One week ago today we completed our initial journey to the Great Land with truck and trailer, and things just couldn’t be going any better. We still have to deal with a lot of snow on the ground – we haven’t even been able to get to, much less into, our greenhouse yet – but even here in Willow, winter is losing its grip on the countryside. The snow is melting, a little bit day by day, and before we know it, the wildflowers will be blooming. On Sunday last, in fact, a great mass of snow finally slid off our roof, partially blocking the drive and requiring a fair amount of shoveling.
Oh, and we had a lynx walk through the yard, right past the house. We didn’t see him but found his tracks the other morning.
Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart (who, as we recently noted, also played with Tom Petty) performed as Eurythmics, and had kind of a neat style. Not my usual cup of tea, but they had talent, and a unique kind of sound. Here’s a good example of their work; this is 1983’s Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This.) Enjoy.
I distinctly remember Ronald Reagan meeting Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland. Reagan landed first, and was waiting when Gorbachev’s Aeroflot airliner landed – in the Icelandic wind. Gorbachev deplaned in a typically Russian heavy overcoat and fur hat (say what you will about the Russians, they know how to dress for cold weather) and Reagan was outside waiting for him in a regular business suit.
As Gorbachev approached, he slipped on a patch of ice. He did not fall, but before his aides could react, the older Reagan ran to his side and steadied him, as though he was the younger, stronger man, representing his younger, stronger country.
It was a great visual. Now we have doddering, senile old Joe Biden, sending the world just the opposite message.
Holy shit! Watch the embedded video – there was sure as hell automatic weapons fire on the Mexico side of the river. Believe me, I’ve heard it before – and not an automatic rifle. That was an M-60 or something of that sort, a crew-served machine gun. (But they have such strict gun control in Mexico!)
Boy, this one brings back some memories. I remember going to the Ben Franklin’s Five and Dime when I was a little kid. They had bins of little plastic toys, dinosaurs, birds and the like. My Mom would give me a nickel each trip, if I had behaved myself, so I could buy one.
Later, as a teenager, I worked at the Woolco in Cedar Falls, selling guns and fishing gear. Woolco was, of course, a branch of the famous Woolworth chain of five and dime stores. I never fell in love with a co-worker there, although I did date one of the girls from the Garden Center for a while. Nanci Griffith did a wonderful song about that happening, however; this is Love at the Five and Dime. And (let’s say this softly) compare this marvelous display of talent, class and skill with what passes for music today, say, for example, at the recent Emmy Awards. Anyway. Enjoy.
Colorado (and much of the central part of the country) is still recovering from one of those spring snowstorms that, pronouncements of some weather-readers aside, really aren’t that unusual. This week finds Mrs. Animal and yr. obdt. in Colorado, packing up for our drive up the Alaska Highway in a week and a half (stay tuned for more on that topic next week) and we have done a fair amount of shoveling.
Things, snow-wise, will be a lot different in our new home in the Great Land. Winters are a different deal up there, with wintertime accumulations of three to four feet not at all uncommon. Forget shoveling, except maybe the little bit right by the entry doors to your house; plowing is called for, and frequently actual snow removal, where you need a front-end loader of some kind to physically remove snow from your driveway and parking areas.
So I’ll probably be buying some equipment. And that’s OK – I like equipment. I grew up on a place where the Old Man kept some equipment around – not just an old Ford utility tractor with front-mounted hydraulic loader, but also an old 1948 Hough four-wheel-drive payloader and a 1957 Ford 3-ton dump truck. My new place isn’t as big as the old place in Allamakee County, but I do think that a small tractor will probably still be in order. More and more I’m going back to my roots, and I’m loving that.
When I wore Uncle Sam’s colors, we were told, constantly: Never make a public political statement while in uniform. Never become involved in political matters using your status as a service member. Well, some today have evidently not learned that rule.
