Wednesday, September 30, 2015


We expect mid 60s today.  Cloudy this morning but that should burn off.  Thinking about what I should clear out next in the gardens.  I have peppers I should take, clean and freeze.  And I have peppermint to harvest and dry.  Of course, the usual clean up chores continue.

Gaius Publius has a post on Naked Capitalism which says exactly what other critics of our so-called capitalism.  It is very far removed from any meaningful definition of the term.  I like his comparison of our current social arrangements to the predation pyramid.  It fits like a glove.  Pay special attention to the discussion of "markets" and how much of the supposedly "free" market is heavily subsidized by our tax dollars.  A couple of critics have brought up the topic of corporate "welfare queens" but the mainstream media never notices.  They prefer the Repthuglican talking points about the poor (decomposers on the above mentioned pyramid.)  They would rather take pennies from the poor that the millions and billions of dollars given to corporations who pay little in taxes and move jobs out of the country.

Another take on the dilemma of Big Oil from Mark Shapiro at Grist.  There has been a seismic shift in our society and our economy over the last thirty years or so and a lot of the major players are finding that their positions have been eroded while their attention has been elsewhere.  Or they may have seen the first tentative signs of that shift and dismissed them with a shrug and the notion that "this too shall pass" and the good times will roll again.  Maybe; but probably not.

Last week or the week before I linked to a story about a major U.S. company that decided not to require college degrees of its job applicants.  They said the degrees didn't adequately predict how successful (or not) the applicant would be and had nothing to do with the demands of the job.  Now a small private liberal arts school, Hampshire College, will no longer accept SAT/ACT scores from their applicants.  Other schools had made the scores optional but Hampshire has gone a step further and simply won't accept the scores.  They make a damned good case for their policy.

I follow the controversies over Muslim women's veils with interest.  Much of the controversy is driven by xenophobic idiocy and a patronizing notion that westerners know what impels Muslim women to accept what ever form of veil they choose.  But in the course of following that story thread I come across stories of women donning veils which cause hardly a ripple in the media or in the political world.  Why?  Because the women veiling aren't Muslim.  They are Christian and even a few Pagan women who see it as part of their devotion to which ever deity they feel called by.  Some wear their veils at prayer or ritual; others, all the time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Supposed to be cool today and for the next week.  I took out the ornamental sweet potatoes I had in a medium pot and found a couple of small tubers forming.  They really didn't have the room to grow big and the ornamental strains weren't developed for large (or sweet) tubers.  I didn't keep them.  But according to the info on-line sweet potatoes are ready to harvest when the leaves start turning yellow (check) or just before first frost in the northern areas (check.)  We expect light rain today so I think tomorrow is the better day to start harvesting the Beauregard variety I also put in.  Why did I bother with the ornamentals?  I hadn't planted in sweet potatoes before and I thought most of my slips had failed.  I didn't realize my mistake until I dug up the most sickly (as in "dead") looking slips and discovered healthy roots.  I was glad I was gentle about digging them, quickly replanted them and learned a bit more patience.

Naked Capitalism has this analysis of Shell's announcement they are shutting down their Arctic drilling off Alaska having spent $7billion with little to show.  What was barely profitable at $100/barrel is a big loss at less than $50.

I can support the premise behind the proposed "Shut Down the Shutdowns Act."  I am so incredibly tired of the drama queens on the far right holding everything hostage in their farcical political substitute for holding their breaths till they turn blue.  Perhaps I should reword that: they want us to hold our breaths till they turn blue--or we die.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Didn't do much at all yesterday.  You can probably tell.  Not much on the news except Pope Francis who performed pretty much as we have come to expect.  Don't get me wrong.  I like what I see of the man but I don't see why his every move is newsworthy.  I wonder how many other items were ignored by our (s)news media during his visit.

I guess this is a good reflection of a point some "peak oil" bloggers have tried to make:  it isn't that we will run out of oil in an absolute sense (i.e., there isn't any) but that the oil available simply isn't harvestable at an affordable cost.

The situation in Spain is getting interesting.  The Catalan elections brought in a parliamentary majority for separatist parties which claim they now have a mandate to declare independence within eighteen months.  The major fuel behind these parties was the austerity programs the national government is trying to ram through.  This Reuters piece provides more information both on the Catalan movement but on the Scottish separatist movement as well.

Is it my imagination or are auto recalls becoming more frequent and involving bigger numbers?

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Cleaned out one of the large pots and found I actually had two pots stuck together.  These pots nest so closely that I thought they were one.  But now they are separated and I have the stacked with a spacer to keep them that way.  I also brought in the lime basil inside for the winter and should trim it back a bit.  Also transplanted the chocolate mint and brought it inside.  More cleaning up today.

