Sunday, May 30, 2010

Good question

Little Miss Attila attempts to answer:

Folks, what the hell is so much less delicate about the Gulf of Mexico than ANWR, where we could drill much more safely than in the Gulf? Nothing—that’s what.

Liberals believe certain places or objects which must be venerated in defiance of reason.  Muslims venerate Mecca, liberals venerate ANWR.  Muslims cannot tolerate pork, liberals cannot tolerate Guantanamo. I could go on, but you get the idea.  None of this makes any sense, or is intended to do so.

If you violate the Muslim creed you are an infidel.  If you violate the liberal creed, you are a fascist.

End of discussion.

What my site is worth


That's more than I thought.

Beach scene

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bessie Coleman

I am re-posting this, in honor of Memorial Day:





Bessie Coleman, aviation pioneer





Every Memorial Day, black men and women aviators fly in formation over the grave of Bessie Coleman, dropping bouquests of flowers on the grave of the first black woman ever to earn a pilot's license.
Coleman was born in 1892, the twelfth of thirteen children. The family earned their living picking cotton. It was an impoverished existence, and as her siblings reached adulthood two of them left for Chicago, where opportunities were better.

Bessie Coleman followed when she grew up. She trained as a manicurist and got a job at the White Sox Barber Shop, situated on the Stroll,an 8-block section of State Street where black-owned businesses flourished. It was there that she encountered Robert S. Abbott, the editor of the Chicago Defender, a prominent newspaper read widely in the black community.

She developed a desire to become a pilot, inspired by stories of the derring-do of the Wolrd War I flying aces. This was an unthinkable ambition for a black woman at the time. Yet Abbott saw something of the potential in Bessie, and offered her financial help to attend a French flying school. He guessed that she would make great copy, and he was right. On her return from France with her pilot's license, she was greeted by representatives of both the black and white press.

Beautiful and flamboyant, she became an overnight sensation. Barnstorming and stunt flying were all the rage at the time, and no one's exploits were more daring than Coleman's. She became a hero to the black community, who dubbed her "Queen Bess." Her ambition was to start a flight school for black people, to encourage them to follow careers in the promising new field of aviation.

Her career was fraught with peril: many of the barnstorming stunts were daring and dangerous. Coleman also suffered from a lack of sufficient funds and therfore often relied on decrepit and unsafe planes. In California, on February 4, 1922, a plane she was piloting stalled at 300 feet, smashing into the ground. She suffered multiple injuries which landed her in the hospital for three months.

Undaunted, she relocated to Texas and resumed her barnstorming career. She had previously performed in the North, to appreciative white audiences. She now visited venues mainly in the South, where African Americans were her most enthusiastic fans. They opened their homes and hearts to her. Colemans' beauty, skill and daring inspired her African American fans.

According to her niece, "The airplanes she was flying, they were just old things....They weeren't worth a darn." The lack of adequate funds did not stop her, however, from planning a flight in Jacksonville, FL. in a ramshackle plane.

Coleman was planning a parachute stunt, so she went up to scout the territory with her mechanic, William Wills, at the controls. Wills lost control of the plane, and Coleman, with neither seat belt nor parachute, was hurled to her death. She was 34 years old.

Her influence, however, lived on. Within a few years William Powell founded the Bessie Coleman Aero Club, both to honor her and to inspire other African Americans to follow her example. Her dream lived on, and still lives on to this day.

In 1995, a stamp honoring her was issued by the United States Postal Service.

Remembering Dunkirk

Seventy years ago.

Old men forget.... Shakespeare, Henry V

Not these old men, apparently.


 

 

 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Keeping the boot on BP's neck

Would that be the jackboot?

I don't much like it when our leaders start threatening boots.  What next, whips and chains?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I won't be visiting Pinsk, thanks

Even though my Russian grandmother, (known as bubbe) came from there.

I looked up the blasted place on Wikipedia because my grandmother's ancestral home seemed to have been moved from Russia to Belarus while staying in the same place.  Apparently Pinsk was conveniently located for purposes of invasion, subjugation, and wholesale pogroms.  Consequently, bubbe was fluent in Polish, Russian, and Yiddish.

Bubbe actually had nothing bad to say about the place.  Mostly she talked about her memories of rowing down the river.  She never mentioned her parents or siblings, possibly because they were executed by the Nazis. 

