Monday, June 25, 2012

This reporter is one of my new heroes. ....

Part 1 is on youtube but without translation. This is part 2.

Translation: of the video is below.

Reporter said: I am going to ask this man how did he have the heart to rape the little girl? What religion is he hiding behind?

Rapist said: I didn't do anything they are falsely accusing me.

Reporter: Don't you have any shame, You raped a 6 year old baby? The girl knows your face and you are saying she is lying? Why are you lying? I know you admitted it to the police that you did rape her. Stop lying now, At least be scared of allah. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Rapist: They are lying.

Reporter: Madrasa people are supporting you, When you have your own children the same thing will happen to them. Allah will punish youm A 6 year old girl? You couldn't find anybody else? There was no other woman? Do you even feel ashamed? Why do you keep this beard? Why do you wear this hat? Why do you hide behind religion? You should die. You should be ashamed of yourself, To rape somebody's daughter and then hide behind the religion. You call yourself a Pakistani, You call yourself a Muslims?

The man on left side told reporter: The rapist keeps denying all allegations.

Reporter: What religion? All of you talk about religion does our religion teach us to rape a 6 year old girl? You are not innocent, The little girl recognized you, Why don't you just die out of shame? Maybe this court will let you go free but I know the court of allah will not let you go unpunished. The one above will make sure that justice is done. The police should be ashamed. How dare you offer that family 10,000 Rupees to stay silent? You are a liar, The girl knows you. Go talk a look at her mother, You have ruined that girl's life, The police should be ashamed.

The girl's father said: They offered us money but we gave it back to them.

Reporter: Asked the girl's father, You daughter knows this man, Right? The girl's father said, Yes she pointed him out.

Reporter: Told the rapist, Now talk to me.

Rapist: I don't know anything, They are lying.

Reporter: Yeah right, You are the only one who is going to heaven, We are all sinners here. You people with your beards and help of Madrasas are going to heaven.

Reporter: My blood pressure is very high, I can't stand looking at that innocent girl crying, I can't stand to hear her mother cry. I can't tolerate what happened to that 6 year old kid. They dare to put a price of 10,000 Rupees on her pain and they tell her to keep her mouth shut. I request the judge in this case as a Muslim, As a Pakistani, As a woman for the sake of allah, Ask you please give this mother a swift justice, For sake of allah please. These people will keep raping little girls. I don't know about justice in this world, But I do know when we die allah will judge us. This is the society we live in, Where should we take our children to keep them safe? Our politicians are busy playing musical chairs, They don't have time for people. For the sake of allah, I request chief justice, Please help us. I don't trust this court, You have to help these people, Please do something.


Mullah is a religious teacher in Islam, These scums protect child molesters and rapists because in Islam men can do whatever they want it is okay. The devil Muslims call a prophet he raped children and women, He had sex with dead people and he had sex with animals, He stole, tortured and killed people.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday, June 21, 2012


If someone comes to my blog looking for something perverted, they are from an Arab or Muslim land. Why is that?

Today I had a Pakistani looking for "spit kissing." Someone from Saudi Arabia looking for "naked african girls." And someone from Sudan searching for "goat sex."

Those search terms may take you to my blog, but none of that exists here. Go away you insufferable, parasitical perverts!

The Boat, Taking Things Literally, Naked Girls

Well, I’m still too sick to do much, even with three days off to vegetate, clean my poor sore sinuses with salt water and hot packs and generally mope around the house. I did get up early this morning, head ache and all, to go see The Boat. Knobby Knees and some of his buddies have sanded down the hull and deck. I can report real progress. Someone had painted the deck a gray-blue color. Turns out the decks is teak. KK is researching the original finish. Teak is beautiful wood.

It is a cool day here, though it’s warming up fast. But when we were out there it was on the cold side. I’m always cold anyway; that comes from my neurological problems. So I’m not a good judge of temperature. I can be very comfortable when the temp hits 100 F.

