Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hi, all.  It is a nice sunny Thursday.  We have already done our mile on the Y track.  Now that we are mostly over the colds that have sidelined us for the last month we are trying to get our exercise program back on track.  I was totally surprised yesterday when the grow light I ordered arrived.  I got the e-male telling me it had been shipped just a bit earlier in the morning.  I have it put together and in place upstairs.  It is working nicely.  In a bit I will start moving plants up there.  A large bit of the snow has melted but I still have ice on four of the large containers and three of the 5 gal buckets.  I really hope the  weather people are right and the temperatures will stay above the freezing mark for the next week.  I wouldn't even mind some rain--it will help get rid of the ice.


Hello, on what the weather people say will be a pretty Good Friday.  Hope it is good for all of you.  Let's see if I find anything worth the trouble of commenting.


Yesterday was indeed a very pretty Good Friday.  And today looks to be even better.  The temperature my get close to 60.  I certainly hope so.  We were looking at our garden containers and discussing their condition.  The biggest ones are getting rather fragile.  The manufacturers never intended they be used as I have used them--as planters in a rather brutal environment.  I can't complain.  They have done good service for five or more years.  The logistics of changing them out is going to be complicated, to say the least.  Oh, well--the gardens have been a work in progress since I started them.


Hope you are all having a pleasant Easter.  We have rain but temperatures in the mid 40s.  A good bit of the ice on the garden containers has melted but it will be a good while yet, if we get above freezing temps, before I can do any work out there.  We are planning some major changes in the gardens.  At least three of the largest containers need to be changed.  They have become fragile over time exposed to conditions they weren't designed to withstand.  But they provided large pots with minimal expense.  We will be looking for more of the same kind to replace them.  That will be a logistical problem since the current containers are too fragile to move out.  We will have to empty them at least partially before moving them out and putting new ones in.  I also want to raise them off the cement a bit to help prevent the kind of icing we experienced this year.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good Sunday, Everyone.  We expect snow today--how much depends on how far south that nasty storm that hit Denver, shut down I-70 from Denver to the Kansas border, and now is slashing its way through every state from central Illinois and Indiana to the middle of Florida.  Spring seems to be see-sawing with winter.  I received my cranberry plant in the mail yesterday.  Right now it is with my other inside plants (bay, rosemary, lemon verbena, and Christmas cactus) under the sewing lamp I shifted over as a grow light.  We haven't got the grow light I ordered a couple of weeks ago.  That is still on backorder.

Welcome to the last Monday of March.  I know I say this all too often but my goodness how the time is speeding by.  We did get a bit of snow last night--just a bit.  Most of the brutal weather went south of us.  I am very ready for winter to be over.  While I do enjoy definite seasons I like winter least of all.


Tuesday now.  I don't know what I will find to comment on.  We got another dusting of snow overnight.  The weather reporter just said that this March, depending on the rest of the week, may go into the record books as one of the twenty coldest Marches.  It may be the coldest since 1996 or 1984.  It all depends on what the temperatures reach over the next several days.  And this after the hottest summer on record.


Well, it is now Wednesday.  We have a bit of a warm up for the next four or five days.  I hope most of my container gardens will thaw.  Several still have two inches of ice.  I haven't had much to say about what is on the news--same old, same old.  Let's see if that changes today.

This Washington Post posted this story and, for anyone who has followed environmental news for the last few years, it comes as no great surprise.  And the EPA study concerned rivers only.  It didn't discuss the condition of our ground water and aquifers.

Good news!! The grow light system I recently ordered has been shipped.  I should have it soon.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hello, all.  I can really believe spring is here in spite of the snow that dusted our patio last night and the cold temperatures.  More sun is reflecting off the fence to warm the planters and we saw our first robin perched on the suet feeder and pecking away at it.  The small birds are happily visiting the other feeder and throwing as much on the ground as they eat.  Then they swoop down and start eating what they dropped.


Good day on this first Friday of spring.  I didn't have much to say yesterday--as you can see from the above.  Let's see what I find today.


