Friday, November 25, 2016

The Last of the Red-Hot Llamas

While my wife and I  were shopping last week, we found this intriguing Christmas decoration for sale at Target. How about a Christmas llama? Maybe this will catch on . . . .

After all, in Catalonia, there is Tio de Nadal. He's a log that poops out presents. No crap:  

Maison Blanche, a store in New Orleans, uses Mr. Bingle each Christmas for a long time. He has a fey little voice.

Have you encountered any odd Christmas characters?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Nobel Prizes

So Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  I'm astonished. Is that the best lit can claim nowadays?

But then, they gave Paul Krugman one for Economics. 

Will a jingle writer win one in the future? I nominate whoever wrote "I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Weiner."

It could morph to "I wish I was Anthony Weiner."

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sophistry on the Right and Way to Vote

It seems that with National elections, there's a certain amount of Sophistry going on that has an intention of reducing the amount of choice that exercisers of their franchise might otherwise have.

There is the old "guilt them into voting ploy": "Bad politicians are elected by good people who do not vote." No, what about people who are dumb or misinformed or uninformed, but who vote anyway?

Another is the old saw that, "if you don't vote for a Democrat or Republican candidate, you are wasting your vote." There is presently the Green and Libertarian alternatives. And the Republicans are drawing close to a schism. There's nothing in prophesy that supports the idea that the Democratic and Republican parties are perpetual. After all, when was the last time you saw Whig candidates on your ballot?

Voting for a third or fourth party does register a lack of approval of either major party's candidates, or the two parties, themselves. Sometimes a "screw them vote" is implied by other choices.

And, once, I was so bummed out by both major parties' candidates that I didn't vote. But I did so righteously. I voted for neither clown.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Propeller Dog

This excellent ceramic sculpture was done by Cleveland artist S. Judson Wilcox. It is both artistic and humorous. I will look for more of his ceramics, as this one is remarkable.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Much Ado About Nothing: The Boobs of Haboob

I "borrowed" a title from Bill Shakespeare as it seriously seems to frame this to-do covered by the old fussbudget newspaper, the Washington Post.

Here are the facts: Lately The Weather Channel has been using a term haboob to refer to events in Texas and the Great Plains that most people call a sandstorm. Some people in Texas got a little riled that good old-fashioned sandstorms are now called haboobs, instead of referring to a part of a specific woman's anatomy. And the WaPo raised her eyebrows with disbelief and disapproval for these base Texans' impudence! 

From my perspective, there's a lot of fail going around, forsooth!

First of all, The Weather Channel unnecessarily used an obscure word to its audience when a simple word would lead to more clarity. Or, as the old saying goes, don't use a $10 word when a two-bit word would suffice.

Then there is the unofficial word posse that criticized the use of that word. There's an absence of a sense of humor going around; because, dammit, haboob is a funny word. The usual response is to grin.

Then The Washington Post leapt to the opportunity to disapprove of some cranks out there and demonstrate that they were a different kind of crank as well. A P.C. crank.

The only possible reason I can think of for this present-day intolerance for the vagaries of others is the upcoming election. The general rules for tolerance and "live and let live" have been jettisoned for cheap shots. People need to behave themselves better.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The U.S. Capitol at Dusk

This view of the U.S. Capitol at dusk shows the building with scaffolding in place to restore it. It conveys a sense of permanence, and that life will go on:

Despite the rain, Washington is an inspiring city to visit. Plus we dined at a world-class Acadian restaurant there, of all places!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Election Expatriates, Bah!

With the imminent candidacy of Donald Trump for President, a number of celebrities have declared that they would move to Canada if he gets elected.

Among those who have so declared include Cher, Jon Stewart, Miley Cyrus, Samuel Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, and others.

Now my take on it is that Trump becoming President is an unlikely event; so they are betting on a sure bet.

But if there was the Trumpian twilight of the gods, they certainly would have the means to effect being comfortable expatriates. Unlike most of us.

But what does it tell the rest of us? That they are suggesting that we leave also and flood Canada with refugees? Or are they saying, "I've got mine; screw the rest of you!"

