Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Penn and Teller

Foul language warning.

You really just can't make this kind of person up, can you? Pure caricatures.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Penn and Teller on Dolphins

Align LeftHave I posted this video on the blog before? It's just too funny.

Howe: "Say Humanoooooiiiiiid. Humanoooooooiiiiiiiiid."

Dolphin: "EEEEEEEEE! ECK!"

Howe: "NNNNNO! Not right!"

Hehe. Be sure to watch parts 2 and 3 as well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

That'll teach the little bastard

This is what you get for peeking at your presents.

I haven't watched the video, but I got a good chuckle from the story.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tax Dollars at work, part II

This from my milkroom supplier: They had been having trouble getting paid by a "government-supported" farmer for supplies that they had given him. The USDA loans money to "farmers" who can't get money from normal sources like banks because, you know, the poor farmer needs help. This fella had been given money not once, but twice, the second time when he couldn't pay back the first. My supplier's partner went to the farm and found the barn locked up and the cows bawling inside. He contacted the local FHA banker and the starving cows were removed that day. The manure in the barn was a couple of feet high.

I'm not an animal lover and I don't think they have any rights. But the thought of a cow chained in a barn and not able to get food makes me ill. And to think that we as a people support "farmers" like this one makes me sicker still.

Tax dollars at work

This is the first of two stories I heard this am within ten minutes of each other. This from my vet: The New Berlin Public Libray is raising $83,000 to install solar panels. To save $2000 a year in electricity bills. And, of course, to "reduce our carbon footprint." To top it off, they'll get $53,000 from New York State. That's a 68 year payback. My vet said, "This is what happens when liberals do math."

It's hopeless.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Our link from last year isn't working and I was worried there for a moment-- what would become of Christmas? But it's on YouTube!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lily the Cat

She gets kind of annoying because she follows me down to the house and scratches the door and meows. I left the house this am and she was there in the driveway walking to the barn with something large in her mouth. It was one of the squirrels that steal from the bird feeder. She could hardly walk with it but she jumped up onto the hay elevator and carried the squirrel all the way up the elevator to the hay mow, where she shared it with her kittens.

Good kitty.

Important Qualities in a (prospective) Spouse

#1. The ability to make a good soup.

In a similar Vein

Radical Chic. Bingo!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just Watch

The bit with the Chinese man at the end breaks my heart. The guy comes here expecting the land of freedom, and instead he finds more Mao-worshippers everywhere.

The most useless stastitic I heard today...

In an otherwise excellent lecture on animal abuse, the lecturer was talking about a study that compared hundreds of convictions for domestic abuse, looking at what predictors there might have been. She said:

"They found that convictions for animal abuse were a better predictor of future convictions for domestic assault than were convictions for murder, arson, and firearms crimes."

So, what's the big problem with that finding?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Something I Never Knew

I'm surprised. The word "gullible" isn't in the dictionary.

Learn sumthin' new every day.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bad News for Whales

I really don't know what to say.

"Blue whales' capacity to communicate has been reduced by 90 percent," she said."

This scares me. Does this person, this "Legal expert for the International Fund for Animal Welfare," know what it means to say, "...has been reduced by 90 percent?" Somehow, I doubt it. If you are dumb, is that what you become? A legal expert for an animal welfare group?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

"Why Are We Here"

"Plastic, assholes!

While I don't care for his misanthropy, Carlin gets the rest of this right. Above all, he's a terrific performer. It's seven minutes long, but seven minutes of laughs.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What hard times really mean

Florence Owens Thompson was 32 years old and the mother of seven children when Dorothea Lange photographed her in a camp for migrant workers in California in 1936. The picture became an iconic image of the Great Depression. (Read that again. Look at the lines in her face and the expression in her eyes. She was 32 years old.)

Lange, who was photographing migrant workers at the time for the Resettlement Administration, remembered the photograph this way:

"I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960)."

CNN recently interviewed one of the children in the photograph. Katherine McIntosh was four when the famous photograph was taken. She is now 77. She remembers the migrant camp where the picture was taken. There was no food. "They lived in tents or in a car. Local kids would tease them, telling them to clean up and bathe. 'They'd tell you, "Go home and take a bath." You couldn't very well take a bath when you're out in a car [with] nowhere to go."

