Saturday, June 28, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation-

So, the "family house" we vacation in for a week or so in June is a house bought by my wife's grandmother back in 1955. It was built back in 1900, and local legend claims that the builder is buried in the basement. His name was Jack, and there's a plaque in the living room above the point in the basement where we think he was buried, that says "this is the house that Jack built". Since Jack was only in his 30s when he disappeared, everyone assumes his disappearance was not voluntary, and his ghost has been said to live in the house ever since. The contractor who looks after the house and does maintenance work on it every year talks to Jack when he comes in to work, complimenting him on his workmanship.

But that has nothing to do with today's story. In the basement there is a small 8 by 12 foot room, which almost literally has a "river running through it". Not a river actually, but a small spring under the house does come bubbling up through the floor. This is a house that could never be built with today's codes and environmental regulations...

This small room has water coming out of the floor, no lighting, and a small, 10 inch by 2 foot window near the ceiling. So, of course, that is where the firewood is stored. I know, I know, don't even start. The house is owned by my wife's 86 year old aunt and 90 year old uncle, native New Yorkers for their entire lives, and wonderful, wonderful folks. My wife's aunt is a literary agent who still takes the subway to the office 4 days a week. They are great people, and we love visiting in New York with them. They know a great little Irish sports pub around the corner from their condo where we all go when we visit them, and we silently cheer the Red Sox while they loudly cheer the Yankees. But, as native New Yorkers, what they don't know about stacking firewood is a lot. And what I know, as a native New Englander, is also a lot.

So- we went down to help them open the house on Memorial Day, and Fritz asked us if we could stack a half cord of firewood which was going to be delivered when we were there in June. Of course we said yes. But then I began thinking- the firewood room, with water running through it, is a disaster. The wood was all stacked against both side walls, in the water, and it hadn't been cleaned in at least 20 years. To get dry firewood these days you had to carefully step over the rotted stuff coating the floor, and pick and pick and pick through stuff on the sides that was not eaten by beetles, soggy, or rotten.

I just could not, in all good conscience, stack a new half cord of wood in that room. So while we were there last week, I spent a few days with a wood basket, a shovel, and a wheel barrow, cleaning out the wood room. I cleaned the whole room out to the bare floor, and scooped all the crap up and threw it in the woods. Hale Berry, Mama O' God, if you had a light in that room, and some corn seeds, we could have grown a crop, for all the rotten wood dirt that was the floor. And there were some very interesting bugs and mushrooms too. I may have discarded one or two new species...

After cleaning the room out I went to the local home center and bought some bricks and 8-foot 2x4s, and put the bricks down against each side wall, and then put the 2x4s on them, and then when the new wood arrived we set it on that. At least the new wood will not be sitting on the floor. Mission accomplished.

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In case you missed it, the brand-new Royters News Service is far more fair and balanced than Faux News, and Bill O'Reilly called them "the Spawn of Satan", so they must be ok.

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I'm re-reading a book about aerial warfare in the First World War. Here's a video some of you will remember fondly, and some of the rest of you may have never seen-

Friday, June 27, 2008

This and That-

It is hot, hazy and humid here today. I love this weather. I wouldn't want it all year, but a few months is fine with me.

I'm going to say just one thing about the Supreme Court decision regarding guns. It was correct. Like guns or not, the Constitution says we can have them. I don't have any, and think that most homes would be better off without them. But the Constitution says we can have them.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"

Now I am not a lawyer, but I do come from a long line of English Majors, and the main clause in this is "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed". I have heard arguments that this is only within the context of a well-regulated militia, but that's not the case. Look closely- the sentence takes it as a given that a well-regulated militia is necessary- it does not say "if a well-regulated militia is necessary", or "when a well-regulated militia is necessary", it says THAT "a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state". Agree or disagree with that, that is what it says. So then, who does it say can bear arms? The militia? No. It says "the people" can bear arms. Nothing about only members of the militia bearing arms. "The people". That is you and me. We can have and bear arms.

Now you and I can agree or disagree as to whether this is a good or bad thing for today's society. I certainly don't think that everyone walking down the street with a sidearm would be a good thing, but what I think is not the point. The Constitution says we can. You can't pick and chose with the Constitution- support things we like such as the right to free speech, and then not support things we don't like, like the right to walk down the street with a gun on your hip. Both rights are in there. Don't like it? Well, we can always amend the Constitution.

Maybe we should. We can talk about that. It was written a long time ago, and maybe it's time to make another amendment. But the discussion about the current 2nd Amendment should not include any talk about the effect one reading or anther has on today's society- that is exactly the sort of equivocating that has the government breaking into your home or tapping your phone if they think you are a terrorist. If you think the Bushies are bashing the Constitution, as I do, then you may want to take another look at the 2nd amenedment and your opinion of it, not i terms of what you would like it to say, and not in terms of what we think would be best for our society, but in terms of what it actually says.

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Fox News wants both Osama and Obama dead. Don't believe me? Let's roll the videotape...

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Our friend Mike's blog, Tongue in Check, has a birthday today. Go on over and wish TiC a happy birthday!

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on this hot early Summer night I'm going to let Arlo have the last word-

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Catching Up-

Hey everyone, long time, no posts. It's taking a while for me to re-enter after our vacation. A few more of the family had arrived from far parts of the country, so I went back to the vacation house last Friday and we finally came home for good Sunday afternoon. It's about 165 miles each way to get to Falmouth, almost all of it on the Massachusetts Turnpike or interstate 495. So, in my last three trips in the past few weeks, that's about 500 miles of highway driving. I drove right around 65 mph the entire time, and during the entire 500 miles, I passed exactly three vehicles. The rest of the time everyone else was whizzing past me.

