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29 September 2010

Latest Bulletin from The 52nd Crusade / no Muslims were physically harmed in this Crusade / Race To The Bottom: How Fucking Dumb can Texas make its public schools?

Click on image, I haven't the slightest idea what will happen.

Meanwhile, Agence-Vleeptron Presse brings you the latest news from the 52nd Crusade.

We are happy to report that the 52nd Crusade seems not to be very violent, and no Muslims were physically harmed in this latest attack by Christians.

The Christian camp of the 52nd Crusade is located in the USA state of Texas.

The School Board vote, while having no legal or actual effect, is quite important. Texas public schools are the largest single purchaser of textbooks, so the USA textbook industry ... well, if Texas wants its textbooks to say the Moon is made of Limburger Cheese, the textbook industry will publish science textbooks that say the Moon is made of Limburger Cheese.

Most of the time this loony School Board crap specifically attacks textbooks which mention Natural Selection, but don't give Equal Time to alternative theories, like Intelligent Design, or Creationism, or Creation Science, or the theory I believe in: Flying Spaghetti Monster.

To try to be fair to Texas -- though not by my choice, I lived in Texas for a year -- it is not ENTIRELY populated by Intellectually Challenged Short Bus people. The University of Texas at Austin (Texas' capital city) is a world-class brain place, and as Lefty Whoopie Nudie Freaky as any USA university gets.

This story gives the impression that the overwhelming majority religion of Texas is Christianity. This is incorrect. 94 percent of Texans worship and sacrifice virgins to High School Football. Texas public schools' emphasis on football is so overwhelming that decade after decade, it has poisoned academic standards and made Texas high school graduates a joke among USA colleges and universities. (There aren't very many questions about USA football on the university and college application tests.)


CBS News (USA television network)
Associated Press (USA newswire)
Thursday 23 September 2010

Texas Board of Education:
Textbooks Are Anti-Christian

Conservative Activist School Board
Declares History Books Pro-Islam,
"Very, Very, Very, Very Biased";
Vote Friday

(CBS/AP) Texas' State Board of Education -- following a long history of throwing itself into "culture war" issues -- is set to vote Friday on a resolution calling on textbook publishers to limit what they print about Islam in world history books.

The resolution cites world history books no longer used in Texas schools that it says devoted more lines of text to Islamic beliefs and practices than Christian beliefs and practices.

"Diverse reviewers have repeatedly documented gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian distortions in social studies texts," reads a draft of the resolution, which would not be binding on future boards that will choose the state's next generation of social studies texts.

The measure was first suggested to the board this summer by Odessa businessman Randy Rives, who lost his Republican primary bid for a seat on the panel earlier this year.

The conservative-leaning and heavily evangelical Christian board pushed the item to a vote.

Board member Pat Hardy, R-Fort Worth, suggested the issue may be moot because none of the books cited by Rives still are being used in Texas, having been replaced in 2003, and said Rives "might want to go back and get newer copies of the books."

Don McLeroy, who is serving the final months of his term after also losing in the GOP primary, said he believes even current textbooks still reflect an anti-Christian bias.

"The biggest problem I saw was their overreach not to be 'ethnocentric,"' McLeroy said of an Advanced Placement world history book approved in 2003 and still in use. "It's a very, very, very, very biased book. Christianity didn't even make it in the table of contents."

McLeroy is one of the most outspoken of a group of board members who have pushed several conservative requirements for social study textbooks used in Texas, including that teachers cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers.

"It’s that great idea. That radical idea of Judeo-Christianity, that man is created in the image of God. So if you have world history books that downplay Christianity -- Judeo-Christianity -- and it doesn’t even make it in the table of contents, I think there’s a great concern," McLeroy said.

Some educators fear the debate might lead to a revision of history. "I was a social studies teacher, and, I’m sorry. History is what it is. It happened," Gayle Fallon of the Houston Federation of Teachers told CBS affiliate KHOU.

Fallon said the claim that books devote more lines to Islam that Christianity is baseless anyway.

"I’ve talked to the history teachers. They say there’s nothing there," Fallon said. "A textbook should not proselytize for any side. It should present fact. And, from what we’ve seen of the text, they present fact."

In the board’s official resolution, members cite textbook passages that call Christian Crusaders "invaders" and "violent attackers," while claiming Muslims were "empire builders."

Kathy Miller, spokeswoman for the Texas Freedom Network, a religious freedom group, called the resolution "another example of board members putting politics ahead of just educating our kids."

"Once again, without consulting any real experts, the board's politicians are manufacturing a bogus controversy," Miller said. No textbooks cited in the resolution are still being used in Texas schools, she told The Dallas Morning news for a Wednesday story.

The resolution concludes by warning publishers the "State Board of Education will look to reject future prejudicial social studies submissions that continue to offend Texas law with respect to treatment of the world's major religious groups by significant inequalities of coverage space-wise and by demonizing or lionizing one or more of them over others."

© MMX, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Quick Poll
Do you agree with Texas Board of Education members, who say that history textbooks are pro-Islam and anti-Christian?

    * Yes, the books are clearly biased
    * No, the BOE members are expressing bigotry

SPECIAL FOR MIKE! / in-home hospitality for door-knocking missionaries / recipes / Crime & ... uhhh i forget

Click on image for aroma.

Melbourne Herald Sun (Australia)
Friday 17 December 1999

Hash hospitality a prank
.....Defense Claims 

.....Cannabis Poisoning 
.....Just a Joke

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- The lawyer for two men accused of poisoning two LDS missionaries with cookies laced with cannabis (marijuana) told the court that the prosecution couldn't prove that the cookies had marijuana in them, and even if they did, giving them to the missionaries was an innocent prank.

First Lawyer Justin Hannebery told the court that the missionaries positive test results only proved that the missionaries were exposed to the drug, not that the cookies were the source. He says that a third roommate of the accused was smoking cannabis, exposing the missionaries to its smoke. "It doesn't have to be the most rational or probable hypothesis to be consistent with innocence," said Hannebery. He then said that if the cookies had been laced with cannabis, it was only meant as a practical joke.

