Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Cheesy Farfeezy and the Harp Through the Fender Twin

Hey, what happens when you lash together a garage full of drum gear, a son who happens to be a mighty good drummer and a fine summer's weekend morning?

Why, you just might come up with something like this: Bob Dylan's "If You Gotta Go, Go Now," featuring Freddie Jingo on the traps! He smack 'em good!

Microphones hung from ceiling rafters and shoved into kick-drums, computer gear lugged into place, MP3 guide track on the old iPod, and plenty of fine coffee. Makes for a grand way to pend a couple of hours.

Afterward, back in the studio, added all the rest of the stuff you hear -- guitars, percussion, mouth harp, Cheesy Farfeesy.

Damn, this was fun.

And boy howdy, the song just reminds me once again: I sure as shootin' glad that I wasn't of the right age, the right sex, or the right geographic location to get on the pissed-off side of Bob Dylan in about 1964. Woof! 

Getcher Sexual, Lewd or Provocative Content Right Here!

Well, this is a fine vessel of vagina kettle of fish...

When I refreshed the look and feel of this place a couple of weeks ago, part of the process was a solicitation from AdSense to plunk down ads within the Friendly Confines. Never one to turn down the princely $1.78 per annum I would no doubt earn, I jumped through the hoops and applied.

This came back a few days later:

To: [Proprietors, Neddie Jingo International Hegemonic Tendency, LLC] 
Subject: Google AdSense Account Status
Thank you for your interest in Google AdSense. Unfortunately, after
reviewing your application, we're unable to accept you into AdSense at
this time. 
We did not approve your application for the reasons listed below:
- Adult content
Further detail: 
Adult content: Currently, only Google ads that we classify as family-safe
are available through the AdSense program. We've found adult content on
your site. This includes text or images that contain sexual, lewd or
provocative content, and sites that require users to be at least 18, or
that may not be safe for work.
Rather insulted, I reviewed the Friendly C.'s archives for Japanese-schoolgirl upskirts, stiffened giblets, Barenaked Ladies Showing Everything, or anything else that might roust out the lubricious energies of innocent teens and those who would gleefully quash them in a school or place of work, and found pretty darned close to billy-o. Yes, we are a trifle intemperate here and there with our "frickin's" and our "gol-dangs," I'll confess. But gee whiz, if racy collections of glyphs were the only criterion for denying a man a decent livelihood through his embroidery, the entire Internet would consist of Enid Blyton extracts, nursery rhymes and Principia Mathematica. 

Then it struck me: Could they possibly be talking about the post from 2010 (it sat here at the top of the blog for eons while I was frying other fish) in which I limned a highly unlikely circumstance employing a tattooed lesbian, a Harley Davidson-branded marital device and a jealous husband -- a miracle of circumlocution and indirection, I thought at the time --  to set up one of the worst puns ever perpetrated on the human race?

Reluctantly I must conclude that this is the case. Clearly, an examination of pornographic Fifties dime-store novels and their influence on the impressionable minds of the young Beatles can't be to blame. Hyman Restoration comedy? Christmas trees in bondage? A trip to the hair salon that engendered unwholesome thoughts? Sexy, sexy laydeez in your mailbox to rot your children's minds? Nope. Gotta be that pun.

Frick it. I've clearly been played for a sucker. If putting up what any sane adult would view as perfectly wholesome content gets this place flagged as NSFW, then nothing is worth holding back any more. Might as well go whole-hog. Plunge into the filth, the muck, the slippery sleaze. The heck with your bourgeois propriety, AdSense, you bunch of dipsticky dookie-holes. It's not like everybody else isn't doing it...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Good Dog

(Try to do this without being maudlin, OK?)

Back in February, we knew Django's days were numbered.

We'd brought him in to the vet for a limp in his hind leg that didn't seem to be improving. Vet did the x-ray, and came back with the awful news: It was bone cancer. Advanced. The only medical choice was full amputation, and none of us, vet included, wanted to do that to a 14-year-old dog. It would have been the height of selfishness.

