Thursday, October 29, 2015


Definitely chilly--30s with wind chill in the 20s.  I started a new crocheted winter cap and got about a third of it done.  The gardens are winding down and the inside crafts are picking up.

I have just seen the morning TV news segments on the Repthuglican faux-debates.  We should be honest and drop the word "debate" from the political lexicon.  Lincoln and Douglas had debates.  Nixon and Kennedy had debates.  What has passed for debate for some several cycles now is anything but debate.  In a real debate the parties would present their positions with supporting facts (which could be checked for accuracy) and reasoned argument while presenting counter facts (which could also be checked for accuracy) and reasoned argument.  What I have seen in all of the clips and quotes are a bunch of egotistical assholes who wouldn't know a reasoned argument if one hit them over the head or a real fact if it bit them in their collective asses.  If someone from the media (like the moderator, for example) tells them their facts are bogus or their numbers don't add up, they whine about how nasty and unfair the moderator is.  I think it is time to get rid of these side shows.  They don't add anything but opacity.

This piece in the Washington Post is interesting but not for the political analysis, which though interesting is not a fascinating as the linguistic knots involved.  Take a look at the author's use of the words "responsibility" and "responsiveness" and how he applies them.  Politicians are "responsible" when they support the financial austerity which benefits the bankers and investors.  They are "responsive" when they support their electorate's desire for relief from that austerity.  Why aren't the politicians who support austerity not "responsive" (to the investors and bankers) and the side opposing austerity not "responsible" (to the electorate)?  In truth, politicians from both sides are both responsive and responsible--just to two different and opposed groups.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Grist had this take on the WHO declaring meat "carcinogenic" and I think it pretty well tells the story. As the author notes anything and everything can kill you under the right circumstances. Perhaps we need to chill out and be more moderate in our consumption of all foods.  That may be hard to do in a society that encourages gluttony.


We have a cold stretch coming for the rest of the week. The temps started falling a bit yesterday and a gentle rain fell most of the day. I heard a couple of harder rains last night but I won't complain because we need the moisture. I haven't watered because I am still clearing all my garden containers. I am not in any real hurry and I think I am slower about it because I really am not ready to greet winter.

They keep telling us "We're #1." I guess it all depends.  Evidently not in maintaining roads and bridges. Another example of the (you're on your)own(ership) society.

Monday, October 26, 2015


A bit tired right now. We did our regular shopping today and added a couple of stops. We didn't need much in the way of groceries but Mom's ear buds copped out on her so we picked up a new set and the new Jurassic Park DVD. I started cleaning up one of my garden tubs and found a fairly large hole in it so we thought about a replacement and decided to get a couple of round ones instead. I am glad we got two because they each hold just a bit more than half of what was in the old one. I spent a couple of hours digging the soil out, transferring it to the two pots and putting the pots in their places--their places for now. That may change next year.  Things always change next year. Hell, they change mid way through the season.

I saw this on the news this morning. We like our bacon and ham so the WHO can go fly a kite.  We don't eat a lot of it and we got away from things like bologna because it simply doesn't taste as good as it once did. At my age "carcinogenic" simply doesn't scare me and adding a few months or a year or two by foregoing simple pleasure doesn't seem like a good trade off.

Friday, October 23, 2015


I had intended to take a day off blogging but I found this item from Naked Capitalism.  I remember an old saying that "the bigger they are the harder they fall."  Well, you can't get much bigger than global networks.  And there are so many weak points in such networks:  long supply lines subject to disruption due to weather, to labor strife, to contamination of materials (deliberate or accidental); fragile financial institutions that may fail suddenly (AIG, Lehman, MF Global); social/political conflict (embargoes, boycotts, civil war).

