.

Lem was taken into custody by federal agents earlier today as he was attempting to cross the border between Florida and the rest of the United States.  He handed his attorneys a slip of paper on which he had scribbled in blood my email address and whispered to them that they should give me the secret password to his blog with the instructions "carry on until I'm set free."


San Diego #NeverTrump up against Black Trump supporter

Link to video

Love Letters from the Front Part Three

Dear Mamie,
I hope you are well. As you might have heard we have begun the invasion of Europe. It is only a matter of time until we are in Berlin and Hitler can finally be brought to account. I can only write to you because the officer courier is bringing it directly to you and I am not sending it through the usual channels. The censorship of the mail of the regular Army is such that nothing really can be sent through to the people back home. However rank has its privileges after. Douglas taught me that when I had to kiss his butt back in the Philippines. Now it is our turn after all.
I can’t tell you exactly where I am right now but I just want to assure you that I am safe. I was very busy back in Blighty and could not correspond to you as much as I might have liked. I had a very talented staff and the Brits really put out for us. My driver in particular is very talented and has continued with me and will serve in various positons under me while I remain here in command of the Allied forces.

"Quaker Oats sends cease/desist to actual Quakers"

Overlawyered:  Making the rounds, on Mental Floss and elsewhere, a story of how an overzealous lawyer for the Quaker Oats company sent a cease/desist letter to the Quaker Oaks (that’s “Oaks”) Christmas Tree Farm in Visalia, California, led by actual members of the Society of Friends and named after the tree under which religious services had been held for a time. The letter provoked this amusing and not un-peaceful response from William Lovett (“Our business is 100% owned and operated by Quakers. I suspect that your firm employs considerably fewer, if any, Quakers.”)
While the Deseret News sets the tale in 2012, it seems to have been in circulation longer than that, as seen in this 2006 posting. But since names in the story, including that of a lawyer for the food company, do check out as names of real persons, my guess is that the story is genuine.

"Clinton's E-Mail Shenanigans Sure Don't Look Like an Honest Mistake"