But prosecutor Russ Hammill skoffed at the idea that this was only a joke, saying that the men knew the LDS missionaries hadn't used cannibis, but they were experienced users themselves. "They only consumed three cookies themselves and knew that if they had more they would have ended up on the hospital trolley (gurney) next to them," he said. "They encouraged the victims to have 12 each and didn't stop them.

"This may well have been a joke ... but they certainly foresaw the probable consequences of pushing cookies on religious missionaries." said Hammill.

While one of the defendants, Douglas James Lynch, 40, plead guilty to three charges of using, possessing and cultivating cannabis, both he and roommate Alexander McLean, 47, plead not guilty to seven charges including administering a substance likely to interfere with bodily functions and recklessly causing injury.

Magistrate Margaret Harding is expected to rule in the matter today.

 - 30 -


The Australian (Murdoch daily)
Saturday 18 December 1999

2 Accused of Giving 

Missionaries Marijuana 
Cookies Convicted

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- The bizarre case of two men accused of giving two LDS missionaries cookies laced with marijuana ended Friday with their convictions. Alexander McLean, 47, was sentenced to two months in jail while Douglas James Lynch, 40, was fined $450. McLean's sentence was suspended for 12 months, and he says that he will appeal.

Elders Tom Pettit and Andrew Housley told reporters Friday that they would be wary in the future of freshly baked treats because the cookies offered them by McLean and Lynch in May put them in the Hospital. The missionaries were offered and ate up to 12 cookies each, which McLean and Lynch each had no more than three.

Lynch and McLean told reporters after sentencing that they had nothing against the two missionaries, "If they knock on our door again they are quite welcome to come in, have a cup of coffee and a biscuit," McLean said.

During sentencing, Magistrate Margaret Harding said McLean and Lynch had broken the "particular trust" the public has a right to expect when visiting someone else's home. But the magistrate dismissed charges of recklessly causing injury, administering a substance likely to interfere with a bodily function and introducing a drug of dependence.

The Elders said they simply wanted to get on with their work, "We feel that this case is a reflection of the (drug) problem that is plaguing many nations at this time ... both in the mental and physical health of individuals," said their attorney, Mr. Housley. Elder Pettit added, "It's definitely taken us away from our normal duties, and from the purposes of being here in Australia. We're definitely looking forward to getting this behind us and getting back to our normal jobs." 

- 30 -



Chjyren Der Vjiking
Jedi Knight     posted 12-17-1999 10:20 AM

A Melbourne man who fed two Mormon Missionaries baked 'hash' cookies has escaped Jail.

The visiting Mormon missionaries say there are no hard feelings over what the court heard was a practical joke.

(quoted from Channel 10 TV news with notes in parentheses by moi)

All is forgiven, according to Mormon missionaries Tom Pettit and Andrew Housley. And they say their appetites for fresh baked biscuits which got them into trouble will not be curbed.

The 19 year-old Mormon elders were fed hash cookies {why do they keep calling them this? It's innacurate! You hardly ever get hash in Oz; these were made from normal weed, and are thus mere cannabis cookies} by Alexander McLean during a home visit to spread the Word. For that a Magistrate gave him a 2 month suspended sentence.

His friend, Doug Lynch, who joined in the theological conversation {HA HA! I can just imagine this conversation! Would have been real deep, but not very coherent! Hyech hyech!} at the kitchen table was cleared of drugging the pair. {polaroid shot of kitchen counter with bowl of 'mulled' green material and some cannabis paraphenalia}

{Vox Pop of the 40-ish Doug Lynch}
LYNCH (Smirking): "I'll stay out of the kitchen, and I won't pick up a Mormon."

The elders {shot of very happy-looking well dressed young men walking away from court} were taken to hospital after feeling the effects of the drugs. {Shot of what looks like stock polaroid image of rubber-gloved cop hands bagging healthy-green buds!}

They blacked-out, shook uncontrollably, their vision was blurry, and they had trouble hearing.

{Shot of smiling, laughing Police Officer outside court}
COP {grinning}: "It's just that they didn't know what was going on." {he laughs!}

With recipe book in hand, Alexander McLean says he's appealing.

{Vox Pop of McLean talking to reporters, 40-ish, suited, much more clean-cut looking than Lynch}
MCLEAN: "There is no 'secret recipe' - it's a standard recipe from a book, and, er, I'd be glad to make some for you.."
{ Oh, that dry Aussie humor! That's what got you in trouble in the first place, Alex!}

A happy snap shows when the missionaries first met Doug Lynch {polaroid of Lynch and Pettit sitting by two large pit-bulls who appear to be mauling one another!} that lead to the fateful home visit a week later. Doug Lynch was fined $450 for cannabis he was growing in the house. {shots of hydroponic gear}

{Shot of Pettit addressing reporters}
Pettit (nice young man, lovely teeth!): "So, we're definitely looking forward to putting this behind us and getting back to our regular jobs."
{But Tom! You're going to hell!!}

No rest for the elders who were back pounding the pavement this afternoon. As for McLean and Lynch, they say the teenage missionaries are welcome back any time.

LYNCH: "I wish them well .. and I'm sorry that it all got to this."

The Mormons are staying another year in Australia to continue their mission {and also to get hold of some righteous strains of Thai Stick which they're gonna propagate back in Oregon!!!}

This is Chjyren Der Vjiking returning you to your regular scheduled bongwater .. er, conversation.

28 September 2010

Want to know about God? Ask an Atheist! / Christians flunk test on religion, atheists ace the test

Click on image to make Hell bigger.

Well, this is odd. Maybe even embarrassing.

It turns out that if you need to find somebody who knows a lot about religion, the best people to ask are atheists and agnostics.

Half the Roman Catholics don't know that (according to their own theology) the bread and wine of Communion become the body and blood of Christ. (I think the process is called Transubstantiation.)

More than half the Protestants were asked who started the Protestant Reformation, and didn't choose 

[X] Martin Luther

Here, take the test yourself.

The Jews don't know that Maimonides was Jewish. (He was -- that's just the Greekified version of his name, which was Moshe ben Maimon. He was al-Saladin's physician.)

What the heck do they teach for all those hours and days the kids have to spend in Sunday School?