It is now Saturday and we have blue skies.  Not warmer temperatures but sun, at least.  The news this morning said that Cypriot politicians and EU leaders are negotiating again.  But it sounds like the same old same old.  The crux of the plan to 'save' the banks involves looting depositors on a significant portion of their money over the 'insured' amount.  I love Golem XIV's title for his post on this: Plunder ball--The New EU Banking Game.  He has a number of points that should give us all pause--such as the joint FDIC/Bank of England paper on how to deal with a collapse of their so-called Globally Active Systemically Important Financial Institutions (a.k.a., Too Big To Fail Banks).  That paper was formulated two years ago--very quietly.  I had wondered how long it would take for the notion of plundering depositors to 'save' a bank would catch on.  And how long before the powers that be dropped the notion that they were morally justified because those large depositors were Russian Oligarchs (who got their money in shady ways and were only wanting to make a killing of the higher interest rates in a 'tax haven'), Russian and other mobsters (looking to wash their dirty money), wealthy Greeks (evading high taxes in their homeland) and other unspecified undesirables.  Evidently, they have already done that and, as one of the commentators noted this morning (on BBC, I think), that depositors should gladly pony up for the privilege of having them keep the rest for us.  Until the next time (and there will be a next time) they threaten to collapse.

I find it both satisfying and sometimes a bit frightening when my thoughts on issues seem to be reflected comments.  A title from an opinion piece (in the Financial Times which I don't get because I refuse to pay and so can't link or read) tickled my memory: Banko de Mattress looms for Cypriots.  I talked about the option of putting money in the Bank of Sealy last week.  I saw another story in which some financial pundit was quoted to the effect that 'mattresses have a 10% premium over banks.'

I was wondering when someone else might think about this possibility.  Like everything else in our world cars are increasingly connected to computer networks and controllable remotely, to an extent.

A couple of stories this week have reinforced my skepticism concerning what we know (or can) about the world and what is happening to us and around us.  I won't give you any links because you can easily find the stories with a quick Google search.  First, the confusion over who perpetrated the cyberattack that crippled two banks and four (I think it was) news services in South Korea.  Just this morning I was competing headlines accusing the North Koreans, the North Koreans by way of a Chinese ISP, Chinese criminals, and a 'mistake' at one of the North Korean Banks.  To date, from what I see, no one knows the source of the attack.  What scares me is the talk I have also seen about when a cyberattack would constitute an 'act of war.'  Second, the alleged chemical attack in Syria.  The first accounts said it was the Syrian rebels who used the chemical agents against a neighborhood loyal to the Regime.  Then the rebels said it wasn't them but the Syrian Government hoping to put the onus on the rebels and neutralize their foreign support.  Last, the U.S. and the U.N. said they are each investigating and didn't know if there was a chemical attack at all.  Some speculate that the agent may have been chlorine released during a conventional attack.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Good Vernal Equinox to you all.  I hope your weather is more spring-like than ours.  Temperature on our patio is only 25F and the official temperature is five degrees lower.  Clear skies for the moment but they tell us to expect light snow later today.  We may get worse on Sunday depending on how far north that southern system they are following tracks.  We'll see.

Just filled 29 paper pots and started peppers (albino bullnose, lipstick, and purple cayenne) and tomatoes (Amish paste, Supersauce, heirloom cherry mix, heatwave II).  I have a bunch more seeds to start but not today.  I plan to save seeds from the heirloom plants.  Thought about that before but didn't do it.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Good day to you all.  It doesn't feel like the day before the first day of spring.  We woke to clouds, snow and temperatures in the high teens.  They predict the temperatures will struggle to get to 30.  Last year we were experiencing a heat wave that fooled a lot of people into starting their gardens--just before the more normal and colder temperatures came back.  People weren't all that the heatwave fooled.  Many of the apple growers took a big loss on the season.  Five years ago we had a very cold summer--so cold that my tomatoes did just about nothing.  The next year I seriously considering getting one of the Burpee varieties of tomatoes that are more cold tolerant.  I never followed through.  Then last year the long heatwave knocked my tomatoes production way down.  I did buy a heat tolerant variety of tomato this year but who knows what mid-summer will be like.  That is how things go with gardening. You never know how the plans you make in the spring will end up in the fall.

Update: its an hour later than the above comments about the weather and we now have sun.  As they say: if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes.

Here we go again!  It hasn't been all that long since the last big recall of drugs and shut down of a compounding pharmacy.

