I went to an event the other day that included a draft horse pulling contest, which featured some incredibly impressive horses:
The horses are absolutely humongous and capable of pulling several thousand pounds. I had no idea such contests were a thing, but folks came from all around to participate and watch, and some people were filling in score sheets in the spectator area.
Discovering a subculture like that always makes me wonder what else I’m missing. Open thread!
I felt like that when I decided to take up English Country Dance (NOT square dancing, FFS!) as research for my novel. It turns out that there are groups all over LA who do every type of historical dance, from Elizabethan to Jazz. There’s a big party in Huntington Beach in a few weeks that’s American Revolutionary dance. Who knew?
Love draft horses. Huge but gentle.
Friends of mine had draft horse sized mules. We were out in the pasture one day, and friend handed me a bucket with apple treats inside. She said, “shake the bucket”, which I did without questioning why. The two mules came barreling from the far side of the field – moving at a speed I thought unlikely for their size – right for me.
They stopped about a foot in front of the bucket and waited for their treats. To my credit, I did not from screaming from the galloping hooves and was there to distribute treats.
I don’t know anything about the temperament of draft mules, but I know draft horses are some of the biggest sweethearts of the equine world.
@TaMara (HFG): I imagine that if you had run away with the bucket, they would have trampled you down.
Wonder if your host knew they’d stop and wanted to see what you’d do.
Draft horses are beautiful! And sweet natured. There’s a pasture with about seven or eight between Sonoma and Petaluma and they tend to hang out in a group watching the traffic go by.
Turns out, there’s all manner of stuff going on and none of us seem to have the time to even find out about it.
For all you NorCal jackals, there’s a fantastic art installation in Sacramento, it’s free and on site until February 25th. Get on down to Art Street at 3rd and Broadway and see some amazing and challenging local contemporary art. There’s a section on sexual assault that is one of the most achingly powerful and moving pieces on the subject, there’s much, much more and well, just get there!
That what you asked me to join you for?
I love all horses, but have a special place in my heart for draft horses: they’re so huge and powerful and gentle-natured.
County fairs usually have draft horse shows, and you can go to the stables on site to meet them.
ETA: There was a movement about a decade or so ago to bring back using draft horses in agriculture, instead of motorized plows and harvesters, at least for smaller family farms. The idea was to be more eco-friendly. I don’t know if the idea ever caught on.
A year or so ago, I was hiking at the local county park when a woman and her miniature horse came walking up. He was so sweet – wish I had taken a picture.
That’s it. I’m still trying to get G to give it a try, too.
One of the other women said that what I should do is start talking about how interesting all the other men are — that’s how she got her husband to start going. ?
As someone who fell into competitive weight lifting (not bodybuilding) via my CrossFit gym, I can relate to the whole “What is this entire culture I wasn’t aware of?” phenomenon. After two years of throwing bars around, I hold a national age group title, have been to my age group’s world championships, have qualified for my overall national championship, and lifted on stage with Actual Olympians (who fucking crushed me, make no mistake). Yet it’s still really weird to me.
All these other people in the culture care about protein intake, and shoes, and “cutting” before competition, and who pulls the bar Russian-style vs. Chinese-style– to say nothing of the politics involved with the national governing body. I happen to be good at it for a woman of my age, enjoy working at it, and want to see how far I can take it before I turn 40 at the end of 2019. But I still feel like I’ve been sent to observe these people. There are tribes everywhere we know nothing about. Ain’t life grand?
@CaseyL: You can learn about ox driving and using draft horses at a couple of places. Here’s one I know off the top of my head.
@laura: well I know what to do now.
Er, what? A draft team is going to pull at best a two bottom plow. The little farm I grew up on was only 75 acres (about 60 arable) and our Allis Chalmers WD-45 could handle a whopping 4 bottom plow. Even with that, it was a couple of long days to do the initial plow under. Those “smaller family farms” would likely have to be quite small indeed to be serviced by draft animals.
Have you ever been to a record collector’s convention? You’ll feel wonderful about your life afterwards.
You want another big but somewhat under the radar horse-related subculture?
Two words: Breyer Horses.
@TaMara (HFG): Mammoth jacks and riding mules, represent!
Gin & Tonic
I’ve started to dip my toe into the subculture of people who build complex equipment using Lego. I liked them when I was a kid, back when they were simple, but since the Technic line was introduced (40 years ago!) things have gotten a lot more involved. So people design models the Lego Group doesn’t – because these things are way too complex and time-consuming. One example.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Gravenstone: As I recall, the advocates loved to point out that without the loans to buy the equipment, they didn’t have to have as much acreage under cultivation.
The best hunters are Thoroughbred/draft horse crosses. Hope to have one of my own someday!
And drafties are making a comeback all round the country. Excellent news if you love heavy horses. (obligatory Jethro Tull reference – don’t tell Doug!)
Michael Wolff Suggests the Media Is Having a Nervous Breakdown Over Trump
by Nancy LeTourneau
February 6, 2017 1:05 PM
I have to admit that I found Michael Wolff’s column about Steve Bannon in The Hollywood Reporter to be informative. With that said, let’s hope the media doesn’t listen to what he wrote in Newsweek about why they keep losing to Donald Trump, or what he said to Brian Stelter yesterday.
First of all, given this president’s abysmal approval ratings, it is not clear that the media is losing anything by fact-checking the administration, except in the minds of Trump’s most avid supporters. But as Wolff told Stelter, he thinks the media is having a nervous breakdown over Trump and should instead be covering him like they would any other new president, despite the fact that he lies prolifically, has business arrangements that present conflicts of interest and faces unanswered accusations of being blackmailed by Vladimir Putin. That makes this situation unprecedented and the media would be remiss to pretend otherwise.
During the interview, Wolff’s fluff piece on Kellyanne Conway came up. Here’s how he described her infatuation with “alternative facts.”
Given that the interview with Stelter came a few days after her latest rollout of alternative facts, one can only assume that if Conway had told Wolff the lies about how Obama banned Iraqi refugees due to the Bowling Green massacre, he would be equally impressed with her “ladylike composure” while doing so.
