Ancient Wisdom

What works and what doesn't

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2014 – new term previously un-Google-able

I have studied various ailments resulting from too-quick ascents to altitudes above 8000 feet or so, such as AMS or “acute mountain sickness“, HAPE or “high-altitude pulmonary edema”, and HACE “high altitude cerebral edema”.

Today I stumbled upon this, for the first time: HAFE, or “high altitude flatus expulsion”.

HAFE is pretty much what anyone who has learned much of Boyle’s Law could predict.

However the existing terms used to describe HAFE are not felicitous, they really don’t cut the mustard, so to speak.   So I have coined a new term for this medical condition:  “High Fartitude” .   I think it captures the essence of the condition very well.  Google it, be sure to enclose this exact search term in “”.

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2013 — new term never previously indexed by Google

“the taste of human gristle” — Go ahead, Google it!

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New word for 2012.  Google could not find anything like this up until today.

“Bumfeasance” is defined as mischief unintentionally created by panhandlers trying for donations, e.g. a car getting rear-ended by stopping for a roadside panhandler.    Synonym: collateral bummage.

Go ahead, Google it.

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USDA forces cancellation of Valencia County Matanza — annual hog slaughter

Published at the KOAT online site 3 Jan 2012:

Valencia County NM Matanza spokesman Edward Calabaza said. “The Matanza is typically a whole hog pig that is brought to the site and is slaughtered there. It is cooked cleaned there on site.”

The Hispano Chamber of Commerce holds the event to raise scholarship money, and that’s where the problem lies for the USDA.

“If we didn’t charge the $10 donation to come through the gate, they wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Calabaza said.   He said 45 hogs are slaughtered for the event, which always has state health inspectors on site.

“We have served probably 300,000 meals and we’ve never had a report of illness,” Calabaza said.

The USDA said all it takes is one problem for the event to be harmful.

Additional history, from the santafesite:

In times long past, vaqueros tended the stock on the open range until it was time to sell, brand, or butcher the animals. Anyone of these events required a rounding up of the animals – “al rodear.” This was called a rodeo.

The killing (butchering) of an animal which frequently accompanied a rodeo was called a “matanza.” The first recorded references to a “rodeo” in what is now the United States are made in old New Mexico chronicles.

As matanza researcher Cynthia Martin explains “A traditional Matanza is a family and community-gathering event, with friends and neighbors helping in the labor-intensive job of processing a large pig, goat or sheep”.

“Taking at least an entire day, the process goes from the slaughtering the animal and butchering the meat to cooking the various meat products and preparing what is left for distribution and storage. Of course all those helpers also need to be fed, so the women in the family plan and prepare large amounts of food for the event.”  Historically the celebration had been done in the winter to prevent spoilage, and so today the tradition is carried on in winter.

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67 years ago this week — the Battle of the Bulge

Portion of an interview with jazz great Dave Brubeck [DB, below].   JW is the interviewer.   Brubeck was in the US Army in 1944 and landed in France 9 weeks after D-Day.  He was made the leader of a front line Army band.  Several of the band members had already been wounded in action.    In December 1944 the Brubeck army band was sent on a road trip – right into the Battle of the Bulge.  And he didn’t know that at the time:


DB: Colonel Brown didn’t tell me where to go, just to get out of the area and see if we could play for soldiers. I got all the musicians together, and we got on the truck and drove off.

JW: Which direction did you head in?
DB: The wrong one. We went right to the front, unaware that the Battle of the Bulge was about to begin. As we drove along, I saw a bunch of Americans in a clearing. We figured we’d play for them, so we pulled off the road.

JW: Were you using stock arrangements?
DB: I wish. We didn’t have anything. We had to hock cigarettes and soap for instruments. There were 18 guys in this band. We had Duke Marconi and Attilio   M1941_026_001Capra on trumpets. Duke had played lead trumpet for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. That’s one of the hardest trumpet books in the world. You had to play solidly for hours. Attilio was a great player, too. He’s still with us.

JW: Did you play for the soldiers in the field?
DB: As we were unloading our instruments from the truck, a plane flew over. One of the guys in the field Bf11grouasaid, “I think that’s a German plane.” Everyone said, “But we haven’t seen an airplane from the German Air Force for about a month.” The guy said, “No, no, he’s coming back. You’d better get out of here.” By this time it was turning dark. Our driver didn’t know the area at all and didn’t have a map. So we just took off in the truck. We thought the plane would start strafing us.