According to this article from the Telegraph (UK) "low-tech living is back."  I can relate to a point.  I finally bought a Nook (Barnes & Noble's e-reader.)  I was definitely not an early adopter and I am still ambivalent about it though most of my reading is either on my computer or on the Nook.  I found some books are totally annoying on the e-reader.  The formatting on some gets totally screwed up and reading the material is totally annoying.  Going back to an earlier section isn't as easy as flipping back in a physical book.  And the costs are similar.  I don't use iCloud or any other cloud storage service.  I just don't trust the technology to be secure or to be there when I want my data.  I have read too many cases of government agencies taking down the cloud server and everyone losing access.  I use a digital camera and I think it was a godsend because old-fashioned photography had become way too expensive.  The digital camera brought back an old pleasure and the computer made it easier.  I had acquired a fair number of vinyl records over my life until the market phased them out saying new and better tech had replaced them.  I also have a fair number of tape cassettes which I have hung on to.  I was overjoyed a couple of years ago when we found a combination turntable/tape player/cd player/radio that allows me to enjoy all of the media.  My life is a mix of high, medium, and low tech. I rather like it that way.

I had only recently found William Edelen's blog The Contrary Minister and loved it.  I am sorry to lose it so soon.  Thank you for the pleasure of reading your blog, Mr. Edelen.

And this story shows the dark side of high tech.  The powers-that-be have become far more intrusive with the high tech tools and that doesn't bode well for any of us.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


I plan to get out and get some more of the gardens cleaned up.  I could have yesterday but I dusted bookshelves instead.  I still have the ornamental sweet potatoes, the mandevilla, the bee balm, and hyssop to cut down.  I am thinking about moving the foxglove and feverfew because I might not be able to get the shepherd's hook out without damaging them.  I am taking them down because I will be moving them to new spots next season.  The leaves are beginning to accumulate on the patio so I will be sweeping them up to use as mulch.

George Washington has a piece on endocrine disrupting chemicals and their links to diabetes and obesity.  This story has been gathering steam for some time.  Most people rail at the chemical companies and they do deserve our anger for some things--like being so invested in the production and use of the chemicals that they not only refuse to see the "collateral damage" they may cause but actively try to keep that knowledge from the public.  However, I think the root of the problem is in our own human nature.  We tend to see a problem and then apply a solution without thinking about what other problems the solution will cause.  That is what I mean by "collateral damage."  Often our "cures" are worse than the conditions they are designed to solve but by the time the damage is evident it is widespread and entrenched interests are dependent upon the continued use of the "cure."

Ah, the benefits of globalization!!  It seems that the only one really enjoying those benefits are our major corporations.  They seem to specialize more in tax evasion than actual production.  The article mentions the competition between countries to offer companies sweetheart deals to bring jobs and economic activity into areas where people have suffered under austerity for several years.  Perhaps we should welcome Europe to our world where our states and cities try lure companies away from other states and cities hoping they will provide a needed economic boost.  From the statistics I have seen the economic boost never amounts to what was promised and the jobs created cost the state and local governments more than the tax revenue the workers' income provide.

I don't think much of Donald Trump but there are some things he says with which I must agree.  The TPP is one of those as the author of this article points out.  Frankly, they ought to scuttle the whole thing and go with individual treaties openly negotiated without the global business interests dictating the terms.

On Paul Ryan's demands that his job as Speaker of the House not cut into his time with his family--wouldn't it be nice if every parent could make that demand of their employers.  And wouldn't it be nice if Paul Ryan supported family time for all working parents--which he doesn't.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


It rained a bit overnight and though it is dry enough (we didn't get much) I am taking yet another day off from cleaning up outside.  Instead I have dusted one of my several book shelves and will do at least one more today.  It is time to cull the books yet again.

I have to remind myself regularly that the "dysfunction" we see in our federal government and, perhaps by extension, our state governments isn't really a flaw but a design feature.  This article at Americablog is a good reminder of exactly who wrote the constitution and how their values have percolated down through time.  Though the author notes the privileged class of the framers he neglects to mention several another key fact.  They hated the notion of "faction" and saw political parties as the most undesirable expression of faction.  Faction pitted one "special interest" (to use the modern term) against other special interests and against the common good.  So they designed a system they hoped would allow those special interests to fight themselves to exhaustion and allow the common good (undefined, of course) to emerge from the rubble.  The system was designed for deadlock and has succeeded marvelously.

We haven't heard anything about this on our televised media and I don't know whether to be glad or infuriated.  But I do wonder, like a couple of others I have seen comment on line, why the media has been so silent, at least outside the St. Louis area.  We hear about Lamar Odom and the Kardashians or Sandy Jackson's trip to a country club prison and any number stories of lesser interest.  Though I don't live near St. Louis the story of a possibly serial arsonist targeting black churches is far too reminiscent of the bad old days.