So, with that in mind, here’s how it went: KK and I are looking at the boat. We debating the cost of reupholstering the seats. I think I can do this. He’s doubtful on two accounts. I’m sick a lot. He’s not sure I know how. Okay, he has a point. But the cost of returning the seating to original condition is going to be expensive. We’re in the middle of this conversation when dau 4 and dau 5 pop into view.

“We want to wade in the creek,” they say.

“You’ll freeze your fannies off,” I say. “The water is icy. Besides, I know you. You’ll get totally wet. I’ll have soggy clothes to wash and dry. You have to strip if you’re going to wade.”

“Mom!” daughter four says. “Someone will see us.”

“There’s no one to see,” Annie says.

This draws a pink, curled tongue out of Katarina’s mouth, accompanied by a grimace.

I figure I’ve quelled their desire to get wet, make a mess, freeze their little butts off and such.

Daughter three rounds the barn. Words are exchanged that I can’t hear. Dau 3 glances our way and waves. She shrugs and off the three of them go into the pines and cottonwoods and willows along the stream.

K. Knees is excited about his boat. It was built in 1952, if I remember right. He paid very little for it. It will take some money to put back in original condition. And time. It will take time. He and his buddies are moving it into the shed next week-end and prepping the hull for painting. It was originally deep red and white. K.K. wants to return it to original appearance. One of his friends restores old cars and has undertaken to paint the hull.

We climb into the boat to remove brass fittings. These are going to take a huge amount of polishing and lacquering.

I should have taken a photo when we were out there. I found this one on line. It's very similar, though not quite the same.

We’re finally done. I go looking for the girls. It’s dangerous to suggest things to little girls; they may take you literally. I find them in the grove of trees skipping rope. Dau 4 and Dau 5 are stark naked. Isabella had the sense to stay dressed. I can’t fault them. I’m the one that said they had to strip to get in the water. What’s a mom to do?!

What I did was pull out my cell phone camera thingie and take a photo. I’d post it here but I’d get in trouble for it. I got Annie squarely from behind caught in the middle of a jump, legs drawn up, hair flying. This is blackmail material. When she’s in her late teens and feeling immortal, I’ll threaten to post the photo on line or some other embarrassing thing! Or not. It’s a cute photo.

I’ll have to be careful with what I suggest even in the depths of irony. I should have learned this lesson already. There was that event with the garden worms …

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ships! Probably taken in Massachusetts - About 1900

From Occasional Reader who's off yoddeling and singing ....

Coincidence and Likely Stories ....

...Was the title of an album by Buffy Sainte Marie – folk singer, songwriter and Native American Activist. Most of it was put together using an Amiga computer. Remember those? When the album was released my daughter had just won a design competition on a national TV children’s program and was heavily into music. Her prize was a state-of-the-art Amiga computer – plus a coveted badge. So we bought the album.

Finally transferring the old CD to the iPod last week, the title made me muse on how coincidences in life really do happen. Obviously, a lot may depend on your circle of acquaintances – linked to perhaps profession, religion, hobbies or geographical location. The smaller the country and the larger your circle of contacts, the more chance there is of bumping into people you know in strange places.

But it is strange in life how coincidences can happen. Here in Britain (population in excess of sixty million) I’ve had my fair share of them. I don’t see omens in them – I don’t see anything spooky – but there one or two do stick in the mind.

I was courting a girl who lived in another country. (How that came about also involved coincidence, but that would make this post too long). She was actually working for the same religious charity I did, only she was in a land where, had she been discovered, she would have been deported. But our burgeoning relationship was a big secret. It was partly because I was very well known in a “big fish – small pond” syndrome, and also her family were very well known. Had it all gone pear shaped it could have been somewhat embarrassing. So until we knew the relationship had mileage in it, we tacitly agreed that our liaison was to be hush-hush.

So I bought this cheap package holiday trip to the country where she lived, and without telling a soul disappeared “on personal business” from the locality.

All was well and good until I boarded my train.

