Monday, March 21, 2011

Sometimes I Wonder About My English Ancestry

Summer is Icumen In
(anon., circa 1500)

Summer is icumen in,
    Lhude sing cuccu;
Groweht sed and bloweth med
    And springth the wude nu.
       sing cuccu!
Awe bleteth after lomb,
    Lhouth after calve cu;
Bulluc sterteth, bucke verteth;
    Murie sing cuccu.
      Cuccu, cuccu,
    Wel singes thu, cucu,
   Ne swik thu naver nu.
Sing cuccu nu! Sing cuccu!
Sing cuccu! Sing cuccu nu!

 Spring, the Sweet Spring
(Thomas Naish, circa 1600) 

Spring, the sweet Spring is the year's pleasant King;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu we, to witta woo.

The palm and and may country houdes gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune the merry lay,
Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu we, to witta woo.

The fields breathe sweet, daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes do greet,
Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu we, to witta woo.
spring, the sweet spring!

Must be the English inbreeding. It seems they hit the jug,jug too often making them cuckoo!
Lhude sing cuccu;
sing cuccu! 
Murie sing cuccu.
Cuccu, cuccu,
    Wel singes thu, cucu,
sing cuccu nu! Sing cuccu!
Sing cuccu! Sing cuccu nu!
Cuckoo, jug, jug, pu we, to witta woo.


À tout à l'heure.
“Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight"

The word "news" is an Oxymoron

Shouldn't the word "news" be "olds"? The Media generally reports what has happened, not what is happening.  Invariably, the verb is in the past tense.

  • The Allies bombed Libya - not the allies are bombing Libya
  • Obama was elected president - not Obama is being elected president
  • In the obits, Joe Blow died yesterday - not Joe Blow is dying right now
  • There is a traffic jam properly is "there was a traffic jam when we last looked"
  • Kansas is reporting a such and such a vote for John Smith. What they really mean is that Kansas recently reported such and such a vote.
On some occasions they breathlessly report what is happening
  • The president is getting on Air Force one (o.k. how is that immediately interesting?)
  • Congress is meeting as we speak to discuss such and such (so? what we really want to know is the results.
  • The cars are making a left turn for hours in the Indianapolis 500. Its really only interesting at the moment the first car passes over the finish line.
  • The crowd awaits in anticipation of the next celebrity to walk down the red carpet (smirk)
 On some occasions, they report what will happen providing that God is willing and the Creeks don't rise.
  • In Dallas, "JFK is going to the airport" (if other events don't intervene)
  • The Vikings and Giants will play in Minneapolis (providing the roof doesn't collapse on the stadium)
  • We will suppress Al-Qeada and the invasion of Afghanistan will be over quickly the seers predicted since 10 years is quick compared to the eons of time.
  • There will be a super perigee on the ides of March making the moon look 25% bigger. While technically correct, it was mostly overcast because of winter storms over cast and it just did not appear at all!
  • There will be an earthquake in California in the next week predicts that scientific bastion, The Christian Broadcast Network.
  • My favorite is that there is a 20% chance that there will an earthquake in the next 20 years. Doesn't that mean that meaning that there is an 80% chance there won't be? That may be of interest if earthquakes were not random occurrences that can occur at any time and scientists cannot really predict them.

"Latest News! Read all about..." in the past. "News" is almost always "old" before they report it.

À tout à l'heure.
“Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight"

How Many Countries are Attacking Libya?

Is someone actually using a thesaurus to try and make each new dispatch sound differently? Or merely to obfuscate the fact that there only 3 nations attacking Libya. We are up to 8 phrases, now. It seems to change hour to hour, even minute to minute!

Get out the hip boots and head for high ground. Its piling higher by the hour!

