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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Truffles And Trump

 Rupert Murdoch and FOX Sniffing Out Dangers to the Republic

Half of the Republican Party thinks Mr. Trump is the horn which Gabriel blows at midnight, the other half thinks he's not all that bad.
Ditto the media. I mean, FOX News has trash-canned that whole business of "Fair and Balanced" as of the first attack on one of their blonde anchorpersons. The Huffington Post Real Estate section runs a disturbing little denial at the end of any news articles that mentions Chicago's Trump Tower stating that Mr. Trump is a fascist scoundrel.

I think that is taking journalism to the bridge too far, to the narcissistic road not [hitherto] taken. I mean, because of Mr. Trump, journalists of all stripes have laid aside their differences and agreed upon one thing: they - the journalists - are much smarter than the rest of us, and they have the uncanny ability to sniff out the rotted truffles of fascism!

Is he a demagogue?
And why - exactly - is demagoguery so evil?
Huey Long was a demagogue, and he accomplished things for the people of Louisiana which would have taken regular politicians a couple of centuries to get around to. It seems that if you think it is possible that the deck is stacked against us and in favor of the rich and powerful, then it stands to reason that you are going to back a guy who will be very "innovative" when it comes to getting things done.

It is a dream, and even if Mr. Trump were elected, he would find the deck stacked against him.


The 3rd Party Wheeze is going to be the long term effect of all this anyway.
Hitherto, all the disaffected members of the GOP and Independents and Democrats who like their politics with some real spice that gives them heat, and not just to the rich, will have a national face around which to cluster.
They did not have a spokesman before... or a "bespokes-man" either.

The Fiscal Times
Forget Trump: Here's Who's Really Destroying the Republican Party
The seminal event in the crackup of the Republican Party is not the rise of Donald Trump as their presidential nominee, contrary to popular opinion. It was the overthrow of John Boehner as Speaker of the House. That showed the power of the forty-odd members of the House Freedom Caucus, and their incompatibility with the GOP establishment and the compromises required by divided government (or for that matter, math).

The change in leadership at the top has not bridged this divide. Despite months of happy talk, the Freedom Caucus rejected Paul Ryan’s budget resolution, likely leaving the Republicans with no budget this year, after they made returning to regular order a campaign promise in 2014. The lack of a budget is just a sidelight to the continuing irreconcilable differences between conservative factions. Trump will not be able to fix this either; only a purge of one side of the party or the other would.

The Freedom Caucus essentially wants to control government from a base of 40 members of the House, with only a few allies in the Senate and no president willing to agree to their demands. They want to defund Planned Parenthood, balance the budget through massive spending cuts, dismantle government healthcare programs, and overturn every executive order of the past eight years, regardless of not having the two-thirds support in Congress that would be required currently to override Obama vetoes and make that happen...
(emphasis mine)
 I wrote 2 weeks ago about getting 50 seats in the House. See? It is feasible.

Just remember the famous quote of Santayana:

"The truffle slicing mandolins of the gods slice slowly... but they slice very thin!!"


The Risks Of The Modern Democracy

Boaty.... if the Voters Get Their Way

Boaty McBoatface debacle shows the perils of crowdsourcing opinion: From Hooty McOwlface to Mr Splashy Pants
​When a poll suggested that a new ship be called 'Boaty McBoatface', it was just the latest strike in the risky business of 'ask the public' PR.
Simon Usborne Tuesday 22 March 2016
It wasn't necessarily a silly question, but in a nation of bored people genetically programmed to take the piss, it was perhaps predictable that it might invite a silly answer. So it was that a nice idea became a global public relations headache when the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) asked: “What shall we call our fancy new boat?”

At the time of writing, the website built by the science body to host the competition to name its £200m polar research vessel had sunk without a trace, inundated as it was with votes for Boaty McBoatface, the submission of a former local radio presenter. As America may yet learn, democracy can be a risky way to get things done...

Then today
Trainy McTrainface saluted by commuters after locomotive homage to Boaty McBoatface at Waterloo
Name change intended to bring a ‘smile to the face of customers’
Kayleigh Lewis
A railway worker renamed Tuesday’s Portsmouth to Waterloo service Trainy McTrainface in a playful homage to Boaty McBoatface.

The temporary renaming of the 0729 South West Trains service was a response to the Boaty McBoatface debacle, which saw the National Environment Research Council (NERC) allow the public to vote on the title of a new £200m state-of-the-art research vessel.

“It is a one-off by one of our creative guards who wanted to bring a smile to the face of our customers,” a spokesperson from the railway company said of the hat-tip...

Didnt expect my train to have a name today @SW_Trains #trains
— Matthew Fifield (@funfield5) March 22, 2016

He told the Evening Standard: "My trains were all delayed today so it brightened my morning to see it."
It also brought cheer to many other commuters, who took to social media to "salute" the temporary renaming.

Bravo the member of South West staff at Waterloo. Trainy McTrainface.
— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) March 22, 2016...