So there I am in the bar on the train travelling across the width of England, when a surprised “What are YOU doing here” startled me out of my reverie. An old girl-friend named L. She actually now lived over 300 miles from me, but had been visiting the man she eventually married when his tanker came into the oil refineries in West Wales. She was travelling home. She knew me well. Humph - very well. Knowing my propensity for mild paranoia, she thought it hilarious that I was trying to be so secretive. And no – chortle, chortle – she wouldn’t tell.

We had a pleasant two hour catch-up to London, where we went our separate ways. Wow – what a surprise that had been.

Then I am in the queue for passport control at Heathrow Airport and blow me down – there’s another “What are you doing here?” This time it is a girl named M. Not an ex this time – she’d been too young anyway when I lived in the same part of Oxfordshire a few years earlier, but I had worked with her mother for three years, and been a guest in their home every week.

She and another girl (who I also knew vaguely) were on a holiday – not only were they on the same flight, but they were staying in the same hotel. For the next week we kept on bumping into each other, in the restaurant, in the bar, in the pool – I don’t know who was more horrified. We never got around to the “No – she wouldn’t tell” conversation – and my “secret” was out.

You really can’t go anywhere it seemed.

Now wind the clock forward. I have been married to Mrs Occasional for a number of years. She ultimately returned to civilization to marry me. But now our original career plans have been amended. We are pushing a pram and getting into family history. I have trained for a profession that will put food on the table, and am organizing educational seminars up and down the country for CPD purposes – a means of turning something that should cost me money into something that would make me money. One of my older colleagues met through a professional association, lives in Scotland. She has the latest in computers whereas we only have a steam driven model. She offers to scan our family photos into the machine for our family tree programme. We send them to her. Immediately comes a telephone call. What on earth are you doing with a photograph of P and M? They have the same photograph in their albums. It turns out that she and her husband had been in the RAF at the end of the war and for some years afterwards. In married quarters they had regularly done babysitting for an older couple. A lifetime later I had only gone and married one of those babies. The families had eventually lost touch after each left the services – they settling in Scotland and my wife’s family setting in Wales.

So yes – coincidence and (un)likely stories.

Those are some of mine.

What about yours?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Too Soon Goodb'ye

From's Forum comes this comment on the year's best short stories:

“Too Soon Goodbye” by Rachael de Vienne is a well told, sad (mainstream) tale.—StevenLP

This short story was originally published by Membra Disjecta, an online magazine now defunt.

I am, for a moment, a child again. I feel the same reluctant sleepiness, the same dull-witted obedience to kind but insistent commands to dress, and I feel the same excitement. Why this is true I do not know. My grandparents are dead. They won’t be there, and I’ll miss them.

We sip coffee in Aunt Shirley’s cluttered sitting room. Seashells, common and exotic, cover the top of an old, battered Queen Ann table. A baby quilt dated 1910 in embroidered stitches is neatly folded and placed with studied casualness on an old chest.

I sit across from a print of children playing in the sand. The original is a famous painting, but I can’t remember the artist’s name. It’s a woman artist. I know it is. But names escape me. Not remembering is disconcerting, but I shrug it off.

Outside it’s still bluish-black and quiet. We talk. In another age one would have written, “We talked of inconsequentials.” We are avoiding the word, “Goodbye.”

I dress sleeping and reluctantly roused children. My twelve-year old begs for more sleep. She plops herself on her granduncle’s lap and buries her face in his shoulder. I see the pain in his eyes. In her uncle she’s found a kindred spirit, and he found one in her. Some but not all of his tears are from arthritis, but he won’t shoo her off.

“You’re hurting your uncle. Get off the poor man,” I say.

She obeys but not happily. She sits next to her aunt and snuggles sleepily.

The car is packed. Raised eyebrows ask if I’m ready. I’m not, but I say, “We better go.” And as an afterthought I add, “It’s a long trip.”

We all know this, and I feel silly for saying it.

