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Posts Tagged ‘animals’

Diary #377

Grace and Chekhov left for their last full run to Oklahoma on Friday, and barring another delay will arrive tonight; for the next two days they’ll be preparing for the return trip, which will be a marathon because they’re going to have the animals with them and we don’t think it’s a good idea to have them cooped up in the trailer for more than two days, even with the ventilation windows.  After that, I can sell the big trailer to recoup some of my costs; everything remaining will be able to fit in the bed of the truck and the small trailer that’s currently sitting in storage.  It’ll be nice for my income to start going someplace other than petroleum companies, auto repair & parts businesses and tire stores (not to mention hotels) again, such as building-material stores and the like.  But when I’m finally done with fixing the place up, it should be a lovely little country retreat for Grace to live in and me to visit when I get the time.  For those of you who are thinking about this for the first time: yep.  I’m spending all this money and effort on a place where I’ll probably spend less than 40 hours a month, if that.  But Grace will be there full-time, and friends in need of a retreat will have a place to go, and I’ll have a place I can spend holidays in when the mood strikes.  Hell, maybe I’ll even get a license & let Grace grow cannabis there; I certainly have the room (and a dear friend who happens to have connections in the industry so I can find buyers).  Well, we’ll see; the important thing is that I’m finally putting down roots, as I’ve longed to do for over 30 years.  And that to me is far more precious than money.

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Since the beginning of civilization, “authorities” have lusted for the magical ability to divine which of the peons might be disobeying their diktats.  Primitive cultures often believed in trials by ordeal, in which the guilty would be revealed by failing certain tests (presumably because the favor of the gods was believed to be necessary to pass these tests).  There were literally hundreds of these in various cultures and times, of which the best-known is probably throwing an accused witch into a pond; if the water “rejected” her (i.e. she managed to stay afloat despite being bound) she must be “impure” and therefore a witch, but if the water “accepted” her (i.e. she sank) she was innocent of the charge, despite being drowned.  As time went on, “scientific” methods of detection replaced more openly mystical ones; that is to say, the various mumbo-jumbo rituals “authorities” used to make people into “criminals” were explained to the masses with pseudoscientific claptrap rather than nonsense about spirits, mana, divinely-revealed knowledge or whatever.  The nineteenth century brought us “scientific” advances in criminal detection such as phrenology and criminological physiognomy, led by brilliant scholars like Cesare Lombruso who

…claimed that all prostitutes, without exception, had receding foreheads and large jaws, and that some had “exaggerated” growth of the labia or clitoris.  He…claimed…that “primitive” African and American Indian women shared these same features, thus demonstrating that whores were more like “savages” than like highly-evolved Europeans.  And since prostitutes were primitive they were also stupid, and thus incompetent to make their own decisions…

Of course, as time went on cops and prosecutors embraced far more dependable “evidence” of criminality, such as winking, possession of condoms, walking on certain streets and the type (or lack) of underwear.  And the outrageously-racist rhetoric of Lombruso and his ilk were replaced by more subtle (but still purely racist) excuses for targeting black people.  “Forensic science” gave cops tools like bite-mark analysis, recovered memories and “signs” that an infant was shaken to death; these were used to send hundreds of innocent people to rot in cages, despite being no better at detecting “criminals” than sacrificing a goat and examining its entrails.  The “War on Drugs” introduced new lows in evidentiary standards, such as “field tests” that routinely mistake substances such as spices, cookies, oil, soap and candy for “illegal drugs”, and “drug dogs” who actually “alert” to whatever their handlers want them to “alert” to rather than whatever might actually be there.  But the myth of the magic super-dog who can detect anything has become so entrenched in porcine mythology that cops will believe dogs can detect virtually anything, including electronically-stored ones and zeros, and they expect courts and the public to believe it as well:

…the feds are…[now] training dogs to sniff out…child pornography.  No kidding:  “‘Today we’re announcing a new weapon in the war against child…exploitation’, [Delaware County (Pennsylvania) District Attorney Jack] Whelan said“…Charlie—a female yellow Labrador retriever—is an “‘electronic-detection forensic K-9’…[who] will be deployed with the Internet Crimes Against Children Pennsylvania Task Force, tasked with sniffing out small hidden electronics, from CD-ROMs to flash drives, in suspected predators’ homes“…Charlie is also a good friend to the cop, Nat Evans, who handles [her]…This sort of thing is, in a word, idiotic.  And unscientific.  As Jacob Sullum reported in 2013, dogs trained to sniff out contraband (in most cases, drugs) are wildly inaccurate and often poorly trained…reports you read about dogs being able to magically sniff out this or that substance are pharmaceutical-grade bunkum…”[Supreme Court Justice David] Souter said, ‘the infallible dog…is a creature of legal fiction’.  Souter cited examples of dogs accepted as reliable by courts that had error rates of up to…60 percent“…It turns out that dogs mostly respond to their handlers and routinely infer when they should alert on a car, or a school locker, or a piece of luggage…

But don’t worry, sex-haters and prohibition fans, you needn’t despair; even if porn-sniffing dogs are eventually proven to be as reliable as a politician’s promise, the South Koreans just sold a sooper-dooper porn-detecting machine to Uganda, and there are oodles of magical “algorithms” that purport to be able to detect at least a few of those hundreds of thousands of “child sex slaves” we’re told are hidden “in your own backyard”.  And even if those fall flat, US courts have repeatedly ruled that cop accusations based in their “training and experience” – copese for “bigotry and wild-ass guesses” – are just as good as dogs, field tests and “algorithms”.  And maybe even almost as good as weighing women against ducks to see if they’re really witches.

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It’s so nice to be insane; no one asks you to explain.  –  Alan O’Day

Here’s another of those early cartoon videos which, as I mentioned last week, used to be featured in The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour; this one is for Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby”, an extremely weird song that was one of my favorites as an extremely weird kid.  The links above it were provided by Kevin Wilson  (“does”), Scott Greenfield (“stupid”),  Furrygirl (“Florida”), Boatfloating (“kids”),  Amy Alkon  (“know”), and Dave Krueger (“together”).

From the Archives

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Goats are escape artists.  –  Matt Minnick

The first music videos (short films intended to market a song) were probably Warner Brothers’ “Merrie Melodies” cartoons, but the form as we would recognize it today probably began with The Beatles cartoon series (1965) and grew by way of The Monkees (1966) and Yellow Submarine (1968).  So it’s probably not surprising that many of the first stand-alone videos were short animated films; the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour showed these as a regular feature, and I fondly remember quite a few of them.  This was one of my favorites: the music is a Sonny & Cher cover of the anti-racist folk-rock song “Black and White“.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“course”), Conner Habib (“wouldn’t”),  Tushy Galore (“happens”),  Mistress Matisse (“woo” and “together”), and Tejas (“safe”).

From the Archives

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And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time.  –  Jimmy Webb

Glenn Campbell died this week; in memorial, I’d like to present this video of my favorite of his songs, the haunting and enigmatic “Wichita Lineman”.  The links above it were provided by Patrick Nonwhite (“fascism”), Radley Balko (“serve” and “peasants”), Jesse Walker (“78”), Mike Siegel (“hypnosis”), and Walter Olson  (“permanent”).

From the Archives

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The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.  –  Malcolm Turnbull

This video is two years old, but it first came to my attention last week and was too good to pass up!  The links above it were contributed by Marijke Vonk  (“lawheadedness”), Franklin Harris (“eels”), Jesse Walker (“happens”), Kevin Wilson (“never”), Radley Balko (“sitters”), and Tim Cushing (“together”).

From the Archives

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Ik kan niet ademen.  –  Jerry Afriyie

When this posts I’ll be on the first leg of my trip to Ireland, so it seems appropriate to share one of my favorite Vangelis compositions, the haunting and beautiful “Irlande”.  The links above it were provided by Tim Cushing (“pigs”, “sirree” and “dogs”), Kevin Wilson (“serve”), Marijke Vonk (“brutalized”), Radley Balko (“bald”), and Nun Ya (“guess”).

From the Archives

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