Two stories that broke today caught my attention: Paul Ryan makes some steep demands of his party to consider putting his name in for Speaker of the House and Joe Biden has decided not to contend for the 2016 Presidential nomination.  I won't link since they are all over the news right now.  Ryan basically insists that a party that has been anything but unified somehow come together and work towards common goals.  He also insists that he will not sacrifice his time with his family to the job leading one commenter to write that he would take the job so long as he "didn't have to do the job." Good!!  Someone in the party that styles itself as pro-family actually acting on that value.  I don't like Paul Ryan much at all but I find that sentiment admirable.  As for Biden, I think too many friends and supporters didn't take his comments on the emotional demands (on himself and his family) of contending for the opportunity to do the job and his questions of whether he was up to the challenge seriously.  He dithered long enough to gracefully get out without pissing off anyone terribly.

Good!!  Now let's legalize and regulate marijuana along the lines alcohol is legal and regulated.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


There is so much wrong with this that I don't know where to begin.  I guess describing our officials as "vampires" is no longer a metaphor.  And as if that bit of obscenity wasn't enough, here is another from Alabama.  I have read several stories of these corporate vampires insisting that soon-to-be laid off employees train their off-shore, cheap replacements but to insist they be on-call for two years without pay pushes the definition of indecency to new lows.

Kunstler has another good analysis of our current slates of political candidates for the parties' nomination for president.  I am so totally underwhelmed.

As I read this piece by Daisy Luther I thought of a conversation we had at Walgreens this morning. We were headed to the checkouts and found one of the registers blocked by vases of flowers.  The clerk said that computer went down earlier so she put the flowers there to direct customers to a different register.  One of us wondered what they would do if all the registers went down.  Once upon a time pads of paper sales slips would be handed out, the clerks would list the items and the prices, tally the total and add on the tax, the customer would pay and leave.  Not any more.  The store would simply close.  First, there aren't any price tags on the items because the scanners would read the bar codes, bring up the item with its price and any discounts, deduct it from inventory, record the method of payment and print out the slip for the customer.  Second, the clerk may not be able to add the column accurately, figure discounts (if they remembered them), or calculate the tax.  Without the high tech point of sales software and equipment the stores would simply close losing however much money in the process.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Sunny today and a little warmer.  I am looking at what I want to do next in the gardens.  The mandevila has survived the last two nights of near freezing temps so I won't take it out just yet.  But the bee balm needs to be cut back and I want to check out the foxglove and feverfew to see how I should protect them over winter.

I do love Margaret and Helen.  I don't always agree with them but they are always fun to read.

I have wished for some time that our pundits and news people would quite talking about Uber, Lyft, and AirBnB as parts of the "sharing economy."  Here Frances Coppola makes the same point I have often made: there is nothing "sharing" about it; it is all about money.

How often do we hear about the benefits "antioxidants" and how many foods are marketed as "high in antioxidants"?  Well, this article advises caution with regard to consuming extra high doses of them.  We have a policy here: moderation in everything.  We don't eat anything simply for the antioxidants or the boosted vitamin content or the higher fiber or anything else.  We do take a multivitamin but that is because we only eat a light breakfast and a light dinner with maybe a small snack.  We don't eat three full meals.  And data from the Agriculture department indicates that over the last half-century show that our commercially grown veggies have lost significant levels of nutrients.  The multivitamin is simply an "insurance" policy.

I often wonder if these idiots really believe what they are saying.  And I don't think I have ever seen such a spectacle of desperation.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


It has been quite chilly around here.  The cold front has come through and morning temps have been in the mid 30s yesterday and today.  We spent yesterday on a day trip with a group to the Meijer Botanical and Sculpture Gardens.  We enjoyed the trip so much we plan a trip on our own next Summer.  I didn't take my camera and don't like to use the phone camera so no pictures.  But if you ever get to Grand Rapids it is well worth the time.  Today is a rest day.  Enjoyable as the day was it was also exhausting.  I will take it easy today.

The weather people said we had frost warning for last night and, with the morning light, we see frost on the nearby roofs.  The temps should start going back up tomorrow so I think I will leave garden clean up till then.  I am still a bit sore in my lower back from the bus trip yesterday.

