Monday, January 31, 2011

Home Sweet Home

So we're safely ensconced at the Holiday Inn Express, kicked back, enjoyin' a Sammy Adams Winter Lager (which is actually a bock, but who's counting?) and a Drew Estates Dirt Torpedo, while patiently awaiting Pizza The Hut to arrive with dinner, supposedly within the hour.  Because they ARE busy tonite.

I was pleasantly surprised when the desk clerk asked me if I wanted "smoking? or non-?" this afternoon, laboring as I am under the impression that ALL hotel chains in these United States surrendered to the anti-smoking Nazis long ago.  Well, surprise.  HIE didn't run up the white flag and we are most pleased.  They will get my future bid'niz when I'm either (a) driven out of house and home by Ol' Man Winter or (b) find myself in a strange city for no apparent reason.  Huzzah, and all that.

I thought I did a pretty good job of packing for my short stay, remembering my meds, the Kindle, the charger for my cell phone, the cigar cutter, a three-day supply of beer, yadda, yadda.  And clothes.  Can't forget those.  But there's always sumthin', no?  In this case it's a bottle opener, as the beer I drink does NOT come in twist-cap bottles.  HIE to the rescue, again.  There was a bottle opener at the front desk and it was put in my hot lil hand minutes ago with instructions to return it "when you're done."

That might be a while.  Life is good.  And warm.

We Otta Be a Whole Helluva Lot Smarter By Friday...

... on account o' because we're gonna be spending the next four nights in the Holiday Inn Express just across the highway.  I thought about this long and hard before I decided to abandon El Casa Móvil De Pennington for a warmer space.  My Inner Macho Man said "don't be a freakin' wuss, it's just a lil cold, is all."  Macho Man was winning until I ran into Jenny at Wally-World and she was pretty emphatic with the "do it!" thing.  Which all goes to prove that women are generally smarter than men when it comes to macho stuff.

And just how cold will it be?  This cold:

I can do overnight temps in the teens but below zero stuff just ain't ANY fun.  At all.

So.  We're booked.  Registering at the front desk of the HIE was sorta funny... I was asked for address, etc. and duly gave the particulars... which got weird for the lady when she said "and your ZIP code there?'  "88130," sez I.  "Hunh?  What's that all about, if I may ask?"  We explained, she understood.  And Hey!  Free breakfast for the next four days, or at least someone else is gonna do the cookin'.  Coz it ain't exactly free, yanno? 

Confession Is Good for the Soul

Or so I've heard.  I just made a small confession in comments to a rather quirky post over at The Mayor's place and thought "what the Hell, the statute of moral limitations has sorta run out on this one, so I'll blog it."  My comment:
Apropos of nothing, I really was a volunteer at a community suicide prevention hot line once upon a time in the way-back.  I'll reveal one of the most shameful things I ever did in my life now, heretofore known to only a select few.  A select VERY few.  One of the other volunteers and I (we worked in pairs) took the phones off the hook for about a half hour one night so we wouldn't be interrupted while we engaged in other (and MUCH more pleasant) activities on the floor of the center.  It was worth it, in the end, and we consoled ourselves by sayin' it was a slow night.  Coz it was.  Sorta.
True story.  My partner in this episode of severe dereliction of duty was my kinda-sorta girlfriend; she was more like a friend-with-benefits, mainly because the woman had... umm... "other commitments" at the time.   This happened in the very distant way-back, at a time long before my moral code was firmed up, signed, sealed, and delivered.

And now you know one of my deepest and darkest secrets.  If there's any rationalization or justification for the above it would be this: the suicide intervention center I worked at had no record of any "saves" during the 18 months I worked there.  Our clientele mostly consisted of drunk, lonely, neurotic women who just needed someone to dump on... we even had a few "regulars."  So there's that.  But I don't really need to rationalize the activity at all, in the end it was worth it.  Just sayin'.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What We're Watching Right Now

On the Discovery Channel, as we speak:

"The greatest invention of all time."  I'll drink to that.

A Few Funnies...

... from My Buddy Ed In Florida.
My wife and I were watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire while we were in bed.
I turned to her and said 'Do you want to have Sex?'
'No,' she answered. I then said
'Is that your final answer?'
She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying 'Yes.'
So I said 'Then I'd like to phone a friend.'
And that's when the fight started...