However, ... it fell behind schedule.

are you sure about Trainy McTrainface @SW_Trains ..... surely Latey McLateface is more appropriate?
— Lee Mark Davies (@LeeMarkDavies) March 22, 2016


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What's Up With Mawra?

Mawra Hocane

What kind of a name is Hocane? There is a story behind it.

The Express Tribune
Unraveling the mystery: Here's why Mawra and Urwa's surname is 'Hocane'
 It’s just a different way to spell… Hussain...

“I changed the spelling of my surname name when I was in the seventh grade back when I had no idea it would become so famous one day that people would start asking questions about it,” Mawra disclosed to The Express Tribune.

“I knew my first name was unique because people always asked me what it meant. But in my class, a lot of students had the same surname: Hussain. It’s silly but I was very little then and I wanted my surname to be unique too. So I changed the spelling and started writing is as Hocane,” she added. “I thought people would pronounce the ‘C’ as ‘S’, like in Celina and never thought people would pronounce it ‘Hu-Can’ and not Hussain. But that obviously never happened.” ...

However, nothing is quite so simple.
Yesterday, the hashtag #AskMawra was trending on Twitter. And the bubbly Mawra Hocane fell victim to cyber-bullying.
Why don't you write in "Hussain" in straight style. . . Why this ajeeb "Hocane" ? ? ? #AskMawra

  • Samad Aslam Khan@SamadAslamKhan 15h15 hours ago
    @ZulfiqarAnsari One should be proud of having such names in their Full Name instead of being afraid

    Likes like a lot of brothers dumping on the sisters again.

    If Hocane is ajeeb, it is a wonderfully beautiful ajeeb!  And  'azeez!



    This tweet met with these responses:

    and it is a pretty good new mini-literary genre.

    So I gave it a try:

     Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Cap of the Bengladesh 11

    I confronted a Muslim Bengladeshi cricket player, home captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, to explain the cricket match in Bengaluru, India.
    Bengladesh, chasing 147 for victory in the Group Two match, and making a perfect start, then lost three wickets off the final three deliveries, allowing a jubilant India team to scrape over the line to climb to second in the table!

    He said "In a situation like this it's literally chaos,” said captain Dhoni.
    “What you're trying to do is trying to manage chaos. You have to assess everything but it has to happen in a short span of time.”

    A mealy mouthed reply.
    — Montag@(whatever) March 23, 2016

     It lacks something.

    Technical Words

    What do you call compounds words? And, in particular, what do you call them when you just sort of make them up on the fly: like, what would you call "words-made-up-on-the-fly-or-by-the-seat-of-one's-pants" if you wanted to use it in a post?

    We have portmanteau words, and we've already added "club bag" words, but this is different.

    I just call them maggeph  -
    (pronounced maq-qef', with the q being a k in the back of the throat).  Or  mah-keff ', if you will.

    I really do not know the English technical term.
    I looked it up, and only found "compound words". How bloodless compared to maggeph!

    Then I found:
    The “-” sign is not a dash, but a hyphen. Words that contain one or more hyphens are said to be hyphenated.

    Dashes of various length are used in English writing: “–” is an en dash, and “—” is an em dash. Their names (en and em) are those of typographic units of measurements. The former is used in particular to separate dates in ranges (“Lee, Bruce (1941–73)”), and the latter is used to indicate a break of thought or an unfinished sentence.
    I think I have come across these in Word and maybe Blogger, but the difference does not seem to be as large as that shown above, and to be very honest, a few micromillimeters difference in a linear stroke of black on a white background is an area of research for Particle Physics Ph.D.s, not for me to be trying to read.


    Chasing The Panther


    the power of Wu-Tang.


    Tuesday, March 22, 2016

    It's A Good Life, Topper!

    Can Anthony Come Out and Play, Mr. Fremont?

    The Twilight Zone.
    The Twilight Zone episode, It's A Good Life, with Billy Mumy wishing people who crossed him out into the cornfield or where ever. One gentleman whom he  took a particular dislike to he changed into a jack-in-the-box in the parlor, not in the cornfield. Scary at the time to see his head bobbing in the mixture of childish anger, adult despair, and a general malaise.
    I got to thinking about it. Actually I was wondering about a time-line in an alt-Universe where Rod Serling and Robert Sterling trade places in utero, as it were. (I almost wrote " utero as it weretero!!?" Gadfry Daniels!)

    Thus, Topper would have a rather sinister George Kirby playing off "the ghostess with the mostes' !" Marion Kirby, as played by Anne Jeffreys.
    And Leo G. Carroll would be a lot more respectful when he started in on his "George! Marion!" invocations.

    front: Leo G. Carroll, Lee Patrick
    rear: Anne Jeffreys, Robert Sterling

    The dog is Neill.

    And it follows then that Twilight Zone with Robert Sterling would be a little more up-beat and martini-laden. And instead of wishing a jack-in-the-box-pox upon gents who crossed him, Billy Mumy, as Anthony Fremont, might be merely wishing them late to the board of directors meeting, hungover and asleep in the classic roadster parked on Wall Street in a No Standing zone!


