Month: September 2014

Good Late Night

Yesterday, Kenyan runner Dennis Kimetto ran the world’s fastest marathon by finishing the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 2 minutes, and 57 seconds. He also set another record by being the first guy from Kenya to be named Dennis. Fallon

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has not appeared in public for weeks. There are rumors he’s sick due to too much cheese, fried chicken, and beer. Sounds like someone is applying for American citizenship. Conan

One of the most expensive coffees in the world is made by feeding beans to a creature-like cat. It eats the beans and they travel through its system, and when they come out the beans have a rich, mellow flavor. The guy that figured that out must have really loved coffee. Kimmel… Read the rest


A Random Passage

Here’s Joseph Epstein, writing in his book Snobbery, about higher education in Mencken’s time. I think it’s safe to say that ivy things have only deteriorated since the 1920s:

H.L. Mencken, who also didn’t bother to go to college, thought it a comically, pathetically wasteful interlude, four years spent listening to hopeless pedagogues and engaged in inane social activities, and surely one that anybody who had any choice in the matter would prefer to bypass.

And students in the 1920s didn’t come out with indebtedness higher than most first mortgages.

Epstein earlier elaborated on his Mencken-ish views, with these words:

Most people come away from college, happy souls, quite unscarred by what has gone on in the classroom. The education and culture they are presumably exposed to at college never lay a glove on them. That is the big dirty secret of higher education in America.

Of course, higher education, as an institution, doesn’t care. It’s untouchable, in league as it is Hudge and Gudge (big government and big business). How else do you explain why kindergarten teachers are required to obtain a master’s degree in education and a host of other absurdities?

Read the rest


Miscellaneous Rambling

I’m slowly wrapping up the garden. This wonderful weather is giving me the opportunity to put things away gradually, just spending an hour a two a week readying beds for next year and cleaning out my 50+ pots. It’s also giving me an opportunity to rake in some serious squash. A squash bug infestation wiped out my first crop, so I planted a new batch in early June, knowing that a short growing season would leave me short, but that hasn’t happened. Barring theft (someone actually stole two pumpkins from my side yard, just feet from my daughters’ bedroom windows) or some other aberration, I could grab as many as 50 winter squash (but many of them mini varieties), though I expect the number to be more in the 30-40 range. * * * * * * * Further good garden news: the worm factory is producing a lot of vermicompost. It’s probably cranking about 10-15 pounds a month of, reputedly, the world’s greatest soil amendment. * * * * * * * Write your own joke: Man tried to smuggle 51 turtles in pants across border. And no, it wasn’t a Mexican penetrating Texas with his penis at risk. It was an Oriental (at least a dude with an Oriental-sounding name) penetrating Detroit through the Canadian border. * * * * * * * I’ve traveled that Canada-Detroit tunnel and bridge many times. It used to be one of my favorite things to do. There was something about “just crossing over into Canada” for kicks that appealed to me. And the fact that the drinking age was/is 18. Canada doesn’t send … Read the rest

Pride and Prejudice circa 2014


One of the more interesting observations I’ve read this month:

“Why is marriage such an unpalatable prospect to today’s adults? Though “a host of complex factors” are involved, according to the Washington Post, Pew was able to pinpoint some of the biggest considerations for single adults. Many men said they’re delaying (or forgoing) marriage until they’re financially stable—while almost four-fifths of the single women said their biggest consideration is whether or not their potential spouse has a steady job.

“This is fascinating—in our age of romance-soaked literature and films, we rarely hear such pragmatic considerations discussed in the public sphere. Why would a woman choose to marry (or not marry) a man based on his career prospects? It sounds positively Elizabethan. Indeed, this marriage trend does seem to harken back to older conceptions of marriage. Anyone who has read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice knows how important money was to brides (and grooms) of the past.”

Link. … Read the rest


A Random Passage

My skepticism has made me a nicer person: not inclined to judge anything, I’m not inclined to get bothered by anything. It’s been a remarkable shift in mental landscape for me, and I hope to foster it, but I have my lapses.

Too many lapses.

My biggest source of falling: noise. The loud talker, the person who constantly makes noise so others know he’s around, the cackling middle-aged woman who doesn’t realize demureness is made for her physical state, the flawed muffler, leaf blowers.

It’s been annoyance of mine for many, many years (link), but apparently my distaste has a revered tradition. I ran across this recently:

Nothing is more becoming a man than silence. It is not the preaching but the practice which ought to be considered as the more important. A profusion of words is sure to lead to error. Talmud

Read the rest



“Upon their arrival back to Earth, the 750 space tourists . . . will be treated to Grey Goose cocktails designed specifically for the event. One example: the Grey Goose Galactic Martini, which blends vodka with raspberry eau-de-vie and black pepper. Why raspberry? Because according to astronomers, that’s probably what space tastes like (due to the presence of ethyl formate, a compound with a distinct raspberry note).” Link. … Read the rest



A TDE reader found himself in Frankenmuth, Michigan, last weekend for its annual Oktoberfest. He sent me this article about a new up=-scale joint: Prost Wine Bar and Charcuterie. The place sounds neat, but the article is unremarkable, except it mentions that the Bar has “wine on tap.” That was a new one for me. I guess I need to get out more. * * * * * * * Saw this on my Twitter timeline. No idea if it’s true. If it is, I recommend Five O’Clock vodka for its implementation: “Vodka can be used to soothe jellyfish stings, as a bug repellent and used as hair conditioner.” And even if it’s not true, if you drink enough of vodka, you won’t feel the sting, notice the bugs, or care about your hair. * * * * * * * Another piece of advice from Twitter: “When life gives you lemon, add vodka.” * * * * * * * Musta been a Foster’s: A “20-year-old escaped a crocodile attack by poking it in the eyes and later treating the pain with beer.” Link. * * * * * * * I used to drink a lot of Foster’s. But then my Dad switched brands and, like an obedient son without his own ample source of drinking income, switched too. * * * * * * * The beers I drank with Dad: Michelob, Foster’s, Honey Brown, in that order: Michelob in high school, Foster’s in college, Honey Brown in law school. When I wasn’t with my Dad, my corresponding beers: Little Kings (h.s.), Old Milwaukee (undergrad), Pabst Blue Ribbon (law … Read the rest