My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels.
She asked, "What's on TV?"
I said "Dust."
And that's when the fight started...


My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror.
She was not happy with what she saw and said to me,
"I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly.
I really need you to pay me a compliment."
I replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect."
And that's when the fight started...
It prolly goes without sayin', but my life is remarkably free of discord such as this these days.  We thank The Deity At Hand for small favors.  Every day.   

A Very Slow Sunday

So, here we sit... waiting for Ol' Man Winter to drop the other shoe (which isn't supposed to happen until Tuesday), half-assed watching the situation unfold in Egypt (about which we can't seem to generate much interest, other than reading the comments on the subject at Lex's place, all 69 of 'em), and makin' the rounds of my other Daily Reads.

I got nuthin' today.  I spent a lil time perusing the archives for something to re-run but nothing really struck my fancy.  I posted the only re-run I found even remotely interesting a little over a year ago this month, so there's no sense in doin' THAT again.  But, if you weren't hangin' out in these parts a year ago and if you're interested in a tale of Innocents Abroad, specifically abroad in China, then you might enjoy this.  And this.  There are lots of photos, if nothing else.  Including this one:

The original caption to that photo was "Why I love Japan - Beer machines!"  And yes, I did say the re-runs are about China... and they ARE.  But you also get a lil bit o' Japan as a bonus, mainly because I'm a generous sort.

Apropos of not much... why don't we have beer machines in these United States?  We claim to be a civilized and advanced country, right?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oh, Goodie. I Can't WAIT!

From the NWS in ABQ:
High temperatures ranging from 10 to nearly 20 degrees above average over far eastern New Mexico today will drop 5 to 15 degrees Sunday across the northeast plains as the far southwest edge of an Arctic air mass eases into northeast New Mexico.

The coldest of the air mass will likely delay until Tuesday and Wednesday of next week... as highs over the northeast plains are forecast to reach at best in the teens and nighttime lows Tuesday night may drop several degrees below zero. The Rio Grande Valley and western New Mexico will also likely experience some colder weather next week... though not the bitter cold of the northeast.

Computer weather forecast models still are displaying some significant differences on the track and timing of the two main low pressure systems making up this storm complex... but they are at least showing those two main features.
Well, now.  Doesn't that sound appealing?  We're gonna be in the high 60s today and that's a lot warmer than "normal."  I have no right to expect these moderate temps to continue right into Spring but I WAS hopin'.  Kinda-sorta.


SN2 called this morning from the Atlanta airport... he's on his way home after spending a week in Pensacola as part of a Navy board reviewing NROTC scholarship applications, the purpose of said board to determine who makes the cut and who doesn't.  Sam was pretty positive about the whole process, emphasizing that winnowing the wheat from the chaff was a damned difficult proposition given the high quality of the applicants.  The upshot of our conversation was it's reassuring that our much-maligned educational system is turning out some pretty impressive "product," almost in spite of itself.  It ain't just the system, of course... it's a combination of effort on the part of students, native ability, and good parenting.  The schools themselves are probably the lesser part of the whole machine when ya come right down to it, but they are important.

So.  One small ray of light in the gathering gloom.  It's good to know "the kids are alright," innit?  Some of 'em, at least.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Attitude Adjustment Hour Is Upon Us

Note that we're not using the usual, customary, and reasonable term... Happy Hour... to describe our afternoon beer drinkin' and/or cocktails.  Our attitude really IS in need of adjustment as our day began badly and kinda slid all the way to the bottom of the hill before it began to get better.  

We woke up with a dry-air nosebleed and not just a minor case of spotting, either.  I was beginning to think we were gonna be in need of a transfusion before the flow was stanched, at the risk of dipping into the TMI bucket.  We're also waiting semi-anxiously for the results of some medical tests to come in, said condition entirely unrelated to nosebleeds, but is bothersome and aggravating none the less.  Finally... as if all the foregoing isn't enough... I've developed one of my recurring minor gum infections.

All of which (hopefully) are nits.  Yet I'm reminded that "when it starts to fall apart it REALLY falls apart!"