We have thought a lot about food safety here.  Here is a good article on the issue.  All of the points are quite good but I do have a few quibbles.  On the issue of preservatives, we try to find foods with the fewest and/or the most natural preservatives.  The author makes it sound like our preference for preservative free foods is opening us up to food poisoning but this a damned if you do/damned if you don't argument.  Often the more complicated preservatives have been linked to health problems that it is better to avoid.  The food scientist had blinders on when they tested the preservatives.  The only concern was how effective a preservative it was not how the chemical and its metabolites reacted in the human body.  And preservatives aren't the only things we are careful to avoid.  We don't like artificial sweeteners, large amounts of natural sugars or salt either. On the issue of imported foods, we look at where our foods come from and try to find products from as close to home as possible.  The key phrase is "as possible."  Also our foods are as simple as possible.  We choose the products with the fewest components and the final meals are usually homemade.  We really use our freezer because we prefer frozen veggies to canned (less salt and no BPA) and we freeze left overs for inclusion in future meals.

Friday, September 25, 2015


The eye exam went well but, with the pupil dilation, I didn't want to be outside much.  Too bright.  I see some tasks I should do: a couple of plants I should remove, pots to clean out, and more spearmint I should cut.  I have to check everything else in case they need watering.  I am collecting all of the sale papers that come in the mail to cover the bare soil over the winter.

An interesting article on internet ads asking the question: how much of the traffic is fake?  Evidently--a lot.

Much of the technology described in this article isn't really surprising.  The speed with which it is being developed is breath taking but then the government is sponsoring the development and they have a lot of our money to spend.

So propaganda goes higher tech--what else is new?  At least they don't have a gun to our heads--yet. It is annoying but perhaps a bit late getting on the bandwagon.  The manipulators say they have had good results in the initial phase of the program.  However, thinking about how resistant we have become (in our household) to the advertisements, I wonder how effective the full program will be and for how long.  Speaking of manipulation Market Watch this morning noted that Dow futures were up and the market itself opened with the Dow jumping over 170 points crediting Yellen's remarks yesterday about the real possibility of a rate hike before the end of the year.  Isn't it amazing how every time the stock market takes a dip someone says something (realistic or not, true or not) that gets the speculators giddy.

John Boehner is resigning his Congressional seat at the end of October.  It makes sense logistically for the party.  He has been under fire from the Tea Party Repthuglicans and their allies for some time. I saw a brief news bite last week that a cabal of them were hoping to unseat Boehner before the Pope arrived so he wouldn't be on the podium during the joint session address.  Why do I think it makes sense logistically.  Well, he will have to be replaced to maintain Ohio's representation either by special election or by appointment by the Republican governor (who is running for the Republican presidential nomination.)  That replacement will have some time to solidify his support for his own election to that seat which enhances Republican chances to keep it in the party.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Appointment with the eye doctor today so not much else planned.  I got the feverfew and spearmint ground and packaged up yesterday so the dehydrators are clear and ready for the next batch but I won't collect that till tomorrow.  Fall is a mirror image of Spring.  Instead of slowly putting in the gardens I am slowly taking out plants and getting every thing ready for winter.

I saw an amusing lead into a story on Pope Francis first thing this morning.  Evidently he passed up lunch with our congressional and senatorial leaders--to eat lunch with the poor.  I think he made a good choice there.  And maybe brought a few egos back down to earth.

Starting a work day (or school day) before 10am is the equivalent of torture??  Well,  I can agree with that pretty much.  But I would go on to say that our entire working environment is torture for which we are seriously underpaid.  But then when ever have the torturers paid their victims at all--much less adequately.

The VW scandal widens.  I wonder where it will stop.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Yesterday was busy and exhausting.  We had errands that took us out and about most of the day and left me with a bruising headache and very low energy.  As a result no gardening done.  But I am feeling much better so we'll see what happens today.

I don't know if it is much of a surprise that Volkswagen lied to its customers and actively evaded the Clean Air regulations to mask the true emissions of its touted "clean diesel" cars.  This article covers the story from a slightly different perspective: the effect of the scandal on Germany, the European Union as well as the company and its customers.  I find it so reminiscent of the situation with the BP/Deepwater Horizon situation a few years ago when the British government leaned on the U.S. government to soften its treatment of BP's dereliction so all the poor pensioners whose pensions were tied up with BP stock wouldn't suffer because BP was criminally negligent and more interested in its bottom line than the environmental damage it caused.  That little people over here were devastated and had their livelihoods crushed didn't seem to matter much.  At least no one died because of VW's fraud unlike the GM and Toyota cases.  But I don't see that as a reason to let the company off the hook.  And I would love to see something I haven't seen in any of the cases mentioned:  the prosecution of company executives who have, at the least, not addressed a corporate culture that encouraged fraud.

