Drooling on the Pillow

Friday, September 09, 2005

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away 

"We must not permit our respect for the dead or our
sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice
to the balance of the living. I will not attempt to prove
that Congress has no power to appropriate this money
as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor
knows it. We have the right as individuals to give away
as much of our own money as we please in charity; but
as members of Congress we have no right to
appropriate a dollar of the public money."

-- David Crockett, aka Davy Crockett, 1827, on the
floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, on a
$10,000 relief bill for the widow of a naval officer.
Congressman 1827-35

Thanks to The Amateur Economist and Curmudgeon Blog. Christopher Meisenzahl has a number of apposite quotes on a similar theme.

Lest We Forget 

Jeff Faria, the ubiquitous Mr. Snitch!, has created a magnificent memorial site called After 9/11: Remembrance and Renewal. There is a haunting film and a place for bloggers to link their 9/11 posts. Please go spend some time there.

He Also Has Halloween Decorations On His Porch 

The guy across the street put his Christmas tree out for the trash this morning. Swear to God. There wasn't a needle on it, but it still had some tinsel. I love having guys like that on my block. Makes me feel like a real go-getter. Sort of like going to China made me feel tall and a week in the Poconos made me feel skinny.

The guy next to Christmas tree guy is a cop who is out there every day scraping his paint, sanding his wrought iron, trimming his bushes, hosing his sidewalk. Luckily, he's kind of surly so the Goddess can only take the comparison so far.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Here's my Cripes Suzette memorial vacation album. She can't get enough of them.

Grace graduated to baiting her own hook and Lane works out with her personal trainer.

A rare shot of Gracie out of the water.

The din from the deer and wild turkeys was deafening. The girls claimed to have stopped for a small bear to cross the road while out biking. Did they have photographic evidence? No.

A drunken woman kept grabbing the Cree in the foreground (during the performance) to get a picture of them together. After it was over he made a joke about scalping her which I thought was pretty cool. She also tried to steal a female performer's feather fan. She had a crowd of about 200 thinking 'Are we going to have to actually kill her?'

While the girls were off doing healthy interesting things, I spent most of my time reading and drinking beer. Public Enemies : America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 went down pretty easy. The story of Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, The Barker/Karpis Gang, Machine Gun Kelly, Bonny and Clyde and Baby Face Nelson on one side and the New Deal drive to nationalize the police and their use of one of the creepiest reactionaries ever to issue a press release to accomplish it.

I also got most of the way through 1491, which was recommended by the Spear Shaker. The premise is that Columbus didn't step off the Santa Maria onto a blank slate. Recent scholarship is making the case that the Indian peoples of North and South America were here far earlier than previously supposed, were far more numerous, sophisticated, organized and diverse than we thought and had much more impact, positive and negative upon the land. Much of it is very interesting and part of its purpose is to unburden Indians from the stereotype of the gentle, peaceful tree huggers that's been layed upon them by the left.

It also, however, takes the standard line of Red, good, White bad and I have to warn you it has two quotes along those lines from Ward Churchill. Part of it is argument by adjective. Indians are amazing and are handsome and brave. Whites are clumsy and uncomprehending, clueless and inept. Sit-com dads with a taste for genocide. Strip away all the grammatical qualifiers, though, and there doesn't seem to be much to choose between them. There's a lot of information there, though, and I thank Mr. Shaker for the tip.

Watching the Birdie 

I told a story a few months ago that involved looking at thousands and thousands of photographs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Based upon my dim memories of that limited sample, I'm making the claim that the type of snapshot over on the right was relatively rare back then. The type where the smiling object stands in the middle and lets the picture say 'This is where I was' and 'This is what I was doing'.

I remember the shots in my greatgrandmother's albums as being mostly tableaux, groups of people staging themselves as if in the midst of doing what they were actually doing. Sailing, partying, playing croquet, visiting grandma. It was a curious thing since they were doing what the camera was made to do -- freeze the moment in time -- so that what was most dynamic in the frame became the background, where you could see dust being kicked up or the blur of someone moving on the sidewalk almost out of the frame.

At the same time it was more social as the individuals maintained their relationship with each other rather than, as a group, only having the relationship with the camera. It also evokes the moments before the shot as they composed themselves and the moment after when they dissolve in laughter and Uncle Charlie wants a do over because he closed his eyes.

I imagine there must be sociological reasons for this shift, but it probably has more than anything to do with advances in shutter speed and camera technology.

Big Wind 

Well, you hop off to the woods for ten days or so and things continue to happen. Who would have thought?

I wasn't completely cut off. News was available, although I didn't watch it, hardly. I did come across a paper every few days, although the papers up there were more concerned with stolen wood chippers than hurricanes or dead chief justices. I did know there was a hurricane and I did know that it was bad.

It wasn't until I returned, however, that I found out it was all Bush's fault. Turned on Fox last night when I got home. Turns out the mayor and governor down there are idiots. Switched over to CNN and it was all Bush's fault, all the time. Well, why not? Any guy that can fix two straight national elections should be able to figure out a way not to waste a perfectly good hurricane.

I like Billy Budd's take over at American Dinosaur:
I have grown weary of the Katrina finger pointing circle
jerk. It appears that the Gov. suffered a form of paralysis,
the Mayor was overwhelmed and underprepared. The
feds reacted with caution and probably were a little slow to

That being said I think we need to realize that if you live
on the coast and below sea level you are going to get
spanked sooner or later. If you live in Kansas the chances
your house will be damaged or destroyed by a tornado
are fairly good in a forty year period. If I live in California
then I can take my pick of earthquakes, brushfires,
mudslides, or O.J.. Even in the West we have our share
of things that will kill you if your domicile is poorly located.

The point is WHY IS ANYONE SHOCKED that New
Orleans is a turd filled toilet now? They have been
warning, predicting, and expecting doomsday for fifty
years. They had an emergency plan and did not
implement it.
Mr. Budd also has a three-point plan for local authorities dealing with looters. The first two points are Ready and Aim.

I'm not making fun of the poor souls who were caught under God's thumb and are in desperate straights today. But I do remember seeing footage from New Orleans the day before it hit and you didn't see many people boarding up their windows or stocking up on water and candles. They were still partying along Bourbon Street.

The government from the bottom to the top needs to take a hit on this, but at the same time, for so many people, public events from cataclysmic tragedies to Thanksgiving dinners in Iraq have no other context than as an opportunity to embarass and abuse the President. The abuse is so constant, extreme and unrelenting that his defenders tend to defend him even when his actions are undefendable.

I wish everyone would calm down and watch more baseball. Me, I feel bad for the people down there. I'm going to throw them what I can afford and leave it at that. When God's thumb comes down on me I'll expect no more from them.
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