    Continuous Transportation: Off-Road Trucking

    Un État de Transport Continu
    inspiré par le film Transperceneige

    Cook House of Stevensons Brothers Circus in 1946  by Robert D. Good

    Copyright Jim Linderman 


    The Marquis de Sade Revisited

    Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

    The drawing of the Marquis de Sade shows the intensity of madness, not intelligence. He rubs his hand and it stands out like a hand of glory, does it not? A hand of glory that persists in our imaginations, magick, magick limb!

    I was reading The Maverick Philosopher:
    Callicles as Precursor of De Sade
    At Gorgias 492, tr. Helmbold, the divine Plato puts the following words into the mouth of Callicles:

    A man who is going to live a full life must allow his desires to
    become as mighty as may be and never repress them. When his
    passions have come to full maturity, he must be able to serve them
    through his courage and intelligence and gratify every fleeting
    desire as it comes into his heart.

    [. . .]

    The truth, which you claim to pursue, Socrates, is really this:
    luxury, license, and liberty, when they have the upper hand, are
    really virtue, and happiness as well; everything else is a set of
    fine terms, man-made conventions, warped against nature, a pack of
    stuff and nonsense!

    Now let us consider what the decidedly undivine Marquis de Sade has Mme. Delbene say in Julliette or Vice Amply Rewarded:

    . . . I am going to dismiss this equally absurd and childish obligation which enjoins us not to do unto others that which unto us we would not have done. It is the precise contrary Nature recommends, since Nature's single precept is to enjoy oneself, at the expense of no matter whom...

    To me, de Sade is the story of the wastrel French aristocracy before the Revolution, not philosophy. Only the wealthy would have the time and money to expend in endless debauchery, and only the perversely wealthy would seek to maintain a social inequality which allowed them to imprison the majority of the population in powerless squalor - the better position from which to abuse them.

    The story repeats.

    The film Spotlight which retold the Boston Globe's exposure of the Bishop of Boston's cover-up of abuse was all about predatory power and position, was it not? And the rising gap between the rich and the not-rich will lead us into a future of even newer perversions concocted by our new technologies and philosophies, will it not?

    The post ends:
    The natural man, in the grip of his lusts, is a natural sophist: what can be done is eo ipso permissible to do. Reason in a philosopher without God easily becomes unhinged.

    And we have been here recently. Eo Ipso - by that very fact - that is, by the very fact that something may be done implies necessarily that it is permissible to do that something. Not that it should be done, but it may be done without crime. (I am not clear on the concept "natural man", but I believe it is a topic much delved into by those heavy with the grey-matter.)

    The very fact that one may abuse or rape, that one may wage wars based on funky ideologies, that one may cut down rain forests or pollute the waterways for profit... the fact that these things are possible have made them become legitimate pursuits in our present society over the past century or longer.

    We are the heedless aristocrats.
    It reminds me of the film The Aristocrats: an insane repetition of scatology......


    So It Begins...

    picture: Rico


    The State Of The Republican Party


    Monday, March 21, 2016

    Omnium And Gatherum March 21 2016

    Quicken Arena, Cleveland

    The Hypocrisy of Gun Carry Laws, etc.

    It seems that most politicians that support open-carry laws in theory oppose those laws when it comes to venues and meetings where they themselves are going to be in a crowd of just good old folks.
    I believe this phenomenon is what Aunt Sally was referring to when she said that the "proof is in the pudding".

    Down With Tyranny
    Gun Fight At Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena In July? Maybe Not
    Wednesday, February 03, 2016
    ...Sure, sure, we all know the NRA-shilling GOP claims everyone is safer if people carry guns everywhere (except in Congress). But... apparently, despite Ohio's concealed carry law-- yes you can brings guns into a bar-- Republican delegates will not be allowed to bring guns into the July convention...

    The Brainwashing of America
    ...GOP continues to unravel, in both its Presidential nomination process and its increasingly untenable stand against even holding a hearing for Obama's US Supreme Court nominee.
    Brad Friedman 18:38 18.03.2016
    ... I'm joined by documentary filmmaker Jen Senko to discuss her new film, The Brainwashing of My Dad. The documentary details both the rise of the Rightwing media in the US over the past several decades and her own father's disturbing transition from a peaceful, loving Democrat into a hostile, angry 'conservative' after becoming addicted and, yes, brainwashed by Rush Limbaugh, Fox "News" and the rest of the "vast Rightwing conspiracy" machine that has torn apart so many families like her own.

    While the film's tagline is "The truth behind the right-wing media machine that changed a father…and divided the nation," an alternative version for so many who will recognize, within their own families, the story of what happened to Senko's father, might have been: "You are not alone!" "When I started the Kickstarter campaign" for the film, she tells me, "people just started writing me every day, with these heartbreaking stories about so-and-so in their family wouldn't speak to them anymore, or they couldn't talk about anything without them getting angry. It was really shocking. That's when I realized what a phenomenon it was." ...

