Sunday, June 26, 2016

This might be your basic Blue Moon event

We have three cats in the Wolves household. Two of them are sisters, and they are as tight as can be. Regular readers know that I have posted innumerable pictures and videos of Murder and Mayhem being cute. Our third cat, Mischief, is not one of the sisters and largely holds herself apart from them. Lately, she has been spotted being more familial with them, bathing each other and what not. Today, however, we reached a new pinnacle of togetherness not heretofore seen:


That would be Mischief (the black cat) and Mayhem snuggled up, asleep. Wow.

Pondering the greatest guitar riffs of all time

I started wondering the other day, what are the greatest guitar riffs of all time? There are lots of candidates, and it is difficult to select them in any particular order. I have a few candidates for the best ever, though. I would not pretend to rank them, but I think all of these songs have to be in the conversation for greatest guitar riff ever.

Even if you are not ranking your choices, it is difficult not to mention this song first: "Satisfaction," by the Rolling Stones:


OK, that's a pretty obvious choice. So is this one:


But enough of the Stones. We probably could go all night with them. Honky Tonk Women, anyone? Love that open G. Anyway, there are lots more candidates. Alice Cooper, for instance:


Turn that up. Really. You also have to consider Derek and the Dominos, which of course is just Eric Clapton, who was hoping George Harrison wouldn't realize Clapton was singing about banging Harrison's wife:


Yeah, George knew. Moving forward in the timeline, I think we have to give a nod to Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits. It's a live recording but, seriously, wait for it:


There are so many choices, I thought I should throw in at least a couple that you haven't thought of. Like Head East, "Never Been Any Reason:"


That's a no-shit great riff. So what else you going to put on the list? I thought about Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." I thought about "Highway to Hell" and "You Shook Me" by AC/DC. I thought about pretty much everything by Stevie Ray Vaughn. What would you put on the list?

A post on Brexit with a little help from my European correspondent

As you probably know, the United Kingdom held a referendum Thursday on whether to stay in the European Union and voted to leave. I choose not to provide a link, because all of the stories that come up are "news analysis" explaining why the people are just so wrong to have voted to leave the EU. Naturally, this elitist attitude is part of why Britons voted to leave the EU, but I digress.

Upon learning of the results, I sent an email to my European correspondent, RAF, that said: "Is this the end of the EU? I hope so. Am I wrong to think that?"

First, let me clarify that I view the EU as a step toward world government and the end of national sovereignty. I do not view the end of national sovereignty as a good thing, for this country or any other. So yes, I am opposed to the EU concept. even though I do not live in the EU, nor will I ever. But I asked, and this is how RAF responded:
I hope so, too. And I think it is. But it will take a while for the EU to collapse. The Eurocrats are too invested in the project to just let it die.
I think they’ll come up with something in an effort to keep the house of cards standing. Britain will be punished in some minor way, and then the Eurocrats will make all sorts of arrangements so that trade and such won’t suffer.
I don’t think much will happen before another country leaves the EU. And that will only come about by popular demand.
People might joke about the silly EU rules regarding the curvatures of cucumbers and such - but that won’t make people actively work to get out of EU. It takes a lot more to get people riled up to do anything about the EU. The EU is a very vague concept to most folks. Who cares about cucumbers, anyway?
The end of the EU might come about earlier if we get another summer of muslim invasion. The last “refugee crisis" opened some people’s eyes to how incompetent, costly and insane the EU project really is. A few more examples like that, and things will start to happen fast.
Denmark, where RAF lives, is one of the prime candidates for the next country to leave the EU. The Netherlands, France and a couple others also are on the list. I guess we'll see. If our current president had any nuts -- and I would be the last person to suggest he does -- we would already be signing a trade agreement with the UK. We aren't. Draw your own conclusions.

