Friday, December 30, 2016


I accidentally hit "publish" last night and then decided that I would give the blog a rest until next year. However, I changed my mind when I saw this at the Adventures and Musings of an Archdruidess. For all those who go batshit crazy over what women wear.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Hope you had a good holiday weekend. Ours was pleasant: dinner with brother and his family. We don't do much for any holiday. I will say I haven't been as grumpy this season--perhaps because we don't watch much TV any more so we don't see much of the endless Christmas commercials. In that vein, I would have much more sympathy for Catholicism if all I had to go by was Pope Francis. As it is he is a (sometimes) bright spot in an otherwise bleak religion. For me, anyway. Sorry all you Catholics.

The post-mortems on the election continue and the same on Obama's Presidency are starting. James Kunstler has a good one at Clusterfuck Nation.


Temps have returned to something near normal for late December--high 20s this morning. That is after a near 50 yesterday. After several days of warm weather, and one of persistent and at times heavy rain, a large part of the snow we received early in the month is gone. My spinach is sprouting upstairs but nothing from the lettuce yet.


We have seen this trend over the last couple of years with Mom's doctors. Originally she paid the co-pay at the end of her appointment. About two years ago they started collecting when she registered for her appointment. We haven't had any emergency visits lately so what who would collect and when is a question I can't answer.

I have read several articles on this development. We got rather used to seeing disturbances at the malls on Black Friday though this year was surprisingly quiet at that time. Then the post-Christmas chaos came. I can only wonder what in the hell has happened to people?


This is wrong!! And it is why I am glad the larger, multinational versions of such "trade" agreements (TTP and TTIP) failed. I wish the Tanzanian government had told the G8 to take their "development" funds and go elsewhere. The environment loses, the farmers lose. The only winners: Monsanto et. al.

John Michael Greer has his annual assessment of his predictions at the end of last year and his predictions for the coming year. His are among the more realistic prognostications though some might not like how many "we just don't know"s are included. But in fact on so many issues we don't know either the trajectory or the speed of potential changes. As has been said before: buckle up; its going to be a bumpy ride.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Well, another Monday and December is nearly 2/3 finished. I am so ready for this year to end but I am not looking forward to the next with anything like hopeful anticipation. At least not on the political/social/economic front. I am always hopeful about the gardens and the little projects I have going. The temperature outside is -12 with a windchill making it feel like -24. Thankfully I don't have to be out in it. We have a thick blanket of snow over everything on the patio except the path to the gate and the garbage tote. The weather people predict a stretch of about 5 days with temperatures at or above freezing so some of it may melt before the next round. However, those forecasts change each day.

Happy story!! Library cat 1/idiot councilman 0.

According to Charles Hugh Smith's questionnaire I am a Deplorable. He notes you don't have to be white to be such. And, since I didn't support the Repthuglican nominee but I do agree with all of the statements with a bit of an amendment on one, I guess you don't have to be one of them either.


Nothing much I wanted to link to or comment on. I spent a good bit of time winding embroidery thread onto bobbins. That is part of my effort to both clean up the sewing/craft area and find out what is where. I don't know how often I couldn't find something I knew I had and bought another--only to find the original later.

Happy Solstice and Welcome to (meteorological) winter.

We had a more complicated shopping trip than usual. I needed more bobbins which meant a trip to Michaels. I needed to return a nook cover which I thought would fit but didn't so we needed to stop by Barnes & Noble. And so it went--several small stops culminating in the grocery store. Nothing much else got done.


Tom Englehardt on the possibility the Trump administration will make us wish for 1984.


Was quite warm yesterday and we are supposed to have above normal temps for the next ten days. I wonder how much of the snow will melt.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


Exhausting day already and it isn't even noon yet. Some time ago we got some put-together shelving to replace some that was getting more than a bit brittle and worn. It turned out the new shelves were too big to put in the place where we intended to put them--where the old shelves were. We didn't even have to unwrap them to see our plan just wouldn't work. So, being just-in-case types, we stored them up in our plant/sewing/catch-all room and completely rearranged that space. Well, I finally was slugged by inspiration and found a way to use the shelves. It involved moving one set of shelves into a space in another room where they fitted perfectly and putting the new shelves in the vacated space instead. Couldn't put the entire five shelf unit in but the last shelf fits nicely under the table and provides more space for things. I have begun to put things in new arrangements but it is going to be a while before everything is in place again. Right now I have done enough for the day.


We got the snow promised and some vicious winds as well. We have no reason to go out so we won't.

I have the rest of the clean up upstairs to finish and will be busy with that for the day.

Friday, December 16, 2016


This doesn't really help the people arguing for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The electronic monitors didn't detect the leak; the land owner found it.


I do like a man who loves his job!!! And I love reading about entitled assholes who get taken down a peg or two (or three or four).

When there is nothing to laugh about a good snicker works!!

Then Echidne of the Snakes posted this which one of her commentators called perfect LAWS (laugh and weep simultaneously.)


The lake effect snow hasn't shown up--yet. The weather people predicted it for last night and today so it still has time to develop. The temperatures are really frigid--down into the low single digits. We did all of our grocery and other errands yesterday so we can stay snug inside today and for what they say will be another snowy weekend starting tomorrow.

John Feffer has a new post at Foreign Policy in Focus: From Here To Dystopia. I finished Splinerlands last night. I think it will be worth a second read sometime later next year. The name of his main character, Julian West, kept tickling the back of my mind. I knew I had read another book with a character of the same name but not recently. And I was right. the book was Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward. However, Bellamy's book, published in 1887 and which I read more than 30 years ago, was a socialist utopian novel in which the state is the benevolent employer and everyone is happily toiling away in a socialist paradise. There was another book that was a direct answer to Bellamy (which I also read but the title of which and author I can't remember). That one ended in a workers' rebellion and anarchy.


Nothing much to comment on. The temps broke 20F a bit ago. Only very light flurries so far but more expected tonight. Tomorrow is supposed to be messy with temps high enough to give us a mix of rain, freezing rain, and snow.

I started six tubes each of spinach and lettuce under the lights upstairs. We'll see how they do.

Monday, December 12, 2016


We had snow and a goodly bit of it over the weekend. We swept off the car and shoveled the patio twice so there isn't much to do this morning. The official count was 4 to 5 inches here but the official numbers are meaningless. What we got on the patio is closer to 8. And it is the patio we have to clear so it is what really matters. Only part of the snow that fell the weekend before had melted so that 8+ inches was on top of what remained. Next weekend they are predicting snow from Friday through Sunday for an additional 5-8 inches. At this rate we won't see bare ground again till April.

I have been busy getting cutting and folding the toilet paper cores into starter pots and getting the small plant tower back into condition. I want to start some lettuce and spinach. I think they might do well inside under the lights. We keep the house at 68 during the cold months and those are plants that like it cool. That will give me an opportunity test the cardboard tubes for starting plants before spring.

Is anyone really surprised by this development? In our wired world everything gets connected and becomes part of the "internet of things." Unless you are like us: dumb phones, dumb fridge, dumb freezer, etc. But I dread replacing any of what we have. How soon before the connectivity becomes "standard?" And on everything?

