The ignoble and unhappy regime

 

Evocative phrase from Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “War” (34:05 above) keeps popping into my mind.

The lyrics are a near-exact repetition of a speech in the UN by the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. However, the two simple guitar chords and the semi-improvised, spirited melody put to Selassie’s words is unmistakably Marley’s.


Almond

Take a break from your work and the stressful news to learn the etymology of the word almond.

Looked it up because I wondered if it might be Arabic.  Not so.

From Greek amygdalos, a word of unknown origin, perhaps from Semitic.

Thanks Online Etymology Dictionary.

(From the Who Did This? section of Online Etymology Dictionary’s website:

My political ideas have no future and I keep them to myself unless provoked. They tend toward the -isms that begin with anti-anti- and take root among the kind of people who are steamrolled by developments, murdered by revolutions, and forgotten even in footnotes. I deplore politics based on herd and tribe and demonizing of the other, which means most of it. What else? Dogs and I don’t get along. I’m trying to think of qualities that matter to people’s weighting of integrity. I haven’t watched television since 1994. It might have been ’96. I put ketchup on hot dogs and mustard on french fries. When I played World of Warcraft I found I generally chose a rogue. Human. Female.

And:

Etymonline is a can-opener

Couldn’t agree more.)

The same root word is used to name the amygdala in your brain.

We don’t wade into neuroscience here on Helytimes.  Using the brain to study itself feels grotesque.  It’s too overwhelming, my brain refuses to learn about itself.  (Only just learned there are two amygdala, for instance).  And charts like this agitate because I suspect they are probably crazy oversimplifications to the point of being meaningless?

But some interesting bits from the Wiki page on amygdala:

Amygdala volume correlates positively with both the size (the number of contacts a person has) and the complexity (the number of different groups to which a person belongs) of social networks.[59][60] Individuals with larger amygdalae had larger and more complex social networks. They were also better able to make accurate social judgments about other persons’ faces.[61]

And:

There are cases of human patients with focal bilateral amygdala lesions, due to the rare genetic condition Urbach-Wiethe disease.[67][68]

And:

The amygdala appears to play a role in binge drinking, being damaged by repeated episodes of intoxication and withdrawal.[70] Alcoholism is associated with dampened activation in brain networks responsible for emotional processing[clarification needed], including the amygdala.[71]

The story about Obama eating seven almonds a night was so perfect – that is a good number of almonds to eat!  Obama’s explanation of it I found illuminating:

“Well, this is an example of the weird way that the press works,” Obama said. “So Michelle and Sam Kass, who was our chef here, one night they were talking about me and teasing me about how disciplined I was, that I didn’t have potato chips or I didn’t have a piece of cake. And this is when Michelle said, ‘Yes, and he just has seven almonds. That’s it.’ To really drive home the point that I needed to loosen up a little bit. And Sam relayed this joke to The New York Times in the article and somehow it was relayed as if I was counting out … the seven almonds.”

source

Almonds.  Enjoy them.

 

Previous Helytimes coverage of almonds.


Wicked Game

A friend tells a story about a guy who had a cassette that was just this song over and over, they once listened to it all night while playing cards.

If you drove from LA to Portland just listening to this song on repeat would you go insane?  Become a genius?


Ireland should take in two million refugees

I’ve developed a radical policy idea.  This is my position paper.

The Republic of Ireland should take in two million refugees.

Here’s my case.

Ireland is empty

Seriously, walk around the place.  There’s like nobody there.

Almost nobody

Here’s Ireland overlaid on Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania has 12.78 million people.  Similar landscape and climate.

Ireland has 4.773 million people.

Ireland has fewer people today than it did in 1841.

Not busy

What a wild fact.  What other country is like that?  Can we really trust that 1841 census?

My source here is the Central Statistics Office of Ireland:

Ireland is empty because people moved away.

There were all the people that died in the massive famine.

But post-famine emigration is really what depopulated Ireland.  The whole story of Ireland is people moving away.

Even James Joyce looked for a life elsewhere.

The people of Ireland were themselves once refugees.  

They weren’t always looked fondly on either.

They were considered to be dirty and dangerous fundamentalists from a scary religion.

Now look at them.

“Her father, Alfred Roy Carey, was of African American and Afro-Venezuelan descent, while her mother, Patricia (née Hickey), is of Irish descent.”

Says The Washington Post:

According to the Census, there are 34.5 million Americans who list their heritage as either primarily or partially Irish. That number is, incidentally, seven times larger than the population of Ireland itself (4.68 million).

