Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday--April 26

Sunny right now but I don't know for how long. The weather report calls for afternoon thunderstorms. But I got the container I keep potting mix in for the upstairs plant nursery cleaned out, washed out, bleached out, and dried. In the middle of last season I got on a miserly streak and decided to use the spare and/or used garden soil mixed with vermiculite in starting my seedlings. I have had pretty miserable results. Seeds that should be thriving aren't and too many simply didn't sprout at all. Since I didn't have that problem when I used fresh potting mix, I have gone back to that. We stopped by one of our garden shops but all I found was some dwarf dianthus. None of the herbs I wanted. It seems they sold out. Everyone has got the gardening bug. As the clerk noted the traditional start to our planting season is Mothers' Day which is still three weeks away. We might still get a freeze and a few days ago I thought I had lost my basils (sweet and lime) to the cold overnight temps. They came back. If we get another episode I can quickly cover what I have outside or bring the smaller pots inside.

Saw this interesting article. I have seen several stories on the "retail apocalypse." And we have been the recipients of all kinds of advertising when we get on the 'net. Usually if we research an item, whether out of curiosity or a real desire to buy, we get offers on that item almost everywhere we go. And knowing for sure what is a good price? Our crystal balls are broken--they simply don't work on this. All we can do is decide what we want, or rather what we need, and what we are willing to pay. Also we don't go on line to purchase unless we simply can't find the item locally. And by locally I mean within about 50 miles. Oh, by the way, I don't kid myself that we have anything resembling a true "free market" or that we ever have had.

They are finding the weirdest things in processed foods now. Today 140k lbs. of ready to eat meat products has been recalled because it might contain bits of magnet. A couple of days ago it was frozen hash browns with a seasoning of golf ball pieces.

Found this on Americablog and it pisses me off. I think the article summed it up: ACA for them but not for us. They already have a six figure salary for less than part time work. Don't we all wish we had that kind of gig.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Monday--April 24

Got the last of the new plants in place. I have a list of things for shopping tomorrow. The tomatoes are in the little greenhouse. I will plant them out in a couple of days.

Tuesday--April 25

Supposed to be warm, dry and sunny today. Shopping day so we will be stopping by for some more plants to fill in the gardens. Most of the strawberries are doing well though a few are not. I think I trimmed the roots a bit too much. Next time I do this I will leave a bit longer root system than the instructions call for. I should bring the cucumber plants down to the mini-greenhouse to harden off for planting into the garden.

This is funny. I try not to listen to #45 much. He speaks in "tweet" and I never picked up that language. I miss the articulate, polite, and gracious #44.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Saturday--April 22

It is downright cold outside though, thankfully, not cold enough to damage any plants. I might get the last few plants into the ground. I just watched a little grackle pecking at my peppermint. It reminded me of a study on birds and the habit some species had of taking fresh leaves of certain plans to line their nests. The scientists wondered why so they looked at the nests and found that those birds who did line their nests with (especially) aromatic plants had fewer parasites like mites than those who didn't. I think I will get another peppermint.

I found this item from Slate. It puts a different twist on #45's so-called populism.

Sunday--April 23

It will be a slow Sunday. The temperatures should go up to the high 60s which should mean a good day to finish planting the remaining seedlings.

When I read stories like this one I don't feel so much like a "Lone Ranger." I have often told Mom we seem to be going backwards. I bake most of our own breads here at home. Every now and then we might pick up a loaf of store bought but we are very selective about it. I don't do bagels or English muffins. I have done them before but they are a pain in the ass. I think I have mentioned before that we shifted to cast iron for most of our stove-top cooking with a couple of stainless steel for specific purposes. We started years ago with the non-stick cookware because the cast iron was too heavy and we were fooled by the promise of easy clean up. Well, over time we have learned to handle the cast iron differently and our wrists don't hurt as much. Also, we find that the iron cleans up as easily as the non-stick and the surface doesn't deteriorate. Sometimes new isn't necessarily better--or cheaper considering we replaced our non-stick cookware four times in the last sixteen years.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Thursday--April 20

We had intermittent rain through the night. That probably means no gardening early today though things should clear up. Too dark yet to see how things are outside.

I did get a couple more plants transplanted. They went into small pots--not the large containers. The soil for that was in my shed so didn't get soaked by the rain. I think all of the strawberries survived. I hope what I am seeing on a couple of them is actually new growth starting and not wishful thinking.

