Been There, Done That

commentary on many different thoughts

Month: August, 2013

Daily Dragon

Off to DragonCon for the weekend. For those not in the science fiction/fantasy loop, DragonCon is the largest science fiction and fantasy convention in the USA. It’s held every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, and is a circus.

I work security for the Art Show, which is an experience in and of itself.

If you’ve ever really enjoyed people-watching, this is the place to be. The convention literally takes over the entire hotel district in Atlanta; by Sunday afternoon all (yes ALL) the ATMs within walking distance are out of cash; the parade holds up traffic all morning Saturday; and, best of all, you can wear interesting costumes on MARTA (our area transit system) without anyone raising an eyebrow.

Love it.

Another Thought

Mark Twain said it best:

Good judgment comes from experience.
Experience comes from bad judgment.

Thought for the Day

Experience and treachery beat youth and beauty every time.


Eggs is Eggs

Did you know that eggs don’t travel well in a backpack? I discovered this the hard way while I was working in England. I was the stable manager for an international jumper yard, and we were several miles from the nearest village. The village boasted a pub, petrol pump (not petrol station, a pump), post office and grocery – all in one tiny little building. (Gives you an idea of the size of the village.)

One of my regular chores was to pick up necessaries between our semi-monthly stock-up runs into the big city with the lorry. If I walked, it took about an hour each way. If I took one of the ponies, it was about half the distance by short-cut path, and that pony got his exercise for the day.

I’d sling on the backpack, climb on the pony, and we’d march down to the grocery. The path led through a sheep pasture, so we needed to deal with the gate. This was a hunting pony, so the gate wasn’t a problem – just up and over.

Except that on the way back this time, I had a dozen eggs along with some butter and cheese in the backpack (and I’d forgotten about the eggs). Landing after the gate was a novel experience … in a word, icky. Don’t try it. You won’t like the result. (I learned to dismount, open the gate and remount with eggs after that)

More Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

Kipling – Take II

Check out The Young British Soldier by Kipling.

To the point with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not something I want to print but worth reading.

Kipling – Take I

When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Mr. Kipling got it right!!


Milking It

This morning, Food Network re-ran Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” (one of my favorite shows) while I was doing my workout. His focus was “milk” in all its manifestations. The show always starts of with something educational, in this case, information about pasteurization and homogenization, and what and why they are used.

Pasteurization is, of course, a necessity in this day of commercially prepared and processed milk. You can’t be too careful with it. The one summer that I worked on a “living history” farm (we did haying by hand, not machine, and milked and all that kind of stuff) I learned an awful lot about diseases and their prevention.

Homogenizing milk, however, is commercial convenience, not a necessity. Back in the day of the dinosaur, we used to get milk delivered to the house in glass bottles (I believe that the insulated box still exists!), with little foil caps. You shook the bottle thoroughly to mix the cream (on the top) with the rest of the milk before you served. Skimming (removing the cream) was not considered cricket.

This particular episode of “Good Eats” brought to mind a tiny anecdote from my time in England (another story, another day). As the stable manager for an international jumper yard, I was up long before sunrise most of the time. Part of my job was to bring the milk delivery in as sooon as it came. Why? Because if I didn’t, there was a flock of sparrows that perched on the eaves over the back door. If they beat me to the milk, they’d peck through the foil caps and help themselves to the cream. Dratted birdies.