Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Whine All You Want, the Guy is Right

The latest post-tempest tempest in a teapot was set off by Bill Nye, who had the temerity to connect the recent Texas flooding to climate change. As is usual these days, the "controversy" was initiated by a "tweet": Billion$$ in damage in Texas & Oklahoma. Still no weather-caster may utter the phrase Climate Change.

Put in layperson's terms, warming fosters evaporation, and allows the atmosphere to retain more water vapor (also a greenhouse effect contributor), leading to increased precipitation. Even the typical conservative "durr hurr, why did the Northeast get so much snow if the planet is warming?" bit is foolish- climate change can intensify snowstorms... it still gets below freezing, and more atmospheric water vapor can mean more snow.

Besides the ad hominem attacks on Nye, the general consensus among the twits was that Nye is an "alarmist". Hell, people have died, the flooding continues- is that not an alarm? Too bad the dupes of the Fossil Fuel Industry and its PR flacks refuse to wake up. As the redoubtable Smut Clyde once noted, the rubes will use the last can of petrol to burn the last climate scientist at the stake. I hope that our coleopterous successors are better stewards of the planet.

As a postscript, let's check out what the loons who have tossed Occam's Razor out the window have to say about the Texas floods: yep, Obama's using HAARP to attack Texas... that perfidious Kenyan is using his weather smurfing machine to soften Texas up before the Jade Helm jackboots trample Texas freedom. Yeah, that antenna array up in Alaska has a greater capacity to change climate than the fucktons of pollutants we're constantly emitting, now that's scientificismication.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

American Boozehounds

In a comment on my last post, Vixen Strangely notes:

One of the weirdest things I've ever noticed, and I am probably at least somewhat a drunkard, is that our US holidays often end up skewing towards drinking occasions. I'm amazed we haven't finagled Groundhog Day into a reason to have "the usual" over and over again. But New Years', St Valentines (for the vino), St Pat's (for the Guiness and Bailey's cocktails), Cinco de Mayo (for everything that Coronas and Tequila can make), Memorial Day (to drink at BBQ's), Father's Day (buy Pops a case or a bottle), 4th of July (drunken fireworks), Labor Day--hoist a few beerskis for the working man), Oktoberfest, Halloween--dress as a sexy rocket scientist and get polluted, Thanksgiving: totally cider up or at least have a spumonte with your Turkey Day--which is what my parents' do, and Christmas means wassail your face off.

I submit that all US holidays are mostly get drunk off your face and buy stuff days.

We are not the greatest at remembering stuff. See: our getting totally 'faced on the regular.

I would guess that this is because booze is relatively cheap, and drinking an affordable form of recreation that people who can't afford jaunts to the Caribbean (where the rum is really good, BTW), yachting excursions, or, hell, even tickets to a professional sportball spectacular. Yep, tying one on is Joe and Jane Schmo's one affordable form of entertainment these days.

By historical standards, though, we're a bunch of temperance advocates- historically, an overabundance of corn and a paucity of preservation techniques led to the widespread production of whisky, and the ancestor of the morning coffee break was the elevenses, which in the 'States was a whisky break.

If this post seems pretty perfunctory, I'm in a bit of a rush- I'm going to meet my friends to chug a few beers at a local bar's "Trivia Night".

Monday, May 25, 2015

In Accordance with Our Memorial Day Tradition

As I have typically done on Memorial Day, I am embedding a video for Eric Bogle's Green Fields of France:

Memorial Day is a strange affair here in the 'States... it falls on a late May day and is considered the unofficial "first day of Summer". Most people have barbecues or hit the beaches, and it's a big drinking day. A lot of stores have Memorial Day sales. There are parades, but for most people, it's a party or a shop-til-you-drop day. Perhaps the holiday should be moved to a drearier month so it can be commemorated with solemnity.

Perhaps there should be more than eight or so national holidays, so people can have time for remembrance as well as recreation... as if that would ever happen.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Rare Egg, a Rattlin' Egg

While on my locking-up tour yesterday, I found a lovely, snug little nest on the verge of a field by our auxiliary parking lot:

I didn't see a parent around, but I did take a careful peek inside:

If I had to guess, I'd say that they are probably mockingbird eggs. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for the parents.

Regarding the post title, it's from a whimsical Irish folk song. My worksite is in a valley, and the ground gets pretty marshy in this area when it rains, but alas, it's no bog. Anyway, here's a version of this song by the Makem Brothers:

I have a friend who plays a lot of "family friendly" events and the cumulative nature of the song makes it great for sing-alongs. I can't find a video of him playing it for a crowd of grade-schoolers, but it's a sight to behold. Seeing a crowd of drunks singing it is even more entertaining.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Up the Irish Voter!

As a beloved Irish-American would put it, this is a big f'n deal: the voters of the Republic of Ireland legalized same-sex marriage by a wide margin (62.1% yea, 37.9% nay). For a country with a populace that is over 80% Roman Catholic, this vote constitutes a real wake-up call for the Roman Catholic Church- there is a wide gulf between the pulpit and the pews, with the laity tending to be kinder and more tolerant that the clergy. Here in the 'States, approximately 54% of Roman Catholics support same-sex marriage. Even the Pope has lightened up on LGBT people.

It is hard to predict the effect that such an overwhelming rejection of Church dogma by a population that has traditionally been seen as orthodox will have on the Church as a whole. In Ireland, though, evidence of horrific abuse on the part of Church-run institutions probably played a factor in the vote, as did the sheer fact of demographics- in a society in which large families were the norm, everybody is bound to have at least one LGBT relative.

The one blot on this otherwise outstanding day is the fact that Phil Chevron didn't survive to see this day. His song Under Clery's Clock was a tear-jerker that described the risks inherent to same-sex attraction in a society which made such relationships illegal:

Good on the voters, now let's hope that this vote is just the start of a worldwide human rights campaign for LGBT folks.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Caught in the Act

A couple of nights ago, while I was receiving the start-of-shift briefing from the evening guy (I'm the night guy), I noticed that a VERY cheeky raccoon decided that it would be a good idea to rummage for dinner though a trash barrel not ten feet from where we were standing. I had meant to take a picture, but mistakenly took a brief video instead:

There was no way this furry goofball couldn't have noticed us standing nearby, conducting a conversation. At one point, while the beast was completely inside the barrel, I contemplated kicking the barrel to see if it would freak out, but decided that being a leg's length from a freaked out raccoon really wasn't a pleasant place to be.

In the daytime, we have a comical squirrel that hovers by the trash barrels, waiting for an opportunity to dash inside for a snack. I guess the squirrel's the day shift... I wonder if it and the raccoon have change-of-shift briefings too.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

19 Indictments and Counting

One aphorism I firmly believe is "scratch a moralist, reveal a pervert". Well, once again, this adage is proved true- one of the Duggar children is a child molestor. As if that weren't horrific enough, via Tengrain, we learn that Bad Touch Duggar had a job that he was particularly unsuited for:

You cannot make this shit up: Josh Duggar is now resigned from anti-gay Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, where he was a lobbyist working on keeping predator gays away from kids

Leave it to a bunch of fundies to hire an actual monster to perpetrate character assassination on "undesirables". I can't even muster any schadenfreude here because of the hideous nature of Duggar's crimes. I sincerely hope that his sisters find the courage to leave the fundamentalist fold. In the meantime, all of those "family values" candidates who have been photographed with the guy are going to have a hell of a time shoving all of their adulation for the Duggars down the memory hole.