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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Farewell to Poetry Month

One last poem, from the Wasteland by T S Eliot:

APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

To which I say, Hell no! Give me April, and you can have February. Today was gorgeous. The wind was providing an example of what the word "zephyr" is all about. Everything is green, and the trees are hiding the ugly stuff you have to look at in winter.

Maybe April is cruel in Australia?

Poets spout an awful lot of nonsense. For instance Shelley said "Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world." No. They are not. Could they do better than the acknowledged and duly elected legislators of the U S Congress?

Let me see your papers

A young friend of mine who had only had his driver's license for six months, was stopped in darkest Passaic New Jersey late at night. There was nothing wrong with either car, or driver. But he got a ticket, which required a court appearance.

His offense? Driving without his license. He had a license but not with him.
In New Jersey, not showing your driver's license when stopped by a policeman is a crime. Fortunately, when he showed up in court, the prosecutor and judge both dismissed his case and went back to prosecuting real criminals, of which there are many in Passaic.

I have to show photo id when visiting my doctor. Trampling on my civil liberties? You make the call.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Too gorgeous?

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One of the students in my art class painted a picture with just a touch of a sunset tinting a cloud. Said the teacher: "Too gorgeous." Apparently no-one can paint a sunset, it's too spectacular, too over the top.

Instantly I know what he means. Sedona, which I visited last year, is chock full of galleries featuring really bad paintings of the spectacular scenery around there. The scenery in Sedona is too lurid, too colorful. You have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. Only God, or perhaps Disney, could produce it. No painter could possibly reproduce it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another poem for poetry month

There Is a Lady Sweet and Kind

by Thomas Ford

There is a lady sweet and kind,
Was never face so pleas'd my mind;
I did but see her passing by,
And yet I love her till I die.

Her gesture, motion, and her smiles,
Her wit, her voice, my heart beguiles,
Beguiles my heart, I know not why,
And yet I love her till I die.

Her free behaviour, winning looks,
Will make a lawyer burn his books;
I touch'd her not, alas! not I,
And yet I love her till I die.

Had I her fast betwixt mine arms,
Judge you that think such sports were harms,
Were't any harm? no, no, fie, fie,
For I will love her till I die.

Should I remain confined there
So long as Ph{oe}bus in his sphere,
I to request, she to deny,
Yet would I love her till I die.

Cupid is winged and doth range,
Her country so my love doth change:
But change she earth, or change she sky,
Yet will I love her till I die.

I love this one. There's a pretty tune someone sings to it, but I can't remember who sings it or where I heard it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lincoln and the Jews

I attended a lecture today on "Lincoln and the Jews." Yes, I know it sounds like the punchline of a joke, but I am interested in the Civil War, Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman. I learned one or two things I didn't previously know: Lincoln had a Jewish podiatrist who he thought a lot of. I guess Lincoln's feet hurt.

Perhaps not surprisingly, because the event was sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of Delaware, the audience was predominantly Jewish and on the wrong side of 60. Also not surprisingly, food was served: bagels, cream cheese, fruit, coffee, tea and soft drinks.

One attendee to another, referring to a president of the US: "He doesn't care about us. He's a muslim, you know." I don't think he was talking about Lincoln.

Beginning to read a book

Some books just turn me off from the first chapter.


O]ne thing that occurred to me, just because it can break a book as far as I'm concerned, relates to the level of early uncertainty and early complexity. Not to put too fine a point on it, I like to know where I am and almost at once. If Brenda is who we start with, there better be something about who Brenda is and/or what her situation is from which the story begins. If, as is usually the case, Brenda is a person with connections to other people in the world, then as they come along I'm keen to know who they are and why they matter to Brenda or in Brenda's current predicament.

I have decided that I'm an intellectual lightweight and lazy as well.

I recently decided to read some books I had been unable to "get into." Very worthwhile books: Typhoon, Kim, The Charterhouse of Parma, and others.

I was unable to read past the first chapter of most of these. Actually, that is not quite accurate, because I read some of the Charterhouse and had to stop because Fabrizzio was such a dope I couldn't really care what happened to him.

I admit that my inability to finish these books is my fault, and not that of the authors. But I didn't want to read them then, and I don't believe I ever will.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sarah Palin turns ugly.