I don’t drive. A slowly dying mind makes driving unsafe. When I was a child I found a place in the back on the passenger side. Annalise would be on the back driver’s side and the smaller of we girls in the centre. Anna and I served as security blankets and pillows to smaller sisters. Now I sit in the front, and I feel the same drowsy satisfaction as when I was a child.

It seems strange to describe a journey as having legs. But, if journeys have legs, this one’s first is from Aunt Shirley’s to the Columbia River.

When I was small, this stretch was a paved trail, a wagon road turned by the magic of asphalt into a highway. It twisted its way along a desert canyon floor. I would try to sleep. If I didn’t, by the time we reached Plymouth, Father would be desperately trying to find a place to stop before I threw up. Now it runs in multi-lane splendor on the high ridge, and it is straight and true.

I try to see traces of the old road. I get one glimpse of crumbled asphalt preserved as a bed of black gravel on the canyon floor below.

There was once a ferry at Plymouth, and on the ferry road there was an abandoned house. I used to wonder about the house and those who lived in it. I wondered why they left it. The house is gone now, and the town persists as a name, a few buildings and a trailer. We pass it at speed and high on an artificial ridge. Instead of crossing on a ferry with water lapping at our tires, we cross a bridge the sides of which almost hide the river from view. Neither do we pass through the little town on the river’s far bank, though the road used to go that way.

The Second Leg.

We drive on without pause. The girls sleep. As far as seatbelts and child-seats allow, they puppy sleep. I mean they sleep in a tangle of black and blond hair, a tangle of brown and pale limbs. It makes me smile.

As I write “leg” an ill-formed visualization passes through my mind. I smile faintly as at a poorly-told but still funny joke.

The second leg takes us toward the sea, though we travel not that far. We will turn South. But for now we follow the river along its southern shore. We pass great dams grown old. They are stately with an industrial-era elegance. The waters they restrain bury wagon roads, farms, an occasional village now moved up the bank and well settled in its newer location. At low water there are traces of eras past.

Tribal fishermen and their nets are scattered on the water. The river is never still, but this morning it is glassy, mirroring the clouds and raising sun.

This is near desert, and we travel among rounded hills. In another place we’d call them mountains, but they are too small to be called such here. Great chunks have fallen, cracked off the rims of the hills above; they’ve slid partly toward the river below. There is latent violence and power in these great clods. They should move, finish their slide. Perhaps in a fit the earth will one day finish its work here.

The girls still sleep. It’s getting warm. It will be hot soon—over 100 the radio says. I find a new station. The old one’s voice has become unsteady and scratchy with distance.

We pass a sleepy Arlington and in time find Bigg’s Junction. We eat at a café. I remember it as a different place perched at the edge of another road. I am as fascinated by a mechanical orchestra with its long-stilled voice as I ever was. Uncle Bruce remembers it from when it still worked, moving in time to a jukebox selection.

The place needs a good cleaning. I can’t remember when it didn’t. I remember a giant piece of basalt cracked from the cliff by a dynamite blast. It had the tamp-hole still in it. I don’t see it now.

The girls are hungry. Pancakes are eaten. They aren’t what Aunt Shirley can make, but they are filling. We do the potty parade, and I thank God for inspiring disinfectant wipes and seat protectors. We get puzzled grins from two truckers who can’t figure out a troop of girls who all call me mommy but don’t all resemble me. My oldest draws stares. I wish she looked more her age and less like she were fifteen. I take my medication. It will make me sleep. It is an unhappy side-effect. I will sleep, but I won’t rest.

The Third Leg

We climb up and eventually out of the river-surrounding desert, and I lean my head into a pillow. Sleep comes, and the girls’ chattering becomes an unintelligible buzz and then disappears.

I dream. It’s the same dream I always have though in a new guise. It’s never the same, but it’s always the same. In my dream I struggle. My words, my well directed blows, my shots and arrows hit home, but to no effect. This dream no longer frightens me, but it still tries.

I awake to gentler scenes and a two-lane highway that retains some of its original curving flow. We pass an old gas station built in the 1920’s, I think. It’s trying its best to let entropy take it to its final rest.