That would be the Tragically Hip, who shall feature prominently in Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack.   I searched ALL over for the studio version of this tune with no results.  It's a rare live video on The Tube o' You that's actually worth a shit and this is no exception to the rule.  But the flavor is there... specifically these bits:
See when it starts to fall apart
It really falls apart
Like boots or hearts, Oh when they start
They really fall apart
We're on about health issues here, the Hip are on about something entirely different but no less true.  I've sung this song in THAT context, too.  But not lately.

Beer Me!

Update, 1615 hrs:  Well, we're back indoors after a very satisfying AAH.  Well, sorta.  Pandora's Tragically Hip station features entirely too many songs from the end game of Former Happy Days.  Like this:

Matchbox Twenty - Back 2 Good
Uploaded by AtlanticRecords. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

We have this bit in mind, of course:
I was thinking if you were lonely
Maybe we could leave here and no one would know
At least not to the point that we would think so  
Well, so much for that sentiment.  There might have been some folks who "wouldn't know," but that shit all came out in the wash now, dint it?

I'll prolly not go back to that particular Pandora station ever again... coz there was much more Tragic than Hip in the play-list... and we'll opt for our own music collection in future.  Even after many, many years there are just some tunes I don't want to ever hear again.  And this was just one; there were more... many more.

Still and even, this unfortunate turn of events wasn't enough to poison our Attitude Adjustment Hour.  We ARE adjusted and all is (mostly) right with the world.  Franklin was correct.


From the usual source, which is mostly about sputnik moments and deficits today.  But we aren't in the mood to flog dead draft animals.  We're in this sorta mood:

But it's too early for Happy Hour.  Mebbe a lil Kahlua in my coffee...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On This Day...

... Thomas Edison was granted a patent for his incandescent light, in 1880.  Just slightly less than 130 years later the state of California implemented a virtual ban on his invention, forcing its citizens to buy "eco-friendly" (oh, how it pains me to use that term) substitutes in the form of those damned CFLs or LED lights, both of which are horrendously expensive, and in the case of CFLs... an environmental hazard due to their mercury content.  Or Californians can choose to live with less light from a "standard" 100 watt bulb.

Well, it sucks to live in the Once-Golden State and light bulb stupidity is just one small example.  But the rest of America shouldn't laugh coz we'll all be in the same boat next year... California just got a head-start on the insanity.  Unless the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act or BULB Act (H.R. 91) is passed into law.  The BULB act repeals Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb.  The act just might pass and it would be one small step in correcting the PC madness on the federal level.  California residents would still have to deal with their dumb-ass state legislature, though.  Good luck with THAT, Californians.

Apropos of the above... don't you just HATE this new-found compulsion to assign cutesy and meaningless names to every goddamned bill introduced in Congress?  Just STOP it, already.  We are NOT amused.  (insert the UCR lawn exclamation here)

Image from here.  Scroll down and read the "How many dogs does it take to change a light bulb" joke.

As Seen On Red Eye V

I have no idea why, but this cracked me up.  The lil bot needs some work, methinks... MIT ain't what they used to be (watch the related videos... this WAS an MIT project).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

The day's errands are done, the larder is stocked (as is the fridge), and Happy Hour is upon us.  And it's yet another indoor Happy Hour, but that's OK as Good Times are comin'... the forecast is for 63 degrees this Friday.  

We're listening to the digitally re-mastered "Exile On Main Street," (my fourth copy of "Exile," two on vinyl, two on CD) which has made its way from the car into El Casa Móvil De Pennington.  Truly GREAT albums... and "Exile" is one such... tend to LIVE in The Green Hornet.  But we brought the disk into the house today for Happy Hour.  Mostly for this tune:

Who's that woman on your arm, all dressed up to do you harm
And I'm hip to what she'll do, give her just about a month or two.
Bit off more than I can chew and I knew what it was leading to,
Some things, well, I can't refuse,
One of them, one of them's the bedroom blues.
She delivered right on time, I can't resist a corny line,
But take the shine right off you shoes,
Carryin', carryin' the bedroom blues.
There are lyrics, Gentle Reader, and then there are LYRICS.  I don't believe I've ever heard a better song about love gone missing than this one.  And then there's that plaintive horn section in the middle of the tune that evokes heartache like no other horn chart I've EVAH heard.  

