Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Dad Joke LI

What do you call an alligator in a vest?

An investigator. 

Thoughts on ten years of blogging

No, not here - Tim Wolter has been at this for a decade and has some musings on the topic that strike me as worth reading.  He also has an interesting recipe for a venison crock pot dinner and a post about baseball, fatherhood, and the sweep of time.

Plus building battlebots.  He's a daily read for me.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Dad Joke L

If your home doesn't have house numbers on it, you should address that. 

Thanks Ten Million

Sometime today the odometer here will turn over 10,000,000 page views.  This is a pretty humbling number and so ASM826 and I would like to say thank you very much for coming by here so often.

And to show appreciation to all our readers, today's content will be entirely free-of-charge!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Dad Joke XLIX

 There is a beautiful tower in Italy.  It is a Pisa art.

Troparion of Saint Kassia

The Greek Orthodox liturgy is ancient, dating back to Roman times.  While many things have been lost from this over the centuries, we have music for Holy Week preserved from the ninth century.  This hymn will be sung this week, as it has for the last 1200 years.

Kassia was a Roman noblewoman living in Constantinople in the first half of the 800s.  Both beautiful and intelligent, she was included in what we can call a Medieval beauty pageant.   The imperial court would sometimes have "Bride Shows" where noble families could present their daughters as potential brides for Imperial princes.  Kassia was included in the bride show for prince Theophilos in 830AD, but the chronicles say that her sharp, sarcastic reply to the prince soured him on her beauty.

But she was the daughter of one of the leading families in the Empire, and so had avenues open to her that were not to most women of the day.  She founded a convent in 843AD and became its abbess.  Her education allowed her to write first poetry and then music - all of a spiritual bent, as you would imagine.

She wrote many, many hymns of which 50 survive to this day.  Unusually, both the text and the musical score have survived.  Twenty three of her hymns are included in today's Orthodox liturgy which is astonishing for any figure from the ninth century, let alone a woman.

This Holy Week you might want to ponder just how ancient our faith is, and the efforts that people have taken to preserve it over the centuries.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Henk Wijngaard - Nachtrijders

We aren't surprised when we see a great rock band or a great jazz artist that is from a different country, so why should we be surprised that there is great country music from all over the world.  The Netherlands has a thriving country scene, much of which is in English but some - like this - in Dutch.  Henk Wijngaard should know something about country - his half brother is Shania Twain's grandfather.

Now I don't speak much Dutch (Dank je) I really get the sense of what this song is all about.  Night driving.  Some themes - and some music - is universal.

Friday, March 26, 2021


Did you hear about the guy who made a boatload of money investing in Apple?  It turns out that it was in cider trading. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Dad Joke XLVII

What did the Llama say when she was invited to a picnic?

Great!  Alpaca lunch. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Musical birthdays

Today is the birthday of two great composers, Johann Sebastian Bach and Modest Mussorgsky.  They had very different styles but one thing they had in common is their influence on 1960s and 1970s rock. First Bach, where Procol Harum basically ripped off Air on the G String for Whiter Shade of Pale:

Next Mussorgsky, where Emerson Lake and Palmer did an excellent reprieve of Pictures At The Exhibition:

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Willie Nelson - On the Road Again

The Queen Of The World and I are on the road, on the Florida panhandle in Navarre.  This is the place where we had the motorcycle accident a while back.   We're staying at a place that is less than a mile from where I dumped the bike.

All in all, I'm enjoying this visit a lot more than the last one.

But being on the road calls for road music, and I find myself surprised that in roughly 700 (!) country music posts I've never posted country music's greatest road song.  Take it away, Willie.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Little Walter - Juke

I've been posting Blues for basically as long as I've been posting, but somehow I never posted Little Walter.  This is pretty strange because I love me some Blues Harp and Little Walter is arguably the best Blues harpist who ever lived.  Certainly he's the only harmonica player inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  This song was his first #1 hit on the Billboard R&B chart, and to date is still the only Blues harmonica instrumental to ever chart #1.

His life was kind of a Blues song.  Hard drinking and fighting went along with his musical talent, and that's what did him in at the far too young age of 37.  You wonder what other music he would have made had he lived a little less roughly.  But maybe it was the whole package, and living gentler might have stilled his muse.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Dad Joke XLVI - Special St. Paddy's Day Dad Joke

Why do people wear shamrocks on St. Patrick's Day?