“Was that a gaol?” Arpita asks.

I look. I mentally framed the same question as a child, but never asked it. On our right is a concrete building striped to bare walls and iron window frames. I don’t know why it reminds my eldest and me of a gaol. It wasn’t one. Perhaps it was a house or a store. Never a gaol.

It sits in a pasture, though I think it wasn’t always pasture. A young woman is riding one of the horses, galloping. We catch the tail end of mating ritual and horses mate. My daughter stops her chatter in mid sentence. We watch the brief termination of a dance we’ve seen before. There is something emotional, potent, powerful in this.

The pines and firs appear. I feel at home, though this is not where I live. Lodge Poles dance by our car windows in flickering display. I peer into the grove as if there is some great secret hidden there. There’s not, of course, but there should be.

There is a state park and we rest. The girls are anxious to be on their feet. Children’s feet are a precious gift. I remember my first-born, the first of my birth-children, sprawled on our couch playing the “smell-my-feet” game with her father. She would shove her toes in his face, and he would grimace and say phew!” She, in turn, would convulse with laughter and plead, “do it again daddy.” This would turn into a variation of “This Little Piggy” except its phraseology was, “this little piggy loves her mommy, and this little piggy loves her daddy” and on through other relations until the last toe. The last toe was always a question: “And this little piggy loves …?” Her answer was sometimes predicable and sometimes revealing. A shouted “Hayden!” revealed her first baby-crush.

Now she’s caught between being a toddler and being a young woman. She’s naturally elegant. She and Arpita lead the youngest and we follow, watching their puzzled amazement and listening to their questions.

This park is a logging museum. There is a touch of family here. The family connection to the timber industry is strong.

I let one of the girls climb into the cab of an antique locomotive. “I want to drive a train,” she once said. Now she looks around the cab of this engine built in 1864, and says, “This is dirty. Why is it so dirty?”

The answer is disuse, exposure, neglect. Sometimes I feel dirty for the same reasons. It’s hard to feel your mind dying, only to have it resurrected by a pill and brute mental force. And it makes me feel unclean, dirty, used. I feel put on display as a curiosity over which to wonder and speculate, and I identify with this neglected relic.

The girls grow quiet and, rocked by the car’s rhythm, drift into near sleep. We pass little towns grown up since I was a child. Much is the same, but more is not.

Uncle Bruce detours to find a place from his childhood. It was a place of rock gardens, buildings made of gem-like rock and concrete, a pond with lily pads and birds of glorious feather. We’ve come at the wrong season. It seems forgotten and nearly desolate. He shakes his head. We do not stay.

We climb into the mountains and back into forest. There is again in my soul a sense of home-coming. I remember another trip through here. It snowed unseasonably then. Grandfather was sick. It was, I think, the time of his third stroke. He died soon after.

A lake. A small city. Lunch.

For mostly sitting all day, we seem remarkably hungry.

“Are you okay?” Uncle Bruce asks. “Shall we stop here?”

I’m not okay. We stop. It’s early enough that in other, better times, I’d have pressed onward. Not now. We find a small mall. I buy a book. There is ice cream. I choose licorice. I haven’t had it in years. I still like it. A doll finds its way into Elizabeth’s hands courtesy of her grand uncle. Other things for the others bring smiles. Arpita slips her hand in mine. Of all my children, she does this the most frequently.

We find a motel. It was built in the 1960’s I think, and updated at some point. It’s on the shabby side now, but it is clean. Bruce offers to find another, better place. I’m just as happy here.

There is a small park. The girls play off built up energy. We watch. I wonder when the “huh uh” of my childhood became the girls’ “nuh uh.” It’s one of the mysteries of life.

Night comes, and the girls sleep. I must shoo Arpita to bed. She’d never sleep if she could avoid it. She doesn’t wish to miss anything. I felt such myself once. Now I avoid a great many things best I can.

Uncle Bruce and I talk. Inconsequentials matter. They’re important because they distract me from other less pleasant things.