A good song should elicit an emotional response. This one does, and I’d be willing to bet I’ve got company. As evidence, just watch the faces in the audience shown in this week’s video.
A while back, one of my daughters sent me a link to a music video by a country artist, telling me, “Dad, this song reminds me of you and Grandpa.” And indeed, it does a pretty good of describing my relationship with my father, who was the finest man I ever knew. This is Luke Combs, with Even Though I’m Leaving. Enjoy.
I did listen to Rush some, on and off over the years. I didn’t always agree with him, but I always found him interesting listening. He had a way of making you think, even – maybe especially – when you didn’t agree with him. He also single-handedly invented modern talk radio.
El Rushbo was a titan, and lots of folks will miss him.
Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?
In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing. Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.
Now add people getting vaccinated. As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast. Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March….
There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection. As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.
This seems appropriate after last week’s Arctic cold snap that hit most of the Forty-Eight. In 1976, America’s Songwriter Bob Dylan was busy proving he could do rock & roll in the Rolling Thunder tour. And, indeed, how many songwriters can boast of a Nobel Prize for Literature?
In 1976, I was fifteen, and this was right around the time my older brother got me started listening to Dylan. My brother, being an old hippie, was more into Dylan’s acoustic folk music work, but I always enjoyed his electric rock-band music. Here’s a good example from a 1976 show in Ft. Collins, Colorado. This is the rock version of his tune Shelter From the Storm. Enjoy.
Life right now involves a lot of airline miles between Colorado and the Great Land as we prepare to move the majority of our crap up in March and April. Boy howdy!
Here’s the thing: I have accumulated enough award miles that, if only United Airlines offered service to Jupiter, I could probably fly there on points. Mrs. Animal is a ways behind, but she has plenty of award miles as well. At some point Mrs. Animal and I will have to figure out what to do with all those miles; fortunately, once the Kung Flu panic dies down (assuming it ever does) we have plenty of bucket-wish destinations in mind: New Zealand, Austria, Scotland, Ireland, and we always enjoy visiting Japan.
But we’ll have to see what happens with the dreaded Kung Flu over the next few months, I guess. Now then…
“Total, total shit show,” Joni Ernst says when I asked about her reaction to this, calling it “a tool of revenge” against Trump. Adds: “if they want to drag this out, we’ll drag it out. They won’t get their noms, they won’t get anything.”
Funny how we just keep seeing some of these same names over and over again.
1964. I was three years old when the MaCoys released Hang On Sloopy, but it was a popular enough song that it was still getting plenty of play on rock&roll radio stations when I was in high school in the Seventies. What’s not well known is that the MaCoys released a music video for this song, featuring some… interesting pre-disco dance moves by a lovely (and braless) young lady. So, enjoy!
As I’ve said, I will be avidly following Mrs. Boebert’s career. She came to Washington with a mission and doesn’t seem to care much who she pisses off, and that alone makes her interesting in itself; combine that with a big helping of staunch Second Amendment advocacy, something I care a great deal about, and she has the potential to rattle more than a few cages. And those cages need rattling, True Believers, every day, and twice on Sunday. Her newly-licensed pistol-packing is just the icing on the cake.
Which reminds me, we need to find a time to drive to Rifle and visit her Shooter’s Grille before decamping for good and all for more northerly (and freer) climes.
In the wonderful world of bluegrass, there are some good acts, there are some great acts – then, there are The Cleverlys. Remember that old 1980s hit by The Bangles, Walk Like an Egyptian? Here, in a fun double-feature for today’s musical entry, is that original video (Eighties big-hair Rule Five!) followed by The Cleverlys’ bluegrass cover. Both are fun. Both are very different. I’m sure the song itself is today supposed to be racist, or cultural appropriation, or some other such horseshit, but honestly, who cares? Enjoy.
