From Pine View Farm

Personal Musings category archive

If You Want Your Pet Cats To Annoy You Feign Affection . . . 0

. . . try putting the overweight beasts little darlings on a diet.


Trickle-On Economics 0

It’s been a long time since I studied economics in college, though I’ve never abandoned my interest in the topic, and, I must say, I’ve seen no better explanation of Reaganomics than the one offered by the character Quark as he refuses the post of Grand Nagus of Feringinar in the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.


“Produce an Heir” 0

I have encountered this phrase many times in fiction and literature, but, until I heard it in an episode of an OTR Sherlock Holmes radio show last night, I had not twigged to how coldly sexist, how manipulative, how dehumanizing to women it is.

(My eyes may open slowly, but they can sometimes open.)


One Thing Is Not Like the Other Thing 0

I recently watched an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in which Odo, played by Rene Auberjonois, mentioned Philip Marlowe and Mike Hammer in the same sentence.

I found this deeply offensive.

Raymond Chandler, creator of Philip Marlowe, was a writer.

Mickey Spillane, creator of Mike Hammer, was a hack.

I read a Mike Hammer novel once. Nothing made any sense, then Mike got drunk and knew whodunnit. I’ve read all of the Philip Marlowe novels, and they all made sense.

On the other hand, the Mike Hammer TV shows starring Stacy Keach (who has his own problems) are quite well done, much better than the books.

Stacy Keach is a jerk and a predator, but the television series (there were two of them; the earlier one was the better of the two) were quite well done.

And, yes, I think we can appreciate the work while disdaining the worker.


I did not watch DS9 when it was new; there were too many kids in my house for me to be spending lots of time staring at a box.

DS9 is an excellent show; you can watch it on Netflix, and likely on other services.


Stray Thought 0

CPAC is not a “political action committee.”

It’s a society of sociopaths.


Stray Thought, Entrapped in the Algorithm Dept. 0

As I walked across the parking lot with my bag of groceries, my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a Youtube coming from the “smart” phone held by a–er–mature woman heading for the grocery store.

It occurs to me that one of the side effects of always being connected has been to train us that we have a right always to be passively entertained.

And we are forgetting how to entertain ourselves, let alone how to actively engage with reality.


Abominable 0

Who the hell comes up with these ideas?


A Memorial Day Thought 0

My father was antifa.

He fought against Hitler.

Like most persons who actually see combat, he almost never talked about his experiences. I remember only two comments he made about it in my hearing, and both of them were spontaneous unintentional outbursts in response to scenes on television.

I recall that Bill Mauldin had a term for persons who might talk about combat. He called them “garritroopers” and described them as “too far forward to wear dress uniforms and and too far back to be shot at.”


Every American should be proudly antifa. Being “fa” is antithetical to being American.


Stray Question 0

When television bright lights end a series’s season with a cliffhanger, are they seriously expecting the audience to remember it week later, let alone breathlessly obsess over it all summer?


(The last NCIS episode of the season is the proximate cause of this question, but it goes for all of those that do this.)


It’s All about the Algorithm, Abysmal Algorithms Dept. 0

I have a Gmail account (mostly because I have an Android phone and a Google account is required for updates to the device), which I use mainly for news alerts. It is not my primary email address and I do not share it with others except by accident. (That is, when I’m using my email client, I sometimes accidentally compose a message when the Gmail account, as opposed to my primary email account, is in focus.)

The IMAP interface for Gmail includes a mailbox labeled “Important.”

I have observed that the emails which Google considers to be “important” to me are invariably not.

Indeed, in this case, Google is never right and always wrong.

Frankly (I do everything frankly), I find it rather gratifying that their algorithm is not infallible.


Recommended Listening 0

The Bat, by Mary Roberts Rinehart. If you would rather read the story, you can find the print version at Project Gutenberg.

Some think that this novel helped inspire the comic book hero, Batman.


When I was a young ‘un, my mother would patronize a local fabric shop run by a lady named Gin Walker, who also was a milliner. Mrs. Walker, being no dummy, had several boxes of comic books for her customers’ kids to read while their mothers browsed.

As my mother selected fabrics for sewing, my brother and I would sit under the display tables which held the fabrics and read the comic books.

That’s where I first met Batman.


Chess 0

Many years ago, I played chess. Then I discovered contract bridge, and my days of chess playing ended.

Recently, as I realized that the likelihood that I will ever again sit around a card table with three other persons had become remote, I decided to take up chess again. Plus chess is something that you don’t need an opponent to enjoy; there are puzzles and collections of classic games that you can work through on your own.

