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It's a Strange Aberration [Feb. 14th, 2017|09:23 pm]
xolo
[Tags|]
[mood |calmcalm]
[music |Beatles: Golden Slumbers]

My butt, and to a lesser extrent, my legs, ache as though I'd done some kind of colossal workout. I've done nothing of the sort, though.

*****

I'd be a whacking great liar if I said I wasn't enjoying the chaos and destruction that Trump is unleashing on the government and the establishment.

*****

It's the 205th anniversary of Columbus!. For an American city, that's old.
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Crime, and Occasional Punishment [Feb. 14th, 2017|09:20 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[mood |calmcalm]

Deliberately looking like Hitler is apparently a crime in Austria. To be honest, he looks more like Charlie Chaplin to me.

*****

I'm really sorry that I cut that guy's head off, and I won't do that anymore. Can I go now?

*****

So, it took about a billion years, but they finally convicted someone for murdering Etan Patz. That murder was big news the summer I graduated high school. The verdict seems a rather half-hearted one, in that the jury found that he strangled the boy, put him in a trash bag and left him for the garbage truck to collect, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he intended to kill him. That, to my mind, seems like the sort of compromise verdict you get when at least one juror is doubtful, and they decide to cut a deal.

*****

King Jong-Un's older brother is dead, quite probably assassinated on his orders. The BBC points out that there's really nothing for the villain to gain from liquidating his brother, which is probably true, but he's never seemed too deeply invested in rational behaviour to my mind.
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The vapour shield was pink that month... [Feb. 9th, 2017|08:41 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |Genesis: Return of the Giant Hogweed]

Some poor truck driver actually had his truck blown by the wind off the Chesapeake Bridge. That would have to be an almost unimaginably horrible experience, to have no control at all while your truck blows over the edge.

*****

So, it looks as though James Cameron has found proof of Atlantis - and just in time for his new TV show about Atlantis too! Some people have all the luck.

*****

Springtime in Moderan. Oh yes...
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Ickwe! Pickwe! [Feb. 5th, 2017|09:48 pm]
xolo
[Tags|]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Le Pen was unlikely to have beaten Fillon. Against Macron, I think she may have a chance :) We shall soon see.

*****

I now have that most desirable of middle-class Victorian decorative items, a potted palm! I'm thinking of redesignating that part of the living room as "the Conservatory". That entire end of the room is starting to look rather jungly. I'm going to need more lighting, too.

Edit: And... I just noticed - north corner is plants from the Congo, south corner (since I moved the Dracaena to be by the palm) is plants from Madagascar. I need to do something thematic about this.
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The Wendy Bird [Feb. 2nd, 2017|10:10 pm]
xolo
[mood |introspective]
[music |Hendrix: 1983]

Oh, yes! Someone else was deeply impressed by "Peter and Wendy".

“When you play at it by day with the chairs and tablecloth, it is not in the least alarming, but in the two minutes before you go to sleep it becomes very nearly real.”

*****

Victorian and Edwardian children's literature ^1 has always spoken to me, in ways that other genres just can't. Sometimes horrifying, sometimes unfathomably weird, often disturbing in ways that were difficult for a child to analyze (and that your mind just kept coming back to to pick at like a scab), and almost always (even in the silliest moments) emotionally impactful and sincere in ways that modern works just aren't.

I recall as a child the school librarian so earnestly trying interest us all in socially-realistic novels about inner-city kids from dysfunctional families getting addicted to drugs, etc, but I was always more interested in Edith Nesbit or George McDonald.

^1 I generally treat the label as including CS Lewis, for all that he's one of the very late (and one of the most powerful) exemplars of that sensibility.
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All Change! [Feb. 2nd, 2017|05:19 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Genesis: Supper's Ready]

The Navy has named a Littoral Combat Ship after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Appropriately, given her anti-gun beliefs, the ship's main provision for breaking things and killing people seems to be through the use of missiles, rather than guns.

Also, I love that the targetting radar on this type of ship is called "Sea Giraffe".

*****

Guy caught stealing gold coins by hiding them up his butt is sentenced by... Judge Doody!

*****

Monday, HM the Queen will have reigned for 65 years, and will celebrate her Sapphire Jubilee. Only Victoria came even close to that.

*****

I bought a new reading lamp for use in bed. It's a black, very practical and old-fashioned 1950s-style gooseneck design that replaces the stylish Italian modern python^1 that I've used for some years now. When I picked it out at the store, I got this huge surge of nostalgia - it resembles my first reading lamp, which was a similar black gooseneck that my mother handed down to me when she replaced it with a newer one. I was perhaps seven or eight at the time, and well-begun in the general family tradition of reading in bed.

Prior to that, I think I'd used a little nightstand lamp, but I really don't recall much about it. The gooseneck is distinct in my memory, though. There's something deeply affecting about being safely tucked-in, awake in this little pool of light with one's book, and the room fading out into darkness beyond. I'm finding of late as well that there's something evocative about a paper book as well. I still like my Kindle books, but I'm buying paper ones once more.

^1 The python's switch is giving out. I'm prolly going to replace it, and keep on using the lamp in some capacity, as I just plain like the way it looks.
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More Songs About Roumania [Jan. 28th, 2017|03:49 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Some song about Roumania]

Colour photographs of Soviet street scenes in the early 1950s. As always, this sort of thing fascinates me.

*****

I never knew that we once tried making coins out of glass.

*****

Android app identifies birds from photos.
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Demi-bricks [Jan. 28th, 2017|02:00 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]
[music |Jefferson Airplane: Silver Spoon]

If there's a way to choose the channel for my wifi hotspot, I have yet to find it. Sadly, it seems to be a dedicated channel 11 device, so that it's in conflict with about half the wifi devices out there :/

*****

Colo, the Columbus Zoo's World's Oldest Gorilla, in which I was a partial shareholder, has finally died. At least our gorillas die of old age, unlike some zoos.