She adds, "We'd go home and cry."

Now, she cleans houses for a living. She's proud that she has kept a job and a roof over her head throughout her life. "Even today, when it comes to cleaning, I make sure things are clean. I can't stand dirty things," she says with a laugh.

I wonder what that New York Times mother, the lady who believes that hard times mean postponing the purchase of designer jeans so that she can buy "stuff" for her daughter, would think of Florence Owens Thompson. And even more, I wonder what Florence would think of her.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Written by Elvio, a clsssmate of Uncle Don's:

In 1969-70, Don Murphy's mother was shopping in a variety store in Northampton, MA when she saw a jig saw puzzle featuring the CG Academy. She looked more closely at the picture on the box and thought the cadet leading the company in review might be her son. To be safe, she bought two puzzles and upon assembling the puzzle at home confirmed that the Company Commander leading the troops was, in fact, her son. After looking at the assembled puzzle, Don's father also recognized the Executive Officer marching behind his son as Elvio "because he recognized my long nose". The puzzles were assembled and framed with Don's parents keeping one and Don the other. I was not aware of the existence of this puzzle until just recently. Don e-mailed me and explained that his mother was moving into an assisted living facility and didn't have room for the puzzle and would I want it. Of course I did. Don and Judy Murphy stopped by this past Sunday and presented me with one of the puzzles. It's in great shape and I have an empty wall in my den for hanging it. Upon looking closely, I also recognize Tony Alejandro, Ron Mers and Alex Blanton as the Platoon Commanders. As far as I know, this puzzle was not offered for sale in the Cadet Store or other Academy venues. The photo was obviously taken by a professional photographer but why F-troop? Maybe the reputation of "Fabulous Foxtrot" for military bearing and precision was the deciding factor. Why was this puzzle being sold in Don Murphy's home town? Due to Don's Mom chance encounter I think it is a touching story and worthy of "Believe It or Not"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lots going On

Besides the weather. I ws plowing this morning down at the bottom of the driveway when I looked up and saw a car coming around the corner sideways. He spun around and settled up against the fence on the other side of the road. No apparent damage. Nearly new Cooper Weathermasters all around, too. Blizzaks they're not. Please everybody drive carefully in this snow. Luke, you especially. Those tires of yours will be useless in the snow. Go Slowly. Be nervous.

We're replacing the tub/shower upstairs. I picked up the new one in Norwich and got it home safely. Until I drove up on the lawn. The angle on the truck caused it to go "Bloop" and roll out of the truck to the ground. I looked it over and it looked OK. So I ripped the old one out. Alas, when I unpacked the new one there were cracks in the tub and the enclosure. I could have told Curtis's that it wasn't my fault and they would have had to eat it. But I'm not a good liar. And I figure that long after the pain of a $400 loss was gone, the memory of a deceit would linger, so I bought a second tub. Do I feel stupid? Yup. Do I feel like scum? Nope.

We've also been negotiating with Nornew for the right to put a NG pipeline across the farm. They keep changing their minds. Honestly, I don't know how a large organization ever gets anything done. Their difficulty is that if they don't go across the farm, they have to go through woods, which raises their costs dramatically. So I'm optimistic that we'll come to an agreement. But after the mineral lease we signed with them, they're gonna pay for the privilege of a pipeline.

Also, we bought a popup camper. If I can find time to put a brake controller on the truck, we'll go get it and we can camp out in the back yard.


It's beginning to look a lot like . . . oh, wait . . .

Those of you who have moved to warmer southern climes may be surprised by what's been going on back here in the Frozen North. In short, it has been snowing like heck, and the 10-day forecast shows nothing but more and more and more snow in the future. When I left for work this morning, there were several inches of the fluffy stuff already on the ground and lots more coming down fast. Dad was struggling with the plow on the tractor, and each of the 17 heifers who aren't in the barn yet had her own personal snowdrift piling up on her back. The trash people could not get up the driveway to empty the dumpster. School is closed today at S-E.

