Monday, August 31, 2015


Last day of August and a foggy beginning it is.  Less than a quarter-mile visibility.  The weather people also say that we should have hazy skies because of smoke drifting from the fires in the west and Canada.  I have tomatoes ready to bring in.  They will be dried for storage.  Some beans should be ready for picking tomorrow or perhaps Wednesday.

Been a productive morning.  Three trays of tomatoes and one each of sage, basil, and strawberry leaves drying now.  I need to go out and water the containers but the fog is now thickening again after lifting somewhat earlier this morning.

I have been watching this story unfold ever since Bruce Rauner was inaugurated.  It isn't quite a case of "can't" as of "won't."  The Repthuglican Rauner and his Comptroller insist that the state can't issue checks because no budget has been passed and signed.  Rauner has vetoed at least one budget sent to him claiming it wasn't "balanced," Repthuglican speak for didn't cut enough social programs for his liking.  He also insists on so-called reforms that would gut unions (especially public employee unions) and give perks to his business buddies.  Courts have disagreed with the governor at least where the Federal funds the state has received to pay the Federal part for a number of social programs and ordered the state to cut the checks. It is funny but under other governors the state continued to pay its bills whether it had a agreed upon and signed budget or not.  And the state isn't actually refusing to pay all lottery winners--just those whose winnings are over $21k and can't be redeemed locally.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


I left the dehydrator running overnight because I had three trays of tomatoes in it and they still had a considerable ways to go before they were dry.  I was prepared to continue the operation if need be but the tomatoes were all nicely finished when I turned off the machine about 5am this morning.  Since we now have rain the dehydrator will have a nice day off.  See if the weather drys up tomorrow before collecting anything more from the garden.  I saw a nice bowlful of beans developing.  They should be ready by Monday or Tuesday.

This is a problem for customers of HSBC in the UK but is a cautionary tale for us on this side of the pond.  How much do you trust your bank?  And what happens when trust is broken in a system that runs on trust?

For a good while now I have seen stories about the "ghost cities" in China.  Now add "zombie factories" into the mix.  But the description of how some of those factories have been kept on life support (restructuring loans, requiring only interest repayment, and giving new loans that have little likelihood of being repaid) reminds me of what the "Troika" has been doing to Greece.

So, they have a banking problem in the UK and one in Australia as well.  Coincidence?   Probably but it doesn't do much to bolster confidence in the banking system.

I saw this earlier this morning and had only one question:  if people are pulling cash out of stocks and bonds, where are they putting it?

Well, the news media has been beating the dead horse of the Katrina 10th anniversary.  I have ignored most of it as much as possible.  Like so much else in this country these days it has the feeling of propaganda, of a Potemkin village affair.  Evidently I am not the only one--and I have never been to New Orleans so I can only suspect that it is a plastic replica of what was once authentic.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Harvested enough tomatoes to fill two-thirds of my large wire strainer and almost as much of Gold Marie and Blauhilde beans.  I gave two of the Amish Gold and about half of the cherry tomatoes to one of our neighbors.  We had unseasonably cool temperatures and clouds all day yesterday.  No rain, though, so I need to water containers this morning.  Planning to harvest spearmint today and, perhaps, lavender.

I have been reading about the algal bloom on the west coast for a while now.  Anyone notice how the environment is "missing in action" in our political discourse?  I have.

For something like the last forty years I have noticed this fact and it makes me laugh every time Mothers' Day rolls around and the news media trot out the saccharine stories about how valuable mother's work is.  The hard truth is the unpaid work we do is not valued in this society.  It doesn't add to the GDP and economists rarely (if ever) take it into any account of economic activity.  I have always gardened when I could but beyond the inputs I purchase (tools, soil, seeds, plants, etc.) my gardening produces nothing of economic value, i.e. it doesn't add to the GDP.  Actually, it deducts from GDP in that I am not purchasing the items I grow from a commercial outlet (the supermarket.)  We rarely buy peppers because I grow them.  We don't buy many herbs because I grow them.  We will buy fewer sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and beans because I grow them.  I can't supply all our needs from my small space but we buy fewer and, therefore, contribute less to GDP.  Perhaps, we need better metrics by which to evaluate our economy.

