At the Risk of Infuriating Florida Sailor....
Posted Sep 10, 2018
...I'm praying that y'all can see this gem from John Oliver which mocks the Sunshine State:
In case I haven't said it enough lately, we are forever grateful to the UK for sending Oliver our way. Seriously, we don't know how we'd manage these days without him.
Two things stuck out in this video: the guy rampaging in a liquor store with a loaded alligator (or at least the guy was loaded), and the fact that 'Way Down Upon the Swanee River' is actually the state song of Florida. Shame on you, Stephen Foster. That goes double for your map-reading. I'm laughing so hard I can't stop....
As for that governor and the rest of that board, I'm thinking they'd better hope they have good answers when they come before another review board....one that might say, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'
PS What really annoys me? The implied assumption that all those convicted felons would vote Democrat, so the politicians should keep them from voting. I'll bet they wouldn't, either. I'll bet quite a few of them were card-carrying Republicans before they got caught.
PPS If you can, spare a thought and/or a prayer for the Carolinas. That is a big hurricane, and the Hoggetts are headed into it. Fortunately, the wedding is in the Appalachians...
This, That, and the Other, Plus Somebody's Porno Tapes
Posted Sep 1, 2018
I was watching Youtube to distract from worrying about poor little TJ. We left him in the loving hands of the local PAWS organisation to get his neutering and shots. But he just looked puzzled in that shed full of protesting kitties. We'll pick him up later, they'll call.
Anyway, I just watched this op/ed video from 'The Atlantic', and it was so powerful and well-done that I thought somebody else might like it, too. It's called 'My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes', and it's not at all what you'd expect from that title:
I suspect you might find yourself with tear in your eye and a cheer on your lips by the end.
Why did I watch it with that title? Because it was an 'Atlantic' op/ed piece, so I suspected there was something else going on....
Speaking of something else going on, what have you got going on this weekend? It's Labor Day in the US on Monday. I know: that's supposed to be May Day, but the US moved it, because communism. Anyway, it's kind of like Bank Holiday/Sommerschlussverkauf. It signals the end of summer, and there are a lot of picnics and sales. I'm supposed to be playing in a concert in the university park - I don't know how this is going to work out, frankly, because 'organised' is not a word I would use to describe its preparation. So far, the weather report says 'thunderstorms', and so far, they're saying fallback location is the chapel across the street on campus, so heaven knows what this will sound like on that Yamaha...
Anyhow. I was going to ask that, whatever you do, you make one photo of it. With maybe a Suzie Q caption. And send it to postteamhg-at-h2g2-dot-com. I'm collecting Stuff for 24 September now. Help an editor out, please....
And of course, if you care to create a carefully-crafted 13-minute video about your family or whatever, feel completely free. We can embed that, you know....
Clouds of Witness
Posted Jul 19, 2018
Y'all have to see this.
Some kind soul has put up a compilation from 1929 of sound interviews with ordinary people from 70-103 years old.
Think about it: 1929 is pretty much the first year you *could* make a sound movie. This is about as far back as you could reach.
People in these interviews participated in: the Civil War, the Columbian Exposition of 1893, technology changes in railways, the growth of New York City...
One woman remembers witnessing the Trail of Tears. A man was part of the Tammany Hall city government. Wow.
Notice something else: they all look exactly like your neighbours, bar the different clothes, hairstyle, and beards.
Moral: go out and interview some elderly friends, neighbours, or relatives if you have the chance. I'll bet they have stories to tell.
PS And yes, I noticed that all the people they interviewed were white...maybe we'll find some footage with more diversity...
Backyard Wildlife Report, Mid-June
Posted Jun 15, 2018
We have a bird feeder. It looks like this:
The feeder is squirrel-proof. 100%. It's entirely metal, so they can't chew it to pieces like the first one we had, which was plastic and lasted about 24 hours. The lid won't come open, because there's a rope running through the top that hangs off the hook on the rebar. Gravity does the work. If a heavy squirrel stands on the perch, the perch sinks down and closes access to the feeding bays, thus frustrating the squirrel. Good job.
You will notice that at the beginning of this bird documentary, there is a chipmunk at the bird feeder. Chipmunks weigh only a few ounces. They're fine with the bird feeder. They're little piggies, though - they fill up their cheek pouches and run off.
We suspect that enormous amounts of birdseed are ending up under our porch. Someday, that stuff's going to sprout and grow a mountain. Today, however, was the living end for Elektra.
She took the bird feeder off the hook to refill it. When she opened the lid, she got a shock: There was a *chipmunk* INSIDE the bird feeder.
'How did you get in there?' was what she wanted to know. The chipmunk obligingly demonstrated by exiting the way he came in: through the feeder bay. Yep, he's that small.
I yelled at the littlest chipmunk as he perched insouciantly on my porch. He looked back at me, innocently.
They're incorrigible, but they're worth it. The birds put up with them as long as we refill the feeder. And they can't reach the sunflower seeds or suet, which are hanging off the porch.
Willem complains that an inordinate number of chipmunks are called 'Chippy'. I've asked him for suggestions for better chipmunk names.
The Big News: The Raccoon Made It
Posted Jun 13, 2018
Good news: The #mprraccoon has been safely trapped atop the 25-storey office building he climbed yesterday in St Paul, Minnesota. A grateful nation applauds and sighs with relief.
Yesterday, Twitter erupted: the little 'trash panda' was spotted doggedly climbing the office building next to the studios of Minnesota Public Radio (hence the 'mpr' hashtag). Worried office workers posted photos whenever he stopped to rest outside their windows.
Frantic calls were made to authorities. Suggestions for trapping the climber were posted. The fire department explained patiently that they couldn't in all conscience risk a human out there, but had baited a live trap on the roof with yummy cat food. Like dogs, raccoons love cat food. They'd just have to wait until the mprraccoon got to the roof. Biologists assured everyone that raccoons were amazing climbers.
People were beside themselves with anxiety.
'If the #MPRaccoon falls on his descent, and no one is there to catch him in a fluffy warm towel, I’m holding the entire state of Minnesota responsible.'
'Come on buddy.. make it home safe.'
'If you're going through hell, take a nap, then keep going.' (Accompanied by a breathtaking photo of the raccoon ascending the concrete face of the building, surrounded by other high-rises. It's worse than the Matterhorn.)
It was an emotional experience - for the humans, not the raccoon.
'#mpraccoon made it to the top! With the week I'm having, I don't think I could have handled a different outcome.'
Twitter is interesting. I'm glad the raccoon made it okay.
For photos and videos, see http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2018/06/12/a-raccoon-is-scaling-the-side-of-a-tall-skyscraper-and-its-incredibly-stressful/?utm_term=.51206f31597d