We got some good news and some bad news…

Good news is… your 1958 calendars can now be recycled. Starting Saturday, March 1, 2024 the calendar is identical to 1958.

Bad news? Well, it’s more of a nostalgia thing. The Oscar mayer Tuesday Night Men’s Bowling League had been going for a few years before anyone hung a 1958 calendar and dad was on a team in that league. Well it’s been a bad year for the team and a bad one for the league. Dad reports that the league is down to four teams, and dad’s team is down to one player, Everett Podebradsky. One guy died this year, another one hurt his hand. Dad was felled by his stroke and that left Podie. Podie says it goes pretty fast with only one guy bowling and just plugging in the other guys’ averages. Even so, they’re in last place with their fiercest competitor sidelined. Looks like the OM Tuesday Night Men’s League will be folding this year after a run of more than fifty years.

[tags]hang on to your Mayan calendars, the moon will rise again, dogged determination, kegglers anonymous[/tags]

One in a Hundred American Adults Imprisoned

1.6 million Americans are in prison.

But Cheney is on the outside. And George Bush is on the outside. And the Keating five are on the outside. That entire mafia of American upper class privilege strips the wealth of the nation, destroys lives around the globe, operates outside the law and gets away with it, while inner-city hard-cases get cracked for a little weed and put away for years where they won’t be cluttering up the unemployment statistics.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 adult Hispanic men is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2024. One in 15 adult black men is, too, as is one in nine black men ages 20 to 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States (pdf file), also found that one in 355 white women ages 35 to 39 is behind bars, compared with one in 100 black women.

What was it Pogo the ‘possum used to say? “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

George Lakoff

Dave Winer interviews George Lakoff in a Morning Coffee Notes podcast. The interview brings out Lakoff’s message regarding framing our understanding through metaphor. His application of cognitive linguistics to progressive thought is also nicely detailed. The interview could have been tighter, the interviewee given a freer rein and the interviewer could have been less obtrusive, but all in all this is an hour of web audio worth hearing.

(I was tickled by an early example he used about our common understandings. We all know that a bottle holds something and you can pour the contents from the bottle. I had a flash that the certainty of that knowledge doesn’t hold for all of us. That some of us know about bottles that are less easily filled and less easily emptied, Klein bottles!)

[tags]George Lakoff[/tags]

.50 Caliber Sniper Rifle

Ben Paynter has a couple of pieces in Wired (Issue 16.03). In the first one he shares his experience firing a Goliath Sniper Rifle.  The second, “One Man Hi-Def Film Studio,” briefly describes Richard Welnowski’s mobile movie studio, and the benefits of the post production services Welnowski can provide.

A Racoon Came By

There’s an old hackberry tree, maybe seventy feet tall, at the front of the house. Do we say “hackberry tree?” We don’t say “oak tree.” “Oak” suffices. There’s an old hackberry at the front of the house, stage right of the entrance. Perhaps I should say house left. The living room windows provide a view of its trunk and lower branches.

Molly came in and out of the office, whining, offering little yips, telling me she wanted to go outside. These cold winter days we’re pretty regular about when we dash out together so she can squat or hunch-up in the snow as the eliminatory spirit moves her, and I might have known that this was something else. Still, when she’s in guard-dog mode, scaring away the fearsome ungulates, barring the sciuridae and the leporidae from the doors, she barks — loud, fearless and fearsome, other-directed barks. This was definitely a “let me outside please” imprecation, whined with some urgency.

When I opened the front door she dashed toward the hackberry and while she danced around the base of the tree there was the scurrying and scratching sound of a raccoon climbing. I called her back. Mirabilis dictu, she came. After only four years I’ve learned enough of her language to issue simple commands that she is willing to obey. On a branch about twelve feet off the ground I saw the silhouette of what might have been a large — a very large — cat. Except for how pointy was the nose….

Molly and I went back inside. I fetched a powerful flashlight and we went upstairs. Molly didn’t need the visual aid, of course, but I enjoyed looking at the illuminated beast, his faced smudged like an American football player who thinks he can reduce glare by smearing carbon on his cheeks, his claws ideally adapted for climbing trees, opening garbage cans, ripping open plastic bags. He climbed higher in the tree. We watched him for a while, then I went to the kitchen and prepared an offering of salami and cheese which I placed at the base of the tree while offering my humble prayer that the god of garbage cans would not again scatter our trash while we slept.

The offering was accepted, but the wish wasn’t granted. There was nothing new in the garbage can since the last time he visited, but ever the optimist he needed to spread the contents and see if there was a morsel remaining that he might have missed earlier in the week. Tonight I’ll place a box trap by the garbage can, bait it with carrots and banana peel and maybe a dab of sturgeon eggs, a slice of salami. Tomorrow I’ll take him to a city park, to a place where there are more garbage cans than he can find on this quiet country road. By the time he finds his way back I’m hoping enough snow and ice will have melted that I can put the garbage can back in the little raccoon proof shed where it belongs.

