Monthly Archives: October 2013

Didn’t we just do this recently? Halloween, 2013

Jeanne’s family has a long and honorable tradition of ostentation celebrating Halloween. It shows. Jack

Jeanne Kasten Studio

Happy Halloween to everyone!

I got pretty burned out on Halloween when I was raising my kids. Five costumes and five pumpkins and trick-or-treating will do that. We didn’t usually decorate the yard much, although I do remember using some flower bed dirt to make a grave mound one year.  But the dirt was already there because I was planting a whole new bed, it’s not like I dug it up for that purpose. Personally, I can take it or leave it. When I’m not at work that evening, I spend time over with my kids, who do things up right, starting several months in advance. Given my lack of enthusiasm,  I’m a bit mystified about how involved my now-grown kids are. My boys especially really go for the creepy stuff.

Only some of the props were up when I took these pictures yesterday. Imagine flaming torches alongside the sidewalk…

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Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear? The Catch 22 Timewarp Conspiracy

This might be the most important text you’ve ever read.

It’s certainly more important than Dick and Jane and their dog named Spot whatever they might be up to these days in Centerville, Ohio.  And anything else you might have read since then probably wasn’t all that important.  Instruction manuals written by English-as-a-second-language tech writers in Malaisia, labels on boxes of muffin-mix, even novels by Stephen King aren’t as important as this.

If you are like me you have to think hard to remember characters and dialogues in books you haven’t read in half-century.  But I’ve been waiting that long for Joseph Hellers prophetic novel, Catch 22, to get caught up with by events.

Yossarian to the mental ward physician:  “Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

Pages later, to Orr:  “Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?”

Yossarian to Major Major Major Major, pages later:   “Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?”

To Milo Minderbinder, a chapter or so later:  “Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?”

Today all the spy-vs-spies in the world are asking themselves the same question.  Armed cruise missile operators are whispering those words into their microphones, “Give me the coordinates!”

low volume static, hissing, grumbling.

Moscow airport?  Am I allowed to target the Moscow International Airport?”

low volume static, hissing, grumbling.

“Well of course you need deniability.  It has to look like an accident.  Rogue drone kind of thing.”

low volume static, hissing, grumbling.

“World War III?  Hell, we haven’t even finished WWII yet.  Snowden was WWII.  We’re all caught in a time warp.

low volume static, hissing, grumbling.

“Yeah, we need to watch for anyone named Yossarian.  And Joseph Heller, if he’s still alive, needs to answer a few questions.  If we see someone trying to corner the Egyptian cotton market we’ll know where to look.”

Old Jules

It’s an ill wind that blows no good

sriracha hot chili sauce

Hi readers. 

I’ve always loved Sriracha Chili Sauce, hate knowing they’ve come on hard times.  I’d guess the people in that California town would live to be 110 each if they’d gut it out, breathing that stuff three months out of the year.

City: Odor from Sriracha chili plant a nuisance

As many as 40 trucks a day pull up to unload red hot chili peppers by the millions. Each plump, vine-ripened jalapeno pepper from central California then goes inside on a conveyor belt where it is washed, mixed with garlic and a few other ingredients and roasted. The pungent smell of peppers and garlic fumes is sent through a carbon-based filtration system that dissipates them before they leave the building, but not nearly enough say residents.

“Whenever the wind blows that chili and garlic and whatever else is in it, it’s very, very, very strong,” Sanchez said. “It makes you cough.”

I’d love to be downwind of it when it’s in operation if it weren’t for the fact it’s in California, and if I went to California next thing I knew I’d be having to get along with Californians.  For me it’s a bit late in the day to take on that job of work.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering what the good is I referred to in the title to the post.  Here it is:

His recipe for Sriracha is so simple that the Vietnamese immigrant has never bothered to conceal it: chili pepper, garlic, salt, sugar and vinegar.

“You could make it yourself at home,” he told a visitor during a tour of the plant on Tuesday. But, he added with a twinkle in his eye, not nearly as well as he can.

The secret, he said, is in getting the freshest peppers possible and processing them immediately.