I have been following the mess in Cyprus for some time.  It isn't, as the wonderful (sarcasm alert) U.S. media coverage would lead one to believe, a sudden catastrophe.  It has been brewing for over a year.  Something I read struck a chord yesterday.  I never knew that deposits are considered 'liabilities.'  I found that out looking at a chart of one of the Cypriot banks balance sheets (simplified, of course.)  Top on the liability side: deposits.  But then I got an even bigger shock--depositors hold unsecured liabilities.  This little quote from one of Yves Smith reinforces that
In the US, depositors have actually been put in a worse position than Cyprus deposit-holders, at least if they are at the big banks that play in the derivatives casino. The regulators have turned a blind eye as banks use their depositaries to fund derivatives exposures. And as bad as that is, the depositors, unlike their Cypriot confreres, aren’t even senior creditors. Remember Lehman? When the investment bank failed, unsecured creditors (and remember, depositors are unsecured creditors) got eight cents on the dollar. One big reason was that derivatives counterparties require collateral for any exposures, meaning they are secured creditors. The 2005 bankruptcy reforms made derivatives counterparties senior to unsecured lenders.
You can read the whole article here and it has a number of thought provoking nuggets.   Now evidently the big banks want to allow renewed bailouts and to deregulate derivative trading.  So they can simply mingle deposits (which the government 'insures' to the tune of about $250k) with their risky derivatives trades.  Some of you may remember my frequent question from the height of the financial crisis: what happens to the system when those who are supposed to participate in it lose trust in it?  We might soon enough see a large number of depositors shifting to the Bank of Sealy, or other favored mattress.

 Update 2:  In spite of the chill and wind I does feel a bit more like spring.  As I look out at my patio I notice the sun just barely kisses the top of the fence.  The shadow of the house will now recede and we will get increasing reflection and warmth from the sun on the fence.  When this happens again--in the fall--I will know that the Autumnal equinox is nigh and the dark months about to begin.  For now I will joyfully anticipate increasing sunlight and the growing season.

Evidently, yesterday was the 10th anniversary (hate to use such a celebratory word here) of our invasion of Iraq.  I noticed a number of (s)news stories about opinion polls concerning American attitudes toward the war.  Mainly the question was whether we, now 10 years later, think it was 'worth' it.  First of all, this is a question that has no we to it.  I, for one, never thought what ever we got out of it would be 'worth' the lives, material and money it would cost.  And I always believed it would cost far more than the politicians promised and that the greatest costs would be in the immaterial.  How much do you trust your government or the news media to tell you the truth?  I trust them even less than I did then and my trust was already somewhat thin.  One of the biggest drivers of the deficit over the last ten years (right after the Bush tax cuts) has been two costly and essentially futile wars in central asia.  We lost about 3000 lives in the World Trade Center and nearly 4500 in Iraq whose leaders were not involved.  And we never found the 'weapons of mass destruction' we were told were such a threat to our allies, if not to us.  That war failed to even approach my cynical estimates of our potential gains.  Those are now somewhere well south of zero.  For a more complete list of the cost, including the Iraqi casualties, read this.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Good Monday, Everyone.  Hope you all enjoyed your St. Paddy's Day weekend.  Ours was nice and quiet.  We are still taking things easy with the after effects of our colds.  We hope that sometime this week we will get back to our walking schedule.  The weather squashed that plan today.  We have a wintery mix of precipitation which has made roads a patchwork of slick spots.  These two nuts don't have to get behind the wheel.

I just finished making another 30 paper pots.  I planned to do that yesterday but got incredibly lazy and didn't do any of it.  I will start some more seeds tomorrow.  Several of the seedlings I started in peat plugs have perked up since I transferred them (plug and all) into the paper pots with potting soil.  I have a note to myself that the last chore I plan on in the fall is to make up a large batch of home made potting soil.

The post-mortems on the last election are in full swing from both the Damnocrats and the Repthuglicans.  So far the Repthuglican side, as far as I can see, are suggesting cosmetic changes.  They say their positions are solid but their messaging and presentation was weak.  If they could only dribble more honey on their intolerance and bigotry the poor, women, and minorities will love them to pieces.  No amount of linguistic honey will make their message palatable to me.  On the other side,  I don't see many liberals.  The Democratic Party has been nearly as co-opted by business interests as the Republicans always were.  It is interesting that Obama is converting his campaign organization to a political action organization outside the confines of the Party.  I wonder how far this will be pushed because the Republicans are increasingly turning to outside organizations to perform the functions the Party once did.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good weekend to you and hope the weather where you is more springlike.  Ours hasn't yet put us in a real spring mood.  The warm days haven't been frequent enough or warm enough to do that.  Mom is doing our laundry and there is a lot of it since we haven't washed for about three weeks.  Colds do that to you.  You don't want to do much of anything and you don't do anything you don't have to.

