Monday, June 29, 2009

Terrible news

 
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about Delaware's trees:

Delaware’s urban tree canopy is well below the national average. The tree cover goal recommended by the nonprofit American Forests, for metropolitan areas east of the Mississippi River, is 40%. The national average is 23%. Since 1990, urban land in Delaware has increased by 14%, leaving only 16% tree canopy cover in Wilmington and 19% in the greater New Castle County metropolitan area.


I would never have believed it. But after all, what do I know? I came here from northern New Jersey, where one town seamlessly runs into another, and the only way you know there has been a change of management is the sign: Welcome to _____________(fill in blank). You'd be lucky to encounter a shrub.

In my ignorance, I had been enjoying the trees. Almost every day I drive down Shipley Rd, for instance, luxuriating in the canopy of green overhead. It is true that some of the houses we first looked at were in places that resembled bomb sites from WWII London. After homing in on North Wilmington, though, the developments we visited had more established trees. We (and Wachovia Bank)are the proud owners of two trees ourselves. It would have been three if the yardmen hadn't mowed down my redbud sapling.

One of the things that attracted us to Delaware was the gently rolling landscape; nothing spectacular in the way of elevation, but green and serene. I was born in Central Ohio, which featured miles and miles of flat land, tempered in the Summer by a merciless sun and in the Winter by winds coming straight over 150 miles of prairie from Canada.

So what are we to do about this relative treelessness?

Happy Independence Day

 



Three cheers for the red, white and blue.
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Jackson tops the charts

Dead at 50. It's always sad when a young person dies, and he was too young to die for this day and age. But, having said that, this was the absolutely smartest career move he could have made. His videos and recordings are flying off the shelves, and the television news is all MJ, all the time.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Observant Jews seek kinky sex

I kind of thought that was a no-no.

On sites like Craigslist and AshleyMadison.com (which carries the motto “Life is short. Have an affair.”) people who self-proclaim as “religious” can be found seeking out others of their faith tradition to be unfaithful with.


I've never actually had an affair, but if I did I can't imagine discussing religious matters with my adulterous lover. I have a husband for that kind of thing.

It reminds me of something I read long ago: Remember Amy Fisher, who shot her inamorata's wife? Sure you do; she was the Long Island Lolita! Well, when she went to prison she requested kosher food. Adultery, yes, trying to kill another human being, okay; but treyfe food, no!

Oy vey!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Time passes by

 



My daughter sent her father an album she had put together lovingly with pictures of all our immediate family. A picture of her on her tricycle was on the cover. All the pictures were enjoyable but this was our favorite.

It all seems so long ago--when the children were small and we were poor and lived out in the country in Upstate New York amid the snowflakes. There was a stream running through the property, and one day I woke up to a strange new sound. It was the sound of the creek, which had been frozen and was now rushing over the rocks--spring freshets!

When spring finally came, we were mad with joy!
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Unfair!

[T]he race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Ecclesiastes, 9:11

Everyone has seen evidence of this unfairness. My own brother (the genius, 1600 SATs) has proved conclusively that just being brainy does not earn you much bread. He's probably smarter than Bill Gates, but Gates is undoubtedly more fortunate. And so it goes.

Barack Obama is better than smart--he's lucky. He gained the presidency by a series of fortuitous circumstances, the most important of which was the crash of the economy.

So far he has done nothing that is not either wrong or totally pointless. But his luck has come to his aid. Having been totally ineffectual in dealing with the Iranians, he has been rescued by a lucky chance: the fact that the Iranian people are totally fed up. And brave.

I hope his good fortune is transferable to us. But his luck may run out when it comes to health care; and wouldn't that be lucky for us?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Endangered species?

Dustbury considers the comeback of a butterfly.

The solution? Restore some grasslands to conditions more suitable for that ant, and after a couple of generations, import a handful of butterflies from surviving Scandinavian stock. The Large Blue, once listed as Vulnerable, is now considered “Near Threatened,” a substantial step back.

The cynical side of me wants to grumble that nobody would go to that much trouble for a creature considered less attractive than a butterfly. I dunno. Snail darters aren’t all that cute.


I've often wondered what would happen if the cockroach were endangered. Would we have Congressional hearings? Would the EPA go into overdrive?

Has anyone bemoaned the deliberate campaign against the anopheles mosquito?

Just asking.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A tale of two hats, 75 years apart

 

 



My daughter and bubbe, my grandmother.
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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Obama likes to give speeches

but not everyone wants to listen to the gifted orator.

I thought we were the only people turning the channel when narcissistic man-child makes his daily proclamation! How often is it necessary to show his incompetence, corruption, negligence and absolute stupidity?


I am so relieved to know that there are others who cringe when O speaks. Apparently many people don't like to listen to our beloved leader. I have tried to analyze my own reaction. Why don't I like to listen to him?