It's very pretty snow, at least: the soft, fluffy, spring-like kind that outlines every branch and twig. I'll see if I can post some pictures when I get home tonight. But it does seem rather extreme for this early in the year, especially in combination with a temperature of three degrees early the other morning. Bring warm clothes when you come home, and drive carefully if the roads are snowy!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't eat yer vitamins

They'll kill ya.

It just keeps getting better and better.

I can't wait until they figure out that people who drive hybrids are 40% more likely to get cancer because of fumes from the batteries. Or something like that.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Up To Date

At 3PM on November 21, the outdoor temperature is 20 degrees. That's PM, not AM.

Why? You Know Why.

Also, the price of a barrel of oil today dropped under $50, down from a high of $148 just a few months ago. Why? Because the world is running out of oil?

I don't think so.

Lovin' it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Is Incredible

Maybe we should just open a dialogue with these guys. They're probably just misunderstood.

Is misunderstood a real word?

Jack Aubrey would take care of 'em.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Then There's This

I watched it all the way through. I suppose I should look up the lyrics so I know what it's about. I wonder who John Williams is.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


To me, anyway. Camille Paglia is pro-Obama and "pro-choice", so she and I aren't on the same team, but she's honest to a degree that no other partisan I ever read is, left or right. She sidesteps nothing, calls a spade a spade, and doesn't heistate to criticize her own. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it from a political/social commentator. She spent at least part of her childhood growing up on a dairy farm in Oxford.

The comments are revealing. No criticism of substance, just lots of ad hominem attacks.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Michael Crichton, 1942-2008

"I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period."

Aliens Cause Global Warming.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Vote for Obama!

If the prospect of Bill Ayers eating dinner in the White House doesn't disturb you.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Philly loses its cool.

Proof that Philadelphians are nuts.

Watch all five videoes. They get steadily scarier. I really don't understand this whole mentality.




Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My new roommates

Penny. She loves the litter box.


The Last 24 Hours

Have been as exciting as can be. It started snowing here yesterday and by the time I got to checking fences it was late afternoon and many of them were already down from the weight of the snow. As a matter of fact, when I was walking to the barn, five heifers met me outside the milkhouse. I spent hours clearing snow and ice from the fences in the driving snow in an effort to keep dry cows and heifers from walking to Earlville. As it was, I knew I was short 5 or 6 animals. Happily, they showed up just before dark, wandering in from the north 40. By the time all the animals were safely inside reasonably secure fences it was 11 pm. 25 dry cows and heifers spent the night and today down in the grove of trees in the southeast corner.

Then the trucker arrived at 8 am to haul the 30 cows down to PA. It was snowing and he had a pretty big rig. He got hung up two feet from the pole by the pool that holds the electrical wires running to the barn.

But he knew all the ins and outs and we hooked the tractor up to the trailer and dragged it back to the cattle chute. The trucker was about 60 y/o and not an ounce of fat on him. He'd just driven 420 miles since midnight and yet he was spry and lively. Once he got backed up to the cattle chute we loaded 30 cows without any problem.

There are now only 31 cows in the barn, all of them in the upper end. The other 30 are Amish cows now!

Company for the weekend

We had a houseful over the weekend: Grandma Murphy, Caleb, Kate, Hobbes, Sheba, and on Sunday night, Uncle Don, who came from Maine bearing lobster. We had a great time, except when we were dealing with scary calls from Laura in Philadelphia. I didn't take many pictures, but here are two from Saturday, when the weather was so terrible that there wasn't much to do besides helping Grandma with her jigsaw puzzle.

I included both pictures, even though they're a lot alike, because I couldn't decide which shot of Caleb trying to look as if he's working hard on the puzzle was funnier.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Burning off the well

They are burning gas off at the Corey well. This is done as a safety measure to reduce pressure, I'm told by the safety officer on site, who politely prevented me from getting closer with my camera. The first video was taken from the road by the well. Make sure your sound is on. (I can hear the flames roaring right now, from inside the house with doors and windows closed.) The second video was taken from the hill above the pond on the farm. I wish I could get a decent still picture. It's an extraordinary sight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So many posts...

so little time. I have been inclined to post many times in the last couple weeks but haven't had the time to do the posts justice. I'm not saying anything about this one in an effort not to prejudice it. Just watch it. All the way through. Just watch it.

