Sunday, September 02, 2012
Our first dog had a bit of a temper. It went into a rage any time visitors came by. You could see that the paint was bitten off the window frames in the living room as he faced the frustration of not being able to get at the intruders.
Let me first tell this story the way I thought it went and then make the correction that my mother brought up when I related the story many years later. The dog, named Attacker, liked to bite at my sister's dress. One day, my sister came to report this problem to my father: "Attacker bite Nettie!" My father, deeply absorbed in his newspaper, distractedly replied back "Nettie bite Attacker!" A moment later, we heard a scream from the other room, and my sister Anette came back spitting hair out of her mouth.
When I related this story, my mother told me that although the Danish name of the dog indeed sounded like Attacker, it actually meant Furball. But the story would not have been as interesting told that way.
Next, we got two Golden Retrievers--Nuser and Vaks. Nuser some behavioral problems--I no longer remember the details--and we ended up giving him to one of the ranch hands. One time, we kept one of Vaks' puppies. Because of her large spot, we named her the Danish equivalent of Spottie. Then we got a Swiss Mountain Dog named Carla (minus the brandy flask on the collar). We brought these three dogs with us when we moved to California in 1978.
Vaks and Spottie enjoyed roaming around. They would often be gone for twenty-four hours or more. Our house was up on a hill, below which on the one side was the barn. Although the dogs liked to run on long trips, they did not feel like walking back up the hill to the house afterward, so they would wait for my mother to drive down to pick them up. My mother sensed Vaks' resentment when she did not come quickly enough.
My mother had promised my youngest sister, Pernille, a poodle after we moved to California. Unfortunately, the poodle passed away a few days after we got it. For some reason, Pernille ended up choosing a wire haired Fox Terrier--the dog that Tin Tin had--as the replacement. Change, however, has never been my strong suit, so I continued to refer to the new dog--Snoopy--as "the poodle." Other members of the family corrected me for years, but my I persisted. Finally, one day when I told Snoopy that "You're a bad poodle!" my mother finally relented, saying, "No, she's a good poodle!"
Vaks and Carla eventually passed away while we lived in Paso Robles. Spottie lasted for a number of additional years. One year, we exhibited the horses at the California State Fair and had a booth. Spottie had just had puppies, and we brought them all along. A little girl walked by our booth and was overtaken with disgust. "Eew! Those a pigs! I bet they smell!" she cried out with indignation.
One night, my mother had a dream that we acquired a new "poodle" or Fox Terrier. I got to name her and chose the name Profit. Several years later, some missionaries came by. Profit ran out when Pernille opened the door. "That's a beautiful name!" exclaimed the missionaries as Pernille called her back. Pernille did not have the heart to tell them about the spelling of the name.
As she grew older, Spottie spent most of the day sleeping. My mother said that she was not looking forward to having to call me when she passed away. She actually got out of that obligation as she was just about to leave on a trip as it happened and delegated the task.
As the other dogs passed away, Profit became the lone surviving dog. When my mother was eating, Profit would approach. She was so confident that my mother would slip her a treat that she started wagging her tail before my mother delivered.
Profit was rather energetic. Unfortunately, she tried to jump out of a car with an open window and, being on a leash, ended up strangling herself.
My mother then acquired a Welsh Corgi. We named him buck. My mother said that she had deliberately chosen the humblest member of the litter, but he was the humblest only by default. He never realized that my mother was the one who fed him and that he had probably better stay on her good side. It turned out that my mother never cut his food rations no matter his non-compliance, so he may have gotten the last laugh.
A corgi is supposed to have a life expectancy of some ten years. About five years ago, my mother started to prepare me that Buck might not be with us much longer, but I saw no sign of decline and expressed my doubts. Eventually, he started to cut down his activity level significantly, but he lasted until age fifteen.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Apparently, she told the same thing to my two uncles' children. Unfortunately, one of my cousins was not able to keep the secret and gleefully told my sister and me of our grandmother's pronounced favoritism.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Back in 1991 when I started the Ph.D. program, I got access to e-mail for the first time. A friend of mine at another institution and I often exchanged messages. My friend, being burdened by having both a wife and two children, was often too busy to send much of a message, but to show that he had not forgotten me, he would send brief messages.
One day, he sent me a message asking, "How are you doing?"