1) World Community intervenes in Libya
  • World community = the three self-appointed policemen of the world, the Us, Britain and  France
2) US and Europe intervenes in Libya (NATO?)
  •  US and Europe = the US, Britain, and France
3) Allies intervene in Libya (The worldwide allies of WWII?)
  •  Allies = the US, Britain, and France
4) the Coalition intervenes in Libya
  •  Coalition = the US, Britain, and France
5) International Forces intervene in Libya
  •  International Forces = the US, Britain, and France
6) Allied Forces intervene in Libya

  •  Allied Forces = the US, Britain, and France
7) Western Powers intervene in Libya

  •  Western Powers = the US, Britain, and France 
8) International Alliance intervenes in Libya
  •  International Alliance = the US, Britain, and France
    What's next?

    The Intergalactic Council intervenes in Libya
    •  Intergalactic Council = the US, Britain, and France
    Mickey Mouse Club intervenes in Libya
    • The Mickey Mouse Club = the US, Britain, and France
    To paraphrase the Bard of Avon,

    "An obfuscation by any other name is still a smokescreen!"

    À tout à l'heure.
    “Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight"

    Government Wasting Money in Libya Bombing

    "A military official said Air Force B-2 stealth bombers flew 25 hours in a round trip from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and dropped 45 2,000-pound bombs [... on Libya...]" (this link seems to be a moving target; the url is the same but the content changes)

    At a cruise speed of 560 mph, that's on the order of 14,000 miles per plane round-trip or about 42,000 miles for the whole mission!!!

    "The bomber ... carries 16 x 2,400 lb (1,100 kg). The B-2 is the only aircraft that can carry large weapons in a stealth configuration."  45/16 = 3 bombers

    Drop the stealth requirement and a b-52 could have dropped 35 2000 lbs or 105 bombs for 3 planes, or 2.3 times as many bombs as the B-2. Does it matter if Libya can "see" a stealth bomber that flies at 50,000 feet. The airspace would have been cleared by fighter jets before the B-2 could be used, I should hope, so the stealth feature is probably irrelevant.
    B-2 Specifications
    B-52 Specifications 

    At a cruise speed of 560 mph, the trip is on the order of 14,000 miles per plane round-trip or about 42,000 miles for the whole mission!! The range of a B-2 is only 6,000 miles, so they would have had to been refueled 3 times.

    I wonder what the cost/lb of explosive was figuring in the fuel cost, operation cost, and maintenance cost? Plus the cost of Ipads for the crew to amuse themselves with during the flight. Guaranteed that either one of the other pilot would be on downtime during the flight.

    Why couldn't they ferry the planes to bases in Spain or Germany or England to reduce overall future costs?

    I wonder what the cost justification is for using a $1.01 billion stealth bomber to drop 16 bombs? Wouldn't it be more cost effective to fly a $53.4 million b-52 to drop 35 bombs.

    Also take into the account the loss of a single airplane. You could lose 18 B-52's for the cost of one B-2. With a B-52, the loss of life would be 2.5 times higher. But what the hey, give them medals and send them home heroes.

    How about using the A-10 Thunderbolt II  Warthog? It was very effective in the Iraq invasion against vehicles (and other targets) and could carry the equivalent of 8 2,000 lbs. (6 sorties for 45 bombs instead of 3). If a plane were lost, it would only be $11.8 million vs. $53.4 million vs. $1.01 billion. They might have a small combat radius, but there's already a squadron in Germany and they could be based further south quickly. They work very well in the harsh conditions of the middle eastern deserts.Warthog Specifications

    But then, isn't 3 sorties of 14,000 miles using a billion dollar plane more cost effective that using 6 sorties of 1000 miles using a $12 million plane. Well, according to our Defense Department it is.

    Maybe they don't use the Warthog because its too ugly and ruins their image!

    À tout à l'heure.
    “Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight"

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Absurdities of the Day, 2011-03-20

    I need to clear my mind before I start my taxes today.

    - Yesterday was the rare coincidence of the Ides of March and a super perigee of the moon, causing the moon to appear 25% larger. Most of the US didn't witness it because of the cloud overcast of spring storms.

