Monday, November 2, 2015


Well, I did get some clearing done outside yesterday and plan more today.  I took out the mandevilla and the pot tower with the strawberries, spearmint, and peppermint.  I still have two window box style planters and one five-gallon bucket to clear.  The bucket has hyssop so I will cut it back to the soil, water it well, and mulch and cover it for the winter.  Hyssop is a hardy annual so I will find out how hardy it is.  I have seeds just in case.  I also plan to mulch and cover the lemon bee balm since it is trying to come back from the roots.  If it comes back next spring I will be happy and if it doesn't I have those seeds also.

Found this this morning.  We have never reached the average household spending on any holiday for years.  We haven't any children of any age and even before I officially retired the costs on our limited budgets were getting too much and (to be brutally honest) the pleasure of seasons too little to continue the patterns.  We decided this year that we wouldn't buy and pass out candy.  It has become impossible to predict how much we would need and we really don't want to keep any on hand.  This year we had no trick-or-treaters because the weather was cold and wet.  We don't really celebrate any holidays anymore especially when "celebration" is defined as spending massive sums we don't have.

It seems some of our iconic brand companies have suddenly discovered that the disappearance of the middle class is impacting their bottom line.  I wonder what their pay scales for the line workers are like.  How many of their employees can qualify as "middle class?"  I also wonder how many consumers are like us and read the labels.  Too many of the products our brand name companies make have too much salt, sugar, high fructose corn syrup and unpronounceable chemicals.  The disappearing middle class may not be their only problem.

Another story to file in the "sounded good at the time but it doesn't work in the real world" file.  From my point of view the whole mucking around with education over the last decade and a half has been more about siphoning off as much public money (tax money, folks) as possible into private pockets and relieving the public (i.e., political) institution of the responsibility of administering the system than about actually educating children for whatever role they will play in adult society.  And this story reinforces that opinion.

Although I frequently criticize our educational system--see above--I do believe that children should be educated.  This is a story that leaves me ambivalent.  Why, you wonder?  Well, am not sure the state is doing all that good a job largely because we, as a society, have no clear notion of which children should receive how much education and for what and by whom.  The charter schools cherry pick the best and brag about their, often cooked, results.  The public schools have, apparently, become dumping grounds for the charter school rejects.  And for years the test scores have been dismal and getting worse.  The Texas parents may have decided that educating children isn't necessary because Jesus coming but the effect is hardly worse that the most benevolent efforts of our so-called education system.  Why penalize the parents when the school system gets a pass.

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