It has been a busy day in the gardens.  Harvested some more tomatoes including a bunch of green ones which are now fried and either eaten or in the freezer.  I left four ripe slicers (Amish Gold) on the counter while the rest of the slicers and all of the cherry tomatoes are now in the dehydrator.  Also drying are several ripe and several green shishito peppers, oregano, chocolate mint and lavender.  The herbs will dry much faster than the tomatoes and peppers but I can remove those and grind them tomorrow morning and then add sweet basil and sage and perhaps something else to dry along with the tomatoes and peppers.  We find our freezer space very constrained and have pretty much reached capacity there so the choice is either dry some of the produce or get a pressure canner which is a pricey option.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


I didn't do much yesterday except work through the tomato jungle to harvest another bowlful of ripe tomatoes and water the gardens.  I didn't find anything worth linking to or talking about.

I don't know if I will find much today but this alone is worth a link.  I really, really hope that Trump is not the Repthuglican nominee--though I don't want to see any of the others with a realistic shot at the presidency.  It is a matter of degree.  Trump is at the bottom of the list along with Walker, Cruz, Perry, and Christie.  The rest of the clowns are only a slight bit better.  More human.  I will give him credit for underlining the hateful aspects of the Repthuglican party.  Unfortunately the electorate doesn't seem to recognize the ugliness of those attitudes.  How utterly inhuman and inhumane they are.

Friday, August 21, 2015


The thunderstorms expected yesterday passed us by.  I harvested a nice bowlful of cherry tomatoes which I cooked with the romas, some jalapeƱos, onions and basil.  I will put it through the blender for sauce and package them for the freezer.  The temperatures remained fairly cool so we opened the doors for the fresh air.  I saw a number of little tasks that I should get done it it stays dry today.


Very cool day yesterday--stayed in the low 70s.  Got the tomatoes done and froze five more one-pound packages.  The next batch I will simply stew and can.  We have put all the tomatoes we can in the freezer if we want space for what else we have in there.  I harvested a nice meal-worth of Blauhilde beans.  We are looking forward to having them tomorrow with our supper.  Reports say they are a very tasty bean.  I also collected some seeds from the tong ho before deadheading it.  Harvested three Amish Gold and a large double handful of cherry tomatoes.  I had thought I wouldn't have enough to do stewed tomatoes till the week after next.  I might be wrong.  Also collected a few Gold Marie beans and added them to what we have in the freezer.

I found this item which explains a blurb I heard on the TV news yesterday.  It irritates me how so often this kind of information is just a blurb while we hear all kinds of meaningless detail about celebrities and politicians.  More and more aggressive treatments for various cancers are getting a second look and the results indicate they don't really do much for the patients.  But we noted that, as a society, we have been very carefully taught to freak out at the mention of the word "cancer."  Perhaps that is one aspect of former President Jimmy Carter's reaction so refreshing--calm, collected, thoughtful, and unhurried.

Once upon a time, errant Catholics could fork over some gold (or silver or other valuables) and get an indulgence that forgave their sins.  Now all it takes for the born-again Christians is as sincere an apology as they can fake it promising to be good hence forth and thanking a forgiving god for forgiving them.  And they do it again and again and again... .  Isn't it nice that god has made their redemption so much easier.  They don't even take a hit to their wallets anymore.

Rather an ironic setting for Rand Paul to make his pitch about ending birthright citizenship--not far from the Haiti-Dominican Republic border where the DR is forcibly deporting people who were once citizens but have now been stripped of citizenship.

There is something incredibly pathetic about this situation.  Susie Madrak's first paragraph says everything that needs to be said.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Another round of thunder storms last night with very heavy rains.  I will see what happened to the gardens when we have some light outside.  But the sunflowers are visible above the fence so they are still standing.  More storms might come through until mid afternoon so I may not get much done outside.

