Category Archives: Uncategorized

Categorically, All Things Uncategorized.

BBC News – German dialect in Texas is one of a kind, and dying out

This is an absolutely fascinating piece from my friend, Walking Raven (in her Cognitive Surplus guise). The video portion is well worth your time. These towns should advertise in Deutschland sofort. Germans love the American Southwest and they would be delighted to visit these towns. Such an influx could reinvigorate the local usage, though that too might mean the end of Texas German. Note in this pidgin the same forces one sees at work in Spanglish. Ausgezeichnet!

BBC News – German dialect in Texas is one of a kind, and dying out

Still the biggest ancestry group in the US, according to Census data, a large majority of German-Americans never learned the language of their ancestors.

Hans Boas, a linguistic and German professor at the University of Texas, has made it his mission to record as many speakers of German in the Lone Star State as he can before the last generation of Texas Germans passes away.

Mr Boas has recorded 800 hours of interviews with over 400 German descendants in Texas and archived them at the Texas German Dialect Project. He says the dialect, created from various regional German origins and a mix of English, is one of a kind.

BBC News – German dialect in Texas is one of a kind, and dying out

Recycling on Earth Day

I’ve been recycling pieces of this Earth Day blog entry for 10 years.

morning evening primrose

“Because of all the places within a year’s ride of here, this is the only place to be.” — World Party

Happy Earth Day, Everyone!

Some say the “Environmental Movement” has itself become a corporation indistinguishable from its foes. Some say that “the people” no longer trust “the movement.” Some even say the movement is irrelevant because everyone is an environmentalist now. Yeah, that last one is especially funny.

Whatever bits of truth float in those views, all of us are coming to realize how fucked up the World has made the Earth. We see the climate change, and the severity of destruction it spawns. We see the diseases that may very well be Earth’s antibodies against humans. We see the end of the Era of Fossil Fuels and the shorter-term sputters of that dying system. We have a good sense of what is wrong, how we play into that, and how we are going to be part of the change. We all *know* that in a single lifetime everything will change dramatically. Our house is on fire. mjh

PS: Wow — I used that analogy 10 months before Al Gore used it. (4/22/06)

mjh’s blog — Hug a Hippie

I nest between a great river and greater mountains beneath a stunning sky. I think Frank Zappa said it best when he said, “It’s fucking great to be alive.” (There goes my parental rating. Sorry, kids.)

It’s not that I’m always high on life. It is obvious that it is far easier — more natural — for humans to destroy than preserve. And the End of Days are going to be hideous and slow. But, optimist that I am, I believe the Earth will rebound and return without out the infection of humankind. (To our successors: Learn from our mistakes, even though we could not.)

Thirty-eight years ago, Earth Day began as an extension of the hippie movement. Yes — thank the hippies! Thank the liberals. Thank Tricky Dick Nixon — whose daughter, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, supports Obama — for bowing to democracy momentarily to support the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Endangered Species Act. Every one of those things *infuriates* the Radically Wrong, who would condemn Nixon for his liberalism. (Such insanity may be a consequence of environmental degradation, ironically.)

Peace, love and happiness,


mjh’s blog — Hug a Hippie

mjh’s blog — How Some People Celebrated Earth Day (updated 5/8/07)

As I do every other day, I walked Lucky Dog around the neighborhood park today. Our park has two soccer fields, both of which are in use most Saturdays and, maybe, Sundays. Today, all around the two fields, I picked up small water bottles thoughtlessly tossed on the ground by players or fans (parents). We tell ourselves many lies, one of which is that “sports build character and discipline.” The evidence of that litters fields all over the world. Another lie: “environmental consciousness has become mainstream.” Or any kind of consciousness, for that matter.

To all the coaches, referees and parents: how about a post-game sweep of the field to clean-up? Show some leadership, teach some discipline, encourage some character. To the athletes: it’s up to you to keep your world from becoming a pigsty. mjh

PS: original blog entry 04/23/07; printed in 5/8/07

mjh’s blog — How Some People Celebrated Earth Day (updated 5/8/07)

mjh’s blog — A Finger in the Eye

Billboards are a finger in the eye. An erect middle finger. A billboard is a selfish and cowardly statement. It says anonymously, “my profit is more important than the environment.” It places personal gain ahead of community values. Every billboard in the world should be pulled down by angry mobs.

