Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Christmas Song for Clancy

To the tune of Winter Wonderland

Clancy squeals, can't help listenin',
In the house, or outside pissin',
A beautiful day,
But when he has a say,
You're walking in a Clancy Barking Land.

Later on, when he's eating,
He will bark a thankful greeting,
Because he surely knows,
He'll soon 'nuf need to go(s),
Out to play in Clancy Barking Land.

In the meadow he can leave a big load,
Turn the grass from green to darker brown,
If you ask if he's done, he'll say "No, Man."
"I'm holding off until we go to town."

So it goes, with a terrier,
In the mouth, and out the derriere,
It's input all the day,
Then output and some play,
Walking in a Clancy Wonder Land.

Thanks to Steve for inspiration.  And Clancy too.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Musings on the 20th Century

One can only feel a little sad seeing one's birth year preceded by the preposition "circa." 

Implying that the reader does not commonly come across that year any longer, that it now belongs to the Ages.

You know.  Like when the Romans wrote "One can only feel...."

One would never expect to see that usage in a tweet.

Which, one might think, is all for the good.

Excuse me.  Time for my Metamucil.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Canyon de Chelly

The day after visiting the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest, we moved on to the Canyon de Chelly National Monument.  Pronounced de Shay.  In addition to the beauty of these several canyons, we learned of the historical significance of this area to the Navajo Nation.

This settlement, seen from Mummy Cave Overlook, was occupied to about 1300 AD.

Junction Ruin

From the Antelope House overlook

From the Junction overlook

Humans have lived in these canyons for 5,000 years. Must have signed a long term lease.  They moved away about 700 years ago, probably got tired of the commute up 1,000' walls.  The Navajo eventually settled here, and still farm the land in the canyon.

We met several of the local artisans at the various overlooks.  And bought these two lovely works painted on stones from the canyon.  The artist explained the significance of symbols.  In particular, he said that the larger figure is the Kopokelli who farms the land in the canyon.  You do not see him depicted outside the reservation.

Well worth a visit.

PS To see a full slideshow of the pics from this trip, including the prior day at the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, click this link  Full slide show

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

In addition to the thrill of traveling for three days by car, we enjoyed our time at the Painted Desert National Park and Petrified Forest National Monument. 

Pretty rocks, colorful hills.

Fascinating petrified logs, including this Agate Bridge, a log suspended over this stream bed, transformed into agate.

Sad to learn how opportunists looted most of this site before, and even after, the federal government declared it a national monument.  I know we've seen petrified logs in private museums during our travels.  Now we know where they came from.

Then an overnight stay in Holbrook.


PS To see a full slideshow of the pics from this trip, including the next day at Canyon de Chelly, click this link  Full slide show

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Travel Unencumbered

We set out on our first excursion in five years in a car.  For that prior period of time, we traveled by RV. 

Going here and there with our "house" behind us.  Never stayed in a motel.  Never stopped anywhere on a whim, any more than a long haul trucker would take an impulsive turn up a road without prior plans.  Seldom drove more than 200 miles in a day, and never at night, before hauling up to an RV spot to deploy slides and connect sewer and water and electricity. 

Always filled up the fuel tank because you cannot count on a big enough fuel station once you leave the safety of the interstates, and you're guzzling a gallon of fuel every ten miles.

Not surprisingly, we liked the automotive life.  Comfortable and quiet, the miles flying by at unfamiliar [high] rates of speed. 

Hahaha!  Fastest on the highway, rather than slowest.  Don't even pay attention to warning signs about grades and curves and runaway truck lanes.

A Motel with a shower as big as our former bathroom.  And restaurants where they cook and wash your dishes for you.

Oh.  Where did we go?  Who cares?!  We're normal people now!!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Election 2012 Update

This just in from our Washington DC bureau:

Blah...blah...blah...blah...cut taxes...blah...blah...failed presidency...blah...blah...blah.

Obama the rich...blah...blah...failed Romeny...blah...blah...blah.

Tea Party
Blah...blah...blah...He's a Nigerian...blah...blah...blah..back to 1776...blah...blah...blah.

Supreme Court
Blah...blah...blah...Corporations need love...blah...blah...blah...We're the deciders...blah...blah...blah.

Vote for Clancy!
Whose Paw Can You Trust on the Button?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Advice from Those Out of Power

Three days ago, we suddenly lost our electricity and cable service.  Then the Sheriff drove through, warning of a potential forest fire that would force us to evacuate.  Apparently a conflagration had erupted at the neighboring campground.  In the midst of a severe drought.

"Hey Bob.  I heard the Forest Service has warned of extreme fire danger right now.  They don't want us to burn anything at all."

"Get out of here.  I ain't listening to those extremists.  They can't take away my freedom.  I bet Obama can light a fire at the White House any time he wants.  Shoot, I saw a picture of him burning the Constitution..  He can't tell me what to do."

[True story.]

"Well, I don't know now.  Need any more gasoline?"

