With help from the peerless Wade Kwon, I now know how to make a single blog post take up less space on the home page. (In newspaper terms, I know how to jump the story to an inside page.)
Hopefully that will make it less time-consuming to scan this blog’s home page for something worth reading.
Part of the WordPress editor toolbar (in HTML mode).
For those who do WordPress blogs: I assumed that the “more” button on the editor toolbar simply added more buttons to the toolbar. I type in most of the tags anyway, so never felt the need to mash that “more” button.
That’s what I get for assuming. Actually the “more” button inserts the comment <--more-->, which tells WordPress server-side software to chop the text at that point and create a “(more)” link.
This is why Wade is the one who runs a blogging school and teaches stuff like this.
Found this jaw-dropping sentence in an otherwise readable Wikipedia article on the American bullfrog(Rana catesbiana). It’s about how bullfrogs catch prey:
Adaptation to target image displacement due to light refraction at the water-air interface consists of the bullfrog’s application of tongue surface comparatively posterior to the perceived location of the prey target.
I’m too awestruck to attempt a translation into mere English. Or to put it another way: “Subject’s response subsequent to analysis of the indicated selection of the specified hypertext document (q.v.) has induced a latency of indefinite duration in potential compensatory generation by subject of superseding character strings through a process of user-agent facilitated authentication, composition, and remote storage.”
He was stuck with the duty and he would fight. And he had no doubt he would die and that would be a good thing.
He looked around the battlefield that had been his home, and carefully raised himself out of the recliner. It wouldn’t do to fall and break a hip now. Company was coming, and he had to be ready to greet them. He hoped it would be today.
— From Absolved, a novel by Mike Vanderboegh
Combat veterans bear deep scars of memory. At the same time, they often feel nostalgia for their time of service. This is fitting. Nostalgia always mixes love with pain.
What should we call a similar yearning for a war to come? For a future civil war between Americans?
Some of my neighbors think such a war is inevitable. They may attend tea party rallies, or they may not; if they do, they indignantly deny that they were lured there by media celebrities like Glenn Beck.
They’ll tell you they’ve known for a long time that America has lost its way, and the halls of power are controlled by a conspiracy against freedom. Those who don’t surrender their firearms, control of their property, and their rights to the mega-state will be hunted down, one by one. Neighbor will betray neighbor in a dark, cruel, deceitful America ruled by brutal thugs. We’re already more than halfway there.
The unusual snowstorm had passed and the roads were clear. As we headed north on I-65, the radio reported a shooting in Huntsville, on the university campus. Two people were dead and four injured, and the “shooter” — a word that seems to have sprung from the lingo of video games — was in custody. The 4 p.m. shooting was the lead national news story for the next 24 hours. Continue reading →
Long time ago wasn’t no folks on them sand flats.… Them Cajans sprung up right out’n the ground. Some say they come from animals—coons and foxes and suchlike—but that ain’t right. Just sprung up out’n the ground. — Carl Carmer, Stars Fell on Alabama (1934)
Detail from an 1850 painting by Phillip Romer of a Choctaw woman in Mobile, Alabama.
I just discovered that Jackie Matte’s article on the Choctaw Indians of southwest Alabama has been published online, with her permission, by the Access Genealogy website.
Matte was president of the Alabama Historical Association in 2006. At the annual meeting in Fairhope she gave a memorable address on the subject of the MOWA Choctaws and their fruitless quest for federal recognition as an authentic Indian tribe. (In 1979 the Alabama Choctaws coined the name “MOWA” from the names of the two counties they inhabit, Mobile and Washington.)
Because their identity as Indians was politically and commercially inconvenient, they were long ago labeled “Cajans” (sic). Continue reading →
We need a literature about being spoiled.… Most people who read in this country are spoiled and boring, yet all they want to read about is struggle and adventure. — William Upski Wimsatt, No More Prisons
To be fair, income inequality must have been much greater in the colonial period than it is today. Income gaps must have been wide up through the Civil War and Reconstruction, and I’ll allow that the 1890s in the USA were even worse than the 1990s.
Still, in the century or so since the United States became a world power, income inequality has never been greater than it is now. Class-defining inequality reached a new high in 2006, when the richest tenth of the population cornered half of all the earnings made in America that year. That surpasses the previous record set in 1928.
The financial crisis has destroyed much of the wealth charted in 2006, but that wealth is being rebuilt. Jobs and affordable housing are not, and so the gap is set to widen further.
Gambling proprietors in Alabama have been trying to pass off their slot machines (prohibited under state law) as a form of bingo (legal in some counties). Gov. Bob Riley is trying to stop them with a special task force and mostly successful lawsuits. Warnings of impending raids have recently forced the shutdown of several giant bingo farms that siphon off hundreds of millions of dollars a year from customers.
The gambling industry is fighting back with a barrage of TV ads lampooning the governor and calling for a statewide referendum to legalize gambling. Naturally, this would be done on terms favorable to the big establishments, protecting them from competition.
One of the industry’s favorite tactics is to portray Riley as a pawn of the Mississippi Choctaws, whose casinos lure customers from Alabama. The ads imply, without actually saying so, that Riley is trying to kill off Alabama bingo farms because they would compete with established Choctaw casinos. The inference is that Riley must have taken bribes from the Indians. Continue reading →