Tuesday, May 31, 2016


I guess Memorial Day weekend is a good time to get an attack of the "lazies." I did a lot of reading, on line and otherwise, but simply didn't want to spend the energy to blog--so I didn't. I tended the gardens which are doing quite well. Beans, cucumbers and peas are coming up very nicely. All of the strawberries but one are doing well also. We expect rain off and on this week so my watering will be somewhere in between the showers, if we get any. The farm market opens on Saturday and will run on Tuesdays and Saturdays through mid-October. We are looking forward to it.

We aren't big on holidays here. We hate the commercialism and hype associated with most of them and the rest simply don't reflect much of our lives any more. Memorial Day and Veterans' Day are good examples. It is good to reflect on the lives expended in our wars and honor those who have served but we should also take a long, hard look at what those wars accomplished. To my mind no war our country has fought in my lifetime (born in 1949) was worth the cost in money, materiel or lives.

Britain has a referendum coming soon (June 23) on whether to remain in the EU. Right now the polls are all over the place depending on the political orientation of the organization taking the poll. Articles like this one are popping up all over the place. One of the main talking points for the pro-EU forces is the economic hit England would take if the left. This says that the economic benefit derived from the Union isn't so great and the hit might not be so bad after all. Notice at the end how the immigration issue comes in.

On our elections take a look at this article which reflects much of our rather bleak thoughts here. I wish we had a really honest choice. We could if "None of the above" were one of the options. But it isn't so we have the lovely "choice" of death by poison or death by hanging (or by any of a myriad other means) which is no choice at all--it is all death. For another take on the situation read James Kunstler's latest Clusterfuck Nation post. He is on a good roll.

And then Ugo Bardi makes an interesting comparison: his father in the early stages of Alzheimer's vs. Donald Trump's debating style vs. our civilization's inability to come to a coherent strategy to deal with our problems. He notes Ronald Regan and I remember hearing the news that he had Alzheimer's and asking how they could tell.

Friday, May 27, 2016


It feels like we have gone from March to July in a single week. The temps hit the high 70s and low 80s around here. Then the thunderstorms moved in. Thankfully (yet again) the worst weather passed us. But for a few minutes the scene outside resembled films I have seen of monsoonal rains in places where the monsoons have failed in recent years. It is like someone redirected those rains. Nothing here damaged from what I can see from our windows--we haven't stepped outside yet.

Update: I have stepped outside and everything is fine. I saw some cucumbers, beans and peas starting to sprout. It is a hazy day and I don't expect to water later especially if we get more rain.

I saw a cute graphic on the Musings of an Archdruidess today. I won't link because it was all text which read: Cataract is the third biggest cause of blindness today. Religion and politics remain the first and second. So true.


Well, we didn't get the rain though the skies at one point threatened. We have more rolling showers and possible thunderstorms today.

Welcome to the new world of antibiotic resistance. Or perhaps I should say "Welcome to the hype on antibiotic resistance." This article is a more reasoned and detailed account. Shows why we should have several sources of news. Especially those that don't hype it to the stratosphere.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


We had an interesting morning already. Our internet was out for about 45 minutes so I was very late starting on my usual routine. As always we have no idea of why the service was out. The cable was fine so we got the morning news--such as it is.

Grist has an interesting snippet on the effects of increased temperatures on our food crops. Since India is experiencing a heat wave with temps exceeding 120F and the British Isles have unusually  warm weather for the coming month and areas of southeast Asia are also locked into unusual heat, perhaps we should pay attention.