YMMV, of course.  But "Let It Loose" has done it for me, for years and years and years.  Even in Former Happy Days. 


Yeah, I watched it.  I had it in my mind to limit my comments to a screen-shot of the US debt clock, but Mz. Benson beat me to it.

It was pretty much the same ol', same ol'... except for the fact The One actually came out and admitted the US is an exceptional country, in his own oblique sorta way, of course.  One good thing: Boehner is much easier on the eyes than Pop-Up Nancy With The Botox Smile.  I'm grateful for small gifts.

That said... I don't wanna hear another goddamned word about "investments" unless it's how much you cut from the budget and apply to the deficit.  Paying down our debt is the best "investment" we can make at the moment.  Nota bene, Mr. President... you need to listen to Representative Ryan.  Attentively.

Dentistry Never Sleeps

Dr Marie-Catherine Klarkowski said: ‘The most important thing is to take away patients’ fear. The sight of cleavages gets patients narcotised and distracted from the pain rather quickly.

‘Some patients’ mouths are already wide open on entering the practice.’

It is unclear if the patients feel less pain but the number of clients going to the Relax & Smile practice in Munich has risen by a third since the change. Yes, they are all men.
Hmmm.  I don't have a problem with my dentist coz his staff are most definitely lookers, even though they dress modestly and are entirely professional.  Still and even... I have a routine cleaning appointment on February 1st and you can rest assured I shall bring this article to the Good Doctor's attention.

Photo from the linked article.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Apropos o' Nuthin' X

Better than eee-dee ads, nu?

Only Because There Are WAY Too Many Damned Cats On These Innertubes

Tucker reminds me of the great times my puppies  and I used to have howling at the moon and playin' the recorder.  Often at the same time.

h/t to The Mayor.


From My Buddy Ed In Florida...
Every Man's Three Dreams
To be as handsome as his mother thinks.
To be as rich as his child believes.
To have as many women as his wife suspects...
Heh.  I could tell ya some stories about the last one, Gentle Reader.  Oh, yes... I could, indeed.  But I won't.

Image from 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rock On!

Well... mebbe next week, coz the current WX (see the post below) precludes a road test under actual field conditions.  The new rocker arrived today and it IS most comfortable and sturdy.  We had to try it out in the limited space available here in El Casa Móvil De Pennington and we were most impressed.

Did I ever tell ya our living accommodations are small, Gentle Reader?  It's almost like bein' in the Navy.

Only better.  I don't share my quarters with a close friend (or 60, or more) and alcohol is allowed in the berthing spaces.  Encouraged, even.

Another One of Those Days...

By that I mean the sorta day when the air turns a pinkish-dun color, the tumbleweeds go skittering down the street at an amazing pace, and El Casa Móvil De Pennington rocks and rolls like a three-masted sailing ship in a gale (with much the same noises, too).  We get more than a few such days here on The High Plains of New Mexico but I'd rather deal with them... and the dust... than 18 inches or more of frozen precip.  All day, any day.

It's a great good thing I enjoy my own company and am easily amused coz we've been housebound for one reason or another for about four days now, all on account of the weather.  Winter is NOT my favorite season.

That said... we did step outside earlier to take a quick snap of Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park in order to illustrate what we're on about:

Purty, ain't it?

Lightning Strikes

From My Buddy Ed In Florida...
Texas Beer Joint Sues Church

In Mt.  Vernon, Texas, Drummond's Bar began construction on expansion of their building to increase their business. 

In response, the local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding with petitions and prayers.  Work progressed right up until the week before the grand reopening when lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground. 

After the bar burning to the ground by a lightning strike the church folks were rather smug in their outlook, bragging about the power of prayer, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church "was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means."

In its reply to the court, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building's demise. 

The judge read through the plaintiff's complaint and the defendant's reply and at the opening hearing he commented, "I don't know how I'm going to decide this, but it appears from the paperwork that we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that now does not." 