JW: Where did you wind up?
DB: As we drove down a road, we wound up in traffic with other trucks. It was nightfall. As we drove along, a soldier waved us on with a hooded flashlight, whichCIMG6447_2_lrgproduces just enough light but can’t be seen far. As we passed the soldier, I realized from a glimpse of the helmet that he was German. We had accidentally had joined a German convoy. But in the darkness, no one knew. I told the guy driving our truck, “Go over the hill with the trucks where the guy directing traffic can’t see us, turn around and head back past him as fast as possible.” So we did that.

JW: What happened?
DB: We drove wide open in the opposite direction of those tructs for a few miles.

JW: Back to safety?
DB: Almost. Along the way we were blocked by American soldiers at a checkpoint. When we stopped,Picture 5athey came up to the truck. One of the soldiers had a hand grenade in each hand with the pins pulled. He did this to show that if he were shot, he would take everyone nearby with him.

JW: What did he do?
DB: The soldier leaned on the side of the truck where I was and started asking me questions. No matter what I told him, he wouldn’t believe me, which I thought was strange. Then he said, “Just a few hours ago, many of my friends were killed right here by Germans in an American truck and in American uniforms speaking perfect English.”

JW: What did you think?
DB: That’s when my guys in the back noticed that there were bundles of dynamite tied in the trees above us. These could be detonated with a single shot. I thenDave Brubeck10002realized that the guys at the checkpoint seriously believed we were Germans. The problem was I couldn’t remember the password you had to provide to prove you were really an American. Finally I remembered it and they let us through. [Pictured: Dave Brubeck after crossing the Rhine River into Germany in 1945]

JW: What was the password?
DB: I can’t remember [laughs]. But remembering it that day sure as hell saved my life and the lives of my Dave Brubeck10003 guys.


Walter Cronkhite interviews Dave in this RealAudio recording from the Library of Congress Veterans’ Project here.

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Half breeds: and other half-assed half-dead half-civilized half-wits

Some day I must write a book with the above for a title, but am not sure what to put in that book. Perhaps items like the following, the story of “Indian” Johnson of Kalamazoo, found at this link

Michigan historical collections, Volume 10, By Michigan Historical Commission,
Michigan State Historical Society, Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society

Mr. A. D. P. VanBuren then delivered [1885] the following carefully prepared and valuable papers:

The following sketch of the life of “Indian” Johnson I got from the old pioneer, William Harrison, of Climax [Michigan], who not only knew Johnson, but was well acquainted with, and had lived for years a neighbor to his father, John Johnson, in Shelbyville, Shelby county, Kentucky. When Wm. Harrison, or “Uncle Billy,” as he is familiarly called, came to Climax in 1830, he found among the Indians here this white man called “Indian” Johnson. He had four wives, and was a man of importance among the Pottawattomies in this region.

Uncle Billy’s log cabin, on Climax, was a kind of a rude “Mecca,” to which his early friends here, the Indians, were accustomed to resort with offerings of berries, maple sugar, venison, and so forth. He was always on good terms with them, and says that he and his family would have starved in those early days when they could find nothing to “browse on,” had it not been for the kindness of their Pottawattomie neighbors.

He was always a favorite with them, so much so that they named him Sain-okay-maco, which means the good man. Among his particular Indian acquaintances were four brothers, Sam-o-ka, who had been a petty chief in his tribe, Not-awa, Pe-ash-y and Pe-ne-moo. These names and many others of the old Pottawattomie band were as familiar as household words to the early settlers in Climax and the region about it.

Uncle Billy soon found that “Johnson” was a white man, and strongly suspected that he was of the Kentucky family above mentioned. He wrote to his old neighbor, John Johnson, at Shelbyville, who sent two of his other sons to Climax, where they found their long lost brother — a complete Indian in all but his having been born a white child.

The facts in his life are as follows: Two of Johnson’s children had been stolen many years before from his home in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and no trace of them had ever been found. One was quite a lad, the other an infant in the cradle, whom his Indian captors must have killed, as he was never seen or heard of afterwards. The lad was kept and had thus been reared by the Indians.



Johnson, having been identified by his brothers, went back with them to his “old Kentucky home.” But he was now more Indian than white man, and, after staying some year or so, he came back to his forest home in Michigan, where he died some years afterwards. Pe-ne-moo’s squaw was Johnson’s daughter. Johnson would never join the Indians in their pow-wows, but on such occasions he would come to his friend’s, Uncle Billy’s, home. Mrs. Dr. L. W. Lovell informed the writer that Johnson at times in his talk with the settlers, seemed to feel the full sense of his lost manhood, that he was now, as compared with the whites, an inferior person — an underling.

And a feeling of sadness would come over him as he would say: “Me not Indian. Me born white. Me white man.”

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