Contrary to the old Hollywood tradition in which a drab woman takes off her glasses and is revealed to be drop dead gorgeous, Sarah P is supposed to be plain without glasses, makeup, hairstyle, etc.

Uh, I don't think so.

Compare and contrast:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Knife sharpener explained

This photograph should have been on the box. But Tat already explained it to me.

Here's to sharper knives.

Voters win?

Big victory for voters in New Jersey?

I can't agree. This is what happens. The school board proposes a budget. The voters turn it down. They have been overwhelmingly voting down school budgets for years.

The school district then appeals to the State Department of Education, causing the municipality to hire lawyers to fight the school district. The school district wins. The voters are overruled.

Then the municipality gets to pay the lawyers for their side and the lawyers for the school district.

It's tough for voters to win.

No instructions

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One of my relatives who fancies himself a gourmet cook heaped scorn on my collections of knives. They all seem to be dull and useless, although I have managed to cut my fingers on all of them, so how dull could they be? However, bowing to his superior knowledge I ordered two knives from Amazon.

While I was at it, I ordered a knife sharpener, which only cost $5.95. This came yesterday, and I have been trying to figure it out, so I could perhaps sharpen my dull knives while I await delivery of the two new and expensive ones.

This came without instructions, and I have looked at it from every angle trying to figure out how to use it. So far, no luck.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This is a joke, right?

Librarians having sex in the stacks?

A 1992 survey of 5,000 U.S. librarians, long withheld by a professional journal, found one in five respondents had engaged in sexual trysts among the stacks.
I know an awful lot of librarians, and as far as I can see, there isn't a frisk in a carload.

I did know one elderly librarian who wore orthopedic shoes and had her (grey) hair in a bun who was reliably reputed to have gotten it on with a board member 40 years previously.

I also had dinner with a group of librarians at a convention, two of whom were arranging a tryst for later. But that was in Atlantic City. In a hotel room. Atlantic City is in this respect a lot like Las Vegas; unusual behavior is more common there.

There also was a flasher who exposed himself to a page in the stacks, but he did not hold a professional degree as far as I know.

Instapundit believes differently.

Monday, April 19, 2010

No Kindle for me

I would sort of like to inhabit a book-free zone, or at least a less book cluttered zone.  Every room has piles of books.  They have overrun the shelves purchased for their storage and now are lined up on the floor in several places.  There are also baskets of books, boxes of books, and the books that were moved to the garage when we remodeled and have resided there ever since.  The thing I like about the library is that they allow me to bring the books back, so I don't have to store them anywhere.

Every once in a while, I give one of my books to one of my daughters, and I take a box of them to the Good Will every week or so, but the supply never seems to diminish.  Instead, it grows.

One reason might be that I am always buying new ones.  And used ones.  And that leads me to the reason I don't want a Kindle.  I like to go to used book sales.  The local library had one last week, and I bought $14 worth of books.  That's a lot at a library book sale.  I haven't read them all yet, but I did read one of them, The Semi-Detached Couple by Emily Eden, and enjoyed it very much.

So I've found a new author to like.  I can't wait to read her other book.  Recently I discovered Mary Cholmondeley's book, Red Pottage, which I also liked.  I've found books nobody wants to read, books that are out of print, which I enjoy.  I recently read Three Came Home by Agnes Keith, a very moving memoir about the author's interment in a Japanese camp in the Phillipines in World War II.

At the library, I got to know the works of Matt Beynon Rees and Colin Cotterill, among others.  I never would have bought their books if I hadn't encountered them accidentally.

The only way to get read books like these are at book sales or by exploring the shelves of a very musty library which doesn't discard books very often.  (You are supposed to weed the shelves frequently to get rid of the books which don't circulate.)

The Kindle is tempting, but I'll say no for now.  How do I know what I want to read, until I see it?

The Jews did it

This makes my blood boil:

[A] motion was brought before the UC Berkeley Student Senate calling on the university to divest from General Electric and United Technologies “because of their military support of the occupation of the Palestinian territories.” To give the bill an air of fairness, it also called for the creation of a committee to identify additional “companies aiding war crimes throughout the world, such as those taking place in Morocco, the Congo, and other places.”