Happy Birthday, Chesty Puller

Lou Diamond might have been the perfect Marine, but nobody doubts that Chesty Puller was the Marine's Marine. Lewis Burwell Puller was born on this day in 1898. He died in 1971, having served the bulk of his life as a Marine. He remains the most-decorated Marine of all time and was awarded the Navy Cross five times. The Navy Cross is one step short of the Medal of Honor, the highest award for valor that the United States gives. I'm not sure if Chesty is the only person ever to receive five Navy Crosses, but it wouldn't surprise me. It only surprises me that he never was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was one serious bad ass, and he believed in leading from the front. Unlike some presidents we might have who favor leading from behind (I'm looking at you, Barry.)

Chesty was a mustang -- a man who started as enlisted but earned an officer's commision -- who wound up a lieutenant general, the second-highest rank in the U.S. military. He served in some of the Marine Corps' most famous battles, including Guadalcanal and Peleliu during World War II, and Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. Puller's 1st Marine Regiment was critical in getting the 1st Marine Division out of the grasp of more than seven Chinese divisions. There are various versions of the quote, but he is known to have said something along these lines at the time:
“All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.”
Chesty was a bad ass. Happy birthday, Chesty, or, as Marines say nightly all over the world until this day, "Good night, Chesty Puller, where ever you are."

Saturday, June 25, 2016

I couldn't have said it better myself

Back in March, a bunch of state attorneys general -- all Democrats, of course -- announced that they were going to start prosecuting "climate change deniers:"
A coalition of Democratic attorneys general in 16 states announced Tuesday an unprecedented campaign to pursue companies that challenge the catastrophic climate change narrative, raising concerns over free speech and the use of state authority to punish political foes.
Apparently, it never occurred to them that this might be just a tad beyond the limits imposed by the Constitution, but hey, they're Democrats, which means the Constitution is a set of suggestions, not the law of the land or anything like that. They ignore others who suggested they might be mistaken, such as here and here.  Oh, no, they were on a mission.

Well, not everybody agrees with their mission, apparently. Alex Epstein, a conservative pundit (among other things), was subpoenaed by the Massachusetts attorney general over his disagreement with the theory of man-made global warming. I don't think the AG's office got the response they were hoping for:

FollowAlex Epstein @AlexEpstein

My response to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
3:14 PM - 15 Jun 2016
1,0771,077 Retweets 1,6041,604 likes
If only more people had the guts to fight back against government overreach, perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation where government views us as subjects, not citizens. The consent of the governed apparently stopped mattering a long time ago.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Trump's speech to the evangelicals

Maybe not on the scale of Paul's letter to the Galatians, but I'm sure it was yuge. Fortunately, I have a transcript of Donald F. Trump's remarks to the evangelical leaders with whom he met in New York this week:
Random evangelical leader: So, Mr. Trump, are you a believer? Your life history seems somewhat hedonistic.
Donald F. Trump: No, I'm a tremendous believer. I have the best beliefs. My beliefs are so good, you'll get tired of believing. You'll beg me, hey, please, stop believing, and I'll say no, sorry, gotta keep it up. Don't stop believing. Then I'll play that fucking Journey song and someone will shoot me. But I'm a believer, I couldn't leave her if I tried.
OK, so I guess that convinced them. They're totes on board now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Elvis Costello takes over terrorism policy?

I guess that would actually be Nick Lowe, who wrote the song "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding?" Elvis just got a hit out of it. Unfortunately, it would appear that high-ranking administration officials believe this should be our ant-terrorism policy. I certainly don't think that Attorney General Loretta Lynch is alone in this policy:
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that love and compassion are the best responses to terrorism during remarks to the media in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday.
Lynch said the Department of Justice stood in solidarity with the LGBT community “in the light” following a Muslim terrorist’s massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub last week.
“We stand with you to say that the good in this world far outweighs the evil, that our common humanity transcends our differences, and that our most effective response to terror and to hatred is compassion, it’s unity, and it’s love,” Lynch said
Just so we're clear -- great song, not a great way to deal with people who want you dead. Just sayin'.


As a bonus, because I care, here is the original version by Nick Lowe's old band, proto-punkers/pub rockers Brinsely Schwarz: