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“From Congress I would ask for wall. We need wall.” – DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen 12/20/18.

The post notes that Russian doesn’t use articles [the, a, an] and I know that neither does Chinese. The Turks use suffixes instead of a separate word. I would note that there are special cases in British English where the articles is dropped [I went to hospital. I go to university] but not in the Queens, New York City dialect of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Danish splits the difference by having a word for the indefinite articles “a & an”, but use suffixes to express “the”.

Of course, Trump has decided that he now wants a palisade made of steel posts. The tops to be pointed [to act as lightning rods?]. Like the Keystone XL, the steel will likely come from Russian companies and be more expensive as a result of the stupid tariffs.

Instead of a ladder, the ‘bad guys’ can start this to power this, or just run a bead of plastique around the posts and take them down.

December 24, 2018   No Comments

Happy Christmas

Holly, Robin & Mistletoe

The broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is available on the web at from BBC Radio 3. [At 8AM CST live, and on demand later in the day.]

The British have some wonderful Christmas customs that have survived the incursion of Christianity, especially the Puritan party poopers. Stealing customs from the Celts, Germans, and Scandinavians, they have created a wonderful holiday that I fondly remember from time spent there.

The bird is a European robin that is featured on British Christmas cards, as it is a Winter bird in England, unlike the fair-weather laggard of the same name in America. It is bracketed by holly and mistletoe. All go back to the druids and solstice celebrations.

If you read the Harry Potter books you will get a taste, but not the full effect of a British Christmas. A full-on Christmas dinner is wretched excess to the nth degree – Thanksgiving on steroids.

The BBC has the background on Father Christmas.

December 24, 2018   5 Comments

Happy, Merry, Joyous Whatever!


Ho Ho Ho!

С Рождеством Христовым
메리 크리스마스!
Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Nadolig Llawen
Fröhliche Weihnachten
Joyeux Noël
Buon Natale
Feliz Navidad
God Jul
Rauhallista Joulua
عيد ميلاد سعيد
Happy Christmas

At 6AM CST Christmas arrived in Asia, and the excitement is building among the “rug rats” that will burst forth at any moment to waken their poor parents who have probably had about two hours of sleep after dealing with “some assembly required” and/or “batteries not included”.

To avoid any bad feelings: it is an official requirement contained in the “Manual for Childless Adults” that some form or type of device that makes loud and obnoxious noises must be included in all Christmas parcels for children [of all ages].

December 24, 2018   No Comments

…And Checking It Twice

Santa listSo it’s time to get everything in line so that there will be smooth sailing tomorrow.

Obviously you need the text of A Visit from St. Nicholas [AKA Twas the night before Christmas] or one of the variations.

But now that you’ve finished putting up enough lights to match the total electrical consumption of a third world nation, you can sit back and watch the North American Air Defense Command’s annual attempt to take out that red-suited commie’s attack on the capitalist system by giving stuff away. [Don’t worry kids, they are using the anti-missile defense system, so there’s no danger to anyone but taxpayers.]

Google has a tracker, if you don’t believe the government is up to the job.

December 24, 2018   No Comments

Holiday Travel

ICHC cat Magi

This is a prime example of why you should make a list and check it twice when traveling during holidays. Following stars is all well and good, but can you tell the difference between a star and a meteorite headed directly for you?

If you are migrating home, or off on a vacation, be safe.

December 23, 2018   2 Comments

Happy Festivus

Yes, today is the celebration of the very untraditional Festivus.

If you celebrate I hope all of your grievances were aired and the airing did not involve the Festivus pole being used in an inappropriate fashion.

December 23, 2018   No Comments

Poor Management & Other Problems

Dow’s worst week since 2008 financial crisis; Nasdaq closes in bear market. The Dow closed at about 22,450, higher than when Trump was inaugurated, but well below this year’s high. This is shaping up to be the worst December since 1931 during the Great Depression.

The turnover rate at McDonalds is 44%. That is better than Trump’s White House at 46%. Note that this does not include all of the posts that have never been filled.

You should read Secretary Mattis’s resignation letter. This resignation by a Secretary of Defense is another unprecedented feature of the Trump administration.

Congress has gone home for the night, so Trump will get the government shutdown he wanted. This is his. The Republicans put together a bill that would pass, and he refused to sign it.

In better news, Gatwick, Britain’s second busiest airport, has been reopened after the police arrest two accused of involvement in the drone flights that caused the airport to be shut down for most of two days.

On a lighter note, the city of Yellowknife in Canada has announced the name of a public statue of a muskox: Elon Muskox.

December 21, 2018   1 Comment

Happy HogWatch & Solstice

snowflakeAt 4:28 PM CST the winter solstice occurs marking the longest night of the year. If everyone has been good, the days start getting longer tomorrow. Locally, the sun will rise at 6:40AM and set at 4:50PM for a total of 10 hours and 10 minutes of daylight, but tomorrow will be a whole 1 second longer.