Vet said, Best thing you can do is just keep him comfortable, out of pain as much as you can. Let him know you love him. He'll let you know when it's time.

He'd had a very good, very long run. He never was much of a hunter -- or for that matter, a pretend-hunter, of the chase-the-stick, kill-the-ball variety -- it was his sister who filled that extroverted role. He was more your faithful, soulful guy who'd never leave your side when you were sick or hurt, and who took on your pain as his own. He loved us unreservedly, as good dogs do, and wore his heart on his sleeve. And we always tried to live up to that.

Back when he was a pup, rescued with his sister from the Loudoun County shelter, I named him Django, after the Gypsy guitar-flogger I idolized. His sister became Ella, after Wonder Woman's favorite singer. Jazz dogs. Finest kind. Mother was a stray German Wirehaired Pointer who loved not wisely but too well; Dad was (we can only surmise) a Large Brown Dog. Django got the Large Brown genes; Ella got the Wirehairs. Her facial furnishings make her look like a particularly magnificent Civil War general. Django was... Well, look at him. Handsome, not pretty. Obedient, not servile. Soulful.

Just a really good dog.

He did let us know when it was time. All through his illness, he never complained, never acted out, never became cranky or nippy, as dogs in pain can. He was patient and loving to the end. But all the patience and love in the world won't beat cancer.

On the day, Wonder Woman and I had to be the grownups. We heard and saw his suffering, and knew that nothing at all was giving him pleasure any more. It was time.

We buried him in a nice, shady spot in the yard. I am going to sow wildflowers there when I get a minute. I do have a few of those left.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two and Two Together

Last night, Wonder Woman and I sat on the porch, enjoying the evening cool. I was watching "Soylent Green" on the lappie; Wondie watched desultorily over my shoulder and browsed on her tablet. No television, no contact with the outside world. A lovely evening overall.

Shortly before ten or so, a nearby neighbor set off some fireworks. Not a grand cannonade, just a few whizz-pops. This has been going on periodically since the Fourth, so I thought it was just somebody finishing off this year's stash on a Saturday night, maybe after a few fizzy beverages. Certainly nothing to get worked up over.

As soon as I'd discovered along with Charlton Heston that Soylent Green is made of  (spoiler alert!) Edward G. Robinson, I remarked that I was getting gappy and was headed for bed. We noticed with a giggle that our Saturday evening was coming to an end at the truly Satanic hour of 10:15 PM; our dissipation, we concluded, is near complete.

It wasn't until this morning that, fresh coffee in hand, I read that the George Zimmerman jury had handed down their astonishing verdict the previous evening. Profoundly depressed as I read though the article, I reflected that in many ways we are still living with hatreds and bigotries that have gnawed at me and, well, everybody else, since well before I was born.

It wasn't until I saw the date-time stamp on the article -- 10:06 PM -- that I twigged to the events of the evening before.

Those fireworks had gone off within a minute or two of the verdict's announcement.

I truly don't know whose house the rockets were fired from. The tree-cover is far too thick this time of year to see any distance from our porch. But perhaps more importantly, I don't want to know. I wave cheerfully at any and all pedestrians and passing cars on our tiny dirt road, happy in the self-imposed delusion that we're all Very Nice People. Certainly not the kind of people who'd have cheered the Emmett Till verdict.

I thought we were better than this.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Plus Ça Change

My goodness, things do look a trifle... different... around here. Where the hell did that Breughel thing go?

In gearing up to try to keep this place a teeny bit fresher than I've been able to the last couple of years, I have resorted to a bit of housekeeping. A bunch of scripts no longer worked, a few graphics got lost, and a whole lot of places in my blogroll have gone the way of the Cambrian Explosion.