I was stunned when I watched some of the video from the California highway mudslide.  The written descriptions are also stunning.  One account I saw last night said the mud was six feet deep in some places and beginning to harden into something resembling cement.

This is good news.  The EPA has been captured by big agribusiness interests and continuously hamstrung by business oriented Dempublicans.

The conclusion the author of this blog reaches is one we have come to here for some time.  The notion that we have privacy is ridiculous.  It is gone along with any "right" to privacy.  Sheri Lewis has some comments on the financial side of the privacy issue.

Friday, October 16, 2015


I seem to remember a similar idiotic plan a very few years ago when Atlanta was only weeks away from running out of water during the severe drought in the southeast.  They wanted to raid the Great Lakes but the states bordering the Lakes told them to take a hike.  I hope Alaska says the same.

I hope this succeeds.  Nestle is a poster child for rapacious capitalism.  Although Nestle isn't the direct target of the lawsuit (the U.S. Forest Service is) any negative publicity Nestle gets is good.  I looked up the product list for Nestle and it is extensive.  But I noticed something interesting about it, or perhaps more about us.  We simply don't buy many Nestle products any more.  We cut out a lot of packaged foods because of the load of salt and sugar each contained.  Nestle products we stopped buying because the quality and flavor of the original item vanished at some point almost overnight. DiGiorno Pizza, as an example, became smaller and the flavor was not nearly as good.  We stopped buying it.

A perfect illustration of why I a) will never, ever vote for Huckabee, b) why I support even stronger separations between church and state, and c) why I am thankful my parents never had me baptized since you can't leave what you never joined or were brought into as an innocent, unsuspecting child.

Charles Hugh Smith has another blog on the "student debt problem" and what is being proposed to "fix" it.  Although he is right about costs being a major problem, those costs aren't the major problem.  We have several interlocking problems that have contributed to the mess.  First, we have a culture that has put a premium on tertiary education.  We are constantly told that a college degree is the key to getting a job and, eventually, making a salary that funds a middle class lifestyle.  We have companies that insist applicants for any job have a degree--any degree.  They don't need the degree to do the job.  It is just a way for the HR people to start weeding out the applicants.  Second, the government cut back on grants and the schools cut back on scholarships forcing students to rely on loans to fund their education.  I funded my first bachelor's degree with Veterans' Benefits, my first master's degree with work study thanks to my professor's research grants and Teaching Assistantships, my second bachelor's degree through part time jobs and a Teaching Assistantship, and my second Master's degree through Teaching assistantships.  Can't do that now because it is way too expensive.  How do I know that?  I had to take out student loans to pursue a (failed) PhD program because the Teaching Assistantships/Adjunct Teaching positions never covered the cost.  I have a loan I can't pay back and can't discharge through bankruptcy.  Third, the schools are completely unaccountable for the final product, at least until recently.  It didn't matter if the student graduated with a diploma but without any mastery of their major.  It didn't matter if the student graduated with a degree but functionally illiterate and innumerate.  They still got paid while the student was still on the hook.  What really galls me about all of the "solutions" being offered is that the basic equation remains.  The student remains on the hood for a degree which, in today's job market, is worthless financially while the colleges keep the money they raked in for doing a shitty job.  My solution would be to forgive all the student loans--every goddamned one of them--and then cancel the program entirely including (perhaps especially) the government guarantee and re-write the bankruptcy code so that student loans, like other consumer loans are dischargeable.  That re-establishes a complementary risk: students who are dumb enough to borrow such loans risk defaulting and garnering bad credit for 10+ years and the lenders who are dumb enough to give such loans risk the financial pain in case of default.  Mini rant over.

The EPA isn't taking VW at its word (which is worthless) concerning its emissions control systems.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I didn't watch the Democratic debates but I gather that the affair went off in a civil manner and they actually discussed issues without hurling personal insults at either each other or the moderator.  Grist had a piece focused on a subject that got 0 mention on the early morning news: climate change.  I will make only a couple of points here. First, Jim Webb just lost my vote.  Blaming China isn't a solution to the problem it is simply a way to absolve us and ensure we don't do anything ourselves.  And I love the summation in the last paragraph.