We have reduced our news (and TV) watching drastically. I have described our growing disenchantment with the media at several point in the last 13 years or so I have been posting on this blog. Someone else has found out exactly what we did: quitting the news makes us feel better, we found other sources of information on things that are important to us, that information usually comes with more depth and more reasoned an nuanced analysis, and is devoid of most of the drama of the "if it bleeds, it leads" style of TV pseudo-journalism. And this is likely to make matters worse.

Well, that is a bit more than normal so I will go ahead and post. See what happens tomorrow.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Some people were upset at Time Magazine's selection of the Bully-elect as their cover-boy "man" of the year. This article has some very interesting conclusions concerning the photograph they chose to use.

Ever since Ben Bernanke quoted bank robber Willie Sutton with reference to Social Security and Medicare in Congressional testimony I have expected something like this. I tried to read the bill itself by it is in many areas incomprehensible. What I did get follows along with Mother Jones's assessment and with past Repthuglican pronouncements. For another good analysis of the bill check out this piece on MSN. I love the description of the proposed "fix"--comparing it to how one "fixes" a cat.


An interesting article: The Golden Arches of Decline. It echoes much of what we have thought here for some time. Our big corporations no longer have any anchor to any place or people. They may have been established in a particular neighborhood and among a particular group of people but they long since cut its ties. They have no obligations to those places and people and the ties of "charity" are either abstract (given to nebulous groups who also don't have bonds to place and people) or don't really address the problems faced by the people and places they have left behind.

Friday, December 9, 2016


And a snowy one it is. We did get our first measurable snow yesterday along with an hour-and-a-half blackout.

Ah, someone says exactly what I feel about the recent election!!


I like that word "Commercialmass." Anyone who has visited this blog in past years at this time know how little I like the commercialization of this (and other holidays).

John Feffer has a post on Englehardt's Tomdispatch site that is a take off on his Splinterlands novel. I am waiting for my copy to come in at my local bookstore.


Most of the snow we got Sunday has melted. The temperatures rose higher than the weather people expected.

An interesting counterpoint to this story: our local grocery store took out its "self-service" lanes and put back the two regular checkout lanes they removed three or four years ago to make way the cashier-less stations. We rarely used them preferring to chat with the cashiers who rang up our sales. We like that human contact. I don't think a totally cashless store would fly here--certainly not for us. Also we don't use "smart" phones and we like the paper receipts.


And excellent summary by Nomi Prins of how the Bully-elect's administration is shaping up: of the billionaires, by the billionaires, and for the billionaires.

Friday--nothing much out there today.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


I didn't have anything to say about anything yesterday. So I just read other things. I also cleaned out a number of sites and blogs I am not going to follow any more. My interests change, or the blogger's interests or focuses change, our they (or I) have hit a rut and I need to shake things up a bit on my side. Some bloggers I have followed have become more commercial and I don't want to be bombarded with plugs for products.

This morning I found this interesting item. Facebook a digital graveyard?? Hmmmm! Yeah, I see the point but I think it needs expanding. The entire internet is a digital graveyard. I can't count the number of times I found a blog during a search and thought it might be interesting to follow only to discover that the blogger is no longer active. Whenever the aggregator I use suggests a new site for me I check first when the last post was published. Often I find the writer hasn't posted for a year--2 years--or more. When ever I check out a news story I check the publication date first of all because too often I have found the story isn't really all that new. Someone has just found it and linked to it as though it were. The whole internet is a digital graveyard not just social media.

We had snow flurries this morning but it hasn't accumulated. We have had no significant snow fall and it is the first weekend of December. The temperatures have been up and down but trending downward. The furnace has gone on more often but since we keep the temp inside at 68F it hasn't been working all that frequently. I left the plants in the tower, and the lavender and three mums in their various places. We'll se if they survive the winter. I just spent a bit of time making up some toilet paper roll starting pots which I will plant with lettuce and spinach to see how they will do inside. Be nice to get some greens over winter that are locally grown. I brought the blueberry in when that first cold snap froze the soil in the containers. I don't think it was damaged. Something else we will see about. I gave up on the one sickly rosemary but the two others I started from cuttings are doing well. The will need a new home soon. Getting much too big for their current location. I need to sit down with some drafting paper and map out the garden so I can plan where to put what. The catalogs have started coming in so planning the what is on tap as well.

Friday, December 2, 2016


So the Rick Snyder's Attorney General in Michigan is arguing literacy is not a "right."

Perhaps, this is the best expression of Black Friday and the whole damned "holiday" season.

Is blatant narcissism and self-promotion an "ideology?"We are all looking for the "goat entrails" on which we can prognosticate what our Bully-elect will do (or not do). All of the signs and portends are confusing and contradictory. The only constancy he has shown is to himself.


Andrew Bacevich has another good article at Tomdispatch. We have heard a lot of talk about the "swamp" in Washington which the Bully-elect has pledged to drain (though how he will do that when he has brought in the most rapacious gators to drain the environment that created them. But, as Bacevich points out, there is another swamp feeding into Washington: the swamp of war. They both have to be drained.

The Daily Kos has a post "should we be concerned by signs that democracy itself is in danger?" I have wondered throughout the election season as our Bully-elect claimed that the system was rigged or that fraud was somehow involved, and as stories came out that Russia was hacking the voting systems, or that various actors were implanting fake news to drive the vote which ever way they wanted. This system works only so long as we trust it. When enough of us don't trust it any more it will fail. I wonder how close we are to that situation.


Since we have so over-used antibiotics that we have increasing numbers of bacterial strains showing not just resistance to a single antibiotic but often multiple antibiotics, scientists are reaching back in time to old remedies.


Welcome to December--almost at the end of a depressing year.

A suggestion for how to handle "toddler" Bully-elect.


Infidel753 sums up the dilemma of our present election: minority rule. With Clinton having gained almost 2% more actual votes than the Bully-elect, his supporters are clutching at straws to shore up the legitimacy of his Electoral Collage win. For most of our 200+ years under the Constitution the process has worked fairly well. The Electoral College has differed from the popular vote only four times in the all that time. Unfortunately two of those times occurred since 2000. And, from a map I saw earlier showing county by county results, may reflect a growing divergence between lightly populated interior states and heavily populated states with large cities. Balancing out such interests has always been a problem which is why states are awarded Representatives on the basis of population while all states, regardless of population, have two Senators each. That system came under pressure when more northern states without slavery came into the Union than Southern states with slavery. For years the Senate could block any attempt by Northern interests to outlaw slavery through legislation from the House by defeating it is the Senate. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 kept the balance of power until 1854 by mandating that every free state be admitted with a slave state. I wonder what kind of compromise can paper over the disparity in today's world. We have always had to avoid both the tyranny of the majority and the tyranny of the minority.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Post-Thanksgiving Weekend--


Started planning for next spring's gardens. I have a long list of seeds I have on hand but most are way past their optimal dates and others don't do well in my space. Now that I have got the list I will consider each and decide what to get rid of and what to keep. I also need to map out the gardens so I can record where I put what. Why not use plant stakes, you ask? Well, I have yet to find a stake or a pen to label them with that will stand up to the heat and sun. I have said before that that little patio is an oven in the summer and a freezer in the winter. Winter gardening is totally out since my containers freeze solid until May. Summer gardening is a challenge since spring plants bolt readily and the variable temps can chill hot weather plants. Fall planting is a crap shoot since we may bet snow as early as October. This year we haven't had snow yet. Highly unusual.

