Tuesday, November 24, 2015

More Newsspeak

Image credit Clipart, here.

I've previously posted a couple of times (here and here) about how our news readers (as they would say in the UK) talk.

I am forced to again pick up my figurative blogging pen.  All the bad news from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia causes me to make an observation about the reporting, without even dealing with the awful content.

For example, when did the i's change to o's, making the country of Pakistan change from "Pack-i-stan" to "Pock-i-ston"?

And when did the religion Muslim change from "Muzz-lim" to "Moose-lim"?

And a 14 year old peeve: don't even get me started on the whole notion of Qatar, whether it be "Cutter," "Gutter," or "Kah-tarr."  Good thing that unfortunate state is not currently in the news, after its 15 minutes of fame during the George W. Bush adventures in the Middle East.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cats in Art: Crazy Woman With Cats (Picasso)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  This is the third of several posts on the cat art of Pablo Picasso.

Image credit Art Institute Chicago.   Crazy Woman with Cats, Pablo Picasso, 1901, oil on pulp board, 17" x 16", held by Art Institute Chicago. 

I really like this image, and of course wonder how and why Picasso came to paint this?  Was this a real scene from his life, or just a thought that popped into his head to paint?  

Regardless, even crazy people need kitties. Maybe especially crazy people.  And speaking of crazy, it seems that the Art Institute Chicago inexplicably does not currently have this painting on display.  What's up with that?

To me, the cats seem indistinct and perhaps painted thus to represent the concept of catness rather than a discrete image of a cat. 

Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!

Friday, November 20, 2015

It Has Now Been Done

Image credit Gary

Yes, we all now have another reason to go on living: "they" have built a better mousetrap. This killing machine is the Victor Quick-Kill.

After having mice raiding our cold cellar crawl space and hitting our sweet potatoes, I set some traps I already had on hand. Unfortunately, the critters were  smarter than the existing traps, stealing bait with impunity.

So I spent about $5 for a pair of these babies, with swift and lethal results.

The main improvement is that the trigger is preset, with no variability. When the little rodent presses his nose into the opening of the covered bait compartment (I used peanut butter), the lid lifts juuuust a tiny bit, the trigger is tripped, and WHAM!  The mouse is toast and heads to to gigantic cheese wheel in the sky.

This literally IS a better mousetrap.

By the way, we have 3 indoor cats. Those kitties are absolutely worthless as predators. So much for the supposed ancestral feline-human symbiotic partnership and co-evolution. They've dropped the ball, big time, in ridding our house of rodents.

One more lapse and they're gone. GONE, I tell you!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Without a Trace of Irony

From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo on Wednesday:

Texas GOPer Warns Refugees Could Carry Out Attacks Thanks To Lax Gun Laws

Yes, that's the headline.  Then there's the detail:

In a two-page letter sent to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Monday, Dale asked state officials to reject the resettlement of more Syrian refugees within the Lone Star State’s borders after Friday's terror attacks in Paris. He argued that immigration documents granted to refugees would allow them to obtain Texas drivers' licenses, which in turn would allow them to procure firearms.
“While the Paris attackers used suicide vests and grenades it is clear that firearms also killed a large number of innocent victims," Dale wrote. "Can you imagine a scenario were [sic] a refugees [sic] is admitted to the United States, is provided federal cash payments and other assistance, obtains a drivers license and purchases a weapon and executes an attack?”

Meanwhile, regular American crazy people, who over the years have demonstrated a frightening recurring propensity for committing mass shootings, are not even mentioned.  I guess we only need to keep weapons out of the hands of foreign terrorists.  If they're domestic, then the 2nd Amendment applies.

So never mind the dead, that's just the price we pay for our 2nd Amendment freedom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Winter is Coming..and Ultrarunning

The bride recently told me, "You know, your blog doesn't really have much Ultrarunning stuff, does it?"

True that.  I started this blog off some 5 years ago focused upon Ultrarunning, then over the years I found my attention being diverted more and more to "philosophy...politics...other stuff" as I say on my masthead.

So...I do plan to include a return to a bit more Ultrarunning.

What better way than to do a post about layering up for winter running?

But before I do, you MUST watch this clip of the Jon Snow character from Games of Thrones from a recent appearance on Seth Meyers late night show.  Link is here if the embedded video playeth not.

OK, back to Ultrarunning...seriously.

I definitely am not a masochist, but I do confess to a warm, fuzzy--OK, smug--feeling when I'm out there and the other runners aren't.  Some of my greatest runs have occurred, when by any objective standard, the weather stinks. In a certain sense, there's no such thing as bad weather, only weather for which you are unprepared.

Here in south-central PA we get our share of cold weather, though not as severe as other areas. But regardless of the absolute temperature, we all know the standard advice is that you gotta go in layers. That's correct, but what you don't really hear emphasized very much is the flip side--that you also gotta be willing to peel off those layers as you warm up and with temperature/wind changes.

For example, in say 0-20 degree F weather I wear a long sleeve polypro type turtleneck under a windproof jacket. Given those temps that outfit generally remains static during the run.

However...what if the temp is a bit warmer, say in the 20s or lower 30s?  I often find I am a just a tad too layered up with the outfit above.  So if I sense that I'm sweating a little too much I'll unzip the shell or even take it off, tying it around my waist.  It is important to do that prior to getting your base layer long sleeve top all sweated up.

If the temp is in the upper 30s or above, I typically wear the long sleeve turtleneck base layer, as above, with a sleeveless vest rather than a full windproof jacket.

In any case, regardless of temperature, I'm always tinkering with my hat, gloves, whether I push my sleeves up, etc.  In other words, you must actively manage your personal microclimate. Sure, it's a minor hassle to peel clothes off/on. You can't avoid getting damp from sweat but you definitely want to avoid getting wet.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Still a Hippie at Heart

From the always good Professor Black:

No simple cause and effect with these things, ever, but we've been blowing people up and arming other people to blow people up and toppling governments and siding with the "moderate rebels" and then siding with the new moderate rebels and then the new new moderate rebels and then sometimes reconsidering and siding with the people the new new moderate rebels were attacking because those moderate rebels suddenly didn't seem too moderate anymore. Hey, where did all of those weapons go? Better send some more! Also, too, more training.

It's horrible when a lot of people get killed. Sometimes we see that, sometimes we don't.

As for what the hippies would do? Probably not quite so much blowing up. Might not work, but the blowing up isn't working too well either.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Cats in Art: Woman With Cat (Picasso)

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  This is the second of several posts on the cat art of Pablo Picasso.

Note that last week I could not develop my promised Picasso post, so I went with a rerun of a Gauguin.  Picasso returns today!!

Image credit WikiArt.   Woman with Cat, Pablo Picasso, 1900, pastel on paper, size unspecified, held in a private collection.

This unknown woman obviously loves her kitty.  While the woman is much larger in the frame, the cat actually occupies the dead center and is where my eyes are drawn.  The cat seems relaxed and quite content to be enveloped in the loving arms of the woman--after all, what's not to like: laying on the covers of a bed, being petted?

Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chainsaw Class: Applied Skills

Last weekend I took a chain saw safety class to get certified as a sawyer with my trail maintenance group, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC).  Now I can safely and legally use a chainsaw on the Appalachian Trail (and all other PATC-maintained trails) to remove blowdown trees, etc. to keep the trail clear.

Anyway, one of the benefits of the class is a set of safety gear.  So my fancy new sawyer Personal Protection Equipment just arrived (strangely, it was in a Star Wars theme, but that’s OK I guess), so I took this photo to demonstrate the skills I learned in class.

[Image credit Bored Panda