    - We were also informed (informed as fact, not as a possibility)  by that bastion of scientific inquiry,  the Christian Broadcast Network, that there will be "the big one"  ( a major earthquake)  in California this week. They did not mention where in the 163,696 sq mi (423,970 km2) it would occur. The last major quake, the Northridge quake, was not predicted nor was it on a fault line that anyone knew about. But I do have my aluminum hat and glow sticks at the ready because Earthquakes are essentially a random occurrence. Who knew about the earthquakes in Indonesian, Haiti, or Japan? Seismologists have been warning us that there is a 20% chance that the "big one" will strike in the next 20 years. Doesn't that mean that there is an 80% chance there won't be??? 

    - Yesterday, I was ratified by a US government agency that I to had become an official senior citizen with the right to ride the Metro at a reduced price, emplacement dans les sièges pour des retraités, l'antique, et droit à côté des femmes enceintes and eat at a discount at the local salad bar.

    - I will now receive a retirement pittance for a lifetime from a fortune 500 company as I slowly wane into my dotage. I rather wax into my dotage. (I'm told that it starts on April Fools Day, so I'll see if it actually arrives)

     - I have been told that I have a certain je ne sais pas. My psychiatric team can define it exactly: recalcitrant mixed state rapid cycling bipolar affective disorder, i.e. I'm crazy. I asked there will be a "cure" soon. They laughed and said, "Not in your lifetime!"

    - I've found a new online toy that translates

    If a woodchuck could chuck wood, how much wood could a woodchuck chuck?

    into utter nonsense in 12 different languages using the correct alphabet for each.

    - I came to the epiphany that if you turn off the sound on the TV and take your glasses off its a kaleidoscope of color and movement that enhances your enjoyment of life (it saves a lot of money by not buying recreational mind enhancements)

    - My heart's desire has been fulfilled when I was invited to pray with a devotional purpose online by the Christian Broadcast Network

    - The news yesterday blared "The world is taking unusually quick Intervention in Libya". Today it has been softened to "The US and European Nations have bombed Libya". What that really means is that the US, England, and France, the three self-appointed policemen of the world, have struck Libya. The rest of Europe has not the least bit interest in becoming mired in another draining, protracted engagement such as Afghanistan and Iraq. The Arab world is using the policemen as puppets to do its dirty work clean up their house for them, luring the policemen with oil. Asian, Non-US America, and the rest of the world could care less and the other martinets of the world are tightening their grips lest they be next.

    - Collateral Damage is the most obscene phrase in the English language. The military uses it to obscure their wanton massive murder, maiming, and destruction of the property of innocent noncombatants. Just what exactly is an acceptable level of Collateral Damage? Who determines it? The self-righteous marauders or their victims, blown off the face of the Earth?

    - Today's media (Cinema, TV,) has robbed most people of their imagination. It has reduced its presentation to mere visceral voyeurism, blurring the line between cinema and video game: a movie can morph into a video game; a video game morph into a movie. Lost is their ability to imagine the world evoked by such works as "War of the Worlds" as originally written by H.G. Wells or the brilliant adaption by Orson Welles (no relation) the allows the reader/listener to build his own images of the events. These are only a tiny bit of the enormous amount of imagination evoking literature in the world. What do you imagine Shangri La or Xanadu or Eden look like? (Spell Check wants to spell it as "Oxnard)"? Any image current Cinema or TV gives us pales in comparison to what our imagine can see.

    - Along the same lines, what media immediately engages your attention and leads into the depths of the human soul as effectively as the written word or well constructed play. "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times", "Call me Ismael", or "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble"

    - Cinema and TV, for the most part, is shallow and superficial. They give short snippets of morality tales, not even as thoughtful as Aesop, or mindless pap with such paragons of intelligence as Seinfeld or Rosanne or Charlie Sheen (I'm sure the Estevez family forced him to change his name!)

    - Don't you wish that the gays, celebs, sports stars, smut peddlers, bible thumpers and others who flaunt or debase their sexuality go back into the closet? Their is nothing wrong with it; its just none of my business. I am confident in mine and its none of your business. They must have such a tiny self image, or ego, or exclusive, biased Weltanschauung. How sad for them.

    - New computer "scientists" should be required to choose their fonts looking through the wrong end of a telescope so that they can see how the rest of the world squints to read their nonsense.