The voting was fiercely contentious. On March 18, the UC-Berkeley Student Senate voted to pass the resolution by a vote of 16-4. The faculty senate president subsequently vetoed the motion, but a vote for overriding the veto was immediately scheduled. The vote to override the veto took place on April 14, after much lobbying and pressure and after more than 10 hour's of heated debate. The result was that the veto was sustained with 13 yes vote in favor of the override, one short of the two-thirds needed. There was also one abstention. Although the motion remains vetoed for the time being, there is sure to be a strong attempt to revive the motion, with all the debate, lobbying, pressure and anti-Israel activism which that entails.

This was part of an e-mail sent me by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

"In Every Generation They Rise Up Against Us..." (Passover Haggadah)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Eight and 98

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hanging out with the president

From street thug to White House advisor.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Greenpeace manifesto

Greenpeace is embarassed by this statement, and has removed a large part of it from their web page:

“Let's talk about what that mass civil disobedience is going to look like.

"If you're one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:
We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work. And we be many, but you be few.”

Cute, isn't it?

The left has appropriated all the best, most desirable words. "Green," what could be wrong with that? And "peace" is endorsed by 86 percent of the American people, according to the latest polls. No-one wants to be brown and in favor of war, right?

But I digress. This was not the point I wanted to make. Here it is:

I be American. I be native English speaker. I speak and write proper English. You be idiot.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Woman demonstrates the virtues of the burka, which covers a lot of flaws.

Read more:

She also demonstrates deplorable choices in children's names:
Goldman has been spending the week in LA with husband Jonathan Ross and the couple's three children Betty Kitten, 18, Harvey Kirby, 15, and Honey Kinny, 12.

In Hollywood, though, these names might actually show restraint.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Does anyone know what these are?

Weird plants at Longwood. They look like little people (sort of).
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more Longwood pix

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A couple of housekeeping issues

1.  All you foreigners who found my post a short history of the United States?  Don't take it seriously.  It's meant to be funny.  I would hate to think that someone in Bratislava or somewhere really takes it as gospel.

2.  To the two commenters whose comments I inadvertently deleted:  sorry.  They were really, really good comments.

Want a great job?

Work for the government.

Birthday cupcakes

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Misty evening, different treatment

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sheep that shear themselves

No muss, no fuss.

Now if only the Democrats could apply this technology to  taxpayers.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Sarah Palin: latest television superstar?

Can Sarah Palin be the next Oprah?

I'm not the person to ask,as I would rather put lighted matches in my eyes than watch Oprah.

I did watch Sarah Palin's debut show on Fox, and I found it too treacly for my taste.  It was all sweetness and very little light.  Yes, there are some inspiring people in the US.  But I prefer more variety.  Let's have a few of us nasty people interviewed, for a refreshing change of pace.

I like Sarah Palin well enough.  I wish her well.  But I don't want to watch her.  To my mind she needs seasoning.  She needs a bit more polish and a little less gee whiz by golly.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Misty evening

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Tillie the toiler shoes

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Monday, April 05, 2010

Tillie the toiler

Tillie the Toiler was a comic strip that appeared in the Sunday comics many years ago.  I remember seeing it when I was a child.  Tillie was a working woman, a modern girl with a job and a boyfriend named Mac.  But what was fascinating to me was drawings like the above--a Tillie paper doll with clothes you could cut out and put on the doll, if you were a brain surgeon instead of a 5-year-old girl.

But I admired Tillie and especially loved her clothes.  She was the essence of chic. I couldn't wait to grow up and dress like her, with high heels and everything.

I recently bought a pair of shoes which would have done Tillie proud.

My daffodils

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Poem by William Wordsworth






  I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

Friday, April 02, 2010

Poem by William Butler Yeats

The Lake Isle Of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core. 
I've heard this set to music, but I don't know whose.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Naming cats

Archness seems to prevail in the naming of cats.

Krugman and his wife, Robin Wells, at home with their cats, Doris Lessing and Albert Einstein.

Is  this pretentious or not?  It depends whether the cats resemble Doris and Albert.  I'd have to see their picture to judge.

My own favorite cat was named Tobermory, after a cat in a story by Saki.  I believe Tobermory is a place in Scotland, too.  The first cat I ever had was named Cleo, shortly afterward changed to Cleopatra when she became pregnant.

An acquaintance named his cat Stokely, for reasons which will be obvious to older people.

You just can't trust people to come up with names for cats, can you?