I wonder how true this story is.  We have watched Scott Walker for some time.  Hard not to since our news comes out of Chicago which is a stone's throw from Wisconsin.  I really hope the story is true and it spells the end of Walker as a political entity.  And Walker isn't alone.  One of Rick Perry's big donors also wants the money they gave his super PAC returned.  I agree with the commenter on this one.  those boys, the Kochs and the Deasons, gambled and lost.  You don't go to the casino after you lose and demand they return the money you so imprudently gambled away.  Your choice.  You lost. Suck it up.

Gene Logsdon has another good post looking at the Syrian conflict.  We have often complained about the stories the news media carries and the stories it slights or doesn't carry at all.  I have read of massive sand storms in Iraq, Syria, Iran and other areas but the news makes little comment on them.  I have also noticed that the news spends almost no time on agricultural news of any kind.  Most of that is on line or in print.  We all have to eat but the news media ignores how we get our food (unless it is a story about massive food poisoning thanks to a break down in our industrial food manufacturing sector).  The war and the agricultural collapse in Syria have progressed in lock step.  Which came first is an unanswerable question.  The prepper bloggers I read make a frequent point that our own society is only 9 missed meals away from food riots--three days.  The Egyptian revolution which toppled Mubarak rose over a rapid increase in food and fuel costs.

And for another aspect of the Syrian war which won't get any attention, check this article out.  Researchers who would normally have gone to a facility in Aleppo, Syria, for the seeds they wanted to study have instead asked the "doomsday vault" in Svalbard, Sweden to supply them.  This is the first time anyone has asked to withdraw seeds from the vault.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Got more done yesterday than I had initially planned.  Removed all but one of my pepper plants--all those who have flowers but no fruit.  This late in the season there isn't enough time for any new fruit to ripen.  I also took out the remaining tomatoes and found three ripe Amish Gold tomatoes hiding in the foliage.  Later I saw a little ground squirrel munching on one of the cherry tomatoes that fell while I was cutting down the tangled vines.  We have five meals worth of raw sliced green tomatoes and another meal of fried green tomatoes frozen for later use.  Also some 20+ lbs of tomato sauce in the freezer.  That all is in addition to the tomatoes we ate fresh.  Been a good year for tomatoes.  I also collected spearmint and feverfew for drying.  The pot the spearmint was in broke as I lifted it. The plastic becomes fragile after a few years.  My little patio is a difficult environment for both plants and planters.  It goes from icebox to oven quickly and during the summer receives strong, direct sun most of the day while it gets almost no sun during the winter.  I took a mental inventory of my remaining pots and won't replace the broken one because I have several of similar size in my collection.  I am already planning next year's gardens.

So Scott Walker has ended his presidential campaign and decided to "lead" by walking out the door showing other wannabes the way.  One of the commenters this morning mentioned the notion that if enough of his ilk leave the race they might find someone who can take out Trump.  That seems to be the deepest desire of the Repthuglican collective soul--besides replacing the (non)Muslim in the White House with a good (non)Christian.

So the bastard got only 28 years.  Well, that is more than I expected.  How often have companies paid fines and the executives got off without any pain at all.  I guess the e-mail not to "just ship it" obviated his defense and did him in.  Hard to ignore that or to explain it away.

Japan, it seems, is going to emulate the U.S. and focus education on the so-called STEM subjects.  To that end the ministry that deals with education has issued a non-binding directive that the colleges and universities cancel all programs in the humanities, law, and social sciences.  Considering how well such a focus has worked over here in the primary and secondary grades, I wonder why.  Last I heard our students have not scored lower on achievement tests for decades.

I love this one.  Ernst & Young, given their long experience with recruiting college graduates to fill its open positions, have found "no evidence" that such level of education is necessary for their new hires to do their jobs.  They are no longer making college degrees a requirement for applicants.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Supposed to be cool, sunny and dry today.  Good day for gardening and clean up.  I cut down the last of the sunflowers and the bean vines growing with them.  I will get more of the tomatoes cut down and maybe harvest some of the herbs.  I washed the trays of both dehydrators yesterday so those are ready.  The spearmint and feverfew are both begging to be cut back.  I washed out a bunch of the empty pots and have them stacked for storing--somewhere.  The shishito is the only pepper still producing and I saw some ripe peppers on it.  I need to collect them soon.