I then sent him an e-mail with the subject header "How I am doing." The body of the message was "OK."
"Good!" my friend replied back.
Sunday, April 08, 2012
The night day, I was rather frustrated when it looked like a custodian was about to remove the sign. Much to my relief, however, it turned out that he was only straightening up the sign and making sure that it was securely attached.
Friday, April 06, 2012
Now it's Christmas again
Now it's Christmas again
And Christmas lasts all the way until Easter
No, that is not true!
No, that is not true!
Since in between comes the fast
Why would anyone write such garbage? Why are people stupid enough to keep singing something so stupid? Things may have changed over the last thirty years, but back when I grew up in Denmark, it seemed to be one of the more popular songs.
Thursday, April 05, 2012
In Elsinore, there was an ice cream parlor that we would sometimes visit after school. One another occasion, my late grandmother brought my sister and me there for an ice cream cone. She reflected on an ice cream parlor that she had patronized in her youth and commented on how much more expensive the ice cream had become. I no longer remember the exact figure, but she probably said that an ice cream cone cost something in the neighborhood of 5-10 cents when she was growing up.
My grandmother then told us that the ice cream she bought in a similar ice cream parlor during her childhood "tasted like cardboard."
I was curious why she had bought the ice cream given the seemingly unappealing taste.
"Oh, I wasn't all that finicky," my grandmother replied in a very defiant and self-righteous voice.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
One at least one occasion, Jed brought along his wife, "Sister Cindy," who described herself as "a former disco queen" who had reformed. My sister indignantly reported to the rest of the family that Sister Cindy had admonished the women in the crowd that, before they accepted a marriage proposal, to ask their potential future husband, "Will you make me obey you?"
Without missing a beat, my mother remarked, "It might be more appropriate to ask, 'Can you make me obey you?'"
Monday, November 14, 2011
The following are a few "samplers:"
- Any residents of Washington, B.C. were most likely Native Americans.
- Proof found outside the pudding is likely to be much less messy.
- A minister suffering from laryngitis is in a poor condition to preach to the choir.
- The right to use bullet points may be guaranteed by both the First and Second amendments.
- Someone singing "Do Cry for Me, Argentina" is likely rather self-centered.
- Granting a child's Christmas wish for a hippopotamus would, under most circumstances, be somewhat unkind to his or her parents.
- Morally marginal individuals ought to be aware that what happens in Vegas may stay on Facebook and Youtube for a long time!
- One would hope that a piece of textile with the message that "Dog food is delicious" is a dog coat.
- It is mean for parents not to allow their children to clean their rooms.
- It is really sad to hear one elementary school student bragging to another that "My funeral is going to be bigger than your funeral!"
- Authors who are afraid of the dark should refrain from hiring ghostwriters.
- One rarely ever hears any objection being expressed to the comparison of pears and grapefruits.
- If Lynn Anderson suddenly has a memory of this, the decent thing to do is to record "I DID Promise You a Rose Garden."
- If it does not look like a Dachshund, does not walk like a Dachshund, and does not bark like a
- Dachshund, it might be considered deceptive to list it on Craigslist as a Dachshund without disclosing these material facts.
- A nun who wakes up the whole neighborhood while beating up a fellow nun for disturbing the peace needs a serious talk by the mother superior about goal displacement and constructive ways to deal with problem co-workers.
- There does not appear to be any support in respected, peer reviewed journals for the hypothesis that a pear a day keeps the dentist away.
- Cain may have been the first communist.
- To minimize the risk of injury, it might be helpful to move one's tongue before turning the other cheek.
- When in Rome, one should try to make a profit on the Romans.
- It would have been nice if Carly could have clarified whether, if attending a party on a yacht, one should walk aboard as if walking into a party or as if walking onto a yacht.
- Few people seen to question the authenticity of Bruce Springsteen's birth certificate.
- If it quacks, but not like a duck, one might well be confused.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The so-called "birthers" have long maintained that Barack Obama was born outside the U.S. What is really ironic is that they don't know the half of it.
"Birthers" likely suspect that the President was likely born either in Kenya--the home of his father--or Indonesia, where records seem to confirm he spent some time. Imagine what a field day they would have if they actually learned the entire truth, or just 25% of it for that matter!
