Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Prince Has Died

One of the greatest joys of having a blog is that when you see a really absurd story, you can share it. This one is what I blog for:

Nestled near the beaches of the Italian Riviera and the snow-capped Alps sits the tiny principality of Seborga, a place that floats on legends. Over the centuries, plagues and earthquakes have struck the region and missed Seborga, or so the stories say. Some insist that knights took the Holy Grail there.

But the true miracle of Seborga may have been the 46-year reign of Prince Giorgio I, the constitutionally elected royal ruler of its five square miles and 2,000 people, about 350 of whom are enfranchised citizens.

Prince Giorgio, a bewhiskered grower of mimosa flowers from a family of mimosa growers, was seized by a glorious vision: that Seborga was not part of the surrounding Italian nation. It was an ancient principality, cruelly robbed of its sovereignty.

After convincing his Seborgan neighbors of their true significance, Giorgio Carbone was elected prince in 1963. He gracefully accepted the informal title of His Tremendousness, and was elected prince for life in 1995 by a vote of 304 to 4. Voters then ratified Seborga’s independence, which, by the prince’s interpretation, it already had. Prince Giorgio established a palace, wrote a Constitution, and set up a cabinet and a parliament. He chose a coat of arms, minted money (with his picture), issued stamps (with his picture) and license plates, selected a national anthem and mobilized a standing army, consisting of Lt. Antonello Lacala. He adopted a motto: Sub umbra sede (Sit in the shade).

But the principality’s future has suddenly turned cloudy. Prince Giorgio I died at his home in Seborga on Nov. 25 after suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, the principality announced. He was 73. Succession plans are uncertain.

More than 20 countries have recognized independent Seborga, in one fashion or another

Since the Middle Ages, Seborga’s sovereign had been elected, so the princely plebiscite that elevated Mr. Carbone was a return to tradition.

Prince Giorgio accepted no salary, although it is not clear he was offered one. He daily availed himself of ham and cheese from the village shop, a royal perquisite.

Let's see; we have an elected monarch of a country that only marginally exists with a one man army and the wisest motto I've ever found: "sit in the shade"; who can argue with that? That's why I blog.
(h/t to Robert Farley of Lawyers, Guns, & Money, who should be elected the next monarch)

News That Made Me "Saab"

I'm somewhat saddened by the news of the demise of Saab. I have rather fond memories of the Saab I owned back in the late '70's, a 1973 99DL (like the one in the photo, but mine was gold rather than that ugly yellow) that was a delight to drive. Yeah, it was quirky. It was the first non-american car I ever owned and, compared to the mid-'70's american cars it was a modern marvel. The handling and comfort were so completely different from my previous cars that I looked for any excuse to take long road trips. While it wasn't the best car to have sex in, the heated seats seemed to encourage some young ladies into creative positioning (hey, I was a lot younger and more flexible myself). Alas, the main drawback of my Saab was that it was expensive to maintain, and I went through some life changes that made it impractical.
Saab's demise actually occurred years ago when GM acquired the brand and turned a unique automobile into another generic vanilla vehicle. Sigh...
While I've been living "car-free" for more than twelve years, I still have very fond memories of the better vehicles I've owned over the years, and I've owned many (ask me about the 1959 Mercedes-Benz sometime). So I'm letting out a little "Saab" upon hearing this news.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Surgery Recovery

Sorry about the lack of posts this week. I had a surgery, and the recovery has been slower than I had hoped (although exactly on the pace the Dr. expected). I guess that I'm lucky; I'm poor enough that I qualify for state insurance. Watching the whole health care reform debacle is incredibly depressing, as the senate argues petty peripheral points while avoiding addressing peoples actual medical needs. It's just sickening.
But I do get one small side benefit. Having surgery gave me a convenient excuse to avoid spending Christmas with either of my sisters, which would have been more painful.

As The Boobies Debate

A nice pair of Boobies debating the quality of political discourse.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Really? This is the best Time editors could do? Bernanke?

And print media wonders why it’s losing relevance.


I could go on and on about why this is a shitty choice for POTY, but let's just hope his renomination isn't secure.

However, it is interesting that Time rolls this out now, this week, when it appears that 7 or 8 Senators have stated that they are placing holds on his re-confirmation. Of course, publicly speculating on things like that makes you sound like some kind of crazy conspiracy-type person, so I won't go any further....

Monday, December 14, 2009


Here's an idea: maybe the senate could trade Joe Lieberman to Dick Cheney's hunting club for a meth addicted weasel. The senate would find the meth addicted weasel more reasonable to negotiate with, and I'm sure Cheney would enjoy using Lieberman as a target.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Science

I love it when medical research comes to a conclusion that I can actually use:

A rather bizarre study carried out by German researchers suggests that staring at women’s breasts is good for men’s health and increases their life expectancy.

According to Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist and author of the study, gawking at women’s breasts is a healthy

practice, almost at par with an intense exercise regime, that prolongs the lifespan of a man by five years.

She added, "Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female, is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out."

"Our study indicates that engaging in this activity a few minutes daily cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack in half. We believe that by doing so consistently, the average man can extend his life four to five years."

In addition, she also recommended that men over 40 should gaze at larger breasts daily for 10 minutes.

Of course, getting slapped also provides some aerobic stimulation. And who knew that all these years that I've spent being a polite gentleman by not staring were actually shortening my lifespan. "I'm sorry, miss, but I'm only staring for my health."

And if the study is correct, my friend Ducky should live to be 120.

(I chose not to add photos to this post; I'm sure you can find some on your own.)