From Pine View Farm

Personal Musings category archive

Stray Question 0

Where is it written that aging actors should get gigs doing commercials directed at old persons urging them to buy dodgy products?

Twits on Twitter 0

Bob Molinaro, sportswriter extraordinaire:

Sign of the times: In the wake of three big-leaguers expressing regrets for homophobic and racists tweets written as teenagers, it’s past time pro franchises – and perhaps colleges – hired somebody to do nothing but comb through every player’s social media and delete old, embarrassing messages. Wait and see: Tweet hunters will be the newest sports growth industry.

I have mixed feelings about this stuff. On the one hand, dammit, my parents taught me how to behave in public, and these kids should have known how to behave in public. On the other hand, social media outfits aggressively try to convince their users that said outlets are somehow intimate spaces where they can betray all their most intimate secrets to marketeers express themselves freely.

And teen-aged boys do stupid things.

I know.

I was a teen-aged boy.

As I said, mixed feelings.

Facebook Frolics 0

Facebook Frolics, meet Tales of the Trumpling.

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Are You Going to Scarborough Fair? 0

While thankful that they have awakened from their willful slumbers, I can feel little sympathy for the sycophantic pundits who rode to fame and fortune on the Republican pony, but who are now realizing what the rest of us knew all along, that, throughout the ride, they were clutching an asp to their bosoms.

For example.

A Book from My Past Comes to Life 0

One of my favorite books when I was a kid was produced by that same potboiler mill that produced the Tom Swift series. My father had several of their output, old books from the 1920s and 1930s that my father had read and that my grandparents had stuffed in boxes in the attic. There were a few Tom Swifts, a couple of Bobbsey Twins, a Destroyer Boys (set in WWI), and maybe a few others.

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There Is No Right Turn for NASCAR 0

Today, yet another article appeared in my local rag wondering where, amid declining attendance and TV ratings,* NASCAR is heading.

Some persons blame the younger drivers for not having “star quality” (whatever that is), while those younger drivers charge the tracks with being outmoded and old-fashioned (whatever that means for an asphalt oval). Others argue that NASCAR should reach out to minorities, somehow not grasping that the sea of Confederate flags in a typical NASCAR track’s parking lot renders that notion somewhat beyond ludicrous. This particular article focused on the Commissioner, the grandson of NASCAR’s founder, and his seeming lack of interest in proselytizing for the sport.

No one, of course, mentions that NASCAR race cars long ceased to be “stock cars” in any sense of the word. And no one has mentioned the underlying cause.

Young folks these days are just not into cars. They don’t customize cars or models of cars; they don’t take them apart and repair them; they don’t buy broken down old heaps with a gleam in their eye to make them run and soup them up. I got a dollar to a doughnut that they don’t subscribe to Motor Trend or Sports Car Graphic (which I think is no longer with us), as I did when I was a teen.

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Adventures in Literacy 0

One of the technicians who repaired our air conditioner earlier this week used the word “inferred” in casual conversation.

And he used it correctly!

A Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight 0

Our household air conditioner broke on Sunday.

A new one is scheduled to be installed tomorrow. Natch, this happened just in time for the hottest hot spell of the year so far. That’s just how stuff works.

At the ABC Store today, I mentioned this to the clerk. He wanted to know who I called for service. When I told him, he was most gratified that I had not called [some other outfit]. He was most emphatic about it.

I filed his remarks away and will not call [some other outfit] in the future.

Recommended Reading 0

The Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Goong An), as translated by Robert van Gulik.

The Chinese invented the mystery story fully two centuries before westerners did; this is van Gulik’s translation of a Chinese mystery story. Van Gulik went on to write a series of Judge Dee mysteries based on the characters in Dee Goong An which does indeed absolutely rock.

I first encountered van Gulik’s novels in a little bookstore on 33rd Street across from Madison Square Garden (which, ironically, is round) when I was on a long-term assignment in New York City many years ago.

I’ve read them all. Now I’m reading them again. They are better the second time around.

No Place To Hide 0

I normally keep the GPS on my Android phone turned off, unless I have a positive need to use it. For example, I turn it on when I am using Move! Bike Computer to record a bicycle ride. Also, I don’t use the phone for navigation. I use maps.