Barack Obama was not born in 1961 as is commonly believed. He was actually born in 1949 or 1950 in what was then the Soviet Union. The records relating to this are heavily guarded, so we have to rely on third party accounts which differ a bit in the details. When he was twelve or thirteen, he conspired with the Soviets, Lee Harvey Oswald, and aliens from outer space to assassinate President Kennedy. This accounts for the difficulty in reconciling the evidence at the scene with a lone shooter. Why weren't the bullets found? The aliens and strong and sophisticated magnetic retrieval systems that could selectively remove the bullets fired by Obama.
Why did Obama and the Soviets want to do away with Kennedy? Had JFK lived another week, he would have renounced his liberal policies and would have announced his switch to the Republican Party. And that's just the beginning. Apparently, the Soviets had learned of other changes that Kennedy meant to implement. These changes were so dramatic that only the top echelon of the Politburo knew about them. The spies who bugged Kennedy's office were deliberately selected from individuals who did not speak English. The Soviets were so shocked at what they heard that the erased the recording immediately after hearing it. All notes made during the meeting were destroyed.
What about the birth certificate that supposedly exists in the records of the State of Hawaii? Can't that be carbon dated to establish that it was written more than fifty years ago? Probably, but it would be stupid to underestimate the resources of the conspirators. The Soviets certainly had highly placed moles within the State of Hawaii who could have placed the certificate back in 1961. If that strategy had failed, the aliens would almost certainly be capable of time travel, allowing them to go back in time to plant the certificate. We are not dealing with amateurs here!
Does Obama know that he is a Soviet mole and what he did in 1963? Of course note! He genuinely believes that he was born in 1961 and has no idea that he ever shot anything. Since birth, he has been under a powerful hypnotic trance. It would be much too dangerous for everyone if he knew about the plan. Then he might accidentally slip up at some point. His health care plan, however, makes it abundantly obvious that he is under Communist control. It is doubtful that even someone as liberal as Ted Kennedy would have supported such U.N. Shadow Government sponsored government control. Yes, it is true that Kennedy publicly supported the plan, but that was because the aliens had threatened harm to his family if he did not.
Skeptics will object that there is absolutely no evidence for this theory. Such cynicism is completely unwarranted. This merely shows how proficient the conspirators were in covering it up. However, any halfway competent psychic can confirm these facts. Also, without this conspiracy, how would you explain any of the following?
- The Supreme Court's 1966 Miranda ruling
- The election of Jimmy Carter in 1978
- The development of nuclear capability by Pakistan
- Increasing crude oil prices
- The refusal of NASA to release any documents and photos establishing visits to earth by space aliens
- The growth in California sales tax rates during the last twenty years
- Declining birth rates in Japan and Europe
- Teaching of evolution in the public schools
- The appointment of Hillary Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State
- The creation of the U.S. Department of Education
- Increasing freeway congestion in many areas of the U.S.
- Flouridation of the water supply in many U.S. communities
- Requirements that vehicles sold in the U.S. contain air bags
- High rates of influenza and insomnia across the U.S. and Europe
- Tyrannical gun control measures
- China's increasing trade surplus with the U.S.
- The formation of the European Union
- Increasing salaries of librarians (the profession of Karl Marx)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
- One time, I yelled at Lucky Reagan--the late President and Mrs. Reagan's dog--to "Shut up!" when it was barking.
- Due to a volcanic eruption that grounded all incoming and outgoing flights, I had to stay an extra six days in Iceland.
- When trying to join a tall club, I failed the measure-in.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Last night, I dreamed that I was in Indonesia (I am not sure why) and that what was represented as a tsunami arrived. Oddly, it was not one huge wave, but a number of smaller, gentler ones--very much unlike the real thing. I and others did not seem particularly worried or concerned--we just stood in front of a house as though its walls would somehow shield us. There was no panic. I don't even recall being bothered by the sea water that splashed in and would, presumably, have made us wet and hit our heads, splashing into eyes and nose. This was clearly not a real life tsunami. One probably cannot be held responsible for what one dreams, but I feel rather guilty about having had this vision of what, in truth, is a devastating and terrifying event that actually kills people and imposes a severe hardship in its aftermath. It was almost a bit of a "reverse nightmare" where the bad things that, under the circumstances, would have happened in real life did not.
