From Pine View Farm

Personal Musings category archive

Looking Stuff Up Is Important 0

I’m currently listening to The Mystery of 31 New Inn by R. Austin Freeman, who is distinguished as the first mystery novelist to employ forensic science in his novels.

All the Librivox audio books are read by volunteers. In this particular reading, reference is made to Trichinopoly cigars (those of you who have read The Canon may recall references to them).

The volunteer who reads this chapter refers to them as try-KEEN-o-poh-ly cigars.

Words fail me.

(Otherwise, the reader does an excellent job.)

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Stray Thought 0

Every time I go to the polls, one of the poll workers offers me an “I voted” sticker.

This is perversely reversed.

The persons who do not vote should wear stickers.


The Candidates Debate 1

And I don’t care.

In the unlikely case that you’re curious as to why I pay no attention to candidate debates, it’s that they have devolved into substance-less side shows.


Another Sign of a Crumbling Civilization 0

I ran out of ink for my fountain pen.

I had to order a new bottle on line, as it’s no longer available in my local physical emporium.


Stray Thought 0

Donald Trump has demonstrated one thing conclusively. Neither the Republican Party nor Republicans are capable of shame.


“Years Ago” at the Recycling Center 0

Woman (almost wistfully): That seems like years ago.

Me: What?

She: Your bumper sticker.

Me: Which bumper sticker?

She: Clinton/Kaine. . . .


Stray Question 0

Whatever happened to whitewall tires?

They seem to have disappeared.


Customer Care 0

I got a call from the “business development” arm of my hosting provider yesterday to inquire as to what needs I might have. They call about once a quarter.

After introductory pleasantries, I informed the caller that my site is not a business site, but a hobbyist site (unsaid was, “So whatever you’re selling, I ain’t buying”). He asked, “By the way, what’s the hobby?”

I said, “Running a website.”

That’s when he started laughing . . . .

(By the by, I am quite happy with my hosting provider, particularly with the tech support, which has proven extremely competent. It’s the calibre of the tech support that keeps me with them. I don’t need tech support often, because I generally know what I’m doing, but, when I do need it, I need it bad.)


Stray Thought 0

One indicator that a TV show or movie is from the last century is that the characters find payphones whenever they need to make telephone calls.


It’s All about the Algorithm 0

David discusses how YouTube’s changing its algorithm is affecting his business model. I’m posting this because I think it is a telling commentary of the state of media today. Although I find David a sane and reasonable commentator–that’s why I from time to time feature his commentary–part of me agrees with Bob Cesca that we need to “bring back the gatekeepers.”

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The Candidates Debate 0

(Yawn) I’ll read about them tomorrow. Or, more likely, not.

Candidate debates are Kabuki without the entertainment value.

Policies, positions, and integrity matter.


Stray Question 0

If you dream that you have insomnia, do you get any rest?


Misty Water-Colored Memories 0

I thought these were a thing of the past.


Stray Thought 0

I’m so old that I can remember when politicians of a certain age voluntarily entered retirement.


Deseg 0

It was my junior year in high school when my school district decided that integration was inevitable. One I’m certain carefully picked black girl joined the senior class. The next year, when I was a senior, in a bold step, eleven I’m certain just as carefully picked black students joined the senior class. (Simultaneously, two seg academies sprang up and the prom was canceled).

I know of no incidents among the students, at least not at school, and, had there been any outside of school, I probably would have heard of them; it was a very small school (there were 70 in my graduating class). I do know that many of the older white teachers retired or moved to the seg academies rather than face the advent of “full integration,” in which, as in many Southern school districts, the former black high school became a junior high and the former white high school became a senior high, because school spirit or something.

I recall that one of the older lady teachers was mortified when, in a photo of the track team, the local paper switched my name with that of one of my black team mates. (I got the full story from my mother, who was a math teacher.) Me, I didn’t care–he and I got along just fine.

This is by way of commending to your attention an article in my local rag about the “Norfolk 17,” the first black students to attend a previously all-white high school in Norfolk, Virginia, and the reception they faced. Here’s a bit:

But it’s one thing to read about something. It’s another to meet Patricia Turner, one of the 17, and hear her describe how white teachers wore gloves to avoid touching her papers, how classmates taunted her and people spit in her hair.

The springboard for the article was that four students won an award for their documentary about the Norfolk 17. As a footnote, one of the things that struck me was the names of the four student documentarians: Javier Miranda-Castro, Kaleem Haq, Jacob Hill, and Kobe Nguyen.


“Electabilty” 0

F. T. Rea observes, in the course of a longer post, that

The more I hear about “electability,” the more it seems to be something like beauty, because it appears to be a quality that lies in the eye of the beholder.

I have concluded that, when someone’s primary criticism of this or that candidate is that said candidate is “unelectable,” it indicates that he or she can find no other more weighty criticism to make.


Recommended Reading 0

Murder Must Advertise, by Dorothy Sayers.

I just read it for the second time, or maybe it was the third, and you should too.


An Old Chessnut 0

I’ve been hiding from reality when I’ve not been feeding the blog by doing New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles. (I don’t like little crosswords–just big ones.) But they are getting too easy, so I decided to re-take up chess.

It’s been a long time since I played chess–I pretty much stopped when I learned how to play contract bridge, but it looks like the odds of my finding a bridge foursome are longer than one of Peter Jackson’s movies in his Hobbit trilogy (to tell the truth, after the first two, I couldn’t work up the interest to see the third one, and I’ve read The Lord of the Rings almost as many times as I’ve read The Canon).

At Project Gutenberg, one of the most worthwhile places on the inner tubes, I found a great text on chess written by Edward Lasker. I printed it out and have been working my way through it.

I also needed a chess set; it’s been years since I’ve had one. I tried a couple of local stores and was not impressed. I wanted something similar to the travel chess set I had way back when, because there’s not a lot of room here to leave a chess set sitting open, and the few sets I found were gimmicky–Harry Potter and Game of Thrones sets, for example.

So I nosed around on Amazon and found a great set from an outfit called Wood Expressions–here’s a direct link. It was quite moderately priced and the workmanship is impressive. It’s a little difficult to tell the bishops from the pawns in the dark pieces, but I’m getting used to it; and chess is slowly coming back to me.

Travel chess set


Jesus! The Spam! 0

Just for grins and giggles, I am appending below the fold a spam comment that has been repeatedly appearing in my blog’s spam catcher for the last several weeks submitted as a comment to random posts by [fake names].

I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church before it went bucking fonkers.

These clowns represent no Christianity that I know. And that persons believe this demented drivel scares the bejesus out of me.

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“Jackie Robinson Day” 0

Last night, I tuned into ESPN to watch the Phillies play the bad guys of the day New York Mets.

I did not know that Major League Baseball was celebrating “Jackie Robinson Day.”

Every player wore Jackie Robinson’s number, 42 (a number that is otherwise retired from Major League Baseball). In a refreshing change from the normal drivel of the play-by-play and commentary, the telecast included visits to the play booth by Jamie Foxx, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, and Mo Ne Davis, as well as a filmed tribute to her father by Sharon Robinson. In addition, the commentators discussed the contributions of Jackie Robinson to baseball, civil rights, and American society, as well as larger issues regarding the place of African-Americans in baseball and in society.

As I listened to these tributes to one of the bravest men to don a baseball uniform, I could not stem a rising tide of dismay at the overt racism of the current federal administration.

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