We rehearse shared memories, and I listen to stories I’ve heard before. And he tells me things I did not know. I didn’t know my great grandfather played baseball back sometime before 1920.

Uncle Bruce has a photo of him in his uniform. He promises to send it to me. Then, he looks stricken. I hate this look, though I see it often. It isn’t parting with a treasured photo that brings on the look, but I pretend it is.

“You don’t have to give away your photos ….”

“I want to,” he says. “I want you to have it.”

I’ve been the repository of family history since I was ten or so. Who will treasure the accumulated junk when I’m gone? I’ve worried a lot about it, but it doesn’t seem important now. Only the look in Uncle Bruce’s eyes matters. I want to comfort him and don’t know how.

I sleep most of the night sitting up. I often do this. It’s less painful.

Last Legs

We don’t have fruits or vegetables for the State of California to confiscate. We drive on.

We eat in Alturas. I remember the restaurant from my childhood. Little has changed. The food is poor. The restroom is abominable. The waitresses seem to be clones of those who served us in my youth. I try to think of more pleasant things and fail.

We have trouble with a tire in Susanville. I’m impatient. The repairman is older but not old. He seems to move as does a truly elderly man. I wonder if it’s arthritis, but selfishly shake off the sympathy. We’re close now. I want to get on the road. I shush childish questions and feel guilty for doing it; so I answer them anyway.

The drive is short, much shorter than I remember, and we are in Westwood. It is not the same. Some things are gone. Trees are gone that were infantile growths last I was here. We do not take care of our forests as we should. We don’t take care of life as we should.

We drive around looking for things, places. My grandparents lived in this small house. It seemed so large when I was young. It is very small. Someone has installed new siding, replacing the narrow pine strips with wide boards that conflict with the house’s design. I feel connected to my grandparents, but no longer to this house or to the yard in which I played each summer.

We eat in a café. There are old photos on the wall. They are of old Westwood, the Westwood of my grandparents and great grandparents. Some of them sing “home” to me, but the village as it is, is not home.

We aren’t staying here, but close enough.

There’s a man – you’d know his name – with whom my grandfather formed an unlikely friendship maybe thirty-five years ago. Grandfather is gone, but, being younger, this man is not.

They both owned property on Lake Almanor, but they weren’t neighbours unless one can call someone who lives across the lake a neighbour. We will stay in his house. He calls it a cabin, but it’s a three-bedroom house. It’s simply furnished and very plain. It’s quiet, and I need quiet.

We find the short drive, pass with unconcern a “No Trespassing” sign, and stop just short of the front porch. I see the Lake. The water is dappled and choppy. I remember much. There is so much to remember, but some of these memories will die, having re-played their movements this one last time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


When a Pixie Sings ...

Nella fantasia io vedo un mondo giusto,

Li tutti vivono in pace e in onestà.

Io sogno d'anime che sono sempre libere,

Come le nuvole che volano,

Pien' d'umanità in fondo all'anima.

Nella fantasia io vedo un mondo chiaro,

Li anche la notte è meno oscura.

Io sogno d'anime che sono sempre libere,

Come le nuvole che volano.

Nella fantasia esiste un vento caldo,

Che soffia sulle città, come amico.

Io sogno d'anime che sono sempre libere,

Come le nuvole che volano,

Pien' d'umanità in fondo all'anima.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Living Pink!

I see blogger ate text again. You should visit this blog:
Apparently this blogger thinks I'm the worst thing since black mold. I withdraw my recommendation.
It's one of my new favorite reads. Lovely photos. Fun.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Pixie, The Scotsman, The Boat ... and Stamps

I tried to post all of this and blogger ate it, leaving just the first few paragraphs. Let's try it again.

I'm still vegetating, spending most of my days in bed or in a chair. I'm practicing the art of Non-Thinking. That's where you distract yourself with other things so more important things can percolate, brew, ferment, coalesce. So far that hasn't produced much. I'll add a explanation to a paragraph. I emailed my Writing Partner, suggesting that we move stuff from the last chapter to an earlier one.