Wolff suggested that by fact-checking this administration, the credibility of the media becomes a problem. So it’s interesting to note how he opened his piece in Newsweek.
From our “No shit, Sherlock” files, “Wall Street Remembers Why It Was Afraid of President Trump”
Emphasis mine. Recall well pre-election Trump supporters deflecting his constant stream of insane utterances as “Donald being Donald” or “He’s a New Yorker and that’s just how they talk” and “Republicans in Congress will keep him reined in.” while the rest of us are, “Nuh-uh, he means what he’s saying.”
Now I only hear “He’s just keeping his promises, because that’s who he is.” What a great experiment.
@Mnemosyne: Irish step dancing is American square dancing only to leprechaun music. I was shocked watching. The bar tender said no. But I know square dancing. I was forced to take it in 4th grade.
Little Cosima is in love with Freisians (spelling?). The mum of one of her classmates has one, and asked if Little C would like to come to theirs to help her brush him. Needless to say, that’s how we spent a couple of hours one afternoon. At the end the mum helped Little C up on his back to walk to the stable. Little C has been riding since she was 4 (and given that she was 0-5% on all of the growth scales, she was a very tiny rider at that age), and I have seen her on a lot of horses, but that horse was massive, and I was freaking out a little bit inside. I love to watch Little C ride — she’s a beautiful rider in a way that our oldest is not because she’s built like a whippet — but when she’s on a big horse I can’t help it, I am on edge the whole time. I realise that it’s irrational, that she could have a worse fall from a cranky small horse (and has on more than one occasion) — the size & the power of the big horses is a bit much for me, even after watching my girls riding for so many years.
I love love love to watch them — as long as neither of my girls are on them. At least for now.
There are lots of Rule 34s.
Before the introduction of Arabian horses those guys were also the riding stock. Imagine facing down a charge of armored knights on those things! The guys in front carried claymore swords, long, heavy things designed to take the legs out from the horse.
$0 years ago I stumbled across steam powered meets. There is a large number of steam-driven tractors that are maintained in working condition and folks hold meets to show them off. Not many competitions, but they will sometimes have tractor pulling contests.
Foreign Policy Via Fake News and Propaganda
by Nancy LeTourneau
February 6, 2017 4:07 PM
Let this one sink in for a moment: last week the President of the United States posted a fake news story on his Facebook account
You would think that a POTUS would have access to information preventing him from posting fake news about a foreign country. But I suppose that would require running things by people in places like the State Department or this country’s intelligence services. Why bother with that when a fake news site posted something that supports your recent visa ban?
But the issue is actually more serious than that. It appears as though the people surrounding Trump join him in buying into fake news as propaganda.
In reporting on what Trump’s foreign policy might be beyond walls and bans, Julie Pace got a scoop on something Josh Marshall described as “deeply disturbing.”
@Miss Bianca: Horses and flutes–known blog-killer combination.
Horse pulls are the best. That is all.
@Gin & Tonic: That’s nuts!!
I had a big Erector set as a kid and set about making the most difficult project the Christmas day I got it. It was some sort of gantry crane or similar. That was enough for me! ;-)
I have gone to meetings with other astronomers. Talk about a subculture.
Oh, I missed that today Trump accused the media of covering up terrorist attacks. Presumably within the White House the Bowling Green massacre was a real event.
Yes, and they did report on that terrorist attack in Quebec that the White House refuses to acknowledge. Funny that.
Have an acquaintance who was a city mounted officer and they ride damn big horses, Belgians, Percherons and the like. They’re calm under duress, general public love them and trouble-makers do not want to mess with them. He had to change assignments due to health issues but kept in touch with his partner, and was devastated when the horse died last year.
Yeah, from what I saw, those were hobby farmers talking about plowing with draft horses / mules / oxen. If you don’t depend on farming to live, it makes as much sense to buy a couple of very large ‘pets’ as it does to buy a professional tractor that’ll get used three times a year.
There’s the added charm that it helps keeps a rare and unusual breed going — we can’t yet stockpile animal embryos as effectively as we can plant seeds.
(I spend several hundred dollars every year to grow a few dozen pounds of heirloom tomatoes, not for reasons of economy, but because it makes me & the Spousal Unit happy. Anyone raising heritage livestock is doing a somewhat more committed version of this.)
@CaseyL: about ten years ago there was a spate of articles about “back to the land” types who were starting to use horses and mules for agricultural work again. Don’t know if it’s still a burgeoning thing or not, but the cost of purchasing and maintaining a pair of horses and a horse-drawn plow is usally going to be much less than a harvester or tractor if you have a small acreage.
And what kind of mileage do they get?
@trollhattan: Behold, I am Miss Bianca – KILLER OF BLOGS!! Look upon my links, ye mighty, and despair!
@? Martin: I do hope the press continues to report Terrorist Attacks under Trump and that Peter King gets his spot on the news shows after each one of them to claim that the President isn’t keeping us Safe after each and every one. No matter where they occur, whether it be Kentucky or Belgium, the President is failing to keep us safe.
@trollhattan: Which is why any sane person with an IQ higher then a dead fish pulled out of the market before the hostile takeover of the White House. Or if unable to exit in time, invested in the stuff that does well during financial meltdowns.
Alain the site fixer
I’m plannng a post about a subculture I belong to. Perhaps we can start a normal series or feature to explore, discuss, and share them. We need some good non-trump content otherwise we’ll twist ourselves into such spasms of rage that we’ll snap our own necks, Joker style. And yes, huge and tiny horses are AWESOME.
Betty, were there Clydesdale draft horses at your show? They are huge Scottish draft horses, and are very shaggy, with lovely shaggy-haired forelocks and shins, and lovely temperaments. Many years ago, here near my beloved adopted West coast of Scotland home, we had a beauty living in a field along the road from us – gentle and conversational, but when he bent his head over the hedge one day, our friend’s toddler in her stroller screamed: his head was nearly as big as her! If only we could arrange a Clydesdale hoss procession along the fairways of SCROTUS Trump’s Scottish golf courses …
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: We didn’t have loans to service, beyond the mortgage. And the implements were paid for in cash and then maintained forever. The farmland was used to support a small coterie of livestock (12-15 steers, 15-20 hogs, later on add a couple dairy cows for family use and a couple hundred chickens with 8-10 turkeys). Selling the excess livestock (post slaughter) made a nice supplement to my stepdad’s pay from his day job (manufacturing until that went tits up in the late 70’s when the owners moved the business to Mexico because the union refused to knuckle under – but NAFTA was the worst betrayal EVAH) and my mother’s secretary’s income.