(or the guy who told it to me said it was true):

When this guy was a kid, he took Catholic Sunday School, officially known as CCD, or Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. A real old Irish-ish priest taught the class. He looked a little shaken and jumpy, perhaps from a lifetime of heavy drinking.

The lesson that day was about Hell. The kids found it an interesting topic and asked a lot of questions about Hell.

One very worried kid had done something Wrong, or Sinful, and asked if he was doomed to go to Hell for it.

The old priest looked out the classroom door, he looked up and down the hallway to make sure there weren't any adults in listening range. Then he closed the door.

He looked at the kid. He looked at the class.

"Don't worry about Hell," he said. "There is no Hell."


The Associated Press (USA newswire)
Tuesday 28 September 2010


Atheists and Agnostics
know most about religion

by Rachel Zoll

A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.

Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.

The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.

Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions.

Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15.

Not surprisingly, those who said they attended worship at least once a week and considered religion important in their lives often performed better on the overall survey. However, level of education was the best predictor of religious knowledge. The top-performing groups on the survey still came out ahead even when controlling for how much schooling they had completed.

On questions about Christianity, Mormons scored the highest, with an average of about eight correct answers out of 12, followed by white evangelicals, with an average of just over seven correct answers. Jews, along with atheists and agnostics, knew the most about other faiths, such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Less than half of Americans know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist, and less than four in 10 know that Vishnu and Shiva are part of Hinduism.

The study also found that many Americans don't understand constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools. While a majority know that public school teachers cannot lead classes in prayer, less than a quarter know that the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that teachers can read from the Bible as an example of literature.

"Many Americans think the constitutional restrictions on religion in public schools are tighter than they really are," Pew researchers wrote.

The survey of 3,412 people, conducted between May and June of this year, had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, while the margins of error for individual religious groups was higher.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

- 30 -

26 September 2010

Holographic Annals of Musical Beauty: On Glenn Gould's 78th birthday

 Click image to enlarge.

sound ON 
Gould plays "Sellinger's Round" by William Byrd

Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child is loving and giving
Saturday's child works hard for his living
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay

23 September 2010

BULLETIN from Agence-Vleeptron Presse Mensch-on-the-Ground in Western Europe / French Unions declare General Strike over raising retirement age

HI Bob
I am writing this extra big to protect your sight. So you can't say you didn't read the small print ...
Worker's Unions in France have declared a 24h general strike  today (I think it's the second one) to protest the raise of the pension age. The current administration wants a change in these laws raising the pension age from 60 to 62.
According to a swiss TV correspondent the demonstrations have lost some swing. Most people have grudingly accepted the fact that this government will not listen to The Power Of The Street. The new law must still  pass the french senate, some Senators claim that the rise is inevitable, but they would fight for certain groups like construction workers to negotiate exeptions to the rule  This report was also the last news item before they moved over to sports news. Usually reports from neighbouring countries are headline news
But it is still good to see people out there in the streets, givin' it a go sayin' F U to The Man !

21 September 2010

He was my North, my South, my East and West, / My working week and my Sunday rest, / My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; / I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

Funeral Blues
W.H. Auden (1937)

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

20 September 2010

Postalo Vleeptron / 1st Day Issue: Cross-Breeding Humans and Animals and Coming Up with Mice with Fully Functioning Human Brains

Click on image to enlarge

Postalo Vleeptron 
1st Day Issue: 4-sheet

Cross-Breeding Humans and Animals and Coming Up with Mice with Fully Functioning Human Brains

2 images from "Maus" © Art Spiegelman
Mickey Mouse © Walt Disney Studios
Mickey Rat © R. Crumb

Mighty Mouse © Paul Terry/Terrytoons
Pinky & the Brain © Steven Spielberg 
& Warner Brothers Animation

deutsches translation by P. Zumst (I think)

Jupiter Comes By! (Hi & Salam Abbas!) Look to the Skies! Get the binoculars or the new telescope! Or just your eyeballs! The Moons of Jupiter! They Wiggle!

Ah Fooey I don't know how to filch this. Click


for Sky & Telescope magazines's sublime Wigglegraph of the motions of the Galilean Moons of Jupiter for September 2010. You'll be amazed at how much information is displayed so clearly, in so friendly a format for the human eye and brain.

Makes a feller or a gal proud to be a carbon-based Sentient.

* * *


Thursday 23 September 2010
(@ 03:09 UTC / Zulu / GMT more or less)

is the Equinox. Wherever you are on the surface of Earth, the length of Day equals the length of Night. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, Happy Autumnal Equinox; if Southern, Happy Vernal Equinox.

But now for the Big News.

I suspect my sky will be clear tonight, and I've already dragged my new (non-computerized) Celestron refractor telescope out on the porch, to see THIS!!!

Now if Jupiter is this close and this big and this bright, so are its 4 biggest Moons, so this will be your best chance to see them through an amateur telescope.

OR phone your nearest university or college with a whomp-ass observatory and telescope, or your nearest optical observatory -- the Alps, btw, are lousy with great optical telescopes -- and ask if they're having Public Viewings of Jupiter

If they're NOT letting the public see the Wonders of the Night Sky through their Big Fancy Telescope, Leave A Comment or Write A Big Loud Rude Website Thing telling the world that they're Hostile Assholes, and your government should cancel their funding.

I've done this courtesy of the lovely and hospitable Wilder Observatory @ Amherst College. When it opened in 1903, it was one of the biggest telescopes on Planet Earth. Now

By all means, drag children. The sooner you addict a child to the Wonders of the Night Sky, the better for everybody. Would you rather they hang out in the 7-11 Parking Lot at 2 am, getting drunk, Twitting, texting, sexting, and making each other pregnant? Where do you want to read their names, in the Science Blog, or the Police Log?

These Moons are quite famous. Before telescopes, no one knew they were there. In 1609-1610, using the 30x refractor he designed from reading a letter about the invention of a telescope in Holland, Galileo found four moons around Jupiter, thereafter called the Galilean Moons. He named them Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa.