Hamburg, Germany, plans to eliminate most car traffic in the city within 20 years.

Ah, what a tangled mess.  It reminds me of the problem of tracing hacking to specific countries and people.  Difficult, very difficult.  Environmentalists have been saying for years that where waste is concerned there is no "away" to which it can be thrown.  In this case the Philippines is pissed with Canada because a shipment which supposedly contained plastics for recycling actually contained a lot of really gross waste which is not recyclable.  The shipment was supposedly from a company in Vancouver who claims they either got it from some unnamed company in Vancouver or not because it may have actually been from a similarly named company in Ontario.  Everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else and no one can do anything about it anyway because the laws don't cover the case since the waste is simply gross not toxic.

This author makes a lot of sense and, unfortunately, what the implications say about U.S. aims and policy is nasty--very nasty.

I heard this last night on the news and said "Oh, shit, not again."  I can agree that Boko Haram is a collective piece of shit as smelly as IS but I don't think it is our job to stomp on every piece of shit in the world.  Think about how well that has worked with IS and with al Qaeda before.  All we did is splatter it to contaminate new areas.  If that is our real intention (though obviously unspoken) we have done a bang up job.

The U.S. Navy decided they needed a backup incase their computers are hacked so they are bringing celestial navigation back to the Academy.  Given how many computer failures (hack or otherwise) that sounds like a good idea.  Low tech backups are always good.  Damn, where did I put my slide rule.

Cruel and unusual punishment for the crime of co-signing on student loans for his kids.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


So--Charles Koch is against "special interests" infesting our politics.  As usual the "devil is in the details" and, also as usual, the biggest devils concern definitions.  Using their money to influence decision makers so they make another piffling $100M isn't special interests.  It is just good business. But those groups arrayed against his interests are special interests.  You know the groups: land owners who don't want to fall victim to eminent domain seizures or have their water fouled by oil spills, environmental groups who don't want to see the land, air and water polluted.

This is an interesting strategy: threaten to convert to Islam to get your church rebuilt.

Oh, the times are most definitely changing.  They are right about the availability of porn on line--even when you aren't looking for it.

Kunstler is on a roll this morning.  His description of the American scene (producing maximum alienation, loneliness, and anxiety) is right on target.  We asked ourselves as I read this piece what has changed since my childhood.  I can think of a number of things.  Most people I knew had guns--most had several--ranging from pistols to .22 squirrel poppers to deer rifles to shotguns.  I remember being knocked on my ass by the recoil of my grandfather's Springfield .45-70 rifle when I was about 11.  Grandpa and Dad were there carefully supervising us and laughing their butts off while quietly substituting the .22 for the rest of the lesson.  I also remember that every summer our entire family spent Dad's two-week vacation on the farm with his parents--at least until my late teens.  At that point I knew all my aunts, uncles and cousins--something I can't say now even with my grandnieces and nephews.  I haven't seen some in so long that I wouldn't recognize them if they came to my door. How many jobs do we have any real investment in?  I would guess not that many.  Too often the old Soviet joke is very apropos: we pretend to work; they pretend to pay us.

I do like this notion: the "right to dry."  We would have a clothesline set up if we had any room for one.  For us it is either a clothesline or the gardens.  The gardens won.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Just spent half an hour trying to scan a design with commands from the computer.  Ain't working. We just upgrade to the new Yosemite operating system and none of the scan functions work from the computer.  I haven't found anything yet.  Oh, well, I can scan manually and print remotely. That will do for now.

The gardens are almost shut down.  I have the mandevilla to take out along with four ornamental sweet potatoes.  Will soon cut down the hyssop and the remaining peppermint for drying.  I am debating moving the feverfew and the foxglove before covering them for the winter.


For some reason my computer froze this morning.  My cursor wouldn't move anywhere and the forced quit wouldn't work.  I finally had to do a hard shutdown of the computer itself.  When I started it again everything, so far, has worked.