He has a very pleasant speaking voice. It's the delivery that bothers me. Like The Little Engine That Could, he pushes his speech up a hill laboriously, then slides down the slope and comes to the bottom, all tuckered out. Listen to his speech pattern: up, up, up, UP, then he sputters to a stop--his voice goes down. That's how you know he has finished speaking, at least temporarily. The blessed silence never lasts long. It's annoying. So are the inappropriate "uh and "huh" he resorts to when the teleprompter lets him down.

And, oh yes, the utter rot of what he is saying.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Your tax dollars at work

What an eminent domain funfest this would be!

Dozens of US cities may have entire neighbourhoods bulldozed as part of drastic "shrink to survive" proposals being considered by the Obama administration to tackle economic decline.

The US government is looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature Photo: GETTY

The government looking at expanding a pioneering scheme in Flint, one of the poorest US cities, which involves razing entire districts and returning the land to nature.

Local politicians believe the city must contract by as much as 40 per cent, concentrating the dwindling population and local services into a more viable area.


Ht to Instapundit.

I am not surprised that some local tinpot politician with delusions of grandeur would think of this idea, but the government is toying with the idea and providing money for him to realize his dream! What brilliant ideas come out of Harvard, to be sure. Are we chessmen, to be moved around the board by our betters at will, for our own good?

Imagine one Kelo in every neighborhood--just one--throwing a monkey wrench into the scheme because for some inexplicable reason she doesn't feel like being forced to move. Imagine moving dozens or hundreds of angry residents out of their homes at once. Neighborhood groups holding protest meetings, picketing City Hall.

I remember when Montclair State University wanted to put a microwave dish on a hill in a little town in New Jersey. The locals were up in arms. Letters flew to editors; meetings were held protesting the plan. And that was just a few people.

Of course, no idea is too hare-brained for the current management.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Big thunderstorm

Last night, when I was in bed sleeping, I heard loud noises which sounded like an artillery barrage. I seriously wondered whether the North Koreans had landed and were driving their tanks down Naamans Rd. Of course, I was pretty sure that wasn't happening. It was as unlikely as, well, driving an airplane, or even two of them, into a tall building. That would never happen, would it?

After 9/11, I felt that my sense of invulnerability was shattered. I always felt secure, almost smugly so, before that dreadful day. And then it was all over. I truly expected more terror attacks on tall buildings, bridges, nuclear power plants, or national monuments. An invasion from Canada or Mexico would not have surprised me. I felt an uneasy sense that this was not over. Everyone else felt the same way at the time.

Others forgot to be afraid. I never could. Even though nothing else happened to us, I always knew they were poised to strike us again whenever we let our guard down. Even the seven years of Bush's stewardship didn't make the fear go away.

Now again we are being disrespected by our enemies in North Korea and Iran. Obama seems intent on kissing up to the bad guys. I believe he's running for president of the senior class; the endless vapid speechmaking goes on and on. What a hollow man he is!

Monday, June 08, 2009

I attended a concert yesterday



of the Philadelphia Orchestra. It was excellent. Of course I didn't have time to read the program, I was busy listening to the music, which was lively, lots of brass.

When I got home I consulted the program, and what do you know, the theme of the concert was dies irae. It's from the Mass for the Dead, as sung by some monks somewhere, and refers to the last trump, end of the world, or judgment day. It means wrath of God, literally.

Of course, one number was totentanz by Liszt, which should have clued me in. I did a bit of research, and found that this is a common musical theme. It is found in Verdi's Requiem and a whole bunch of other places. But all the pieces played sounded downright cheerful.

There's a rock band using the name, too. I give them props for knowing Latin.

Oh yes, and you can download ringtones.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Spam is now in French

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

New head of UNESCO

Just about what you would expect of the UN:

Farouk Hosni is Egyptian minister of culture. ...
Unfortunately for Egypt - and the rest of the world - Farouk Hosni is a notorious crony of the country’s authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. He has served as culture minister for 21 years and is now 71. He is deeply complicit in and responsible for the stifling atmosphere, censorship and imprisonment of dissidents and bloggers....

Hosni’s idea of culture is a nice flaming pyre of books by Amos Oz, AB Yehoshua and Etgar Keret. Last year Hosni personally offered to burn any Hebrew-language books if they were found in the new library in Alexandria. He said: “If there are any there I will myself burn themselves in front of you.” Hosni banned ‘The Band’s Visit’ an Israeli film about a poor Egyptian band that is marooned in an Israeli backwater.
Some of his best friends are Jews, I bet.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Now I get spam in German!

From my inbox:

Lieb xxx@verizon.net,

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I think I get the word "orgasm." Also "anti-asthma." "Herzkrankheiten" must be heart trouble.

Wouldn't it be easier to address me in English, which I speak like a native?