This story from Minnesota is interesting for a several reasons at least a couple of which weren't mentioned. The first interesting point is the question over whether the new soybeans would be marketable in Europe since it hasn't yet been approved there. On that point alone Minnesota farmers are being warned off planting the new Monsanto product. Second, and one point not mentioned in the article, is the product wouldn't be acceptable in two other large markets: Japan and China. Both of them refuse to accept GMO seeds and crops. Third, and a second point not even considered in the article, is a trend I see which mirrors what has happened with antibacterial resistance. Round-up resistance was supposed to allow farmers to apply the herbicide to kill weeds without killing the crops. But now the weeds are also resistant so the developed a new soybean which is resistant to Round-up and another herbicide, dicamba. How soon before the weeds are resistant to both herbicides? We started out with bacteria resistant to penicillin and, as we introduced new antibiotics, the bacteria became resistant to those as well. Now we have bacteria resistant to all but the most toxic, last-line-of-defense antibiotics. Perhaps we should pay attention to this trend also.

So Lake Chad may be a repeat of the destruction of the Aral Sea, which was once one of the four largest lakes in the world.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Had a busy weekend. One of our local parks had a spring festival, a small one so we saw everything in less than an hour but it was nice to walk around in the sun and people watch. I got all of the plants, from my own "nursery" upstairs and from the garden shop, planted over the weekend. I still have several spots to put more plants and I don't have as many containers as I used to have. I think I have reached the place where less is definitely more. Our little farm market opens in two weeks and we always have plant sellers there with odd things that might tickle my fancy. Until then I have to get all of the empty pots and other things out of the little greenhouse and put away. And I have to clean up the upstairs plant area which is now nearly empty.

This little opinion piece raises some conflicting notions in my mind. On the one hand people should have a right to privacy. But in the age of the internet where everything hangs around forever, what does "privacy" really mean? Some activities, like "revenge porn" or "swatting," are, in my mind at least, criminal. But how can the perpetrators be traced, how can they be punished, and how can we prevent them from repeating their crimes? On the other hand, countries should not be able to demand search engines scrub their sites of information politicos think are "detrimental" (however that is defined) to the country. So far, certain countries (China and Russia as prime examples) have successfully managed to control the internal flow of information. China has been so successful we see frequent references to the "Great Firewall." I think individuals should have the "right to be forgotten" unless they are public figures. Other than that, no censorship. But then another thought--what makes the scraps on the internet so different from diaries, journals, letters, etc. of the past on which so much history is written?


Ah--yes!!Kunstler has another entertaining post on the condition our condition is in.

Actually, Trump isn't so different from most of our social/economic/political elites. They don't recognize any inconvenient truth until it bites them in their business asses. Islands in the Pacific can drown in the rising seas but Heaven forbid the same thing happens to his Irish golf course. That we simply can't allow.

I have become increasingly skeptical of our health sickcare industry. I have seen so many commercials for drugs that carry side effects worse than the so-called diseases they treat and my actually cause some of the same symptoms. Or for drugs designed to "help" another drug do its job. Talk about double the profit, that is a sure way to do it. Produce a drug that gives marginal or declining benefits and then design a drug to assist it. But then there is another trend I have noticed that has amped my skepticism meter into the red zone: the hyping of "diseases" that were never diseases before or of "pre" disease conditions that require increasing numbers of people to be treated with some company's drugs. That last trend is well covered in this article in MedPage Today.

We have seen several stories about bomb threats on schools. We had a couple here in Indiana. I wondered what was happening. Did some kids want to get out of a test they hadn't prepared for? Did someone get pissed off at the school or people at the school? Well, evidently some of it can be traced to the despicable, criminal fad of "swatting." I love the internet. I remember what it was like to page through physical books (lots of physical books) searching for information for which I need only a few keystrokes now. That some assholes abuse it to play dangerous pranks pisses me off. I hope they are caught, spend several years in prison, and forbidden to ever touch a computer or smart phone again.

Friday, May 20, 2016


Found this by way of Grist this morning. It gives a nice summary of the new National Academies of Sciences report on the scientific literature on GMO crops. I would love to get the actual report but it is pricey so I will content myself with the summaries. The original Grist article is here. I have always been skeptical of GMOs, generally, and only partly because of questions concerning possible health effects. I see it as another technology that has over promised and under delivered. That is clear from the summaries I have linked.

Another warning on the consequences of overusing antibiotics. This technology, unlike above, has not over promised or under delivered. Unfortunately, human misuse and overuse is at the root of this problem.

