Monday, August 26, 2013


Sister Mary Priscilla stood about five two and by seventh grade most of the boys weighed more and some were a head taller.

One rainy day recess was inside and the boys were restless. Sister had a hard time keeping them under control. They got rowdy and she spoke sharply to them. Then Jerry said something really mean and she lost her temper.

Balling up her fist she advanced on him, ready to clean his clock or die trying. He stepped back. Everyone got quiet.

Jeff stepped in to do some coaching.

"Sister," he said, taking her hand and gently extracting her thumb, "Don't make your fist like that."

"Why not?"

"If you hit him real hard you might break your thumb."

"Yeah," said Alan, coming to her other side. "Like this. And lean forward. Weight on your toes. Swing for the back of his head."

Jerry stood there dumb. They all knew he had it coming and they all wanted to see him to get it. They just wanted it done right. Sister didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

In the end she did both. Jerry hung his head and apologized. The boys all agreed to behave themselves.

And if Sister ever wanted to come down to the gym and put on gloves, they said, they'd love to show her how to fight.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thanks, Dave

the_first_sunday_thumb.jpgYes, many an idyllic moment we've spent with the Sunday paper.

On a related note, Eric Spitz wants to bring those days back, starting with the Orange County Register.
In the past 12 months we hired 350 people, built 25 new sections, revamped all of our weekly community papers (even making two of them into dailies) and launched a weekly set of magazines. Beginning in the first quarter of 2013 we have seen year-over-year increases in both subscription revenue and in advertising revenue. In other words, it's time to stop chasing the digital ghost.
We wish him luck.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nothing Says Cold War...

ekranoplan.jpgLike the massive rotting hulk of an abandoned Ekranoplan.

Via Instapundit, Wired, Wikipedia, and half the known internet. Still, I couldn't stop looking at these pictures. What a monster. What a killer it would have been.
Its low altitude keeps it below radar and its six supersonic P-270 Moskit anti-ship missiles can reach Mach 3 — more than triple the speed of the subsonic Harpoon missile that is a standard armament for the U.S. Navy. Coming in at such high velocity, the Moskit is within range of a ship's artillery for less than 30 seconds before impact. In comparison, the Harpoon gives defenders two minutes or more.
The Battle of the Caspian Sea would have ended before it began.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Granddaddy of the Political Cartoon

granddaddy_politial_cartoon_thumb.jpgA little essay on Bruegel the Elder's Land of Cockaigne (1566) in the Weekend Journal.
When I was a child between the ages of eight and twelve the most glorious event of the week was the arrival in our box every Sunday before sunrise of four to five pounds of newsprint in a bundle as thick as your leg: the Sunday Oregonian.

There were eight or twelve full color ad-free pages of funny papers which even if you skipped Alley Oop, Mary Worth, and Mark Trail, still provided fifteen to twenty mirth-filled minutes over your Sugar Pops or Fruit Loops.

Then on and on. If you were a reader like me Parade was tabloid sized, a Reader's Digest condensed, and This Week was another fact filled supplement you couldn't skip. There were twenty pages of classified ads and ten of real estate alone — its own section.

Then on to the news of the world, sections A through D, and thence to Section E, which stands for Editorial, where I first contracted the PTD (politically transmitted disease) that was to plague me the rest of my life.

Our local News-Review (snooze-review, I always called it) published only Monday through Friday. Saturday was a drought. But Sunday... I loved Sunday.

Some mysterious car drove up about 5:30 and popped it in the box. And some mornings, believe it or not, I waited in the living room for that to happen. You kids don't believe it. But I did. Imagine. Waiting. For the news of the day.

So... Where was I?

Oh yes. Weekend Journal. The Wall Street Journal's Saturday-only subscription. It is the closest you can come to reproducing that fabled Sunday of my past. In your mailbox every Sunday morning. Wait up for it. Fifty-two bucks a year. You can't go wrong.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Still It Helps

A wetting rain fell over portions of the fire late Saturday afternoon. The fire camp at Glendale High School received 1.28 inches of rain in 28 minutes along with ¾ inch hail stones. Small hail and lightning were also observed on the fireline. Higher relative humidity is creating foggy and smokey conditions for fire fighters. Wet roads are making driving more difficult.
From the ODF blog.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lightning Wet and Dry

We got a pretty good soaking this afternoon. Whether it was wet enough to put out the lightning strikes, or like last night's, dry enough to start dozens of new fires, we don't know. But we got soaked. You would think that all that rain would clear the smoke but it didn't. The smoke is still hanging in the air, smelling soggy like when you forget to empty last night's ashtrays before the sprinklers come on in the morning.

Humidity is high and that's got to be good for the firefighters. Oregon Dept. of Forestry has spent about $35 million in the last two weeks on a crew numbering over five thousand, and that's just in the southwest corner of the state. On a more somber note, a nineteen year old kid died driving a water truck on Bear Camp road, and a tree faller was killed by a falling snag in central Oregon.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

6 August 1945

If they do not not accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the likes of which has never been seen on this earth.

—President Harry S. Truman
He was bluffing, of course. After Nagasaki it would have taken another six months to produce a third bomb, but.

Good poker players make good presidents.

God save us from the present one.

Monday, August 5, 2013

21st Annual Durand Family Campout

group_picture_2013_2_thumb.jpgFor a respite from the smoke we went to Honeyman State Park near Florence. The weather was alternately sunny, cloudy, rainy, windy, and beautiful.

The kids caught salamanders. The old folks traded books, stories, and gripes. The teenagers did whatever it is teenagers do when you're not watching them. And a fine time was had by all.