Otherwise I have a few things I want to get done.  I want to start a new bunch of spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers.  I think I said I am not too happy with the plants I started in the peat plugs.  They are somewhat spindly and weak.  I will start the new ones in the paper pots filled with potting soil.  The problem may be a combination of too little light and too few nutrients in the plugs.  I will have to admit that over the last two weeks I have not paid them much attention--no energy with the cold.

I am also looking for some substitute for Google Reader which, for god only knows what reason, Google is terminating in a couple months.  That is irritating because it was so nice and easy to go to one site to access all of the blogs I like to read.  At least I have a time to move things over to what ever site I eventually choose.


Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all.  I sympathize with one of the news readers as she wished her viewers the same: it feels like we have been celebrating the day for the last three weeks.

Anyone who thinks the financial crisis in Europe (or anywhere else) is over needs to pay close attention to this article.  The looting continues so the bankers and their shareholders can stay fat and happy.  I am waiting for the day when a country decides leaving the Eurozone and Euro is the lesser of the evils that fact them.  And lets be clear--Cypriots haven't been asked to surrender 10% of their savings.  This is extortion pure and simple.  The Agonist has more here.  While reading it I had an interesting thought.  The package the EU/IMF etc are offering is for some 10 billion euros.  The so-called 'one-off tax' will raise about half that amount.  I am amazed that the Cypriots don't simply tell the EU/IMF etc to get stuffed, raise the money for themselves and leave the Eurozone.  The last line of the Agonist report is key: the actions basically call into question the whole notion of private property rights of any kind.  Or rather, they underline the fragility of such rights.  Take a look at the foreclosure mess in this country or MF Global's collapse or name your favorite expropriation story of recent years.

I have said before that my major concern with our nuclear energy/military weapons etc. is what to do with the waste.  The highly radioactive material has to be kept secure for thousands of years and to date we have no really good plant for how to do that.  Evidently our government has a plan for the lower level waste: recycle it into consumer goods, building materials and such.  So, if they get their way, the next belt buckle, baby stroller, or frying pan you buy might have been made with recycled low level nuclear waste.  Of course they well assure us it is perfectly safe.  And, of course, we will trust them.  There really is no we here.  I certainly don't trust them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Good morning on this middle of March Friday.  We have some weak sunshine so far but rain should move in later and over night--if the weather people's models are right.  I don't really mind because, if the temperatures remain in the high 30s and low 40s a lot of the snow that remains will be gone before a new batch comes in over Monday.

Just spent a couple of hours making newspaper pots and transferred about a dozen of the seedlings I started in peat plugs into them.  Tomorrow I think I will start a batch of spinach and lettuce to replace the first start which isn't looking too healthy.  I can hardly wait for that grow light system to get here so I can start using it.  Can't do anything outside yet. Almost everything is still iced over and will be for a while.  And after the ice melts the pots have to drain somewhat before I can really do anything.

We had the second of the gardening classes the park service offers over the year.  This one was on garden planning.  I have yet to see a garden plan I have made be the garden I ended up with in the fall.  Something always gets moved, or doesn't thrive, or just doesn't fit with my space.  But as usual it gave us a couple of ideas--like moving the trellis.  We originally put it where it is because there is a gap the left between the wall and the fence to accommodate the water faucets.  Our cats found the gap quickly and we didn't want them bullying the neighbor's dog so we put up the trellis.  It kept them in and allowed us to turn on the water when needed.  We don't have pets now so the trellis can be moved to somewhere where it can be used for what it was intended--to support plants.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Good Thursday to you all.  We had a busy day yesterday because we had been down with those colds for nearly two weeks and were running out of a lot.  We were pleasantly surprised when we stopped at our little meat market because the prices hadn't go up significantly.  We were barraged by news stories just a couple of weeks ago warning of bit price hikes.  It may be a bit early yet and we still have two more such trips when we need pork and beef.  Continuing on the theme of prices--we were amazed when an economics reporter on our national news program a week ago touted the 'drop' in gas prices and attributed that drop to a decline in oil prices.  Why were we amazed?  Well, we hadn't seen any significant increase or decrease in oil prices at the same time our gas price went from $3.35/gal to $3.99/gal and then back to $3.77/gal where it is now.  Another story had us also scratching our heads--the resurrection of low down payment home loans.  Those guys simply don't have any capacity to learn from the past.  I also heard that the NINJA and other liar loans are making a comeback.  Sheeeeesh!!!