David Kaiser's post today reflects conversations we have had here over the last year. We don't like much of what we see on the Republican side for policy and see no one on the Democratic side worth supporting.

Found this by way of Ronni at Time Goes By. We are, indeed, expendable and I wonder how long before which ones of us will be thrown under the bus.


It looks like we may get the worst of all options: a narcissistic bully and a religious culture warrior. I was glad when the Bully-in-Chief-elect nominated Pence because at least he wouldn't be governor of my state again. My second thought: oh, shit--what if they win. At the time I was only considering the possibility of a religious zealot a heart beat away from the Presidency. It looks like The Bully is going to run his businesses and let the Vice-Bully run the country.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Another Monday--

Just had a couple of thoughts about things I read over the weekend. First, our President-elect promises he will take only $1 per year as salary. The old saying goes "you get what you pay for" so how much do you think 0.27 cents a day will buy you? Oh, and maybe we should get that in writing before it goes the way of most of his charitable donations. Second, David Kaiser's account of his interview with Stephen Bannon is somewhat disquieting especially where he describes Bannon trying to get him to say that the next "fourth turning" crisis will result in a major war because the last three have done so. If the Strauss and Howe hypothesis is correct, we are somewhere toward the middle of that kind of crisis, then we are facing another war on the level of the other three. At least that is the apparent direction of the question. That smacks of a "god wills it" attitude or an almost Marxian faith in an inevitable historical trajectory. Perhaps he should remember Elizabeth I's attitude toward war: I do not like wars. Their outcomes are uncertain.


Ugo Bardi has a good piece on the real meaning of that wonderful "bonanza" of oil in West Texas that was ballyhooed earlier this year. I learned long ago to take any such pronouncements with a large grain of salt. When they had the fracas over the estimated reserves in the wildlife reserve in northernmost Alaska I looked up the then current oil consumption in the U.S. and discovered that great bounty was only--wait for it--three months worth of consumption. If we could get out every last drop. Which we can't.

As soon as I read the headline I wondered if the writer would make the connection with Nixon's notion that something can't be illegal if a president does it.


This is so terribly familiar and almost all of it applies. I have forced myself to get rid of books I have read and will not read again (I think). And usually because I have moved to a smaller place and absolutely have to have room. Or I find my interests have changed.

From The Pagan and the Pen a good piece on our so-called news media and how we are manipulated.
This election season we pretty much stopped watching the news and we questioned a lot more of the news we did see. I always try to read anything with my skeptical antennae on high alert. And I did notice early on a certain polarization: each side believed fervently in any stories of evil spread about the opposing candidate and nothing bad about their own. And they spread those stories far and wide as though they were absolute truth. Post-truth era indeed.

Just finished our new winter wreath. I don't do holidays--just seasons. Each time I rebuild one it lasts about three years before the colors fade and the flower petals or butterfly/bird wings tatter.

Thursday--Happy Thanksgiving--

Hecate Demeter posted an interesting piece that dovetails nicely with something I thought yesterday when the news media announced that the President-elect is going to nominate Nikki Haley as U.N. ambassador and Betsy deVos as Secretary of Education. They seem almost reasonable compared to the people rumors claimed he would nominate: Bolton and Carson respectively. They aren't really. Haley is the current governor of South Carolina serving her first term. Diplomatic experience: none. Becky deVos is a wealthy donor and supports charter schools in which she is invested. Result: more public money going into private pockets. And since the President-elect isn't separating himself from his businesses why should she? Oh, yes--the window has definitely moved.


I found this item and I can't even express the mixture of emotions I feel. I am not really surprised since I have been reading wingnuts on the extreme right openly proposing the end of child labor laws for the last couple of years. They may have whispered the ideas to like-minded compatriots on the sly but recently they have been openly and loudly advocating them. And, unfortunately, they are finding an audience that takes them seriously. Madame Secretary-nominate deVos has never lived at a time in this country when children weren't protected by Child Labor Laws. She is 9 years younger than I am and I never lived at a time when those laws weren't in place. The other emotions involve a very sick feeling I experienced when I realized the Ronald Reagan really wanted to turn back the clock to the pre-Depression era and erase all of the gains organized labor had made.

Another entry for the "post-truth" file. I try to look at the stories I read through very skeptical lenses. There are stories that are from (usually) trusted sources that appear (mostly) factual which can be accepted as (largely) accurate. The bias or slant I can ignore and make up my own mind about. Then there are the stories I find on sites I (almost always) check before making up my mind about how much to trust the information. If I don't find another (more trusted) source to back up the story, I simply don't trust them. Then there are the articles so over the top I dismiss them outright. I was amazed at how many of those stories turned up on certain sites I have followed for information not related to politics, social trends, religion etc. So long as the article said something bad about Clinton the were all over those sites. Obviously some people are reading with a different set of lenses.

I wasn't sure if it was really a word--but, it is and it fits the new administration perfectly: kakistocracy.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Weekend Edition--


What I am reading

  • David Kaiser's latest Time article. I have had The Fourth Turning on my e-reader for some time. This reminds me I really should finish it. Also need to get cracking on Daniel Boorstin's The Image which he wrote in the late 1960s but seems relevant to what is happening now.
  • "The Enemy Is Not Death; The Enemy is Needless Suffering"--good take on medical practice as it is now and as it should be. Some years ago I read an article about an elderly man who opted for expensive, experimental, and painful treatment when cancer that had been in remission came back. He was a Holocaust survivor and, having survived against long odds and in brutal conditions, was willing to grasp at any straw to keep living. I was in my 30s when I read the piece and one would think I would have agreed. I did--for him. He thought the process worth while. For me--not. Those kinds of decisions involve the delicate balancing of beliefs and values.
  • Oxford Dictionaries has chosen its word-of-the-year: post-truth. I remember answering a student's question on how people in the past could act or think the way they did in the face of contradictory facts. I forget the exact era of history we were studying at that point. However, I tried to point out that sometimes belief trumps triumphs over facts. If you believe 1) witches are real, 2) they are always malevolent, 3) they are a danger to society, and 4) your religion condemns them, you might just act on that belief.
  • Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History and Harvesting Color. I read a couple of chapters at a time. Don't read anything much at one sitting any more and may put it down for a week or more.
What I am doing
  • I started on the winter wreath yesterday. After getting the foliage and flowers trimmed--a difficult task because of the wire cores. Everything is arranged and today I will wire the pieces down.
  • Continuing to make progress on the shawl. Did another two rows and will do more today.
What I am reading

Friday, November 18, 2016


Goodness--November is half over already!!