Friday--April 21

I like this though I doubt if any of the TSA screeners can remember the Amendment in question. And it does nothing for those sexual assaults pat downs.

Too cool to do much outside. Should be warmer tomorrow so I hope I will get the peppers and thyme planted. I think I can bring the tomatoes outside into the greenhouse.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Monday--April 17

Not much to say today. I filled the hummingbird feeders and found the spiral planter we hang on one of the shepherd's hooks. Swept up the patio to clean up the dirt I dropped filling the pockets of the soft shoe rack and the altered vinegar jars planters I have planted with the bare-root strawberries. Almost all are doing well so far.

Tuesday--April 18

Happy Tax Day. I saw a little article yesterday which said that Americans are procrastinating longer in sending their taxes. The culprit: electronic filing. Now we can wait until 11:59pm on filing day to hit the send button and many of us are.

Wednesday--April 19

The lovely weather continues though it is supposed to change today with scattered thunderstorms. Maybe I will have dry periods when I can get the plants we got yesterday into the containers. We found a lovely clematis for one of the trellises, a beautiful red anemone and a couple of peppers and several of the herbs.

I have the clematis and anemone transplanted. I think they will look very nice there. This has been a strange year for gardening in general and starting seeds in particular. Right now it looks like the key limes have decided not to survive as has one of the lemon plants. I am not sure why. The moisture in the soil is good--unless it was too much to begin with. But most of my marigolds failed  as well. I will have to think about this a bit more.

I started a new batch of sourdough starter--mostly from frustration with our local grocery stores. I wanted some new yeast. All of mine failed when I proofed it. I can't really complain there because I had a large jar (not the original 4 oz. jars) which I filled from a supply I got at our favorite tea/spice shop. I had worked my way through it but the last two or three loaves didn't rise as well as I expected and were more like cake than bread. They were palatable so we ate them anyway. But our supermarkets here are only carrying the 4 oz. jars of "bread machine" yeast which I don't wan't and won't use. I don't use bread machines--don't even own one. So we picked up some of the small packets of regular yeast.

We are getting a good rain now but I have the clematis, anemone, sage and lavender planted. No more planting today.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday--April 15

We had rain overnight but that shouldn't affect my continued clean-up and set-up plans. The strawberries arrived yesterday. I hope these bare root plants work as well as the sweet potato slips I tried out a couple of years ago and not as dismally as the strawberry roots I tried that same year.

I so totally agree with this piece. Sometime ago I got rid of the last skirt and dress in my closet. I hope never to wear one again. I have jeans, sweats, and shorts that pretty much cover the seasons. I do have a couple of pairs of slacks that will take care of as dressy an occasion as I am likely to attend. I am contemplating culling some of the tops I haven't worn for the last 2+ years. My tee shirts and turtlenecks do quite nicely. I am at the point where I can wear what I want and what feels comfortable. To hell with anything else. I don't waste energy being irritated with all the ads and advice (featuring or written by women less than half my age) on how I should dress, what my expectations should be, and how I should behave. They can follow the clothes I have discarded to the same place. And the same goes for much of what passes for health and medical advice.

Sunday--April 16

Beautiful day yesterday. The temperature topped out in the low 80s with plenty of sunshine. I cut six of the 1-gal. vinegar jar pots to put on one of the trellises. It took a bit to figure out how and where to cut so that the jars would stay on the shoe rack. The cells of the soft shoe rack planter are also filled--as many as I can use given the configuration of the containers. I also got the trellis assembled for the beans (or cucumbers). I have another to put up--perhaps today. Right now I think it is cloudy but the sun hasn't come up yet.

I guess I should say "Happy Easter" but the "holiday" doesn't mean much to me--socially or religiously. For those for whom it has meaning "Happy Easter." For those like me--hope your day is pleasant and productive. Mine will be inside from the looks of things now that there is some light out there. We have rain and that pretty well scuttles any plans for garden work.

I spoke much too soon on the gardening. We had a bit of clearing with sun so I got the strawberries planted and the shepherd's crooks laced. I has clouded over again so I will wait to see if we get any rain before I water the plants. The little strawberries look good so I hope I will get a nice crop of berries.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday--April 14

It sunny outside--for now. I will see what I can get done outside between possible showers. I still have the shed to reorganize and clean up as well as two planting containers to fill.