This also marks HogsWatch, so don’t forget to put out the turnips.

December 21, 2018   10 Comments

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

James “Mad Dog” Mattis resigns as Secretary of Defense The retired Marine Corps General was fed up with a President who refused to learn anything or take advice. He didn’t sign on as a babysitter for a geriatric “toddler”. This was in reaction to Trump’s unilateral decision to declare victory and pull all US troops out of Syria, without consulting with any of our allies in the conflict.

The guesses are: he did it to get Turkey to stop threatening Saudi Arabia and MBS over the Khashoggi murder; it made Putin happy; he decided Assad was his buddy; or he has stopped hating on Iran. Of course it could have been to change the news coverage of all of the legal trouble he, his family, and friends are in. Not even Fox & Friends approves of this move.

Then, after signaling that he would accept the bill that Mitch McConnell got passed in the Senate, he refused to sign it because of a lack of funding for his boarder wall. The outgoing Republican Speaker managed to pass a stopgap funding bill with $5 billion for Trump’s border wall, but there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to bring it to the floor.

As with the earlier DACA compromise that Trump made with Pelosi and Schumer, Trump reneged on the deal. There will be a shutdown and Trump owns it.

December 20, 2018   1 Comment

Missing The Point

Judge Emmet Sullivan has a reputation for being very hard on prosecutors. That isn’t totally accurate. Judge Sullivan is very hard on misconduct by any public official. If you know that, than you shouldn’t be at all surprised by what happened to Michael Flynn on Tuesday:

… Judge Sullivan told Flynn: “This is a very serious offense.

“A high-ranking senior official of the government making false statements to the FBI while on the physical premises of the White House.”

At one point, Judge Sullivan asked the prosecutor whether the special counsel’s office had ever considered charging Flynn with treason.

The judge told Flynn: “Arguably, you sold your country out.”

Judge Sullivan also said he “can’t hide my disgust, my disdain” for the offense.

Or what Judge Sullivan did to former Attorney General Session’s policy change on asylum seekers on Wednesday: Trump administration can’t limit asylum protections for domestic and gang violence victims. The judge said the asylum rules were established by Congress and can only be altered by Congress.

If you abuse your power or violate your oath of office, you do not want to appear before Judge Sullivan – a Reagan appointee.

December 19, 2018   Comments Off on Missing The Point

December 17, 1903

“Boldly going

Wright Flyer

where no man has gone before.”

The Wright Brothers make the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

December 17, 2018   2 Comments

Trump’s Six Pack

Trump’s Six Pack: Trump Organization, Trump Foundation, Trump Campaign, Trump Inaugural Committee, Trump Transition Team, and the Trump Administration are each under investigation by one or more of the following: the Special Counsel’s Office, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the US Attorney for District of Columbia, the Attorney General of the State of New York at a minimum. Those are investigations that we know about, and others are hinted at in various court filings. [Update: add the Attorney Generals of Maryland and New Jersey to the list of investigators.]

Meanwhile Trump’s defense team is not impressive:

New York University law professor Melissa Murray lamented on Sunday that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani is descending down “a death spiral of stupid” after the former New York mayor argued that Donald Trump did not break campaign finance laws by paying hush money to alleged mistresses during the 2016 campaign.

Trump’s meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over the border wall devolved into a reality TV episode which caused CNN political analyst, Ana Navarro to bring popcorn to the discussion and compare it to an episode of Real Housewives.

December 16, 2018   6 Comments

The Feast of Saint Lucia

This is Saint Lucia’s Day for Scandinavians.

It features special treats that are handed out by a girl wearing a crown of candles, Lucia coming from the Latin for light, LUX.

Saint Lucia was an early Christian martyr from Syracuse on Sicily, but her official feast day, December 13, fit perfectly with the local pagan celebration of the Lussi on December 13, which was the Winter Solstice at the time. Yep, more cover to continue the fun mid-winter celebrations by pretending they are associated with Christianity to get the Church off everyone’s case.

December 13, 2018   Comments Off on The Feast of Saint Lucia

Stuff I Noticed

I have been fighting with the latest update of WordPress as they tried to change the way I work and that had to be corrected. You don’t mess with the editor.

NASA’s Voyager 2 probe ‘leaves the Solar System’ and joins her sister where “no man-made object has gone before…”

On a sad note: Roger the ripped kangaroo dies aged 12. Roger was over 6-foot tall and near 200 pounds. Crushing metal buckets like they were paper cups was one of his tricks. He was the Schwarzenegger of roos.

Meanwhile Trump is having a bit of a problem finding a new chief of staff. His first choice, Nick Ayers, gave notice that he was leaving DC for Georgia at the end of the year. Trump has drawn up a list of candidates, but it is uncertain if anyone wants to work for him.

John Kelly Was a Bully, Bigot, and Liar for Trump. Goodbye and Good Riddance. Lawrence O’Donnell told us who John Kelly really is back in October of 2017 after the attack on Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.

December 10, 2018   6 Comments