True Story?
Snopes sez no; I tend to believe 'em.  But it IS a good story.  This also brings to mind Pennington's First Law on the Desirability of Municipalities:
Never live in a town with more churches than bars.
I'd wager I'm in violation of my own rule these days, seein' as how P-Ville has but two watering holes and god-only-knows how many churches.  But then again... bars don't mean as much to me today as they did back when I wrote the law.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And Now for Sumthin' COMPLETELY Different...

We've been spending the better part of our day... after the hockey game... indulging our Inner Child.  Like this:

And this:

Ah.  Rocky.  Bullwinkle.  Boris.  Natasha.  Dudley.  Nell.  Sherman.  Peabody.  They don't make 'em like this any longer, unfortunately.  Cartoons for adults, complete with brilliant puns, pointed cultural observations, and obscure references to the literary greats.  Kids loved 'em, too, which made these things a cross-generational treat and a handy educational tool.  Thank The Deity At Hand for YouTube!

You Know That Old Sayin'?

That cliché everyone comes up with when watching a great game?  This one: "It's too bad they both can't win."  Well, I'm watching a pretty good hockey game at the moment... Philly v. Chicago... and found myself thinkin' it's too bad they both can't lose.   These are two teams I actively dislike and it's hard to root for either one, if not downright impossible.  But the hockey is good... almost any hockey is good hockey, by definition. 

But I'm glad the Flyers are winning... 3-1... as I don't want to see the Hated Hawks get another two points today.  The Central Division is too close this year, even considering the Hawks' terrible start.  

Hossa just scored on a penalty shot and I HAD to mute the teevee so as not to hear that fuckin' "Chelsea Dagger" shit again (even if it's the first and only time today).  Aiiieee.

Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire?

Not in YOUR future, Gentle Reader, if "things" continue as they seem to have begun.  Witness:
Hard as it may be to believe, the fireplace — long considered a trophy, particularly in a city like New York — is acquiring a social stigma. Among those who aspire to be environmentally responsible, it is joining the ranks of bottled water and big houses. 

“The smoke from a fire smells very nice,” said Diane Bailey, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco. “But it can cause a lot of harm.” The tiny particles, she said, “can cause inflammation and illness, and can cross into the bloodstream, triggering heart attacks” as well as worsening other conditions. 

Or as Starre Vartan, a 33-year-old blogger who goes by the name Eco-Chick, put it: “Any time you are burning wood or cow dung, you’ll be creating pollution. It’s like junk food: if you do it once a month, then who cares? But if it’s something you do every day, it’s important that you mitigate it somehow. It’s a hazard.” 
A hazard.  Well, yeah, according to the pointy-head types... disregarding the ridiculous cow dung statement, coz I've yet to encounter an American who burns cow dung in their fireplace:
Wood smoke contains some of the same particulates as cigarette smoke, said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, the chief medical officer for the American Lung Association, as well as known carcinogens like aldehydes; it has also been linked to respiratory problems in young children.

“We now know from lots of studies that wood smoke is very, very irritating,” Dr. Edelman said. “It contains a lot of irritating gases and it also contains damaging particulate matter. It’s probably not good for anybody, and it’s especially bad for anybody who has a chronic respiratory problem.” So the association strongly advises people not to use the traditional fireplace, he said. 
Amazing.  There doesn't seem to be one single simple joy in life that is immune from attack by the Perpetually Offended class.  I dunno about you, Gentle Reader, but a fireplace was a highly desirable amenity back when I was in the property owning game.  Witness, yet again:

The first pic is my house in Ferndale, Michigan, the second is my house in Perinton, NY (New Year's Eve get-together, 1999).  I have some experience with "clean" fireplace alternatives... like this, in my post-divorce apartment in Webster, NY:

That's a gas-fired fireplace and you'll notice the fire ain't lit.  It rarely was lit because it just wasn't the same... the flame quality wasn't there, there were no audible snap-crackle-pops that make a fire viscerally rewarding, and above all... there wasn't the pungent and magnificent aroma of burning hardwood.  You'll note the builders DID include a "fireplace" in my apartment because that was something everyone wanted in their living space.  What the builders failed to consider were the aesthetics... and a gas fireplace is but a pale shadow of the Real Deal.

I'm almost glad to be old and on my way out because the current generation seems Hell-bent on destroying ALL of life's simple pleasures and this is yet another brick in the wall.  Who among us is gonna yell "STOP!!"?  That's a serious question.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Some Days You Get the Bear Pour...