The night before last, it was clear in my dream that both my grandparents had passed away--as they have in real life with my grandmother passing away nearly two years ago and my grandfather, perhaps symbolically, passing away on December 31, 1999. What was strange, however, was they had somehow--toward the later years of their lives--moved to an apartment that I had never seen. I--and possibly other members of my family--went there for some reason that I do not recall. I do not have the impression that the apartment had been sold, and I have no idea why they would have moved there.
This latter dream parallels a number of dreams I have had about moving. Often, I dream that I never checked out and moved my things from the apartment that I rented back in college. There have also been dreams about moving away from the farm where my family lived in Denmark in the early to mid-1970s. One time, we somehow skipped the one we moved to before coming to the U.S., having already moved to the U.S.without vacating the Danish property.
Dreams about complications and delays in moves might clearly be related to my discomfort with change. Any alternative interpretation or interpretation of last night's dream?
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Although the specifics of both government and industry accounting are complex, the basic difference is that government accounting is based largely on income and spending. In industry, in contrast, credit is given for money spent to buy or produce a long term asset. That is, when the government creates a highway or building, the money spent is ordinarily "expensed" when payment is made. In contrast, when a firm builds a new factory, the money spent is generally balanced on the books with an asset that reflects the long term value of the investment made. Over time, a factory is then "depreciated," recognizing that it has a finite lifespan and future income generating potential.
What does this mean? It does not mean that it is OK to run up unlimited budget deficits as a way to "invest" in the future. Even if the money is put to good use, large deficits result in the so-called "crowding out" phenomenon: As the government borrows more money and pays increasingly higher interest rates, it is more difficult for businesses to borrow money. When firms have to pay higher interest rates, that reduces investment since, with higher interest rates and less certainty of the availability of capital, many new investments--such as factory expansion and new product development--become less attractive or, in technical terms, have a lower "net present value." Consumers, too, will generally--all other things being equal--end up paying higher interest rates on credit cards, mortgages, and other loans.
What these Government accounting standards do suggest is that not all budget deficits are created equal. Money spent on projects that--worthy as they may be--do not generate lasting value are more serious than those which create a long term asset. One can question whether we need another freeway, but once it has been constructed, it will be around for a while. Similarly, investing in education can result--from a purely pragmatic point of view--in a more competent and productive work force.
It should also be noted that, if put off, the maintenance of certain infrastructure such as power grids, bridges, and water distribution can become a lot more expensive in the future. As such, then, investing in those facilities that are Government operated and providing tax incentives for upgrades to privately owned facilities may make good fiscal sense.
Monday, July 12, 2010
In 1975, the Netherlands' entry, sung by a group named Teach-In, won. The song was reportedly criticized for its apparent non-sense title and lyrics.
When songs are "ported" from one language to another, the lyrics are changed completely. For example, the lyrics that go with the melody of the song "Killing Me Softly With His Song" in Danish go "Chicken, hotdogs, and soft serve ice cream." When the song "Ding Dong" was ported to Danish, it became "Dinge Dong." Now it involves a woman on her wedding day reflecting on the impending event. The "dinge dong" first refers to the sound of her alarm clock and later to the church bells that ring. "Listen to how [the bells] bring joy with each beat." Some of the additional lyrics go "I am wide awake and can hear someone. The mail carrier rings the bell. There are letters and cards. Many people have written to congratulate. Flowers in bouquets and telegrams. ... With a 'Yes' and 'Amen,' we are tied together and you are mine from today on."
My family left Denmark for California in November of 1978. At that time, the song was popular and something apparently stuck with me. For the last two years, I asked friends from Denmark if they knew the song. Nobody could identify it based on the few fragments of the lyrics I could remember back then. However, my cousin suggested that I contact Radio Denmark and they identified the song for me two weeks ago. I was able to order the CD by mail and it arrived today.
This is a touching song. It almost seems it must be to be remembered after more than thirty years.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Arguably, "As" is Stevie Wonder's best song. Not only is touching; the similes are amazing. Unfortunately, the song does not show up on any of the "greatest hits" and other compilation albums.
One potential reason that this song did not do well on the chart is its length--seven minutes and eight seconds. The late singer Harry Chapin once remarked at a concert that he had difficulty getting his songs played on the radio because they tended to be "too long." He joked that he once had a song--W*O*L*D--which made it to the charts and "stayed there for fifteen minutes." It was actually more like eight, but for the radio, eight is apparently too much.