Wednesday, March 30, 2011

These Boots Ain't Made for Trottin'

If some of you have been reading my Facebook page, you will see that our farm has "rescued" two beautiful spotted draft horses. Further, you may have noticed that there has been discussion about whether the horses and llamas would be, ah.... "comfortable" together.

Camelids and equines aren't always, as the following will testify.

A few weeks after we had settled a half a dozen llamas onto our new Virginia farm, the children's horses, two sedate geldings, arrived from our former home in New York to share the barn and pasture with our new charges - six llamas: five females and an intact male who was kept separate. Thankfully, they all seemed agreeable with the arrangement.

One morning, I slipped my bare feet into my Tingleys - big molded rubber boots, good for mucking out stalls - and headed out to do barn chores.  Just as I got there, I noticed the usually serene stud llama was staring out his door window with an extremely intent expression. I followed his gaze and saw it was fixed on the two peacefully grazing horses.

I stood there in my Tingleys (that I had to shuffle in just to keep on) and watched as an increasingly lunatic look transformed into lunatic action.

He wedged his nose between the unlatched stall  door and the frame and with a quick  toss of his head slid the door wide open. One leap and he was in the center aisle. Three bounds and a lunge and he was under the guard bar at the rear barn door and into the paddock.

With his head held low and his teeth bared, he flew across the paddock, through an open gate and out into the pasture.

It took me a minute to understand he was actually in amorous pursuit of those poor benighted geldings.

Fortunately, it didn't take the horses that long to size up the situation. They took off at panic speed. The Morgan, white-eyed with fright, was in the lead. The Thoroughbred followed - turning to see if the llama was gaining. He was. The pace over the 10-acre field quickened.

While I vainly tried to make my Tingleys trot, my dogs joined the race. And there they all were. Six demented animals of disparate size, color, breed, species and genus - strung out across a pasture that probably had never seen anything more exciting than a snowfall.

By the time my shamble got me to the pasture gate, they all were heading back toward me. It was terror and my Tingleys that kept me rooted to the spot.

Since I couldn't move, they had to go through me or around me. Thankfully, they opted for the less disastrous path and that slowed them long enough for me to mindlessly reach out and grab two fistfuls of llama hair and hang on.

Finally, I was liberated from my Tingleys. They were stuck in the thick Virginia red clay and I was airborne.

My drag weight and the pace of the chase had cooled the llama's addled ardor and he stopped his forward motion. I fell over his back  and he kushed - nostrils flaring and flanks heaving.

The moral of the story: Be aware that humans don't have a corner on kinky behavior; remember to latch gates and doors that are designed to keep animals in; and, for heaven's sake, at least wear heavy socks inside your Tingleys.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's a Real Roach Riot

I remember seeing an aerial view of the start of the first marathon race in New York City. The runners were all milling around, scarfing up carbs and health drinks and bobbing up and down trying to stay limber. Finally, there was a BOOM... the gun went off and they all started running.....over a bridge, I recall.

The view from the helicopter's camera made it look like a mass of crazy little bugs mindlessly scurrying away from a pile of trash. If roaches had a riot, that's what it would look like.

Or,  it could look a lot like the GOP getting ready for the 2012 presidential race.

There have been quantities of comments and stories, written and recounted, from the pens and throats of the motley-est collection of losers I've seen in my long, long life.

Media Matters has made a little collection of the gaggle's recent output that is
amusingly panicky. If you didn't know the GOP was teetering on the brink of sheer pandemonium, this should convince you.

Here's a list. The links to the individual stories are live.  Enjoy.

Obama Is "Feeble" And ""Dithering"
Now, If I Were President ...
But Obama Is Just Doing It Wrong
It's Too Late Anyway
And Obama Did It For The Wrong Reasons
He Doesn't Really Mean It
Plus, Hillary's "Over The Edge With Impatience"
And Obama Collaborated Too Much With Other Countries
But Not Enough Other Countries
Isn't This Going To Be Expensive?
Besides, We Already Have Other Wars Going On
And We Don't Even Know If We Can Trust Obama
If Nothing Else Sticks, Let's Just Call It "Obama's Iraq"

Friday, March 18, 2011

Verbiage is Garbiage

My best friend forever asked me this morning if I had writer's block...or, in this venue, blogger's block.

I told him that  I had nothing to say and didn't think there was any value in proceeding to say it.

Then I got to wondering why I had nothing to say and determined it's because I have tuned out of news since the Japan catastrophes. I am, instead, reading some gentle murder mysteries. Absolutely nothing there to get my ire or my dander up.

Sufficient unto the day the environmental evils thereof; evils that I have come to understand will not abate while man exists on this earth.

The realization that all the truly awful things that happen in this world are of human contrivance leaves me dumb with a despair too deep to contemplate.

And knowing the truth of this, and listening to the conservative arguments for doing away with family planning so as to assure we continue to produce more of the kinds of beings that already exist aplenty, makes me see that anything I think or write is just so much garbiage.

Friday, March 11, 2011


There was a time when I flew into  a rage only over important things.

Things like:

People tossing tissues and other trash out of their car windows;

Monsters who club baby seals;

Religious nuts who assault children (and Catholics don't have a lock on that);

Those who mistreat animals;

Coal and gas companies that dynamite mountains and frack the countryside, contaminating our water right down to the aquifer;

The decimation of our planet's old growth forests;

People who refuse to recycle plastic or even consider takings their own bags when they market on the grounds that "the gov'mint ain't gonna tell ME what to do";

(Ditto Sarah Palin who says the same thing about Michelle Obama's suggestion that we cut down on our kid's junk food consumption);

NASCAR drivers wasting fuel driving a car in endless,  purposeless circles, and the morons that watch them;

People who never stand up for what is right because they are afraid of offending someone.

