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Archive for June, 2011

Sometimes it’s all about the punctuation since nothing makes much sense without properly placed points. As in “eats shoots and leaves” or “woman without her man is nothing”, the placement of a comma or other mark to punctuate can make all the difference in the meaning of a string of words.

Interestingly, however, no matter how you punk28 her, Michele Bachmann is an idiot.

Bachmann. Turn her; over, drive!

Bachmann turn? Her over. Drive!

Bachmann. Turn her over. Drive …

Although she may think she’s taken’ care of business as she offers service with a smile and shouts , “Gimme your money, please”, but truth is she ain’t seen nothing … yet …

Which brings us to Miracle Mike

I have been astounded by the fact that in these times of political fatuousness when the brainless are so widely splattered across headlines like shit in a coop, the story of Miracle Mike remains a mystery to many.

I mean … really! It’s a natural!

As this juxtaposition shows:

Mike the Headless Chicken (April 1945 – March 1947), also known as Miracle Mike, was a Wyandotte chicken that lived for 18 months after his head had been mostly cut off.

with this:

Then there’s this …

On September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, United States, had his mother-in-law around for supper and was sent out to the yard by his wife to bring back a chicken. Olsen chose a five-and-a-half-month-old cockerel named Mike. The axe missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact.

Despite Olsen’s botched handiwork, Mike was still able to balance on a perch and walk clumsily; he even attempted to preen and crow, although he could do neither.

… and this:

An examination of her record and finances showed that the counseling clinic run by her husband received nearly $30,000 from the State of Minnesota in the last five years, some of which came from the federal government. And a family farm in Wisconsin, for which she is listed as a partner, received about $260,000 in federal subsidies.

Bachmann and her staff declined to talk about the government assistance for the Los Angeles Times article. But asked about the issue on Fox News Sunday, she said she and her husband had not benefited from federal and state taxpayer money.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, however, in financial-disclosure forms, Bachmann reported receiving $32,503 to $105,000 in income from the farm, at minimum, between 2006 and 2009.

Okay … maybe it’s not about the punctuation …

(Photo credits: Wiki images and BuzzFeed)

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Wiki Image

A bit of backseat kid talk overheard by Gay as she drove them home from school the other day:

Cj: Do you know about phones with circles? There are places for your finger, and you spin the circle around.

Sam: Yeah. Those are from the olden days.

Cj: How did they work?

Sam: I have no idea …

Seems time has been passing.

While I’ve been spending recent years surrounded by kids and kidults, water has been flowing rapidly under my bridge and the damned dam designed to deny the dribbling drip of days into decades has apparently sprung a leak and allowed splashes of senescence to wear the bloody thing away.

In other words, it’s now dawning on me that I’m old. Good timing, I suppose, since I have a birthday looming, but I could do without all the reminders.

Rotary phones, TVs that required a trip across the room to turn on and off, handwritten letters, Thomas Guides in spiral-bound form are all items that may now require explanation and illicit comments about the “olden days” when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the only way to see a photo without a trip to a lab and a wait of a week was with a Polaroid.

Living where I do I am limited to how much of the modern world I’ve actually seen and still find myself wondering “What the heck does that doohicky do?” when confronted by many items others take for granted already.

Yes, the speaking GPS in cars puts me in mind of HAL … we don’t have those here, as that would just be silly on an island 17 miles long and 4 miles wide … and I’ve not yet come around to loading some of the apps available for my iPad that might make life easier, but can’t be bothered to learn how to use.

I can be comforted by how much hasn’t seen some of the predicted changes we’d been led to believe would leave us in the dust. Since flying cars, robot maids, beds that pop you up like toast and other Jetsons / Carousel of Progress stuff haven’t been incorporated into daily life, we aging Boomers do manage to get along.

Although Sam and Cj may find it had to believe, airplanes, vacuum cleaners and televisions are all pretty much what they were when I was a kid. Blenders still blend the way they did, dentists continue to pull teeth out with forceps, babies come out of mommy’s tummies, cars move along on tires, and it still takes almost two days to get from LAX to Seychelles.

Heck! If I somehow instantly transported from my teen years to present day even much of my wardrobe would look like the latest thing …

Can we tell I still have more than a month before my calendar clicks over to a new decade? Yes … we can.

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A Report On My Time In Ert

Arrived, as I have over the past couple of years, sometime in May and could stay through the middle of August.

The weather has been hot and dry and doing its part to create the perfect ambiance of malaise required for any holiday in Ert. A spotty Internet connection is offset by the presence of hammocks. The food is tasteless, but on the up-side there’s not much of it.

Would have sent out many postcards reading, “Wish I were there!”, but the point escapes me.

Been passing time with side trips, spending hours and days in Vain, heartily … or half … encouraging apparently retarded seeds to germinate. Any blooming thing could terminate this visit, and I could be packed and ready in a quick hurry, but so far there’s no sign of anything that can be relied upon to root and shoot any time soon.

Have been taking part in many of the activities on offer; frustration, thwarting, vexation, tribulation, angst and anxiety are all scheduled daily.