Alain the site fixer
@Miss Bianca: what did you think of Over The River being cancelled? I’m saddened.
They are wonderful creatures, draft horses. My dad has a pair of Belgians that he uses around their small farm, mostly for hauling firewood, dragging logs out of the woods, and spreading manure. In Sweden there’s a (small) movement toward draft-animal logging because it causes so much less damage to the ecosystems, costs less in energy (but of course produces less and less quickly) (i.e. no good for capitalists.)
@? Martin: Remember, Terrorism has been reclassified as black and brown crime. White terrorists have been branded as “troubled youths” by the alt-universers..
The Moar You Know
@CaseyL: Don’t know how that went but here’s something interesting: when a telco has to run cable way out into the middle of nowhere in the mountains, they use a telco guy with hiking boots and a horse to tote the cable on (no vehicle made can handle the terrain).
So some people have literally gotten their internet via horse.
You’ve got it backwards; American square dancing is the (bastard) descendent of Irish step dancing, brought over here by indentured servants and parolees starting in the 1700s. Just as ‘country’ music is the offspring of Anglo-Celtic ballads preserved by Appalachian hillbillies crossed with West African rhythms brought over by slaves.
(There’s some interesting stuff on this in Riverdance, believe it or not, if you want to look for clips online… )
I suppose fishing is too widespread to be a subculture.
@Gravenstone: Maybe they would, or maybe they’d manage just being more diversified. My nephew’s building a ‘whole diet CSA’ farm, and he’s planning to use draft animals for it. But he does a lot of perennial agriculture and forestry, so doesn’t need to do a lot of plowing. (And best methods now don’t plow, anyway because of soil loss.)
@Alain the site fixer: I am, too – but it’s amazing to me the hostility that that project – and Christo in general – seemed to engender among people I would have expected to be more tolerant. Like my artist sister – got spitting mad at me when I injudiciously remarked that I was looking forward to riding the river under the exhibit. On and on and on about how Christo was the Portrait of the Artist as Privileged White Male and “that’s not art!!” All I could do was kind of mumble, “yeah, whatever, sis” and try to change the subject as fast as I could.
Do they have them in Watertown? At the Gore farm?
The county fair in my home town had a draft horse pulling contest which my family would go to see when I was growing up. I don’t know if they still have one, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t; it didn’t seem like there was any lack of people interested in participating.
@Anne Laurie: I stand corrected. But don’t tell the Irish that. They all looked at me like I was bonkers. Great night.
@Alain the site fixer:
To be fair, the Joker’s neck was already broken following his fight with Batman, he simply exerted the added effort to make it a fatal (as opposed to paralyzing) injury as a means of getting his revenge on Bats by discrediting his “no kill” ethos.
@raven: Its not an adventure, its a job.
There are folks in the western states who will do sustainable logging on private land using draft horses, which I find utterly charming having grown up in the land of federal timber sales, Forest Service logging roads and of course, clear-cutting.
A mature sugar pine can fetch several thousand dollars so it’s actually an option for someone land-rich, cash-poor who doesn’t want to tear up their property.
@cosima: One can see the attraction…
@currants: We have some folks around where I live in CO who do draft-horse logging as well!
ETA: Or what trollhattan said, basically!
I made my daily calls to my senators’ offices (both Democrats from a small state fwiw) a little while ago. The wait times to get through were longer than ever.
Anybody in California or Nevada with the urge might consider the Nevada County Draft Horse Classic. It’s held at my favorite county fairgrounds and Nevada City-Grass Valley are well worth the visit.
Golf is a subculture, only golfers don’t know it.
@trollhattan: Yep. His “I can swipe away your green card any time I feel like it” policy alone means that about 12 million people, many of whom are young and in the process of household formation (e.g., when people start spending lots of money), are no longer certain about how long they’ll be around. Think they’ll be buying a sofa? I don’t.
One of the growers at our farmer’s market cultivates with horses. The main difficulty is they don’t just need to grow the vegetables to sell at the market they also need to grow, harvest and bale a lot of fodder to get the horses through the winter. Here, where the winter is pretty substantial, that takes a lot of hay and silage. If they don’t grow/bale their own feed, the winter feed bill would be very high. The tractor can just sit in the barn and you don’t have to keep putting gasoline in it when it isn’t being used.
Speaking of four-legged critters, Westminster is coming up!
My annual chance to yell at them for putting Dalmatians in non-sporting, and at the toys in general.
@Tom Levenson: So, you’ve never been to an ox pull?
Not once you get into the ‘specialities’, is it? Seems like the bass fishermen don’t have much in common with the fly-tiers with the catfish-ticklers — but all of them have their obsessives!
I was just wondering: where do we go to pick up our protest checks? Can Soros do Direct Deposit? Do they take out witholding or send out a 1099?
What is everybody going to do with their money?
Balloon Juice is my subculture.
@inventor: Invest in gold, of course.
And I’m sure there are subcultures within the subculture, so e.g. the deep sky radio astronomers don’t want to talk to the planet hunters.
@rikyrah: Michael Wolf ought to get his sorry ass back to covering Hollywood and leave serious reporting to those who know how to do it.
If I need his opinion, it’s only because I couldn’t find anything more cogent in the pennysaver.
@trollhattan: I thought Golf was classified as a mild form of insanity?
@laura: From that excerpt, I don’t think Wolf is credible enough to cover Hollywood.
@Gravenstone: Of course, fridge logic would be how he managed to move it given that he was supposed to be, well…paralyzed.
I have a friend with a horse farm and her husband is fairly short, barely five feet tall. The Budweiser Clydesdales were on a tour through their city and needed emergency accomodations for one of the team. My friend said the horse comically overfilled a regular stall and made her husband look like a little toy. But the horse was good-natured and sweet-tempered for being away from familiar surroundings.