June Calendar's post today struck a chord.  We were forced to replace our wifi router yesterday.  The old one failed after some 10 years of (more or less) faithful service.  I say 'more or less' because we think it has been showing signs of decrepitude for some time--lost signals and such.  We went to Best Buy and started looking at the various options becoming thoroughly confused in record time.  As we told the very nice young (male) clerk the technology has gotten so far beyond me I am constantly amazed.  Once upon a time I could easily understand what the capabilities of a router (or a computer, or a modem or such).  Making the choice was only the first hurdle.  Once we got it home we had to get it connected and set up.  The computers were fairly easy because the router came with a disk that did most of that it for us. The TV connection so we could get Pandora was a bit more of a problem only because navigating the TV controls was much less than obvious.  Finally, swore my way through that and then easily got the Nook connected also.  Have I said before how very little I like new technology? The nicest part of the process was talking to the clerk who didn't mind walking a couple of old ladies through the material.  I guess there are some perks to being an old lady.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hope you are all having a very good middle of the week Wednesday.  Ours is getting better as the colds wane.  Still low on energy but the coughs as hard and frequent and we are sleeping better.

We woke to a light dusting of snow with sun on forecast for later today.  For me, this is a depressing time of year.  I hate to use that term because of the negative connotations for the word.  I often say that some one who is depressed might have good reason to be depressed.  My reason is quite simple.  I am ready to start gardening but the season isn't ready.  Right now most of my containers have a two inch layer of ice on top of the soil.  I think the little birds that come to our feeder and like to pick up grains that fall on the containers need ice skates.  The frozen vista isn't all depressing.  I saw green where my variegated marjoram and tansy were located.  Hopeful signs I would say.

Although I have had some good luck starting seeds I am not so happy with how the plants are growing.  They are getting too little light with what I can give them so they are spindly.  So we took advantage of an on-line sale at Burpee to order a table top grow light system.  Should be here by the weekend.  As I said yesterday I am neither a technophobe nor a technophile.  I just use whatever will do the job.  If our regular lighting would do the job or we had sufficient natural light I wouldn't bother with the grow light.

Well, the Cardinals have elected a Pope.  Jesse's Cafe Americaine give a brief bio of the new Pope Francis.  Now I wonder if he can live up to the original.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Good Tuesday and hope yours is a good one.  Ours is a better one since the colds are abating somewhat.  Thankfully we can do what the experts say we should do--rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat lightly and let it run its course.  Later in the week we have a gardening class scheduled and we should be physically capable of attending.  The cold came at as convenient time as such things could come--we had nothing planned for nearly two weeks.  The only activity it interrupted was our mile at the Y.  We think that can resume next Monday though we might cut back on distance for a bit.  Now let's see if there is anything on the 'net.

Is it just me or is our media focused on whether an American will become Pope?  That seems to be the lead question on any segment on the Papal election followed quickly by thumbnails of the leading American candidates with briefer nods to a couple of other non-European Cardinals that may have a chance.  Somehow the whole question is....inconsequential.  I thought one comment was rather illuminating and appeared in several stories all of which could have been written by the same person.  The reporter noted that a lot of people (Europeans and Italians in particular) aren't comfortable with the notion of an American in the Papacy.  Evidently they fear such a Pope would be controlled by the American Government.  Isn't this the mirror image of the argument leveled against Kennedy seventy years ago?  My own feeling on this issue--any American politician who would hope to dictate to a Pope who happened to be born American should read the history of Henry II of England and his picked Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Beckett.