The gardening season is definitely winding down.  I took out what was left of the sunflower stalks and the beans.  When I cut them down earlier I cut about four inches above the soil.  Even so cutting out the upper part of the roots was a chore--big, deep and tough.  The rest can remain in the ground and decompose there.  I don't intend to do any deep digging in the beds.  Nothing below the top 6-8 inches.  My version of "container no-dig" cultivation.  I looked at the remaining hyssop and peppermint and decided not to take any more for drying.  I have plenty of the peppermint and don't use much of the hyssop so not taking any more is no hardship.  I put hyssop in mainly for the color (lovely purple spikes) and the bees (which love it.)  I put the dehydrator away for the season--or, rather, I put one away.  I will box the other in the next few days.

I just love the way Congress can waste time and money.  The "Select" Committee on Benghazi is a case in point.  I put select in quotes because I think they held a biggest idiot contest on the Repthuglican side to decide who would man be on it.  I struck man because I cant see where there is a "man" there except in the purely biological sense of having an X and a Y chromosome.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Grist had this post this morning.  I love the last paragraph which perfectly illustrates why we ignore most of the dietary advice and take the rest with a considerable grain of salt--or a large dose of skepticism.  The next fad is always coming along and the news media is always ready to publicize initial (and possibly probably mistaken) results.

And another "preliminary" study that is sure to get publicity.  First the health care establishment agreed that a blood pressure reading of 140/90 was the limit and anyone with greater had to go on medication to reduce their bps to "normal range."  Then came the studies which claimed that nearly everyone in the country should be on these medications "just in case."  The suddenly the rules were relaxed and people over age 50 were fine if their bps were in the 150/90 range.  Now another change of direction: we absolutely must keep our blood pressure under 120/90 based on a study where the experimenters put their subjects diagnosed with high blood pressure (under what definition??) on "aggressive" medications and found that the lower readings reduced strokes, etc.  I wonder how many other risk factors did their subjects have and how many suffered serious side effects from the medications.  The author notes those problems and also notes that analysis on side effects won't be published for a year.  And asks some very pertinent questions on what, if anything, all this means given that the results have not been peer reviewed, replicated or published in a reputable journal.

More Repthuglican assholery!!  The entire party seems to consist of moral and mental midgets.

David Kaiser has a right on point essay concerning our political quagmire at History Unfolding.

Infidel753 also covers the dysfunction in our political institutions.  What is really terrifying is his reminder that who ever gets the Speaker's job is third in line to the presidency.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Shopping and errands today.  Won't harvest anything but I have spots that need clearing and cleaning up.

I wonder how soon this will come to our shores.  Takes spying and social/political control to a whole new level.


Supposed to be clear, sunny and a bit warmer today.  I will see what I can get done in the gardens.

I have often remarked that some functions in our society should never be turned over to the capitalists.  Health care is one of those functions (along with education, prisons, and public utilities.) This piece in Naked Capitalism reaffirms that notion.  What really offends me about the situation is that the only aspect of the situation getting any "official" attention is fraud, i.e. enrolling the non-terminally ill in hospice care and then billing the public purse for their care.  I agree that should be investigated and punished--at least to the extent that we ever punish criminals of the "corporate person" type.  But what about the harm done to patients?  Why is that not an issue?

We generally try to use foods that are as little commercially processed as possible--as close to their native state as possible.  We get non-brominated, non-bleached flour, for example.  Grinding our own is not a realistic proposition.  We found a tomato paste that lists as its ingredients only tomatoes--no stabilizers, no added salt, no preservatives.  Some time ago we shifted to whole milk.  I always complained that the low and no fat varieties were tasteless and refused to use them.  Then we found that we had cut our consumption of milk by more than three quarters.  Mom's doctor has tried to encourage her to go with the low fat alternatives but we have resisted and this article rather negates his arguments.


It was nice yesterday so I did get a bit of garden clearing done.  Cut a bit of peppermint--just enough to finish filling my main dehydrator.  Emptied a large pot that had basil, rosemary, and sage planted in it.  The pot itself broke shortly after I got it planted and was moving it to its final position but held together just long enough.  I have already replaced it for next season.  I debated trying to dig out the rosemary and sage carefully enough to transplant into small pots and bring inside but decided against doing so.  I already have two nice rosemary plants inside and I simply don't have any room inside.  I already have a blueberry, St. John's wort, chocolate mint, lime basil and the two rosemaries on the window-side table downstairs and oregano, two lemon verbenas and the eucalyptus upstairs.  I have very little room to put anything else right now.  So the sage and last rosemary went into the dehydrator.  We should have good weather until sometime later this afternoon so I may take the rest of the peppermint for drying and clear that pot.