    - Have you been fargling with your best friend, lover, spouse, or children today.

    - This friggin editor sucks the big green ...!!!!

    (Spell check regularly fails miserably in argot of any kind, English 101, Foreign Languages 101,The Arts 101, Science 101, and other liberal and scientific subjects , invents it own collection of nonsense words, and has absolutely no sense of context nor sense of humor)

    Ce qui, je souci? À tout à l'heure.
    “Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight"

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    Tom o' Bedlam

    The Madhouse - the 8th panel from William Hogarth's "A Rake's Progress" 
    Per this article, Tom o' Bedlam, the term "Tom O' Bedlam" (a Bedlamite) was used in Early Modern Britain and later to describe beggars and vagrants who had or feigned mental illness.They claimed, or were assumed, to have been former inmates at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, (Bedlam) in London, recognised as the world's first and oldest institution to specialise in the mentally ill. Apparently, some of the inmates were sent out into the streets to beg for food to keep its costs down, a practice that Ebenezer Scrooge would hardily approve.

    You can see in the Hogarth's painting the poor treatment of the wretched souls.

    Even more amazing in the painting are the fine ladies, fans in hand, because "in the 18th century people used to go to Bedlam to stare at the lunatics. For a penny one could peer into their cells, view the freaks of the "show of Bethlehem" and laugh at their antics. Entry was free on the first Tuesday of the month.In 1814 alone, there were 96,000 such visits." That was 400 British pounds a year, a pretty in the 18th Century! (Inflation programs go off the chart trying to calculate the income at present day prices!)
    Bedlam Boys
    circa 1600, anon.   
    For to see Mad Tom of Bedlam,
    Ten thousand miles I've traveled.
    Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes,
    For to save her shoes from gravel
    "Still I sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys
    Bedlam boys are bonny
    For they all go bare and they live by the air 
    And they want no drink or money."  

    Tom o' Bedlam
    circa 1600, anon.
    From the hagg and hungrie goblin
    That into raggs would rend ye,
    And the spirit that stands by the naked man
    In the Book of Moones - defend ye!
    That of your five sound senses
    You never be forsaken,
    Nor wander from your selves with Tom
    Abroad to beg your bacon.
    (Chorus; sung after every verse)
    While I doe sing "any foode, any feeding,
    Feedinge, drinke or clothing,"
    Come dame or maid, be not afraid,
    Poor Tom will injure nothing.
    Of thirty bare years have I
    Twice twenty been enraged,
    And of forty been three times fifteen
    In durance soundly caged.
    On the lordly lofts of Bedlam,
    With stubble soft and dainty,
    Brave bracelets strong, sweet whips ding-dong,
    With wholesome hunger plenty.
    With a thought I took for Maudlin
    And a cruse of cockle pottage,
    With a thing thus tall, skie blesse you all,
    I befell into this dotage.
    I slept not since the Conquest
    Till then I never waked,
    Till the roguish boy of love where I lay
    Me found and stript me naked.
    When I short have shorne my sowre face
    And swigged my horny barrel,
    In an oaken inn I pound my skin
    As a suit of gilt apparel.
    The moon's my constant Mistrisse,
    And the lowly owl my morrowe,
    The flaming Drake and the Nightcrow make
    Me music to my sorrow.
    The palsie plagues my pulses
    When I prigg your pigs or pullen,
    Your culvers take, or matchless make
    Your Chanticleers, or sullen.
    When I want provant, with Humfrie
    I sup, and when benighted,
    I repose in Powles with waking souls
    Yet never am affrighted.
    I know more than Apollo, 
    For oft, when he lies sleeping
    I see the stars at bloody wars
    In the wounded welkin weeping,  
    The  moone embrace her sheperd
    And the queen of Love her warrior,
    While the first doth horne the star of morne,
    And the next the heavenly Farrier.
    The Gipsie Snap and Pedro
    Are none of Tom's companions.
    The punk I skorne and the cut purse sworne
    And the roaring boyes bravadoe.
    The meek, the white, the gentle,
    Me handle touch and spare not
    But those that crosse Tom Rynosseros
    Do what the panther dare not.
    With a host of furious fancies
    Whereof I am commander,
    With a burning spear and a horse of air,
    To the wilderness I wander.
    By a knight of ghostes and shadowes
    I summon'd am to tourney
    Ten leagues beyond the wild world's end.
    Methinks it is no journey.