... and some days the pour gets you.  Today my expertise abandoned me.  I over-poured at first, making a minor mess.  I cleaned up, let the head subside and then under-poured.  Oh, well... it all tastes pretty good, regardless.  But we're really into the aesthetics of beer drinkin', yanno?  Coz we all like great head.

Today's cigar is a Gurkha X-Fuerte... a remarkable lil stick that pleases the palette.  A lot.  The dude who wrote the linked review didn't much like it but he closed with "If you are a person that enjoys a big and strong Maduro, you might find this stick to be right up your alley."  Yup.  That would be me!


Further to the Olbermann story... there's this from NewsBusters:
A self-proclaimed media insider made the same observation at the far-left website Daily Kos Friday:
It will happen (so I'm told) on the channel now known as Versus. It's a sports channel owned by Comcast, and the story I'm hearing is that it will be rebranded as NBC Sportschannel once the takeover is complete, with Keith as its star personality. 
If Comcast was going to move Olbermann to its own sports channel, why would they humiliate him this way first?
Fans know Versus has the NHL's teevee contract, for now. If there is any one single thing that could make me quit watching hockey it would be the appearance... however brief it might be... of Olbermann on a hockey broadcast. The reason for serious worry rests with the fact Versus really only broadcasts two sports: hockey and professional rodeo, three if you count the Tour De France. But only people named "Lance" watch the TdF. The rest of Versus' programming is fishing and hunting shows and weak-ass attempts at sports talk shows, all of which... the talk shows... fail sooner or later.

I don't think I have to worry, though, as KO doesn't "get" hockey... as far as I know.  Or so I hope, anyhoo.  I will say this, though:  hockey pucks and KO have a lot in common intellect-wise, with the edge going to the pucks.

Who's On First?

Not the FIRST Abbott & Costello based joke I've heard this week.

From the Usual Source.

OK, So We All Heard Olbermann Got Fired

But I found out via Twitter.  Like this:
  1. Say what you will about Keith Olbermann, but... well, okay, say what you will.  
  2. #NewOlbermannJobs cohost of Keith & Kathy's Morning Zoo Crew on WIWW, Youngston's all-Socialist Sports 500 watt blowtorch 
  3. #NewOlbermannJobs Commissioner of the National Hysterical Ninny Association 
  4. #NewOlbermannJobs sobbing in fetal position on the floor of his apartment surrounded by baseball cards. Does that count as a job? 
  5. At long last, sir, have you no job? 
  6. I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if 0.6 ratings points suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced 
  7. Dear Keith: Good night, and get f*cked. 
All of the above from David Burge, Number Seven being my favorite.  And you KNOW there were a lot more such Tweets from other interested parties, the Right having no mercy.  No mercy was called for in this case, anyhoo.  As a matter o' fact, I had another beer just to celebrate the occasion.

Why did Olbermann leave MS-NBC?  No one really knows, as of late Friday night.  But the thread on the subject at Hot Air makes for interesting reading.  He'll not be missed in these parts.

As for the Lefties?  Gad.  The Fever Swamps are acting like somebody shot their dog.  It's worse than the mid-terms... and a whole helluva lot o' fun to watch.  Yup: Schadenfreude 'R' Us!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sigh. Heavy Sigh.

Blog-Bud Alison... in comments to a post below:
Beautiful day today and purple Winter twilight.

Every time the no 8 bus passes the Bank of England and I see this amazing cigar shop I think of you.
It's about 2145 hrs in London right now.  Given this is a Friday night we would have looked a lot like this 30 (and 29, and 28) years ago:

That pic was taken in some now-forgotten pub during the Great UK Christmas tour of '90/'91.  That's YrHmblScrb, The Second Mrs. Pennington, and SN1... doin' what we do best.  And I would be doin' exactly as above right this very moment, were I still in Ol' Blighty.  Alas, we shall have to be content with our beer and solitude here on The High Plains of New Mexico.  There IS a consolation, though... one of the KR CDs I recently ordered arrived today, so our Happy Hour Soundtrack is simply brilliant, if not nostalgic to the freakin' MAX.  Sigh. 