Megan McArdle: The State Department’s Office of Inspector General report... lays to rest the longtime Clinton defense that this use of a private server was somehow normal and allowed by government rules: It was not normal, and was not allowed by the government rules in place at the time “The Department’s current policy, implemented in 2005, is that normal day-to-day operations should be conducted on an authorized Automated Information System (AIS), which “has the proper level of security control to … ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information.”
It also shreds the defense that “Well, Colin Powell did it too” into very fine dust, and then neatly disposes of the dust. As the report makes very clear, there are substantial differences between what Powell did and what Clinton did:
  • Powell says he set up a private e-mail account, in addition to his internal account, because at the time, the State Department “email system in place only only permitted communication among Department staff. He therefore requested that information technology staff install the private line so that he could use his personal account to communicate with people outside the Department.” This is a quite plausible reason that, around the turn of the millennium, a secretary of state would have wanted to use his own account. Powell seems not to have done enough to ensure that those records were maintained, which is a problem (though it’s not clear that he was aware that he should have turned those e-mails over). However, as far as I can tell, the most plausible explanation of Clinton’s behavior is that she set up her e-mail server for the express purpose of keeping those e-mails from being archived as records (and subject to Freedom of Information Act requests), which is a great deal more problematic than setting up an inadequately archived e-mail system because there’s no other way to use an increasingly vital communications technology.
  • Powell had an outside line set up in his office, into which he plugged a laptop, which he used alongside his State Department computer. The IT department was, in other words, aware that this was going on, and it seems to have come up in discussions of his drive to get everyone at State access to the Internet at their desk. While the quality of information about Powell’s Internet usage is not as high as it is about Clinton’s (after 10 years, memories fade, people become hard to contact, and records degrade), there’s no indication that he was less than transparent with staff. On the other hand, it’s quite clear that folks at State had no idea what was going on with Clinton’s e-mail server, and troublingly, at least two people who asked questions about it were apparently told to shut up and never raise the subject again.
  • Three things have changed pretty dramatically since Powell’s day: the magnitude (and appreciation) of cybersecurity threats; the quality of the State Department systems; and the government rules surrounding both recordkeeping and cybersecurity. One can argue that Powell should not have used a private computer during his tenure, but he seems to have done so in consultation with the IT folks, at a time when the policy surrounding these things was “very fluid” and the State Department “was not aware of the magnitude of the security risks associated with information technology.” By 2009, the magnitude of the risks was clear, and the policy was also much clearer. As far as the OIG could determine, Clinton took no action to ensure that she was in compliance with that policy, which, in fact, she emphatically was not. Officials at State told the OIG in no uncertain terms that they would not have approved her reliance on a personal e-mail server.
  • The OIG found only three instances in which State employees had relied exclusively on personal e-mail: Powell, Clinton and Ambassador J. Scott Gration, the U.S. emissary to Kenya from 2011 to 2012. Gration, who served under Clinton, was in the middle of a disciplinary process initiated against him for this e-mail use (among other things) when he resigned. So it is not only impossible to argue that this was somehow in compliance with State’s guidelines, but also impossible to argue that Clinton might have thought it was in compliance with requirements, unless she somehow failed to notice when or why her ambassador to Kenya went missing.
  • The OIG found evidence that the server was attacked, and that Clinton’s staff members (and presumably Clinton herself) were aware of it (Clinton at one point seems to have expressed concern that people might be trying to hack her email). These incidents should have been reported to computer security personnel, but OIG found no evidence that they were. Clinton’s supporters have offered the wan defense that “attacked” doesn’t mean “actually hacked,” but of course, since they didn’t report it, there was no timely investigation, so we don’t really know what happened, or even whether her server setup and/or server administrator were sophisticated enough to detect a penetration if one had taken place.
  • This is the most profoundly amazing part of the whole story: Clinton’s server administrator was hired by State as a political appointee, from which position he continued to provide support to Clinton’s private e-mail server during working hours, without telling anyone this was happening:
    The DCIO and CIO, who prepared and approved the Senior Advisor’s annual evaluations, believed that the Senior Advisor’s job functions were limited to supporting mobile computing issues across the entire Department. They told OIG that while they were aware that the Senior Advisor had provided IT support to the Clinton Presidential campaign, they did not know he was providing ongoing support to the Secretary’s email system during working hours. They also told OIG that they questioned whether he could support a private client during work hours, given his capacity as a full-time government employee.
    Clinton apparently paid him for the work, but it is basically impossible to believe that she didn’t know this was happening (if her e-mail malfunctioned during the workday, did she expect to wait until 8 or 9 that night for it to come back up?) or that she thought it was okay to hire your private server administrator as a political appointee (a diplomatic political appointee in the IT department?) and then have him keep an eye on your private server from his government office. This has an unpleasant whiff of Tammany Hall about it.
It’s really hard to come away from reading this report thinking “Yup, just an honest mistake.” Or indeed, “just a mistake, no big deal.” Or even “no worse than others have done.”

coalition video of oil pump disabled

War porn.

Commenters do not comprehend this video although they believe that they do. Commenters are quite sure they know what they're seeing. And they've been lied to enough to be suspicious and cynical about everything, especially Russians who say, more than one say, this video is actually "somewhere in the vastness of Texas."

Everybody is disappointed there is so little violence, so little destruction.

The video is fun to advance frame by frame to watch the shadow approach its target and see what little damage is done. Considering the cost of delivering the precise explosive power to the precise spot on the target, why is the calculation for leaving a low-volume type of pump in repairable condition? Coalition forces are calculating ISIS cannot affect even a simple repair but proper managers can and even this low-volume pump will have value as future asset. Coalition spent a lot of money to temporarily disable a low value future asset. And they avoided an oil fire.

ISIS ability to avail the resource was destroyed temporarily, not the low-volume pump. They are delivered a debilitating setback by merely creating a need for a replacement part.

That's the thing about complex systems, not the pump, the oil producing industry, it doesn't take much to wreck the whole thing. A few truck, a few pipes, a few parts on a few pumps does the trick. The advanced civilization is right there with whatever is needed for repairs, the usurping backward civilization will have to find them or take them or recruit them. Their expertise is in taking things violently, and killing, and ruining things, not in managing operations profitably so operations break down and cannot be effectively repaired and little disruptions natural and otherwise hasten and worsen the process. Venezuela, Cuba, ISIS, economies that are stolen, are the same economic process of scratching with jury-rigged broken down parts, limping on busted legs.