In 1939, the population of Pinsk totaled 30,000, of whom 27,000 were Jews. Most of them were killed in late October 1942, after their deportation by the Nazis from the Pinsk ghetto.[3] Ten thousand were murdered in one day.

One detail of the Wikipedia entry interested me because bubbe had talked about it.  She had an expression, in  Khmelnytsky's tsiten,   meaning a long, long time ago,  not within living memory. She might have been referring to the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, so remote were the events being mentioned.

Today I learned that this was a reference to Bohdan Khmelnytsky:
During the Cossack rebellion of Bohdan Khmelnytsky (1640), it was captured by Cossacks who carried out a pogrom against the city's Jewish population; the Poles retook it by assault, killing 24,000 persons and burning 5,000 houses. Eight years later the town was burned by the Russians.

Not a nice place to be a Jew.  I won't be visiting.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sixth grade love affair

by the talented Johnny Virgil.

And I always used to wonder why the little boys pulled my pigtails.  It was love, sixth grade edition.

Tasty snack

Now that we are discussing the topic of food, I want to mention a snack that bubbe (and I) liked.  It was very simple.

Take a clove of garlic, cut it in half, dip it in salt, and rub it all over a piece of good bakery rye bread.   The bread has to be strong in texture to resist the assault with the garlic.  Do not try this with Wonder Bread.

I don't know whether this snack is Russian, Jewish, or simply poverty-inspired.  If you like raw garlic, you might like it.  I like raw garlic.  I have been known to make pesto with so much garlic it brings tears to your eyes.  Mr Charm and I like it that way.

Bubbe also made a hot cabbage soup that was good.  And beet borsht with sour salts.  Does anyone use sour salts any more?  I haven't seen them for sale in years.

Bubbe and I did not always agree on cuisine.   I thought fat was disgusting.  Bubbe used to make chicken soup with circles of fat floating on top.  I hated them.  I also disliked the carrots and celery bits floating in chicken soup.   All I really wanted to eat was the noodles.  It was tough eating just the noodles or matzoh balls while avoiding the other ingredients of the soup, which perhaps explains how there was so much soup left when I finished.

I also would not eat anything glued together with mayonnaise.  That left out tuna salad, potato salad, and chicken salad, for openers.  Who knows what's in that stuff? I still won't eat chicken salad unless I make it myself and know what's in it.  (It is good with curry powder, raw celery, and green grapes.)

My grandson won't eat any food that touches another food on his plate.  I sympathize.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What was he doing on MSNBC?

What, indeed?

Falling into a trap. that's what.

The Civil Rights Act Paul was (belatedly) discussing was passed in nineteen-something-or-other when Rand Paul was in diapers.  It is settled law,  and any controversy about it is as dead as mutton.  Deader.  No-one is proposing to amend it in any respect:  not the Democrats, the Republicans, the rogue State of Arizona, the Catholic Church, the Ku Klux Klan, the Boy Scouts of America, nobody. 

Why resurrect a dead issue?  To elicit a damning sound bite from a man who talks, not in sound bites, but in philosophic terms.  Gotcha there, Rand!


Rand Paul needs to learn to give snappy answers to stupid questions.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yeah, I'm sick of politics too. Lets discuss my ancestors

I'm becoming boring around here.  The world is going to hell in a handbasket, but that's no reason for me to feel depressed, is it?

So let's switch the discussion to my female predecessor's lawless ways with neighborhood greenery.  Bubbe, for example, used to scour the neighborhood in search of sorrel, which I understand is a weed.  So you could say bubbe was weeding her neighbor's gardens without permission.

I never saw her picking the stuff, but she would leave the house with an empty paper sack and return with a sack full of sorrel.  With this she made a cold soup called shchav, which nobody liked.  It wasn't vile, it just wasn't that good, as it tasted like soup made of weeds.  Nobody much liked it but we all ate a moderate amount when it was served in order to spare ourselves the inevitable criticism of our eating habits.  I guess bubbe was ahead of her time in championing locally grown food.  Or weeds.

What is it about these ethnic foods that makes people so irrational?  Some relatives of mine who have Swedish relatives are forced to eat lutefisk, which unlike sorrel soup really is vile.  For openers, it's made with lye, and it's all  downhill from there.  I wouldn't even want to be in the same room with it.