Regular rocks are too heavy. 

Turlough O'Carolan - various Irish tunes

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  This is my traditional Paddy's Day post.

What is the "Classical Music" of Ireland? It's not (Italian) Opera, or (German) symphonies, or even an (English) homage to Ralph Vaughan Williams (who studied under an Irish music professor) "countryside music" in the concert hall. Instead, we find something ancient
We find something that easily might not have been.  Turlough O'Carolan (1670 – 25 March 1738) was the son of a blacksmith.  His father took a job for the MacDermot Roe family; Mrs. MacDermot Roe gave the young lad some basic schooling and saw in him a talent for poetry; when a few years later the 18 year old Turlough went blind after a bout of smallpox, she had him apprenticed to a harpist.  He soon was travelling the land, composing and singing.

This tradition was already ancient by the early 1700s.  it was undeniably Celtic, dating back through the Middle Ages, through the Dark Ages, through Roman times to a barbarous Gaul.  There bards travelled the lands playing for their supper on the harp.

This was O'Carolan's stock in trade.  He rapidly became the most famous singer in the Emerald Isle.  It is said that weddings and funerals were delayed until he was in the vicinity.  One of his most famous compositions - if you have spent any time at all listening to Irish music, you know this tune - was considered too "new fangled" by the other harpists of his day.  Fortunately, he didn't listen to their criticisms.

He married very late, at 50, and had many children.  But his first love was Brigid, daughter of the Schoolmaster at a school for the blind.  He always seemed to have carried a torch for her.

So why is this post in the normal slot reserved for Classical Music?  Listen to this composition of his, and you see the bridge from the archaic Celts to Baroque harpsichord.

And keep in mind how this brilliance might never have blazed, had Mrs. MacDermot Roe not seen the talent in a blind Irish boy and set him upon a path trod by many equally unexpected geniuses, all the way back to St. Patrick.  It is truly said that we never know what our own path will be until we set our foot down on it.

But his was an ancient path and he inherited much from those who trod it before him.  His "Farewell to Music" is said to be more in the traditional mold, and might have been appreciated at a feast held by Vercingetorix before the battle of Alesia.

This music is a bridge between modern and the ancient that disappears into the mists of legend.  Perhaps more importantly, it is a music that is still alive today, after a run of perhaps two and a half millennia.  

And it is a music where you still hear the yearning of a young blind man for his muse, Brigid.  That is a vitality that should not be exiled to a single day of celebration, even if it is for as illustrious a Saint as Patrick.  On this Feast Day, remember just how deep the roots of our civilization run.

(Originally posted March 16, 2014)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Dad Joke XLV

 The success or failure of a pizza joke is all in the delivery.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Beware the Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March, the 15th of this month (each month has Ides on various dates).  While we look at the Romans as the greatest engineers and organizers until the 18th century, we then jump to the conclusion that they were rational in an Enlightenment kind of way.  They weren't.  Rather, they were kind of like a combination of Nuclear-Reactor-Brainiac and Management-By-Ouija-Board*.

The Ides themselves are a great example of this second thing.  Their months didn't really start at day 1 and count up the same way that our months do.  Well, they kind of did, but you need to break out your Ouija Board to really understand things.  The Romans didn't count forwards, they counted backwards from three fixed points in the month: the Nones (usually but not always the 5th of the month), the Ides (usually the 13th but was the 15th in March, May, July, and October), and the Kalends (the 1st of the following month).

The Ides were sacred to Jupiter, Greatest and Best, and so this was a solemn day.  Thus in Shakespeare we hear Julius Caesar warned to beware the Ides of March.  Plutarch wrote that on his last ill-fated journey to the Senate house, Caesar saw the soothsayer who had warned about the day.  Caesar joked, "The Ides of March are come;" the soothsayer is said to have replied "Aye, but not gone."  Shakespeare cribbed a lot from the ancient authors.

But not everything.  The famous quote from Shakespeare's play from the scene where the Senators are stabbing him is when he sees the young Marcus Brutus - of whom Caesar was very fond - among the attackers.  Shakespeare has Caesar speak the words Et tu, Brute?  Even you, Brutus?