Remember maps? They are big and colorful and easy to read and don’t talk back.

Yesterday, I turned the GPS on to perform a function and neglected to turn it off when I was done.

After going out for Sunday morning breakfast at our favorite breakfast place (it’s not fancy, but the food is good, the prices reasonable, the people nice, and the country ham to die for), we stopped at a local commercial emporium to purchase some items. Shortly thereafter, I received a message from Google asking me to provide a review of [name of commercial emporium].

I won’t make that mistake again.

It’s not Google’s business, or anyone else’s business, where the hell I choose to shop. Or where you choose to shop.

And people worry about the NSA and surveillance, for Pete’s sake, while they run nekkid through Silicon Valley without consciousness of their nekkidness, as Adam and Eve in Eden before eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

We are doomed.


Recommended Reading 0

The Silent Speaker, by Rex Stout.

Though it was written in 1946, it is eerily timely.

Stray Thought 0

Republicans no longer have a “political party.”

They have a hate group, and the sad truth is that hate sells.

Recommended Reading 0

Poets and Murder, by Robert van Gulik.

I think it is easily van Gulik’s best novel.

Okay, so I’m a mystery buff. But I will note that Robert van Gulik’s stories are reputed to give the best picture of day-to-day life in ancient China available to English readers. That is a tribute to van Gulik’s skill, as van Gulik was a Dutch diplomat and scholar who wrote in English.

Stray Thought 0

I used to live in a country. Now I live in a joke.

Q. Why Do Crossword Puzzle Writers Like the Word “Esne”? 0

A. Because it serfs their purpose.

Perversely Adverse 0

Ruth Lee Johnson explores the fascinating background of “adverse possession,” the legal doctrine by which a squatter can become a property owner simply by squatting.

I wish Johnson had delved more deeping into the history of adverse possession. I do know from an intensive study of Midsomer Murders that there exists in English common law a very old tradition that a landowner, for example, may not close an existing public land usage, such as a right-of-way. I would not be surprised to find that adverse possession somehow relates back to that, but I’m too lazy to find out.

Meta: Stats 0

I just checked my stats plugin. The numbers were higher than I had expected.

To all of you who did not abandon me when this blog was having its difficulties earlier this year, I proffer my deepest gratitude. To anyone new, welcome.

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Meta: Stats 0

I just reinstalled a statistics plugin.

I removed it when I was trying to troubleshoot the issues I was having back in February, issues which, with the help of my most excellent hosting provider, seem to have been resolved for several months now. At the time, I was getting about 600-700 unique visitors a day (not too bad for a small blog in the backwaters of the inner webs, AFAIC).

I was talking with my friend today about completing the day’s blogging (since I mostly do what I call “drive-by” posts–Hey! this looks interesting–I shoot for eight or nine posts a day) and she wondered how many persons visit this site. I told her that, right now, for the above-mentioned reason, I don’t really know, but feeding the blog helps me keep sane during this time of danger to our polity.

As I said, I don’t know right now how many visitors I have, but I do care, because I hope that some persons find my ramblings useful, interesting, or, at least, diverting.

Not the Mainstream, Just a Pathetic Eddy Off to the Side 0

No, Kyla Mandel, Mitt Romney is not the “GOP Mainstream.” Donald Trump is.

The stream has moved far to the right as a direct result of Richard Nixon’s southern strategy, which has come full circle and consumed the party, to the extent that it doesn’t even try to pretend any more.

Those who continue to give lip service to the mythical “moderate Republican” are living in a fable of their one creation. Worse, they are perpetuating the myth to the detriment of reality.

Facebook Frolics 0

At The Denver Post, Diane Carman explains that the blame doesn’t lie only with Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and their ilk. A snippet (follow the link for the rest):

Which brings us to the real problem.


Here’s the deal. You know that advertisement for overpriced slippers that keeps coming at you whenever you access your digital newspaper subscription or perform a Google search or check Facebook? At some point you innocently click on the ad to see what it’s all about, and then they’ve got you. The ads keep coming. And pretty soon you think you really need another pair of slippers even if they cost 150 bucks and, after all, they’re still just slippers.

You’ve been played.

A really really good con job is still a con job. Persons who stay aware and do their homework generally do not let themselves get conned.

The same goes for societies.