Tijeras Arroyo billboard

Isn’t this picture beautiful? Doesn’t it make you proud to live in New Mexico? The mighty Tijeras Arroyo is already doomed by Mesa del Sold. In the meantime, enjoy the view. As you drive this stretch with its dozen billboards, notice most are for Clear Channel, the owners of most billboards. Buy stock and demand they get out of this business.

Farther south, Isleta shows what Indians really think of Mother Earth, with their dozens of billboards north of Los Lunas. No stoic native with a tear in his eyes at the sight of all the garbage — those are dollar signs.

Where’s your shame? mjh

mjh’s blog — A Finger in the Eye

Earth Day 2002

I celebrated Earth Day idling in line at the drive-up window. As I burned my part of the world’s resources, I waited for chemical-laden beef raised on clear-cut forest land, served with genetically modified potatoes grown in the desert, watered by rapidly melting polar icecaps. On the radio, the president called for arctic drilling. On the TV, the vice-president called for nuclear power plants. On my cell phone, I called for replacement batteries for my laptop, my digital camera, my CD player, my pacemaker. On my palm-pilot, I wrote “need to get away.” I used a search engine to look for a campground with hook-ups, preferably near a convenience store. mjh

The Forgotten Zeppelin Knot – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Too cool. I’m terrible at all knots, even shoelaces. Mer is much more skilled. Maybe she’ll learn this one. There’s even jargon: bights and bitter ends. peace, mjh

The Forgotten Zeppelin Knot – Modern Homesteading – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

061 zeppelin knot

PHOTO 1 & 2:  Place bights of the two lines together, one on top of the other, so that the bitter ends lead away in opposite directions on outboard sides of the bights. PHOTO 3 & 4: Pass each bitter end around its own bight and the other bight, lead them out opposite sides of the knot, and tighten it up.

The Forgotten Zeppelin Knot – Modern Homesteading – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Airships are coming back (really!).

Massive NASA-funded airship prototype takes off for the first time | The Verge


Earlier this month, Aeroscraft — a 36,000-pound airship prototype — successfully lifted off for the first time at its California hangar. Funded by DARPA, NASA, and the US Department of Defense, the 230-foot long lighter-than-air vehicle’s frame is made of aluminum and carbon fiber, and is covered in a reflective Mylar skin. The Aeroscraft works by pressurizing helium — the blimp-like aircraft is less buoyant when the gas is condensed, but when the helium is released, it displaces the heavier air and lifts the Aeroscraft.

The Aeroscraft uses about one-third of the fuel of conventional aircraft, and because it can lift off and land vertically, it has no need for runways or ground personnel.

Massive NASA-funded airship prototype takes off for the first time | The Verge

San Antonio Launching the First Completely Bookless Public Library

First, the bookstores die, then the libraries abandon books. Some child alive today will be a life-long avid reader who never holds a paper book.

I’m reading A Game of Thrones as an e-book. For the most part, I like e-books, especially for highlighting, note-taking, and searching. I miss knowing instantly and physically where I am in the book. 

A couple of my books are available for Kindle; most are not. peace, mjh.

San Antonio’s Launching the First Completely Bookless Public Library by Eric Limer

Books, who needs ’em? Libraries? Not anymore they don’t. The first public, bookless library is coming to San Antonio soon and, possibly, to a (dystopic?) future near you.

The new book-free library, called "BiblioTech," is intended to open in the fall and is part of a an entire bookless public library system planned for the entire county of Bexar. And it’s not "bring your own device" either. The library will actually lend out e-readers (of an unspecified brand) for two weeks at a time. There will also be computers and the like, but no books, and presumably no card catalog (!) either.

San Antonio’s Launching the First Completely Bookless Public Library