Well, evidently a judge has decided that Nanny Bloomberg's ban on large size drinks is unfair.  Basically it disadvantages some commercial establishments over others who don't have to comply.  That's ok as far as it goes.  What I wish is for some judge to uphold a person's right to make stupid decisions.  Or validate another person's right to make a smart decision for what ever reasons s/he might wish.  I remember the point where I realized that I really didn't want to supersize my lunch.  And yes, at the time I didn't mind eating at McDonalds and its ilk.  Things have changed.  As usual the clerk asked if I wanted it super sized.  I hesitated because I didn't really want all that food and I certainly did not intend to take any part of it home--and I also knew, sure as hell, I would stuff all that food down my gullet.  After all, my parent's generation had encouraged my generation to clean their plates while thinking about the poor starving children in other countries.  And as I hesitated the clerk did as she was trained to do--reminded me that the larger size was actually 'more economical' and I would get more for 'less' money.  That is when something went click and I told the clerk (politely I hope because I was a bit irritated by the whole thing) that her (and her company's) argument was spurious because I would be leaving half of the meal in the trash so I would actually be paying more for what I really wanted in the first place.  Since that time I have had no trouble at all applying the same argument to similar offers or to two for one sales for things I don't really want at all (Sorry, I'll increase my saving by not buying anything.)  If a slow learner like me, thoroughly indoctrinated from birth in the American commercial myths, can make that imaginative leap, I don't see why others should be denied the chance to do the same.  I won't even start on a rant about the so-called nutritional 'experts.'

I saw a brief mention of this story on the morning broadcast.  I gather there are more questions than answers at this stage--including the question of veracity.  They don't really know if the data released is real or simply made up.  The reporter this morning claimed that one of the celebrity phone numbers was actually for an east coast business. Then they don't really know who is behind this.  I love the comment in the article about the tweet from the alleged hacker being in 'bad Russian.'  I am neither a technophile nor a technophobe but I do recognize that all technologies have negatives that come with them and, the more you depend on them, the more the negatives have disastrous potential.

And this was also featured for a brief line on our evening news yesterday.  I wondered how much fun people might have with it.  What the hell would ancient peoples have done to cause atherosclerosis?  Of course, they had to have done something.  So which kind of diet works?  Actually--none of them.  All of the mummies showed atherosclerosis no matter what area they were found and no matter what the typical diet might have been.  As I said above--I won't go off on a rant about nutritional 'experts.'  We assume that by studying ancient artifacts like mummies we can discover some kind of natural diet which will allow us to defy old age.  Now how many of these assumptions will bite us in the ass?  The one about discovering a natural diet (as though in our artificial modern world who would we even know) or the one about defying old age or the one that assumes the results from mummies are applicable to their general society much less to ours.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Good Sunday to you all.  For me it is marginally better.  The cold is still dragging me down.  I am so thankful that I don't have to go out.  I remember all too well the times I had to go to work no matter how I felt because I couldn't afford to lose the pay and had no sick days.  Isn't it wonderful how our economy works--you get to choose between not being able to pay your bills or doing a marginal job while infecting everyone you come in contact but not losing the money you need to live.  I shudder to think how many co-workers caught colds from me shortly after I caught my cold from one of them.


Definitely better today (Monday) than recently.  I am actually contemplating doing a couple of chores today after nearly a week of doing nothing except sleeping, grumbling and hacking.  Mom is recovering steadily also.  Let's see what I find on the 'net.

What does this story and this one have in common?  They are both tales of crime in which the perpetrators get off without penalty and the victims are victims twice over: first by the banks (or their representatives) and then again by the (anti)-legal system.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I would say 'Good Morning' but I am not at all sure that is a good description.  I hope your Saturday is shaping up well.  We had a bad night with colds last night after a deceptive day when we were lulled into the notion that we were getting off more easily this time.  I guess we should still consider ourselves lucky.  It has been a couple of years since the last bout.  I had intended to get some seedlings transplanted but I simply don't have the energy.

Every now and then I find an article that confirms suspicions I have entertained with increasing frequency over the last few years.  Even if we have had infrequent and short interruptions in various electrical services we have seen accounts of more frequent and longer disruptions in surrounding areas. And we know the bills have gotten bigger over that same time.  Worse, the statistics don't include the outages due to the various storms, like Sandy, that have left millions without power for weeks at a time.

This is good.  I just wish that labeling were mandatory by law and not dependent on a single store's (or any number of stores') individual policies.  I don't know whether there is anything dangerous about GMOs but I do know I don't trust Monsanto, et al., and I want the information to make a choice about what I eat.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hello, all.  I don't know how much I will read or write today.  The cold hit hard yesterday afternoon and all I want to do is sleep.

