Saturday, 18 July 2009

Alone in the Peaceable, except for 16 beasts

Here is a real blog, for a change. Reb is in Paris, France, as opposed to Texas, so I am in charge. Naturally, things have got out of hand and dog Una and cat Murphy both shared my bed last night. Hope Reb doesn't read this.
Yesterday, Esteban brought round a handsome young rooster, or cockerel as a gift. His name may be Max. Time will tell. He seems to have settled down with his harem of 11 chicken girls. I will put his picture on the blog as soon as I find the camera.

On an entirely unrelated topic, I don't understand Facebook - how it works, and what it is supposed to be for - and probably never will. But I have just signed off from an entertaining chat with a lady on it. How many other people have read our exchanges, I have no idea.
The lady in question is, as she says, a proudly patriotic American. She is also clearly a thoroughly decent person. Reading between the lines, and from comments her husband made, I get the idea that they belong to a class of Americans that are regularly handed the shitty end of the stick. I encountered many such in Toledo, Ohio, and Jeannette Pa. Her husband was a soldier, including in Iraq, and is now a cop. Lucky to be still alive, no doubt. So it falls to him and his like to enforce the laws that are specifically designed to keep him and his family firmly in the state of what Thoreau described as 'quiet desperation.' For instance, to protect all the bankers and swindlers and con men that are not actually in jail from being hanged from lamp posts, as they deserve.
All well and good, but what is ironic is that the couple in question (her,at least) are patriotic in the best sense of the word. They truly believe America can do no wrong, despite what they experience daily. They cheerfully feed the hand that bites them.
The Bernie Maddoff´s and Kenneth Lays of that country no doubt laugh at the idea of pride in their country. Remember Leona Helmsley? 'Only the little people pay taxes.'
It is the task of the Army and the Police to keep the oppressors safe from the oppressed.
I am not saying that other countries, like Spain and England for two, don't also cynically exploit the goodwill of many of their citizens. But I strongly suspect that the citizens involved know very well that they are being fed on garbage and don't choke it down cheerfully.
As one of my friends once remarked, 'It´s not that the government wants us to eat dog turds that bothers me. We have come to expect that. No, what´s off-pissing is that the bastards want us to call it chocolate.'

What the heck is this O'Gara guy on about? He sounds like a Commie to me.

None of this probably makes sense to anybody else. But that's what blogs are for.

Friday, 17 July 2009


Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Friday, July 17, 2009 -- 8:19 AM ET

Citigroup Reports $4.3 Billion Earned in Second Quarter

Citigroup posted a second-quarter profit of $4.3 billion on
Friday, beating analysts' forecasts.

I now get breaking news alerts from the NYT on my email. It strikes me that now I am so baffled by financial stuff I don´t know whether I should be apoplectic with rage at this particular bit of information, or delighted.

I doubt that I am alone in this.

Monday, 13 July 2009


This just in, from the web.

Swearing Makes Pain More Tolerable

That muttered curse word that reflexively comes out when you stub your toe could actually make it easier to bear the throbbing pain, a new study suggests.
Swearing is a common response to pain, but no previous research has connected the uttering of an expletive to the actual physical experience of pain.
"Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon," said Richard Stephens of Keele University in England and one of the authors of the new study.
Stephens and his fellow Keele researchers John Atkins and Andrew Kingston sought to test how swearing would affect an individual's tolerance to pain. Because swearing often has an exaggerating effect that can overstate the severity of pain, the team thought that swearing would lessen a person's tolerance.
As it turned out, the opposite seems to be true.
The researchers enlisted 64 undergraduate volunteers and had them submerge their hand in a tub of ice water for as long as possible while repeating a swear word of their choice. The experiment was then repeated with the volunteer repeating a more common word that they would use to describe a table.
Contrary to what the researcher expected, the volunteers kept their hands submerged longer while repeating the swear word.
The researchers think that the increase in pain tolerance occurs because swearing triggers the body's natural "fight-or-flight" response. Stephens and his colleagues suggest that swearing may increase aggression (seen in accelerated heart rates), which downplays weakness to appear stronger or more macho.

Well, blow me down, if you will excuse the language.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Sperm Count


Human sperm created from stem cells in world first, claims British university
British scientists have created human sperm using stem cells in a medical first that could revolutionise fertility treatment, they claim.

Headlines from Wednesday's Daily Telegraph.
I would have thought that there was enough of the stuff around already.

Nailin' Palin

My blogging colega, Lura, asks me what I think about Sara Palin. To paraphrase The Incomparable Max, (Beerbohm, that is, not T J) to give an honest and accurate account of the woman would require a far lesser pen than mine.
However, I note that a friend on Facebook suggests that she is giving up politics to make a more lucrative living as a Tina Fey impersonator.
I also note that her name is an anagram of NAILS A RAP, but don't know what to make of this.
Is is all very odd.

Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.
Blaise Pascal

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Jam session

LOS ANGELES – A motorcade from the home of Michael Jackson's parents has reached a cemetery in the Hollywood Hills for a private service in advance of a star-studded memorial in downtown Los Angeles.
Numerous vehicles under California Highway Patrol escort headed out from the parents' home shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday and reached Forest Lawn Memorial Park Hollywood Hills about 15 minutes later.
A California Highway Patrol escort shut down sections of freeways during the height of Los Angeles' morning rush hour to allow the motorcade to pass.

Which, no doubt, leaves many thousands of Los Angeles motorists wishing that The Peter Pan of Pop had never grown up, let alone died.