American Elephants

Merry Christmas from the United States Air Force by The Elephant's Child

Last December, the United States Air Force Band did a surprise performance at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. I loved this one. Enlarge to full screen, you’ll enjoy it. I’ve never been flash-mobbed, but the people who are there clearly love it.

Thanksgiving Leftovers: A Few Questions. by The Elephant's Child
November 29, 2014, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Entertainment, Freedom, Humor | Tags: , ,


The White House menu for Thanksgiving dinner was published. The usual roast turkey, ham, cornbread stuffing (to each his own), and macaroni and cheese?  Is this a common side dish? Macaroni and cheese to me was always a budget dinner, but nothing special.

Cornbread stuffing seems to be a Southern specialty. Had it once, didn’t like it.

They also had six kinds of pie. Six!

Different strokes for different folks.

The New York Times published a list of the “Thanksgiving Recipes Googled in Every State.” The recipes are included, and it is fascinating to see the regional differences. Many look and sound delicious, and many sound just weird. Frog Eye Salad seems to be a favorite among Mormons. You have Dirt Pudding, Hot Brown, Ooey Gooey Bars, Pernil, and Cherry Yum Yum. Great fun and some of them really sound good.


August 30: Bumbershoot Weekend in Seattle by The Elephant's Child


Sorry about the light blogging. Labor Day weekend here is the time of Bumbershoot, a festival of umbrellas? It is, not surprisingly, raining. This is the greater Seattle area, and that’s what it does here. But, music, entertainment, food, vast crowds, and all the hippies come out of the woodwork — great fun for festival lovers.

Blogging is light because I went out yesterday to refill the suet feeder upon which all my woodpeckers, pilieated and flickers, depend. The clay soil was wet and slippery as all hell, and I went flying. No broken bones, but a remarkably sore backside. Standing is fine, sitting is fine, and sleeping is fine. It’s getting from one position to another that is troublesome.

How Much Do You Read? What’s the Best Book You’ve Ever Read? by The Elephant's Child

What do you do when someone asks you to read an article because it’s “an important one?” Do you obediently read it, assuming that if your friend recommends it, it is worth your time? Do you accept the article, suggesting that you will read it later when you have more time? Do you just refuse to read it because you’re sure it is not of interest?

I fit in the first category. I’m a speedy reader, and it doesn’t take me long to get through even a long piece. But I have known a lot of what I think of as ‘lazy readers’ whose first reaction is that they don’t have time. Or they only want to read what they choose to read. It’s as if reading is a task to be engaged in only when required. Was learning to read a struggle in school? There are people who read competently, but without enjoyment or need for information, but who will spend hours on Twitter. Do you prefer to get your information instead by video, or podcast? Is reading a chore?

I have a friend who is a special education expert, with particular emphasis on reading, and reading disabilities. She went into her state’s prisons at one time, to test prisoners, and found that the numbers who had some form of reading disability was far, far higher than in the general population.

There are lots of people out there who just don’t read much, and people who do not read books at all.  They are just busy with other things.

If you prowl around the internet and read blogs, you are clearly a reader. But what about those other folks who are not? How do people go all the way through university, and, as adults, never read?

Seattle is usually described as the part of the country where most people read a lot. We have busy libraries, lots of colleges and universities, and lots of writers. Must be something to do with the weather, which encourages a brisk fire in the fireplace. a good book and a cup of coffee.

ADDENDUM: I guess I shouldn’t ask others about their favorite books, if I don’t reveal my own. Patrick O’Brian’s series of books about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin and the Royal Navy in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There are 20 books in the series and I have read them probably ten times, and always found them fascinating to re-read. Most novels don’t welcome even a second reading. Master and Commander is the first, and only a page in and you are hooked. Master and Commander was a great movie too, although based on bits from several of the books.

Serenading the Cattle With My Trombone… by The Elephant's Child

(via Ace)  You may have wondered why the headline didn’t have anything to do with the video. Ooops — wrong url. Fixed.

Dave Allen, on “Children” by The Elephant's Child

Dave Allen On Supermarkets by The Elephant's Child
July 20, 2014, 6:53 am
Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, United Kingdom | Tags: , ,

Dave Allen is a British comedian, and brilliant. British supermarkets may be a bit different, but if you shop in a grocery, you will recognize some of your own angst in his performance. He has his audience in the palm of his hnd.


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