Tom Engelhardt asks a good question: Has the American "experiment" run its course?" And I think we have gone into the gates of hell and just haven't yet noticed the change in the scenery.

A good piece at the Times of Israel. I have heard and read repeated claims that # (my shorthand for "he whom I will not name") "tells it like it is." To that I have asked "what is he saying to whom and when? An what does he say when he isn't talking to that person or group but to another with a different agenda? And what is the "is" you think he is telling?" I never did get any good, clear answers. Unfortunately, # has uncorked the genie of bigotry which will not be bottled up again very soon. Of, course the cork was always a bit loose on that bottle.

My sentiments exactly. It really pisses me off to hear Repthuglicans who obstructed everything Obama tried to do from the beginning now demanding we give # a "chance" to succeed. Hypocrites!!

Damn!! I go on Facebook mainly to play a couple of games. Today one of those games totally eliminated my presence and started me back at level 1. LEVEL 1!!! I had been at 86. I am almost at the point to cancelling my account.


I have spent much of the last couple of days cleaning out more of the gardens. The cold temps over the last few nights (above freezing but still below 40F) left the remaining plants looking bedraggled. I have some more to take out on the east side today and then I want to lay down newspaper on top to make sure the soil stays in the pots during heavy rains. As I progress with the clean up I think about what I want to do next year and what I will put where. The catalogs are trickling in. We stepped outside late last night to check out that "super moon." It was pretty!

Found this at Americablog and it certainly expresses some of my sentiments since November 8.


I have pretty much tuned out most of the post-election analyses and speculations about what # will do. We won't know that until whatever happens happens. I am also ignoring Facebook most of the time. I still play the jigsaw and check up on friends (real friends I have known for thirty years) but otherwise I am stay off it. I got a bit of crocheting one on a long languishing project--not the troublesome doily but I will get back to that next. I have most of the materials for the winter wreath but need to get a grapevine form because I HATE the wire frame of the old wreath. Sometimes I need to replace just a few of the flowers or foliage but other times I need to replace almost all of it. This is one of the latter times. I got the last of the tender plants pulled, swept the patio and drained the hose which has been stashed in the shed for the winter. I do get a lot more done since all that time I used to spend on Facebook has been liberated for other things.

A nice giggle from the Archdruidess. Just reflecting our reality.

Although I have tuned out of most post-election discussions, there are good writers I still follow those like Nike Turse at Tomdispatch (and of course Englehardt who wrote the intro).


An interesting piece from the Washington Post on a study of another climate change casualty: kelp forests. What is interesting you ask? Well, first, the warming didn't have to be particularly large to drive the change. And, second, the destruction of the kelp wasn't even the direct result of temperature changes in the area but on the migration of herbivorous tropical fish into an area where they normally weren't found.

Well, the people at Dragon City fixed the problem and I am back playing at my level 87 stage. But I am still going to cut back on the gaming--just not go on other games as much.


Goodness--another week gone.

Echidne has posted about the recent stories about fake news stories that were especially evident on Facebook during the latter days of the election. I have a number of thoughts on and related to the subject. I have been very cautious about trusting what I find on the web for a long time now. Certain cites I subject to extreme scrutiny before I take anything written there as at all possible. All of them have a particular axe to grind and cut the story to fit their agenda. Even what used to be trusted sites cannot be taken at face value any more because they aren't vetting their sources much--if at all. Several stories from Russia Today which were later proven false found their way onto both news sites and social media. Once upon a time historians considered anything written in the New York Times (and a few other "newspapers of record") to be thoroughly trustworthy and could be cited without further fact checking. I wonder if they have changed that. In a highly polarized political climate where each side believes no good about people or views on the other side and no bad about their own false stories supporting the one and vilifying the other spread rapidly and widely with no regard for the truth.

John Michael Greer has written thoughtfully about the attitudes of working class white and black voters in his small town. The post I have linked is one of several this season. The funny thing is that I voted for many of the same reasons but for Clinton. I didn't see a thin-skinned egoist who has a habit of seeking some kind of vengeance on anyone who disagrees with him or he feels insulted by would be an improvement over Clinton in the foreign policy arena. And the people he is considering for various State Department posts bolsters that view. I doubted that # would be better for the economy (at least at my level of the economy) than Clinton and feared he might be much worse. That view is also being bolstered by recent developments on Medicare and Social Security. And I saw a world of difference between a self-confessed pussy grabber and a woman who is married to an adulterer. In four years when we are in the middle of a new presidential election we will all be thinking of Sarah Palin's 2012 question to voters "how's that hopey, changey thing doing for ya?" I doubt seriously that the voters who went for # will get the change they are hoping for.

As for the promise on jobs, I think this might be what we will get instead.

Friday, November 11, 2016


One more day and our election fever will break.

If this guy was running for president, even on a Republican ticket, he would have my vote. Amen, brother!!!


Election Day. By the end of the day I will be either disgruntled or totally disgusted: disgruntled if Clinton wins or totally disgusted if Trump wins.

The first of the new seed catalogs came in. I usually get my orders in by early January so I have to really start evaluating what I did this year and what I want to do next year.


Well, I am totally disgusted. I had hoped not to see much of Trump's face again but woke to the news that he had won. Though disgusted, I am not really surprised. I have had nagging voices in the back of my mind ever since the nominations were set. Those voices kept reminding me of what a large part of the Democratic party supported Sanders far more enthusiastically than Clinton's supporters supported her, how the Trump supporters were voicing legitimate grievances (however viciously or loathsomely they did so), that statistics have been wrong before and might well be wrong again, that I really disagreed with much of Clinton's business as usual with minor tweaks agenda at the same time I was turned off by Trump's lies, bravado, scapegoating, and crudeness. Welcome to "Survivor: America!"

Thomas Friedman wrote an interesting piece for the NY Times on Trump's election. "Homeless In America" sums up the feeling quite well and he is describing psychological and spiritual homelessness not physical. That is something I have been feeling more strongly over the last few years.


Another interesting take the election two days past: "It can't happen here (but it just did."

I have seen a couple of comments blaming third party voters for the Trump win. I won't link because I am sure you have seen similar accusations in your readings. But I have to ask a different question: what about the two main party candidates induced those voters to go third party? The same question should be asked concerning those who didn't vote for either Trump or Clinton but did vote--for the down ballot candidates. And about those who simply didn't vote at all because the over all numbers in the presidential race were down significantly (especially on the Democratic side) compared to 2012.

Now this is an interesting idea given the fact that twice in the last 20 years the candidate who eventually "won" the electoral college did not win the popular vote. It would side step the usual route which would require a Constitutional amendment which would take 3/4 of the House and Senate plus the approval of 3/4 of the states to take effect. I can see two possible flies in that ointment: a candidate who, like Donald Trump, who would win if the electors were awarded under the current system would likely sue and "faithless" electors who decide not to follow the rules.

Post-truth election? Oh--yes--indeed!!! The truth simply did not matter. Facts did not matter. Most of our principles didn't matter.