The new Blogger template that I chose doesn't let me do much by way of the ancient HTML tricks I used to have up my sleeve -- how the hell can I divide links up according to the Noble Eightfold Path if the template admits of exactly one kind of link? A step backwards, if you ask me. I'll get the Mobberly Story thing back up and running as soon as I get a minute. And I need that microscopic bagpipe-guy graphic to be comprehensible.

On the other hand, SEO, way easier permalinks, wider page for modern monitors, a working mobile version.... These things are Not Bad. They are even, you could say, Quite Good. Now if I can just find a way to combine a graphic and searchable text in the header, I'll be golden. (Edit: There! Did it!)

So meanwhile, to keep you entertained, here's a picture of Adolf Hitler striking a pose:

There's lots more where that came from. Dude just couldn't help but be amusing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Strong Winds and Accompanying Bother

Wonder Woman and I were preparing for our day this morning in the bathroom: brushing teeth, polishing brass knuckles, shaving eyebrows and what-have-you. The radio was on, the usual Morning Edition fare.

The weather report came on. We are to expect a cloudy and rainy day, highs in the low eighties. All very mundane stuff, not worth canceling plans over. Wondie wandered off into the bedroom, pondering the choice between the brass nose-ring or the onyx one I gave her for Arbor Day a few years back. I was left alone in meditative quiet as the radio droned on. Something about possible thunderstorms in the afternoon, which I dismissed as the Big-Government Socialist propaganda it no doubt was. As my toothbrush made its roborative way about the ancestral molars, the nice radio-lady intoned, quite portentously, that the predicted storms would bring the possibility of (I'm quite certain I heard this right) "strong winds and ham."

Dearie me, I thought. Not only do I stand an excellent chance of getting the careful coiffure mussed, but I'll have to spend the day under trees and awnings, ducking cured-pork products. I supposed the local carnivorous fauna would consider themselves quite blessed with the windfall, nice fresh porkies falling as manna from the heavens. It would also mean that their usual prey -- the rabbit, vole, earthworm and groundhog communities -- would consider this a welcome holiday from the usual skulking and burrowing behaviors that is their allotment in life.

Ah, yes, my powerful fish-fed brain continued in its inexorable train, but what sort of ham? Serrano? Smithfield? Prosciutto? Or -- perish the thought -- had Mother Nature decided to cheap out on us and rain down that horrible agar-embedded canned stuff from my youth, when refrigerated transportation was but a glint in Nikola Tesla's eye? Would Mother N. even bother to open the cans? Would she refuse to stir herself with the whole key-twisting business and just pelt us with unopened tins of Dubuque's Pride? I expect the insurance johnnies to have their pencils well sharpened. This could make golfball-sized hail look like hail-sized golfballs.

At any rate, I'm sure there's some outstanding poetry to be wrought out of even this impending natural disaster:

A-rumty-tumty ram-a-Tam (Gam? Flam? Ma'am? Work on this later.)
I do not like strong winds and ham
A-tumpty-tumpty sharks with hair,
A-tumpty-tumpty legionnaire...

The rest of the poem is left as an exercise for the student. Me, I'm off to herd the swine into the barn before the conflagration. Can you imagine their moral indignation? "It's raining...US!"

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Sarah A. Long Virts, 1832-1925

That little honey up there, that's Sarah A. (Long) Virts, who owned my land and home from 1874 until her death in 1925. Born in 1832, she was 91 when she passed. Six kids. Must have been a tough old bird.

I have no idea, of course, if she actually lived here; for all I know, this modest (then) one-room cabin was rented out to hired help on the local farms. But I do believe that it was she (and, no doubt, her husband, Joseph Lewis Virts, whom she married in October of 1859) who had the cabin disassembled from its original site down the hill by the dried-up stream, and placed here, 50 yards uphill, on a modern foundation. (Modern, that is, for the late 1800s. Still doing its job admirably, though.) Perhaps at that point, they began to build out from the back, which addition would eventually evolve into Stately Jingo Manor.

