Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Oh, my--a (possible) new high temperature record.  In Antarctica.


Sunny today which feels good.  The temp should rise to near 60 which will also feel good.  I got the second flat of seeds started today.  The first is doing pretty well.  I finally saw one of the peppers emerge--the violet sparkles.  I think I see another emerging.  They have been so much slower than the tomatoes were and a couple of them that haven't come up yet.

Isn't technology wonderful!  Well, yes it is--unless it so dominates your life that other important things are crowded out--like friends, family and the natural world (or what is left of it, anyway.)


Found this by way of another blogger I always read.  We have noticed the bastardization of the notions of "organic" foods for some time.  We totally ignore the labels that scream "organic" or "natural."  We check the back of the label because no food that contains a long list of additives (usually preservatives) or additional unpronounceable chemicals can be truly organic or natural.

Leigh at 5 Acres and A Dream provided the above link in her discussion of language and word usage.  We often think we understand what the words mean only to find that others use them in an entirely unfamiliar way.

As an example of such linguistic ambiguity take a look at the Onion's satyric coverage of Indiana Governor Mike Pence's half-assed attempts to justify the half-assed Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Another item for the "What's old is new again file."  Preparation from a 9th century medical text proves effective against MRSA.  If that is confirmed we might see modern medical researchers going back to ancient sources to deal with our modern problems.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I got my second tray of 50 starter pots filled and watered.  I will check it later to see that the water has been absorbed and whether I should add more.  I plan to start the greens which don't like a warmer soil temp to sprout effectively.  So far I have seedlings of the tomatoes, Moldavian balm, bee balm, and savory.  The peppers and stevia are slower germinators and haven't made their appearance yet.  We have snow flurries and cold temps this morning but next week we should have more springlike temps.

Saw this this morning and could only say "Oh, crap-tastic!!"  I guess we should simply face the fact that we are all "assets" to be sold to the highest bidder when the need arises.


We had off and on snow yesterday--a gift of the lake effect.  But it was all very light and none of it is left as far as I can see which not much since it is still dark.  I think I saw the first of my peppers popping above the soil.  If the warm(er) temperatures actually show up next week I will start getting the patio swept clear of the winter debris and put the cover back on the mini-greenhouse.

Interesting summation of our current foreign policy and political mindset.  Not flattering.

For quite a while now I have thought that "social media" was anything but social.  In fact, it often seems incredibly antisocial.  After all how many of your "friends" on Facebook are really friends in any traditional sense of the word?  This article indicates that the phenomenon goes well beyond friends who aren't really friends with whom you have no real interaction.  Modern hermits??  To what purpose?  Early Christian hermits sought separation from a sinful world and spiritual growth in the wilderness.  I don't see anything of that in the modern variety.

Translation:  a lot more of us will be the invisible servants of the technological "shut-ins" detailed in the article above.  I read a piece some thirty years ago in which the author argued that purpose of technology was to render the process invisible.  You want light so you flip a switch and get light but the entire process which delivers the light to you is invisible.  If the modern hermits want food they call up one of the apps and prepared food magically appears at their door.  They don't even have to interact with the delivery person.  I thought at the time that wives were the ultimate technology.  Some of the more acerbic Feminists caught the same implications with their joke that wives were the devices men screwed on the bed which did all the work.  Notice that most of the "Alfreds" are female.  I wonder how much buying power these invisible servants will have in a world where money buys less and less and most of us have less and less of it.

I found this by way of the Archdruidess and tried to follow it up but found that four links on my Google search ended with a "database error" as did the one on her blog I tried to follow.  She doesn't know if it is true and neither do I but I do agree:  if true, karma has bit someone who deserves it right on his ass.  The question I have is why so many "database errors"?

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Good news--the Tumbler tomato, Costoluto tomato, Moldavian balm, and lemon basil plants have started to emerge.  Haven't filled the other flat of starter pots yet.  Need to do that soon.  We got somewhere above the 4 inches of snow the weather people predicted but the temps are supposed to warm up a bit with heavy rain overnight tonight.  I expect it will all be gone (or nearly) by tomorrow.

Exactly why we don't watch as much TV, don't take newspapers or news magazines, and don't believe anything we do read or watch without subjecting it to serious examination for truth and accuracy.  It is all the same message slanted the same way and it all ignores stories we think are important.


Most of the snow has melted as I expected.  The patio and other shaded areas have some remnants.

Ah, bipartisanship!!  I wish this would go far but I don't think it has a snowballs chance in that very hot place.


Overcast for now with the possibility of sun later.  Low temps expected for the next few days.  The seedlings are coming up nicely--for the most part.  I do have a few slow germinators that haven't popped yet.

Speaking of seeds--this story rather pisses me off.  I have read too many stories about how highly hybridized and/or GM seeds have failed.  Often the areas into which the big agribusiness companies want to expand (i.e., Africa and parts of Asia, etc.) are poor areas where the farmers can't afford the chemical additions (fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides) the high-tech crops require.  This effort to capture a market and protect the companies from "investment risks" only speeds the spread of commercial agriculture.  The companies are enriched while the local farmers are impoverished.  As a disclaimer:  I do plant hybrid seeds as well as heirloom varieties.  I draw the line at GMOs.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Just finished starting the seeds for those plants that need warm(ish) soil--tomatoes, peppers, Moldavian balm, bee balm, stevia. lemon basil, lemon balm, and summer savory.  They are all in the tray on the heating mat.  I have another set of starter pots in another tray ready to fill with soil.  I think I will put the cool tolerant greens in that set later next week.  Got a pleasant surprise this morning--my eucalyptus seems to be waking up.  I found new growth and two new side shoots.  The lavender I expected to expire throughout the winter is also waking up and putting out new growth.  My rosemary has also done well over winter and seems quite happy in its new home (with the eucalyptus and lavender) on a table we moved over to the window.  That is the only place in this apartment which gets adequate natural light.