Friday--Veteran's Day--

I am still working out what I think about the election and its consequences. I have no idea what will happen but the portends aren't favorable--at least to me they aren't. I said some time ago that I followed politics to get a handle on what those bastards in power might do that would impact me and how it would impact me. The feminist phrase that come out of the late 1960s and 1970s that "the personal is political" is absolutely true. Can I, as a woman, expect anything good from a man who thinks of women as so much meat to be grabbed by any man who has the balls to do so and talks about his daughter as a "piece of ass?" I think not. Could I, if I were a business person, expect anything good from a man who thinks it good business to agree to buy goods or services at a set price and then decides, after receiving said goods and services, that he wants to "renegotiate" the deal? Again, I don't think so. I put that word in quotes because refusing to pay what you agreed to pay and then "offering" pennies on the dollar isn't renegotiation. It is fraud and theft. In the one case, being judged solely on my gender and limited by those judgements in everything I do or say, is deeply personal. But so is the second case since it directly impinges on whether I can sustain my business, my family, and my life. Now put the two together and the situation gets doubly personal.

Neal Gabler posted an interesting piece on Moyers & Company that reflects much of my last paragraph and extends it. He also wrote something that "I have been thinking" and on issues that transcend the political. We have to refocus our attention on the personal/local level. We don't have jobs that provide living wages? Well, as Dmitri Orlov once wrote there is always work. Work is what we do to sustain ourselves. Work is cooking dinner from scratch, raising some of our food in what ever space we have to stretch the inadequate amount of money our jobs provide--if we have a job at all. Are we worried about climate change and despairing because our political leaders can't see the urgency? Well, we can always make changes in our own lives and try to influence our local communities to take action. Are we concerned about sustainability and using resources sparingly in a world "consumed" by consumerism which encourages mindless consumption? Again, the better option would be to disengage with that culture and change our own lives. We need to do what Candide did at the end of Voltaire's novel: tend our gardens. That doesn't mean bad things won't happen because there are always assholes out there ready to tear down or appropriate what others build. And assholes who make use of the assets we built as a community while thinking that everything they have they got all by themselves so they don't have to contribute. But the "tend our gardens" strategy means we are a bit less dependent upon them.

Friday, November 4, 2016


Well, here we are on the last day of October. Happy Halloween or Samhain or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate. Our seasons are definitely turning. The trees have just past their peak color. Our temperatures are still on a roller coaster but the highs are lower and the lows are lower still. We have had a couple of light frosts but no killing frost yet. I am letting the last of the peppers stay where they are and we pick them as we need them. I cut down the Moldavian balm, the dahlia and the hyssop. I may do the same for the fern-leaf lavender soon. I don't want to plant it again. It's scent just didn't appeal to me. I may leave my other lavender where it is and not cut it down. On year I did that and it was hardy enough to come back. I lost it over the winter after because we had so much snow the melt drowned anything in the containers. Soon I will have to detach and drain the hose, and put it away for the winter. All the little chores in putting the gardens to bed.

I find it absolutely fascinating how our political officials get creative in using the English language. Don't like protesters? Call them terrorists and bring in the riot control cops. Don't like environmental activists? Well, they are terrorists also. Don't like a bunch of uppity redskins and their allies camping out near an oil pipeline construction site? Well, declare an emergency (or a disaster), bring in a bunch of thugs in the guise of law enforcement and clear the crowd.

As I have mentioned, I am trying to avoid the election as much as possible. The political fliers go straight into the trash and the TV is off most of the day. However, every now and then someone, usually Trump, does something so utterly stupid I have to comment. After railing against a "rigged" system and claiming rampant fraud, he has urged his Colorado supporters to commit fraud by voting twice. He urges them to "check" on the ballots they mailed in by showing up in person to vote insisting the election officials will void their mailed in ballot and issue them a new one. Nonsense and illegal--as this article indicates.

I do love the sarcasm dripping from the pen (or keyboard) of the author of this article.


Welcome to November--already!! Only six more days and this election cycle will be over--at last. Though we won't get a rest since wannabes are already lining up for 2012--damn!!

This is the second pipeline rupture for the same company in the same area. Is it my imagination or have we really had a lot of oil/gas transport issues of late. From leaking pipes to exploding pipes and trains and spills of various kinds. And some wonder why Standing Rock protesters are against another pipeline all too near drinking water supplies.

I saw an interesting item from Post Politics which I hope comes through this link. Basically it shows how interminable this election cycle has been since Ted Cruz became the first to officially throw his name in the hat for his party's nomination on March 23, 2015. That is eighteen gods-damn months ago and counting. The article has an cute little calculator to figure how much of your life this endless torture has wasted which for me is 2.3%. Actually, it might be a bit less since we keep the TV off most of the time and I delete most of the stories that focus entirely on the supposed scandals and personalities without any broader features of interest (like the vote fraud hypocrisy above.)


A new guy, Patrick Watson, has taken over the Connecting the Dots blog at Mauldin Economics. Here is his first post: Welcome to the Counterfeit Economy. We have seen this for some time. We read stories on a regular basis about fake honey or fake olive oil, or a product that doesn't live up to its hype. We read labels and hope they are accurate and true but always expecting them to not be.


The unusual weather continues here. The first days of November have been very warm--unseasonably warm. And we have had far more rain in spring type thunderstorms. Yesterday evening and last night monsoonal style heavy rain moved in with crashing thunder and flashing lightening. Mom noticed the new buds on the impatiens. Those are very warm season plants but we haven't had a killing frost yet.

Last night I was so irritated with the political ads I started muting the TV. Several of the ads were shown not only every commercial break but two and three times during the same break and those were usually the loudest and most negative of the ads. Five long days left!!

Ah, Friday--

I put my crochet doily away for a few days. I messed up--twice--and can't figure out what I did. Best to let it rest and do something else. So I took out the dresser scarf I have one-third embroidered and worked on that for a bit. The garden has been left to itself. When the frost finally comes I will clear out the peppers and fern-leaf lavender and what ever else I will need to pull. I have a stock of newspaper I put down as a ground cover.  The new seed and plant catalogs should be coming soon. I have several ideas of what to put where. I also spent some time looking at an idea I had for putting small containers on a wire shoe rack--the kind that hangs off a door. Around January I will start collecting the gallon milk and juice jugs for that project. I thought I might be able to use the gallon vinegar jars but they don't fit as well.

I'll see you next week after the damned election is over--for bad or worse.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Had a lovely weekend from which we are still recovering. Saturday we took the bus day trip to the Chicago Botanical Gardens and the village of Long Grove. It was sunny but a bit cold so we didn't do much walking around. The tram ride provided a nice overview of the gardens and ideas of what we want to see close up when we get a chance to go back. We did see a really nice display of bonsai and I picked up three books and a packet of seeds from the gift shop. That is the most I have spent on any of the trips. Some of the people take these junkets mainly to shop. Long Grove is a pretty little town with a nice street of tourist bait shops. These trips are fun but exhausting. We walked more on that day than we normally do all week at home. Sunday, besides resting from Saturday, we had a wonderful pizza dinner with my brother's family to celebrate Mom's 85th birthday coming up very soon.