    Again a reference to a "house divided", just as in the first item above.


    Moral Absolutes In Mel Gibson's Apocalypto

    I received a comment from Anonymous on an old post about Mel Gibson's great film, Apocalypto:

    Well, I think Durant's quote has moral sense as well. A society that loses its moral bearings loses its direction. If right and wrong become relative to personal interpretation, then there can be no unifying principle to hold the civilization together. It is a "house divided against itself."  There is no truth or fairness in trade, respecting the elders, or loving ones neighbor. Every man is a law unto himself. on Mel Gibson's Apocalypto and Will Durant
    So I had to actually stop and think.
    First, it immediately brings to mind ancient writings from Ancient Egypt's Time of Troubles, which I think preceded the Middle Kingdom after the breakdown of the old Kingdom. When I start thinking about something, I usually start around Ancient Egypt, although sometimes I start back in the ancient Sahara desert at a time when there were numerous paleo-lakes and greenery where there now is only sand. I definitely do not go back to the Big Bang.

    The business about each man being a law unto himself brings to mind gun laws and stand-your-ground laws, indicating that the moral breakdown of any society - not just ours - may actually be surprisingly enough a normative breakdown! That is, moral failure may be promulgated by a society's laws.
    The fact that these laws probably were designed to prevent social breakdown adds a layer of irony to the murky business.


    However, I mentioned that I perceived the problem in Apocalypto to be not a lose of moral bearings, but a radical adoption of pernicious norms: the tribe taking slaves for sacrifice has committed itself to a vile and baneful course of action with a unanimity of evil darkness that is portrayed in overwhelming color and detail!

    Nobody lives without moral bearings.
    What is important is the Story of Morals that we have learned since childhood: is it supportive, is it nurturing, does it inculcate virtue and not moral weakness and indulgence?
    And what of the Training in Morals? Do we all "walk the walk" and not merely "talk the talk"?

    And most importantly, can we distinguish between Good and Evil?
    Even in an Age of Political Correctness, the religious rituals of the Central American tribes as portrayed in the film Apocalypto must deserve the name of perniciously vile and evil practices, not merely because of the suffering and death, but because of the extra-human and inhuman scale at which they take place, a scale which seeks to maximize the negative emotional powers available in the awe inspired by naked evil!

    If there were no God, then everything would not be allowed!
    If there were no God, we would have the added burden of being virtuous as well as proofing our own moral code.
    So much of the pain of the 20th and 21st century has been due to the illogical conclusion that mankind is not innately moral, and this is due to the fact that the quest for Good is so difficult and time-consuming that we choose not to do it.
    Rather, we accept our morals ready-made from someone else. That someone else could be anyone, even Jim Jones of Jonestown.


    Sunday, March 20, 2016

    Republicans Have No Good Options

     Abe's Grill where Rufus Hasp Launched his Congressional Campaign

    Other than voting for Ted Cruz, as Mitt Romney swears that he will. A man who was a Senate pariah is now their best choice. Excellent. Do they have any idea how lame that makes them appear to be?
    Perhaps if Mr. Cruz is elected president the government may actually be shut down for an extended period... except for a war here and there.
    Everything else could just fall into dust.

    Previously although the right-wing radicals of the Republican Party, the so-called Tea Party (originally Tea Baggers, if you can believe it!) has had money and support, they have had no national face, no leader on the national stage.
    Now they do.
    If Mr. Trump gets enough delegates, yet the Republican establishment deny him the nomination, then the Republican Party will lose at least 15% to 23% of its voters.

    In the future, they will work on the state level and in certain areas, they will be very successful. Then when the national contests come again, they will be still be around and they will have a national leadership to coalesce about.

    Of course, there is the further scary scenarios of third-party candidates and a socialist on the Democratic ticket, resulting in nobody getting enough electoral college votes. This would throw the presidential race into the House of Representatives to decide, and the honorable Rufus T. Hasp would have his 4 years in the sun.


    Vatican Observatory

    Vatican Observatory in its Early Years

    The Vatican Observatory celebrated its 125th anniversary on March 14. It was established by Pope Leo XIII on 14 March, 1891, when he promulgated the motu proprio ( i.e., of his own accord, on his own impulse) Ut Mysticam establishing it.

    On another note about the Church and Science, the cosmological theory which is today known as The Big Bang was set forth by the Jesuit priest, Fr. Georges Lemaître, who was a pioneer in applying Einstein's Theory of Relativity to cosmology.


    My Sunday Best... And Nowhere To Go...


    Contemporanea 1922

    Volume 1 Number 1   May  1922

    I am looking into some history of Portugal's newspapers at the end of World War I, an so I came across this.


    Friday, March 18, 2016


    The photo above was from my condo on March 1, 2016  at 5:15 PM. It was a proper wintry day, and I took a certain amount of satisfaction in it. I mean, what is winter without the wind? Without the snow? Without the dark days?