Pixies can be stubborn. I deny that it's a major life issue - no matter what Knobby Knees may occasionally say. An example would be last night. I went off to work when I should have stayed home. At least it was a light night and I could spend most of it at my desk doing a minimal amount of work. I'm taking Monday and Tuesday off and hopping for the best.

Knobby Knees talked me into going out for breakfast. I needed the "airing out." Remember the boat adventure I wrote about some months ago? He's found another 1950s era cabin cruiser. This one is in much better condition and much, much less expensive. I think he has a new hobby. He and a buddy are looking it over as I write this.

I've spent a lot of time sitting in my chair turning stamp-album pages. Buddhists chant or contemplate their naval. Pixies look at things. In my case it's been my stamps. When we were newly married I bought three used stamp albums each with some stamps in them, but mostly empty. I paid forty dollars for the three, which may sound like a lot of money but it wasn't. The albums new cost hundreds of dollars, and the stamps in them were worth more than the forty dollars. They are for Germany, German States, Colonies and Occupations.

I moved all of my German stamps into them and have slowly added to this collection since. I seldom spend much, usually about ten dollars a week or less. I no longer visit stamp stores. I can get what I want from ebay, usually as a much better price than from someone who has to pay rent for shop space. I look for odd lots, ill described, poorly pictured, and seek bargains. I bought one this morning.

This lot is really messy, and the photos are poor. I've pulled photos from the auction site and edited them some to improve the quality. Here is the main photo from the auction.

As you can see, this is a very messy set of album pages. On first glance, everything seems common or in bad shape. Some of it is in bad shape. ....

These are stamps from the North German Confederation from the late 1860s. There are a number of these in the lot, but, as you can see, many of them are damaged. I'll trash these. They aren't even useful as space fillers.

This lot also contains many used issues from the German Hyper-Inflation period. Used examples with clear and appropriate dates of use are scarcer than mint (unused) examples. It took me ages to find really good examples at cheap prices. And sometimes, because the used example is more expensive, that's what I find for sale. This lot has a nice mint example of the "Plowman Stamp" overprinted as a semi-postal in 1923. A semi-postal is a sort of voluntary tax stamp that pays regular postage and contributes to welfare funds. Here's what I found in this lot.

Germany printed a number of stamps to commemorate the 1936 Olympics. I don't have the high values from either set. But they're in this lot:

The sledders and the horse jumper are the stamps I was missing. I've never purchased these because of expense - until I found them in this lot. Also in this lot is a set of the commemorative cancels:

I calculate that there is maybe 300 dollars total retail value in this lot. The problem with it is that it's messy, and it takes a good photo editor to tell what's in it. So ... I bought it. I splurged. It was sixteen dollars and twenty-nine cents.

This will keep my pixie mind from stultifying while I vegetate. 

Now let's see if blogger eats this post too. ....

Friday, June 08, 2012

Such fun ...

One of those who reads our private history blog (We post bits of our new book there. It's a work in progress so we keep it invitation only.) involved himself in a discussion on a controversialist web site. He posted a bit of our work, for which I've scolded him soundly. However, I'm watching the discussion. And I'm having fun doing it!

He's trashing everyone. And the "everyones" he's trashing really do need it. It's like high-noon on the internet. Gun fire in the streets of Abilene! Show down in Dodge! Massacre at Toombstone! This is fun. He's calling all sorts of twits out on their conspiracy theories and on their propaganda. So, while I don't like it that he pasted a longish bit of our research into this discussion, I do like it that he's calling jerks jerks, twits twits, and the stupid stupid.

I'm not posting much right now becuase: 1. Knobby Knees is home for most of this month, and I have to keep him fed, entertained, beat him with a whip, and tie him down with chains or he'll break something or buy a boat. 2. I'm really sick. 3. I am writing a remedial grammar course from scratch for next year. and finally 4. Because I'm really, really sick.