    (Alas and lackaday, Spell Check still miserably fails English 101)

    Ce qui, je souci? À tout à l'heure.

    “Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight"

    Rubin Navarette on the Change of Hispanic Demographics in the U.S.

    Ruben Navarette makes the assertion that "The United States is becoming an Hispanic country. And it's happening much faster than anyone expected." His OP-ED piece is very interesting reading.

    Is America becoming becoming a Hispanic Country?

    He may be overstating it a bit, but the basis of his thesis seems to be sound. 

    "The real story isn't what's happening in Texas, California, Florida or New York, which have long been home to significant numbers of Hispanics. It's about the demographic changes in states such as Alabama, Louisiana, Kansas and Maryland, where Hispanics are a relatively new commodity -- and the accommodations that have to be made between new arrivals and longtime residents." (and Utah!. They are indeed ready for a refreshing of their cloistered bloodlines.)
    "... maybe you [...have already...] figured out that the Hispanic population in the United States was exploding when you saw the quixotic efforts of some to stop the trend by cracking down on illegal immigration and -- for an encore -- trying to limit legal immigration as well."

    I find this one of the most telling points that he makes,
    "But in states such as [... California, Florida, ...], Arizona, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico, you also have Hispanic families that can trace their American roots back hundreds of years"   
    In fact, many Amierican mestizos can trace their ancestry to our indigenous people.  

    In fact, St. Augustine Florida, was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers and is the oldest continuously occupied European established city or port the the continental U.S. The southwest U.S. was Spanish controlled a hundred years or more before it was ceded to the U.S. at the end of the Mexican-American war. California was settled by the Spanish 80 years before the Mexican American war. Many Americans of Spanish ancestry trace their ancestors to 18th century or much earlier.
     "[... Americans ...] should acknowledge the positive impact to their communities ... of people who are, by nature, conservative, hardworking, optimistic, patriotic and entrepreneurial. Hispanics aren't a threat to the United States; they're an essential component. Visit any military cemetery in the United States and count the Spanish surnames. You'll see that Hispanics have already contributed so much to this country"
    Americans like the Cisco Kid's sidekick Pancho, Leo Carillo , who's ancestors go back to the founding of California, have made major contributions to the fabric of American culture.  In Leo's honor, there is the Leo Carrillo State Park, schools named after him, and the Leo Carillo Ranch Historic Park. "Hey Cisco! Hey Pancho!"

    Lest we forget, 3 of the largest and oldest cities in the U.S. are in California and have Spanish names - Los Angeles(1), San Diego, and San Jose.

    Here, in San Jose, California, the 10th largest city in the U.S., there is no ethnic majority. The "Hispanic" community is almost as large as the other European ethnic groups combined, loosely defined as "white"(2); the people of Asian ancestry and others split the difference.  Yet we have the lowest crime rate of any large city in the country. (United States cities by crime_rate). So much for the negative influence of the Mexicans!

    I was lunching with a colleague from back east and he was grousing about why the Mexicans didn't learn to speak English. After all, this was America! I pointed out that we worked at the Santa Teresa Labs and were in a diner on Santa Teresa Blvd., in the City of San Jose, in the County of Santa Clara, in the State of California. 'Nuff said. 

    Yes, America is a country of immigrants and the Spanish settled in the U.S. in the 16th century at the same time as other European immigrants. They're here for the long haul.

    à tout à l'heure
    “Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight"

    (1) El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula has the honor of the shortest abbreviation of any city in the world, L.A.

    (2) I detest the racial sobriquet of "white". We respect other ethnic backgrounds such as African Americans. I insist that I am an English-American, not "white". After all, my ancestors are immigrants from England, going back to 1729 and as late as 1914,  and all of them are proud Americans.