Just Ducky!

Fresh from the wikipedia hotline, this just in…

Cornelius Coot (1790-1880) was born in 1790 as an American citizen. His ancestors had been in America for quite some time and his roots are believed to reach to the colonization of Jamestown, Virginia (1607) and the voyage of the Mayflower (1620). But he is the first member of the Coot Kin to gain prominence. His birthplace is unknown and before reaching Duckburg he lived the life of a wandering hunter. He apparently had travelled all the way from the East to the West coast making his living by trading furs from the animals he killed.

He arrived at Fort Drake Borough, a British military base in Calisota, in 1818. He was apparently only looking for some trading with the soldiers but his life took some unexpected turns. During his stay the Fort was attacked by Spanish Troops from neighboring California. The small British garrison couldn’t defend the Fort and decided to retreat. In order to save face the commander made a deal with young Cornelius. The Fort would pass into his possession and if the Spanish managed to conquer it, he and his troops had nothing to do with the failure other than trusting an insane American to guard. Cornelius agreed. After the escape of the British he managed to frighten the Spanish away by making them believe that British reinforcements were approaching by popping some sweetcorn. [Apocryphal or simply erroneous? Sweetcorn doesn't pop that well. -fp-]

He renamed it Fort Duckburg and turned it into a trading camp for hunters. Soon enough, some of them began to settle down and start their own families. Cornelius started his own farm and started acting as the leader of the new settlement. Pretty soon, a village was flourishing in Duckburg. Calisota was annexed into the new independent state of Mexico in 1821 but Duckburg acted much as a city state. It had its own laws, its own leaders and thanks to Cornelius its own defense force. Cornelius organized the citizens that could carry weapons into the Woodchuck Militia [posse comitatus? -fp-], a force that would guard the territory from any threat, including any conflicts with the Native Americans [concerned regarding species here. are these Native American members of the Anatidae family, or what?] of the area. Cornelius turned the old Fort into the militia’s base. He personally supervised the repairs to the Fort and had the idea to build underground tunnels under the Fort so that even during a siege they could still move in and out of the Fort. Besides the tunnel they made, they found an already existing one, the tunnel built by Fenton Penworthy and his men in 1579 after the building of the Fort. Cornelius explored the tunnel. He found the body of the long-dead Fenton and gave him a proper burial. He also found the info on the Guardians of the Lost Library. He found and kept the book written by Fenton and containing the secret knowledge of the Guardians. Apparently he appointed himself the next Guardian, the first after Fenton.

Cornelius had managed to pipe mountain water into the village. He was a capable leader and managed to improve his settlers’ relationships with the Native Americans over time and Cornelius himself married an Native American woman. They had their only known son Clinton Coot in 1830. [their success at procreation seems to indicate that the referenced Native Americans are indeed Anatidae, but with Walt Disney one never knows, do one?]

[tags]Junior Woodchucks, cooties, old coots, Nathaniel Daniel’s Annual Spaniel Manual, American Spirit[/tags]

What’s hep right now

Friend Feed. Don’t ask me for details. I just report the news.

The jive is hip, don’t say hep
That’s a slip of the lip, let me give you a tip
Don’t you ever say hep it ain’t hip, NO IT AIN’T
It ain’t hip to be loud and wrong
Just because you’re feeling strong
You try too hard to make a hit
And every time you do you tip your mitt
It ain’t hip to blow your top
The only thing you say is mop, mop, mop
Keep cool fool, like a fish in the pool
That’s the golden rule at the Hipster school
You find yourself talking too much
Then you know you’re off the track
That’s the stuff you got to watch
Everybody wants to get into the act
It ain’t hip to think you’re “in there”
Just because of the zooty suit you wear
You can laugh and shout but you better watch out
Cause you don’t know what it’s all about, man
Man you ain’t hip if you don’t get hip to this hip and hep jive
Now get it now, look out
Man get hip with the hipster, YEAH! Got to do it!
— Harry the Hipster, 1947

Rock on…

Political Highlights of the Day

* * *

And how about that consumer advocate!

What’s his name, the guy who astounded the world forty or fifty years ago with the news that not all new cars built in Detroit were as safe as baby carriages, the guy who followed that paperback extravaganza with the news that not all baby carriages were as safe as you might thing, you know the guy who pointed out that it’s better not to dress your baby in highly flammable pajamas… he’s running for president on the “everybody ought to be pissed off about something and so one-way that they’re unwilling to seek solidarity on the eighty percent of things they agree need to be effectively addressed” ticket. The EOTBPOASASOTTUTSSOTEPOTANTBEA people are caucusing this week to discuss the significance of the contraction that’s stuck right in the middle of their name, and how the shortening of the acronym by omitting the letter “A” (and incidentally in the hyphenated noun “One-way”) will affect their message in the fall.