Doesn't this just make you feel safer??  I don't know about anyone else but 9/11 never made me feel unsafe.  I did my own version of threat math and came up with an answer that eluded most of the people I dealt with on a daily basis.  Terrorists (most of them Saudi nationals--not Afghani, Iraqi, or Iranian) hijacked 4 planes, 3 of which they crashed into the World Trade Center (NYC) and the Pentagon (Washington, D.C.), killing a bit over 3000 people.  Over 100k planes fly each day which means the chances of winding up on a flight with a terrorist is vanishingly small.  Given conditions today the chances of getting on a flight with a impulse-control-impaired rage freak is much higher. That seems to be a weekly occurrence nowadays.  On that one day as many people likely died from auto accidents as did from the terrorist caused crashes.  Fifty people were shot in Chicago over the weekend (according to the morning news) of whom five died.  I am far more likely to be walking on a Chicago street than I am to be flying anywhere or to be anywhere a terrorist might strike.  My point?  Terrorism is the least of my concerns.  It ranks alongside various natural disasters which might or might not happen.  I go through my life without letting those possibilities stop me so why should I freak out about terrorists?  But as a society we have been freaking out for the last fourteen years.

Fascinating story about water woes in Saudi Arabia have serious implications for the future of, among other places, the U.S. and China.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Don't have anything much planned today.  A couple of inside plants to water and some more clean up outside.  The gardens are definitely looking end-of-season shabby.  With the cool nights even the sweet potatoes are beginning to show the colors of fall.  The high winds and savage rain squalls of the last couple of days broke the branches of one of the pepper plants so I took all the peppers off and cut the broken branches.  It is time to take that plant and a couple of the others out.  I saw a couple of blossoms but they won't have time to develop peppers even if the blossoms do set.

Here is a piece for the "more technology isn't always better" file.  Often it is simply more expensive. There is something very sexy about a $1trillion "weapons system" but I think a lot of guys are mistaking one "gun" for another.

Much of this article feels very familiar even though the author concentrates on Australian politics, which has just experienced the fifth Prime Minister in a bit over five years, with only a couple of asides about U.S. and European cases.  To boil down the argument: the structures that governed how the western world worked (socially, economically, and politically) for most of the last century (and particularly since the end of WWII) have broken down and we are in an era when new alignments are being created.  Only the gods of chaos know how it will end up.

I guess this bill will go about as far as the one Rep. Nolan introduced just before the last government shutdown.  Too bad.  It goes to show how unethical our legislators are that the first bill wasn't passed and isn't standard operating procedure.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


We had another night of thunderstorms.  The weather people say things should dry out so I will see what things look like when the sun comes up before deciding what I might do outside.  We spent a significant amount of time yesterday on an eye exam so we didn't do anything in the gardens.  It didn't really dry out much yesterday anyway.  Update: still raining.  I don't think we will dry out today.

Now this is stunning!!  I am utterly amazed at the planning it took and the effects achieved.

I wonder how long before this spy tech reaches this side of the Atlantic.  The totally wired life is encroaching and I do not like it at all.  And the sanctimony dripping from the executives who think that the company has an obligation, given rising health care costs, to "encourage" its customers to make the "appropriate choices" is utterly nauseating.  Big Brother has arrived and in ways George never imagined.

Margaret Atwood has a good essay on freedom--and the implications are somewhat frightening.  Orwellian even.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Heavy rain overnight with lightening and thunder.  I will let the gardens dry out a bit and wait till tomorrow before cleaning anything else out.  I decided to not water yesterday and just as well.  I emptied the dehydrators so they are ready to load again.

I can hear some chuckling at this one.  I'm not because I tend to follow the weather in numerous places and, though we in my small corner of the world have had a cooler than normal summer, the heatwaves started earlier, were hotter, and lasted longer.  I can readily believe that the world temperatures this summer set another record.  I have lost count of how many record setting seasons (and years) we have had over the last twenty.  I have lost count of how many times we have shaken our heads and commented on how weird the weather has been.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


