Monday, December 9, 2013

Coffee and Provocation

Adam Had'em
Ogden Nash's poem about fleas was correct, but not exhaustive. Fleas are much older than Adam. In an article in Nature entitled Super-sized fleas adapted to feed off dinosaurs, we are told that fossils of Jurassic-era fleas have been found in China.  Believe it or not, these fleas were four to eight inches long!
Humans are Complete Mongrels
Humans are complete mongrels, and the greatness of humans is that we always have been.  Archaeologists found 28 hominid skeletons in a "pit of bones" at Sima de los Huesos, an archaeological site in the Atapuerca mountains of Spain.  A genetic analysis of the skeletons, originally identified as Homo heidelbergensis but looking very Neanderthal-like, found traces of Denisovan DNA, a Neanderthal cousin that lived around 40,000 years ago in east Asia.
Don’t Feed Dogs Foie Gras at Christmas:
Osama Bin Laden, the Great Man of Peace:
This rather jaw-dropping profile of Osama Bin Laden was printed twenty years, in The Independent in the U.K.
Workfare for Alcoholics:
Amsterdam is paying alcoholics to pick up trash.  They get a couple of beers to start, have to work to get lunch (and more beer) and then they get half a packet of tobacco, rolling papers, and 10 Euros.  My Republican friend says "Interesting. Socialist Govs. seen to be getting into the biz endeavors that used to be the providence of organized crime: Prostitution, gambling, alcohol, and loan sharking."  Of course, my reply was: "Or simply paying people very low and exploitative wages, which is very much a GOP thing to do." So, perfect policy!  Though, I have to say, I never knew organized crime paid people to pick up litter!
Rick Bragg on Boys and Coon Dogs:
A nice little story from the great Rick Bragg about boys, coon dogs, and the brutal life of southern dogs left on a chain, too often to die. "This was as far from a gentleman’s hunt as I guess a fellow could get." If you have not read this book by Bragg, you should. The first 90 pages are about as fine a piece of writing as can be done.
Will Oklahoma Get a New Religious Monument on State Grounds?
They passed a law to allow a Christian statue so, predictably, they are now getting a monument to Satan.  Finally the right monument on state house grounds!
New Age Pikeys:
Back to horses, for some apparently, but also with solar cells and Facebook, coupled to a fashion sense, and perhaps some mind-expanding substances.  Hello New Age Travelers.  Or, as we used to call them:  Hippies.
First Democratically Elected President of the U.S.?
Was it Warren Harding or U.S. Grant?  Certainly not George Washington!

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