Except that's not what the ancients said about that event.  Suetonius says that Caesar spoke in Greek - Kai su, teknon?  This was a very common expression among educated Romans, and was often used in various plays but Kai su is generally translated as "You too". That was the formal translation but it was commonly used as "Screw you".  "Teknon" is generally translated as "child" but also was understood as "punk".

So Julius Caesar basically was telling Brutus to get bent.  At least if you believe Suetonius.

* This is one of the things that make the ancient Romans endlessly fascinating.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sweetheart Grips

The Queen Of The World finds cool stuff.  Stuff like this: World War II "Sweetheart Grips":

The good folks at Pew Pew Tactical have a great page up about this:

Sweetheart grips were made possible by acrylic (AKA Plexiglass or Lucite), which was invented between World War I and World War II. 

Aircraft and vehicles used acrylic. The material replaced windows and basically anything else previously made of glass.

Servicemen salvaged it from crashes and then shaped it to replace the grip on their handguns. 

Lady Be Good Crash
Lady Be Good Crash

Since the new acrylic grip was clear, they often placed a loved one’s photo under the acrylic. This kept the photo close by and safe. 

Typically the picture would be a girlfriend or wife, which is where the term “sweetheart grip” comes from.

I so want some of these for my commander length 1911.  Maybe with a picture like this:

 Well, or maybe a different picture ...

Dad Joke XLIV

What did the tree say after the long winter?

What a releaf! 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Savanna Chestnut - Trailer Park Queen

Gentlemen, there's no fighting in the War Room!

- Dr. Strangelove

Hey, there's no playing country music in Nashville!

- Borepatch

Lord Almighty, is there still some country music in Country Music?  It seems that there is, although you won't find it in Nashville.  Instead, you'll find it in places like Americus, Kansas where hopeful singer/songwriter Savanna Chestnut works a day job while she tries to break into the country music scene with her quirky, funny, and refreshingly traditional songs.

I like this a lot, and hope that Miss Chestnut finds the success that she deserves.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Dad Joke XLIII

If yu run in front of a car you'll get tired, but if you run behind one you'll get exhausted.

(Hat tip: The Queen Of The World) 

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Everything you need to know about the Texas power blackouts

Lawrence does the research so that I (we) don't have to. 

Hiking the Appalachian Trail in 5 minutes

Usually it's ASM826 who posts hiking stuff, but via Chris Lynch here is a video of the entire trail in 5 minutes.  ASM826 has been on a bunch of this; I've been on less.

Green Tunnel from Kevin Gallagher on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Dad Joke XLII

I thought I had a good joke about yoga, but it was a stretch. 

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Maurice Ravel - Une Barque sur L'Ocean

Yesterday The Queen Of The World was feeling well enough that we went to the beach.  The nice thing about living here in Florida is that we're only about 20 minutes away from there.  It rained yesterday and so despite being a weekend day in High Season, there weren't many people there.  It was awesome.

There is something about the ocean, something that has inspired artists since there were artists.  Maurice Ravel was one of many who fell under the Sea's spell.  He wrote a series of compositions for his fellow "Hooligans" (Les Apaches) who were bound and determined to break all the musical rules in the first decade of the 20th century.  This is one of those.  It is often called "Impressionist" although it seems he hated that term.  But if the chapeau fits, right?

There is a timelessness to the sea, especially when experienced on a deserted beach after a storm.

P. S. Happy Birthday, Maurice Ravel!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Ten years ago, but this time funny

This always made me laugh.  You probably want to click through to the Czar of Muscovy's old post to see what kicked this off.  Oh, and it may be that in the picture my Lautrec is Toulouse ...

Originally posted 16 February 2011

Gettin' my Wookie Seurat on

The Czar of Muscovy describes me as a "non-boulevardier", which is true.  But it wasn't always.  These days, I'm more comfortable hanging out at the shooting range, but Back In The Day, I used to haunt the First Arrondissement, hanging out with Georgie Seurat and the crowd.  L'hotel La Sanguine was just down the street from the church of La Madeleine, which was cheek-by-jowl to the Place de la Concorde.

As you can imagine, the difficulty was my Wookie Suit.  Even though this was a particularly classy one - made of Carmague musk rat fur - some of the crowd thought it was too over the top.  Gaugain in particular, although he didn't like anything except for naked Polynesian girls.