This is a good piece of news. Proselytizing Christians are always such a pain in the ass. Now if only they would stop going door to door in this country.

This sounds so much like Venezuela in the early days of its prolonged crisis. And the government's choice of scapegoat is also familiar: profiteering and hoarding.

I guess they would like us all to forget who is at the top of their ticket and how he got there.


It has been chilly here. Yesterday the temperature in the house didn't get above 68 and the heat came on over night. We also had rain.

Barbara Tannen asks a good question on Politico: Why is 'Compromise' a dirty word?

Something I never expected to see: a (former) Republican with principles and a backbone. Quite a change from all of the other Repthuglicans I have seen that kick their "Christian" and "family" values under the rug to support Trump who displays neither Christian nor family values of any kind. Or worse who, like Paul Ryan, won't come out and say they "endorse" him but will vote for him.


Charles Hugh Smith gives us a good term for out current economy: The Landfill Economy.


See you all on Monday.

Friday, October 21, 2016



We had clouds and rain most of yesterday. When that cleared up we had wind. I did walk out in the gardens to see how things are doing. A couple of weeks ago I put the little blueberry I had kept for the last two years as a house plant on the soil in one of the containers. I plan to sink the container into the ground and mulch it for the winter. I have managed to keep the plant alive but it needs a period of cold weather dormancy to thrive, bloom and (I hope) produce berries. However, keeping the soil pH at a good level for the plant has been a problem. I lost three plants over two years because of that. I hope that keeping it in its own pot that is then sunk into the larger container will give it a micro environment I can control better. Everything else weathered our frost a few days ago well. The seasonal changes haven't hit the gardens with full force yet but that is coming. You can almost feel it.


Nineteen days till that day I refuse to mention again. My self imposed political fast is going pretty well. The benefits include two books (non-political) read, a large doily finished and another started (after I had to pull out all but the foundation ring because of an early mistake), blood pressure down (feels like it anyway), mood definitely improved. I skim the titles and comments on posts and article but I usually pass on to something else. I do make some (very few) exceptions like this one. Everyone needs some humor to lighten the mood.


It is getting near Halloween and this Buzz Feed piece is precious. Go, Girl, go!!!

Mauldin's Outside the Box column has an interesting analysis of the American socio/economic/political situation and it isn't pretty. I am ignoring the minutia of the political season but find some of the articles that cover the broad trends and implications for the future are often very interesting.

I may have to rethink my plan to keep the blueberry plant outside overwinter. I found vigorous new growth on it almost like it thought the season was early spring not the middle of autumn. I am afraid that leaving it outside might kill it.

Found this article on the "sharing economy" on Market Watch. I have said every since Uber and AirBnB came into existence that this has nothing to do with sharing (by any normal definition of the word) and everything to do with business. As I read the piece I recalled histories I read about the "putting out system" of the textile industry in England just before the industry moved to water powered looms and spinning jennies or spinning mules. The cloth merchant bought a quantity of fiber (wool, linen, cotton) and turned it over to a cottager who has a spinning wheel and collected the yarn when spun. Then he took the yarn to another cottager (or left it withe the same one) who had a loom and could weave it into cloth which he picked up later and sold for a nice profit. The only ones who got rich were the putting-out merchants. What does Uber do (or any of the others in this racket) but supply the owner of a car with information about the location of someone who wants to go somewhere so he can pick up that person and deliver them to where ever for a fee from which the company takes a cut. Replace information with "fiber" or "yarn" and car (or lodging) and car owner (or homeowner) with spinster or weaver and you have the same relationship. Where is the "sharing" in either arrangement? I don't see it.


Nothing much of interest on the net today. My bread is rising and will be for another half hour to hour before I can bake it. See you Monday.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


A long piece by Matt Taibi but well worth a read.

I intend that that will be the last link concerning the farce we are calling an election or on politics until after the vote is in. I am incredibly sick of the whole think and absolutely disgusted that the Republican candidate is the best the Party of Lincoln can offer. I am not disgusted with the Democrat but I had hoped for a better discussion of the issues we, the voters, have to use as a basis for deciding who to vote for. I am tuning out for the next three weeks.

Any comments and links I post will be on totally mundane topics.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Spent yesterday cleaning up and straightening up in our sewing/plant starting room which had  come to resemble a very untidy junk room. Also finished a doily/table-topper, started another and took apart a throw pillow to renew the batting. Even got it put back together.

Anyone else having problems with sites loading this morning? We are. Half of the sites are either slow loading or won't load at all. Irritating!!!!


Didn't do much yesterday except our grocery shopping and fuming at the slow internet.


Every time I think this election cycle can't get any sicker or lower it does. And I am not talking about the stories of women who claim they were actually abused by Trump (as opposed to his "locker room talk"). I am talking about assholes of both genders who think it is a good idea to repeal the 19th Amendment.

It seems the scammers using trying the I.R.S. dodge to scare people into sending money have gotten smarter.  They are sending letters claiming to be from the I.R.S. demanding payment or info.

I keep shaking my head over how spineless the GOP has become.

I agree with most of this article. We have noticed here that the old received wisdom that the elimination of jobs of one type will always be accompanied by the creation of new jobs of another type simply doesn't hold true anymore (if it ever really did). We have also noticed that getting new education and training doesn't necessarily mean jobs that require that education and training will be there when the student finishes the program. How we can "offset" the low pay provided for jobs that have, a the author puts it, high social value is a big question? Especially in societies devoted to our current predatory capitalism.

Monday, October 10, 2016


Again, I didn't watch the town-hall style debate between Donald and Hillary last night. I did see some video of it posted and wondered who had drugged the Donald who seemed to be stalking her around the stage with the most desultory/depressed manner. Evidently I wasn't the only one who thought that. The Archdruidess posted this tweet from last night that says everything that needs to be said.

As for the Repthuglican Party generally, she has another appropriate comment that says all.

Here is a new entry for the "Wow! I never knew that!" file. Ghost/Albino trees.

This is an interesting story. A lesson in how to skew focus group results toward your desired result--in this case that people are either voting Republican or Democrat or are Undecided. That, evidently, was not the case for the CNN focus group where the voters who said they were decided and were voting for a third party were simply erased by new votes where the participants were not allowed a third party option.

Sunday, October 9, 2016



As you can see, I didn't find much to comment on yesterday. I harvested three trays each of lavender and spearmint. I will grind those and put them in jars later today. I hope the weather holds and I can get the lemon balm and peppermint harvested and in the dehydrator as well. Right now the gardens look the usual end of season disheveled and battered. The rains have been hard on the mums I put in for some color. It came down hard enough to nearly break some of the branches. The peppers have produced steadily and a couple so like this cooler weather they are blooming like it was spring. I doubt that will continue much longer as we are not far off our average first frost date. I attended to my indoors rosemary bushes which I have neglected most of the summer. I haven't done much beyond watering them and, at one point, almost left them too long without adequate water. Luckily they are both coming back now so I trimmed dead springs off and pruned the rest.