I found this today which parallels some of our experiences. I have long thought that, above a certain price point, my Medicare is useless. And, unfortunately, all too many run-of-the-mill problems would come under that description.  Paying $200 up front on a $1000 bill is doable but $2000 on a $10,000 bill? Not even. That is the straight 80/20 Medicare/you split not including any other incidental charges that might not be covered. What the story highlights is something that has only been whispered so far: people may be insured but their insurance is not worth what they are paying for it.

Plant containers filled. The front half of the shed cleaned out.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursday--April 13

Started the peppers I forgot to start three weeks ago along with some more marigolds. Hope they all do well or I will be scrambling to find something at the garden store with which to replace them. Otherwise nothing to report.

Oh I did read that the U.S. military dropped the "mother of all bombs" on a cave region of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. I won'd link to any news account. They did say it was the largest bomb short of a nuke.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Monday--April 10

We had a busy weekend. The greater part of the gardens makeover is done. The three oldest and most fragile of the containers are gone. The largest of the remaining pots we intended to shift to new places have been shifted. The plans I started in January and February are totally obsolete. Time to rethink.

Huffington Post has this clip from Bill Maher that is, indeed, a brutal assessment of what Republicanism has become. Clue: it isn't conservative.

It looks like ships sailing the north Atlantic around Newfoundland and Labrador are encountering swarms of icebergs. Far more than "normal" and much earlier than "normal." Question: what is "normal" anymore?

Tuesday--April 11

We got the heavy cleaning and moving done yesterday between the bouts of heavy rain. Really heavy rain with thunder and lightening all night. I moved the tiered pot I had under grow lights upstairs back into the gardens. It looks nice where I have it now. Thankfully I got it covered before those monsoonal rains hit again. I have several basil plants and spinach in it now.

Wednesday--April 12

This Bloomberg article had me asking if grocery chains on this side of the pond are doing the same. We are used to the "shrinkflation" mentioned but we rarely buy anything that isn't a staple item so whether the cost for other items on the grocery list have gone up is a question. The supermarket chains attribute their strategy to Brexit but I have my doubts. That is simply as good an excuse as any.

We had to go out to one of our home improvement/garden stores this morning to replace my backup light bulb for the small grow light set up. I had to change one out today. We walked around just to see what they had out for plants. Some interesting items but not a lot just yet. In another week or two they should be fully up. By then I will have my list of want-to-haves and alternates. I transferred the full-sized tomatoes and eggplants into larger pots as well as all the cucumbers. All of the citrus looks good except for one. I am giving it time to decide whether it wants to live or not. I suddenly discovered what I was missing in all the seed starting. Somehow I failed to start the full-sized peppers for the outside garden. I will do that tomorrow and get some more marigolds going. I lost all but two of the previous batch of marigolds. I have no idea why. I have come to the conclusion that sometimes plants just decide they aren't going to thrive and they don't.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sunday--April 9

I wasn't going to post today but this was too precious so here is the link. I crochet and there I would classify my self as an advanced beginner or a beginning intermediate crocheter. I have tried to knit and never got the hang of it so I can relate to this author's experience.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thursday--April 6

We have had heavy rain overnight--really heavy. With very high winds that rattled the house. You could almost hear the trees creaking with the gusts. Good day to stay inside. I have some seedlings that should be put in slightly larger pots and some plants that need watering. I have been promising I will prune my large rosemary for a couple of weeks now. Perhaps today.

For the "signs of the times" file I found this on the cherry blossoms. A friend showed some pictures of the same spot in her garden five years ago and a week ago. Flowers that were barely budding then are in full bloom this year--over a week early.

I have thought (as I think I have written before) that, with the current administration rolling back economic and environmental regulations, progress on those fronts will have to come from local areas. This story supports that and gives a glimmer of hope that the energy industry's deep pockets aren't buying them as much influence (and elections results) as once was the case.

Now this might be interesting if it is picked up by other companies in other industries. I have been utterly amazed by executives getting outlandish bonuses and pay increases even though their companies posted large (often mind-boggling) losses.

It would be so nice to see this become law.

Friday--April 7

I hope the tubs have dried out enough to get a start on the last container I need to empty. The wind is still strong and gusty, and the temperatures are predicted to be on the cool side--not breaking 50F. I got both rosemary plants pruned and the big one looks a lot better.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday--April 5

Rainy today and we may have snow by evening. But by the weekend it should dry out, get warmer and sunny again. Shopping day today so I don't know how much of my normal reading I will get done.