I found a couple of books on chess at Project Gutenberg (one by Lasker and one one by Capablanca, two legendary Master), got purchased a boot of simple puzzles, and started to try to get my hand in again. In fact, I’m even playing a game with someone on another continent via DMs at a geeky forum that I frequent.

That’s all in the way of a rambling lead in to this: we found the chess set in a Crusades style in house and neither of us knows where it came from. It is quite eye-catching.

Chess Set

Click for a larger image.

Read more »


The Two Oaths 0

The Hippocratic Oath is sworn by doctors. If you come to a doctor complaining of a non-existent condition, the doctor will not treat you for it. Rather, he will accept the medical evidence that you have no such condition (and perhaps refer you counseling).

The Hypocritical Oath is sworn by Republican politicians. If you come to them complaining of a non-existent condition, they’ll treat the bejesus out of it.


Stray Thought 0

Some would have you believe that intolerance of intolerance is intolerance.


Recommended Viewing 0

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, episodes S3 E11 and S3 E12.

They’re not science fiction. They’re prophecy.

You can view them on Netflix, and likely other services also.


Civic Duty 0

I mailed my state and federal tax payments today, certified return receipt because I want to know that they got there.

The clerk at the post office was most affable. Indeed, I had to admonish her, “Why are you having so much fun on the job? Don’t you think there is a reason they call it ‘work’?”

As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., once said, “I like paying taxes. They buy me civilization.”


The Anachronism 0

Image of Grittu. the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers, and of Queen Elizabeth II with her Corgis.  Caption:  One of these is a mascot that exists essentially to promote a brand and has no governing power.  The other is Gritty.

Click to view the original image.

I find Prince Harry and Meghan Markel’s stories of how they were treated credible. After all, it was English settlers who fostered America’s original sin of chattel slavery and created the myth of white racial superiority so as to ease their consciences (and line their wallets).

What most strikes me, though, is the downright petty nastiness of the treatment they received. Even bigots are capable of being polite.

I’m a Southern Boy. I have known in my lifetime many bigots who are capable of politeness. It doesn’t make them any less bigoted, but at least they were able to dress up their bigotry in Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes.

Also, I don’t get Americans’ fascination with the British royal family. Nor that of PBS viewers with soap operas set in Edwardian England. Grump, grump, grump.


“Pluck Me, I’m a Chicken” 0

I sometimes watch streaming video on, which is free. (It’s free because it has commercials; in fairness, it has far fewer ads than commercial television and the volume of the commercials is lower than that of the shows. All-in-all, I find it a fair trade-off.)

Last night, as I watched an episode of the 1960s ITV series, The Saint, new commercials appeared for a cell phone app called “Stash” for stock trading (no link–look it up yourself). In the ad, clueless 20-somethings confess that they don’t know anything about the stock market, but then decide that they’ll give the app a whirl and make their fortunes. My guess is that the recent Game Stop kerfuffle inspired this.

Brooklyn Bridge at nightI’m old enough to remember day trading and the dot-com bubble.

So I have one question for novice investors who think an app can turn them into financial wizards.

Wanna buy a bridge?


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

At the Las Vegas Sun, a self-confessed “gun nut” confesses that he doesn’t get today’s gun nuts. A snippet; do please read the rest.

This new group of men and women who wear guns as political statements apparently no longer experience weapons as tools for hunting or for sport. Even claims of defense are suspect. What type of threat necessitates military firepower?

A bit of clarification: This self-confessed “gun nut” is a “gun nut” in the same way that my cousin, a hunter, was a “gun nut.” My cousin had several rifles and shotguns for hunting, as well as some collectors’ items, because they were, well, collectors’ items. When he and my aunt and uncle would come to Pine View Farm for Thanksgiving dinner (a family tradition when I was a young ‘un), an afternoon hunting expedition was part of the deal. Sometimes, my brother and I would walk along on the hunt.

To the best of my knowledge, though, he never craved a bazooka.


It might be worthwhile to create a new taxonomy of gunnuttery to separate “gun fetishists” (or maybe “gun fondlers”?) from “gun hobbyists.”

I get “gun hobbyists.” It’s been a long time since I lived in a place where I could trot a gun out into the back yard and take potshots at tin cans, but, if I could, I would. Because it’s fun.

But I’ve never had any desire to pack heat at the local supermarket for fear of a confrontation over canned coffee.


Recommended Listening 0

The Film Mystery, by Arthur B. Reeve.

In addition to being a decent mystery read quite competently, it was written in the age of the silents and is an interesting journey back in time. It will recall you to the film-making techniques of an earlier era.