Saturday, January 31, 2015

Well, here we are at the last day of the first month of the new year.  The time goes so quickly.  We are expecting a new winter storm here which the weather people say will be the biggest snow maker of the year so far.  Since we have had so little snow so far as little as a bit over 3 inches will be enough to qualify.  The aftermath of the storm that hit the east coast has amused me throughout this last week.  I don't mean the physical effects which spanned the range from "So What?" to "Oh, MY GOD!!!"  I mean the grousing about the political and economic effects of the actions civil authorities took to deal with the potential effects and the criticisms of the weather forecasters because some areas got something less than the history making blizzard predicted.  Our local weather reporters always stress the uncertainties in their predictions.  We watch the reports with a those uncertainties in mind.  Several times we have planned for the worst and been pleasantly surprised.  Rarely have we been unpleasantly surprised.

Mitt Romney, it seems, has decided to stay out of the 2016 presidential race to (magnanimously) "allow" the rising generation of Republicans to shine.  Yeah, that is a bit of sarcasm.  I think Jeb Bush was eating his lunch and grabbing his donors.   The entire field of Republican hopefuls have impressed me mightily--in the most negative way.  I don't think I will be voting for president next time around.  Voting--yes; for president--no.

Politics in Europe should get very interesting this year.  Syria's victory in Greece on an anti-austerity, debt-reduction platform has emboldened other such parties in other debt-ridden, austerity-plagued countries.  Starting with Spain.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Still dark outside but we could see a fresh layer of snow which, according to the weather people, fell on top of a layer of freezing rain.  Thankfully we aren't getting what the east coast is getting.  We did our grocery shopping yesterday during a lull between systems that gave us some welcome sunshine.  If the weather had been nasty we could easily have gone a week or more before we started running out of things and, with a bit of adjustment, we could have gone two weeks.  We are of an age when we refuse to go out in foul weather unless we have a real emergency and, being retired, we have no reason to go out.

Last Saturday we went out to the annual garden show here.  We missed last year's because of the extreme cold.  We didn't spend a lot of time there.  Most of what was on display were pretty but don't have the space for it.  If we could magically expand any two areas of our house, we would have a larger kitchen and a much large garden area.  Since we can't and we have a good location and great landlords, we live with what we have and make the most of it.

Talking about nasty weather, Yves Smith has an interesting take.  I was't surprised by the stories about masses of people jamming the stores out east to get stocked up for the storm.  I was surprised by the official response which, as Yves points out, makes being an idiot "illegal."  I remember fuming at idiotic customers who were out in not merely nasty but dangerous weather to get a particular pattern of party plates because that is what their precious darling wanted.  I remember being out in the same weather because the pay I would have lost would have been seriously painful and I wasn't willing to risk a job, however little it paid, by refusing to go out.  I am not a great fan of the "nanny" state.  You can't protect people from all of the adverse consequences of their choices, idiotic or otherwise.  But "protecting" people has become the go-to excuse for so many public actions whether people want that protection or not just as "job creation" has become the go-to excuse for anything business/industry wants to do whether the people most effected want it or not.  Sounds good until you look at the details.

Excellent little rant by John Beckett at Patheos.  Yes, life is complicated.  I am constantly amazed by our politicians, financial leaders and others who keep trying to control complex systems.  Reminds me of the interchanges in Jurassic Park where John Hammond tries to assure various people that everything will be fine "when we have control."  But he and his staff never gets control and everything they do simply make things worse.

I already planned to plant beans with sunflowers hoping that the beans would climb the sunflowers making trellises unnecessary.  I think I might have to plant one of the sunflowers with one of my cucumbers.

Friday, January 23, 2015

It is still quite dark outside (only about 6:30am).  I know the days should be lengthening but it doesn't yet feel like it.  I know, I know--it is only a month since winter solstice.  We got totally disgusted with the morning news so I turned it off an hour early.  Too much fluff and too little news.  And much of the real news was a repeat of last night's stories which we really didn't need to hear again.  Let's see what I find on the 'net.

We have "reached the end of materialism," have we?  Perhaps some of us have but I don't see "experientailism" as any great advance.  Just easier to lug around.  It is just another form of consumerism.  Instead of consuming things we are being told to consume experiences.  Getting off the consumerist train altogether would be a better idea.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

It looks right now like all of the precipitation yesterday stayed away from us.  The temperature remains around 30F this early morning.  I haven't caught the weather on the news yet so I don't know what the forecast is for today.  I got two more seed orders in the mail from Totally Tomatoes and Burpee.  The only outstanding orders are for live plants and they won't come until sometime in April.

Huffington Post has a post which covers the oil spill in the Montana portion of the Yellowstone River.  Like so much else of our infrastructure, the pipelines are aging and no one wants to either maintain them as they should be or replace them.  Too costly.  Hurts profits.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It was foggy this morning and is overcast now.  Some areas north and west of us got freezing rain and a bit of snow.  Just enough to make driving a bit of a challenge for those who had to drive.  We, thankfully didn't have to.

So officials in Montana have finally issued a "do not drink the water" order for the residents of Glendive.  Four days after an oil leak into the Yellowstone River.  Another account here gives a bit more information.  But I do love how officials always minimize such events.  Nice also that they and their families don't have to use the water.

Evidently shape-shifters aren't confined to mythology or horror fiction.  Freedom Industries, which was responsible for the chemical spill that resulted in several hundred thousand people in West Virginia losing their water for an extended time, has changed its identity but not its practice.  Why can't we execute these criminal corporate persons?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Another mild day, they say.  Temperatures in the mid 20s going into the high 30s or low 40s.

Reading: same as yesterday.  Didn't do much reading yesterday but I have a new book I might skim--The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr.

Internet reading:  I like the first segment on this article.  I have always thought that most of the apps out there for all our various devices are a waste.  I am especially skeptical of the "health" apps and ignore the ads I constantly see for them.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Woke to temperatures still above freezing and large patches of grass cleared of snow.  I received the Baker Creek seed order yesterday.  Now all I have to do is wait for another month and a bit before I start the seeds.  That is always the hardest part.

Reading:  Green Wizardry by John Michael Greer; continuing with Being Mortal and the Human Age.  I usually have several books in my reading queue at the same time and go between them.  And several more in the "to be started" line up.

Needlework: finished a small (8in doily) and started another larger one.  Plan to continue that and, perhaps, put some more stitches in a cross-stitch dresser scarf that has been an on going project for some time.

If it were just Romney playing chameleon I wouldn't be so disgusted with politics.  Or is he simply pretending to be a chameleon.  After all a chameleon actually does change colors but Romney may simply be using rhetoric to mask the same old Mitt and the same old "free market, conservative" philosophy.

I usually ignore most economic data except to give them a passing giggle--especially "inflation" data. This is why and I love the title.  I read somewhere not too many moons ago that the economists' definition of inflation is not the definition most ordinary people use.  I forget what the distinction is now but it allows the economist to claim that there is no or low inflation in the face of rising prices.  For me, as a very ordinary person, the increase in prices is far more important than whether conditions meet an esoteric and technical definition of inflation.  And here is another verse of the same song.