Finally, some celebrities with sense.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Your Red Sox Offseason

How do you do it?

Current players' futures to consider:

Major Free Agents/Trade options:
CC Sabathia
Derek Lowe
Ben Sheets
Ryan Dempster
AJ Burnett
Jake Peavy
Brian Fuentes

There's a full list here, but I think it's a little out of date. Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell are the two biggest bats after Teixeira and Manny, but I don't think we could fit them in anywhere.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Game Thread

Seriously. Tonight. 8:07. Be here. Or I'll be really mad.

Who stayed up for the comeback? Who went to sleep? I'll admit that I fell asleep, even after David Ortiz's homerun. I was trying to stay awake. Gameday just isn't captivating enough. I came in and out of consciousness until 2 am when I woke up and found IMs from my brothers telling me to wake up. Oops. I really feel crappy about it. I also went to bed on Wednesday before finding out the result of the Phillies vs. Dodgers. I woke up at 11:45 and thought people were dying in the streets. Turns out that what I thought were gunshots were actually fireworks, and the screaming was in celebration, not pain. Thank God Manny isn't going to the World Series.

Also, I HATE that the playoffs are on TBS. You'd think they would at least put the playoffs on a channel most people get.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I have no idea what's going on.

Msnbc.com's new feature, "Five ways to go green — and get in some exercise."

Some really good advice here. Really good. Just smart, well written, coherent stuff.

Murphies in Japanese (ed.: Chinese, she means.)

Somebody used Babelfish to translate us into JapaneseChinese. Why are Murphies, Caleb, and Red Sox the only words that don't translate?

Update: Laura asked what I was talking about here. It was a Sitemeter report, Laura -- one of the referrals there (currently #46 on the "Referrals" list, but that will change with each new visit and disappear when it hits #101) shows that somebody used Babelfish to translate us into what I thought was Japanese. I went back and looked again. It's Chinese, and the visitor was from Taiwan. I'm not sure it would be fair to say that we have a Taiwanese fan base, but we do continue to get hits from all over the place. (On our little family blog!) Here, for example, are the latest 100:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pool cat

Cool cat.

What do you mean, my tail's in the water?

It is not.


Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major. There's nothing like the sight and sound of pure human ability:

1st movement pt. 1

1st movement pt. 2

2nd movement

3rd movement

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Red Sox

Pena should not have scored just now. Was that Lowrie as the cut-off man? VERY weak throw from him, and Bay's wasn't really that much better.

A drilling rig comes to town

They've been drilling across the road from the northwest corner of the farm for a week or so. They work around the clock. There's a steady dull roar from that direction, though you can't hear it very well in the house. The drilling rig is the tallest thing that's ever visited this valley. At night it is lit up like a miniature skyscraper. We tried to take pictures but they didn't come out too well, so I went back by daylight. It seems that even Nornew is enjoying the beautiful fall weather.

The rig is on the former Corey farm, on the knoll behind the barn.

You can't get too close. There are signs requiring hard hats and warning off unauthorized persons. They have smoothed off the the whole top of the hill to make a platform for the well and have built gravel embankments around the platform's edges.

Here's how it looks from the hill on the east side of the farm.

The drilling rig and the mountain. (Enlarge.)

Here's where it is.

Be careful out there!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Head Spinning

So much happening around here.

1) Installing and learning to use a new-fangled stoker-type coal stove. Difficult even to get the danged thing lit.

2) Cow sales. the sooner the 30 PA cows leave the better. Meanwhile, testing for brucellosis and TB. UGH.

3) Negotiations for a pipeline ROW. They (NOWNEW and the "landmen") are pros. We have to learn about all this from the ground up.

4) A Natgas well being drilled a feww hundred feet from our property. You should see it at night! Absolutely thrilling! A spaceship has landed!

5) Red Sox in the playoffs yet again. A very exciting series with the "halos". Wow!

Life is very full and complicated at the moment.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Angels deserve to Lose

Whadda bunch of wankers. I have NO sympathy for them. Bottom of the second, bases loaded, two outs, and Ellsbury pops it up. Do the center fielder and the second baseman break their necks to catch the ball? No, they both back off and let it drop, letting in three runs. They don't deserve to win. Pedroia and Coco would have crashed into each other making the catch. You want it or you don't. The "Halos" don't want it.