Very quickly, the world's astronomers clocked the regular movements and eclipses of Galileo's moons, now so visibly regular and predictable that, in the search for a reliable, precise "clock" to determine a ship's Longitude, the Moons of Jupiter were the prime candidate. 

(That scheme never worked out; the Longitude was solved with a real clock, Harrison's wooden-geared nautical Chronometer, merrily ticking away on public display at the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, designed by Christopher Wren.)

In 1671, the Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer, working at Tycho Brahe's astronomy island, Uraniborg, studied irregularities -- slownesses and quicknesses -- in the motions of the Galilean satellites. The irregularities themselves revealed regularity. The eclipses of the moons came late when Jupiter was farthest from Earth, and came early when Jupiter was nearest Earth.

Rømer concluded that the eclipses ocurred late because of the extra time required for light to travel from Jupiter to his telescope at Uraniborg; and early because light had considerably less distance to travel to reach Earth. 

(Previously it was assumed light was an instantaneous phenomenon, requiring no time to travel from source to observer.)

He and the Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens used this hypothesis to compute the first accurate Speed Of Light. In their comparatively crude solar-system geometry, they computed a value for the Speed of Light as 9300 (without units). The comparable precise modern measurement is 10100. Pretty damn good for the late 17th Century.

Above, Sky and Telescope magazine's sublime Wigglegraph of the motions of the Galilean Moons of Jupiter. Please let Planet Vleeptron know if you see Jupiter during its historic Closeness, and definitely let Vleeptron know if you nail any of these famous Moons. If you see an eclipse of a Galilean Moon, and you are Not Lying, I'll buy you a Pizza & a Beer, or a Soda Pop, if you are a child, or just like Soda Pop.


The Associated Press (USA newswire)
Sunday 19 September 2010

Jupiter closest to Earth since ’63

by Marcia Dunn, AP

CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA -- You’d better look for Jupiter in the night sky this week. It won’t be this big or bright again until 2022.

Jupiter will pass within 368,000,000 miles / 592,238,592 kilometers of Earth late Monday, its closest approach since 1963. It will be visible low in the east around dusk. About midnight, it will be directly overhead. That’s because Earth will be passing between Jupiter and the sun, into the wee hours of Tuesday.

The solar system’s largest planet already appears as an incredibly bright star -- 3 times brighter than the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. The only thing brighter in the night sky now is our moon. Binoculars and telescopes will dramatically improve the view as Jupiter, along with its many moons, rises in the east as the sun sets.
“Jupiter is so bright right now, you don’t need a sky map to find it,” said Tony Phillips, a California astronomer under contract with NASA. “You just walk outside and see it. It’s so eye-catching, there it is.”

Coincidentally, Uranus also will make a close approach the same night. It will appear close to Jupiter but harder to see with the naked eye. Through a telescope, it will shine like an emerald-colored disk less than one degree from Jupiter.

Jupiter comes relatively close to Earth about every 12 years. In 1999, it passed slightly farther away. What’s rare this time is Uranus making a close appearance at the same time, Phillips said. He called it “a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

- 30 -

So look for all this Neat Krap tonight and the next few nights. 

Afterwards, you may die at any time of your choosing or convenience. There'll be nothing better to go on living for.

17 September 2010

Vlaggetjesdag / the wonderful, sublime, ethereal (and historically important) salt-cured herring of the Netherlands / sidewalk cheap is best / haring in 't land / Dr. aan de kant

Printer ON
Cursor on herring image

The heck with sushi. 

I bought a hunk of pickled herring from a street vendor in front of Centraalstation in Amsterdam, and my mouth and belly wafted me to heaven. 

Vita brand sells jars of something called herring in USA supermarkets, and it's certainly tasty. 

But it doesn't taste anything like Dutch sidewalk herring.

USA Jar Herring is a respectable 6.

Dutch Sidewalk Herring is 29448. Or higher.

The New York Times
Sunday 12 April 1987

Cured New Herring of the Netherlands

by Theodore James Jr.

Every year on a Saturday in late May, the Dutch herald the new herring season with a festival. It's called Vlaggetjesdag, or Flag Day, and in the harbor at Scheveningen, a resort and seaport two miles from The Hague, ships large and small are festooned with rainbows of fluttering flags. Local people from nearby fishing villages don traditional costumes; there are folk-dancing exhibitions, and folk orchestras play favorite local tunes.

The celebration derives from as far back as the 14th century, when fishermen whose boats had been laid up for the winter would set out to sea in hundreds of small craft in quest of their annual catch. These days it is essentially an attraction for tourists and one to promote new herring, a delicate raw fish, cured in barrels with one part of salt to 20 of herring. The Dutch or people of Dutch origin everywhere call it the typical Dutch food.

Herring is so revered in Scheveningen that the city coat of arms bears three herrings topped with a crown of gold. And well it should be, for beyond being tasty, the herring has had far-reaching implications on the history of the Netherlands as a maritime nation, and thus, on world history.

The armadas of small fishing boats have long since vanished. These days the Dutch herring industry is supplied by about 25 immense ships, roughly 300 feet long, with all facilities on board to catch and then mechanically clean, cure, freeze and store the fish.

Most Dutch eat new herring as a snack, on a roll or on white bread, with or without chopped onion. Purists insist that for ultimate enjoyment, it must be held by the tail above the mouth and then slowly lowered and eaten, unadulterated by bread and usually accompanied by either gasps of horror or cheers and applause by onlookers.

When the season for new herring arrives sometime in summer, and exactly when depends on how the herring are running, a herring race ensues at sea. The gigantic floating processing factories race to port to capture the $1,500 prize offered for the first barrel brought into port. The prize is, in fact, an honor, for the money is always donated by the winning ship captain to Greenpeace, an environmental group. Of the first new herring sold at auction, and it is not necessarily the best, one barrel is always given to Queen Beatrix to do with whatever she pleases.

The following day and sometimes that very evening, all over the Netherlands signs reading ''nieuw haring'' are posted on restaurants, roadside and boardwalk stands and even on moped-driven vending carts. And even abroad, in Belgium, Germany, England and France, the hoisting of the Dutch flag before a fish market or restaurant signifies the herring's arrival. During the summer and early fall, new herring is sold everywhere from stands and carts. And the price is right, usually around $1 for herring with onion and bread or a roll.

