Journal Entries

Pause for Mental Refreshment

We all need grounding in this world. The swirl of events is far too chaotic for our tenuous hold on sanity, otherwise.

Fortunately, there is the internet.

Youtube helps, a lot. Actually, Youtube helps us maintain our mental balance far better than the medications available on the market. All the psychiatrists in the world can't restore harmony to the US government. But I defy you to resist the zen of this video.

Maru and an aluminium pie pan. That says it all.

This is philosophy. This is wisdom. This is, you will pardon the expression, dead-pan humour.

Twitter, too, knows our needs. Today appears to be dog show-off day. I append a few links.

First, we have the puppies on the treadmill.

Next, there's the exuberant dog sliding down a public bannister.

Finally - I couldn't resist - there's Lola in her new spring outfit.

These mental health moments are brought to you courtesy of the h2g2 Post and our beloved internet. Go in peace. smiley - peacedovesmiley - rainbow

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [4]

Latest reply: Apr 6, 2019

The Birthday Gift from ...

Last week, I received a very unusual birthday gift: a ukulele. (My sister, the one who sends me all the 1920s sheet music.) There will be no ukulele videos until my fingertips stop hurting and I learn to change chords properly.

In the meantime, I wondered: what is there to play on this instrument, besides George Formby 'hits' (trust me, no American has ever heard of George Formby) and authentic Hawaiian numbers such as 'I'm Gonna Go Back to My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii'?

Youtube, as always, was helpful. Noticing my interest in ukulele tutorials (there's a great beginner series by a very patient young Brit), the Tube presented me with this gem of a musical offering.

FWR, you WANT to see this. It's better than Heavy Leslie. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is rockin' it hard.

Things to work toward. Now, if only I can get those callouses on my fingertips...

smiley - dragon

PS There's a tutorial series by a Hawaiian gentleman. He insists on pronouncing the name of the instrument correctly. It's 'oo-kulele', not 'you-kulele', so there.

Discuss this Journal entry [8]

Latest reply: Mar 15, 2019

Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad?

Youtube throws up wonderful surprises in between the cat videos and fake ghosts. Take a look at this:

I'd never seen anybody do this before. I wish I could ride a bicycle. Elektra said the video was pretty, but she didn't fancy riding a bicycle over a gorge, no matter how breathtaking the view.

The song is 'Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad'. According to, the lyrics were written by ME Abbey, a Baptist preacher who appears to have been overfond of transportation metaphors: another of his lyrics is called 'Roll on the Gospel Chariot'.

'Mountain Railroad', much to my childhood chagrin, was popular in the oldy days, and therefore much-requested. It's found in 73 hymnals, according to Hymnary. Willie Nelson has recorded it, among many others. Most people know the lines, 'Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eye upon the rail.' Here are the rest of the lyrics:

In this case, I think they should sing:

Life is like a trailbike railroad,
It takes energy to ride.
You must also keep your balance,
Or down the hill you'll slide.
Watch the tracks ahead alertly,
For old cans and rusty nails,
Keep your feet upon the pedals,
And a sharp eye on the rails.

PS If you're interested in union history, there's a union version of this song which makes me chuckle.

'Watch the rocks, they're falling daily
Careless miners always fail
Keep your hand upon the dollar
And your eye upon the scale.'

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [3]

Latest reply: Mar 13, 2019

How Cold Is It? It's So Cold That....

How cold is it?

Right now, it's zero F/-18C outside the Post Office. The wind is blowing in 35 kph gusts.

The report from a h2g2er in Chicago is that it's -21F with a wind chill factor of -54F.

Basically: it's too cold to be outside. The snow is blowing everywhere. It's...disgusting.

Anybody, including a certain government figure, who makes that tired remark about 'global warming', is going to get an earful.

Lola the Doglet is hunkered down in her padded bed. She ain't movin'. The cats are hogging the grates when they aren't bothering us for entertainment.

If you're not a smiley - cat, we recommend Cmdr Hadfield's Twitter thread on magnetic field variation for entertainment and enlightenment:

Stay warm! smiley - hug

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [19]

Latest reply: Jan 30, 2019

Pittsburgh's Crime Wave: Chicken Graffiti Vandal Strikes Again

The tweet from the Pittsburgh Police begins:

'Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Graffiti Squad detectives seek the public's help in identifying a male suspected of spray-painting graffiti inside a Southside pub and possibly elsewhere.'

It goes on to outline the details of the crime. On 1 December, a 21-year-old male with long brown hair entered Rugger's Pub shortly after midnight. After ordering a drink, he went into the bathroom. Moments later (keep this in mind!), he left the bar.

Patrons complained that there was a strong (and apparently, unusual) odor coming from the bathroom. 'Staff found the image of a chicken freshly painted on the walls and mirror.'

The cops say this isn't the only place this has happened. Similar graffiti have been found elsewhere in Southside and Oakland, where the big universities are. The police don't say, but I'm thinking they should look for an art student with a quick-draw style.

Pittsburghers are no help. They're tweeting back with art criticism.

You probably don't know the chicken graffiti vandal, and wouldn't tell us if you did, but feel free to offer your views of this picture:

Elektra thought it was a turkey. I'm inclined to agree.

smiley - dragon

Discuss this Journal entry [10]

Latest reply: Jan 10, 2019

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Dmitri Gheorgheni - Not Banned in China

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