Ronni Bennett posted this at her Time Goes By site. It is a hoot!!


Got all of my pots filled and arranged where they will remain for the season. Seven are on the fence and another three large pots are nested around the five gallon buckets that surround the larger pot fill I filled Wednesday. Put out some of my peppers and have three more to transplant today. Five Grandpa's Home, one each Shishito, Violet Sparkle, Lipsitck, Cajun Belle, and two Albino Bullnose. Shopping is on my agenda today for the transplants I need to finish out planting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


We have had a busy few days here. Friday we took a bus tour up to Holland, Michigan to see the tulips. A nice but thoroughly exhausting trip which ended with a wine tasting at a local winery. We came home with two bottles of wine and one of their hard apple cider. We spent Saturday recovering from the trip and pottering around and Sunday doing some clean up and rearranging in the house and on the patio. This morning has been more of the same.

Wow!! story for the day.


Bread banking day and laundry so not much more done than thinking about the gardens. Today was too wet with early rain to do anything but I have hopes for tomorrow. I would like to plant the tomato and pepper seedlings in their spots. That would clear out the little green house for the transplants I want to get by the end of the week. I have two large pots yet to fill and some rearrangements to make.

Found this just a little while ago. Sad state of affairs but not a surprise. There is a dynamic relationship that is spiraling downwards: the politicians don't listen to the voters but follows the money, the voter knows that and, rightly, believes his concerns are of no concern to his alleged representative, the voter withdraws from the political process leaving the politician to dance for the ones who really call the tune (the donors who support his campaigns.


Got the tomatoes in the gardens. If I had left them another couple of days they wouldn't have survived. They were all much too large for the starter pots I had them in and in danger of drying out too quickly. Ten plants all together: two each of Red Robin, Martino's Roma, Arkansas Traveler, and Roselle. A couple actually are trying to bloom. I filled the large round pot--a 30+ inch monster--and the long planter I will put cucumbers in later. That is enough for today. I will put the peppers in place tomorrow.

This article surprised me. I am used to low wage workers being castigated as "takers" or "parasites." I expected the same here but the twist comes early on. The parasites are the corporate "welfare queens."

Interesting argument in this article which reflects similar arguments I have read for the last 30 or so years. It might make logical sense but since when has logic and even common sense determined how we arrange our lives?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Got quite a bit of garden clean up done yesterday--a good thing since the next week is supposed to be mostly cloudy with periods of rain. I filled both small table-top towers filled, filled and hung the hummingbird feeders, cleaned out the large container that wouldn't drain and swept up the east half of the patio. The new arrangement will give me more space to move around and actually reach into the containers. I fixed the drainage problem by cutting out the drain hole that the factory had failed to punch out. I plan to shop for the transplants I need next weekend. If it isn't too wet over the next few days I hope to get the hoops up and row covers spread so I can get the home-started tomatoes and peppers set out in the gardens.

Well, this along with the tidal flooding in Miami and other low lying cities on the east coast confirms sea level rise. And then there are those islands experiencing drought thanks to the El Nino. I have been reading the sporadic stories for a while now. But, of course, the Kardashians are so much more important to our (s)news media.


Very chilly and wet yesterday so all I did outside was check on the hummingbird feeders and make sure the large pot I fixed was draining well. The plants in the little greenhouse are doing well so far. I will check them when it gets light outside.

Kunstler's "Trumptopia" is an amusing read for this dismal wet morning. Sometimes I can't believe the state we have reached as a nation. Then I look back over the last forty or so years and see all of the threads that have been woven into this fraying fabric of our social/political/economic order.

The Mendocino Free Thinkers picked this up from Michael Snyder's blog. I read it yesterday and several like it over the last couple of years. Anybody else feel like these incidents are happening more frequently over that time? That should be a terrifying thought. Couple that with the cancelled fishing seasons on both coasts in the same time frame and things in the ocean don't look good.