A bit of garden/harvest humor from the Contrary Farmer.  I have a wire bowl-shaped strainer with a flat bottom I use to collect whatever is ripe in the garden.  I sympathize with the problem of where to put it when I need both hands.  Usually I can put it on top of the garbage tote which has a reasonably flat space on the lid and, since I won't be more than three steps away from it anywhere in the garden, taking those steps is no hardship.  Sometimes, like today, the tote is on the curb for collection and then finding a place to balance it can be a problem.  Need to think about providing myself with little shelves here and there for that purpose.  It doesn't have to be permanent.  Just something I can set up and take down as needed.

This is an interesting development.  It is a good indication of exactly how far from the society I grew up in.  Then a person tried to find a full time job that would take them all the way to retirement--a retirement in part funded through a benefits package negotiated with the company (usually through a union.)  But given the changed circumstances the advice of some of the self-sufficiency/independence minded bloggers might be a good option: develop multiple income streams from numerous economic activities.

Ah, some gems do come out of the mud of this political silly season.  Read through this for some more information.  I especially like two parts.  First where Cruz, Sr. says in an interview that he became a Canadian citizen while he resided in Canada and did so before his son was born.  Second, where a Canadian official in their Immigration and Naturalization offices says that Ted was born in Canada to two Canadian parents.  Ted's contention that his mother's birth in Wilmington, Delaware, makes her, and therefore him, a citizen is ridiculous if she became a Canadian citizen before he was born.  His renouncing his birthright Canadian citizenship doesn't make him a U.S. citizen and, even if he applied for and received U.S. citizenship that would not make him a natural born American which the Constitution requires for a person to hold office as President.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Like yesterday it will be hot and sticky.  The weather people say thunder storms should come in later and persist into the wee hours of tomorrow morning and again later tomorrow afternoon.  I watered everything anyway--I can't trust that the rain that comes (if it comes) will actually be enough for the plants.  I was watering the sunflowers outside my fence, spacing out while the one pot got thoroughly soaked when a movement caught the corner of my eye.  It was a small female hummingbird visiting the Sunset runner beans I was currently watering.  After dipping her beak into a couple of flowers she realized someone big and possibly dangerous was near and zipped away.   We had notice the hummingbirds visiting but thought they were interested in the sunflowers.  Maybe they were interested in the runner beans and Blauhilde beans with their pink and purple flowers (respectively.)

Some little time ago the Contrary Farmer mentioned the Contrary Minister and I found a new blog to add to my favorite will-read-every-post list.  He has another good one today.


It is very early--not quite 5 am yet.  The thunderstorms are weakening a bit.  Heavy rain but not heavy wind this time.  The thunder was strong enough to shake the house and rattle the windows.  No extensive gardening today and no watering.

Lovely statistics in this post--and, yes, I am being very sarcastic.  As a society, we don't really value life no matter how many Repthuglican idiots claim to be "pro life."  If we were we would be spending more of our healthcare resources on maternal and child health.  But our "sick" care system would rather peddle drugs that cost in the high six figures for a three month course of treatment than make sure all women have good prenatal care and all children (born and unborn) receive needed medical treatment.  The one pads the bottom line while the other--doesn't.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


We had a wild night of thunderstorms last night.  We know the sunflowers were toppled--again.  If they aren't damaged all I need to do is set the containers (5 gal buckets) to get things back to normal.  I will see when it is light out--and see how everything else is.  I have noticed over the last week how much daylight we have lost.  It was dark last night by quarter after 8.  That is half an hour earlier than a month ago.

Well, it is about four hours later than when I wrote the first paragraph.  The sunflowers are upright again.  Only lost one spray of nearly spent blossoms (3 of them).  I moved the window box style planters I had spanning the distances between the sunflower pots inside and replaced them with the plastic patio chairs we have never used except as planters--or rather, as planter stands.  I didn't want to risk the long planters to another wind storm.  So far they haven't broken with all of the bouncing they have done.  I put the large broken pot that is barely holding together on one.  At the end of the season I will try to transplant the rosemary and sage into small pots to overwinter in the house.  The basil that shares the pot will be dried and ground.  I have another inside already.  The peppermint occupies the other chair as it did inside the fence.  Next year all of those will be in the tall herbs that will (I hope) have a lower center of gravity and be more stable.  We have never experienced wind like that this late in the season and rarely during the spring thunderstorm season.


