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The popular Dutch pastime of cat bludgeoning?


Many people say that the meaning behind Judith Leyster’s 17th century painting, “A Boy and a Girl with a Cat and an Eel”, relates to a parable that translates as “He who plays with cats soon gets scratched”.

However, according to Wikipedia

“Other interpretations include allusions to other Dutch proverbs as well as the popular pastime in seventeenth century Dutch festivals or kermis of katknuppelen, the bludgeoning of cats.”


If anybody can further enlighten me as to this cat bludgeoning tradition, it would be appreciated.

The Constitution guarantees the State the right of coercion

People treat the Constitution as a sacred text. You don’t joke about the Constitution; even the most radical left and right wingers will defend it…at least their interpretation of it.

This is from the great Butler Shaffer…

The humanistic sentiments of the Enlightenment helped transform these autocratic assumptions about the source of political authority, substituting as a rationale for the state the myth of a “social contract.” Formal constitutions were written, presuming to create a state by contract, in the collective name of “We the people.” In the American version, political authority was to be disbursed among three major branches, with the legislative branch to enjoy sovereign power; a proposition that would make it difficult – if not impossible – for an individual to enjoy unchecked authority. Coupled with the illusion that the exercise of power could be restrained by words written on parchment, it was believed that reasonable persons could therefore trust state power. That some of the most repressive actions of the Soviet Union were conducted under a written constitution loosely modeled on the American one, should disabuse anyone of the thought that governmental powers could be restrained by words.


Such an arrangement sounds reassuring – except to those who have bothered to read the document or the cases decided under it. Though the Constitution contains numerous words, two passages in Article I, Section 8 are sufficient to confirm its unrestrained power given to the state. One passage at the beginning of this section provides that “The Congress shall have Power. . . to provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.” This power is elaborated upon by the concluding words to this section that Congress shall have the power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

In essence, a disclaimer. “We the State, reserve the right to coerce regardless of anything written elsewhere in this document.”

John McLaughlin minus the cosmic hoo-ha


Getting ready to fix some lunch right now before more digging and I am listening to John McLaughlin’s tribute album to Bill Evans, “Time Remembered”. It’s gorgeous as I’m sure you would suspect.

As I’d never listened to this before, I decided to quickly look it up and find out a little about it. One of the first things I came upon is this hilarious 1993 review by David Hajdu in, of all places, Entertainment Weekly…

“If you hear the name John McLaughlin and think of quirkily entertaining middle- age conservatism, you’re…well, right on the money. Seventies head-trip guitarist McLaughlin has matured into an engaging classicist, applying his newly disciplined virtuosity to the reflective chamber jazz of pianist- composer Bill Evans. None of that cosmic hoo-ha; this guitar guru has finally found the God of the Details in Time Remembered: John McLaughlin Plays Bill Evans. B+”

I’ll let you form your own opinion.




Current Project

Hand tilling a vegetable garden. Not doing it by hand to prove a point or live like a pioneer…no power tiller available.


…still plenty of digging left to go.

Zappa: Which record got you hooked?

I was listening to Dweezil Zappa on the WTF podcast. Both interviews are well worth the time if you’re a Zappa fan.

In the first interview, there is a point where Dweezil asks Maron which album was the one that got him hooked, which one made you want to hear more of this. I got to thinking about that…for me, the first one I heard was a bad cassette copy of Just Another Band From L.A. That one didn’t really get me…maybe because of the Flo and Eddie presence. The first one I bought was Sheik Yerbouti and I became aware of it via the jokey songs but, I was intrigued by the cleverness, production and musicianship. Not too long after that, I picked up Hot Rats at a used record store. That…is the one that got me hooked. Rats has all of the basic architecture.