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Cue up Dinah...

On account o' because o' this:

Dinah was right... yesterday we set a record high; today we're below "normal."  But Hey!  At least it's bright and sunny.  There's that.

At the Risk of Abusing...

... the Fair Use doctrine, here are more than a few quotes from one of Mark Steyn's latest columns.
If I am pessimistic about the future of liberty, it is because I am pessimistic about the strength of the English-speaking nations, which have, in profound ways, surrendered to forces at odds with their inheritance. “Declinism” is in the air, but some of us apocalyptic types are way beyond that. The United States is facing nothing so amiable and genteel as Continental-style “decline,” but something more like sliding off a cliff.


Continental Europe has given us plenty of nice paintings and agreeable symphonies, French wine and Italian actresses and whatnot, but, for all our fetishization of multiculturalism, you can’t help noticing that when it comes to the notion of a political West—one with a sustained commitment to liberty and democracy—the historical record looks a lot more unicultural and, indeed (given that most of these liberal democracies other than America share the same head of state), uniregal. The entire political class of Portugal, Spain, and Greece spent their childhoods living under dictatorships. So did Jacques Chirac and Angela Merkel. We forget how rare on this earth is peaceful constitutional evolution, and rarer still outside the Anglosphere.


Within the next five years, the People’s Liberation Army, which is the largest employer on the planet, bigger even than the U.S. Department of Community-Organizer Grant Applications, will be entirely funded by U.S. taxpayers. When they take Taiwan, suburban families in Connecticut and small businesses in Idaho will have paid for it. The existential questions for America loom now, not decades hence. What we face is not merely the decline and fall of a powerful nation but the collapse of the highly specific cultural tradition that built the modern world. It starts with the money—it always does. But the money is only the symptom. We wouldn’t be this broke if we hadn’t squandered our inheritance in a more profound sense.
My purpose, of course, is to encourage you to read the whole thing.  Steyn hits upon multiple themes in his dark piece but not one single point in this column is anything other than true.  Those of us on the right recognize Steyn's points as the root causes of our perceived decline.  Those of us on the right understand what must be done to reverse course and get us back on track, the outcome of the recent mid-terms seem to suggest that MOST of us "get it."  But the fight will be long and hard... it takes a lot of time and space to turn an aircraft carrier around.  And so it is with entrenched leftists and the institutions they've commandeered.  But we know what to do.

As for me... I'm simply grateful that I was raised in a time when Classical American values were in vogue, when elementary school children were required to read the writings of Dead White Men and when the Anglosphere was acknowledged to be right, good, and proper... if not the very source and essence of all that is good.

Lemme close with a quote from my favorite poet: "So let us not talk falsely now; the hour is getting late."

Apropos o' Nuthin' IX

Quite some time ago I saw a meme on one of the blogs I read... or maybe it was just a question.  Anyhoo, the question was "if you could have a song played every time you entered a room, what would that song be?"  I think my original answer was the first few bars of "Sympathy For The Devil," i.e., "Please allow me to introduce myself..." yadda, yadda.  But I've reconsidered.

I want this piece o' music to announce my entrance:

Without the voice-over, of course.  The "Nova" theme just might be a little over the top, but I love the music.  How about you, Gentle Reader?  What would be your personal "Hail to the Chief?"


Apropos o' not much...  Mrs. Palin's new poll numbers were released yesterday and they are NOT good.  Here's John Hinderaker on the subject of Mrs. Palin:
The time has come to put any thoughts of Sarah Palin running for President to rest. I say that not because I dislike her; on the contrary, I'm a fan. I think she did an excellent job as a vice-presidential candidate in 2008 and has been an effective spokeswoman for conservative causes in the years since. But there is no way she is ever going to be elected President, and the sooner Republicans get over that idea, the better.


No one with a 59 percent unfavorability rating among independents has the chance of a snowball in Hell of being elected President. 2012 will be a vitally important election year; it is no time for a kamikaze Presidential campaign or for a cult of personality.
Republicans (and conservatives) need a candidate who has a chance to win against an incumbent who, despite everything, is not particularly unpopular and who won't be able to do much visible damage between now and then.