And I was foolish enough to think I wouldn't hear about this nutcase again for a while. Crap-tastic.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Don't you just love seeing the Repthuglican assholes get bitten in the ass by their own tactics? I certainly do. I would have thought much better of them if they had just got their butts in gear and done their job. Now it is a question of who you want to thwart more: Hillary or Obama. And if you stonewall more, will you have the numbers to thwart Hillary? Also there is the wild card named Trump and who know who he would nominate.



Shopping and gardening yesterday. Got a bit done there but didn't see anything I wanted to link to or comment on.


"Externalities" is a nice clean, impersonal term somewhat like "collateral damage." Both terms mask who is harmed making the victim invisible. If one is rude enough to ask the favorite question of mystery stories, "cui bono," the beneficiaries are always far removed from those harmed. And there is little to no "trickle down" benefit. This kind of shit always happens in far away places or among those least able to deal with the effects. India? Flint, Michigan? What price their lives?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Ugo Bardi has a good post on Cassandra's Legacy which describes why Donald Trump isn't just unprecedented in American politics but unavoidable. I had noticed before the difference between the way Democratic politicians greeted G.W. Bush (I didn't vote for him nor did I support him but he was elected and, therefore, is my President.) and the way Republican Pols greeted Obama (We are going to make his life hell and he will be a one term president.) Will the Democrats retain the level of civility shown when Bush was elected? Perhaps--Perhaps not. The polarization has intensified since which doesn't bode well for whoever is elected in November.


Got a late start today.  It is primary day here in Indiana in case you haven't heard. We puttered around until we finished our coffee and then went out to vote. So many of those I would love to see dumped are running unopposed in their party--Mike Pence and two state reps. Although I have become increasingly skeptical of the real benefit of voting over the last few years I always do go out and vote. It is about the only way to show favor or disapproval (by voting for the other alternatives) other than joining the demonstrations. But I find that last option unpalatable because I simply don't see the utility of making life miserable for whoever happens to be nearby. We were surprised by the turnout for a primary but then we arrived just as parents were dropping children off at the school that shares the building and we were an hour later than our usual time.


Well, the Indiana primary is over. You couldn't avoid the topic before yesterday and today it is barely mentioned. In case you hadn't heard Trump won big and Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign. Bernie also won though not as big as Trump did--but Hillary still has a huge delegate lead. Trump is now trying to make nice and "unify" the party. We'll see how well that goes.

Mom was feeling restless and it was nice yesterday so we decided to shift some of our shopping errands. I wanted some grass seed to fill in areas where my pots had killed off the grass last year and some yarn to match a shawl to finish off. We also took walks through the garden centers to see what they are putting out for the season. I don't need any tomatoes and peppers but we saw an interesting tomato I might get any way. The standards I normally get--basil, spearmint, peppermint, etc.--are there. I will go back in about a week and a half to get those as well as the strawberries and a couple or three begonias for a new stacked arrangement by our back door which will get shade. I was totally bummed out on the yarn though. Yarn that used to be done up in 8 oz. skeins is now half that. For more money. I think I am going to start looking on line.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Still a bit chilly but not much more rain came after that early morning cloudburst yesterday. As I said then it was too wet to do much outside and there just wasn't much to do inside. Let's see what happens today after the sun comes up. It isn't yet 5 am here.

Ronni Bennett has a good take on Trump's "woman card" insult flung at Hillary. She also notes that there is an "old age card" that is even more potent.

I hope this catches on. I got totally disenchanted with the whole notion of multi-tasking during my last two jobs. Trying to do all left me totally frazzled.


It was cold enough last night that the furnace came on. Hasn't done that in a couple of weeks. Heavy clouds so we won't get any sun anytime soon. But the weather people are promising drier, warmer, and sunnier conditions by the end of the week. I hope so. My gardens aren't even close to ready to plant.


Welcome to May. The year is one third gone.

I enjoy a number of blogs whose writers are ex-pats living in places I am (probably) never going to see in person. This post is from a South African who has lived in England and now in Beijing.