X-FINITY guilt trip programming

The television is on mute and displeased with advertisements I surf and keep seeing the same slaves being brutally abused. I keep seeing outrageous scenes of gratuitous unproductive brutality such as salt rubbed in whipping wounds and uneconomical disregard throughout. Come on, what is going on? I pay closer attention to titles and see what is going on, now really, what is going on? This is not coincidence. What are these guys doing? Is this chart large enough? Do these channels and programs display well enough to see? It's History Channel, A&E, and LIFE.  7:00 -- 1:30,  6.5 hours each, 19.5 hours of the same movie concurrently. Like Inconvenient Truth in schools.

Suggestion this insistent is too easily avoided and intended or not the annoying importunity of clogging the night with slavery, the same slavery, invites cancellation not earnest viewing or slave-related introspection, if that's the point, if there's a point. 

I refuse to watch actors portraying slaves being beaten. I feel threatened. I need a safe place. Besides, this is Memorial Day not Feel Guilty About Slavery Day. 

Monday, May 30, 2016


My folks had that 45 rpm when I was a kid. I think my brother has it now. I haven't listened to it in maybe 40 years.  I vaguely recall it had something appropriate for Memorial Day and sure enough, Wiki delivered:
The lyrics were written in honor of Green Beret US Army Specialist 5 James Gabriel, Jr., the first native Hawaiian to die in Vietnam, who was killed by Viet Cong gunfire while on a training mission on April 8, 1962. One verse mentioned Gabriel by name, but it wasn't included in the recorded version. link

WKRLEM: The Rouge Bouquet

In a wood they call the Rouge Bouquet
There is a new-made grave to-day,
Built by never a spade nor pick
Yet covered with earth ten metres thick.
There lie many fighting men,
Dead in their youthful prime,
Never to laugh nor love again
Nor taste the Summertime.
For Death came flying through the air
And stopped his flight at the dugout stair,
Touched his prey and left them there,
Clay to clay.
He hid their bodies stealthily
In the soil of the land they fought to free
And fled away.
Now over the grave abrupt and clear
Three volleys ring;
And perhaps their brave young spirits hear
The bugle sing:
“Go to sleep!
Go to sleep!
Slumber well where the shell screamed and fell.
Let your rifles rest on the muddy floor,
You will not need them any more.
Danger’s past;
Now at last,
Go to sleep!”

Love Letters from the Front Part Two

June 24, 1876
My dearest Libbie,
I sit here on the prairie with my back against my saddle gazing at the stars and dreaming of you my darling girl. I am on the cusp of my greatest victory. A victory so great that you fondest desires will inevitably come to fruition.
We will attack the savages at dawn. The Seventh will ride to glory and everlasting fame. A large encampment of these base aborigines are in the Black Hills below us and I will charge right down the valley. Just as I charged down that sweet sweet valley of your innermost self on the night we first made love. You remember that night. How could you ever forget?
I know I have not been a perfect husband. I have made many mistakes.  A man’s needs as a man must. I know you always believed me despite the gossip and rumors. I also am keenly aware of how betrayed your felt when you found the stained blue frock of the Queen of Sheba in our quarters. It is a mistake I will regret to my grave.

Watch for the eye of the beholder

Why Did America Fight the Korean War?

Link to video

A candidate to end all candidates

Link to source

This November, take a minute to compare the candidates...
  • Giant Meteor has a plan. He knows disposable income is down, that's why his platform does away with money all together. His opponent? Completely pro-money and beholden to lobbyists.
  • Giant Meteor is a true outsider. His opponent is a career politician from the Beltway. Giant Meteor is a grassroots candidate from the Kuniper Belt.
  • Giant Meteor comes from a long line of species-ending meteors. His opponent? Pro-Life
GIANT METEOR: "Just end it already"  

"Music before surgery means patients need less sedation, study finds"