While I suspect one could ride a Draft Horse I wonder what the ride would be like?
@Anne Laurie: They are gorgeous, even more so up close. They actually don’t look so huge in that video (which I’ve saved to show Little C) — she looked like a toddler up on its back, even though she was about 10 then. Maybe it was just me, freaking out.
There’s a place a ways south of us where you can spend the day at a breeder’s, grooming, feeding, etc., and then a couple of hours riding. I tried to book my girls in, but to do it you have to be ??? years old (can’t remember), ??? tall (same) and ??? (weight). Little C will, I hope, get to the age, and the height, but may never get to the weight (as I said, whippet) — they are just so big, and so strong, I do imagine there’s a lot of risk involved with letting people off the street, even if experienced riders, ride those horses.
Both my girls hack at a place nearby that has Norwegian Fjord horses. Those are some beautiful horses — the colouring, their history. Fascinating stuff.
I don’t ride with the girls anymore — they are so much better than me that I would only hold them back. As it is now, when they go hacking they get to gallop around the countryside together, where I’d be posting & trotting & moaning about my sore bum.
@Anne Laurie: Speaking of heritage livestock, the event I attended also had a couple of “Gulf Coast sheep” — allegedly descended from Spanish settlers’ sheep and adapted to the climate in Florida by not growing wool on their heads and bellies!
@Greenergood: There weren’t any Clydesdales at this event, but I’m familiar with them from Busch Gardens, which keeps a team of them to pull the Budweiser wagon! The theme park has (or had — I haven’t been in ages) a Clydesdale stable that was always one of the highlights of visits for me as a kid! Love those big old Clydesdales and would pay big bucks to see them distributing fertilizer on a Trump golf course!
@cosima: Friesians and Friesian crosses make lovely riding horses. And you are absoutely right – kids can get hurt just as easily on a pony as they can on a large horse – in fact, I think even more easily, because most ponies, unlike most horses, just seem to be full of the devil. Maybe it’s simply a function of their small size allowing them to get away with lots of crap that they can pull on kids that a larger/more experienced rider wouldn’t let them get away with!
Emphasis on “sub-“
@Baud: Baud is my subculture.
To be fair, when the original British & Continental kennel clubs were organizing the breed groups, it was mostly about getting an equivalent number of contestants distributed between judges. (Which is why beagles get two groups and dachshunds three — they were just the most popular breeds at the time the clubs were founded.)
Roger Caras always said the ‘non-sporting’ group ought to be renamed as ‘household companions’, and expanded to include some of the outliers from the other groups. It’s never gonna happen, but I can understand his argument.
As for the toy breeds… sorry, but there were “toy dogs” almost as soon as there were dogs, going back to the very first Neolithic campsites where no-longer-wolves met up with our human ancestors. Specific toy breeds are among the oldest on record — the classical Romans had Maltese and not-yet-Italian toy greyhounds; the Chinese had Pekinese possibly even earlier; the Aztecs had chihuahuas. Dalmatians didn’t show up in the records till the 1600s, and some of what people think of as ‘real’ dogs (like Labrador & Golden Retrievers, or Dobermans) not till the mid-1800s.
@HeleninEire: Trust me, you are better off sticking with the Irish.
@Mnemosyne: A local actor/dancer is conducting a class called “Period Dance”, which will feature dances from Elizabethan period (class is being offered through Cincinnati Shakespeare theater company). Sounds like it’s becoming “a thing”!
The key thing to understand about country music is that it’s not the music of country people. It’s the music of people who (or whose recent ancestors) were forced to move to cities because their country life is no longer economically viable. It makes a lot more sense when you realize that.
@trollhattan: OMG Yes! The Grass Valley Fairgrounds is like the land that time forgot. The draft horse show draws scads of folks and good times. However, the few roads in and out are heavily policed for maximum revenue generation.
As they say, “come on vacation, leave on probation.”
Alain the site fixer
@Anne Laurie: I’m a member of two or three fishing subcultures, that’s for sure! The challenge in the mid Atlantic is that you can’t eat most of what you catch because of the poisons in the water. And I’ve decided that hurting a fish for fun is 100% morally repellant for me personally. I fish to eat and for pleasure, but always thank the fish before I dispatch it.
Amish still farm using draft horses – they’d be a good source of info. for anyone starting out.
@Alain the site fixer: Hey, I still have issues connecting to the mobile site. Is that still considered a known problem?
There is an interesting urban logging movement these days, too. It turns out that lots of people plant valuable and even exotic hardwoods in their back yards, and those trees get cut down all the time. Some enterprising sorts are now trying to salvage them for lumber.
@Miss Bianca: Little C’s falls have almost all been from the smaller horses — seems that at all of the stables that she’s ridden at it’s the small ones that are naughty as hell. She had one fall where she had a horrible concussion, small horse, landed very wrong. She’s getting to the bigger jumps now, and bigger horses, and though she’s over 5′ is still not even 80 lbs, so I have to bite my tongue & close my eyes, because no matter how good a rider she is, she is not strong enough if a horse decides to do a runner. As I said, I love to watch her ride, because she is so graceful & fluid, but honestly, as a mum I’m happier when she’s doing her orienteering or x-c running!
@Gin & Tonic:
A different kind of complex Lego-making.
I’m declaring obsessive Law & Order and Little Debbie Nutty Bar fans as sub cults, though they may be a sub cult of 1. I suspect there are many more lurking out there who are too ashamed to fess up.
Alain the site fixer
@Miss Bianca: yeah my first step in local politics in Fremont County was to make a resolution supporting OTR back in 2006. I was shocked at how illogical and hostile so many Dems were. It was an eye-opener; to my eyes, the area needs folks with money and a world class art installation would guarantee lots of visitors and future home buyers. Oh well.
Alain the site fixer
@Kathleen: Law and Order FTW.
Trump really needs to be called out on this. He’s more dishonest than the dishonest media. Quandry!
Alain the site fixer
@Baud: send me an email so I look tomorrow. I’m fighting a cold and not fully with it. The only issue I’ve seen is magically going back to the front page from a post without doing anything. It doesn’t even trigger the forward button in the browser.