The herring business in the Netherlands began during the 14th century, when a Dutchman named Willem Buekelszoon invented a process called gibbing. When gibbing herring, the gills and part of the gullet are removed, which eliminates any bitter taste. The liver and pancreas are left in the fish during the salt-curing process, these release enzymes essential for flavor.

To this day, Buekelszoon remains a national folk hero in Holland. An ancient song about him is sung in schools in much the same way children here sing ''Yankee Doodle Dandy.'' Herring lore is part of the vernacular in the Netherlands. An everyday expression, 

haring in 't land
Dr. aan de kant

means, ''A herring a day keeps the doctor away.'' It is thought to be healthy and particularly good for the heart. Studies show that the fatty acids in fish such as herring and mackerel help lower blood cholesterol.

In the 14th century, upon realizing that herring was marketable abroad, the Dutch built ships to carry the fish throughout Europe. It was then that the Netherlands emerged as a seagoing power, moving from the herring trade to exploration, colonization and ultimately to building an empire. Herring holds its place in Dutch political history as well. During the Thirty Years War with Spain, which ended in 1648, Philip IV's army had laid siege to the city of Leiden. Within the people were starving. To divert the attention of the occupying Spanish army, William the Silent attacked the Spanish in another part of Holland. The Spanish left Leiden to counterattack. New herring and bread was speedily brought to the starving citizens. To this day, on October 3, the liberation of Leiden is celebrated with a traditional meal of new herring and white bread.

In his office at the Netherlands Institute for Fishery Research in Ijmuiden, Ad Corten, project leader for herring research, discussed the industry. ''The fish are caught with large nets in the North Sea, near the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland,'' he said. It is here that fresh water and food pour into European waters from the Atlantic Ocean. The primary food of herring is plankton, most plentiful in North Sea waters from May to August. The herring eat the plankton, which has a fat content -- an important factor in producing the fine texture and taste -- of about 25 percent. In the fall it falls to 12 to 18 percent and in winter to 5 percent. Thus, summer is the season to catch herring best suited to curing.

As the result of a six-year fishing ban that ended in 1983, the kipper industry in England suffered severely. The English lost their taste for smoked herring and have not regained it. But new herring of the Netherlands is as popular as ever. Last year the catch amounted to 40,000,000 pounds, with 20 percent of that consumed in the Netherlands. This amounts to 10 herring a person a year.


Kandinsky is a formal restaurant in the Kurhaus casino and hotel, 30 Gevers Deynootplein, Scheveningen; 52-00-52. The herring is served as an appetizer with chopped onion. Reservations suggested.

Saur, 51 Lange Voorhout, The Hague, (46-33-44) is across the street from the United States Embassy. Closed Sunday.

Oesterbar, 10 Leidseplein, Amsterdam; 26-34-63. This popular fish restaurant has aquarium windows and tiled walls.

In most restaurants, new herring costs $3 to $5; the price from street vendors is $1. 

- 30 -

Theodore James Jr. lives on Long Island NY and is writing a book on landscape gardening.

15 September 2010

PIZZAQ! What time is it REALLY on this uncorrected sundial hundreds of miles north of its designed latitude / You can do this, you're smart / CONVERSELY: If you can't do this, you're not smart.

Click sundial to enlarge.

I received this sundial as a gift years ago, and I've lost the details, but I think it's a reproduction of a sundial designed by Thomas Jefferson for his garden at his estate of Monticello, Virginia.
Monticello is at Latitude 38° 0′ 37.01″ N
My reproduction is at  42° 23′ 30″ N
Sundials are latitude-specific, so if Jefferson did his trigonometry right (and he almost certainly did), this sundial only tells the correct time at Monticello's latitude.
Moving the same sundial substantially north or south will skew or distort the sundial's time-telling accuracy.
However, you can adjust for this by doing some more trigonometry and skewing the sundial's circular base up or down from its intended position parallel to the ground. If you get the off-parallel angle just right, the shadow cast by the gnomon will again tell the correct time.
I haven't skewed this sundial to correct for its new latitude, so, like Jefferson's at Monticello, it's parallel to the ground.
So what time is it REALLY?
2 Large Pizzas, 3 toppings of your choice. Show your work. In other words, you don't get pizzas just for saying:
(and that's just a dummy value, it's probably wrong).

13 September 2010

Postalo Vleeptron / First Day Issue (4-sheet): Apis mellifera / the Western honeybee / aperiodic tessellation of hexagons / wonderful honey becomes sublime mead

 Click image for larger view.

Postalo Vleeptron
First Day Issue: 4-Sheet / Apis mellifera
honeycomb and nectar-gathering
aperiodic tessellation of hexagons

stamps & text © 2010 by Robert Merkin, All Rights Reserved
honeycomb image © Jiri Bohdal /

~ ~ ~

 ISSUE TIME: 9/13/2010 4:03:00 PM
VALID UNTIL: 9/13/2010 8:00:00 PM

Hiya L**** --
Sorry I was snoring when you dropped over yesterday. Thanks a gazillion for tending the cats. Since we moved to C***********, it was the first time [we] felt comfy being away from the kitty-cats. We're very happy to take care of S****** when you guys take time away.
We're very lucky this year. All the cats are youthful, healthy, robust, and reasonably smart. 
We've learned that all cats get sad when their regular humans go away, but with visits from a nice, cat-loving neighbor, they get through any length of it just fine. (Stewie has a particularly short limit for Hunger Strikes, and is not likely to waste away.) Even jumpy Mimi got back into the swing of things the night we came back. 
(Benny has a funny Cat Zodiac sign: Nothing fazes him. He's the most sensitive and perceptive, but gets through all changes and challenges smoothly and quickly, never sulks or pouts, never hides.)
Did you enjoy the Honeybee Festival? What did Mr. C. have to say about CCD? 
(We enjoyed another lecture -- and samples -- by the young man who turns Mr. C.'s honey into delicious mead.)