This is incredibly nasty.  The pictures alone are mind boggling.  Imagine living with it.

Mom commented on this yesterday when she found an article about the defeat of the Harvard Debate Team by a team from a prison.  My first response when she read the lead was "Why do we assume that because someone is in prison they are unintelligent?"  Evidently the reporter had a similar reaction.  Perhaps because we have been fed so many "stupid criminal jokes."  Or perhaps we really want to believe that the only reason people wind up in prison is because they are somehow subnormal.  Each strokes our egos because we aren't in prison.

Brutal assessment but absolutely right on.  Thank you, Orlov!!

The Westboro Baptist Church is taking their idiocy to new levels.  I can't find the words to adequately express my opinions on this.

I had a couple of thoughts about this article.  I can see the intelligence agencies looking at their entire process of gathering information with the aim of discovering what, if anything, they missed or dismissed or mis-evaluated that would have shed light on subsequent events.  But that kind of evaluation and analysis won't be accomplished by Congressional or Senatorial committees holding hearings.  Reading the account it occurs to me that our inglorious political leaders have misunderstood the role of the intelligence agencies and the "intelligence" they gather.  They provide the political and military leadership with information on which to base decisions and actions.  They may also provide possible scenarios with assessments of how those might play.  All of this is imperfect (we can't know everything with perfect accuracy) and entirely dependent on the cultural biases of the intelligence gatherers and analysts and of those who receive their reports.  It appears to me as though the Congress and Senatorial Critters want seers/diviners/prophets who can infallibly tell the future which the intelligence agencies are not--even under the best of circumstances.

Monday, October 5, 2015


I cleared the rest of the sweet potatoes but got no new tubers.  Why those plants didn't produce when they were in containers right next to the one that produced, I have no idea.  I found small sections that might have developed if they had another two months but we are only two weeks away from average first frost. The peppermint is on my agenda.  That should fill my dehydrator.


Peppermint is still on my to-do list and it may be tomorrow.  The wind made temperatures that did not get out of the 50s feel much cooler and we had sprinkles of rain--all of which killed my ambition. We expect similar conditions today but I don't have anything that absolutely must be done now.

This is so pretty and, if I had the space corn would like, I would grow it.

Oh, definitely!!


Still gray and misty outside.  Things are supposed to warm up and turn sunny starting tomorrow.  I hope.  At least we don't have what South Carolina has.

This sounds so very familiar.

Maybe it is time to formulate a new "American Dream."

Friday, October 2, 2015


Chilly again.  We put on winter nightgowns and were glad we did.  I may put the afghan on the bed soon.  I plan to harvest the rest of the sweet potatoes and, maybe, the last peppermint cutting.  Otherwise generally cleaning up.  The mandevilla is showing some stress so I may be taking it out soon.  It is a tropical vine and very sensitive to cold temperatures.  It bloomed prettily but I don't think, as of right now, I will put a new one in next year.  I am thinking of passionflower mixed with my dragon's egg cucumbers on a trellis.  Nowadays when I look out my patio door I see what I am seeing next year's garden in my mind's eye over what is left of this year's.  Need to sit down and thoroughly evaluate what did well and what didn't.

An interesting sign of the times, I think.  Good?  Bad?  I don't really know but it certainly does reflect our modern world.  Part of me is sad that so many words referring to natural, growing things are being replaced by words referring to an intangible, man-made environment.  Part of me wonders if, in a few short years to the children who use the OJD, the latter world will be more real than the former. If so, what will that mean for our society?

As computer technology invades more and more of the devices we use on a daily basis the possibility of more frauds like the VW "defeat device" software grows.  This little post provides a scary example.  We have already seen hackers holding individual computers and larger computer systems (as in those police departments rely on) hostage for ransom payments.  Pay up or you will never see your data again.  What would happen if, in the middle of an extreme cold spell, some malicious bastard took over your computerized heating system and threatened to shut it down unless you paid his extortion demands?  Or took over your fridge/freezer and threatened to ruin everything in it?