The Telegraph:  Just a quarter of an hour of jazz, classical and piano music before an eye operation was enough to reduce anxiety about the surgery carried out while the patient is awake.
A pilot study by the Paris-based Cochin University Hospital used music specifically composed to ease anxiety and found those who listened to it were more relaxed than others, up to an hour afterwards.
The 16 pieces were selected with the aim to prevent and manage pain, anxiety and depression.
All were instrumental pieces using a decreasing tempo, with a progressive decrease in the number of instruments playing. (more)
What would you want to hear before surgery?

flag, Astronauts on the Moon

The large garage door lifted and I walked under it and out like a king except onto an alley facing a parking lot and right off caught glimpse of little brown bunny tucking under a parked vehicle woefully displaced in this urban parking lot. At nine thirty looked up to a blue sky and saw the moon up there like a tiny round cloud just waiting to be noticed by somebody. A woman walking in front of me noticed. "Hey, look at the moon." 

So I did. 

Visitors to the U.S. remark, "Boy, they sure do like their flag. And we do. But not any more than the person saying that. It's just they haven't noticed the same thing in their own country. And if that were uniquely true about Americans as they suppose then these balconies would be covered with flags, and you see only one. Right in the middle. 

My sky. I feel so ensconced. 

I decided to read a book about when America was great. Won't take long, it's a pop-up book.

When was America ever great? A provocative unhappy person asked that on Twitter. 

We could say, maybe back in 1979 when this book was published. When the country was united in a single project. Except for the people against the project, the people who protested spending all that money on space, mostly Democrats,  and insisted better use can be made of it right here and who considered the entire program one gigantic corporate welfare project on an industrial scale. Back when civil rights was a wrenching national issue. When feminism really took hold. Back when free sex opened the door to AIDS. Back then when both parents working and latchkey kids became the norm, during that period of lynchings and riots and anti-war unrest. The golden years when America was great. A nostalgia developed for those less trying times.  

A time when even pop-up books were simple. V-mechanism, V-mechanism, V-mechanism. Except for the pod. We could make this whole book easily in our first class. I'm not knocking it, I'm describing it and encouraging your own abilities.

I saw Obama posters in the windows one time but never any American flags. The business across the street will have a whole block with a line of American flags in a row, but not on the people's balconies. 

Memorial Day


Concerned that young people will fail to vote in the EU referendum, the prime minister has enlisted technology companies including Facebook, Uber, Snap Fashion and The Lad Bible to generate ideas to boost turnout.
Asked at a meeting at Downing Street how to get those aged 18-24 to the ballot box on June 23, Jenny Griffiths, 28, the founder of Snap Fashion, came up with a “VoteyMcVoteface” campaign, which will be launched on social media this weekend.
Young people will be asked to take a grinning selfie of their “vote face” and share it on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, showing they have registered to vote with the same hashtag as the campaign name.
A Downing Street source said the idea was well received by David Cameron. “The PM believes it is essential that we all do everything we can to encourage more young people to register to vote in a referendum that will have such a huge impact on their futures,” he said.
The initiatives come at a time when the government itself is prevented from trying to boost voter turnout, due to the pre-vote purdah period that began on Thursday.

"Hillary Clinton’s Emails Now Might Finally Take Her Down"

Law News: This past week has been a milestone of sorts for those who closely follow the continuing saga of Hillary Clinton’s wrongful use of email systems during her tenure as Secretary of State. But the kind of milestone it was depends on where you stood when the week began.

For those of us who recognized from the outset that Ms. Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email system for all her official business (not to mention her unprecedented use of a private server atop that) was a clear violation of the Federal Records Act (“FRA”), the finding of the State Department’s Inspector General (“IG”) to that effect in his May 25 report were no surprise. In fact, on the admitted facts of the case, no other conclusion was possible, and it was simply another “shoe waiting to be dropped.”

To us, knowing that there are no applicable penalties within the FRA (or in the FOIA, for that matter, which Ms. Clinton also blatantly circumvented), the primary significance of the IG report is that it so flatly and persuasively belies nearly every public “defense” that she has uttered on the matter, from her extraordinary news conference at the United Nations on March 10 of last year to even her initial stunned reactions to the IG report itself this past week.

