Happy Towel Day

Doug Adams has been dead for several years, but he is still ahead of his time.  On this “Towel Day”, you might want to take the time to read his article on How to Stop Worrying and Love The Internet.

Grab your Hitchhiker’s Guide, towel and babblefish, it’s time to celebrate Douglas Adams.

Towel Day is celebrated every May 25 as a tribute by fans of the late author Douglas Adams. On this day, fans carry a towel with them to demonstrate their love for the books and the author. The commemoration was first held in 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death on May 11, 2001.

A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. … For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

—- Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy

If you have never read the many works of Douglas Adams, do not make the mistake of thinking of him as “just” a science fiction writer or “just” a humorist or “just” a commentator on all that surrounded him and attracted his attention. He was quite simply one of the most original thinkers to bless the planet while giving you a truly big laugh.

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can’t cope with is therefore your own problem.

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.

Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the drug store, but that’s just peanuts to space.

Reality is frequently inaccurate.

He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

I’m spending a year dead for tax reasons.

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.

If somebody thinks they’re a hedgehog, presumably you just give ’em a mirror and a few pictures of hedgehogs and tell them to sort it out for themselves.

It is a rare mind indeed that can render the hitherto non-existent blindingly obvious. The cry ‘I could have thought of that’ is a very popular and misleading one, for the fact is that they didn’t.

The impossible often has a kind of integrity which the merely improbable lacks.

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.

You live and learn. At any rate, you live.

So long and thanks for all the fish
So sad that it should come to this
We tried to warn you all but oh dear
You may not share our intellect
Which might explain your disrespect
For all the natural wonders that
grow around you
So long, so long and thanks
for all the fish
The world’s about to be destroyed
There’s no point getting all annoyed
Lie back and let the planet dissolve
Around you
Despite those nets of tuna fleets
We thought that most of you were sweet
Especially tiny tots and your
pregnant women
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long and thanks
for all the fish
If I had just one last wish
I would like a tasty fish
If we could just change one thing
We would all have learned to sing
Come one and all
Man and mammal
Side by side
In life’s great gene pool
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long, so long, so long, so long
So long, so long and thanks
for all the fish

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Pass It On

Ice Box Party Line









Recently the subject of things you remember that today’s graduates would know nothing about unless you told them.  Various people in the Trailmix Forum (always a good place to visit) started to add their memories, and I suppose this will continue for a while.  The following was my bit to the conversation.

Being an amateur genealogist I always tell people you carry the responsibility of 200 years of history.  If you don’t pass it on, it dies.  My grandmother was born only 15 years after the end of the Civil War in which her father and his brothers fought.  She lived long enough to see the Moon landing.  The stories I tell will most certainly make it to 2080 at the very least in the minds of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

My personal history started at the end of WW II in 1944, so I remember an actual “Ice Man” delivering the huge blocks to a real “Ice Box” in a military barracks at Hammer Field in Fresno in 1949.  My uncle had a grape ranch whose phone was an 8 home party line.  My first job out of high school was as a telephone operator at those big boards you see in history books and even in 1962 still had “ring down”  party phone lines in the California mountains.  You do not want to know how much I hate cell phones.

I’ve been through manual typewriters, electric typewriters, memory cards, earliest computers, and now internet with Twitter et al.  Love that I can find almost every song ever written on You Tube even if I still not only remember that my first Elvis Presley record was a 78 from a jukebox that a girl friend broke by sitting on it.  (We will not discuss how much that record would be worth today).  So yes I do know about 78s, 45s, EPs, and 33 1/3s on the record player dial.

Then there is the whole matter of wash tubs, early machines with “ringers”, irons that were still heated on stoves that became “steam irons” that became no irons.  So tell the stories.  Some day you will be gone and somebody will be sitting there upset because they wish they had asked you questions when you were still around.

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Family Betting line


Sudden Breaking News

and of course, the favorite:  Nyquist

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Louise Brown walks down King Street during a Black Lives Matter march, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The event honored the Emanuel AME Church shooting victims. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Louise Brown walks down King Street during a Black Lives Matter march, Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The event honored the Emanuel AME Church shooting victims. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Political parties are private clubs.  The best way to prevent outsiders from messing with party stances are closed primaries.  As long as that is the system by which we nominate Presidential candidates, voters have only a few of choices:

  • Join the club and work from within for your vision of what it should be
  • Start your own club
  • Stay home and let others run things

If your club gets beat, you make changes or break it up and form other parties.  In the past this has resulted in Federalists, Anti Federalists, Whigs, Republicans, Bull Moose, Democratic, Socialists, Progressives  and even wholesale trade of positions between parties as with the “Southern Strategy”.

Bernie and his followers found out the hard way, that the political parties are highly resistant to outsiders trying to break-in to the club without filling out a membership card.  The Democrats may adopt some of his positions for later issues, but he and they can forget about a nomination.  Barring any totally unforeseen dramatics, it will be Hillary Clinton

The Republicans are having a rougher time of it courtesy of a total assault on the ramparts backed by the torches and pitchfork crowd they have encouraged with ignorance, fear and hatred for decades.  Barring a well deserved lightning strike from on high, it will be Donald Trump.

One of them will win the World Series.  Which one will depend on those outsiders.  Do they pick a major team and vote?  Do they pick a minor leaguer and mess up the results?  Do they stay home and do nothing until given a chance to bitch about it all in 2020.

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The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

As most who know who pass through here, one of my passions is genealogy. It is a rather dramatic quirk of Scottish history that for a variety of reasons, both coerced and voluntary, they have spread throughout the world, particularly to British possessions. For some reason Mungo Bisset packed up his wife and seven children some time after 1854 and headed to the southern hemisphere. As a result, their descendants have lived ever since in Australia and New Zealand. Because of this move, many of them ended up in an unpleasant place called Gallipoli, and one nurse never returned home. ANZAC Cemetery Turkey.

If you have never read any of the history of Australia much beyond “Isn’t that where the English sent convicts?”, or seen a movie called Gallipoli, you may not know the singular importance of this event in creating a national identity. When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only fourteen years. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the allied navies. The plan was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany. They landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish defenders. As a result of poor planning, ignorance of command officers, and failure to recognize the changes that had taken place in modern siege warfare, what had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed. and 25 April quickly became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.

War is never wonderful. This was one of the times, unfortunately not the last, when incompetent leaders led to the slaughter of thousands while thousands more paid for those mistakes with a lifetime of crippling wounds.

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