The last time I spoke with Mr. C. about CCD, he came very close to a flat denial that CCD really exists as an authentic, new disease threat. Obviously there is a well-documented, feverishly researched continent-wide worrisome phenomenon, but Mr. C. says it's never affected the hives in his network of small-scale small-farm local-activity New England beekeepers. 
(I think he and his fellow wizards hob-nob and do magical tricks with their bees every summer at Cornell.)
He attributes CCD to a troubling modern development: industrial-scale agribusiness pollination, in which convoys of 18-wheel tractor-trailers constantly transport tens of thousands of hives all over North America, to pollinate huge seasonal monoculture crop regions. 
(I don't know what they do with all the honey; maybe it becomes Sioux Bee brand supermarket honey.)
Honeybees just didn't evolve to withstand the enormous, unnatural stresses of this huge-scale practice, and these huge populations of long-distance transport bees predictably succumb to a variety of well-known hive diseases which small-scale local farm apiaries never have.
You saw how scrupulously and obsessively Mr. C. tends to his hives -- I'm guessing Warm Colors Apiary has fewer than 100 hives. It's pretty obvious that a "beekeeper" who trucks 5000 hives thousands of miles every year will not take nearly the same scrupulous care of such hives. I suspect these agribusiness caravans are more truckers than expert, dedicated beekeepers. 
Not far away in season, at the southern entrance to the Maine Turnpike, you can see convoys of hundreds of tractor-trailers bring Texas-based hives to the blueberry fields. Systematic honeybee pollination doubles the blueberry fruit yield compared to fields pollinated by the wild bumblebee population. (Roberts Family Farm gets sufficient results -- and delicious blueberries -- from bumblebee pollination. But no honey byproduct, darnit.)
Once Mr. C. told me he's grateful to CCD. The federal government traditionally paid no attention to beekeeping and never funded any research or support for it. But when the CCD threat began grabbing the national headlines, one member of Congress from the Dakota farmlands made beekeeping his personal mission, and for the first time beekeeping research and support are getting a huge infusion of federal money, interest and attention,. So, as the kids say, it's all good.
I mentioned Warm Colors' rare and delicious American Basswood honey. Mr. C. says it will be bottled and put on sale in about a month. (The mead brewer says Basswood makes terrible-tasting mead.) At the last festival, I bought the very handsome Apis mellifera t-shirt, and wear it proudly. Nephews and nieces adore the animal [figure] beeswax candles.
Thanks again for making our getaway to the Cape happen!
Bee-Crazy Bob

12 September 2010

CRUMMY OLD WINE DEPT: Woof woof. Bark woof woof bark. Bark. Ruff ruff. Bark woof bark. Arf bark woof woof. DiMaggio? / Wonders of the Invisible World / Spectral Evidence / Support Your Local Police Dogs

Click. You'll see better, they'll smell better.

Apparently my Spell-Checker speaks Dog. In the Police Dog Testimony printed below, the only Red-Flagged word was "Arf".
~ ~ ~

Guy with an ugly-looking dog goes into a bar, says to the bartender, "Listen, sir, I would really love a drink, but I'm broke. But my dog can talk. Will you give me a drink if I can prove my dog can talk?"

The bartender isn't happy, but it's a slow afternoon. He grudgingly nods his head.

"Okay, Rex ... what's on the top of a house?"

Rex immediately replies: ROOF!

The bartender scowls annoyedly.

"Waitasecond, waitasecond ... okay, Rex ... What's on the outside of a tree?"

Rex replies: BARK!

Now the bartender is really pissed off. The guy starts to panic, whispers a little pep talk in the dog's ear. The dog wags his tail enthusiastically.

"Okay, Rex, now listen carefully ... who is the greatest baseball player who ever lived?"

Rex is all excited: RUTH!

That does it. The bartender comes out from behind the bar and tosses the man and the dog out the door and onto the sidewalk.

Both of them are upset. The dog looks up at the guy and asks: DiMaggio?

~ ~ ~

The Charleston City Paper
Charleston, South Carolina USA
Wednesday 19 November 2003

Drug War Is Winnable

To the Editor:

Michael Graham's attack on the drug raid at Stratford High School ("The Usual Suspects," Nov. 12) completely ignores the evidence of student drug possession which members of the Goose Creek Police raiding party uncovered.

According to one member of the police team, "Woof woof. Bark woof woof bark. Bark."

Another police team member has stated that "Ruff ruff. Bark woof bark. Arf bark woof woof."

These members of the Goose Creek Police raiding team are prepared to place their paws on the Bible and testify about student drug possession under oath before a grand jury.

No decent member of the community should doubt the barks of these dedicated anti-drug police agents.  Doubtless the largely African-American Stratford students who were the targets of the drug raid will deny the testimony of these highly trained and dedicated experts, who smell illegal and invisible substances far better than human beings do.

Paramilitary police need to point their revolvers at teenagers, handcuff them, and force them to the floor to keep our schools free of crime and violence. Support your local police dogs, and stop criticizing this necessary raid. Recent U.S. Justice Department statistics show that most of these African-American hoodlums are going to prison within a few years anyway. The sooner Principal McCrackin helps them learn this at gunpoint, the better prepared for it they will be.

Robert Merkin
Northampton, Massachusetts

11 September 2010

Respect the University of Massachusetts or I'll punch you in the face, dude / By the way, how are BU, Northeastern and Hofstra’s football teams doing nowadays? / Seven years of college down the drain!

Click on image, dude!

Responses to “This safety school is better than the elites think”

5. Bob Merkin says:
   September 11, 2010 at 11:55 am

      I’ve been a neighbor — 15 minutes away — of UMass Amherst for almost 30 years. I’ve taken continuing education courses at UMass, and belonged to the WMUA community. I know the school very well, and for a lot longer than your driveby experience there.

      There are a few aspects of UMass I admire and consider world-class — just for examples, the Stockbridge School, the Conte Polymer Research Center, the theater department, and the unique economics department.

      But overwhelmingly, the undergrad side of UMass … well, look, I don’t want to break your heart, and I don’t want to whip up your “Be True To Your School” punch-in-the-nose impulse …

      UMass Amherst sucks. It’s a Grade D binge-drinking basketball football embarrassment that has the legal right to call itself a state university, print sweatshirts, and issue diplomas. So it does.

