Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Best Way To Torture Fish

Minneapolis Star-Tribune outdoor writer gives some advice on the best method to catch a walleyed pike and then return it to the water:

Mille Lacs anglers are catching a lot of walleyes this summer, all of which must be returned to the water. The trick while water temperatures continue to warm is to ensure as much as possible that released fish live. Chances this will happen increase if anglers use jigs instead of sliding sinker rigs, which are a favorite on Mille Lacs. Often walleyes will take hooks fished with sliding sinkers deep in their mouths, making their safe extraction problematic. Better now as midsummer approaches to fish Mille Lacs walleyes with jigs — or at least pinch the barbs off hooks used with sliding sinkers, making a walleye’s release quicker and safer.
Dennis Anderson

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Badger State on Course to Get Rid of Woodchucks

According to the Associated Press:

MADISON, Wis. — The Legislature's outdoors committees have approved a bill that would create a woodchuck season.
The Republican bill would remove woodchucks from the Wisconsin's protected species list and establish a hunting and trapping season that would run from July through December with no bag limits.
The Assembly's Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee amended the measure Wednesday to establish a year-round open season on the animals on an 11-2 vote and passed the bill 9-4.
The Senate's Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry Committee met on the bill on Wednesday as well. That panel signed off on the amendment 5-0 and passed the bill 4-1.
Committee approval clears the way for votes in the full Senate and Assembly.

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Badgers are carnivores. Woodchucks are vegetarians. In fact, badgers look at woodchucks like college students look at pizzas. Both dig holes that can present problems. For people. The hunting of woodchucks hasn't really been hunting as such. It's mostly been shooting, plinking at living, and sometimes moving, targets. Few people, if any, eat them, they're rodents, distantly related to rats and mice, after all. They might be trapped for purposes of eliminating their construction of burrows but for no other purpose. No one makes coats or stoles out of their hides. Maybe there's a demand for stuffed woodchucks, woodchucks that taxidermists preserve in interesting postures, perhaps holding a small US flag or riding a miniature bicycle.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Beheading Update

A short time ago we explored the once popular artistic subject of beheading here at Pulverized Concepts. In the last couple of hundred years, however, it doesn't seem to be seen as often as it once was, unless you're in an art museum.

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The 17th century master Michelangelo Caravaggio used the event in more than a few of his works, which were hung in places where they could be seen then as they are now.  Above we see Judith decapitating Holofernes. This made the Jews happy then and the Christians happy later.

People are bent out of shape over the efforts of minor league comedienne Kathy Griffin and photographer Tyler Shields to depict something that has been brought back into the public consciousness by the maniacal villains of ISIS. But they're not really beheading anyone. The photo is a fake! It doesn't mean that they're going to actually chop the noggin off of anyone. And, indeed, how could they? Their version of Holofernes is surrounded by agents sworn to protect him from Colombian prostitutes and other mal hechors.

Tyler Shields has done a number of somewhat irreverent video projects like this one:

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Decoration Day Memorial

This monument is found on the grounds of the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis, just a short distance from picturesque Minnehaha Falls. It honors the youthful Union soldiers that served in the War Between the States. A total of 2,334,568 boys age 18 and under, 25 of them as young as ten, fought for the Grand Army of the Republic between the shelling of Fort Sumter and Lee's surrender.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

An Observation by Adam Ferguson, 1767

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Adam Ferguson makes this point in his An Essay on the History of Civil Society:

... the inhabitants of Britain, at the time of the first Roman invasions, resembled, in many things, the present natives of North America: They were ignorant of agriculture; they painted their bodies; and used for clothing the skins of beasts. Such, therefore, appears to have been the commencement of history with all nations, and in such circumstances are we to look for the original character of mankind. The inquiry refers to a distant period, and every conclusion should build on the facts which are preserved for our use. Our method, notwithstanding, too frequently, is to rest the whole on conjecture; to impute every advantage of our nature to those arts which we ourselves possess; and to imagine, that a mere negation of all our virtues is a sufficient description of man in his original state. We are ourselves the supposed standards of politeness and civilization; and where our own features do not [126] appear, we apprehend, that there is nothing which deserves to be known. But it is probable that here, as in many other cases, we are ill qualified, from our supposed knowledge of causes, to prognosticate effects, or to determine what must have been the properties and operations, even of our own nature, in the absence of those circumstances in which we have seen it engaged. Who would, from mere conjecture, suppose, that the naked savage would be a coxcomb and a gamester? that he would be proud or vain, without the distinctions of title and fortune? and that his principal care would be to adorn his person, and to find an amusement? Even if it could be supposed that he would thus share in our vices, and, in the midst of his forest, vie with the follies which are practised in the town; yet no one would be so bold as to affirm, that he would likewise, in any instance, excel us in talents and virtues; that he would have a penetration, a force of imagination and elocution, an ardour of mind, an affection and courage, which the arts, the discipline, and the policy of few nations would be able to improve. Yet these particulars are a part in the description which is delivered by those who have had opportunities of seeing mankind in their rudest condition: and beyond the reach of such testimony, we can neither safely take, nor pretend to give, information on the subject.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Carl Menger Points Out the Truth

“There is no necessary and direct connection between the value of a good and whether, or in what quantities, labor and other goods of higher order were applied to its production. A non-economic good (a quantity of timber in a virgin forest, for example) does not attain value for men since large quantities of labor or other economic goods were not applied to its production. Whether a diamond was found accidentally or was obtained from a diamond pit with the employment of a thousand days of labor is completely irrelevant for its value. In general, no one in practical life asks for the history of the origin of a good in estimating its value, but considers solely the services that the good will render him and which he would have to forgo if he did not have it at his command…The quantities of labor or of other means of production applied to its production cannot, therefore, be the determining factor in the value of a good. Comparison of the value of a good with the value of the means of production employed in its production does, of course, show whether and to what extent its production, an act of past human activity, was appropriate or economic. But the quantities of goods employed in the production of a good have neither a necessary nor a directly determining influence on its value.”

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Gen. Phil Sheridan Memorial in Sheridan Circle

File:Philip Sheridan Statue.JPG The statue of Civil War hero, Gen. Phil Sheridan. It was created by Gutzon Borglum, of Mount Rushmore fame. Sheridan, commander of Union troops at Appamatox Courthouse in 1865, not only defeated the Confederates, he was the architect of the US strategy for eliminating the western American natives and was famous for the statement, "The only good Indian I ever saw was a dead one". While memorials to Confederate figures and prominent pre-Civil War southerners are being destroyed, the memory of Phil Sheridan, while restricted to a few, remains sacred.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Gypsum Board As Art

Marsh Lane Diversion by Rob Chavasse, installed at Frieze London in 2016 Artists since have refined their messages. In some cases, the work itself encapsulates ideas about the mechanics of the (art) market as well as questions about how value is ascribed. The Sunday Painter, a gallery based in London, presented Marsh Lane Diversion (2016) by Rob Chavasse at Frieze London, which consisted of stacked plasterboards with an image printed on the front of them. The boards had been temporarily removed from circulation of the building industry but had to be returned to it after the fair – a buyer could, for £20,000, purchase the right to recreate the work but would never own the boards themselves. The work’s physical material is always borrowed, fed back into a different economic circulation system after being deinstalled. According to the gallery’s Tom Cole, it is still available. 

 Apollo Magazine

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Lawn Care As A Religion

The English-speaking world, having dismissed traditional monotheistic religion as mythology, needs other things on which to base their values. There's faux democracy, of course, but that's seldom important on a personal level except for the most deranged. For the normal American, Canadian and even many Brits, especially those that reside in the suburbs, the lawn around their home has become a focal point that has taken the place of religion in day to day life.

Lawns as we know them probably originated with English tourists returning home from visits to France in the seventeenth century. Always aware of their cultural inferiority to the French, as they are today, the English saw the large and opulent grounds of the French aristocracy as a goal for themselves. Only a generation or two from living under the same roof with their livestock, the primitive English kicked their pigs out of their bedrooms, enclosed the commons and put their tenants to task manicuring their estates.

The Puritans brought this phenomenon to the New World and even today no American detached home is considered livable without a surrounding patch of carefully manicured and watered grass. Business facilities also include elaborate landscaping, not all of which is devoted to parking for employees and customers.