I plan a slow and easy day today.  We spent yesterday in Chicago with Mom's sister whom we haven't seen in a very, very long time.  We walked longer and farther than we usually do by a very long way.  Enjoyed catching up with her and seeing what has been done with Millennium Park and the new Maggie Daily Park.  But today is the day for resting sore muscles and joints.  We haven't been in Chicago since just before Cloudgate (a.k.a. The Bean) was installed the differences are striking.  We looked in at the Art Institute/Museum but did not view anything.  It now costs $20 each with additional charges for the "special" exhibits.  They do have a "senior discount" of a whole $1. And that was intended as a bit of sarcasm.   All the other museums have similar entry fees.  That might not sound like much I think you can see how a simple excursion to one museum (with transportation, lunch, admission to the museum, admission to one special exhibit) can easily top $100.  The old conglomeration of small shops and unique eateries we remembered were gone.  I remember going up to the old main library and within a block you could find three or four small hole-in-the-wall bookshops.  Not any more.  I don't know how many Starbucks (vastly overrated) and other chain fast-food establishments.  Every retail store seemed to be part of a chain.  The noise was overwhelming.  I wondered several times if people are plugged into their iPods or other music to drown out the city-sounds.  Better than half were wearing ear-buds and another quarter were busy on their smart phones which might be a way to block out the jumble of visual images.  We are both glad to be back in our quieter and less congested environment.

This is a sad commentary on our modern life from the BBC--a three-year-old with type 2 diabetes.  The article did say she was American, grossly overweight and getting little exercise.  But, given what we saw available for food in downtown Chicago yesterday and her parents, if they aren't affluent enough to afford the fees at the parks and good day care isn't available, may not be able to get her out to get adequate exercise, perhaps we shouldn't be all that surprised.  My aunt mentioned the "meanness" going on up there and we saw a half-dozen park police on our relatively short walk.  Would you trust going out with your toddler?  Evidently the parents were able to make beneficial changes which reversed the condition but it makes you wonder if how we live now isn't hazardous to our health and, if so, how hazardous.

So Kim Davis thinks she is being persecuted for her religious beliefs?  Consider this and then tell me about persecution.  I would also like to know if the ex-husband had to attend "parenting" classes in this matter to maintain his rights to co-parent.

I have read about "food waste" for some time now.  Evidently the EPA and USDA are joining forces (with Obama as cheerleader) to encourage Americans to reduce food waste 50% by 2030.  Of course, I don't see any specific actions proposed.  I did skim the U.S. Food Waste Challenge site and most of the information I saw is common sense.  However, it involves practices and mind sets that have gone by the wayside over the last 50 or more years.  How are they going to get people to go back to those practices and attitudes?

I saw a title this morning that says quite a lot about our expectations of a president:  If she failed as a CEO, how can she succeed as POTUS?  It assumes that a successful businessperson can succeed at president.  Does anyone really think Herbert Hoover, a very successful mining engineer and businessman, was a successful president?  If you do I suggest you examine the origin of the term "Hooverville."  It also assumes that we want and need a business mentality in the Whitehouse.  However, many questions which beset the president don't reduce themselves to black-and-white or profit-loss terms.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Winding down the gardens.  Collected a lot of tomatoes including some nice green slicers which are now in the freezer sliced and ready to fry sometime this winter.  For the rest I have both dehydrators working and probably will for the next week.  I still have a lot of tomatoes on the vine but should get most in during the nice weather expected over the rest of the week.

I have seen a lot of stories about the refugee crisis in Europe.  I won't link because it is, at least superficially, every where on the news and the net.  It seems the situation is widening some already large cracks in the Eurozone.  A year ago I read about the troubles Belgium was having assimilating European migrants settling there.  There were grumblings at the number of Spanish, Greek, and others from deeply depressed (economically) member countries entering northern countries.  At one point Belgium and the Netherlands threatened to set up border check points in contravention of the EU charter.  The British government has been pressing for a renegotiation of the parts of the charter allowing for free movement of all persons throughout the Eurozone.  Several countries have flat out refused to accept the Syrian refugees.


I won't be doing much in the gardens today.  We have our regular shopping today so most of the morning will be doing that.  We will be busy tomorrow with non-gardening tasks so nothing tomorrow either.  I may putter for a few minutes and see if anything needs watering.

I found this first off today.  I have suspected for a long time that the allure of computers for school administrators, politicians, and businesses associated with computer technology has been profits not educational efficacy.  The administrators and politicians see a cheap way to replace fractious and expensive humans with something that doesn't complain (or strike, or demand more money, or want time off every now and then) and only costs once (unless you consider costly upgrades, which they don't.)  The businesses, of course, see dollar signs.  The bottom line is expressed nicely by Andreas Schleicher:  don't banish technology but consider carefully how you use it and what you expect to get from it.  I have often felt that our technology has come to run us not the other way around.

I found this yesterday a bit too late to put it up with my comments on the refugee situation.  It took a moment for me to notice that the map was not a modern geopolitical map of Europe.  It depicts the Roman Empire and its attempts to build walls against the barbarians at their borders.  Ugo Bardi has some interesting comments on the effect of those efforts.

