Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   Kingston's St. Patrick's Day Parade
Sunday, March 14 2004
Gretchen and I were headed to Kingston's big St. Patrick's Day parade today, but she had a surprise event for me, so she took me to Hurley Ridge Market (just outside the township of Woodstock). Inside, a half dozen ultra-orthodox Jews (men, women and children) were installing an oven inside a wooden barrier made to look like a wall of bricks. There'd been an advertisement in the Woodstock Times saying that they would be giving a demonstration of how matzot are made (as you might imagine, there are a lot of rules that must be followed). But they were taking too long to set up, so all we did was buy some Drano and a tray of sushi (the former was for our upstairs bathroom's drain and the latter was for me, since I was famished).
On the way back to Woodstock we pulled into the Onteora trailhead to give Sally and Eleanor a run. We ended up joining a group of people who regularly walk their dogs here, our "in" being that we'd been introduced to one of them at the Hurley Mountain Inn. It was an interesting group, composed almost entirely of people who did things like take pictures for National Geographic, produce films, and write textbooks for schoolchildren. I had my camera with me and I shot a little "film" myself.

Later, in Kingston, we watched the parade from the slope of the hill crowned by City Hall. We'd been told about this location by the relatives of our downhill neighbors, and they were all there. Gretchen had prepared a little bicycle water bottle of cranberry and Jameson whisky, and we passed it around to take an edge off the chill (temperatures were in the low forties). The Irish whiskey wasn't our only participation in the spirit of the parade; Gretchen, Sally, Eleanor, and I were all wearing green Mardi Gras beads around our necks as well.
As parades go, this one wasn't all that spectacular, particularly after coming back from Mardi Gras in the deep south. The floats, such as they were, were only vaguely disguised flatbed trucks. And there were an awful lot of fire engines. Interaction with the crowd consisted mostly of waving, a far cry from the madness of bead tossing. Children in the crowd were cold and bored. A couple of kids nearby found diversion in petting Sally and Eleanor while those further away shot at one another with plastic guns.
We ended up back at the house of the daughter of our downhill neighbors, a house that was not far from where we'd parked. Hers is a family of people who know how to drink and have a good time, refreshing impulses in a land peopled with Puritans. No holiday escapes them uncelebrated. They're a German family, but they've adopted St. Patrick's Day because one of their son-in-laws is, well, Scottish. The moment we arrived, the good times began. It became something of an orgy of Irish-style drinking, featuring plentiful shots of Jameson and tall flutes of "Mother's Milk Stout," a dark Guinesss-style beer brewed at Keegan's Ales, a local Kingston Brewery. (It comes in half-gallon bottles.) As usual when hanging out with this group, we were entertained by endless stories, most of them referring to events that happened dozens of years ago. The most recent stories concerned encounters with local black bears. Interestingly, everyone telling these bear stories acted as if there was only one bear in the entire region, referring to a bear they saw as "the bear" no matter where they'd seen it.
Gretchen, the most abstemious person present, was my designated driver, and on the way home she pulled into a diner near the Kingston traffic circle on Route 28 leaving town. The diner was called the Family Restaurant, and it constitutes the second-closest restaurant to our house (after the Hurley Mountain Inn), so we wanted to see if it was any good. Initially we were impressed to see that it had a salad bar, but there was a dreariness to both the atmosphere and the food (everything in the salad bar was waterlogged), so it's doubtful we'll be going back unless driven by our old friend desperation.

Doggies at Onteora Lake. The two tails on the right belong to Eleanor and Sally.

Sally with a shaggy new friend and soft green moss.

Doggies getting treats! Eleanor is the leftmost black dog and Sally is the rightmost dog.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade on Broadway in Kingston.

At some point today I typed an IP address into the address bar of Internet Explorer (because my Mozilla setup seems to be incompatible with the Westell 2200 configuration web pages). Not finding anything at this particular address, IE did what it always does in such situations, it undertook an MSN Search for "" That's about as brain-dead of an action as IE could have taken, and it annoyed me enough to make me research the disabling of IE's integral MSN Search feature. Believe it or not, I couldn't find a way to turn it off. I also noticed that the title bar atop every MSN Search result page includes Orwellian propaganda in the form of the phrase "More Useful Everyday." It's hard to believe there's no way to exorcise such embarrassing condescension from my Windows experience.
[A little more searching has turned up a page telling me how to track down the hidden controls where these default settings can be changed. It's telling that none of these alterations are accessible through the Options menu item. It's also telling that Google is left out as a search option in several of the places where it should be.]

For a little background on the milieu that spawned the top-grossing foreign-language film in American history, read this summary of an interview with Hutton Gibson, Mel Gibson's father, a man whom Mel insists "never lies." Also be sure to listen to sample recordings of Hutton discussing topics such as

Now, as for the Passion of the Christ, I haven't seen it, but I suspect a lot of fun can be had with that movie by replacing its subtitles with something more sardonic, perhaps conforming more to the subject Mel Gibson most prefers discussing when in casual company.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

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