I am expecting a guest soon and planning to shorten my stay here considerably. Although misery does love company, neither in Ert nor in Vain does one comfortably travel in pairs so we’ll have to get the hell outta Dodge for the duration.

After that, who knows? I am hoping my next stop isn’t in Solvent.

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Dad on a cow ... 1930

Amos M. Hanks
1924- 1992

I miss him most days.

Here’s something I wrote for his funeral:

I’ve known, I think since birth,
that my father knew everything.
Not that he cluttered his mind with sports scores
or directions to places he didn’t go often.

To the contrary, he knew only the most vital of bits
and these he shared with me generously:
how to load and use a rifle safely,
proper application of a semicolon,
operation of a motor vehicle in a drive-in parking lot,
the ability to identify seven different breeds of cattle,
the definition of the lyrics of Waltzing Matilda,
self-reliance,
an appreciation of the world’s great literature (and the KIngston Trio),
how to use my mind,
to turn in a badly dealt hand and demand new cards,
a sense of history,
HIS history,
how to properly cook a turkey, a white sauce and French pancakes,
how to swear well and effectively,
the paths of the constellations,
a connection a with the earth and with time,
the merits of good sense and honesty,
and so much more.

I am, I think, one-fourth him, one-fourth my mother and half what I have accumulated on my own.
The divisions are not apparent.

He has said he fathered recklessly.
His recklessness is only one aspect of the man.
I love them all
and all of him.
He’s my dad.

The part of me that writes is a gift from him …

A Song of a Chela

I began to be when time began
And the Wheel of All began to spin
I am one the the One that has always been

I have lived my way through the seven worlds,
Coming, going, returning again,
In shapes and forms man cannot know
And in all that this world has seen come and go:
In the bodies of things in the slippery muck
And slime of the sea and the swamp,
In reptilian things with leather wings,
In sharp toothed, heavy limbed, truculent,
Dim brained beasts of the steamy lands
Before the Wheel had turned to man.

I have lived in trees and caves and castles,
An eater of berries, a killer of mammoth,
Slave and prophet, poet and king,
Harlot and hunter and priestess and warrior –
Whatever the Wheel in turning might bring.

I helped in creating Jehovah and Allah,
Brahma and Baal and those of Olympus;
I served in their temples and bled on their alters,
Tortured their martyrs and died in their names.

I have helped in the building of civilizations
And fought in the wars that returned them to dust.
I have learned all the wisdoms and done all the labors
And seen all the beauties and known all the lust.

I shall still be when time shall end
And the Wheel of All shall begin again;
I am one with the One that will never end.

~Amos Hanks, 1947

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Let’s hear it for the United Nations and their brave and “historic step” to pass a resolution supporting “equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation” … or let’s not.

Suzanne Nossel, deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations, told CNN, “It really is a key part in setting a new norm that gay rights are human rights and that that has to be accepted globally.”

“It talks about the violence and discrimination that people of LGBT persuasion experience around the world,” she said, “and that those issues … need to be taken seriously. It calls for reporting on what’s going on, where people are being discriminated against, the violence that is taking place, and it really puts the issue squarely on the U.N.’s agenda going forward.”

Woopie fuckin’ zoopie doo.

Anyone with a lick of sense and a brush with recent history will get what a limp dick sits squarely on the UN’s fat ass agenda. Take, for example, the great job done in Sudan, the effectiveness of their “Racism Forum” that featured “that wonder of gentle tolerance, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Holocaust denier extraordinaire”, and the “Climate Change Summit” in Copenhagen that did such wonders for promoting the case of prostitution but little else, then the one in Cancun that accomplished even more bugger all.

“Their insatiable lust for power is only equaled by their incurable impotence in exercising it.” ~ Winston Churchill

Subtract from all the job they’ve done … or not … in protecting children in places like the “Democratic Republic of Congo, in Haiti, infant mortality in general, female genital mutilation and the rights of children and women to education and a normal lifespan.

It all rather pulls one hand away from any applause the United Nations gigantic PR machine solicits with statements like:

Friday’s vote “marks a victory for defenders of human rights,” said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “It sends a clear message that abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity must end.”

Can you hear the sound of one hand clapping? No. Me neither. But that doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the bullshit spreading one little bit …

Nossel told CNN, “it’s not like discrimination or violence are going to end overnight” because of the U.N. resolution, “but now … when there are proposals in parliaments or legislatures around the world to illegalize gay activity or repress people because of their sexual orientation, opponents can point to this and say, ‘Hey, the U.N. has spoken out, there is a resolution that rejects this squarely.’

“That is the way these international norms are built,” she said. “It’s not from scratch. On women’s rights, on minority rights, it builds up over time. So this is really a critical beginning of a universal recognition of a new set of rights that forms part of the international system.”

International norms? New set of rights? International system?

Go ahead … pull the other one.

The UN does have a place and a purpose; the place is New York … and Geneva … and on First Class seats toward Five Star hotel rooms in some of the poshest places on the planet. The purpose is to keep a bunch of people highly-paid, well-dressed and traveling while seeing the sights from lily-white convoys of SUVs …

“Our chief usefulness to humanity rests on our combining power with high purpose. Power undirected by high purpose spells calamity, and high purpose by itself is utterly useless if the power to put it into effect is lacking.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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Tonight's sunset.