Ah, yes--springtime and it is snowing.  And it is accumulating.  The weather people say we should get between 2 and 4 inches.

Yesterday was a very lazy day.  Did read but didn't comment on anything.  Let's see what I find today.

Another "war" that is going so well both for the warmongers in this country and the people over whose bodies it is being fought.  Maybe we should simply "declare victory" and spend our money elsewhere--like on single payer medical care in this country.

Finally someone has the guts say this in very emphatic terms.  Robert Reich is absolutely right:  not everyone should go to college.  We should have options and those should not include enriching the educational industry.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday--Welcome to Spring

We should have sun (after the clouds clear off) and warmer temps making it feel like spring--for today and part of tomorrow, according to the forecast, before the temperatures go back down.  In other words, we can expect the typical weather roller coaster.

For most of this young century we have been bombarded by messages wailing about the "shortage" of STEM educated workers.  We have seen a major push to emphasize STEM education in primary and secondary schools (elementary and high schools).  This U.S. News article calls bulls**t which supports my skepticism about the whole issue.  We, as a society and as individuals, have spent huge amounts of money to prepare for jobs that either aren't there or don't pay enough to justify the expense (often borrowed) or time invested.

An interesting point with regard to semantics: who is an expat and who isn't?  And why?  File under: Hell, yes, language matters.

Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds encapsulates exactly why I am ambivalent about Obama's plan to provide free community college or about a critique of that plan I read earlier today by an author I usually agree with which contends that we should have free college education for all.  Experts/Pundits have touted a college diploma as the ticket to the socioeconomic up-escallator.  Over the last twenty (maybe thirty?) years that has proven bitterly wrong.  See the paragraph above on the disappointment STEM graduates have found.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Ah, yes!!!  It is almost mid day and I noticed that the shadow of the house is just kissing the top of my fence.  The patio will be getting more light and heat from now on.  Spring has arrived, or almost since tomorrow is equinox.

Found this as I wandered the web.  I can't remember a time when I haven't had to wear glasses because of shortsightedness.  Evidently the increases over the last three or four generations has been breathtaking.  The old explanation that our genes are to blame doesn't seem to hold water when the incidence of myopia goes from less than 10% in the grandparents' generation to over 30% in the present generation.

Mark Morford always provides a good read.  He has this take on California's water problems.

I have rarely seen a mainstream outlet put this matter so bluntly.  I have thought for some time that contamination of the food supply is an inherent problem in the industrial food manufacturing system. "Components" come from very long distances (often from other countries), large volumes of product are pushed through at the highest possible speed, and any contamination (bacterial, metal, or plastic) at any point int he process can taint large batches that are sent to many locations and sold before the manufacturer becomes aware of the problem.  I should have said above that contamination is an inherent problem in food processing, period.  Small producers can also experience contamination problems.  However, their lower product volumes mean that fewer consumers will be affected.

Every once in a while you hear someone spouting off about "mandatory" voting.  Oregon has just passed a new law that would automatically register eligible voters when they get a driver's license or state id.  The secretary of state would automatically mail all registered voters a ballot before each election unless they opt-out and are dropped from the rolls. But nothing in the article says those ballots have to be returned.  Americablog discusses the pros and cons of mandatory voting.  If they want to make voting mandatory I want more of a choice.  Something like "Hillary or Jeb or None of the Above."  Right now I know I will vote for local and state candidates but leave blank the presidential race.

John Michael Greer has another interesting post on the growing split between science/scientists and the larger non-scientific society.  I have noticed that I am far more skeptical of scientific claims and am very likely to ask, especially about drug studies or medical advice, who is paying for the research.  I am very likely to subject the latest "nutritional" advice to severe examination.

Ilargi at Automatic Earth is on a good roll today.  He is totally right--we have lost Jesus, we have lost our compassion and we have lost our humanity.  I love the IMF's claim that Greece is its worst "client" ever--just because it won't cut it's throat with its own knife because the IMF wants it to.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Supposed to be nicely warm today--in the 70s.  But only for today.  Tomorrow puts us back to more normal temps in the mid 40s.  The snow is mostly gone from the patio and I was able to sweep up some of the seed that the birds have scattered all over.  With the spring cleaning/de-cluttering over the last couple of weeks I haven't got seeds started yet but I hope to do the first round over the next couple of days.

I found this by way of Down to Earth.  Anyone who can read this and still have an appetite for commercially produced "foods" has an amazing tolerance for crap.  I don't so we avoid it as much as possible.

Tuesday--Happy St. Patrick's Day

Much cooler today and so very windy.  I thought it had taken off my wind spinner (for the second time) but found it entangled on the double shepherd's hook.  I won't be disentangling it any time soon because a pile of icy snow still lingers below and in front of the hook.


Thankfully the wind has died down.  We would have been comfortable in spite of the cooler temps yesterday but for the wind.  I didn't see much I wanted to comment on.  Let's see what I find today.

No need for me to comment on this.  Englehardt and Levinson say it all too well.