The result is a sauce so fiercely hot it makes Tabasco and Picante seem mild, though to those with fireproof palates and iron stomachs it is strangely addicting. Thirty-three years after Tran turned out his first bucketful, Sriracha’s little plastic squeeze bottles with their distinctive green caps are ubiquitous in restaurants and home pantries around the world.

Now if those Californios shut him down at least a person has the basics to cook the stuff himself.  Fill the RV up with the odor as many months of the year as he wants to. 

The government hasn’t learned the potential joys of this yet, so they haven’t made it illegal.  I can close all the windows on the RV,  zonk up on it, me and the cats.  Lie back against the cushions and try to learn to play the harmonica.  Or listen to any of about a million songs my bud Rich provided for me to play on an hmmm MP3?  A tiny thing that plays songs – holds a few hundred at a time.  One of the few inventions since lawsuit to really add to the joy of life for the average human being.

Old Jules

Shooting 50,000 unsolicited words at the Universe

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Jeanne tells me November’s going to have several thousand people grinding out first drafts of immortal prose again.  Poor old Universe will be ducking and dodging new characters, events, plots, subplots, trying to keep track of what’s really happening, and what someone dredged up from the imagination and stuffed into 50,000 words packed into the month of November.

I’ve wondered about this phenomenon for a longish time, several years, and honestly can’t quite figure it.  Probably tens of thousands of November novels written in past years nobody but the authors ever laid an eye to all the way through.  Pages, electrons on the screen, characters floating around in the ether wondering what the hell happened, why their pent-up events just ground to a halt.

All I can figure is those people doing that are trying to shoot down the Universe and know it’s going to take a lot of ammunition.

If a person were looking for a worthy project that would be less likely to damage the Universe he might consider taking the JRR Tolkein Lord of Rings trilogy and working it up into a second draft, which wossname, Tolkein failed to do.  At least not the part about say, cutting about 2/3 of the extraneous immortal prose, working it around so it’s tight, a pleasure on the tongue of the Universe, rather than just something out of some fast food joint.

Maybe someone everyone does what he says will think of this sometime and tell them they ought to do that instead of picking out targets of opportunity trying to shoot down the Universe.

Old Jules

Buckle Up, Westerners

My friend Ed’s using some nice long words lately. Jack

Do What's Right

When you finally grow up and learn to understand the full range of reasoning, not restricting your thoughts to the shallow swamp of Aristotelian epistemology, everything you’ve learned is transformed.

The whole of Western history is one long, sad tale of building skyscrapers on the sand. With a visceral hatred for virtually every good gift of ancient civilizations, Western man has no excuse for his egregiously stupid failure to understand this world. God has given the West enough rope to hang itself, and the gallows are just about ready.

Now is the time to trade your empty materialistic logic for some deep truth, folks.

If you were blessed with a decent education, you are no doubt aware of the various economic and political creeds popular with Americans today. With a decent awareness of elder philosophies, you recognize that people do not act in their own best interests. They always act…

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No heaven on earth. No utopias. Just more people

Finding stereotypes capable of holding up under close scrutiny is necessary for humans, but generally goes unrefined.

Finding stereotypes capable of holding up under close scrutiny is necessary for humans, but generally goes unrefined.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I spent a while bouncing around RV full timers forum-type discussion board-type places lately.  Curious about whether any stereotype applies.  What I found was not a single good, solid stereotype a person could hammer down to perfection, but rather a number of herds of them.

Not much of this sort of thing out there among the modern nomad population.  Whether they're van dwellers or motor homesters, clean lines, shiny paintjobs and glitter are major attractions.  If it ain't eye candy it belongs in a different universe.

Not much of this sort of thing out there among the modern nomad population. Whether they’re van dwellers or motor homesters, clean lines, shiny paintjobs and glitter are major attractions. If it ain’t eye candy it belongs in a different universe.

Fields of peas pretty much running with other peas, cornfields sticking with their corny neighbors, and everyone seemingly well fed.  A few farmers within each stereotype weeding and watering.

I was especially interested in Slab City and what the people who stay there winters have to say to one another.  I thought because it’s as near anarchy as a person gets in the US, it might tell some worthy things about us as a place viewing itself as a free people, thinkers, individualists.