Some years ago, when we were still buying Christmas/birthday presents for the grandnieces/nephews, we did shop a bit at Toys 'r' Us.  If we still were we wouldn't any more because of this.  I have gradually decided that I shouldn't spend my American dollars with companies who don't support our American workers.

They just might be right about that.

We have wondered here about the so-called obesity epidemic.  We don't pooh-pooh the notion.  We know people who have dieted and exercised under strict doctors' supervision and been unable to lose weight.  This little article adds some complexity to the situation.  The researchers found that controlling for diet and exercise (meaning that the diets are the same and the level of exercise is the same) a person today is going to be 10% (or more) heavier than a person of the same age 30 years ago.  So what has changed.  Remember the study controlled for diet and exercise.  We have our ideas and I will leave you to think up your own.

I am not going to comment on the Oregon shooting directly.  Rather I am going to rant a bit about all the pundits now declaring that this is another part in a "war against Christians."  Frankly, I am sick of that crap.  I have seen reports of a couple of church shootings in which the assassin target blacks but no one is talking about a "war against blacks."  A Sikh man in Chicago was recently beaten by an attacker who was anti-Muslim and evidently was too ignorant and bigoted to know the difference.  It hasn't been too long since that mass shooting at a Sikh temple but no one has talked about a "war against Sikhs."  What about the vandalism of Jewish synagogues?  But we don't hear about a "war on Jews."  There is plenty of rage churning in this country and a lot of targets for that rage.  That there is a whine about a "war against Christians" shows just how insecure some Christians are and how easily demagogues of the most vicious sort tap into that insecurity. (Rant over.)

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Welcome to October.  Very chilly this morning--mid 40s.  It really does feel like fall.  Yesterday I harvested all of the remaining peppers and got about half of them cleaned and in the freezer.  Will get the rest done today.  I was curious how the sweet potatoes were doing so I dug up the first bed with four plants.  Got 2 lbs which mom peeled, cooked and mashed.  Split it into two freezer baggies which are also in the freezer today.  I still have another seven plants to harvest.  Not bad for my small spaces.

The (s)news media is making a big deal of Kim Davis' meeting with the Pope and I find the whole thing very distasteful--especially the notion that Davis is a "conscientious objector."  I see a distinct difference between Davis and the conscientious objectors who refused to either enlist (because their direct participation in any war was against their beliefs) in the military or refused to carry guns and kill (as opposed to serving their fellow men by saving lives and not killing themselves) because of their religious beliefs.  Some of them actually went to prison for draft evasion.  Others managed to serve in non-combat jobs and three of them were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroism.  None of them insisted that others actions in choosing to serve and kill somehow tainted their souls.  Kim Davis argues exactly when she insists that somehow her signature, or rather her very name, on a marriage license for a gay couple somehow implicates her in a sin which somehow endangers her hope of salvation.  Poppycock!!!  She has made her disapproval known and her deputies can sign the licenses.  If that isn't sufficient she could resign but then she wouldn't make waves.  And she wants to make waves.  She reminds me of those we used to call "the blooming idiots" who arrived on campus with the spring flowers and loudly told all passersby they were going to hell for whatever sins they imagined we were committing. Shades of the Islamic State, sometimes for as little as wearing skirts an inch too short or wearing pants or just being on campus.  It is amazing how they focused on the women.  Kim likes to focus on gays but she is the same.  A shrill, haranguing, proselytising busybody who can't stand anyone doing what her god tells her not to do.  For an intriguing take on the possible behind the scenes machinations of the Pope's meeting with Davis look at this blog post.

The Daily Sheeple has a post today that makes a related comment on the news media but concerning the alleged "war on police" not Kim Davis.  We have noticed how the (s)news media obsesses to the point of nausea on certain stories.  It is nice that the Pope visited three U.S. cities but did we really need six days of nearly non-stop coverage of the minutia of his visit?  And in the middle of all that there was damned little real discussion of what he said.  I have noticed that every time a police officer is shot or killed the story dominates the news whether there is something new to the story or not.  Usually not.  There is a (probably) apocryphal story about a newspaper editor (back when we had real newspapers) who ran through his office yelling "What does a sex maniac do?----He SELLS papers!!!"  Well, sex sells anything it seems.  And the corollary is "If it bleeds, it leads."  And it doesn't matter if the story is accurate or even true--so long as it is sensational.