That’s just the USA.  There are something like two million Irish Australians and four millionish Irish Canadians.

What a great chance for Ireland to return the favor! 

What a cool national mission for Ireland!

And remember, we’re just restoring Ireland to its historical population level.

some people could live here

Possible counter argument:

But that will destroy the unique national character of Ireland!

Meh.

First of all, maybe they won’t, maybe they’ll adapt to it.  Or, as immigrants have done everywhere, offer new foods, traditions, ideas, and stir themselves into an overall blend.

You telling me Athlone isn’t happy to have Thai restaurant Kin Khao? Check out the reviews!

Second of all Irish culture is pretty darn resilient, there’s dudes in Southie three generations removed who’ve never visited the place who have shamrock tattoos and sing some fraction of the songs while they get drunk together.

Third of all Irish culture has been well-preserved already.

You can count on the Irish to do a fine job preserving.  source, shoutout to Wiki user Dilif

You can count on the Irish to do a solid preservation job.

(This song about boiling a policeman and spreading him like pavement is a fair example of Irish culture*.)

and

Frankly Irish culture could use a bit of a jolt.

Previous pinnacle of Irish culture?

Taking in two million refugees is a challenge.

But Ireland is up to it.  This country is one of the best ever producers of nurses, caregivers, teachers, cops.  It could be a a national project that would bring out the best in them.

You don’t think largely ceremonial president Michael D. Higgins could inspire and lead his countrymen in this task?

In conclusion, Ireland should take in two million immigrants.

Honestly it’s mostly sheep over there.

By the way, not asking Ireland to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.  You could argue California has already taken in two million refugees.  I haven’t crunched the numbers yet but I think we could take in a million more.

* I’m aware the song was written by a Scottish person

How big are the UK and Ireland compared to California?

The UK: 65.64 million people.  93,629 square miles.

California: 39.25 million people. 163,996 square miles.

Ireland: 4.773 million people.  32,595 square miles.

In 1841 the population of Ireland (just counting what’s now the Republic, not the whole island) was 6.53 million.

abandoned house near Killary photoed by Helytimes

Ireland is like a ghost town.

Today’s radical policy suggestion:

Ireland should take in two million refugees.  Much as the world once took them in.  It’s time to return the favor.  Two million refugees would return the nation to pre-1841 population.

Today’s question:

Are there other countries where the population is significantly smaller today than it was around 1840?

(maps via the great site Overlap Maps which is run by Sunflower Education, a publisher of books for homeschoolers)


The Irish comic tradition

source.  Barry McGovern / Johnny Murphy in Irish comic storyteller Samuel Beckett’s play

Just read this one.


It’s true.  Bannon, as presented in this book, is funny.  Makes it harder to dislike him.

At one point he describes Paul Ryan as

a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation.

This vivid turn of phrase after speaking to an embattled Roger Ailes:

Bannon was surprised at his desperation.  “He was babbling,” he later told an associate.  “He was in the fucking mumble tank.”

Bannon’s key insight:

Monster, filthy, sick, beast – these are terms Bannon throws around as compliments, what bro doesn’t?  But on the other hand he starts to sound a lot like a dark wizard delighting in his devil-powers as he launches demons at the world.

Anyway, fast, entertaining and insightful book.

Was interested in the perspective of Peter Schweitzer, who wrote Clinton Cash.

Could you argue the same about journalists and Trump?  Both love Twitter.


Old Dale, CA

The people who populated this remote mining region were tougher than a tortoise shell and twice as dusty. To describe some of these hard scrabble miners as rugged individualists is like describing the Coen brothers as a couple of kids with cameras.

The miners defined the term colorful character, some of whom would made a cholla cactus seem cuddly by comparison.

Little is left but a grave

By April 1896, Dale had two small mills and an arrastra to process ore, a general store, an assayer’s office, a blacksmith shop, a saloon and a house of ill repute.

No structures remain in any of the settlements today. Everything has been salvaged, stolen, vandalized or burned to nothing but ash piles and rusty nails. Roofless adobe walls have melted back into the sands from which they rose.

Blow sand that had covered the arrastra at Old Dale has recently been excavated. Contrary to being pleased by the amateur archeological work, Wharff is wary, concerned that the people who did the digging may return to unearth the stones, looking for any traces of stray gold that may be left below the rock floor of the historical structure.

found here in a Hi-Desert Star article by Jimmy Biggerstaff, “Tracking the ghosts of Old Dale,” Feb. 27, 2008.