There’s some of that on the surface.  Everyone saying to one another, you have to take whatever comes in Slab City.  Everyone celebrating and patting themselves on the backs for their rugged individualism.

But in fact there’s an undercurrent a lot less worthy of self-praise among them.  An undercurrent of bullying and intimidation hidden in the “gotta take it as it comes” platitudes.

Turns out “take it as it comes” means, “take me as I come” and don’t even think about me taking you as you come.  If you try I’ll probably slit your tires.  Or shoot your cats.

It manifests itself subtly in the matter of cats.  Seems over the past few years women visiting the slabs have had their cats killed by dogs, or shot by dog lovers.  Always women.  How about them apples?

For folks who don’t have much interest nor love for cats and don’t have any desire at all in going on crusades, sacrificing the soothing rewards of rugged individualist wildass self-image community, it just flows down like Jack Daniels Black Label.  Everything bad hiding inside “taking it as it comes” harmony.

I’m figuring it would be a place I’d have to go to war if I landed there.  Can’t see myself sitting still for having my tires cut, knowing someone else who got his tires cut, me having a firm idea who did it.  And most especially knowing who some cat-shooting human was, or cat-killing dog-running-loose owner.

Sometimes wars can happen without anyone having to go looking for, drive so damned far out of the way.  I hope I don’t have anymore wars left ahead of me this lifetime, but if I do I ain’t going to drive 1000 miles to find them.

Old Jules

They still want to do the Dirty Bop – And they all want to play Hamlet

I’m trying to remember my partner in disgrace.  Might have been Patsy Bohannan, maybe.  Around that time I recall we sat on opposite ends of a seesaw in the park surrounded by other kids, her singing, “Why do fools fall in love”, had me squirming something awful.  But she was a preacher’s daughter.  Not a good candidate for the Dirty Bop.

So it might have been Linda Kiker or a girl with a really bad reputation named Nancy Koch.  Seems I ought to remember, but at the time the disgrace was so overwhelming and the likely consequences so widespread, identity got swept into the grader-ditch of history.

Anyway, it was one of those Junior High School events at the Portales Memorial Building.  I’d never heard of the Dirty Bop, presumably the female side of the equation also had never heard of it.  The only time either of us had ever danced the bop was probably sneaking around practicing behind locked doors at home.

But great minds think alike, I expect, and there’s always becoming absorbed in the event, showing off, whatever.  We danced the Dirty Bop.  A Portales First, most likely.

Got our asses kicked spang out of the Memorial Building for our trouble, got to have a long prayer meeting with Mr. Livingston.  A man in authority who had a lot of familiarity with my backside with the paddle he kept in his office.

Anyway, it all worked out for the good in the end.  I eventually became me.  Likely, whomever the girl was eventually became her.  And I don’t recall ever encountering her later in any waterfront bar or strip joint somewhere.

But I guess the Dirty Bop is still around after all these years.

High school requires signed dance contract that bans twerking

http://news.yahoo.com/video/high-school-requires-signed-dance-210216483.html

Annapolis High School in Maryland is now requiring that students and parents sign a dance contract which aims to cut down on provocative dancing at the school’s next homecoming. As reported by WMAR ABC 10 News, the contract outlines the school’s policies and expected student behavior very specifically. Junior Lexi Pline said, “The first day we get it, it’s usually just kind of funny to read it because of the way, like the way they describe everything. It’s kind of hilarious.” The contract states that “sexually explicit dancing will not be tolerated,” and defines explicit dancing as “grinding,” “making out,” and “buttocks touching a partner or in the air.” The last point apparently intended to stop twerking at school functions.

Just goes to show, as Carl Perkins or someone once said, “You can’t stop Rock and Roll“.   Or maybe it was Bill Haley and the Comets.  I heard a while back he died as a street person in Alabama or somewhere.  Still dancing.  Nobody ever explained the consequences of dancing the Dirty Bop to him.

Old Jules

Afterthought:  Actually I think it was Carl Perkins talking about that British group, the Beetles or whatever, when they first showed up on the radar,  “They aren’t Elvis, but they aren’t all that bad.”