    And this was yesterday

    on a street nearby. I took this because of the clouds and the moon. (The moon is a faint white spot which can be located by looking at the pole in the middle of the photo, going straight up about 6/8 of an inch and then left an inch.)
    It was warmish; maybe about 48 F at the time. Windy a bit. The windiest day is Wednesday, which is garbage day, and all the garbage can blow about and the trash receptacles get to run around and take off from their owners. Every Wednesday.

    A Nor'easter threatens the East Coast, and will - if given half a chance - freeze the baby cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. which, if left unthreatened, would be peaking about next Thursday. This extra-tropical cyclone will not make it to where we live, so we shall go to it and visit Mary Olivia Adenike since we have not seen her in a couple weeks.
    She is much alert now. She will probably see us and be excited, saying something like,

    "Who are the two old numbers?" 

    I took the flannel sheets off the bed for the last time until next winter. I also looked up some information on lawn mowers, the best type to buy, pro and con. I will be looking to buy some cordgrass for bank stabilization at Harsens Island again. Here's the Google Earth shot of the place:

    It is the grey roof in the left-center. There is just over 15,000 square feet of lawn, which puts me into the "under 1/2 acre" group for lawn-mower hunting. There is a dock - which runs into the Google earth logo - which is maintenance needy. Our waterfront property on the south (towards the bottom of the photo) ends at the large foliage cluster of the trees my father used to call "river birches".
    They were not birches. I think we looked them up and they were some sort of larch or alder. I have forgotten, so I just call them river birches. You cannot appreciate how large they have become in this photo.

    Here's a photo of the place awaiting what Winston Churchill would have called "The Gathering Storm". The river birches are not visible.

    My father always complained about neighbors who had things that would block his view of the river. If you look north of the dock in the Google earth photo, you will see a smallish dab of green foliage, which is a red maple sprout on the lot of the neighbor on the north. My father used to mutter about this tree at times.
    I would ask him about the river birches, which were about 30 times more effective in obstructing lines of sight of anyone downstream, and he would say that he asked everybody down there, and they said they could see just fine.

    And two houses or so further north is the spot where an enormous boathouse was to be constructed back in 1988. A lot of the structure had gone up and it completely obliterated the view upriver. So my father wrote to the District Office of the Army Corps of Engineers, who were in charge of such things on the waterways of the USA.
    Well, the boathouse did not comply with the Corps and the owner had to take it down.

    All that is left of the once lofty and magnificent structure is a measly little dock with two large boat wells....

    ... oh, and an extremely cute Tiki bar, which I call Swigwam North in homage to the real Swigwam on St. Pete's Beach. If you look closely at the south (the bottom of the photo) boat well, which is unoccupied, you might see some sort of spikey thingies on the dock. Those are palms trees, swaying in the breezes and keeping time to the ukelele music.
    I can tell you I always wanted to go there and sit at the bar. We go right by it when we start out canoeing on our way to Big Pee and Little Pee islands... 

    As time heals all wounds, so it did mend the fences and obliterate memories from the disputes of 20 plus years ago or more. Before my father passed away, he met the lady who lived at the house to which the Swigwam was a powerful Tiki adjunct, and they had a nice discussion about islandy type things. Things seemed pretty cozy after all.

    As he told us this story, I was trying to figure out ways to wangle a Tiki bar invite.

    He laughed as he recounted this to us, because all the neighborly and comradely conversation led up to his reminding her that he was the dynamo behind the anti-boathouse campaign of yesteryear...
    I think he said that she blanched...
    or gaped...
    or coughed and excused herself and left.

    I have never been to that bloody Tiki bar.

    Neighbor Knowles from down Monroe Street

    (His name actually is "Neighbor Knowles"!)

    Continuous Transportation: Rail

     Un État de Transport Continu
    inspiré par le film Transperceneige

    Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago, 1943, South Water Street, Night
    photo:  Jack Delano 


    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    Foreign AId

    In VOX
    This map should change the way you think about foreign aid
    Updated by Matthew Yglesias on November 8, 2015, 8:00 a.m. ET
    Critics of foreign aid often argue that it's ineffective at generating sustainable economic development or truly helping the world's poor. But as this great map from the cost information website reveals, one reason for that is that promoting development and helping the poor isn't actually what motivates a lot of America's foreign aid:


    Continuous Transportation: Rail

     Un État de Transport Continu
    inspiré par le film Transperceneige

    Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago, 1943, South Water Street
    photo:  Jack Delano


    So It Begins...


    Wednesday, March 16, 2016


    Pryaniki: Russian gingerbread or spice cookies.
    Mix the sugar, eggs, soda, cinnamon, honey...
    cardamom, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, anise...

    Jewish children with a Teacher in Samarkand, about 1910

    One of the photos of Sergei Prtokudin-Gorski  of Imperial Russia.


    Happy News (At Last!)