However, this came up right off the bat. Bless that judge who refused to seal the documents and Bless California for its environmental activism.

I love this story.  Go, Sophia!! You know what is really important.

Another story to love!!! I don't mind people who have religious objections to abortion, gay marriage, sex outside marriage, cross-race marriage, women working--whatever. What I do mind is them imposing their beliefs on others. If those are your beliefs you shouldn't have an abortion--to do otherwise is hypocritical. Same for all the other issues. But imposing on others your own beliefs--no fucking way. These guys are worse than the "blooming idiots" who appeared every spring on the open public spaces at every university I attended to preach to harangue passing students on their likely post-post life destination--especially female students consistently described as "whores."

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Monday--April 3

Progress on the clean up outside. I got the second large container cleaned out and in the trash. I have one more to clear. They were getting very fragile indeed--one splintered as I tried to carry it to the area where I was going to dump the small pebbles I used at the bottom. And that one seemed to be in the best condition of the three.

The citrus seedlings ( 2 each of key lime, Meyer lemon, and orange) just arrived but the rain started just as the postal carrier dropped them off. I will say they were nicely packed and I put them upstairs under the grow lights. Getting them into my pots can wait until things dry out a bit.

Tuesday--April 4

We didn't get too much done yesterday because Mom had a computer problem we had to get fixed. She came up with an intrusive message that we couldn't get off which insisted she call a number to fix a problem supposedly caused by a hacker. We couldn't make it go away. I couldn't find the number on any of the official but she decided to call the number anyway. My skepticism grew as the call progressed and when the "agent" tried to get information from her I suggested we simply take her machine to Best Buy. Luckily, the problem was easily taken care of at zero cost and the consultant confirmed our suspicion that the whole thing was a scam.

The citrus trees are transplanted into their own pots now. We will see how they do.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday--April 2

Bread is on its first rising and we got the first of the large tubs emptied and in the trash. Two more tubs to go and a second rising for the bread. We usually get most of what we do done early--before we get tired or distracted. It is warm enough, even with the cloud cover to get some work done outside.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday--April 1

Happy April Fools' Day--and no, I am not going to pull any pranks. I am not even going to link to pranks though I have seen some good ones.

Yesterday was a non productive day as I locked myself out of the new iPad. I thought I had written the passcode down but couldn't find it or remember it. So I went in and did what they said to restore the original programming which took out the nook and Kindle programing and files. I had to go back in and install those as well as my libraries. It was a royal pain in the butt, however much easier that I feared. The new passcode is written down and I have had no trouble remembering it.

I haven't been more productive today--just too cold, still too wet, and simply too tired.  Did dig out some more of the first container and filled one large pot and parts of two others. But that was all because, as I said, it was too blasted cold.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Tuesday--March 28

Ah, yes---the daily life of the self-made man.

Do we really want to live forever?? Well, some of us do. Some of want to think more carefully about the whole issue.

Wednesday--March 29

Information "smuggling"? New term for an old phenomenon. I remember when Ayatollah Khomeini used smuggled cassette tapes (copied hundreds of times) to keep in touch with his followers during his years of exile in Paris. Now it is all done by computer.

We have said that if we ever have another pet (not likely) we would prepare the pet's food ourselves. Here is another reason why.

Thursday--March 30

We had rain with thunder and lightening over night. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be wet so no outside work today. But I got a good bit done yesterday: cleaned out the dead mums and lavender, and emptied about 3/4 of the first large container we are discarding. The rest will wait till the weekend when we should have two dry, sunny days. I also made about 20 paper pots. Some of my new seedlings are getting too big (already!!) for the cardboard tube starter cups but I want a larger pot that I can sink into the ground with the plant and not disturb the roots.

Just got an e-mail from Gurney's that my citrus has shipped and I will soon have six little trees to pot. I got two each of lemon, lime and orange. They are all small trees and will work well in the house.

For some time now I have thought the environmental action/climate change/pollution mitigation would have to move to the states and local areas. This simply confirms that notion.

Friday--March 31

Welcome to the last day of March and the last day of the first quarter of the year. Already!!

