Donald's Blog

  This old house was only a few blocks from the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. All the neighborhood cats lived in the basement during the winter. The house has long since been torn down, but in 1972 there were AR2ax speakers in the front room, and a lot of good music was heard there.

«Jun 2012»

In the 21st century I am just as opinionated as ever, and I now have an outlet. I shall pontificate here about anything that catches my fancy; I hope I will not make too great a fool of myself. You may comment yea or nay about anything on the site; I may quote you here, or I may not. Send brickbats etc. to:


June 3, 2012

Nothing is sacred

In the new James Bond film, starring Daniel Craig again, he does not drink "a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred." He drinks a beer. Heinekens, to be precise.
      I have no comment.


June 3, 2012


According to the Morning Call, Amazon has become one of the Lehigh Valley’s top employers, with almost 1400 workers in a local warehouse since 2009. Last summer was unusually hot in Pennsylvania, and people are required to work hard and fast in Amazon warehouses, so there was an ambulance parked outside, and temporary air conditioners were installed. Now the company has spent $52 million installing permanent air conditioning that cools all three floors in the warehouses.
      Sucharita Mulpuru is an analyst for Forrester Research. I don’t know what Mulpuru analyses, or what Forrester Research researches, but, the paper reported, Mulpuru said this:

I would like to think there was an element of humanity to the decision but there’s nothing in Amazon’s history or in Jeff Bezos’ public persona that would lead me to think that was the driver of the decision.

Of course it wasn’t. That is not how corporations work. Decisions are made to benefit the corporation, its customers and its owners (shareholders if it is a public company). The corporation has to invent or at least sell something so that jobs can be created and everybody benefits. Everything has to help that bottom line.
      You can sue a corporation if it is negligent, but you cannot sue its owners. That is what “incorporated” means: limited liability. The officers and the owners of the company may or may not be nice people, but they are private individuals who can vote in elections and who have the right to free speech.
      Of course it follows that the corporation is not a person, and does not vote, and has no right to free speech. Too bad the United States Supreme Court does not understand this.

Or as the bumper sticker says, "I'll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one."


June 3, 2012

Elizabeth II: sixty years

Our friends Frank and Ellis and Len and Sue watched the Thames Jubilee Pageant today from a hotel room overlooking the river. We had better seats than they did. BBC America stopped playing Battleship Galactica long enough to show us the whole thing live, and did a marvelous job of it.
      The royal barge was very impressive. The Queen is 86 years old, and was standing the whole time. Camilla was talking the Queen's ear off. Kate looked lovely. One lady appeared to be on the phone almost the whole time. The men behaved themselves.
      The Thames barrier was raised to keep the tide under control, because there must have been hundreds of small boats. The volunteers of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution were represented, who are estimated to have saved 65,000 lives during the Queen's reign. There were lots of people rowing: gondoliers from Venice, Maori from New Zealand, triremes from heaven knows where; there were working boats from up and down the river... and small boats from the Dunkirk miracle of May 1940, a few months before I was born. There was plenty of music, and finally the London Philharmonic Orchestra playing British music and of course closing with God Save The Queen.
      How lucky the British are, to have had that sort of continuity, to have a head of state separate from the head of government, and to have got that kind of service from a bashful, beautiful 26-year-old woman who probably didn't particularly want the job in the first place, but who knew her duty. No matter what the politicians get up to, the British have something they can depend upon.
      We watched the Embankment go by, Waterloo Bridge, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the South Bank (and a sort of animatronic horse, with humans inside it, galloping atop the National Theatre, because Warhorse is said to be Betty's favorite play)... and I wished that I had never left England.