I haven't said much about the latest Trump kerfuffle. The man has a long track record as a very slimy caricature of a human being and it amuses me no end at how suddenly the GOP stalwarts have discovered it. The Political Wire has a little piece on desperate efforts by the Repthuglican Party to "save" the down-ballot candidates many of whom endorsed Trump thinking to save their sorry asses from the hordes of Trump supporters who might not vote for them if they didn't. Not a one of them had the guts to say "I can't support Trump for (name any of a myriad reasons). If you can't vote for me because of that, so be it." A few waffled and then caved in when the national polls showed Trump even with Clinton. Now that the polls seem to be going the other way and their precious careers might be in jeopardy as more people appear outraged by the newest revelations, they have backtracked and expect us to applaud them for suddenly finding their balls.

I wonder how many of our spineless Repthuglican candidates will meekly put their tails between their legs a recommit to Trump when faced with this kind of scene? This opinion piece from the Daily Kos makes some very good points and reveals why I don't think the latest outrageous obscenity from The Donald will do much good. There are too many who think he "tells it like it is" (including some of my relatives) without defining exactly what "it" and "is" are. In other words, what versions of reality do they think his verbal diarrhea reflects. And why do they think he will deliver on whatever they think he has promised them when he has promised the exact opposite to a different group.

Ask and ye shall receive--in this case an answer to the question I asked in the last paragraph, or rather implied: who would support Trump and why? In some ways I can sympathize with the person the author talked to about her support for Trump. In fact, I note sometime ago that the major fault I found with Clinton was the company she keeps (Wall Street Bankers and the heads of global companies). But I also noted where she put the blame: the Clintons, the Bushes, and the Obamas. Before Trump became the grotesque figure he is, I considered a "protest vote" for either the Libertarians (whose policy statements I find repugnant) or the Greens (who haven't a chance in hell). No longer.

Friday, October 7, 2016


Well, I guess they had their Vice-Presidential debate yesterday. No, I didn't watch. I live in Indiana and I was so glad that Pence wouldn't be running for re-election as governor but I really didn't want to see him inflicted on the rest of the country. I won't link but the stories I have seen so far (unless they are part of the Repthuglican Ministry of Truth) think it was something of a mess in which neither candidate came off well.

Over the last year or so, I have noticed a problem trying to view some of the blogs and alternative sites I normally visit--usually prepper/suvivalist/homesteader sites or Naked Capitalism and other alternative news/economic sites. This little story is intriguing in light of that history. Interesting coincidence--if that is what it was. The timing is more than a little suspicious.


Tom Englehardt has a really good essay with a twist on the place of Donald Trump in American history. In many ways there is really nothing new about Trump. We have seen something of his type before as salesman/conman/huckster. We have even seen them in politics. What we haven't seen is the Donald's appeal to a nihilist strain in American society, the strain that doesn't mind if the loose canon they will vote for would bring the whole edifice crashing down. Most of the time we have wanted change but not catastrophic change. That after all is what Obama's campaign of "Hope and Change" was founded on. Trump's campaign, however, appeals to the notion of "No Hope and Burn-The-Sucker-Down Change."


The New York Times has a long but interesting article asking "What If PTSD Is More Physical Than Psychological?"

Tuesday, October 4, 2016



I got out in the gardens during one of the sunny intervals between rain and gloom. Picked a nice batch of peppers I need to clean and freeze today. The weather this week should be better for getting some more clean up done.


Motherboard has an interesting piece today: Modern Media Are Made For Forgetting. I have often wondered how future historians will deal with our modern media. So many of the old films from the first 50 years of the last century have deteriorated beyond saving. The author talks about a progression from clay tablets to papyrus to parchment to paper to digital but how much in each of those media never made it to the next step? Sometimes I wonder what information we would find if we still had access to those media. Sometimes we can't even decipher or interpret them. It brings to mind "Ozymandias" by Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Gods!! Thirty-eight days till this interminable election season is over. I had a brief thought that I would be so happy when the votes are finally counted but then--realized that the ground for 2020 is already being plowed, that the gridlock in congress will likely continue, and that the news media will still be fixated on ephemera not substance. If this election is notable for the quality of candidates regurgitated by our major parties, 2020 looks to be worse.


Speaking of this election in a broader historical context, David Kaiser posted a good essay which describes some of the historical and technological developments that have led us here.

We have no desire to acquire so-called "smart" devices. When we went shopping for new cell phones we went for simple "dumb" phones as we call them. This story exactly why.

By the way, WELCOME TO OCTOBER--and where the hell did September go? Right now I am looking out at a monsoonal deluge that would be normal for late April or early May and our street is a river fed by creeks that are normally sidewalks. If you want to cross the street, get out your hip waders. Well, not quite. Galoshes would do. But, still, it is a heck of a lot of water.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


An interesting historical/archeological mystery: how did ancient Roman coins get to a medieval Japanese Castle?

This is a fascinating piece Mauldin put on his Outside the Box blog. Some long time ago I criticized the policy described as MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) in much the same way as the author Mauldin featured does our response to radically fundamentalist Islam (code name ISIS). It works in a positive sum game where each side can negotiate a way to "divide the pie). However, it doesn't in a zero sum game where one (or both sides) are fine with their own destruction so long as the other bastard is also destroyed. His critique of Obama with respect to the negotiations with China, Russia, and Iran is spot on but should be extended to his negotiations with the far-right so-called conservatives in Congress. Obama came up as a "community organizer" whose strategy was to negotiate a division of the pie--in other words he has always played a positive sum game. It hasn't worked in a world where the opposition is playing a zero sum game. We have a whole lot of True Believers out there--fundamentalist Christians, fundamentalist Muslims, social/racial justice activists white supremacists  and the list goes on.

AHHH! Margaret and Helen are back with a wonderful piece on trying to find a word that adequately describe the cesspit that is Donald Trump--and coming up empty as no word seems to fill the bill. Sorry, Helen, even asshat isn't adequate. But the Archdruidess has a suggestion "Super Callous Fragile Racist Extra Braggadocious."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Good morning after the debate which I did not watch. I made up my mind who I wouldn't vote for when Trump clinched the Repthuglican nomination. I just haven't decided whether the election is so close I would rather hold my nose and vote for Clinton or use it as a protest and vote for someone else. You can't tell from the polls. Those are like the old story of the blind men describing an elephant based on which part of the animal they touched. What the poll tells you is what a group of people selected by what ever method the pollster chooses decide to say at a given point in time. Often one
 headline shouts that Hillary is up and is followed by another shouting just as loudly that Trump has the edge. However, I did find this humorous story which indicates that drinking while watching the debates might be injurious to your health. I haven't engaged in drinking games since I was much younger and before age began to cure some of my youthful stupidity. Alcohol poisoning wouldn't have been my worry--rather a stroke from sudden elevated blood pressure would have been a major risk.

Now for a report from the East Coast drought.