Including a 30-foot motorhome, while going uphill near Worcester.

I know that gas is now $4 a gallon, and where we were it's actually $4.86 a gallon, but after that highway experience I don't want to hear a fucking word from any of those people about how much it costs to fill up their tank. Tired of spending that much? Sell your damned SUV and slow the fuck down!


Wow, I knew that Ralph Nader lost all touch with reality some years ago, but who knew he was a raging crackpot borderline racist? Here's what Raging Ralphie had to say while slagging Obama for not being black enough yesterday-

"I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be [doing] is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas"

Well thank you, Ralph, for maintaining that all-important "How to be Black" list, you Homeboy, you. And should Hispanic politicians all be worried about the escalating price of tortillas?


So, what do you think that lumberjack's first thought was when a bra appeared at the end of his log cable?


It's been about a week since George Carlin died, and everyone else has put up their own favorite clip, but here's just one more tit bit, one that captures it all for me-

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beaches and Bees and Cats, Oh My!

I just got around to downloading a few photos we snapped on our vacation last week. We go every year to a secluded little house near the beach that Amy's grandmother bought back in 1955, and has stayed in the family ever since. It's a great place to get away, and features fresh wild strawberries-

(rather bitter, and you have to pick for an hour to get a half cup or so)

Bee swarms-

(there's been a hive of bees that's been living in the wall of the second floor bedroom for as long as anyone can remember, and most springs we see them swarm out as a new queen goes to start another colony somewhere else. On really hot days in the summer you can look up and see little streams of honey slowly leaking down from the clapboards onto the porch roof)

A nice view of the beach from the top of the cliff-

(the stairs haven't been built yet this year, so it takes a 30 minute walk to actually get to the beach, unless you want to go straight down)

Amy (right) and our niece Shoshana hanging out at the top of the cliffs in the late afternoon.

But now it's time to get to work. I set up for some book photography this morning. Wait a minute, why is the table shaking?



oh never mind.


Beach Bum's latest post is a great story about his vacation, including some sights around the pool which reminded me of this song-

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So Joan, What do you REALLY think of Russell Crow?

Apparently nobody told Joan Rivers yesterday that "live" is actually "live"-

And they let Kathy Griffin go for offending the stars...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kari Again-

Let's try this again, for the Reverend. I'm not sure what happened to the link on the original post- I'd written the post the week before it went up and used the Blogger scheduling tool, which apparently then turned the link into gobbledegook.

So, for everyone who didn't go find it the first time around, here's Kari Byron being painted silver, aka, "Some Guys Have the BEST Jobs"...

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm back-

thunderstorms. I am home. I'm working on the Kari link.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh, Mr. Tin Woodsman... Oh! oh!

Still on vacation.

However, here's s little something for all our Mythbusters fans out there-

Kari Byron painted silver...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008



[CC pokes head up from undisclosed location where the internet connection is best described as "spotty dial-up", and where the latest newspaper was purchased Monday]

Is Hillary still around? Is Bush still President?

[CC gets affirmative answer, shudders, heads to fridge for a beer]

Back to the beach!

Friday, June 06, 2008


I'm away for a few days, but I'm leaving you all some music to boogie to-

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

How Can We Miss Her if She Won't Go Away?

There's a good op-ed piece by Maureen Dowd on the subject in this morning's New York Times-

"He thought a little thing like winning would stop her?

Oh, Bambi.

Whoever said that after denial comes acceptance hadn’t met the Clintons. If Hillary could not have an acceptance speech, she wasn’t going to have acceptance.

“It’s never going to end,” sighed one Democrat who has been advising Hillary. “We’re just moving to a new phase.”

Barry has been trying to shake off Hillary and pivot for quite a long time now, but she has managed to keep her teeth in his ankle and raise serious doubts about his potency." [read more]

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Turning Over a New Leaf-

I did a lot of yard and garden work this weekend, and started a new project-

Neocon Gardening.

Now I know what all you pansy-ass, Liberal America-haters are saying- the Neocon Agenda has been thoroughly discredited by the fucking disasters events of the last few years. Well, Nuke Iran! Pshaw! I say to you brie-eating bed-wetters.

The first thing I'm doing is making sure that all the plants are With Us, not against us, and making sure they're all-American. No more French Endive- I now grow Freedom Endive. Tomatoes are Mexican, and I'd rip them all up, but they're used to make an important All-American Vegetable, ketchup, so for the moment they stay, but I'm keeping a close eye on them.

Now on to Anti-Terrorist Anti-Pest activities. As we all know, our Freedoms gardens are at risk from aphids, and aphids are often found on roses, so yesterday I ripped up all the rose bushes and burned them. Now, some of my terrorist-loving pest-loving neighbors objected to this. They pointed out that the rose bushes were in their yard, not my yard, and there were not actually any aphids on them at all. Well, to them I say, you can never be too careful, and anyway, I had been reliably informed that there were aphids on them before I dug them up and burned them.

As for ongoing garden maintenance, I'm going to use the same theory the Neocons are using with our public school system- punish failure. If some slacker of a plant is wilting in the hot sun, I'm sure you do-gooder Liberals would suggest giving it water. Fuck that. Slacker plants don't need water, they need to be encouraged to do better, so from now on there will be no more water for wilty plants! All my water will now go to plants that already have more than enough water. When the wilting plants see that, they'll buck up and pull themselves together and do better, and only then will they get water!

So there you are, my new Neocon Gardening Project. I'll keep you all updated.