The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Poetry? At a time like this?

First, have a look at this article about the sons of dictators and how that works out for them, the dictator in question, and the people being dictated to. Next, enjoy Shelley's England in 1819:

England in 1819
An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn, mud from a muddy spring,
Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,
A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,
An army, which liberticide and prey
Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield,
Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
Religion Christless, Godless a book sealed;
A Senate, Time's worst statute unrepealed,
Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
Burst, to illumine our tempestous day.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Needless to say, no glorious Phantom burst, but it's an interesting last-minute cop out on Shelley's part. And it wasn't published until after his death and the death of most of the people he was talking about. No twitter back then, and no first amendment, either.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Put down the gun(s) and we'll talk

As if things weren't bad enough, Thailand and Cambodia have been shooting at each other for four days, it turns out, over a few disputed hectares of border land.

It's on the edge of the two countries (14° 0'30.89"N by 104°50'43.66"E,) and has had its ownership (or at least that of an important temple site) decided in favor of Cambodia already. But that hasn't kept the two parties from exercising their rights to keep and bear and fire arms.

England and Scotland, prior to the unification of the two kingdoms had this kind of thing goin' on, on the west end of the border; the semi-island, between the Esk and the Sark rivers, was called "The Debatable Land," and bandits from both sides used it as a hiding place and staging area for raids on enemies, friends, family, and essentially anyone who had a cow or two to be stolen. Don't know if that's why our southeast Asian friends are having at each other -- the yellow shirt party in Thailand seems to be blaming one of their politicians for stirring up trouble, or, now that I look at the article again, maybe not stirring up enough trouble...? Anyway, who knew?

Things have cooled down, apparently, at least for the moment.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Feral pigs again

We either have a huge population of wild Russian pigs romping around, digging holes that can bury a tractor or we don't. So who's lying? The game ranchers with a vested interest in not being demonized or the Michigan DNRE, easily the least-trustworthy agency in the State Government next to, well, let's see, you pick from the list.

My solution: as usual, eat 'em. Bought a nice pair of boar sausages from Bob Sparrow this weekend. Boar is darker, richer-tasting than your usual pork -- no brining, please. Good stuff, regardless its provenance and degree of invasiveness.

Update: with pictures of alleged feral swine in Washtenaw County. I like the term, by the way. Sounds kind of Victorian: "Unhand that maiden, you feral swine, lest I render you for any number of delicious pork products, regardless of your frankly unsavory outward appearance and uncouth behaviour!"