The Financial Times has an op-ed that speaks to the refugee crisis but connects it to broader problems within the EU.

We aren't overly in love with Comcast either and Susie has been talking about their planned changes in their pricing schedule for a while now.  We aren't in any of the areas where they are rolling out their early version but we are already checking out what it may mean for us.  We changed our Comcast package earlier this last year with great difficulty because the rep simply couldn't understand that we actually wanted less service.  The old joke about "500 channels and not a damned thing to watch" finally stopped being funny in any way.  I wonder if this is a way recoup given that we aren't alone in this.

I do love Pope Francis.  I'd think about converting if I sympathized at all with the doctrine--and I don't.  He hits on what has been a sore spot with me for some years--religious tax exemptions.  I would also like a stricter definition of the term "religious use" that excludes mucking about in politics.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


We have a steady and fairly heavy rain right now--the kind we used to get in April.  I won't be doing any gardening today.  Yesterday we made a trip to one of our local building supply/gardening stores where I picked up another two 5 gal buckets with lids and a large pruner.  I needed more containers for the soil from the smaller pots and the two grow bags.  Every other container is full right now.  And I needed something that can cut down the sunflowers--those stems are a lot like bamboo.

So on to reading--

The Evil Empire strikes again.  Anyone else remember the ballyhooed news earlier this year that they were raising all their employee's wages?  Anyone else notice the story I linked to a few days ago about the orders which went out to their store managers to cut employee hours?  Give with one hand and take away with the other.  Evidently they are trying the same with their suppliers.  I hope they lose a lot of suppliers over their proposed new fees (higher warehouse and shelf fees) and payment schedules (longer to get paid).


Another rainy day so no gardening today either.  But I have some inside plants to water and a couple I should trim a bit.  Update: we got some sun for a bit and though it is cool for the season it is pleasant.  I went out and picked enough ripe or nearly ripe tomatoes to fill the dehydrator and a couple of ripe Amish Golds.  Tomorrow I will start picking any tomato I can get my hands on for the dryer--green or ripe.  I have to start cutting the vines back and, given how unpredictable the weather is, it is best to get it done when I can.

Interesting tidbit from Crooks and Liars.  My guess is the 43% of Republicans who can conceive of a situation in which they would welcome a military coup assume that the coup will be headed by Republicans.  Me?  Well, I agree with Elizabeth I: I do not like wars (or coups).  Their outcomes are never certain.


Very cool this morning.  Mom said we should have brought out our winter robes and didn't believe the reported temperature.  She thinks it is colder than the 52F reported.  The seasons have definitely changed and our menus also.  We don't want cold sandwiches and cold salads now.  Instead, we look forward to casseroles, soups and such.  She remarked on how seasonal our eating has become.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Got not gardening done yesterday.  We decided to do our shopping errands yesterday because we expect rain today.  By the time we were done and had things put away it was getting warm and the humidity made that worse.  We'll see if we get the rain the weather people are predicting.

A good recap of the last incredible (in a not very good way) fourteen years by Tom Englehardt.  I get so tired of our news media interviewing some insipid little nitwit after every new measure by some organization, government, or venue to search bags or people, restrict they can carry, or otherwise impose on citizens a new restriction who mews something about "If it is for our safety, I guess I'm ok with it."  The "land of the free and home of the brave" has become the "land of the constrained and home of the craven."


The rain took its time coming in yesterday but was heavy when it came.  I collected a full basket each of ripe tomatoes, beans and peppers.  The tomatoes will be in the dehydrator and the beans and peppers in the freezer later today.  The temperature should stay in the low 70s so I hope it will be a good day to clean up a bit in the gardens.  Several plants are looking more than a bit tired.  Update: tomatoes in the dryer and beans in the freezer.  Only have the peppers to do.

Interesting post from the Contrary Farmer--one that speaks to my disenchantment with our commercial world.


Didn't get the peppers in the freezer.  Instead I took down the plant bags and cleaned out the petunias and begonias that were looking very tired.  I plan to put strawberries in them next year.  The tomatoes will be dried by sometime later today.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday--Happy Labor Day

For those who actually still have the holiday--enjoy.  Planning to collect tomatoes from the gardens.  I will dry most of them.  It is supposed to be steamy today so I doubt I will get much done besides that and watering.  The weather people predict a good bit of rain tonight and tomorrow.

Found this post first thing this morning and it is worth a read.  Perhaps Kim Davis would be a better Christian if she emulated Jimmy Carter.