     Shannon, Possibly in his Neo-Classical Doghouse

    Finally, some good, old-fashioned news we may all relate to; news that reminds us how wonderful things actually are, and how fortunate we are. As the Republican candidates this year have underscored, it is good things like these below that cause terrorists to hate us and refugees - those who haven't drowned yet, that is - wannabe us!

    Daily Mail
    Media billionaire Barry Diller and wife Diane von Fürstenberg clone beloved Jack Russell terrier into TWO new puppies
    Media executive Barry Diller and his wife Diane von Fürstenberg have cloned their Jack Russell terrier, Shannon, into two new puppies, it has been revealed.

    Diller, the chairman of IAC, was so enamored by his pooch that he got his beloved pet's DNA cloned by a specialist pair of puppies who are almost exact replicas of Shannon.

    It is unknown when the dog's DNA was cloned, but the couple appear to have two new puppies running around already.
    Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC, and his wife, Diane von Fürstenberg, cloned their beloved dog Shannon to create two new adorable puppies

    Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC, and his wife, Diane von Fürstenberg, cloned their beloved dog Shannon to create two new adorable puppies
    Shannon, a Jack Russell Terrier, was a hit around Hollywood and made appearances at pre-Oscar parties... [and]was a hit around Hollywood, having been the talk of the town on more than one occasion...

    Shannon was also known for sleeping in an extravagant, custom-made neoclassical doghouse when she wasn't hitting the streets of Los Angeles.

    Cloning a dog can cost up to $100,000. The procedure is done by a Korean company that implants the dog's DNA into a dog egg.

    A representative for Diller confirmed that the dog was cloned but would not add any further comments.

    It is unknown if Shannon is still living.

    Hah!  Living... The Life Of Riley !!!

    Put's a new spin on living a dog's life.

    If only Angela Merkel had backed dog cloning instead of helping refugees, she would not be losing local elections right now!


    Tuesday, March 15, 2016

    Omnium and Gatherum March 15 2016

    Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler

    The Independent
    Donald Trump almost faced charges over North Carolina campaign violence
    The Republican said of his supporters targeting protesters: 'They started punching back. It was a beautiful thing.'
    Authorities in North Carolina say there is not enough evidence to press charges against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump for his behaviour in connection with a violent altercation at one of his rallies last week.
    Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said legal counsel advised and Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler agreed that the evidence did not meet the requirements of North Carolina law to support a conviction for inciting a riot...

    I get the impression that people look at these protesters as somehow living out a scenario of opposing evil lest it get a foothold, and the whole thing is based on a certain understanding of Pastor Martin Niemöller's famous quote;
    "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist ...... and there was no one left to speak for me."

    and there is a dim impression that somehow people did not do enough Nazi bashing back in the Weimar Republic times, otherwise Hitler never would have come to power.

    Actually, there was a great deal of head-bashing between the Nazis and Communists and Socialists; there was a lot of street fighting, and such fighting led to each party having a security arm to protect against violence to their own rallies and also possibly to disrupt opponent's rallies (a parallel recently surfacing in Mr. Trump accusing Mr. Sanders of provocation and threatening that his followers would go to Mr. Sanders' rallies to show 'em what for.)

    See above...
    The Cumberland County Sheriff's nickname is "Moose".

    Most commercially available garlic are the softneck variety. The more interesting types are the hardneck variety...
    Interesting in the sense that you may prefer them if you tend to eat garlic raw...

    I eat a bit of raw garlic.
    Of course, I have to do it furtively, and then use lots of mouthwash so no one will know my addiction. I usually have a big slice of cheese with it, making sort of a cheese-garlic sandwich.
    The hardneck types can be very different from the garlic we are used to.
    They often are much less biting while remaining aromatic. Much easier to eat raw.

    Now you know my secret life. I think Thomas de Quincey wrote Confessions of an English Garlick-Eater in 1840.

    The Independent
    Hundreds of refugees hunt for new route into Europe as three drown on Greece-Macedonia border
    Macedonian police say they are taking steps to send back ‘several hundred’ refugees believed to have crossed into country
    Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
    Three refugees have drowned while attempting to cross a river from Greece into Macedonia, according to police, as refugees attempt to find a new route to cross into the country.

    Macedonian police said the bodies of two men and a woman had been found in the Suva Reka river near the border town of Gevgelija on Monday morning, which had swelled due to heavy rain.

    I have a sneaky suspicion this used to happen a lot in Ancient Roman when barbarians wanted to get over the Rhine or the Danube or the Orontes to where the streets were paved with gold.

    The comments to the story are, as one may expect, quite rich:
    Google "muslim protests to allow non muslims to go to Mecca" and you will find nothing. Google, how many refugees have Saudi taken in and you will find it is nil. Why are we Europeans, the Kaffur, supposed to pick up after Muslim inter sect wars when they don't care about us. I am happy that if there are now no borders than Hindus, Jews, Christians etc etc should be able to pour in Mecca and if the Muslims try to stop them then the UN should intervene and bomb them if necessary.