Once upon a time there was a joke about Chicago politics: vote early and vote often. It seems that notion has gone over into internet polling.

I have often wondered how useful the annual physical exam is. When I was a child (and our family's insurance program paid for such exams) we got one every year. As an adult I have seen a doctor maybe 8 to 10 times (in almost 50 years) and only when I had a specific problem (stitches in a cut knee, a bout of strep throat).

Monday, September 26, 2016


I don't know how much I will have to say today. We had three days of activity largely out of the house. Eye doctors appointments on the first two--Mom's one day and mine the next. They weren't scheduled for the same day because one of us has to be able to drive us home. Yesterday we had a day coach trip up to Saugatuck, Michigan which, though thoroughly fun, was exhausting. Today will be spent puttering and recovering.


We did spend the day yesterday puttering and resting. I did get things in the gardens watered and, on cue, we had a ten-minute monsoonal deluge. But I doubt that rain, or what fell last night, did enough by themselves. I shouldn't have to water today only because the plants are slowing down and need less now. The mums I put in a couple of weeks ago to brighten up the areas the tomatoes used to be are doing very nicely. I need to dead head some on one plant--but not today because we are expecting more rain. Well, maybe later today since the clouds have moved off and we have sun. But, as happens right around autumn solstice every year, my gardens will now spend most of the day in shade because the shadow of the house covers the fence. The two corners will still get direct sun and reflected light for about another month.

An interesting article on justice and punishment from Rebecca Gordon on Tomdispatch this morning.

Stephanie Land at the New York Times has a good opinion piece on the decluttering/minimalism movement and class politics. I have known people who have suffered deprivation at different times of their lives and, once they had the money, tended to accumulate things. A woman who has spent most of her childhood very short on food came home every month from the PX (military family paid once a month who shopped on base) with boxes and bags of food she had to somehow cram into spaces already jammed with food. At some level she knew it was a compulsion but she couldn't resist getting more while she could. She wasn't a survivalist/prepper and wouldn't have fit in well with that crowd and wasn't stocking up with an emergency/disaster in mind. Other people I knew had spent time very short of cash and the amenities/comforts it could buy and then made up for lost time when they were flush. Land is quite right to note that the "Black Friday" shoppers aren't all well off people who are clawing for things they don't need and would be better off without. Sometimes they are just getting by and plan their "Black Friday" campaigns with military precision to get what they need to make life a bit more comfortable. Minimalism can be a choice in which case it can be good. But it shouldn't be prescribed for everyone at all times.

Something else we need to watch out for: pumpkin puree that isn't really pumpkin. Damn!! I read the article and then went straight to the cabinet to find out if we had any and exactly what is in it. Mom doesn't get the pie filling or the puree but rather canned pumpkin and our cans say they contain only pumpkin. Hopefully, the processor doesn't take the same attitude as the FDA: a squash is a squash is a squash.

So another medical study, the results of which became standard treatment recommendations. has been shot down. Getting such studies re-evaluated is difficult because too many people (researchers whose reputations may be tarnished and journals who might get a reputation for publishing bad science) are invested in the original results. The problem with not getting such studies thoroughly re-evaluated is that people may suffer as much from the treatments as from the conditions for which they are being treated.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Cut back the lemon balm which yielded three trays in the dehydrator. I also got a tray each of peppermint and spearmint. I will get the leaves ground and put in jars later today. I didn't have to water anything. I was surprised to see the soil was still very moist. Hope that is the case today as well.


Nothing much worth commenting on yesterday. I did get the herbs finished and did some needlework. I should check over the peppers for any ripe ones ready to pick. I didn't have to water anything but today is a different story.

I have been ignoring the polls almost as much as the campaign "news" generally. Every now and then something tweaks my interest and I read the story. This story isn't so much about polling results as how pollsters reach their results. And it confirms my tendency to take the results with a big dose of salt.

Now this is a good tax reform proposal. I have long hated the fact that things are generally more cheaply and easily replaced than repaired.  And France has enacted a bunch of new laws I can agree with as well.

Interesting (and long) piece by Andrew Sullivan on our distraction-laden lives and the cost to our psyches.

Monday, September 19, 2016


I haven't had much to say lately and have been avoiding the "news" like it was a plague. Actually, perhaps it is--a mind numbing plague of inaccuracies, outright lies, and fluff. The election is a farce and every time I see Trump's orange countenance I quickly shift to something else. I think too many people think like my long-deceased and longer-ex husband did too often--do something even if it is wrong and if it is different all the better. Unfortunately, all we have is the illusion of different and the choice between wrong and wronger. I will be so glad when the election is over and I can figure out how to survive which ever of the two evils gets to park their ass on the chair behind the desk in the Oval Office.

I have been watching the shadow of the house creep up the fence. It was at the bottom a month ago and by equinox will be brushing the top. After that the gardens will be in shadow except for brief periods in the morning and evening when the corners will get direct sun and the rest strong reflections off the white fence. I have peppers out there yet as well as another cutting or two of peppermint, spearmint and lemon balm. I need to water because we got no rain yesterday and expect none for the next week.

Peter Van Buren posted an interesting article at Tomdispatch today. I agree with every bit of it. I remember talking to a young woman co-worker who was thinking of taking a job in Chicago and hesitated after 9/11 for fear she would be caught in another attack on some iconic tall building. I told her she had a better chance of being shot down on the street than dying in a similar attack. She gave me a look of total incomprehension. I have been amazed at the interviews with "people on the street" who meekly accepted every pat-down, bag inspection or restriction and new metal detector at the gates of sporting arenas with the bland "well, if it makes us safer I'm all for it" statement. No one bothered to ask if the measure really made us safer.

And here is another commentary I agree with entirely from Ray Williams at Psychology Today. I had to call the tech support for one of the two sources I go to for e-books because my latest purchase hadn't downloaded properly. The person I talked to was surprised I has some 500+ books listed. "I read a bit," I told her. That is five years worth of purchases and doesn't include the two dozen (and counting) I have from the other source and the probably equal number of physical books I bought over the same time frame. And those books cover a wide range of topics. I can't understand people who a) don't read, b) are proud they don't read, c) are ignorant of basic facts and d) are proud of that as well. We used to watch hours of news shows before the repetition and superficial coverage irritated us. Then we cut our viewing to the morning local (a.k.a., Chicago) and the so-called national news morning and evening. Then we cut out the national broadcast because the local had the same items presented the same way. A few months ago we went even further and cut it to half an hour morning and evening. Now our latest satirical joke is to ask "which three minutes of news do you want to watch--morning or evening?" We find the on line sources have more complete coverage and we can ignore Trump's orange self-satisfied face and the Kardashian (or other such) fluff. That has done wonders for our blood pressures and moods.

Ah,--a problem I can sympathize with. We have simplified our shopping considerably but we still take a good bit of time because we are label readers. By reading the labels we have winnowed down the choices to many fewer options: no highly processed foods, no anti-bacterial soaps, few canned goods (unless we have canned them ourselves, and as few GMO products as possible.