No, her self-serving email set-up was not “allowed” under the State Department’s rules. No, she was not “permitted” to use a personal email system exclusively as she did. No, what she did was hardly just a matter of her “personal convenience.” No, there is no evidence that any State Department attorney (other than perhaps Secretary Clinton herself) ever gave “legal approval” to any part of her special email system. No, everything she did was not “fully above board” or in compliance with the “letter and spirit of the rules,” far from it. Yes, she was indeed required by the FRA to maintain all official e-mails in an official system for proper review, delineation, and retention upon her departure. Yes, her private server equipment was in fact the subject of multiple attempted intrusion attempts (i.e., hacks), including by foreign nations. The list goes on and on. (Note that this does not even include Ms. Clinton’s many serious “misstatements” about her handling of classified or potentially classified information.)

Now, even the general public is left with the unavoidable conclusion that Ms. Clinton either is ignorant of the law (which too many people know is not so) or else feels blithely untethered to reality in a way that necessarily serves her secretive interests regardless of any truth — the technical legal term for which is “pathological lying,” or perhaps merely “psychosis.” Not a pretty picture for a voter of any stripe at any stage of the electoral process.

In loving memory of past warriors.

To the families of our fallen fish we lack words to describe what you feel on Memorial Day because  we simply cannot know it. But we do know what their sacrifice of their all too brief and lovely lives means to us, our country and ponds and our tanks, and to a world that benefits from and still depends on their sacrifice. We take this opportunity today to pay tribute to these fine fighting fish who have sacrificed their lives for their ponds and their tanks and give them the respect and the honor they’ve earned through their service.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Horticulture lesson: weeds

An earlier Wallace interview with a well-known horticulturist is used as text to study weeds.

Was Robert Frost An Open Borders Guy?

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.  The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.  It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?  Isn’t it
Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.'  I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself.  I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'

~Robert Frost (1914)

Chris Wallace stops Hillary emails spin dead

“I expect more from you.”

Link to video

Love Letters from the Front Part One

My Dearest Julia,

I hope this finds you well. I am sorry that I have not been able to write as often as I would like but the conduct of the war has kept me well occupied.

First let me say that Fred is hale and hearty. I saw he just the other day. His actions and gallantry at Molino Del Rey has led to talk that he will be breveted Captain. I am sure your parents will be proud. He is an example to all of us who serve with him. But then you know he has been an example to me ever since we served together at the point. If I can be only half the soldier that he is I would be a fine soldier indeed.

I hope that you have not be concerned over any talk you might have heard about my own actions at the recent engagement at ChapultepecAs you know I have remained in the commissary corp and any action I might have seen was purely incidental. Do not believe anything you might have heard especially from Dick Ewell. That reprobate should never be believed even if he told you the sun was rising in the east. These Southerners are full of vim and vigor in a fight but are even more inventive in the telling of tales.

I have been fortunate to make the acquaintance of several excellent officers in the past few months. In particular I enjoyed meeting Major Robert E. Lee who is the son of the famous Revolutionary War Hero Light Horse Harry Lee. He is part of the aristocracy of the army and will go far above the likes of me. But he was gracious and kind in our discourse and I would be happy to serve under his command when we return to the States.

A great movie to watch this Memorial Day Weekend!

I always love to watch movies on a long holiday weekend. I am not much of a movie guy because I much prefer episodic television. I don't want to invest the time in a crappy movie. Unless it is an old favorite that I watch over and over again. I have a bunch I love on Memorial Day and I watch at least two of them every year. "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon." "Fort Apache." "The Dirty Dozen." "The Devils Brigade." "The Fighting Kentuckian." "The Alamo." "Go Tell the Spartans." "The Longest Day." "They Died With Their Boots On." "A Bridge To Far." "The Guns of Navarone." They are all available somewhere. On demand. Netflicks. Amazon. Hulu.

But this weekend I saw a movie that was just great  and I highly highly recommend it for this weekend. It is about the most overlooked of the Armed Services. The Coast Guard.

It is called "The Finest Hours." I know it On Demand on most cable services. It stars Chris Pine the New Captain Kirk as well as Casey Affleck and Eric Bana. It chronicles the rescue of the sailors on the USS Pendleton off the coast of New England in 1952.