Adria McDowell (formerly Lurker Extraordinaire
@trollhattan: Aww, Papillons are great! I had a female that was just about the most loving dog I ever had. Always got a lot of attention, too; she was just beautiful, very friendly, and intelligent.
You want a subculture? Eurovision Song Contest fans. Can’t wait ’til May!
@Alain the site fixer: Well, there are a whole lot of folks in Howard (or, “HowWeird” as we used to call it back when I lived in Salida) who are all “NIMBY” as hell when it comes to things like economic development – *they’ve* come to the region, so no one else has to! Pull up the ladder and the drawbridge – they don’t want it to change, they have money so they don’t care about anyone else having to make money, they don’t WANT people to come to the region. Cranks, in other words. And yes- I find “progressive cranks” even more maddening than reactionary ones.
So stealing that. :-)
Alain the site fixer
@Miss Bianca: yeah me too. I can deal with humour and wit with right winger NIMBYs but lefties who I agree with on so many things, it’s tough. Which is why we often find our worst rivalries within our party rather than across the aisle.
Paul in KY
@Schlemazel: Those horses had also been trained to not freak out when shot with arrows & other minor wounds & were trained to kick & bite at the ground troops.
Alain the site fixer
@Adria McDowell (formerly Lurker Extraordinaire: I expect I’ll be making a few posts about it, being half European (Swiss) and loving many of the silly things that Europeans obsess on.
Glenn Beck recommends gold bullion conveniently sized as a credit card.
@Alain the site fixer: I’m sick too, but I’ll try to remember. Thanks.
@Anne Laurie: @Adria McDowell (formerly Lurker Extraordinaire:
I know little dogs have legions of fans but I always get cumulative stress watching one after another of the teensy things and the blurs where their legs presumably are, as hey skitter around the ring. At some point the announcer will tell us the floofed up Bichon Frise’s household name is Brutus and “he just thinks he weighs eighty pounds.”
I’m working on it.
@kindness: Depends. You want to ride sidesaddle or do you enjoy groin pain?
@debbie: Does it have the new chip tech?
Adria McDowell (formerly Lurker Extraordinaire
@Alain the site fixer: The Swiss entry last year was….interesting. And Canadian. LOL.
ETA: Then again, one of the times the Swiss brought in a Canadian ringer, they won. With flippin’ Celine Dion.
@debbie: Don’t you mean on the credit card?
@Alain the site fixer: I’m having to stop myself getting in a flame war with my lefty/progressive friends who have drunk the “both sides do it!” Kool-aid. “Trump is bad but Democraps are even *worse* because compromise is evil! Wall Street speeches! Big money! Lesser of two evils!” It’s just making me crazy. It’s like, “wow, you white people who are all about multiculturalism – can’t you even *see* the big old log of privilege in your own eye as you’re bitching about the splinters in the eyes of those evil Democrats who are trying to make things better – or at least marginally less bad – within a flawed system? Can’t you look at what’s going on and see it for actual evil that’s going to harm actual immigrants and POC, whom you claim to care about?”
@rikyrah: I’m just not surprised anymore. I simply assume the worst of these people. Next up, I expect them to have actual pedophile rings in conservative eateries….because what else is left? Trump’s been caught doing everything else he and his goombas have accused Hillary of so far.
Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi)
Steep checking in from the friendly skies. En route to IAD after three good weeks in Las Vegas. Brother’s dogs and my mom intact and unharmed, so mission accomplished!
Bummer about dropping that mil on the Falcons. I felt sure they would win, not just cover.
@Miss Bianca: Stories like yours make me happy to be a sociopath.
@TenguPhule: I’ve ridden draft horses and other big-barreled creatures and I don’t ride side-saddle.
@trollhattan: We need to start talking about a possible Sac-Regional Meet Up.
@Baud: Baud!2020! – “this time, vote for the JOLLY sociopath!”
Nope. It’s a smaller-sized portion of gold and is the size of a credit card and fits in a wallet (so Beck says). Beck has talked about giving a couple to his kids in case there’s an apocalypse away from home.
“The Hater You’ve Been Waiting For.”
Not much protection against identity theft then.
Fixed that for you. Hand to goddess, that was what I suspected after the ‘Pizzagate’ fooferaw…
@cosima: I have ridden horses occasionally over the years – my level seems to be a perpetual “advanced beginner”. In recent years, the public stable I go to (Miwok Stables, in the Marin headlands – so beautiful) has required all its riders to wear helmets. Is that pretty much the standard these days? Because it really can be dangerous.
@laura: Have you ever driven down 101 past Horse Hill in Mill Valley? There are about a dozen horses who graze there on the open space land. They’re not always visible from the freeway, but you can see them from time to time, and I’ve hiked Horse Hill. It’s so cool to see them.
Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi)
My mom was reminiscing about hard times on the Tennessee farm in the ’30s. Her father plowed the corn and tobacco fields on foot behind two mules. She said he once did seven acres in one long day.
Think there are quite a few of us, although “region” literally covers a lot of territory wrt finding a workable spot. I looked for green balloons the other Saturday.
@trollhattan: Do you happen to know old the horse was when it died? I was surprised to learn how long horses can live, and you can bet that retired police service horses have wonderful retirement plans, happy trails and fine green meadows.
I love Percheron. Inky black with mild temperament but proud bearing. I love watching them pulling wagons all dressed up with their manes braided and bowed as well as their tails. I smile from ear to ear
@chris: I haven’t, as it happens. I must ox myself why.
@Capri: There were Amish and/or Mennonites at the event I attended.
reality-based (the original, not the troll)
@cosima: On our North Dakota farm, my Grandfather kept his last team of work horses around – as pets, you don’t get rid of your friends! – for 15 -20years after they did their last work, until they died of old age
Grandpa used to hitch them up to the manure spreader once or twice a year. The tractor would have been easier, but , he said, Dolly and Pete needed to feel like they were contributing, they would have been insulted if they lost their jobs!
(Have I mentioned how I loved my Grandpa? A fine old FDR Democrat, and a kinder man i never knew. )
Anyway, he started putting me up on Dolly and Pete when I was 4 or 5 – long before i got my first riding horse at 9., You COULDN’T fall off them – they wouldn’t let you – they would patiently let all the grandchildren steer them around the barnyard with just reins snapped on the halter. Really – as safe as you could be, much safer than my riding horses. I miss them.