I intend to make this a lazy day of puttering.  Supposed to be another warm day.  I will probably need to water some of the gardens.  I will wait for the cooler temperatures expected for later in the week to do the cleaning up in the mini-greenhouse.

Friday, August 14, 2015


Nice cool and sunny day yesterday.  Collected the last of the dragon's egg cucumbers and removed the vines.  The season is definitely winding down.  We also combined the cherry tomatoes with some romas for another batch of sauce for the freezer.  They have been ripening faster than we can eat them.  Collected the largest of the cupcake squash.  Mom cooked them but came up with too little make a meal.  I pulled the rest of the plants which cleared up a lot of space on the patio.  I have to stick with a couple of made and broken repeatedly:  fewer tomato plants and no squash.  The tomatoes have grown into a jungle and finding the ripe fruits is a real chore.  Squash plants take up more of my small space than they are worth.  We caught a brief of a hummingbird--the first since spring.  It visited the sunflowers briefly but I doubt it found much.  The first blossoms are done along with most of the secondary ones.  I left them for the finches and other birds that like the seeds.  They might find some nectar when the tertiary blooms open.

I do love spunky old ladies.  This one is my hero of the day.


Our temperatures were warmer than predicted yesterday.  The only gardening I did was collect Peppermint and dried.  But then I found a crack on one of our plastic shelves and decided to replace them.  Should have been a nice, easy project.  Get new snap together shelves.  Remove the cracked shelf an reconfigure the old stack.  Put it back in, put the new shelves together and move it into place.  Well, it didn't go quite that way.  The new shelves didn't exceed the width we had available but the depth was a bit more than would be convenient.  We decided instead to keep the new stack for another area.  We moved one of our bookshelves (a 7-foot monster) into the open space.  That meant we had to take everything off it and jockey it into place (and it was a very tight space) while not breaking the globes of the "dining room" light.  We still have cleaning and rearranging to do today and are sore in muscles we forgot we had.

Naked Capitalism has this post on an early example of what adoption of TTIP (the ugly doppleganger of the TTP) could mean.  Over the last few months I have seen reports that one of the tobacco giants is suing Australia for new laws restricting tobacco sales and use.  The public health measures cut into profits--hence the suit.  What makes the Spanish suit described so much worse is it involves the subsidies energy companies want maintained even though the government is facing a financial mess.  Another example of modern "Capitalism" where all of the profits accrue to the corporatocracy while all of the risks, and other costs, are pushed onto others.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


We expect nice temps and clear skies today.  Should be good weather for gardening.  I have some beans and peppers to collect and some trimming to do.  The Barese cucumber was delicious and I will definitely plant it again next year.  It has a pleasant blend of melon and cucumber flavors.  Mom sliced it and added the tiny dab of poppy seed dressing we had left from our last chef salads.

I have seen a couple of short pieces on this over the last year or so.  The problem with pollution is the same as the problem with garbage:  there is no "away" that will keep it away from us.  Mom was reading an interesting piece yesterday which reported China losing jobs to India with its lower cost job market.  Notice the line in the linked story about China being downwind from India and getting some of the pollution generated there?

Stratfor posted an interesting piece on the perennial question of the morality of using the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (and, by extension, Nagasaki.)

Monday, August 10, 2015


Wet outside this morning so I won't have to water early.  The rain we were supposed to have yesterday never materialized so I watered the sunflowers.  Everything else was fine.  They say we should have sun until showers later but we'll see.  Weather reports have been anything but accurate.

Well, the notion that I wouldn't have to water was a fantasy.  I have some big plants in some big containers but they do seem to dry out fast.  I collected the cupcake squash and a Barese Cucumber.  We are trying out the latter for supper today.  Also took out a pretty well spent tumbler tomato but left the Red Robin which shows some new fruit forming.  I saw a number of tomatoes I need to take tomorrow and some trimming I should do.  Maybe I will leave the trimming for Wednesday.  I also pulled the peas.  Nice idea but I don't think I will repeat the experiment.