A major aspect of this conformity is regulation. Virtually all municipalities require that "weeds", ie. plants that aren't of the fescue or bluegrass type, be kept down or eliminated. Dandelions and creeping charlie are frowned upon, thistles and burdocks abhorred. These regulations are based upon the theory that the unmanicured yard of a neighbor reflects poorly on the property values and even character of others. It costs me money if you don't mow your lawn. Mammon being the true deity of the West, a decrepit lawn becomes a sin.

Oddly, it's not generally accepted to discourage the seating of an unattractive person at an adjacent table in a restaurant because their presence might make one look bad. In fact, even ugly people are allowed in toney restaurants as long as they're fairly clean and wearing clothes and have credit cards.

The true raison d'etre of the modern lawn is signalling. Since the lawn itself is no longer used for the grazing of livestock and only occasionally for recreational purposes, the odd croquet game on July 4th, it's real purpose is ostentation. A useless and unnecessary expense is the ultimate signal of wealth. More acreage implies more wealth.  The best signal is a large grounds maintained by a well-paid landscaping company. No one of high status personally mows their own lawn.

     Middle class suburbanites cherish their lawns as an indication that they've moved up from the concrete and asphalt surroundings of the inner city, even though the city dwellers probably spend more time outside. The typical man on the cul de sac fights traffic on his way to work in the city, spends the day there, fights even worse traffic home, kicks back before the one-eyed monster, eats, slugs back a few beers and then retires so he can do it again the next day. A couple of times a week he might pull the Lawn Boy out of the garage to clip the Bermuda grass but that's the extent of his commune with nature, such as it is.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Children's Day at the Mexican Border

Image result for children's day at mexican border Member of the Reyes family hug as they are reunited for three minutes as U.S. Border patrol agents open a single gate along the Mexico border as part of Children's Day in Mexico, at Border Field State Park in San Diego, California, April 30, 2017.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Louisiana Purchase Subject of WSJ Cartoon

American architect of freedom and eventual POTUS Thomas Jefferson wasn't afraid to ignore the US Constitution and ship $15 million to Napoleon in 1803 for New World property that the diminutive Frenchman had never seen. Forgotten in the transaction were the neolithic residents of the territory who had been living there for centuries.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Russell West Dripping Paint Art

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  Margate broken pottery, 2008

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Alaska State Representative Chris Tuck Talks About REAL ID