How she came by the place in 1874 is a bit of a mystery, yet to be untangled. The deed, on record at the Leesburg Courthouse, shows several couples (in-laws?), none of whose names ring any bells yet, selling her the place. It was some 25 acres then, which she subdivided and sold half of later. The plot she kept was 12 acres, which was in the 1940s subdivided again, giving us the 8 acres we now infest.

I want to call your particular attention to the date that Sarah and Joseph tied the nuptial knot: October 8, 1859. Can you name a time and place less auspicious to start a life of wedded bliss? Eight days after the Blessed Event, John Brown commenced his antics at Harpers Ferry, a mile and a half upstream from us. I have to imagine Joseph and Sarah, perhaps dewy with amorous sweat after a vigorous honeymoon boffing, sitting and cooling themselves on the front porch on October 16 of that year. Along down the road comes perhaps a tinker, or a passing drummer: "Have you folks heard about what's going on up at the Ferry? Some blessed lunatic has holed himself up in the Armory, hostages and all! What's this world coming to? At any rate, I hear the Federals are on their way up there, soon have the situation under control..."

Under control, indeed.... Two of Sarah's children, Susan Alverda and Rosa Althea (such aromatic names!) were born August 1861 and [no month given] 1863, respectively.

They say that the cannonfire of Sharpsburg was clearly audible here. Gettysburg too, if not so clearly -- probably more like distant thunder.

Helluva time to start raising kids.

Pee Ess: You Loudoun locals: You can do worse than spend a leisurely moment with the Loudoun Aerial Archive. Aerial photos of your very own dear old homestead (or the cornfield where it would be built) from 1937. Don't say I never told you anything useful.

Nature Report

Jeeze, I need to get that horrifying last post down the page... If I go under a bus in the next few years, I'll be remembered as the Guy Who Bitched about Bugs in 2012, No Matter How Justified the Bitching Was.* Can't have that, no sir, no sir....

The family of deer who visit the downhill lawn daily to snack upon the milkweed and thistles that I've cultivated for their delectation have managed to whelp this year. Just this morning, two fawns, about the size of terriers, cute little white spots freckling their backs, cavorted. The thought balloons over their heads read, "Holy shit, I'm a deer! Woah! Check it out! I'm a deer! Watch this! (Boing, boing, boing) Betcha never saw that before! (Boing) Wow, it's so cool being a deer! How great is this!"

The buck we call Missing, Presumed Dad, has grown himself a fairly impressive set of hatracks on his coconut. Sure, they're still fuzzy and juvenile-looking, but they're harbingers of the time, not far off, when he'll be yclept King of the Forest, to all but his harem, who already know him as Old Too-Tired-to-Get-It-Up. They're an iconoclastic bunch, that harem. Watch out for 'em. Be burning their bras next thing you know.

Funny thing about ol' Missing, though, is that maybe three years ago, he himself was one of those little terriers. The Great Circle of Life rolls on. He don't say nothin', which clearly implies he must know somethin'.

In other news, Freddie and I had a whee of a time the other night when Mr. Rat Snake (you may remember, this guy) showed up in the screened porch, trying to get at the Eastern Phoebe babies nesting in the windchimes on the unscreened porch (the evil old dumbass). I poked at him with an old cane I keep around for the purpose, and he gave a fine display of a rat snake trying to get the hell out of whatever he'd gotten himself into.

This prompted Freddie to ask, How do snakes actually move, anyway? That wiggling, multi-s-shaped performance they put on just doesn't seem to be a very efficient means of locomotion. I thought for a bit, and realized that nothing in my vast experience could answer that burning question, so we hit Google (also with an old cane I keep around for the purpose).

The answer may surprise you. Sure did me. I thought it was just God's will.

What's even more surprising is that we've known this for approximately 0.15 seconds of human history. I guess there just isn't a whole lot of grant money lying around to study herpetological boogieing.

* But it would make a fairly memorable tombstone, I do confess it.**

** Epitaph: He Really Didn't Like Stinkbugs Very Much, and We'll Miss Him For It.