I love everything about this movie. It is set in my favorite era the 1950's. It shows the heroism of a much neglected service the Coast Guard. I don't know if you have ever had any experience with the Coast Guard. The are terrific and unsung heroes. They have to go out in the worst most dangerous weather to rescue idiots who don't know jack about the sea. When I was a kid my uncle forced my cousins and me to take a Coast Guard safety course. It was run by a crusty old salt who had a lot of hilarious stories about idiots in the Atlantic and the Sound. This movie shows what these guys do and it is both inspiring and moving.

The story is incredible and I won't spoil it for you. But take it from me if you are going to rent a movie in the next few weeks this it one to see. Especially on Memorial day.

Memorial Day Weekend

Last veteran of his WWII battle group marching alone in Memorial Day Parade.

Link to source

Link to story

"Vandals deface veterans memorials in California and Kentucky ahead of Memorial Day"

"What is the most bizarre thing you've caught yourself doing after your brain's autopilot misfired?"

Reddit best answers...
I was getting ready for work and had a contact in one hand and a vitamin in the other. Popped the contact in my mouth and washed it down with a glass of water. 
Last night I picked up a box of cereal to put it away. I ended up accidentally taking it with me to bed.
while playing XBOX I got up to get a drink, then sit back down and can't find my freaking controller. I'm tearing cushions apart, looking under stuff, looking in drawers, etc. Turns out I took a soda out of the fridge and put the controller in the spot I took it from.
Drove home from work, parked, went upstairs, opened the door, started to take off shirt. Then I remembered it was the middle of my shift and I hadn't left to go home, but just go buy a drink.
Rubbed aftershave in my hair and put gel on my face.
The worst part was that after I put the aftershave in my hair, I laughed at myself, thought, "Fuck, what was all that about?" and then added the hair gel to my skin.
Was jogging late at night. A guy reached out his hand in front of me as I passed.
I high-fived him.
Turns out he was hailing a taxi.
Fist bumping the wrong guy. from gifs

iron cross

Gym was one of the best things about my new High School. The place is equipped like you would not believe. A different sport every two weeks and we did everything. Olympic size pool, tennis courts, golf, firearms, the whole bit. And I thought, you know what, gymnastics will be the thing for me. So I tried this three times. I drew a picture of my three attempts before giving up to show the reasonable due diligence and simian good start.

"A first look at America's super gun

Link to story and video

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Karaoke: Hot Child in the City

More Red Meat

That is from yesterday's Trump rally in San Diego. The two young men unfurled their banner as they walked with the crowd leaving the rally. Most of the protesters had been sequestered across Harbor Boulevard in the background.  They are shaded by the shadow of the Convention Center. The fellow on the right with the cap was bellowing the whole time in an affected "southern" accent about how he hated Muslims and Mexicans. Shortly after I took the photo, three uniformed police escorted them back to their safe zone before they met any harm.
In the comments: Chip Ahoy brightens the protesters' day:

 And, Lem links to Telemundo caught in the act in San Diego.


Marlene's German lyrics closely follow the very simple English ones. Test your German familiarity. I do like one distinction, however:
Wann wird man je verstehen, [When will they ever learn,]
Wann wird man je verstehen? [When will they ever learn?]
     I put the English version in brackets, not as a translation, but for comparison. My book-learned German says that wann wird man je verstehen should translate to "when will one ever understand."  But Google translate begs to differ and translates wann wird man je verstehen as "when will we ever learn." And that's just it -- Google has vastly improved the message and the meaning of the original song. It's the pronoun, you see.

     The original phrase "when will they ever learn" grates on me because it blames others for the human condition. In the context of the original song, it was very much an "us vs. them" mentality. According to Pete Seeger and a very eager postwar generation, war was what other people did. Nowadays, war is what the US does; "others" are freedom fighters. The German version is one step closer to the truth and Google is a full measure closer to the truth:

Not "when will they ever learn"; not "when will one ever learn"; but rather -- when will we ever learn?  It's the pronoun, you see.

      Pete Seeger is credited with writing most of the song, but a lesser-known songwriter named Joe Hickerson (who is still alive?) nearly perfected it by turning the song into a circle. Another example of such a circular song is Zager and Evans' "In The Year 2525." Can anyone think of others?