Give me a few more days.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Roughing it ... maybe

The rifle appears to be a tube-fed .22. I wish it were mine.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

From Occasional Reader


It’s that folk season again – the season where Mr and Mrs Occasional will shortly be joining daughter and son in law to camp in a muddy field and strum and sing at a weekend folk festival. Occasional has no problem behaving like a superannuated hippie, although rather worryingly, Mrs Occasional was heard to mutter darkly “never again” last year. She has relented – just. But it seems a good time to consider a recurrent theme in folk music – and a popular film that trashed it good and proper!

The concept behind folk music is that this is the music of the people, made by the people. Often made very badly by the people one has to admit, but in its purest form, passing on to future generations the songs and feelings of the past – with a bit of protest and agit-prop thrown in for good measure. The river rushes on – we are part of the whole – a link in the chain – and it continues when we are gone – the sort of mixed metaphor sentiment so beloved of humanist funeral services.

Many songs try and portray this feeling. One of the best was River of Jordan, a song written by Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary – one of the 60s acts which made folk music serious for college students before Dylan led the mass folk movement into electric pop.

The song first surfaced on a Yarrow solo album in the 1970s, but in the early 1990s Peter Paul and Mary managed to persuade the three surviving members of the Weavers – Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman – to sing it with them. The Weavers represented folk music before it was made cool by groups like the Kingston Trio in the late 50s. A huge success initially, then their politics got them blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Seeger helped write such standards as Where Have All the Flowers Gone, If I Had a Hammer, Turn Turn Turn, and introduced the Western world to Wimoweh. He has lived long enough to morph into National Treasure from suspected pinko pariah in American consciousness.

So the Weavers – or three quarters of them – start the song – a line each, and then the baton is taken up by Peter, Paul and Mary. The message is clear; the torch is passed on from generation to generation, from aged folk icons to not quite so aged folk icons. It ends with a swelling chorus as if the whole world holds hands and joins in like a Coca Cola advert. I trust that fair use will allow me to quote: “We are only one river, we are only one sea, and it flows through you, and it flows through me...etc.” To quote from other contemporary sixties icons, “Yeah, yeah, yeah...”

Emotionally inspiring? Over-theatrical? Well, you can take your pick.

I lean towards the “emotionally inspiring” But then came the film Airplane.

I am sure virtually all blog readers will have seen Airplane (and don’t call me Shirley). One of the swipes is at the sparkling pearly toothed singers of inspirational songs then current – and they use River of Jordan to do it.

The actress Lorna Patterson borrows a guitar from a singing Nun. Right there is a cultural reference for those a little older than the pixie. You have to be of a certain age to remember the tragic tale of the Singing Nun – she made a hit folk record Dominique, and so the story goes, being unworldly donated much of her royalties to the convent but without a paper trail. After leaving the convent, she was later hounded for taxes on money she claimed she never had, and ultimately committed suicide). But anyhow, back to Airplane, a Nun gives Lorna the guitar and she smiles a smile designed for an orthodontics commercial (inviting a custard pie from the seriously unimpressed) – and starts singing to a little girl who is hooked up to an intravenous drip while travelling for a lifesaving transplant. All the emotional stereotypes are in place.

As Lorna gets into the swing of things, her guitar snags on the drip and pulls out the lead. The little girl starts writhing in the background, pulling a variety of spectacular faces, while her mother is oblivious and the singer blithely hollers at full throttle... We are only one river, we are only one sea...

I actually love the song. I loved the Weavers. I didn’t even mind Peter, Paul and Mary. And I certainly enjoy the Weavers remnants and PPM singing it together. I also find the Airplane parody hilarious, and unfortunately I can’t hear the song now without seeing the Singing Nun and the consequences. I must be both a true folkie believer and a closet Philistine. Call it cultural schizophrenia.

Shall we just say that I wouldn’t dare try and sing it at our folk festival weekend. Breaking into hysterics in the middle of serious folk-angst is really not the done thing on these occasions. Even by Occasional.