We turned off the morning news very early this morning.  Too time much taken up by the unapologetic Donald and Patrick Kane's latest legal mess.  Let the latter issue make its way through the system and recognize the former for what it is--a distraction.  I had a thought as they went on about Trump this morning and a couple of the "second" tier candidates complained about the attention Trump is getting.  Perhaps that is exactly what the Republican party wants.  After all, consider what the debates aren't mentioning as Trump blows his nonsense over the airwaves.  Damned little about the economy.  Damned little about our (in)justice system.  Damned little about our (mis)education system.  Damned little about the environment.  And damned little chance that the others will make a serious gaff and reveal whatever the party (and its owners--the .01%, the big banks and global companies) really want to saddle the rest of us with.  As Robert Heinlein once wrote "In a government of the people, by the people, for the people--don't tell the people."  There are more ways than official secrecy to not tell the people.

It has been a summer for unusually bad heat waves.  This piece from the Daily Mirror has a video of a car melting in a northern Italian town where the temperature hit 37C.  That is 98.6F.  Another report says the heat wave has broken with severe thunderstorms in other areas of Italy. Reuters and ABC news reports that the electric supplier in Poland has cut power to industrial customers as the temperatures there hit 39C.  Their coal-fired power plants don't have enough water to cool them and levels in the Vistula and other rivers are so low transportation along the rivers is down.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Got the outside shed cleaned up and straightened out.  I am a bit of a packrat.  I don't like to throw away anything that might be useful down the road but eventually I have to make some hard decisions.  At some point I find that I have accumulated better options or have simply run out of space.  I have groused (mildly) about lack of space before but it is a blessing in that I do have to make those choices and can't accumulate ad infinitum.  I still have to sort out the mini-greenhouse.  August begins the garden wind-down.  I have two spent tomato plants to take out and I am considering the same for the dragon's egg cucumbers.  It is also time to get serious about evaluating plants and planning where what will be planted next year--what we will keep, what we won't and what might be interesting to try out.

For years consumers have been advised to get generic drugs where possible.  But recently some cracks in what sounds like good money saving advice have appeared.  Mom's doctor insists on prescribing Synthyroid instead of a generic.  She asked why and he told her that the generics simply don't test out accurately.  Thyroid hormones must be carefully and accurately balanced and monitored so the physician has to be able to rely on the test results.  However, this story indicates another crack in the generic strategy is developing:  consolidation within the industry and radical increases in prices.

And for another look at how well "austerity" is working in Greece.  Not well--and the bastard Troika want more of it while providing no real relief from the debt.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Not much going on today.  Got things watered and collected the ripe cherry tomatoes and four green tomatoes to fry up tomorrow.  Otherwise it is a lazy day.

John Michael Greer has a good piece on the "Suicide of the American Left."

The Automatic Earth has an interesting, if a bit long, dissection of what the Greek situation means for us.  And it ain't good.

Margaret Atwood revisits a piece she did several years ago on climate change and speculates on possible paths to what ever future we might have.  Given what Greer has repeatedly written about the tendency we have to pursue "business as usual" I would guess somewhere between Atwood's path 2 an path 3.

Friday, August 7, 2015


A day for puttering, I think.  I saw some Blauhild beans developing.  They should be ready for harvesting in a few days.  Otherwise nothing new going on.

I found this story first off today.  The tree was already ancient when it survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

We have already noticed the effects of the record setting rains at the farm market and the supermarket.  The ears of corn we see are smaller and more expensive.  We have decided to give corn a pass this year and won't stock up for the freezer.


Another day for puttering and general maintenance in the gardens.  Perhaps time to do the midseason straighten-up/de-cluttering/clean up.

I've missed Barbara Ehrenreich's writing.  Here is an interesting piece on the intersection of reporting on poverty, journalism and the economics of publishing.  She hasn't posted on her blog for about four years so I lost track of what she was writing.  Maybe it is time to catch up.