The song is also an example of a now rare artistic device called Ubi Sunt.

meaning of Kissed by a Rose

But did you know that when it snows my eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen?

This must be one of the best lines in songdom. It seems to mean two things at once because of the contradiction. When it's actually snowing it's gray outside, but then after it snows a person's pupils contract autonomically to protect their eyeballs from snow-blindness, but when it snows as a person doing cocaine then their pupils dilate even if it's bright outside. Love is poetic light. The poet's eyes widen and love light is seen by a widening of emotional perception. The song is about cocaine and about love for a woman at the same time. During a cocaine buzz the poet landed on a parallel.

I'm trying to understand what this song is saying so I ask, [kissed by a rose, meaning] This song facts page explains the song in industry terms and leaves you hanging as to meaning, while the exceedingly lengthy comments explain the meaning of the song.

I did not realize how much this song means to people. Their comments are all lengthy and well-considered. There are some really smart people out there. They thought about this a great deal and give the explanation their best effort.
Coke users know about "bindles" (a 3"x3" piece of magazine paper folded in a certain way to "unfold" ("bloom") and reveal the coke inside. His new girl he loves probably cut her bindles out of "fashion magazines" and one day, he opened a bindle that showed a rose on it, which hit his emotions when he saw the parallels and symbolism about what their love really was".
So when he sings the "now that your rose is in bloom" (opening the rose photo on the bindle to reveal the coke) then a "light hits the gloom on the grey." Seal is literally saying "when you opened this bindle, a light came and took my gloom away, but it was a ROSE on the bindle -- that meant he had TWO symbolic roses to choose from - the rose on the bindle of coke, or the rose that represents her TRUE LOVE he thinks is blooming, just like when the rose bindle "bloomed".) 
When he uses the word "grey", he's talking about his mood. Winston Churchill (and other prominent people) back in the 19th and 20th centuries used to talk about their depression as being "the black days". Others refer to "grey" the same way, where their mood or depression isn't debilitating, but it's unpleasant.)
Google images [bindle cocaine] Oh, those things.

Psych! Seed package. He could have said origami envelope. And all that is just 1/4 of his answer. And they all answer this way.

if you think this is about drugs you're pretty much a dumbass. mary has the exact meaning IMO
There. I'm a dumbass. Mary:
"there used to be a greying tower alone by the sea"---means he used to be lonely and unhappy, had given up hope
"you became the light on the dark side of me"---means she has brought happiness to his sadness and misery
"love remains a drug thats the high not the pill"--means that the love she has given him brings a high> When people are in love it releases chemicals in the brain that are similar to a high someone would get from drugs, but it has nothing to do with drugs, remember the song by Huey Lewis called "i want a new drug" referring to love not drugs.
"but did you know that when it snows my eyes become large and the light that you shine cant be seen"---means--it is figuratively snowing, sad weather because she is not there, it is a time of darkness for him, when there is less light the pupils become large, less light meaning less happiness, and that happiness she brings him is gone because shes not there, when shes gone no light (happiness) is in his life
"baby i compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey" means--- he is comparing the kiss (a kiss is an expression of love and she is the love in his life, the rose refers to her (a rose is beautiful, she is the rose--on the grey is referring to the the love she has brought to his sadness and misery (the grey is a color that denotes gloom)
"ooh the more i get of you stranger it feels" he has been lonely for so long that the emotion of love feels unfamiliar to him
"now that your rose is in bloom, a light hits the gloom on the grey"----means now that she has opened her heart to him, he is happy now, thus she has brought happiness to his gloom. when a flower is in bloom it opens and its beauty is revealed.
"there is so much a man can tell you so much he can say"----refers to the fact that even when men are in love it is hard to reveal their feelings to their woman.
"you remain my power,my pleasure my pain" meaning she evokes every emotion in him,she means everything to him-- all emotions she brings to him are strength (power), pleasure (happiness) pain (sadness)
"baby to me your like a growing addiction that i cant deny, wont you tell me is that healthy baby"
He is falling more and more in love with her every day. He's becoming addicted to her, kind of to the point that its not a healthy relationship when one focuses too much on the other it may become almost like an obsession. he's hooked on her and its hard to give her up. Just like a drug addict needs more and more drugs to achieve their satisfaction.
Mary thinks that when it snows and his eyes grow the light that she shines cannot be seen. No, Seal printed the lyrics. When it snows the light that she shines can be seen. The other interpretation is better. His girlfriend does cocaine too and he needs her to say that it's their their love that is growing so similar to addiction and not the cocaine they do together and not just growing co-dependency.