    All the hubbub has led to a new "Refugee Look":

    Fashion editors across the board are heralding a ‘real-refugee revolution’ and a return to an authentic look. Where fashion goes, interiors follow:

    Refugee Chair; "Less is indeed less."


    Monday, March 14, 2016

    Continuous Transportation: Canals

     Un État de Transport Continu
    inspiré par le film Transperceneige

    Erie Canal aqueduct over the Mohawk River at Rexford, NY.

    pic: wikipedia


    Sunday, March 13, 2016

    3rd Party?

    I had read the previous post about Andrew Jackson being denied the presidency in 1824, and how he came roaring back in 1828. And I have been mulling it over.

    After dinner as I was drinking my ginger tea, I was overhearing some of the news about violence at rallies, and it struck me that perhaps Mr. Trump is not reaching out to the center. Perhaps he is setting about setting up a 3rd Party, assuming that for one reason or another, he is denied the Republican nomination.

    Actually, with the political dysfunction we have witnessed for more than 8 years, a third party might actually be in position to provide needed support for the majority party in Congress to pass laws. At present, the Republican majority has needed Democratic support at times when it could not get it from the extreme right of its own party.

    If Trump establishes a Third Party with a devoted and active group of followers who are able to gain about 50 seats in the House, they might be in a position to put The Art Of The Deal into play.


    Bigwigs Know Best

    Andrew Jackson

    Great article:

    The First Time Party Bigwigs Tried to Stop a Front-Runner From Becoming President It Backfired—Big-time
    What the GOP can learn from the story of Andrew Jackson in 1824.
    By Andrew Saunders March 13, 2016
    America has never seen a presidential candidate like this before. Detractors point to his lack of political experience, his poor grasp of policy, his alleged autocratic leanings and his shady past. They believe this man without much of a political platform (but with interesting hair) has neither the qualifications nor the temperament to be president. Yet in defiance of conventional wisdom, he is leading his three main rivals in the race for the White House, and party bigwigs are at a loss how to respond. No, it’s not Donald Trump. His name is Andrew Jackson, and the year is 1824...

    I do not think Mr. Trump has the same size following, and he is not a larger-than-life war hero, but it is an interesting parallel.

    racism Begets RACISM

    President Obama unloaded on the Republican Party

    Huffington Post
    Obama Ridicules GOP For Trump's Rise
    "How can you be shocked?"
    03/12/2016 12:58 am ET
    .."How can you be shocked?" Obama asked. "This is the guy, remember, who was sure that I was born in Kenya. Who just wouldn’t let it go. And all this same Republican establishment, they weren’t saying nothing. As long as it was directed at me, they were fine with it. They thought it was a hoot. Wanted to get his endorsement. And then now, suddenly, we’re shocked that there’s gambling going on in this establishment...

    I like the reference (or, homage, as the speech-gourmands say today) to Casablanca's Captain Louis Renault.
    I dislike the awareness that once again we are in nasty territory, with a memory of Major Heinrich Strasser lurking about.

    President Obama is quite correct: your little racist episodes (State of the Union "Liar!" being one of thousands) numb society into acceptance of damnable Racism in the blink of an eye.


    Omnium And Gatherum March 13 2016

    What do we have "on tap" (as they say on the 6:00 PM news) today?

    First, we have the Ominous and Gatherous number #1 topic:

    1) Political Violence

    'We Aren't Nazis' Says Husband Of Woman Who Gave Nazi Salute At Trump Rally
    "If you're gonna bastardize history, at least know the history you're bastardizing."
    Sebastian Murdock 03/12/2016 07:11 pm ET
    ... "They did their version of the Nazi salute and called us Nazis," Peterson said. He and his wife responded to the protesters: "'If you’re gonna do it, do it right, here’s the right way to do the Nazi salute.'"

    And that's when Birgitt Peterson raised her arm, captured in a now viral image by Chicago Tribune photographer E. Jason Wambsgans.

    "My wife was responding to them and making this a teaching moment," Mr. Peterson said. "I'm all for their right and support them for protesting, but you don’t call people Nazis, or say Trump or people who support him are the equivalent of Nazis -- that is asinine. That is ridiculousness."

    "If they're going to make the comparison, they ought to at least know what the Nazi salute was and what it meant," he went on. "If you're gonna bastardize history, at least know the history you're bastardizing." ...

    Then there is the informal salute, too:


    Breitbart Spokesman Resigns Over Trump Aide Assault: 'This S**t Just Sucks'
    He pointed to an "escalating pattern of behavior" at Trump rallies that is "incredibly dangerous."
    Ryan Grim 03/11/2016 04:44 pm ET
    ...In Bardella's [Breitbart's spokeman] view, the violence on the campaign trail is getting out of hand and needs to be called out. "There is this escalating pattern of behavior that's only happening at Donald Trump events. It's incredibly dangerous. His rhetoric is unmistakable and it is calculated and it is intentional," Bardella said.