      I wouldn’t have bothered to comment, but you chose the worst possible university to sneer at: The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

      That’s a real university, and kids (even kids who play team men’s sports) get through it with a degree as impressive and prestigious as a degree from Harvard, MIT or Cambridge UK. Employers know a U-Michigan grad, in any major, worked hard to master the toughest academic standards. In the sciences, U-Michigan has been the birthplace of revolutionary discoveries, one after the other, for a century.

      For what it’s worth, U-Michigan’s students are as wild about their sports programs as UMass students.

      Where the schools differ is that, at U-Michigan, men’s football and basketball come SECOND. There’s never been an NCAA corruption scandal. The sports programs have never tainted or embarrassed the academic reputation of the university. U-Michigan’s head coaches are at the top of the national game — but they scrupulously never pull stunts and scams whose victims — as everybody at UMass knows — are the student players.

      Other state universities you should be very cautious about comparing UMass to: University of California at Berkeley (and several other UC campuses), University of Wisconsin at Madison.

      These states had the same historical needs for a state university, but from their founding, determined that their state universities would offer their state’s kids an affordable education every bit as superb as the Ivy League.

      I don’t know what to tell you about the Binge-Drinking Basketball Party you chose to attend. You’ll enter the working world in a bad economy with a degree that prospective employers will politely grunt and giggle at. And then hire somebody else. They’ll have several other state university grads from whom to choose.

      I’m not urging you to transfer and flee.

      But Massachusetts’ politicians, and the university administrators they appoint as political rewards, have kept UMass Amherst as a crap school for long before you or I got here.

      And have every intention of keeping it a crap school for the foreseeable future.

      They care about a lot of things. Their undergrads are the last thing they care about. You’re the last thing they care about.

      All your angry school pride won’t change the workforce value of your UMass degree. “Respect my school or I’ll punch you in the face” doesn’t cut it.

      What I would urge you to do is, for the first time in living memory, organize your fellow undergrads to demand a damned fine academic university. Punish the administrators when they penalize academics for their precious sports programs. Reward the administrators every time they spend money on excellence in academics. Cheer for the establishment of a world-class academic chair as loudly as you cheer for making the Final Four.

      It’s your four (or five or six) years of your life. The politicians and administrators aren’t going to increase the value of your time there. They’re happy to graduate you with a big unemployable joke on your t-shirt.

      So that leaves you.


The Daily Collegian
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Monday 6 September 2010

This safety school
is better than
the elites think

by Nick O'Malley

An article in Sunday’s Boston Globe, detailing the struggles of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has put the school’s national standing into focus. The verdict? UMass is a second-rate public university.

Since the hiring of Chancellor Robert Holub, the University has shifted gears in terms of national standing. Where there was once a sense of complacency about its national standing there is now a drive to put the school in the upper echelon of public universities in the country.

From construction projects to admissions strategies, the administration has made a staunch effort to commit as many resources as possible to raise the school’s standing on the national stage.

The foundation of the story is that today’s prototypical, well-off, academically successful, Bay State high-schooler – let’s call him Tucker, because I hate that name – isn’t even considering his home state school, instead looking at the likes of the University of Michigan or the University of North Carolina.

Despite being twice the cost of UMass, plus airfare and countless other financial difficulties that come with going to school across the country, Tucker won’t even sniff the Amherst campus.

Why? We’re not prestigious enough. As a student quoted in the Globe said, “It’s a pride thing.”

It’s not an uncommon feeling, students thinking that they could’ve gotten into a “better” school, one that they’ve visited for a couple hours, read about in a brochure and was ranked higher on some chart somewhere.

It’s true, some students feel uncomfortable with the name on the box. It’s a feeling of regret or a missed opportunity, felt when students come to UMass, that they settled for the safety school.

But, if a student is really entitled to an Ivy League school, they’ll get more from the education than a line on a resume and bumper sticker on the rear window of their car, which in Tucker’s case is a BMW that his parents bought so he can drive to his $10,000-per semester dorm at Boston College. It’s okay, though. The family is making an investment.

Yet, the Globe brings up the notion that some people find the “predicament” of UMass “infuriating, even embarrassing.” What could possibly keep UMass from being a top-tier school?

It could be, as the article states, the school’s athletic programs aren’t up to par. “My goodness, the football team is in the Football Championship Subdivision just like William & Mary, Georgetown, Holy Cross, Villanova, University of California Davis, Delaware and, oh, the entire Ivy League. How could they possibly succeed?”

By the way, how are BU, Northeastern and Hofstra’s football teams doing nowadays?

It could be that UMass isn’t catching on in the college capital of the United States. “I mean, how could a public school competing with Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Amherst College, Williams College, Boston College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Boston University, Tufts and Smith have trouble attracting in-state students. It’s as if the school has specifically declared its intent to focus on admitting out-of-state students.”

But it’s most likely that it’s because the school is stuck in a state that is spinning its wheels on public college spending, has one of the lowest endowments in the country, gets little funding from alumni, “deteriorating concrete buildings” and a party school reputation.

These are all things that the article mentions.

But, at the same time, every time UMass took a shot, there was upside. There’s a budget crisis, but the administration is looking to get on track and restore faculty. The football team is not in the best division, but the hockey home-crowds are some of the largest in the country. The Integrated Sciences Building, nursing building and Recreation Center are state-of-the-art.

However, if Deval Patrick would like UMass to have the same fancy facilities and dorms as those in California state schools, maybe this state should have the same funding for public higher education.

The article is a gut-punch for every student and faculty member- past, present and future- from another privileged institution trying to look down from its overpriced, overrated ivory tower at what they’ll always assume is still ZooMass, despite dropping out of the national party school ranking years ago.

Meanwhile, the nation’s premiere public universities would never be disgraced by such a label. Except for the fact that half of The Princeton Review top 12 party schools this year are ranked in the top 20 public universities by U.S. News & World Report.

So yes, UMass is a second-tier school in Massachusetts. But compared to Harvard and MIT, you know what would be? Michigan, North Carolina and Texas. In arguably the most prestigious academic environment in the world, it’s a little hard for the public school on the other side of the state to stick out.