Songwriters are always writing about drugs and relationships. This song is one such.

71 comments and half are this long.

In ASL, the sign for "gloom" goes right into the sign for "gray." It's a very nice combination of light hitting the edge of gloom and the gray. And oddly, the sign for "gray" is the same configuration and movement and idea as the sign for "anyway."

The Milky Way

The Milky Way Over the Oregon Coast (click to enlarge)

"Stars over the sunflower" SE Queensland, Australia (click to enlarge)

"Why A German Pilot Escorted An American Bomber To Safety During World War II"

Jalopnik:   It was a few days before Christmas in 1943, and the Allied bombing campaign in Germany was going at full tilt. Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown was a freshly minted bomber pilot, and he and his crew were about to embark upon their first mission — to hit an aircraft factory in northern Germany.
Brown’s B-17F Flying Fortress, dubbed Ye Olde Pub, was typical of American heavy bombers of the time. Along with an 8,000-pound bomb capacity, the four-engine plane was armed with 11 machine guns and strategically placed armor plating. B-17s cruised at about 27,000 feet, but weren’t pressurized. At that altitude, the air is thin and cold — 60 degrees below zero. Pilots and crew relied upon an onboard oxygen system and really warm flight suits with heated shoes.
As Ye Old Pub approached Bremen, Germany, German anti-aircraft batteries opened up on the formation. Unfortunately for the pilots and crew of Ye Olde Pub, one of the anti-aircraft rounds exploded right in front of their plane, destroying the number two engine and damaging number four. Missing one engine and with another throttled back due to damage, Ye Olde Pub could no longer keep up with the formation. (read the rest here)

Wake up!

Know Your Ally: Britain

US Documentary on the British People | 1944

America's top spelling mistakes.

They're talking about a map published here at  dcist.  Interesting comments at the link.

In honor of Scripps National Spelling Bee Google pulled data on spelling search query "how to spell" by state. 

Utah looked up "leprechaun," Texas looked up "niece."North Dakotans inquired about "attitude." California asked for the spelling of "desert." 

I got that one. Dessert is sweet and delicious and has two S letters because you always want two desserts and desert has one S letter because once is enough for the desert. 

These are all smart people I'm surprised they bit. They're just playing. They all know better. Every one of these people, Insty, Zurcher, Taranto, Goldberg knows "how do you spell _____" is not how you query spelling. Collecting those queries then actually collects the most common words queried by people who haven't a clue how to query spelling. You simply type the word and if it's wrong then Google suggests the correct spelling. Usually. That's how spelling is queried. And there is no way to collect all those spelling queries because they appear simply as words spelled correctly or misspelled. The premise of the map is too flawed to be useful. I think all these people know that and they're all just having fun. 

Colorado, Jeez, disappointing, the spelling for "beautiful" isn't even mnemonic, it's just exaggeration bea U t-i-i-i-i ful.  Or is it full? Better check. 

South Dakota is checking "Gray" I bet because of the book Fifty Shades of Grey with its British spelling. This whole time they thought it was "gray." And it is. So the magnitude of the queries for [gray vs grey] is missed completely by counting as highest the far less number of queries for [spelling of gray]. 

This is what statisticians do when they're goofing around. It's just fun because they know it's all bogus. It's not how people search spelling. They're having fun with stats of people stumped on both spelling and search query. 

Credit where it is due: Two little very hard studying kids with disciplined habits and fer'ner last names tied for first place by spelling incredibly arcane words that they'll never have a chance to slip in ordinary conversation should they both live to 1,000 years for example Jairam Hathwar spelled "Feidenkrais" and Nihar Janga spelled "gesellschaft" to get to their first place spot. 

Tie endings like this are cool. After all that a sudden death match off would be too cruel.