In a panic, we saw our possessions passing before our eyes.  As well as our insurance policies.  So we immediately starting packing up the car.

At times like these, you realize what really matters in life.  And you put it in the trunk.  As a public service, we list the contents of our vehicle, in order of priority.

1  Two six packs of Guinness beer.
2  Three T shirts each.
3  Two pairs of underwear...each.  You can rinse them out in the motel sink.
4  Our computers.
5  Clancy, his kennel, and his dog food.
6  Our own toilet seat [think motel again].
7  Motorcycle helmet, for the next bike.
8  Title to our RV.  Looked like we might need it again.
9  TV remote.  Motel6 charges extra for a remote.
10 And a partridge in a pear tree.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ireland Pictures [At Last]

Herein we present some pictures of our Ireland trip last month.  We selected these 36 from 224.

First up is a picture of Jenna and I, along with our traveling companions - Jenna's brother Walt and his friend Olivia.  Enjoying our first of many pints of Guinness beer during the trip.  [BTW Walt and Olivia - these descriptions may not match your recollections of the tour.  Which should be no surprise.]
We visited the National Stud Farm in Kildare.  The Irish are famous for their race horses.  The guide regaled us with tales of horses famous to those who know.  Which we don't.  But the horses were pretty.

The National Stud Farm also contained a Japanese Garden, for some reason or other.  Didn't see horses in kimonas, so I don't know where they got this idea.

We stopped at the famous Waterford Crystal Factory.  Pretty things.  Don't touch.

We spent much of our time along the Irish coast.  Here is a view from the Dingle Peninsula.  Famous for Dingles I think.  Notice the rock walls separating the fields.
The countryside is filled with structures and other artifacts back to the time of Christ.  Here is the Gallarus Oratory, dating back to the sixth century.  An oratory is "a small chapel, esp. for private worship."  This one fits the bill.  Too small to swing an incense burner.  Or a broadsword.
A picture of the famous Cliffs of Moher, as well as O'Brien's tower overlooking the cliffs.  O'Brien built the tower in 1835 for visitors to the Cliffs.


Next we have Bunratty Castle.  You sees stone castles everywhere in the countryside.  Just like here, only we serve hamburgers in them.  I guess they could only build so many walls.
And the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a Neolithic burial place from 4,000 BC.  It's worth your ankles walking around there, as the ground is littered with rocks of different sizes and angles. 
Why couldn't those Poulnabrones build their dolmen in town?  Location, location, location.
We stopped briefly at the visitor center for Kylemore Abbey.  But we didn't really see the Abbey.  I snapped this picture as we were hurrying back to the bus from the gift shop.

Donegal Castle, in the town of Donegal.  Built in 1474 to house Donegalans who often fought against marauding non-Donegalans.  The castle contained a "trip stair," built with steps of different sizes to unnerve invaders.  And the spiral staircase was designed so the person descending could swing his sword to slash the uninvited.
Those must have been fun times.  "Mother, you've been here for a week now.  Time to go.  Don't make me use the trip stairs."
Pictures of Belfast in northern Ireland.  First the wall surrounding the city.  Built some hundreds of years ago, marauding invaders, etc. 
To hear the locals tell it, Ireland served as the cage fighting capital of western Europe and rest of the uncivilized world.  If those kings and popes possessed nuclear weapons, I wouldn't be writing this today.

Belfast's St. Columb's Cathedral, erected in 1628.  Lots of churches throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic too.
Our guide said you can find a pub and a church on every block in Dublin.

A sign that all is not forgiven yet.
The Giant's Causeway National Park along the western coast.

Cool stone walls line the shores.
Apparently the giants had nothing else to do than stack rocks.  Maybe they didn't know how to make horizontal walls.  Likely they were not allowed to fight in the local battles, due to their unfair weight advantage.

This is Cabra Castle, one of the last hotels we stayed in.  Magnificent, with rooms of very fancy furniture and chandeliers. 

This Irish Wolfhound living at the Castle and assuming the position known to dogs throughout the world.
At the end of the tour, we returned to Dubin and stayed at the Bewley Hotel, yet another old something or other.  No sword fighting facilities tho.
We toured Trinity College, which claims several famous Irish poets and other such talent, including Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett (Nobel Laureate in Literature), Ernest Walton (Nobel Laureate in Physics), and Mairead Maguire (Nobel Laureate in Peace). It was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.  We saw the Book of Kells there, which I mentioned in a prior post.
This sculpture symbolizes the modern world bursting through, or consuming, the natural world.  Or maybe invaders overcoming the city of Dublin.

Every commercial street in every Republic town contained at least one Guinness sign.  Here are just a few.


Very nice gardens at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

As well as the equally nice sisters in said gardens.
A few pictures of Dublin along the Liffey River.

It reminded me of the canals of Amsterdam.
And a self portrait in a Guinness souvenir shop with my new best friend.
Finally winging our way back home.

If you really have nothing else to do, you can look at the entire set from this link.  I wouldn't.
Full set of Ireland pictures