Archive for November 14th, 2006
I find that I’m carrying the Cross Ion gel ink pen quite a bit these days. It fits comfortably in my pants pocket, so it’s handy even if I should wear a shirt with no pocket, and it’s comfortable to write with. Nice pen. Refills (and pens) available in various colors at Staples and the like.
Mentioning Robert Graves and his works led me to start The Long Weekend: A Social History of Great Britain 1918-1939, which he wrote with Alan Hodge (his co-author as well in writing The Reader Over Your Shoulder). This paragraph near the beginning struck me:
The revolutionary tendency among the Fight Forces [there were several instances of mutiny after the Armistice was signed because of delays in demobilization and poor living conditions – LG] had been idealistic rather than practical: one reason being that everyone who had served in the trenches for as much as five months, or who had been under two or three rolling artillery barrages, was an invalid. ‘Shell-shock’, from which all suffered to a greater or less degree, was a condition of alternate moods of apathy and high excitement, with very quick reaction to sudden emergencies but no capacity for concentrated thinking. It was credibly explained as a morbid condition of the blood, due to the stimulation of the thyroid gland by noise and fear. Shell-shock, which brought distressing nightmares with it, often affected its victims with day-visions and warmed their critical sense. Its effects passed off very gradually. In most cases the blood was not running pure again for four or five years, and in numerous cases men who had managed to avoid a nervous breakdown during the war collapsed badly in 1921 or 1922. Many officers and N.C.O.s, especially in ‘shock-divisions’ and the Royal Air Force, had also become confirmed whisky and rum addicts. The problem of the re-absorption of these men into civil life was complicated by their unfitness for any work that needed reliable judgement and steady application. They had been led to believe that the fact of having served honourably at the Front would be a safe coupon for employment; whereas, on the contrary, the more exhausting their service had been, the smaller was the peace-time demand for them. A million men found that their old jobs had either disappeared or were held by someone else—usually a woman, or a man who had escaped conscription.
I wonder how the US will handle the return of its troops from Iraq, many of whom will similarly be shell-shocked—or, as we now say, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
After installing and trying various themes, I find that I like Classic Compact 2.0.2 the best. It really is compact, giving lots of screen room.
What should I do next? If the question resonates with you, the link shows a cute Web app that you download to your local machine and use through your browser (even if you’re offline).
Very useful, especially since I generally have some “standard” tabs open. Having just the icon gives me lots more tab room. You can set it so double-click shrinks/expands the tab.
For Thanksgiving, I offer you:
Bourbon Yams and Sweet Potatoes
4 1/2 lbs mixed yams and sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tbs butter
1/3 cup bourbon
1/2 cup (or more) walnuts, coarsely chopped
Bake yams and potatoes in jackets in a hot oven for 1 hour or until soft. Scoop out the meat and beat it with the soft butter, bourbon, and salt. Don’t overdo the bourbon—I did once and it’s too strong. Put the mix in a shallow, greased baking dish. Dot with butter and walnuts. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes.
Actually, all those “yams” in your supermarket are sweet potatoes of one variety or another. The yam is a white, more or less tasteless tropical root with not much food value. When the sweet potato was introduced, the marketing folks wanted a monicker that didn’t include “potato,” hence “yam.”
But, however you call it, the above is very tasty. And you can do all except the oven work ahead of time.
53rd. That’s the rank of the United State’s climate policies among the 56 countries that contribute at least 1% of the world’s greenhouse gases, as determined by the environmental group Germanwatch. “Only China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia” rank lower.
Of course, most countries don’t have people like James Inhofe:
James Inhofe, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, is spending his last days in power attacking a children’s book on climate change. The book, published by the United Nations in March, is “based on the theme of climate change and on what children can do to mitigate effects of climate change.” Inhofe’s staff breathlessly notes, “The book features colorful drawings and large text to appeal to young children.”
Inhofe claims the book conveys inaccurate information about climate change to children. Actually, it’s Inhofe’s press release that’s inaccurate. Here’s an example:
“The morning after his dream, Tore sets out on a quest for knowledge about the dangers of catastrophic manmade global warming. A “snowy owl” informs Tore that “the planet’s heating up” and that both the Arctic and Antarctica “are warming almost twice as fast as elsewhere.” [EPW Note: The Arctic, according to the International Arctic Research Center was warmer during the 1930’s than today and both the journals Science and Nature have published studies recently finding — on balance — Antarctica is both cooling and gaining ice.]
So, Inhofe claims Antarctica is gaining ice. There is only one study that examined all of the ice sheet on Antarctica. The study was published this March and, using NASA satellites, found, “The Antarctic ice sheet is losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year.”
Some right-wing groups have used a study by Curt Davis to claim Antarctica is gaining ice. But Davis’ study only looked at the interior of the continent. Since global warming leads to more precipitation, increased snow on the interior of Antarctica is consistent with climate change. In June, Davis told ThinkProgress that using his study to claim Antarctica is gaining ice is “completely wrong.”
We could go on, but you get the idea.
This isn’t the first children’s book that Inhofe has attacked. He also smeared a book for children written by respected New York Times reporter Andy Revkin. Read Revikin’s response here.
Inhofe is terminally stupid—and also paid mountains of cash by the oil industry to fight the idea of global warming.