But Georgie thought it was tres magnifique, and even snuck me into one of his paintings.  See if you can spot me - although I always thought he made my butt look too big.

Photoshop courtesy of #1 Son.  Did himself proud on this one. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Ten years ago

Dad died.  

Dad Joke XLI

I used to get electrical shocks every time I touched anything metal but now I don't.  I'm ex-static.

Maybe I'm just better grounded. 

In which I disagree with Tam

Well, I actually disagree with P.J. O'Rourke, who she quotes:

"Populism is a lie and a logical sophistry. The very idea of the “struggle of the haves against the have-nots” presupposes the zero-sum fallacy that only a fixed amount of good things exist in the world, and I can only have more good things if I take them from you." -P.J. O'Rourke

Now O'Rourke is a smart guy so it's very interesting what he left out of his piece - because what he left out sets up a straw man for him to knock down.  Silly populists!  Don't you know that you're getting in the way of the march towards a history so bright we'll have to wear shades?

Except that's not how it's worked out over the last 40 years, is it?  Public policy has focused on a very specific set of preferences - environmental regulation, free trade, and open borders.  Each of these has had two consequences.  First, it has led to massive off-shoring of manufacturing to east Asia in particular, padding the bottom line of corporate America and leading to a lot of great high paying government jobs for Ivy League graduates like O'Rourke.  Second, it has hollowed out the working class and the towns they live in.  Not for nothing is it called the "Rust Belt".

This isn't an issue of mechanization and productivity reducing employment.  Rather, it was an explicit choice (by both political parties) that U.S. Government policy should encourage factories and their high paying jobs to be located elsewhere than in the U.S.A.

And now Mr. O'Rourke wonders, mystified, where all this populism came from all of a sudden.  And look at how cynically he phrases the issue: "I can only have good things if I take them from you" - when that's precisely what corporate America and O'Rourke's swell Ivy League buddies did to working class America.

They have made out very well financially on the destruction of industrial America.  O'Rourke knows this - after all, he hails from Toledo Ohio.

And so to "populism", by which O'Rourke no doubt means "Donald Trump".  I posted about this dynamic way back in the summer of 2016, when I linked to a post by the blogger who went by the nom de blog Archdruid.  The Archdruid posted what I thought was all you needed to know to understand what was happening.  This bit is most relevant to O'Rourke's rather pathetic strawman:

The result in both countries [UK and USA] was a political climate in which the only policies up for discussion were those that favored the interests of the affluent at the expense of the working classes and the poor. That point has been muddied so often, and in so many highly imaginative ways, that it’s probably necessary to detail it here. Rising real estate prices, for example, benefit those who own real estate, since their properties end up worth more, but it penalizes those who must rent their homes, since they have to pay more of their income for rent. Similarly, cutting social-welfare benefits for the disabled favors those who pay taxes at the expense of those who need those benefits to survive. 

In the same way, encouraging unrestricted immigration into a country that already has millions of people permanently out of work, and encouraging the offshoring of industrial jobs so that the jobless are left to compete for an ever-shrinking pool of jobs, benefit the affluent at the expense of everyone else. The law of supply and demand applies to labor just as it does to everything else:  increase the supply of workers and decrease the demand for their services, and wages will be driven down. The affluent benefit from this, since they pay less for the services they want, but the working poor and the jobless are harmed by it, since they receive less income if they can find jobs at all.

At this point I must point out that I'm a member of that salary class, and have done very well over the last 30+ years.  However, my chosen field (Computer/Network Security) sure doesn't seem to have taken away any working class jobs - and my upbringing leaves me infuriated by O'Rourke's sneering.  And even more so by his seemingly intentional blindness to the consequences of the policies he advocates.  This song brutally exposes what he can't be bothered to cast his eyes upon:

These people are our neighbors.  They are our fellow countrymen.  Are their dreams for the future of less import than our own?  Should public policy in this country crush those dreams?  Is there a reason why public policy should preference Palo Alto over Toledo?

I'm afraid this turned into a rant - that certainly is not directed at Tam.  But the smug self-satisfaction of folks like O'Rourke - people who listened to their professors telling them that they were "the best and the brightest" and who actually bought into that malarky - they are really just showing the world that they're a bunch of dumbasses.  Nice strawman, O'Rourke.  Be a shame if someone knocked it down, amirite?