But UMass does. It lives and continually improves in this environment, constantly building a reputation that could someday challenge the old guard.

Am I saying that the Globe article is part of a concerted effort from the prestigious Boston intellectual institutions to put down UMass in the fear that an affordable, quality education could challenge the academic monopoly established out east? No. But the Globe’s comment section is.

Still, UMass is going to be the rising underdog in this state for the foreseeable future, and Tucker will still thumb his nose at us because the name on his hoodie isn’t good enough for his parents’ money. He doesn’t want the “safety school.” But, you know what?

We don’t want him.

Nick O’Malley is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at

- 30 -

09 September 2010

Sarkozy orders France to round up the usual suspects: Roma Gypsies

Nicolas Sarkozy
President, French Republic
Co-Prince, Andorra

President Sarkozy:

Fuck yourself and catch a vile excruciating disease.


Robert Merkin
Chesterfield, Massachusetts USA

P.S. A French translation of this letter will be furnished promptly on request.


The Associated Press (USA newswire)
Thursday 9 September 2010

EU Parliament criticizes
France on Roma treatment

by Raf Casert (AP)

BRUSSELS -- The European Parliament demanded Thursday that France immediately suspend its expulsion of Gypsies but France's immigration minister dismissed the resolution as "a political measure" and insisted the practice would continue.

The EU Parliament resolution -- a rare criticism of an EU nation -- was backed by 337 lawmakers meeting in Strasbourg, France, with 245 opposed and 51 abstentions.

"This is an extraordinary condemnation of President (Nicolas) Sarkozy and his government," said British Labour Party legislator Claude Moraes. The vote put the Socialists, Greens and liberals in a grand coalition against the European People's Party, which includes Sarkozy's UMP party.

France has stepped up its long-standing policy of rounding up Eastern European Gypsies, or Roma, and sending them home. Officials have dismantled more than 100 illegal camps and expelled over 1,000 Roma, mostly to Romania and Bulgaria.

Sarkozy has linked Roma to crime, calling their camps sources of prostitution and child exploitation and has pledged that the illegal settlements would be "systematically evacuated."

The policy has drawn criticism from the United Nations and the Roman Catholic Church. Many at the EU parliament accused Paris of targeting Roma as a group and ignoring essential European human rights guarantees.

Roma face widespread discrimination in housing, jobs and education across Europe. As EU citizens, they have a right to travel to France, but must get papers to work or live there in the long term.

The EU Parliament resolution "expresses its deep concern at the measures taken by the French authorities and by other member states' authorities targeting Roma" and urges them "immediately to suspend all expulsions of Roma."

The legislators also said they were "deeply concerned, in particular, at the inflammatory and openly discriminatory rhetoric that has characterized political discourse."

"It is highly unusual for the European Parliament to criticize an individual member state in this way, let alone a large founding member of the EU," Moraes said.

French Immigration Minister Eric Besson, in Bucharest for talks with Romanian officials on the topic, insisted Thursday there was no "specific targeting" of Roma and no "collective expulsions" by France, except for putting them all together on planes going home.

"France will continue to repatriate illegal foreigners to their country of origin, those that don't have residency papers," he said. "It is sending them to Romania, a democracy in the European Union, even if (Romania) has economic problems."

Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi said his country would send police and magistrates to France to help resolve the issue.

On Wednesday, the EU Executive Commission insisted that French authorities give it more information on several Roma cases and seek help from the EU to make sure their actions are legal. French officials have said previously that the Roma were being treated as citizens of EU members Romania and Bulgaria -- not as an ethnic group.

The EU Parliament said the EU Commission had acted far too late and let the issue get out of hand.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

- 30 -

It's عيد الفطر Eid al-Fitr, and Vleeptron wishes everyone Eid Mubarak, Blessed Eid

Click on the New Moon.

Eid al-Fitr
عيد الفطر

... the Festival which marks the end of the month of Ramadan, is tomorrow -- in the West's Gregorian calendar, Friday 10 September 2010.
(The Islamic month Shawal begins now.)
During Ramadan, the gates of Hell were closed, so observant Muslims did not risk condemnation to Hell. The gates now re-open for the rest of the Islamic year.
During Ramadan, the Faithful fasted during the day, breaking their fast each evening at sundown. Eid marks a return to normal dining. (In Niagara-on-the-Lake, my taxi driver, from Turkey, kept moaning that he was starving -- but the sun was setting, and soon he'd be home eating the evening meal with his family.)
Vleeptron wishes all of us on Planet Earth the greetings of the season: Eid Mubarak, a Blessed Eid.
(Mubarak is akin to the Hebrew Baruch. The two Semitic languages are almost identical.)
In the West on this particular Eid, a fool -- just one of many Western fools -- tempts and goads us to turn Ramadan and Eid into an occasion of hatred, and damage to neighborhood and community.
In the West, in the East, in the South, in the North -- don't follow fools. Ignore fools. 
Wish the greeting of the season to your neighbors.
That's how we celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Planet Vleeptron.

07 September 2010

Miss Otis regrets she's unable to lunch today, madam

Click image to enlarge.

Bob is on the road again, determined to post. 

Above, possibly my favorite movie. Here's what you get when you pay a little extra for a good screenwriter (Shelagh Delaney). Just find it and watch it. Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be executed in the UK. Watch the movie and Leave A Comment.
A nice Mail Artist, Miss James, e-mailed that she liked my stamps. I sent her back this song:


Miss Otis Regrets
by Cole Porter (1934)

Here's Edith Piaf singing it in French. (Scroll down to song title.) I love Piaf but never realized she had a sense of humor before.

Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.
She is sorry to be delayed,
but last evening down in Lover's Lane she strayed, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.

When she woke up and found that her dream of love was gone, madam,
She ran to the man who had led her so far astray,
And from under her velvet gown,
She drew a gun and shot her lover down, madam,
Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.

When the mob came and got her and dragged her from the jail, madam,
They strung her up on the old willow across the way,
And the moment before she died,
She lifted up her lovely head and cried, madam ...
Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today.

Miss Otis regrets, she's unable to lunch today