So the FDA has approved, or is about to approve, another cholesterol lowering drug.  There are so many red flags that should arise in patients' (and doctors') minds about this (and all other such drugs).  First is the price tag: $14K per year).  That is more than my income for a year.  Even discounting the (alleged) Medicare benefit taking off 80% of that, it would be a steep price that would remove more than 20% of my income.  Second, I find it totally interesting how many holes I found in the only large scale trial of the drug that has been published before the writer of the article covered the same holes and their implications.  Third, did anyone else notice that no cholesterol lowering drug has ever been shown, definitively, to benefit patients?  A large number of patients take these drugs to prevent heart attack and stroke but would never develop the conditions whether they took the drug or not.

So, The Donald refused to rule out an independent campaign for the Presidency if he is not the Republican nominee.  Anyone surprised?  The man's ego is boundless.  I had a thought which should have party hacks sweating in their nightmares.  What if the race shapes up as Hillary the Democrat vs. whoever the non-Trump Republican turns out to be vs. Trump vs. Bernie Sanders?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


My get-up-and-go went AWOL soon after we finished our grocery shopping yesterday.  I got nothing done I had intended to do.  I hope to do better today.

This Politico piece is interesting for those who find language and word use fascinating.  The current frontrunner for Langenscheidt's jugenwort (youth word of the year) is "merkeln."  Yes, it does derive from Angela Merkel's name and it isn't flattering.

The  Contrary Farmer has an interesting post on the use of tiles to drain farm fields that are too wet too long to ensure planting can be done on time.  The increasing use of tiles have coincided with increasing problems with runoff washing out country and city roads, with faster flowing streams carrying a lot more debris and with increasing levels of nitrates in city water.  Unfortunately, humans wear blinders all the time.  They see only their problem and its solution not the problems their solution might cause somewhere else to someone else.  And by the time those new problems are recognize people have too much invested in the original solution to give it up easily.  Every technology is like that--it causes as many problems, or more, than it solves.

Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By has a provocative piece today that I am still digesting.  A 75-year-old British nurse traveled to Switzerland where assisted suicide is legal and ended her life.  Ronni included excerpts from the article carried in the British media in which she set out her reasons.  I don't find any of them compelling but, since I am not her, I can't really criticize her decision.  I can't walk as far or as fast as I once did but it isn't important to me.  I can't stand for long periods of time but I don't really need to so it isn't a big loss.  I don't miss being in the labor market.  Most of the jobs I had were never all that interesting and I don't want to go back into them.   I do work but my work is entirely for my self and I don't give a damn that I don't get money for it.  I have long said that I don't hate my life so much that I take any action to end it and I don't love it so much that I would do absolutely anything to prolong it.  That may change in the future but for now I will take what joy and pleasure I find and go on with it.

I really like this assessment of the Republican field of candidates.  Distinctions without differences.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Oh my, what a night.  Thunderstorms ran through starting about 11pm and continued till nearly 1 am.  We woke to find all of the sunflowers toppled and the planters/pots on the ground.  Those were on the outside of the fence and got the full brunt of the wind which was the most savage I can remember here.  We restored some order by getting the sunflowers back upright and the planter stacks back in place.  We could smell the hyssop, sage, peppermint and other herbs bruised by the heavy rain and hail.  I cut sage, hyssop and feverfew which is in the dryer now and have been trimming broken stems and leaves from other plants a little at a time.  Also transplanted the two surviving lemon verbena and brought them inside under the grow light.  The weather people expect the storm to move east with the same level of violence.  Around the neighborhood we saw a lot of trash totes on their sides.  A fair number of people put them outside the fence so they can enjoy the full patio.  We keep ours inside so it doesn't get blown over or wind up rolling down the street.  A lot of tree limbs, one rain spout, and a kettle grill in thee widely separated places constituted most of the damage over our little area.  And I got a late start on reading news/blogs because the internet was down until about 10 am.


Grocery shopping and more cleaning up in the gardens on the to-do list today.  I found a couple of dragon's egg cucumbers I had to work out from behind the trellis.  They were large enough to harvest so that took a bit of doing.  I found four Barese cucumbers hidden in the vines in addition to the one I have known about for a while.  None of they are ready yet.