As you can see I didn't get very far yesterday.  Still tired today (Friday).  Just coming downstairs and starting the coffee exhausted me.  Mom felt the same about pouring the coffee and combing her hair.  I will say I feel better than I did yesterday.  But I don't think we will be doing much till Monday at the earliest.

I did check my second seed starts.  Saw stevia, lettuce, and spinach poking their little leaves up.

I think Elizabeth Warren is absolutely right on.  We need a 'death penalty' for corporations.  They shouldn't get off simply because of their size.  Every bit of money they laundered and every bit of profits they made by laundering that money (or by violating sanctions) should be forfeit and the people at the top should be jailed.  Yves Smith puts the situation very well--Treasury and Fed officials who are supposed to regulate banks 'prevaricate' during testimony.  That is a polite way to say they lie.  So the Justice Department is unwilling to prosecute and the Treasury and Fed are unwilling to regulate.  Can anybody else spell 'free pass?'

The good news on this issue--the bacteria haven't spread beyond hospital setting.  The bad news, beyond the fact that it is 50% fatal , can transfer the resistance to other more common and unrelated bacteria, and are resistant to just about every antibiotic out there--how long do you think it will remain within hospitals?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Good Tuesday, All.  The snow hasn't really moved in here yet.  We have a mere dusting but more is on the way though not so much as was expected this time yesterday.  I find it interesting how many schools are closed and how many flights at Chicago airports are cancelled in anticipation.  We aren't going anywhere--not with Mom still definitely under the weather and me feeling a bit off as well.  I hope it won't progress to a full on cold.  We'll see.

It is now Wednesday after a very snowy Tuesday.  The heavy snow started about 10 or 11am and continued through the rest of the day.  The crew our landlord has to clear the snow has already been out and the sidewalks are shoveled.  I will get a path to the gate cleared a bit later and a little bit at a time.

We just had a thought we have had with increasing frequency lately.  We actually got more real news forty years ago when the evening news was half an hour long split between local and national stories.  It was similar in the morning and by 7am the programming shifted to cartoons.  Today we had news from 5:30am when I turned on the cable to a little after 8 when I turned it off in total irritated disgust.  Three quarters of the stories were repeated every half hour with nothing new added.  Among the repeats: Kate's slip which might indicate England's next monarch might be a queen, the Vatican has imposed a gag on the Cardinals--no more interviews, Hugo Chavez's death--which was covered well last night, the new record level on the Dow and how long it might be sustained, and a whole bunch of crap that was so important I can't remember what the hell it was.

Just finished shoveling that path I mentioned above.  I would say the minimum snow level was 8 inches.  It was already starting to melt underneath but I found about four inches of hard ice between the gate and my large container.  It really limits how far we can open that gate.  I hope we do get some of those warmer temperatures and melting we have been promised.  I really don't want to chisel out that ice.

We just had a brief interruption in our internet.  I don't know what happened but suddenly we couldn't do anything or go anywhere on the net.  Glad it was brief.

I saw this some while ago but simply filed it away because it didn't involve one of Indiana's senators and no charges had been filed.  Now it looks like it maybe another nasty example of political dirty tricks.  If someone did bribe women to make these claims I would dearly love to see that someone charged in court.

We finally got our internet back a little bit ago for the second time today.  First time we have had that kind of an interruption for a long time.  I am always surprised to realize how much we depend on our electronic communications connections.  And always a little uneasy with it.  Google has also been a pain in the butt.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Good Sunday, Everyone.  We have blue skies at least for now.  Whether we will see the sun depends on if it comes up before the next batch of clouds comes in.  We got a dusting of snow yesterday most of which has blown off the pavements.  I may have to sweep some of the patio but I may just wait to see what comes in.  The weather people say we should get a bit more snow tomorrow night and tuesday.  Just to remind us that Spring isn't here yet.

I can't say this any more bluntly.  This is totally bullshit.  Our own workers get furloughed, our own long term unemployed get their benefits cut, and these bastards want the funds going to Israel excepted from the sequester???

Hello, all, on what looks like a transitional Monday.  We had a beautiful sunny day yesterday.  But very late tonight we should start getting snow and will all day tomorrow--at least as it stands now.  I have my starter trays ready to put seeds in.  Will do that later.  The first starts are about ready to transplant.  We are still about 9 weeks away from being able to put plants in outside.  But I was surprised yesterday when I saw the morning sun reflecting off the fence.  It only happens in the morning because our building is on a corner and the street provides enough space that the next building's shadow doesn't shade the corner of the fence.  In three weeks, about the spring equinox, the house shadow should fall just at the top of the fence all day and, thereafter, the patio will get increasing amounts of light.  I am so looking forward to that.