@Miss Bianca: MISS BIANCA, I have a question for you. Did you happen to mention that you were reading the Berlin noir trilogy (by Philip Kerr) a few weeks ago? If it was you, what did you think? It was a difficult read for me – the whole thing made me very uncomfortable and super-conscious of what it would have been like to be a woman in those weird times. I mean, obviously, lots of people were facing horror, like Jews, Romany people, Communists, etc. But the whole atmosphere of restriction and degradation was surprisingly upsetting for me. I had the same reaction to Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter.
If it wasn’t you, well, um, never mind. But hi.
@Kathleen: I’ll confess to the L&O one. I once dreamed of a dedicated Law and Order cable channel showing nothing but the various L&O’s 24/7. I can recite the scripts from my favorite episodes.
@debbie: Not going to click through for Beck’s shillery, but looking at a typical credit card and today’s spot price for gold, such a card would cost roughly $4000, before markup.
@Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi): I’ll bet your mom would love to read Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression by Mildred Kalish. It’s an amazing book; I loved it.
@Tom Levenson: Come up and visit Nova Scotia in the summer, there’s an ox pull somewhere most weekends.
McCaffrey: Trump Remarks On Putin May Be ‘Most Anti-American’ By Any Prez
Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey said in an interview Monday that President Donald Trump’s comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin might be “the most anti-American statement” ever made by a U.S. president.
“How concerned are you about not just what the President is saying but the relationship that means the U.S. is going to have with Russia, where that goes from here?” MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson asked McCaffrey.
“I’m actually incredulous that the President would make a statement like that,” he replied. “One could argue that’s the most anti-American statement ever made by the president of the United States, to confuse American values with Putin.”
McCaffrey said it was “hard to know what to think” about Trump’s comments.
“He’s the commander in chief, but I do think we ought to feel fortunate that Secretary Jim Mattis is in charge of DOD,” he added later in the interview. “Because these erratic, impulsive and hostile statements are going to get us in trouble.”
In an interview with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly on Sunday, Trump dismissed concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime by saying that the United States is not “so innocent.”
“We’ve got a lot of killers,” Trump said. “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”
Watch the exchange below: VIDEO
@Larkspur: How funny you should mention that, I just got done with “March Violets” this weekend and penned this little review this morning for my GoodReads friends:
“Well…kind of torn on this one. On the one hand, given my fascination with the period setting, major kudos for giving us a noir detective in Nazi Berlin. On the other hand…just plain clunky over-writing – straining after Chandleresque effect really got in the way of my being able to follow the mystery; derivative characterization (Bernie really is just Philip Marlowe transplanted to Berlin), and a really throw-away attitude towards the female characters (not just the sexism embedded in Bernie’s attitude but the sexism embedded in the way the author treats them) were turn-offs for me.
This is the first book in the series, and I’ve heard the series improves, so I’m going to give the second one a try, but if I were going to grade the series based just on this book, I’d say… A- for concept, C for execution.”
From other reviews I read, I gather that the second one is even worse than the first in terms of the sexism, graphic violence, and homophobia expressed, so I wasn’t sure if I’ll even bother with it! Would you recommend it?
@Larkspur: Surprising no, despite growing up in Santa Rosa and spending every free youthful minute tearing down to SF and having a husband who grew up in Mill Valley and back every year for the Dipsea. Tell me more . . .
For once, a non-healthcare post. One of the things I used to do as a hobby was equine massage – horses get sore muscles like any other animal (including us), and they love it when they are tended to, so long as they trust your touch.
Best “customer” I ever had was a purebred Clydesdale mare who had foundered (suffered a form of septic shock in their hoof after overeating). While she was in treatment, I gave her a full-body rubdown, mane to tail, shoulder to fetlock, after getting to know her for a few days. When i started she was ever-so-slightly nervous. By the time I finished, she was on the ground, on her side, and sound asleep, completely happy with that moment in her life.
Special kind of grace, that horse had, and like so many drafters she was a complete sweetheart once she got to trust you a little. It was my privilege to help her a bit when she needed it most. I’ll never forget Ellie.
So John Yoo is saying the Trump administration is executive power run amok. All the old certainties really are gone.
Yes there are various fields and subfields. Mostly we all get along.
So something kinda weird happened. I’m flying back to NY for a week in Feb to take care of some business that I just can’t handle from 3,000 miles away. I got an email from Aer Lingus today that says I have to “pre-register” my passport 72 hours before I fly out. I’ve flown to Ireland 40?? times in the last 30 years and I’ve never been asked to do that before. Now it may have something to do with the fact that I’ve never started the trip in Ireland. I’ve always flown NY – Dublin and then Dublin – NY.
It also may have to do with US pre-clearance. When flying from Ireland to the US you clear American customs and immigration in Ireland. You go through regular Irish screening and then yet another American screening. When you go thru there is a picture of the president, and TSA are the people who screen you, so probably technically you are on US soil. Kind of like how embassies are set up.
So anyway. I hope this is not new cuzza Trump. Anyhoo; it’ll be nice to se my NY friends
@R-Jud: That’s interesting. Is there a site you could direct me to? I’m curious about the difference between bodybuilding and competitive weight lifting, and at which points they intersect, because I’m thinking that your sport doesn’t require the sometime startling habits of, like, extreme self-tanning. And yeah, life is grand. So many human beans, often doing interesting stuff that doesn’t involve preying on others or inciting ugly conflict.
I need a subculture, especially since my bod said “no more running” a few years ago. Maybe I could find a subculture of creating yoghurt or sourdough cultures, you know, a culture subculture.
@ArchTeryx: That’s a fantastic story. I’ve been trying massage on some of the dogs I know. One golden in particular gets the most perfect bliss-face when I’m working on her. Plus it’s handy for checking for ticks, ugh.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@hovercraft: got in my car a little while ago and had MSNBC on satellite, before I could switch to another station I had time to hear newest hire Greta Van Headtransplant opine that perhaps the president* was referring to places like Chicago, where they’re all shooting each other up in the streets.