I wished you all a happy Labor Day but it is one of a growing number of holidays we really don't pay much attention to any more.  Like Christmas, Halloween, "Presidents' Day, Fourth of July and so many others it is merely a "buying" opportunity.  For most of us our only value in this society is how well we can mindlessly consume what every our corporate masters throw (up) at us.  We don't ask ourselves what the holidays are supposed to honor.  Doug Smith does muse on that very question at Naked Capitalism.  Read it and weep.

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Heavy rain for most of the day yesterday so I didn't harvest anything.  Looking at the extended forecast, with overnight temps dropping into the 50s and even 40s, I think it is time to start harvesting the green tomatoes as well.  I will dry them and we will use them in our tomato sauce over the winter.  The larger ones we will fry and freeze.  I noticed a separation in the cover of my mini-greenhouse just where the plastic joins the zipper so I won't worry about taking it in over this year.  I will need a new one next year.

I linked to a post yesterday about the run-amok trend of intolerant idiots using personal belief as a public club against people who violate their tender sensibilities.  Here is another one.

So this is still going on--just not making our news media.

This is gruesomely mind-boggling.  Yves Smith who provided the link on her Naked Capitalism site hoped it was sensationalized but, given the legal and cultural factors, I can believe it.  After all our major companies factor in the possible fines and compensations as "costs of doing business" so they don't actually have to change behaviors or products that are lucrative.

I wonder if these are the same "intelligence sources" who claimed the Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government was buying yellow cake uranium ore from Africa.  Or those who insisted his government had large stockpiles of WMDs.  We know how well that adventure turned out.

I started reading this piece by Margaret Atwood and didn't recognize the names of the politicians which confused me.  Then I remembered that she is Canadian.  However, as I read further, I recognized the politics and wondered if Stephen Harper and his conservative have had their sensibilities adjusted by our Repthuglicans.  It sure sounds like it.

Saturday, September 5, 2015


Temperatures hit 90F yesterday according to the weather people.  Supposed to be a tad cooler today (mid 80s) before going back into the 90s for the weekend.  Suitable, I guess, for the Labor Day holiday.  I keep looking at the spend sunflowers thinking it is time to cut off the spent flowers but each time we see some goldfinches pecking at the seeds.  Can't take out the stalks because they are the supports for my beans.  At least one hummingbird has been visiting the feeder and a couple of the flowering herbs.

The news this morning noted the expanded Kraft Singles and the Johnsonville sausage patties recalls.  I pay attention to recalls but more often now-a-days don't have to think too much about them because we either never bought the product or stopped buying them a long while ago.  We never bought the sausage patties and stopped getting the Kraft Singles cheese products over two years ago.  We haven't given up either sausage or sliced cheese--we just get both from our local meat market.  Better flavor, fresher, less packaging and fewer (many fewer) extraneous chemicals.

Helen at Margaret and Helen is on another good roll this morning.  I simply do not see how calling out a little asshat tyrant claiming religious convictions to deny people she doesn't like their rights under our secular law because god gave her a private revelation is "religious persecution" or "criminalizing" Christianity.

The ghost of Elizabeth Bathory must be crowing though Ronni Bennett cites the myth of Tithonus.  The best discussion of the possible consequences of immortality is Robert Heinlein's Time Enough For Love.  Most of us would be terminally bored before our Biblical "threescore and ten" ended.  What would we do with eternity?  I have a few ideas of what I would do if my physical age were in my late 20s or early 30s again but they wouldn't fill up all the time immortality implies.  I have always had a problem with the notion that more life is better no matter the quality of that life.  What is the use of extending a life for a short time at great cost when that time will be spent in pain and suffering?  And other moral considerations are very troubling.  Look up the story of Countess Bathory and tell me that our uber rich wouldn't feel entitled to youth at what ever price to those from whom that youth would be taken.


I had intended to post yesterday but got distracted.  My computer was giving me a problem because it kept freezing up and giving me the "beach ball of death."  I kept getting the message "Safari web content not responding" as I tried to go through my e-mail.  That is a problem that occurred with greater frequency over the last couple of weeks and yesterday seemed to happen almost every other e-mail I brought up.  I finally shifted over to Chrome as my primary search engine.  It seems to work better.  I preferred Safari but if it won't work smoothly I don't have much choice.

The gardening season is definitely coming to an end.  The shadow of the house on the patio and back fence clearly indicate that.  By the autumnal equinox at the end of the month that shadow will touch the top of the fence and the garden will be in deep to partial shade for most of the day.  That is the cycle of my year:  spring equinox begins the time of increasing light (reflected and direct) my plants can use though planting doesn't begin seriously until mid May when the average last frost occurs, summer solstice when the garden gets the equivalent of full sun, and, finally, the autumn equinox when the gardens go into shade and dark and it is time to clean up and plan for the next growing season.  As I water the various containers I am thinking of the order in which the clean up will begin, which plants and pots will be taken out when.  The wheel turns.