One hopes that Governor Palin will see the writing on the wall and devote her energies to helping the conservative movement and other, better-positioned candidates rather than to pursuing a Presidential ambition that can only prove destructive.
Agreed, yet again.  Mr. Hinderaker and YrHmblScrb are of the same mind and I like his kamikaze metaphor.  One can only hope Mrs. Palin recognizes the futility of a presidential campaign on her part and does the right thing.  One would also hope her smitten base would wake up and smell the coffee, as well.  But there's little or no hope for the Dead Enders; they'll be there long after Mrs. Palin's gone... still bowing, still curtsying.  God Save the Queen!


Oops.  I read this lil blurb after I drafted this post:
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has tasked her aides with quietly gauging her level of support for a potential presidential campaign by making inquiries to a select pool of likely allies and grassroots activists in Iowa, RealClearPolitics has learned.

Key Republican officials and operatives in the nation's first voting state had begun to assume that Palin would not run for president in 2012 since most of them have not heard a word from her or from her small circle of aides, even as other likely candidates have begun jockeying more forcefully behind the scenes. But a Palin adviser confirmed that although the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee's footprint has not been as heavy as that of other possible candidates, her political action committee has indeed been taking discreet steps in Iowa that would help her build a credible campaign here if she decided to launch one.
Well, I suppose the jury's still out... but this isn't good news.  As Blake Hounshell (the managing editor of Foreign Policy Magazine) puts it:
Words of doom RT @marcambinder: Sarah Palin establishing a small beachhead in Iowa.
Update, 1300 hrs:  We have to add our favorite former Naval Radiator to this thread.  Let me quote, yet again:
Like Taranto, I don’t believe that Mrs. Palin’s resume qualifies her to be president. But then again, neither do I believe that the current president’s resume prior to his election qualified him for the task.

But I don’t hate him. Hate is such a waste of energy.
What he saidThe adults in the room all seem to have a common POV in this space.  Why is that, I wonder?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yet Another News Item

Russian law treats beer as a food - it could just as well be a package of pasta - and anyone who makes and sells it only has to prove that conditions are sanitary. This lack of regulation and attendant attitude, critics say, has contributed to young people starting to drink as early as age 13, paving the way to the nation's unbridled alcoholism. 
The Rooshians have the right ideer.  There are four food groups: alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and sugar.  One needs at least two servings per day of each; we're doin' OUR part.

Apropos of Russia... my team was fond of sayin' we'd all need new livers after that particular TDY was over.  We were only half joking.

News Item

A while back I ranted about the commercialization of  college bowl games, which I believe to be a pox on our society.  And then I read this today...
NEW YORK (January 19, 2011) – The National Hockey League today announced the details of the Honda NHL SuperSkills® and the format of the six events that will showcase hockey’s top talent on Sat., Jan. 29, during 2011 NHL® All-Star Weekend in Raleigh. 
The NHL All-Stars and Rookies will participate in six events:
•    Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater™
•    BlackBerry NHL Breakaway Challenge™
•    McDonald’s NHL Accuracy Shooting™
•    G Series NHL Skills Challenge Relay™
•    XM NHL Hardest Shot™
•    Discover NHL Elimination Shootout™ 
OMFG.  WHERE will it end?  It's not beyond the pale to think there will come a day when we'll see F-15s with a Nike Swoosh or a CitiBank flag flying over the capitol.  I mean that literally when speaking of the capitol; we're pretty much already there, figuratively speaking.

Blog Fodder

There was no sleeping in TODAY.  These guys got to work around 0945 hrs and they're jes a lil bit... umm... intrusive.

So... I step outside to take the pic and one of the tree dudes gets VERY defensive, as in "We notified the park owner yesterday that we'd be here today!"  "Well, yeah, OK"... sez I... "No worries, this is just blog fodder."  "Whut?" sez he.  I should have just said "Never mind" coz he still didn't geddit after at least six minutes of explanation.

Yup.  This Modern Age.

Added, 1300 hrs:   Did I say a LIL BIT intrusive?  Why, I think I did...

Green Hornets

Which would YOU drive?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let's Start Sumthin'

Heh.  The h/t goes to Occasional Reader Rob, whom I believe is a PC kinda guy... speakin' strictly about hardware and such, of course.