Stand up to the corrupt REAL ID Act

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FAIRBANKS — I am disappointed that Gov. Bill Walker’s administration has given in to the fear tactics and misinformation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration by putting forth legislation to make Alaska implement the Federal REAL ID Act and pay for it ourselves. It is my duty to set the record straight and make sure people have the facts they need to defend their rights.
The Department of Administration has been reporting that if we do not agree to comply with REAL ID, we will not be allowed to use our state IDs to get through TSA checkpoints or to get on base. In reality, there is no existing or proposed federal law or regulation requiring ID to travel at all. A recent reply to a 4-year-old Freedom of Information Act request to the DHS has shown that 77,000 people per year fly without IDs, and only 2 percent who try are ever turned away. Not only that, it is the Pentagon and individual base commanders who decide what ID is required to get on base. The Department of Homeland Security does not have authority over the Pentagon. That is why the DHS instead uses fear tactics and misinformation to try and force REAL ID on the states.
As background, the REAL ID Act was never debated by Congress, but rather was hidden in a 2005 emergency appropriations bill. It is barely six pages long, but it opens the door for the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA and outside private organizations to control the identification cards we need to exercise our inalienable rights of work, travel, gun ownership and privacy — but only if we give them that power by putting REAL ID into our state laws.
Alaskans are being told that under the governor’s bill, they will be allowed to choose between a REAL ID and a regular ID, but this is inherently false. Under the REAL ID Act, noncompliant IDs must marked “NOT FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES.” The old ID will be gone forever, and if you can’t come up with the required paperwork to get a REAL ID, you will be stuck with a bogus ID.
Regardless of which ID you get, your personal data will be entered into a private nationwide database where you will no longer be able to obtain any information about it or have control over it.
The REAL ID Act requires each state to “provide electronic access to all other states to information contained in the motor vehicle database of the state.” For years it was impossible for states to comply with this requirement until a private organization, the American Association of Automobile Administrators and a private company in Midlothian, Virginia, named Clerus Solutions, created a private national database called SPEXS to satisfy this mandate. Since then, Homeland Security has left it to AAMVA to set the standards for the national database.
Surprise, surprise. Clerus Solutions is made up of former AAMVA executives. The founder and chairman of the board of Clerus Solutions actually helped Congress write the REAL ID Act. He, the president and CEO, the senior vice president, and the senior business analyst all were top executives at AAMVA before forming Clerus Solutions and the SPEXS database.
In January 2017, without permission from the Legislature, the Department of Administration uploaded almost every Alaskan’s personal ID data, including much of our Social Security information, to the SPEXS database. The Social Security Administration expressly warns against using Social Security information in this manner, and the REAL ID Act does not specifically require that such information be shared, but the administration has defended the practice because it is an AAMVA requirement.
AAMVA and its subcontractors are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act or any other state or federal public information laws. There is no way to correct mistakes or obtain information about the data they have compiled on you. In addition, they can change the data requirements and the states must give it to them or lose REAL ID compliance.
Neither DHS nor the TSA will appear before any of our committees or truthfully answer any of our questions about the REAL ID Act. It is almost pointless to try because they can expand or change the requirements of the REAL ID Act at any time by publishing them to the Federal Register, which they have done numerous times.
Rest assured, I would not be standing up to DHS and the TSA like this if we did not have a much better alternative available to us. For $55, anyone who can get a REAL ID can get a passport card. Sixty-five percent of Alaskans already have a passport or passport card. A passport card is actually better than a REAL ID because it will get you access to everywhere a REAL ID will and more. A passport card can be obtained through a post office and only requires two pieces of documentation, whereas a REAL ID requires four pieces of documentation and a personal visit to a DMV, which many communities don’t even have, and a passport card is protected by federal public records and privacy laws.
If you or someone you love has ever been wronged by the TSA, you know it is a bad idea to hand over control of our identity cards to the DHS and private organizations. Please join me in calling on Gov. Walker to withdraw his legislation and instead sue the federal government to defend our state and federal constitutional rights to travel freely, to have privacy and to manage our own affairs.
Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, serves in the Alaska House of Representatives.

From the Fairbanks News-Miner

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Penguin Random House Makes a Huge Investment

One time POTUS B.Hussein Obama and his queen Michelle have made a deal with Penguin Random House to publish books that are yet to be written. Publishing figures say that the two are likely to receive in excess of $65 million for their literary efforts. It would seem to be very optimistic that an advance of this extent would be profitable for the book company but it's their money.

On the other hand, by showering the couple with greenbacks, the publishing giant has less money to spend purchasing the works of other, less notable writers. Maybe readers should be upset that such a financial commitment has been made to what will surely be a limited output of verbiage, regardless of its wisdom. This sort of thing shouldn't be encouraged. Furthermore, it seems likely that the income from the sales of other expensive books will be used to subsidize the Obama tomes should they fail to be the blockbuster hits they're projected to be.

In response to this deal normal readers should try to stay away from not only the Obama books themselves, which will, of course, be available in libraries and thrift stores soon after release, but also other books published by the conglomeration. Just say "No" to Penguin Random House. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

G. M. Trevelyan on Life Under The Stuarts

Every age has methods of its own peculiarly attractive to those who prefer to intrigue for a fortune rather than to work for a living. In those days a young man of more wit than modesty had only to attach himself to some Lord at the Palace, be found by the King in raptures in his picture gallery and by the Queen in thoughtful attendance in her antechapel and he might soon look for shares in a monopoly that was the hope of the Treasurer and the despair of the City.
A Parliament man, speaking the mind of the nation in the day of reckoning, thus describes the patentees of this period:

 It is a nest of wasps, or swarm of vermin, which have overcrept the land, I mean the monopolers polers of the people. These, like the frogs of Egypt, have got possession of our dwellings, and we have scarce a room free from them: they sip in our cup, the dip in our dish, they sit by our fire; we find them in the dye-vat, wash bowl, and powdering-tub; they share with the butler in his box, the have marked and sealed us from head to foot....They have a vizard to hid the brand made by that good law in the last Parliament of King James; they shelter themselves under the name of Corporations.

Life Under the Stuarts, G.M. Trevelyan, University Paperbacks, 1965; pg. 154.

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King James I