We recently talked about the Walgreens program, which we rejected several times, for a customer card because they are moving to exclusive sales for their 'preferred customers.'  However, this story and this one, make us talk more and reconsider any notion of signing up.  I am getting very sick of the nanny mentality.

An observation on irritating politics and more irritating media:  I am sick of hearing the Repthuglicans complaining that Obama won't give them anything after they so generously agreed to 'raise' taxes.  All they did was agree to make the Bush tax cuts permanent for most Americans (those making less than $400k approximately).  That was a fraud to begin with.  Bush wanted tax cuts and agreed to a sunset provision which ended the cuts in 2011 because he wanted to pretend to deal with the deficits those cuts would generate.  That worked like a charm because the Repthuglicans could argue that the restoration of the tax rates to the previous level were a draconian tax increase and got two one year extensions on the strength of that argument.  Let me call this whole mess exactly what it is: bullshit.  Obama gave them 90% of what they wanted and they are whining because they didn't get 100%.  What also pisses me off is Obama placing Social Security and Medicare on the table and getting nothing substantial for it.  Craptastic!!!  Maha has basically the same analysis of the situation, though more politely stated.

Just got my second set of seeds started.  Baby leaf spinach, petite rouge lettuce, stevia, beard tongue foxglove, wild bergamot and purple hyssop.  Now to see what comes up!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Friday to you all.  We have another overcast day with intermittent light snow.  Nothing much on the agenda for today.  Let's see if there is anything worth noting on the 'net.

This isn't good considering that Easter isn't that far off.

I remember an old quip from workers in the old Soviet Union: We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.  This is half of that.  I do so wish we could get the other half and pretend to pay these clowns for their pretend work.

This chart makes me wonder why our politicians are arguing about so-called entitlements in the same breath as 'deficit.'
I could have posted this yesterday but was lazy.  Mom is fighting a cold so we aren't doing anything.

How often over the last few years, especially when George II was in office, were we told that we should rely on private giving and aid instead of government?  I know I have lost count.  Is this what happens when we do??

The TINA (There Is No Alternative) argument seems to dominate government and has since Maggie Thatcher and Ronnie Reagan were kissing each other's butts three decades ago.  Here it is again.  The argument (if you really want to call it that) is fallacious.  It assumes the end result is agreed by everyone to be desirable and necessary, that the proposed means of achieving that result are the best available and that the benefits of the result outweigh the costs.  I say the assumptions are bogus all the way around. It is obvious to anyone not totally blind that the ends are not agreed on.  I don't see the necessity.  From what I have read, the oil that reaches the Gulf from the tar sands will be sold to overseas buyers so it won't help the U.S. oil supply and it may even take product from parts of my area raising the cost here. And they tell us that the U.S. energy production is ramping up to make us 'energy independent' in relatively short time.  Either way someone is lying to us.  Just north of us a couple of years ago a similar pipeline leaked.  They are still dealing with the results and the company has been fighting the local landowners to increase the size of the pipe.  Which means appropriating more of the land and paying the owners pittances for the damage and the land.  The court case against BP for its Macos blow out almost three years ago is just now going to court.  Over that time the public has been fed a steady diet of pablum from the company and from the government on just what the consequences of the contamination are and will be.  The only beneficiaries I can see are the Koch brothers whose company is a major player in the project.  So farmers lose, the land loses, consumers lose but the billionaires win. Unfortunately this isn't baseball--they have had their three strikes and should be out but they are poised to win.

I am increasingly disgusted with the news coverage.  I just watched the segment on the sequester impasse and Obama's comments on it.  Does it really matter that Obama merged Star Wars and Star Trek in his comment about not being able to use a 'jedi mind meld' on the Repthuglicans?

Chris in Paris has it totally right: the political trolls out there suffer nothing from the political impasse.  It occurs to me that we have two classes of parasites who disproves the old notion that people are paid for good results: the politicians and the bankers.  They get paid handsomely no matter what.  I am sure this won't go far but I applaud it.

This is hilarious.  In Iceland authorities tested 'meat' pies for horse meat and found not only no horse meat but no meat of any kind.  Thanks to Undernews for the link.