See? ....all important stuff.

But I must be heading toward senility because this morning I had a hissy fit  just looking at Larry King's ugly, insensitive face, from which only the most pedestrian questions and observations have ever issued.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mushrooms on the Menu

It's not a new aphorism but apt: Mushrooms live in the dark and are fed shit. And there is a great deal of shit available on the Internet, on the airwaves and in our political institutions. We, who can tell shit from Shinola, must fight those who want to turn us into fungi.

I know how dangerous it is, and often unfair, to make generalities, but generally speaking, the truth contained in them often seems overwhelming.

As an inhabitant of the 21st century, and somewhat indolent as well, I read all the news sites and blogs that are available to me at the touch of my ten fingers. I've long since stopped being amazed at the amazingness of this and just dig in. It is a feast for the curious and I drink deep at the e-Pierian Spring.

Not all conservative commentators are as idiotic as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbog. Some, like George Will, often have a cogent argument. This does not hold true for the followers of the Beckian/Limbogian lunacies.

One of the things that stands out when you read the comment sections of sites where political views are expressed is how often those that take the far right side of the arguments appear borderline illiterate and are frequently misinformed. This does not impede them in any way, however, and the postings are rampant. And incredibly single minded.

This morning, a friend alerted me to a Buzz Flash story entitled Fear of Facts Endangers the Nation written by Peter Michaelson, a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He writes, "A University of Michigan study found that misinformed people, particularly those loyal to their politics, rarely change their minds when exposed to corrected facts in news stories. Instead, they often become more strongly set in their beliefs."

It's disturbing enough to find that these kinds of people cannot change their beliefs, but even more alarming when you realize these are the people who want to keep others from learning....anything. Witness the Texas textbook boards who are making every effort to set education back 5,000 years.

In order to ramify their credo of keeping people in the dark and feeding them crocks of that well-known fecal substance, there are quite a few states where Republicans are trying to enact the "make it harder for Democratic-leaning groups to vote" part of their agenda.

Up to 32 states are, in fact, attempting to disallow college students from voting in the state where they are attending these institutions of higher learning and forcing them to return to their homes....perhaps 3,000 miles away - in November while classes are in session - if they want to vote.

New Hampshire's new Republican state House Speaker William O'Brien, in a recent speech to a tea party group, damned college kids' voting choices by questioning the validity of their vote because, in his view, they're "foolish."
Well, we are all foolish on occasion, but not necessarily uninformed. If the far right keeps on attacking all things intellectual, and continues to force the witless to keep multiplying, I wonder if human DNA will alter and we will return to our apehood ancestry.

How ironic that would be for the creationists. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tripping the Trap

The mind is a fairly open trap, isn't it? Things arrive and depart, unbidden. While it is always thus, this aspect of thinking  has become a new source of entertainment to me. As a lady of leisure, there is time for a closer examination of banalities.

I bought a pound of yellow split peas at Whole Foods on Friday. If you've been to Whole Foods you know they keep all beans, grains and little loose things in see-through bins and you are invited to fill your own bags with as much or as little as you like.

This morning, using a funnel, I transferred my peas to a mason jar. In the transfer, a bunch slipped the stream and spilled onto the counter. As I corraled them, I remembered a joke I heard about  a century ago....and I still think is funny.

At dinner one night, on the occasion of his 50th wedding anniversary, a man felt it necessary to tell his wife, "My dear, I love you very much, but I must confess that I have not always been faithful to you. Please accept this locket that has five sapphires on it, representing each of my transgressions."

The wife, in the currency of his frankness said, "It is all right, my love. And I confess, too. I have not always been faithful. But," she said forthrightly, "each time I strayed, I put a bean in a jar....and they are all there, except those we had for dinner tonight."

Friday, March 4, 2011

It Was Tickety-Boo, Too!

The "boys" around the table at Morning Joe all had their big biz capitalist hats on today and were guffawing with guest, Harvey Weinstein, U.S. Distributor of the wildly financially successful The King's Speech.

Weinstein apparently was once identified with Disney/Miramax studios in some major capacity (I wasn't listening very carefully).

I guess he's still a hot shot in the business because he recounted the 10 films he has been involved with that have included Colin Firth - with only the first being a box office bomb.

While recalling his association with him he joked about that first film, counting it as a low point in his career. It was The Hour of the Pig and released in the U.S. as The Advocate. I have always been amazed that no one has ever seen it or heard of it. Maybe if the Messrs. Weinstein and done the kind of promotion  it deserved, it would not be the object of their tacky derision. (You made me mad, Harvey!)

To me, The Advocate was fascinating. And, as a bonus, it showed some of Colin's bare parts. I forget which, but I am sure I recall they were very nice.

 I just checked and Netflix has it. They describe it thusly:

"How far jurisprudence has come! This medieval court drama is set in the days when humans and animals were believed to harbor the devil. Courtois, an educated lawyer (Colin Firth), leaves the big city to find peace in the countryside but soon discovers acts of murder and mayhem that are holding a small hamlet in fear. To the townsfolk, Courtois's intelligence is nearly as mysterious as witchcraft."
If you have found yourself on my blog more than once, there's a distinct possibility you are kind of quirky....and a perfect audience to view Colin Firth defending a pig in court.