Saturday, March 17, 2018

No kin that I know of

No, folks, my own dear mother is no close kin to Irene Ryan (Granny Clampett), even though their physical stature is very similar.

See the source image

Friday, March 16, 2018

Pickled crow gizzards

A Granny Clampett specialty. Don't you wish you had some right now?

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Rule by oligarchy

"[William] the Conqueror had gathered the central power into his own hands, but even he needed ministers to conduct his government efficiently."

Except for the very smallest local situations in which a man can terrorize the population by his own physical force, every form of government is essentially an oligarchy. Since he cannot do everything by himself, the top man must have a small group of wealthy or powerful people who will support him. And, the ruler must have the support of the military leadership. In order to keep the military in line, he must have the support of a secret service or Gestapo or KGB. In free countries, the candidate must have the support of party leaders. So, in each form of government, it boils down to the rule of the few, or an oligarchy.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The amazing case of Wernher von Braun

To me, one of the most amazing decisions ever made by a United States official was the one that put former Nazi Wernher von Braun essentially in charge of the U. S. space program. The picture below is when he surrendered to the Americans.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Dog breeds you never knew existed

Earnest T. Bass Day

Some of you will remember Earnest T., the hillbilly who had a few spots on the Andy Griffith Show. Well, according to Wikipedia:

"Ernest T. Bass' rock-throwing exploits are commemorated in the Natural Science sections of some museums and universities in the U.S. with 'Ernest T. Bass Day,' in which people who have stones they are unable to identify are encouraged to bring them in for inspection. This usually takes place on April 1, when Bass is believed to have celebrated his birthday on the show."

See the source image

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How some English words originated

As Scott pointed out in Ivanhoe, the words for the common domestic animals - cow, calf, sheep, and pig - are Germanic, whereas the meat from those same animals - beef, veal, mutton, and pork - bears French names. The English tended the animals; but the choice roasts found their way to the high table of the [Norman] manor house.

(from A History of England and the British Empire)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Watch out!

"The forces of history are at work here," Tola Beg mumbled. "And that is something to avoid."

(from "May There Be a Road," by Louis L'Amour) When those large, history-altering events occur, generally speaking it is true that a lot of people get hurt one way or another.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


For the next three centuries [after the Normans invaded], three different languages were heard in England. The churchmen, the scholars, and sometimes the lawyers used the international language, Latin. English remained the tongue of the bulk of the population; for we must remember that there were perhaps a million native English (Anglo-Saxons) and only a few thousand Normans. The new Norman French was the polite tongue of the royal court and of the dominant feudal minority.

(from A History of England and the British Empire)