Interesting commentary on the growing separation between the privileged classes and everyone else in our society.   Brings to mind a couple of old sayings.  "What is old is new again."  Or, terrifyingly, "What goes around comes around."

Here is a perfectly plain and eloquent discussion of the Kim Davis story.  As an agent of the state she had a duty to treat all people equally under the law and did not have the right to decide what law she would respect.  We are not a theocracy--at least not yet.  For an interesting commentary on the consequences if the current trend inherent in Kim Davis' actions (and of others like her but of different religious affiliation) check out this post.  But this piece points out the problems with some of the more simplistic condemnations of Kim Davis' "expression" of her religious purity.  We don't condemn St. Paul as a hypocrite for persecuting Christians as Saul and preaching the gospel as Paul.  He saw "the light" and changed his life.

So some bankers expect to lose their jobs soon and are being told they shouldn't expect to be rehired soon (if at all) and certainly not at the salary/bonus level they currently occupy.  And the banks aren't looking at experienced people but rather those just out of college who have no memory of seven figure salaries and bonuses to match and will settle for low six figure wages.  They are finally joining the rest of us.

I rather like this idea.  Too bad it didn't pass when first proposed--in 1916.

Thursday, September 3, 2015


The promised hot weather has moved in and should stay till the middle of next week.  I picked a nice bunch of beans and tomatoes.  The beans are in the freezer and the tomatoes are in the dehydrator along with the strawberries.  They should be finished a bit later this morning.  I will water everything but that is all I really need to do.

An interesting article on a NY Federal Reserve study about the effect of student loan--essentially the expansion of credit for higher education--on tuition costs.  Evidently it surprised a lot of conservative economists who bought into the theory that credit doesn't increase the costs of the goods bought on credit.  I think that is a fair summary of the theory.  Turns out the theory is wrong.  But I noticed that no one mentioned the fact that student loans are guaranteed by the government and are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  That means that the loan provider is guaranteed repayment with interest no matter what, the colleges get paid no matter what and the borrower is on the hook no matter what.  The borrower bears all of the risk while the other parties bear none at all.  That might explain why colleges were able to grab $0.65 of every dollar loaned when the credit was expanded.  This is a system begging to be corrupted and it has been.

Helen at Margaret and Helen posted a concise piece about that idiot county clerk in Kentucky.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Another hot day expected so what ever I do in the gardens I need to get done early.  

A good reason not to vote for Carly Florin.   I guess she has been so busy hustling votes she hasn't heard that California has a problem with drought, or that the ground water and aquifers are being drained at a very fast rate, or that the rivers are running dry so there simply isn't much to allocate to anyone, or that the ground is subsiding at a furious pace because of how much water is being pumped and for much of that government can't do much.  Of course, one company making out like the bandit it is is Nestle which pays a pittance for the water it puts into the little plastic bottles which it sells to fools for a tidy profit.  The CEO says they would pump more water into more little plastic bottles it it only could.  Is that the ag business Carly thinks government has destroyed?

At first I thought Marie had posted a fictional piece until I read further down--and then did a Google search for details.  We just had a dramatic increase in prices of gas because of an "unscheduled maintenance" problem at the local refinery.  No shortage--just prices $0.90/gal higher than they were before or after.

I lived in Columbia, Missouri for about seven years.  I don't remember the time fondly and I find this piece at Addicting Info absolutely hilarious.  I love it when manipulators of the political process get shafted by their own manipulations.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Too hot to do anything outside.  I will collect the beans tomorrow and any tomatoes that are ripe to dry along with the strawberries we picked up today.  I am trying to find something Mom might like to do with green tomatoes but have struck out so far.  The next few days are also supposed to be quite warm in the high 80s and low 90s.  What ever gets done in the gardens will have to b done early.

Don't you just love self-righteous asses who think their religious views should be inflicted on others? If those views prevent her from doing her job as it is defined in law, she needs to find another job.  But that wouldn't satisfy her proselytizing soul.  I get so sick of idiots who think they have a private phone like to god.  All I can say is "NOT my god!!"

Walmart's big press release of six months ago that they were increasing the pay for their "associates" should have been placed in the "too good to be true" file.  A per-hour raise doesn't mean much if you don't have the hours.  Timing is ironic since this is generally the time of year they start bringing on new workers to cover the holidays.  I wonder if that tells us what they expect for the season.