Mother, on the other hand, only liked flowers.  In the neighborhood I grew up in, there were alleys behind every row of  houses.  This was where the garbage cans lived, right next to the detached garage at the very rear of the property.   These alleys were only scenic if you enjoyed looking at garages and garbage cans, but mother loved to stroll down them.   Neglected and unloved plants lived alongside these garages, some of them interesting or valuable.  Mother had her own paper sack as well as a trowel, and she helped herself to some of these plants.  Her justification for this was that no-one wanted them anyway or they would have planted them somewhere else.

So far as I know, she was never discovered, and she had some interesting and beautiful plants in her garden, a win-win proposition as far as she was concerned.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Consequences of North Korea's unacceptable behavior

The international community is getting tough.

Important officials from all the countries are going to stand in a circle, hold hands, and boo simultaneously.  Moreover, they will frown meaningfully.

You want tough?  We'll show you tough!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Perfect description of an empty suit

When I read this, it made me want to holler:

He already had the résumé to be a shoo-in candidate. Rich kid, Harvard (editor of the Crimson), reporter at The Washington Post, Yale Law School (editor of the law journal), almost two decades as attorney general, the perfect knowledge-class candidate of the kind favored by modern Democrats.  Yadda, yadda, etc.

One of those Best and Brightest Harvards who have been screwing the country over for the last 16 months.  Self-righteous.  Pompous.  Full of himself.  Perfect.

Mercy, please. 

Link thanks to Instapundit.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Elevating the tone of political discourse...

in the Connecticut Democratic primary.

"He was a coward ... and he's clearly a liar...."

If a Republican said this, would it be name-calling?

Monday, May 17, 2010

My rose bush

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Complaining about Greeks

Are Greek civil servants overpaid?

To cut the deficit, Greece must reduce Easter and summer bonuses for its civil servants.
Easter bonuses? Summer Bonuses? They get bonuses because the weather changes?
I wonder if they also get "showing up on time" bonuses, too.

To answer the question:  In my experience,  many civil servants --not all--get paid for showing up at all.  Doing something while at work is considered extra. And they are fireproof.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Seashore, Florida

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jack Reacher's creator lives in a Spartan apartment

Lee Child emulates his hero.

Mr. Child lives in a two-room apartment in the Flatiron district that's architecturally stark, wrapped in white and bereft of rugs, curtains, side tables or accessories.

But he cheats:

Then there's Mr. Child's other apartment on a lower floor, where he keeps many of his possessions. Smaller in size but similar in layout, this writing office has lots of visible books, New Yorker cartoons, Reacher paraphernalia and a "technology museum" consisting of all his old cellphones and his first laptop.

In addition:

He ... has the resources to prevent the sensibilities of his wife of 35 years from getting in the way of his pursuit of what he calls this "aesthetic challenge." She currently spends most of her time at their homes in the south of France and Rye, N.Y.

My readers know that I am obsessed with Mr Child's hero, Jack Reacher, and how he maintains his spartan style without carrying with him a change of underwear.  He does bring a toothbrush with him.  But what of toothpaste, which he never mentions?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Successful teacher

I recently read a book called The Devil to Play by Jasper Rees. It describes how the author masters (sort of) the French horn, after many years of playing the instrument in school.  I've never played a musical instrument, except the piano, at which I was supremely untalented.  I never realized how difficult it is to play the horn and how easy it is to play it wrong.  In the future I will regard horn players with wonder and awe, like mountain climbers.
I can't imagine doing something so difficult.  It's tough enough to sing in a choir, where there are lots of other performers to cover up your mistakes. It takes a lot of courage to face an audience, no matter what kind of performance.

There's also a lot on the history of the instrument,  and the literature written for it, which I considered fascinating.

This is by way of introduction to my main topic, which is how to be a good teacher. In the course of his book, Jasper Rees quotes reports by the various teachers who attempted to instruct him on the horn, and they are always very positive.  Each instructor invariably remarks on how much Jasper has improved during the course of the term.  At the rate he was improving, I'm surprised he did not become a famous, indeed a world-renowned, performer.

As some of you know, I take art lessons.  My art teacher looks at all the student work at the end of a session and invariably says something encouraging; the mastery of color has improved, this shape is well done, etc.  I am sure he sometimes teaches incredibly untalented clods, but you'd never know it by his critiques.  I guess teachers are in the encouragement business, not in the hopelessness business.  Tact is of the essence.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Kvetch*-in-chief

Tell us how you really feel.

Via instapundit.