@ArchTeryx: I’d call that a health-care post! Horse health-care, that is! One of my hunting buddies is a vet and an equine acupuncturist and massage therapist – I’ve held horses for her while she worked on them, and it really is a privilege to watch a good one at work!
@debbie: So that they become first targets for crazed looters? I approve Beck’s desire to erase his genes from the pool.
@Larkspur: Thank you! I have another one, though this one concerns a genuine horse whisperer who lives in Australia, the Silver Brumby. (Brumby being the Australian wild horse – a down-under mustang).
He was at a city fair, walking around and checking out the horses, when he noticed three young Clydesdale fillies in the centre ring, looking quite miserable, huddled together far away from the railing as they could. He got himself some horse treats and got one of them, gradually, to come to the railing.
Whereupon he shared breath with her nose to nose, a reassuring, friendly “hullo there” in equine, then talked soothingly to her and petted her nose. He reasoned, if he was in the middle of a street market in a foreign country, had no idea of the language or customs and was just sitting out on display, how would *he* feel? So he talked a little bit of Horse to her. Before long, the other two, now curious, also came up, and there was a minor fight at the railing to see who got petted and massaged first!
His wife asked him later, “How on Earth did you do that?” and he told her to use the foreign market analogy. He just knew equine body language and helped the fillies realise they were not alone. Isn’t that what we all want, in the end, us social animals?
@Anne Laurie: “They’ll rape you to death, eat your flesh and sew your skins into their clothing. And if you’re very very lucky, they’ll do it in that order.”
@mdblanche: Alex Jones and Jerome Corsi have teamed up in an office in DC. They’re angling for Whitehouse press credentials. Through the map and off the mirror, as Adam said.
@Schlemazel: Steam power threshing machines
@CaseyL: They’ve been trying that since the back-to-the-land hippie days. Unfortunately most of the draft horse people around my small town have died off, one by one. There are still lots of enthusiasts, but they won’t be making a real comeback till oil prices go ballistic. It’s just much easier to start up the tractor in the morning than get two or more horses harnessed and ready to go. On the other hand, mud/snow/woods that would get a tractor stuck don’t stop a team. One of the locals used to contract out to the phone/electric company to haul cable and poles up our hills where the trucks won’t go. They tried using a trac hoe once and it fell over LOL. The old guy passed away however, and now I don’t know if anyone took his place.
@chris: Like the man said, all that is solid is melting into air…
@Larkspur: I aim to misbehave.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Gravenstone: Yeah, my dad had a dairy farm in the 1950s. No tractor, no milking machines. I picked his brain about the economics of it a couple of decades later. It’s very different from the economics of farming as supplemental income.
And then I went and married the son of a hobby farmer. Mentioning this conversation to him started quite a trip down memory lane.
There were quite a few small farmers who switched to animal power in the mid- to late- 1980s, which is when I recall these specific articles. Giving up the big equipment was a huge part of their success with it, but there are a lot of other expenses that shrink when you don’t have to have every acre under cultivation to make equipment payments. Along with that, they gave up monoculture farming and were part of what would eventually become the farm-to-table movement.
I’ve wondered what happened to the ones featured in the news articles. I hope they survived the recessions we’ve had since then.
@ArchTeryx: Have you ever read Temple Grandin’s book Animals Make Us Human? She has a section on horses that’s fascinating. I remember another writer, on the subject of dogs, who says that she thinks to herself “What can I learn from you today?” whenever she greets any animal, even her own dogs. I try to remember that in my own life with the animals I encounter. Probably should do it more with people as well.
@TenguPhule: Lately I’ve been feeling more like “God, make me a stone”. But I’ll get over it.
@Anne Laurie: Yeah, Friesians have been popular in movies/TV for several years now … very showy horses !!
@kindness: Very rough, unfortunately. And those Friesians are a rough-ride when they are prancing with exaggerated movements. You have to be a good rider. If you want a comfortable ride, you need a “gaited” horse like a racking horse, Saddlebred or Tennessee Walker. Smooooth…
Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi)
God, my mom should write a book. Born in 1930, grew up poor on a farm (“land poor”), went to Nashville and became a nurse after high school. Every time I visit I learn something new. This time it was that parts of the farm were genuine old-growth forest, but they had to sell the timber rights in 1940. Got $7,000, which was divided among four families.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi): Which part of Tennessee?
@Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi): I would read her book. If she doesn’t like to type, get her some of that there talk-to-text software stuff.
I love everyone on this thread.
Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi)
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
Northwest, across the river from Clarksville going toward Dickson.
My grandfather got a job at Fort Campbell during World War I I, which helped the family greatly, and my mom still has two tiny oil paintings given to him by a German POW.
I need to interview her and write all this stuff down.
Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi)
@Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi):
ETA: Farm is down around Southside, if you look at Google Maps.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi): Small world. My mother’s people are from the Adams area.
Do you think she would take to being interviewed on camera? There are lots of resources available on how to do that.
Alain the site fixer
@Adria McDowell (formerly Lurker Extraordinaire: ugh, for the second time I feel some shame from being Swiss. I really loathe Celine Dion’s work. I’m sure she’s a great person, but ugh. Horrible, French-y treacle. Blech.
Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi)
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
Hell, I’m a (former) journalist, and one of my best friends is a videographer who specializes in family oral history. I should make this happen.
@Alain the site fixer:
You will, of course, post the classic clip from “Father Ted” to accompany said posts?
Years ago one of my clients was the Budweiser Cleidsdales. I wired and lit them for night-time parades.
Got to spend some time at their base outside Riverside, CA as well.
Those are some impressive, very well cared-for and content non-human beings.
@Miss Bianca: Honestly, I can’t recommend the rest of the trilogy. His style gets less “hard boiled” and that’s a relief, but the victimization of women gets worse. I’m torn between thinking the author is trying to reflect contemporary conditions or whether he just feels like that personally.
I’d recommend instead David Downing’s series that starts with Zoo Station, and goes from the 30s in Germany through to the end of the war. It’s fascinating and there’s an especially well-drawn female character.