I love Kunstler.  His latest post on Clusterfuck Nation hits at the reasons why I am not paying much attention to the Presidential clown auditions.  The nonsensical non-issues are taking up all of the time and energy while the serious issues aren't even under discussion.

Charles Hugh Smith at Oftwominds is another favorite blogger I read regularly.  Take a look at his "Billary Clinton and the Perfection of Consumerist Narcissism" for an interesting description of the intersection of politics, consumerism, and the commoditization of everything.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Finished cutting the peppermint and even had room in the dehydrator for a cutting of basil.  Today I want to cut sage and hyssop.  While cutting the peppermint I found some adjacent stalks of spearmint I missed.  I cut those and put them in water with the sweet potato and basil cuttings that are rooting nicely.

An interesting piece by Bill Black cross-posted on Naked Capitalism.  We have a culture that rewards fraud, lying, and theft but we are constantly surprised by egregious examples when they explode onto the consciousness of our so-called news media.  However, our (in)justice system slaps criminal corporations with fines that are so insignificant that they can be written off by the corporate officers as a "cost of doing business" as they continue on their merry way.  Some small fry may get caught up in the legal tangle, be hard hit financially, and, perhaps but not necessarily, spend some time in prison but the big fish with the real power who create the "culture of corruption" aren't, usually, touched at all.  In fact some are brazen enough to bleat about how entitled to their perks they are and how any suggestion to the contrary is so unfair.  (And yes!!  I am being totally sarcastic.)

Saturday, August 1, 2015


I got a full dehydrator of peppermint yesterday and I only harvested on one pot.  I have the plants in my small tower to cut.  I watered everything a second time late in the afternoon.  Hope the dragon's egg cucumber recovers.  It tried out so quickly the day before I almost lost it and the squash.  Our weather people are predicting possible thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow but I'm not relying on that possibility.  All too often what looked like heavy rain did nothing for my gardens.  Besides harvesting from the rest of the peppermints I plan to cook up a small batch of tomato sauce.  Our plants are just getting into full production mode and we can't eat the tomatoes fast enough.

Several broad areas of this country are experiencing a heat wave but how would you handle this kind of heat?

Haven't heard it much over the last 20 years or so but there is a standard question in intro economics: Guns or Butter?  The theory is that you have to somehow balance defense and sustenance.  You can have a strong defense but it will eventually fail if the non-defense economy isn't strong enough to sustain the military and the people.  You can't eat guns and there is only so much you can loot even if you have the guns to intimidate people.  Well, in our current political atmosphere the question is no longer "guns or butter?"  It is "which butter do you cut?" because the guns will be funded at ever increasing levels.

I guess corruption, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  It also depends on how much hypocrisy you can stomach.

What I have thought of most in the "pro-life" movement from the beginning.  They aren't pro-life they are pro-birth.  They don't give a good-god-damn about what happens after the child is born.  The only protection they offer is between conception and birth; otherwise, f##k off.

I said yesterday that we are no longer citizens but income streams for governments.  Well, I should have left it as simply income streams because the privatization of government "services" has made us the income streams of private companies contracted to provide those formerly public services.  Here is one of the results, which totally did not make any impact on our news.

I have bitched for years about the commercialization of our holidays.  The pervasive marketing involving Christmas, Halloween, New Year, 4th of July and almost all other holidays is one reason I don't celebrate them any more beyond going to visit a relative, if asked (and many of them aren't celebrating the holidays as they used.)  I have watched as iconic landmarks changed their names to reflect corporate interests.  The old Sears Tower became the Willis Tower and, I think, has changed yet again.  Comiskey Park was renamed when U.S. Cellular bought the naming rights.  I wonder how long it will be before some corporate giant buys the right to rename Yellowstone or other national park?

I took all the stories about how we should spend so much more time on our feet and all the stories about the treadmill desks with a huge ton of salt (to heck with the grain--it isn't big enough).  I don't take any medical advice on so-called face value.  Evidently I am not wrong to be a confirmed skeptic.