A kvetch is someone who is always pissing, whining and moaning about something.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Twenty-first century puritans

Puritans enjoy making sure that others don't enjoy themselves too much.

Happy Mother's Day

 
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Still waiting for an answer...

to a good question.

[I]f Mexico is so worthy of all this pride and ...respect, how come almost everyone one of those Latino kids’ relatives hauled ass outta there…?

Here's another one for you: Why is it okay for Mexican Americans to carry on like this, but when American Jews stick up for Israel they are accused of their first loyalty being to Israel?

Are Jews too white, too middle-class, too boring to qualify for victim status?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Now I'm worried

The Zombie Bite Calculator

Created by Oatmeal


Is there an antidote? Or a vaccine? If not, I'd better not associate with any zombies.

British tax dollars at work...

screwing everybody up.

* Attempts to measure the ash's density were hampered because the main aircraft used by the Meteorological Office for this purpose had been grounded as it was due to be repainted.

* Computers at the Met Office, which earlier forecast a 'barbecue summer' last year and a mild winter for this year, produced a stream of maps predicting the ash would cover a vast area, eventually stretching from Russia to Newfoundland. But across almost all of it, there was virtually no ash at all, and none visible to satellites.

* Though there was some ash over Britain at times during the ban, the maximum density measured by scientists was only about one twentieth of the limit that scientists, the Government, and aircraft and engine manufacturers have now decided is safe.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

How to be obscene without really trying

A fashion trend I've missed.

You have to click on the link. This is a clean blog.

Safe for work--if you work in a house of ill repute. Otherwise, not so much.

Musician

 
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What's wrong with Silicon Valley?

Apparently, lots of things.

Check the link if you want the whole story.

Here's the part that interests me:

Immigration, long a pipeline for new talent and brain power, is slumping badly, partly because of a crackdown here at home, partly because other countries got tired of exporting their best and brightest, and decided to offer their local engineers similar benefits and lifestyles (seen Infosys’ stock chart lately? How about Bidu?) Without new talent, ideas and innovation stagnate.

This doesn't compute. The last I heard, we had 300 million people here in the US. Surely some of those are of school age; some are even attending our universities.
Yet we have to import brainpower from third world countries?

Meanwhile, our college students are studying Grievance Studies, Tampon Science, Make-Up-Your-Own History, Leadership, Education for Social Change, and the Soap Opera as an Art Form. In their spare time they practice attending public events and shouting down speakers they don't agree with. When they graduate they are barely fit for retail or working for the government. The truly unemployable go on to attend law school.

On the other side of the world, people who have to study by candlelight are learning medicine, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Having learned something of value to the modern world, they then come here, taking jobs no American will do, because said American is functionally illiterate but chock full of self-esteem.

What's wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Soup mug

 
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Tulips, Longwood gardens

 



Acrylic painting.
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Monday, May 03, 2010

Committee for a better looking Congress

Some of the Republican newbies are much better looking than the current lot.

Above, Tim Burns and Scott Brown.



Next: John Murtha and Carl Levin.


and the ever-popular Babs Boxer:



Unfair, I know. Superficial, I admit to that. But which would you rather look at for several years on the evening news?

I rest my case.

Another, pointless, useless, but expensive way to prevent terrorism...

just like airport "security."

Has the installation of  cameras in Britain been effective?  Is London now crime and terrorist free?  And where do the strapped taxpayers of New York City get the money for $30,000 cameras?

Spend a lot of money, inconvenience lots of people. with no, or negative,  results.  What's not to like?

Oysgevarfene gelt.

Thanks to Instapundit for the link.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

From the local throwaway newspaper, a must miss

Jill Sobule belongs to a rare breed of artists....[T]]he Denver-born songwriter/guitarist/singer has tackled such topics as the death penalty, anorexia, shoplifting, reproduction, the French resistance movement, adolescense, and the Christian right.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hanging out with Betty and Veronica

A friend and I were lamenting about how far away our families are. Then we got to talking about friends taking the place of family. Which got her to why neither of us has a group of friends that all get together and have good times together. I don't have such a group and neither does she. When I was in college back in the twentieth century I had such a group, but of course members of the group were always falling out--getting married or engaged, moving out of state, or getting arrested. (They didn't really get arrested, but I wanted to see how many of you were paying attention.)

We decided that what we really wanted was to hang out with Betty and Veronica down at the malt shop. Is that too unreasonable a request?