That's one possibility. Another is that they're parleying their celebrity status into making their opinions something other people should particularly care about. In short, they're attention whores who have an inflated sense of their own importance.

But it also says that they're not really into assuming the burdens and obligations of American citizenship in the clinch. Winter soldiers they are not.*

Nuts to them. Don't let the doorknobs hit you in the asses.

*Thomas Paine allusion.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Pig Statue

I found this pig statue in the yard of a garden store:

I wonder when it will be sold and who will buy it.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

In Honor of Prince

Knoxville, Tennessee lit up the Henley Bridge purple in honor of Prince. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Scenes from the Smoky Mountains Air Show

Sunday my daughter took me to see the Air Show at McGhee-Tyson Airport near Knoxville. It was fabulous! Here's some scenes of the Blue Angels performing:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Okie from Muskogee

It's sad to read about the passing of singer and songwriter Merle Haggard. His Bakersfield style definitely opened a fresh approach in country music, encouraging other outlaw singers and moving away from the rigid Nashville style. He's of the same caliber as Johnny Cash; a setter of new directions away from the whiny C-W songs of the 1950's and 1960's or the production numbers.

But he generates controversy with what became his signature song, The Okie from Muskogee. Even after 44 years he still could get some peoples' knickers in a wad! I remember thinking back in 1969 or so, while enjoying a Dixie Beer, "Damn! He stuck it to those counterculture poseurs!"

Anyway, here's Merle Haggard's great song. He will be fondly remembered.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Hoax Pterodactyl, Probably

Here's a picture of some hunters posing with the awesome prey they allegedly killed in the Huachuca Mountains of Arizona in the 1890's. I am skeptical, to say the least! However, this story was printed in the Tombstone Epitaph in 1890.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Mountain Near Sitka, Alaska

We saw this peak close by Sitka. Sitka is a delightful Alaskan town on the Gulf of Alaska coast.

Dove Nesting in Tree

This morning my wife discovered a pair of doves nesting outside of our window. This is a sure sign of Spring. I put out some corn and other scratch nearby so that they could easily forage. Spring may be finally over the horizon!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Russian Orthodox Church in Sitka

Sitka, Alaska is located on Baranof Island and is the only town to face the Gulf of Alaska. It was once a Russian town before the purchase of Alaska in 1867. At that time is was known as New Arkangelsk. About 8900 people live there.

This is St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church in downtown Sitka.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Elvis Sighting on Kingston Pike

I saw this sign on a fence near Kingston Pike in Knoxville. The lighting was poor due to it being an overcast day, It proves that there are still some Elvis fans around!

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Ballad of the Malheur Patriots

We're too serious about politics and getting righteously indignant. How about a little song instead?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Post-Caucus Fallout

Yesterday was the Iowa caucus; that has been overdiscussed and well nigh ridden to death as a topic. A recurrent complaint is that Iowa is not representative of the United States but has a disproportionate amount of clout in the selection of Presidential candidates. Yes, Iowa is a relatively homogeneous state, with particular issues and axes to grind that is not representative of the nation as a whole. Yes, the rest of us may not be as hot for ethanol as the Iowans happen to be; and Iowa does not have the racial or ethnic diversity as some other places.

The same with New Hampshire; maybe even in spades.

But what state is a microcosm of the nation? Even New York, California, Texas, or Florida fall short on a number of conceivable dimensions. I certainly can't claim Alabama or Tennessee as a true microcosm. Even whole regions fall short of the Platonic ideal of the microcosm.

Maybe the best thing is to declare a moratorium on this topic. Or, even better, have regions of states hold their primaries at the same time. If six or eight states are having their primaries on the same Tuesday in March or April or May, this spreads the clout joy around. But, better than that, it would shorten the effective election season.

The scope of media coverage has pretty well put pay to the need for candidates to appear in as many local communities as possible. Why do we still do the Presidential selection process this way?

And the political debates as they tend to occur nowadays result in a lot of posturing and grandstanding. We're likely to see more Trumps with the same situation in place in the future.