*****

Cat Pack! I love seeing the cat looking out the little bubble like an astronaut!
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Security [Jan. 28th, 2017|11:28 am]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Timon & Pumbaa: Hakuna Matata]

It is such a novel feeling to be able to trust the President, and to feel secure, knowing that he's going to do the right thing, and to look after America's safety. Such a contrast to the Obama years.
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Zump! Zump! Here Comes Trump! [Jan. 26th, 2017|11:13 pm]
xolo
[Tags|]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |hopefulhopeful]
[music |Sousa: The Thunderer]

It was obvious to me (and I said as much publicly) back in Dec 2015 that Trump was going to be the Republican nomminee. That being said, I was much less sanguine about his chances in the general election. The almost playful way in which he destroyed major-league politicians such as Jeb!, Lyin' Ted, and the Little Senator ought perhaps to have furnished a clue that what we were seeing wasn't politics as usual.

The nadir of my faith came a few weeks prior to the election, when the news media started giving 24/7 play to that tape of him boasting about how (paraphrasing) women liked it when he grabbed them by the pussy, because he was a billionaire. Now, leaving aside the truthfulness of the claim for a minute ^1, exactly what about this type of talk makes him unfit to be POTUS? Most men in America have talked this way at one point or another, trying to fit in with the locker-room crowd, or trying to intimidate with their callousness. Few are proud of it in retrospect, as indeed Trump himself wasn't.

So, why do we pretend that this makes any difference to our voting decision? In large part, I think, it's because we understand that a professional politician's loyalty isn't to us, the people, but rather to his party, and that whatever he promises to get elected, it means nothing the day after. We're left grasping at any clue whatsoever to the man's character, hoping that somehow, this time, we may get one with a conscience, who will at least try to do some of the good things that he so freely promised. Did he pay all of his taxes? Maybe he accepts that the rich and powerful are bound by the law, just like the working class. Does he speak and act respectfully toward others, particularly the poor and the powerless? Perhaps this one actually understands that the rest of us are human, just like him and his friends. Indirect, symbolic behaviours aren't much to go on, but they're all we have.

Trump said, early on in the campaign, that he could stand in Times Square, take out a gun and shoot someone, and none of his supporters would care. Hyperbole aside, he was completely right. I recognized that at the time and defended it on Twitter, but I failed to apply the principle to the general election. People don't care if Donald Trump observes the niceties that we so stringently require of a professional office-holder, because he's not a politician^2. He doesn't owe his position to the party grandees who came before, and he doesn't have to worry about paving the way for the junior politicians who will follow. He's his own man. Perhaps he'll cheerfully betray us all, but I don't see that happening. First, POTUS is a step down for him, in many ways. He doesn't need the money, he doesn't need the perks, he doesn't need the political power. His house, his car, and his airplane put the POTUS's to shame. About the only rewards I can see him getting out of this is the gratitude of the American people, and the knowledge that he helped America when we were in trouble. That gives us a tighter, surer hold on Donald Trump's loyalty than we've had on any POTUS since FDR. I think he's going to disrupt the system to just about the same degree.

*****

Now, on to the Inauguration.

The last one I watched was in 2009. As I noted at the time, Obama gave, as is usual for him, a polished, well-delivered speech (public speaking seems to be one of his few real talents), but the parade itself was lacklustre, burdened with celebrities, singers, and even a (sophomorically bad) poet. Trump turned that right around.

First, it was wonderful that it began to rain right as Trump stepped up to the podium. Were it not an act of nature, the symbolism would have been heavy-handed - the past being washed away, and America getting a new chance. As it was, it was just perfect. Even Franklin Graham joked about it.

Trump began his speech in a rather rough and hesitant manner, but then caught fire about halfway through. And what a speech is was! It boils down to "Sucks to oppose America", but the beauty of it was in the delivery, and the details. An absolutely fierce, fire-breathing speech, full of confidence in the future, and in America's ability to overcome any obstacle. It was all the more striking and effective for capping off eight years of Obama's dark vision of a doomed America, with ever-shrinking horizons, and ever-fewer options. This was like the sun breaking through the clouds to shine on the flag. It was everything that I, and lot of others, needed to hear.

Trump's parade was better too - mainly uniformed services, military, police, fire, scouts, with (oddly) a group of farmers driving their tractors that they'd decorated with flashing lights. He'd allegedly wanted tanks in his parade, but had to give that up since they'd have destroyed the pavement. He did have one singer toward the end, performing the National Anthem, but that's pretty much de rigeur.

*****

I'm not sure where the alt.left gets "anti-semitic" for Donald Trump. Is it that he's so close to his Jewish son-in-law,the one he appointed special adviser? Is it his unwavering support for Israel? Inquiring minds want to know!

Equally, I'm unsure where "divisive" comes from. I've spoken English for more than half a century now, and if there's a word in this language more inclusive than "all", I have yet to learn it.

And what's the deal with "anti-gay"? Is it the way he openingly acknowledges his gay and transgendered friends? That rainbow flag he was waving at the convention? His statement that people should use whatever restroom they think right? Again, Inquiring Minds...

It is a profound mystery to me how any American could find fault with the idea of "America First".

*****

I'm looking forward to Theresa May's visit, and hope it will be a productive one. I rather doubt that Angela Merkel feels the same way.


^1 I will note that he's 70 years old, has an orange face and a bright yellow hairpiece, and still managed to get a supermodel for a wife. Twice.

^2 The rules for politicans still seem to be in full effect. A Nebraska (IIRC) state senator just got hounded out of office for tweeting disrespectfully about women. I have no pity for him.
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