And at this point if you do not understand what is driving populism in this country (both the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders versions) then watch that video again.  And read the quote from O'Rourke again.  Repeat as necessary.  You will know that you understand modern populism precisely when the hair on the back of your neck stands on end.

Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever

- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Surgery today

The Queen Of The World is getting wrist surgery today.  Hopefully they'll fix her up - the break is pretty bad. 

UPDATE 4 March 2021 18:26:  Successful surgery, likely going to be a long recovery.  Oof, what a day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Dad Joke XL

How much room do fungi need to grow?

As mushroom as possible.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

More on gunshot first aid

Long time reader and some times commenter Tacitus was an ER doc.  I emailed him a link to Divemedic's excellent post on gunshot first aid and asked if he had any thoughts from the perspective of the ER surgeon.  This is his reply, posted with his gracious consent.  It seems entirely sensible.


Treating gunshot wounds.  A different perspective.

As a regular reader of Borepatch I read with interest the account of the recent “Blogshoot”.  It sounds like a lot of fun.  Afterwards our amiable host asked if I’d comment on the points raised by Divemedic, which were to some extent general First Aid but dealt specifically with what to do if someone gets shot. 

I’ll start by saying that the advice was all good.  EMTs in the field do a lot of little things so that by the time they get to my ER things are hopefully in as good a state as can be.  But here’s my take.

  1. Far and away the most important thing is not to get shot.  This seems obvious, but what part of firearms safety isn’t!  Guns are extremely effective at the job they are designed to do.  If I had any spare neurons left at my age I would not use them debating which clotting agent is best.  Nope, I’d recite the basic rules of firearms safety as a mantra.
  2. OK, let’s say the worst does happen.  There are several very important considerations.  Location, location, location….  There are places where a bullet can hit you where no first aid will help.  Conversely, if you take off the tip of your little toe you will be little the worse for the experience and much the wiser for it.  Tourniquets, heating blankets, dressings…these are with one or two exceptions mostly useful only for the in between things.  Extremity wounds with bleeding for instance.
  3. Location, location, location Part II.  For any given injury the survival rate will vary greatly by where you got shot.  Across the street from Mass General Hospital?  You would have a good chance of surviving anything that was not neurologically devastating.  Going caribou hunting in remote parts of Alaska?  A shovel might be an appropriate addition to your first aid kit.  That’s because…
  4. Time matters.  In trauma there is the concept of a “Golden Hour”.  We have impressive abilities to rapidly, if temporarily, respond to physiological challenges.  Our blood clots.  We mobilize our immune system.  We pick up our heart rate to move around what blood remains faster.  Those systems will eventually fail.  Sooner if you are old and frail.  Later if young and healthy.  I’ll always remember a fit young man who came to the ER with no warning.  He had a gunshot wound that destroyed his femoral artery.  His buddies threw him in the car and drove like hell.  His heart was still beating, but 99% of his blood was on the floor of a Chevy Suburban.  In many cases the most important thing you can do in the face of an obvious serious injury is to call 911 with exact information.  Where you are.  The nature of the injury.  Trust me, if you say the words “gunshot wound, looks bad” and then stand out in a field waving a flag when you hear the helicopter, you’ve done a great deal.
  5. I’d also put in a plug for remembering that there are other far more common medical emergencies that you’ll encounter at the range, and everywhere else.  Take a basic first aid course and learn CPR.  Know your range buddies well enough to pick up on things like low blood sugar…confused people with firearms would seem like a very bad scenario.

And finally I’d say, don’t panic.  Keep your wits about you and do the best job you can.  It’s all you can ask of non professionals.  And it can often make a difference.

In closing I’ll say thanks to all the Borepatchians who offered advice a few months back when I was researching deer rifles after becoming a first time hunter in retirement.  I put your wisdom to good use and am happy with the first firearm I’ve ever owned.  And yes, I do recite the rules of firearms safety as my mantra.

Tacitus MD 

Dad Joke XXXIX

How did the octopus beat the shark in a fight?

He was well armed. 

Monday, March 1, 2021

Quote of the Day: Tyranny Edition

He who would establish a tyranny, first establishes a bodyguard.

- Aristotle, Politics



What's the difference between a dad joke and a bad joke?

Just the first letter.