I think of my son often, and on evenings alone on the veranda watching the sunset he comes to mind in a way that always makes me smile.

The opening line of one of Jaren’s songs, “Swedish Nutball”, resonates as the sun sinks way too fast into the western sky.

I can feel the rotation of the earth …

I pretty much stop right there, as the rest of the lyrics aren’t exactly conducive to contemplating a lovely end to a day, but there is no doubt I do … feel the rotation of the earth.

Those who’ve never seen the face of Sol plunge at speed into that end of the ocean called Horizon near the Equator are missing one of our planet’s best thrill rides.

From the first kiss of sun to sea to the last wink of brightness over Horizon’s lip all of about 4 minutes pass … the sucker drops like a stone, so fast there is no question or quibbling over just how fast this globe we’re stuck to spins. Whooooooosh!

I own a vast amount of E tickets for this ride and try not to miss it as it comes around almost exactly every twenty-four hours, year in and year out. Being four degrees south of the North/South dividing line, the time varies by no more than a few minutes. Rather than longer days and shorter nights, or vice versa, we in the middle just see the sunset swing from one area of ocean to another, then back over the course of the year. (Google “Declination” if you’re interested, as for some reason the link won’t post.)

Most days I sit and watch, either a cup of tea or glass of wine at hand, but sometimes I do choose to stand for the event. Staring at our star as it does its dip, the beautifully illustrated awareness of how bloody fast this planet spins, can almost make me dizzy.

I live on the west coast of Mahé, a situation I love since it gives me this drama rather than the early morning show of the sun doing his impression of a Pop-Tart emerging from a toaster.

I tend to avoid the bugger as much as possible during that chariot ride it takes across the sky, seeing as how fried is not my best look, but when I see him heading toward the high dive to prepare for the plunge I will drop what I’m doing to watch the form, the style and the amazing ovation the sky and clouds give once he’s gone and the way that echos across the ocean.

That the show is all mine is special, but sharing the ride makes it even better.

Here’s Jaren NOT singing about sunsets …

And, yes, what I’m thinking now, he thought of first.

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There are some days a blog topic just can’t be avoided, no matter what. Like that proverbial sack full of nickels that whacks me upside the head from time to time, something will jump up, then hang on like a chihuahua on a cuff and not let go.

This is one of those days, and doggone it if I’m not going to bite. The news has gone to the dogs cheek by jowl and there have been no few personal nips as well.

I’ll start with this really annoying bit from the NYT:

Don’t call her a guard dog. When she costs $230,000, as Julia did, the preferred title is “executive protection dog.” This 3-year-old German shepherd, who commutes by private jet between a Minnesota estate and a home in Arizona, belongs to a canine caste that combines exalted pedigree, child-friendly cuddliness and arm-lacerating ferocity.

Great. Now, thanks to Navy Seals, Bin Laden and the kennel ration of crap that comes with, designer dogs have been elevated to a whole new breed.

I’m all for well trained canines who do a job, as those pampered pets like Leona Helmsley’s intended $12 mil pouch are notoriously useless.

Yes, that millionaire lapdog is now in doggie heaven, a circumstance I’m guessing was quite traumatic for the minder-of-Maltese for all these years. I’d venture a guess that pup wasn’t offered any easy exit, but lived until the last possible pant.

Being as I am dogged in my determination to revert to my previous puppy-less state, I’m about done with the creature that came to me just post-eye-opening requiring three-hourly feeds and poop scooping. Yes, Lady Gaga Snowball will very soon be shifted to Andy’s house … as soon as I can find him and do the hand-over. I know some were convinced I’d fall under her spell, but I’m dog tired these days and not subject to the charms of chewed shoes and having my house TP-ed. I’m also not big on another set of slobbery flews and four more muddy feet, so call me a hardhearted cur if you like, but the pooch is soon to be passed.

More significantly, I’m haunted today by a Ghost of Dog Past … a small black mongrel who came to our family when I was about three I dubbed Snowball.

There’s almost too much to tell about Snowball, being that he was my first dog in a long line of four-legged family members, but some of his story packs most of the weight in the sack of nickels prompting this post.

Just yesterday a friend on Facebook resorted to social networking about what he saw as a shocking observation … a gay dog.

I took it upon myself to illuminate, explaining that homosexuality is common in most species, and that I once had a gay dog … the aforementioned Snowball.

This morning I awoke to find a message on my fb fan page from a woman I haven’t seen since I was about 9-years-old, a childhood friend and neighbor who just happened to own a dog … his name was Sam, if I remember correctly … who died in front of all of the whole court because of Snowball’s ardor. (My dog had hers pinned as the ice cream truck made its rounds and … well … it wasn’t pretty.)

I am thrilled to have Sue back in my life after 50 years and have so many memories I would be happy to share, but can’t quite get myself to face again the fact that my dog killed her dog back when we were five.

I’m sure we’ll get through this.

Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that is how dogs spend their lives. ~Sue Murphy

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