There’s step dancing and there’s set dancing. Set dancing (Irish, Scottish, or English) is the ancestor of American square dancing. It’s mainly a social dance with groups of couples dancing together. Step dancing (Irish, Scottish, or Cape Breton) is a performance dance done by one or more persons. Highland dancing is a form of step dance, as are tap dance and clogging.
ETA I’m in the Scottish Country (set) Dance community. There is a lot of cross-fertilization with other folk dance styles.
I thought Golf was classified as a
mildform of insanity?
Fixit for you
@Larkspur: no police horses don’t have wonderful retirement plans. I know of a horse retirement farm th.at solicits donations. Don’t assume any working animal has retirement. Most are probably put down. Those who are lucky have a human partner who cares, who tries to arrange something. Police dog handlers are often allowed to own their dog when it retires at their own expense. Police horses….well the farm I know has taken a few. They have to be paid in order to afford to operate and the police riders raised funds on their own, not the departments.
@Miss Bianca: once Bernie gets out of Berlin in the later books they’re unputdownable IMHO. The early detective and police procedurals were kind of meh… Except for how he had to interact with Gestapo and SD. Keep at it.
J R in WV
My first horse was named Pet, and she was an 1800 lb bay mare, what draft horse guys around here called a grade Belgian. That Jethro Tull video is great. At about 7:35 there is a big horse, the second one in the clip that starts about 7:28, is that odd gait what is called single-foot? He’s kind of prancing, and then turns around into a proper trot.
They are such beautiful giant animals. Pet did lots of work around the neighborhood – I got her from next door neighbors who farmed with horses until they bought a very used 9N Ford, and sold Pet to me. She lived happily to be 28, which is pretty old for a big ‘un.
I used to ride her on the oil and gas roads through the woods. There was a great road right on the ridge top, with huge oak trees twisted by the storms, a long gentle down hill run, once she hit a canter/gallop it was like being on a giant sofa sliding down the hill. Her trot was a little harsh, given her feet the size of dinner plates, but all her other gaits were really swell.
I’ll never forget riding her on a windy day with the roar of the wind in the oak trees, it felt like being in a fairy tale on a unicorn! Luve me the big horses! Dark mahogany with a black mane and tail and feathers, and a little white blaze on her forehead. She had to bow her head to put any gear on her, so she had to want to go out with you.
@raven: Well there is noodling . . . :-)
Worked one haying season for the Haythorns driving a tractor in spirals. But got to be around the draft horses doing their thing. While they were nice, they were also a bit shall we say . . . dumb at times. I grew to like the mules. As Waldo himself told me, the Belgians would work until they keeled over in the harness. The mules will just sit their butts down – literal mulishness.
@Gvg: Oh dear, I have been imagining a thing that isn’t true. Made an assumption that I ought not have. Thanks for setting me straight.
@laura: Laura, here you go: Marin County Parks – Horse Hill.
@Larkspur: Yes, helmets are required at all of the stables that Little C has ridden at. She’s also worn a vest since she was 5 or 6, whenever it was that she started jumping. It was difficult to find a vest small enough. Not that long ago she had a fall whilst jumping where she landed on her side on the poles, and if she’d not had a vest she’d have had broken ribs (rather than sore ones) for certain. An acquaintance who has ridden for ages (30 years?) recently had a fall without a vest and nearly died — broken ribs, ruptured spleen, etc. I suppose the success of a riding experience is dependent on confidence, because a horse will react to that, and then skill, then luck… Not sure when I’ll ever be willing to get back on a horse and try my luck with that equation. Doing lots of watching.
P.S. May have been me that recommended the Berlin Noir trilogy, though would have been quite a while ago. I really enjoyed it, but the ‘Noir’ in the title is definitely there for a reason. The murder-mystery component is definitely secondary to the omnipresent darkness/threat of the era in which it takes place.
@cosima: I’m so glad to hear that helmets and vests are required. That makes me feel better that your little C is taking the best precautions. I had a colleague at work whose young adult daughter died after a head injury while riding.
I guess I should amend my recommendation about the trilogy. I did read it all, so it’s not like I felt it wasn’t worth it. I think it was just too much. I’ve read a lot about that era, fiction and nonfiction, so it’s not like I don’t know; it may have been that I read it last November-December when I was already depressed.
@reality-based (the original, not the troll): Those are lovely memories — it’s sad that it’s such a rarity. There’s a lot of love to be had through close contact with some animals — sounds like your granddad’s horses were that type. Little C rides one horse at the stables that she has a very good bond with, and she loves to groom him and pamper him, but most of the horses she rides are not nearly so tolerant & accepting of affection. The kids cycle through the horses at the stables so that they become accustomed to the quirks of all of the horses and learn how to manage different temperaments — and there are HUGE differences. One the one hand Little C would like to ride Jack the lover every week, on the other hand, she does feel a sense of accomplishment when she gets a particularly difficult horse to respond well, so it’s 50/50 there.
She’d love nothing more than to have her own horse, but it’s something that we’ll have to revisit once we’ve sorted out long-term living arrangements (turning a visa into leave-to-remain). Maybe someday…….. But it won’t one of the sweet big horses. I’ll leave that to her and her dream of owning her own horses some day in the future.
@cosima: @reality-based (the original, not the troll): Thank you both for such good stories.
I’ve never had a horse, but I remember visiting my great-grandparents at their farm in Connecticut. It was a dairy farm, and when I was really little, the cows had names instead of numbers. I loved one young cow so much that I begged to sleep with her in her stall one night (the answer was no) and I named her Darky because she was mostly black. I didn’t understand why that name made the grown-ups giggle. I have a memory of my great-grandfather, a German immigrant who never learned English, down at the duck pond in his well-worn denim overalls, feeding the ducks. One of their children and her husband lived at the farmhouse with them, and inherited it, but the land had mostly been sold off, except the part they lived on.
Reading Temple Grandin’s books has given me a new appreciation of the animals who share our lives most closely. She loves cattle (and horses and dogs and cats) and I’ve learned a lot, like what startles them, which horses are especially high-fear animals (the hotblooded ones), how curious cows are about their environment.
Cosima, tell little C she has a fan out here on the left coast.
I know this is an old thread, but I love it and I just cain’t quit it.