Alternative This, Alternative That

Why are alternative medicine, alternative energy and alternative anything else alternatives?

Because they are, in some way, inferior.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Boy, the home town team looked like a well-oiled machine last night. The "Halos" (how many times will I have to hear that?) looked Bush League, meaning the non-presidential sense. The RS may have won the WC series last night.

I'm sorry I ever whined about Lester. What a pitcher he's become.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Nornew News

Here. The full text of the press release is here.

What Paul Did On His Summer Vacation

After my Lexis friend Michele visited the farm this summer with her son Paul, he wrote this essay for school. (He had to include three pieces of dialogue.) I'd give him an A+ !

My mother and I arrived at my mom’s friend’s house on July 26, 2008. She used to work with my mom. She lives on a dairy farm in Earlville, New York. Earlville is about 45 minutes from the City of Syracuse. She had a pool. I wanted to go swimming. My mom said, “We need to unpack.” The cows walked right by the pool. That was a cool sight to see.

The next day I got up around 5:00 a.m. to help milk the cows. (It was cool!) I assisted in attaching the milking machine. I also supplied water and food for the cows. The best was hand feeding the baby calves. One calf had a goopy eye. My mom’s friend said, “You did a good job Paul.”

On the Saturday of our visit, we visited a farmers’ market. There was a lot to do and see there. I enjoyed fresh squeezed lemonade. After my first sip, I said to my mom, “This is delicious.” I also purchased a marshmallow shooter. The corn bought at the farmers’ market was very tasty. My mom’s friend even knew the beef farmer there.

This was a great trip. It was my favorite activity of the summer. I hope we can go back again soon.

The Whores at NESN

You're tired of hearing this. What a pleasure to watch a game on the YES network. They actually return to the action in time to hear the crowd sing the end of "Sweet Caroline". "So good, so good, so good." NESN is all about hype and hucksterism. YES is professional and all about baseball, albeit Yankees baseball.

Big Nornew News

They've moved into the neighborhood. Four wells have been permitted (Hey, BS, I thought you were staying on top of this!) on neighboring farms and one will certainly encompass some of our land. Construction appears to have begun on that well. Pictures after things settle down. Meanwhile, the price of NG is half what it was just a few months ago and, I'd bet, will not go up there again for quite awhile. The Marcellus Shale will provide us with more NG than we'll know what to do with. Norse stock is now worth less than what I bought it for, of course.

Sunday, September 28, 2008



Other than some VERY minor environmentalist undertones in a couple parts about why we need to go to space, this talk is really great.

Friday, September 26, 2008


This is by Bill Whittle, the same guy that wrote the small town values thing that everyone liked so much(!), and also that sheep, wolves and sheepdogs thing of a year or two ago. I really like him even if you don't.

What interests me most about this, um, piece, is his visit to the emergency room. As some of you know, I spent a few years as an ER nurse. I've watched innumerable people bouncing off the stretcher while trying to tolerate the pain of a kidney stone ( the pain is as acute as pain can be). And there is nothing in the world more frustrating than going to such a person with a dose of 2mg of morphine or 25mg of demerol to relieve their pain, after trying to impress on the "prescriber" the degree of pain this patient was in. A kidney stone requires doses much larger than that. Yet, some, if not many, doctors and PAs and NPs feel it is their duty to dole out narcotics in tiny doses because, well, you can get addicted, ya know. Crap. Narcotics are made to control acute pain and should be given IMMEDIATELY in doses large enough to do so.

Anyway, the fact that he had to wait several hours for pain relief is a crime.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I've been trying to email these pictures to Mom and Dad, but Gmail isn't working. Huge surprise there.

Killing time

While waiting for the arrival of an Amish man from outside Lancaster, PA. He doesn't drive, so he had to hire a driver to drive him the seven hours to get here. They were supposed to leave at 1am. He's hot to buy some cows. I'm hot to sell some.

Luke, in case you're wondering, thanks for the links below. I may have some response at some point, but it's time-consuming and hard work. We'll see.

A Google Search

of "NESN Remy promos annoying" brought up this post in the fifth slot.