    Asked why Breitbart seems to be siding with the Trump campaign over its reporter Michelle Fields, Bardella said he wasn't sure. "I think there certainly appears to be conflicting agendas at play here. Your guess is as good as mine," he said.


    UPDATE: 11:40 p.m. -- Bardella told CNN's Don Lemon on Friday night that he disagrees with Brietbart's coverage of the incident with Fields and "how they have treated Michelle."

    "I think they have been looking for a reason to disprove something," Bardella said.

    "Are you saying they are lying?" Lemon asked.

    "Yes, I am," Bardella answered.

    Three things stand out here. The first is the fact that our Media is grotesquely taking up sides and is rapidly losing all pretense at being "fair and balanced", as previously noted about FOX's campaign against Donald Trump.
    It is one thing to voice one's opinion. It is quite another to become enmeshed in the political campaign as a participant.

    Second, Political Violence is a mortal Tango which requires two damned souls to pull it off.

    Even though a campaign may be courting violence, those who are opposed and protest should not be sucked into the vortex of violence, for by doing so, they only provide the justification for the formation of para-military organizations to provide security at political rallies.
    If these para-militaries were to wear Brown Shirts, the rest of us dimwits may begin to understand.

    Third, although it does not deal with violence, the Supreme Court blockade is unprecedented and radical in nature.
    That's right; it is not a conservative action; it is a radical action.
    Thus, it undermines the Constitution in the same manner that violence does.


    2) Lucius Beebe

    Wikipedia entry: Lucius Beebe
    ...Beebe wrote a syndicated column for the New York Herald Tribune from the 1930s through 1944 called This New York. The column chronicled the doings of fashionable society at such storied restaurants and nightclubs as El Morocco, the 21 Club, the Stork Club, and The Colony. Mr. Beebe is credited with popularizing the term "cafe society" which was used to describe the people mentioned in his column...

    ...Beebe was a noted gourmand. He had his own column "Along the Boulevard," in Gourmet, and wrote extensively for Holiday and Playboy about restaurants and dining experiences around the world. Some of the restaurants he covered include The Colony, The Stork Club,[6] The Pump Room, the 21 Club, Simpson's-in-the-Strand, and Chasen's. A noted wine aficionado, he was a member of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin...
    I have always been interested in New York night life from the 1920s through the 1950s. Names like "The Mocambo" or "The Tropicana" - Ricky Ricardo's club - just sort of reverberate through my head.
    What really got my attention was the last word in the quote above, "Tastevin" meaning "wine-tasting cup" ... you know, that little thing that Niles Crain tastes wine from and then expectorates it out into the silver wine-tasting spittoon... which I suppose is foppishly called the Crachevin!

    I was surprised I guess because I had never used the word before. What I saw was that although French had many occasions of "vowel+s+t" -  such as beste meaning "beast, animal" - becoming "vowel+circumflex+t  - such as beste -> bête , and the word for "to taste", which is now tâter, used to have that s between the "a" and the "t".

    However, the S remained in certain not very commonly used words, such as Tastevin.
    I learned something today.


    3) Daylight Savings
    I have just learned that it is one hour later than I thought. I hate Daylight Savings.


    Saturday, March 12, 2016

    The Face Of Erdogan's Turkey

    Journalists carry an injured woman after Turkish riot-police used tear gas to
    disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of Turkish daily newspaper
    Zaman in Istanbul after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid.
    © AFP 2016/ Ozan Kose

    Turkey, a member of NATO, is also carrying on ethnic cleansing against its Kurdish minority in the southeastern part of the country.



    Tomorrow should be the last day of Maslenitsa, a week marking the end of winter and the beginning of the Lenten fast on March 14. We are going by the Orthodox calendar right now. I know Latin Rite Ash Wednesday was way back when I was still in Maryland for my granddaughter's birth.

    Strictly Orthodox.

    I like the blini, or the pancakes, eaten with real maple syrup or with buckwheat honey. Or powdered sugar. Or some sort of fruity preserves. Or fresh fruit... whipped cream is OK, and even sour cream or labne...

    Anyway, "Tolle! Lege!"  ("Pick it up and read it!") as the angel said to St. Augustine when asked why the divine messenger had thrown a tome of scripture at him.

    Russia and India Report
    Some different kinds of pancakes
    The recipes for a few unusual pancakes, made with ingredients like beer and beets, are outlined to bring some Russian Maslenitsa festivity to your kitchen.

    ... Beer pancakes

    This is a good way to use up all your extra beer before starting the Lenten fast, even though some traditions hold that beer is ok to drink, even if you are fasting.

    Use dark beer for sweeter taste.


    16 ounces milk
    16 ounces beer (lager, or darker beer for sweeter taste)
    2 cups sifted wheat flour, or 1.5 cups of wheat flour, or 1/2 cup rye flour
    1-2 eggs
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
    1 tablespoon sugar or white honey
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 potato

    Instructions follow...