There’s been a lot of discussion the last week or so about the various social media outlets de-platforming anyone with views to the right of Leon Trotsky. (And given events that will be happening later today, expect to see more of this.) Plenty of this is indeed going on; I had a desultory presence on Parler for a while. That platform seemed to be sleeping with the fishes for a while, but seems to be working its way back online. I have signed up for Gab and find it an interesting format, although the noise-to-signal ratio isn’t all that great, especially if you’re a long-winded old fart like me. If you are on Gab, though, shoot me a follow and I’ll happily reciprocate.
What’s troublesome here is the precedent involved. Attempting to silence people you disagree with comes from a position of fear and weakness, not strength; and weak people with power are one of the most terrifying things in the world. Make no mistake, these are weak, small people, and they are afraid. Such people are dangerous.
The short-term answer is independent, free-speech-respecting platforms like Gab. But that also leads to both sides retreating into their own echo chambers, with very little actual discourse between the two sides. This is a recipe for both sides drifting even farther apart – and for more radicalization on both sides. It won’t end well.
As I’ve noted before, holy crap but you accumulate a lot of stuff when you’ve lived in a house for twenty-three years, and have raised four kids in that house. On the weekend past we filled a thirty-foot roll-off dumpster with old crap from garage and workshop. A lot of stuff has been given away or sold, and a fair amount more will be disposed of the same way.
What’s interesting about this move is taking firearms and ammo through Canada. Most moving companies will handle firearms but not ammo, meaning we have to take our substantial ammo supply through Canada. For most of our stuff, the bureaucratic hoops aren’t too bad. The AR-15s would have been problematic but they are already safely stored up north. To any of you considering this move, though, I’d offer the following advice; firearms can be transported via the airlines in checked baggage, and that’s probably the least troublesome way to make this particular move. We’re moving as much of our collection that was as we can manage, just to save the trouble. If much of your collection is Tacticool instead of our assortment of old shotguns and hunting rifles, that advice goes double.
Rush Limbaugh: The Left is still scared of Trump. In light of the lengths to which they are going to silence him, I’m inclined to agree. And it’s funny, because if the last election is any judge, the best tactic the Left can follow is to say as little as possible.
We’ll be a bit abbreviated this week, as I’ve only started gathering the weekly links on Sunday. Too much fun last week with family to pay attention to current events; these days it’s not that often these days that we can get all four daughters in one place with sons-in-law and grandchildren, so I was enjoying my role as benevolent head of a large and growing family too much to worry about the rest of the world.
I’ve long been a fan of the Grateful Dead. Mrs. Animal and I were fortunate enough to see them live in the old Mile High Stadium in the summer of ’91. They were a bit of the American Dream made good, a Bay Area garage band that made the big time and toured incessantly; for the Dead, it was all about the show. Here, also from 1991, is a live clip of one of the songs most loved by their fans, Uncle John’s Band. Enjoy.
Like a lot of folks, I like a cold beer from time to time. Following our upcoming (can’t be soon enough) move to the Great Land, the distance to a source for those cold beers will be expanded by an order of magnitude. In our current Colorado house, there is a liquor store with a reasonable selection a five-minute walk away; following the move, the nearest store will be about a fifteen-minute drive. So, planning would seem to be the order of the day, as it is with all things around a rural life. We figure we’ll have to go down to Wasilla for our regular trading every other week or so, depending on how well-stocked with fish and game our freezer is at the time.
But the other option, of course, may be brewing my own. That might be a fun little hobby, along with benefit of ensuring my supply regardless of what challenges winter weather may bring. So, if any True Believers have any advice on this front, I’d welcome such in the comments.
I also like a nip of good whiskey now and then, but that’s probably a whole ‘nother prospect, when it comes to making my own.
I have a small mental list of the top five best guitar players that ever lived. While that list includes Jerry Garcia, Frank Zappa, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix, the only member of my list still breathing is the great Carlos Santana.
Carlos is still around and still producing great music. Here he is with someone named Rob Thomas on vocals, with his 1999 hit Smooth. Enjoy.