I didn't get much done. Too wet outside and I yielded to a frustrated impulse and got a new iPad yesterday. I have used the Barnes and Noble nook e-reader for years and, until recently, they (I was on my second one) functioned quite well. But I found that some books were available on Kindle that weren't available on the nook and some were available at a better price. The reverse was also true so I didn't want to give up the nook for the Kindle and I didn't want to buy a second device. So, realizing the nook was simple software on a Samsung tablet, I downloaded the Kindle software onto my nook. But over the last couple of months I have bumped up against the device's memory capacity twice--the second time after I moved most of the contents to the "cloud." I am not quite a Luddite but I simply don't trust that the material stored in the "cloud" will be there when I want it or that I will always have an internet connection to access the material. I want it on my machine or on storage media I control. Hence, the new iPad. I spent most of the afternoon getting the nook and Kindle software installed, the accounts adjusted and my library downloaded.

Any time any one issues the asinine phrase "We're number 1" refer them to this article. No, we aren't "#1" except in very specific areas: spending the most for the military often for weapons "systems" that don't work as designed and in spending the most for health care (or "sickcare" as one blogger calls it) much of which, also, doesn't work--at least not for the patients.

I have lost count of the many ways Federal Government agencies can f%^k us over. Here is another one.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday--March 27

Rainy today so probably won't get any outside gardening done. My seedlings are coming up nicely. We'll see how many actually make it to the garden.

Found this today at Salon (reprinted from Alternet). This makes me really miss real news reporting which I haven's seen in years. We did get the sensational stories about insurance companies jumping out of the exchanges or jacking up the premiums by hellacious percentages and I did see that traced the problem back to the failure of the federal government to pay the promised funds to backstop their losses but not one line about Marco Rubio and his Repthuglican sabotage.

Scientific American has an interesting explanation for why Trump's lies have no impact on his supporters: they are "blue lies" told about one group but strengthening his own group. The lie that illegal immigrants are "rapists" and violent "criminals" confirms what his base believes. It paints an "us vs. them" picture with us as the good guys ad them as the bad guys.

More often nowadays when we read stories about other countries we notice that, if we didn't know what country was the subject of the piece, we might thing the story applied to the U.S. This one is a case in point though I don't think anyone has studied the situation here in the same way. We have seen stories of 20-somethings moving back into their parents houses (if they had moved out in the first place). But I haven't seen any study which estimates how many years a 20-year-old would have to work to become economically independent. I hope it wouldn't be 18 years.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Saturday--March 25

The weather forecast indicates we are going into a warmer but wetter period. Gardening outside will be scattered efforts as the weather allows. I cleaned out the lavender and the tiered pot, swept out some of the leaves that finally thawed out, and poked the garden fork or shovel into the pots to see how much had thawed out. When we went grocery shopping the other day we drove by one of the garden centers to check out their progress on the outside sales area they set up each spring. Not much progress yet. Just the shrubs and rose bushes that can be started almost as soon as the ground thaws out. The local Ace Hardware store hasn't set up its hoop-house garden shop either. I need to start a list of the plants I need to get this year. Several of the herbs didn't do well and I will replace them with transplants: lavender, lemon basil, thyme.

Ah, at last some of the mainstream media outlets are facing the truth about our "Prevaricator in Chief." He is a world class liar who wouldn't know the truth if it bit him in his over large ass.

I love the second half of the first sentence in this article: A change in complexion leads to a change in perception.

Did anyone else get a feeling of deja vu during the latest GOP attempt to deal with the ACA? The GOP leadership is now suffering from the same tactics they so enthusiastically embraced over the last seven years. Throughout the Obama administration the divisions within the Repthuglican party worked to their advantage because what one faction could agree to another wouldn't which doomed what ever particular legislation they were dealing with. That didn't matter when the primary goal was to make sure Obama got as little done as possible. Now, however, the divisions within the party are working against them and the leadership hasn't found a formula that provides enough satisfaction to all sides while minimizing their dissatisfactions to get their promised legislation through. Let's see what happens to tax "reform" now that the tax savings they expected from Obamacare "repeal and replace" aren't coming.

Sunday--March 26

Found several of my cucumbers have sprouted and one other set of cells with I don't remember what planted. Luckily I have all that written down. It is much too wet to do any digging but I did get some of the extraneous pots out of the little greenhouse and into the trash during a lull. I have to sit down with my drawing of the garden layout and make a new one in light of the impromptu changes we decided on. I can't quibble too much since the my plans actually continue a trajectory I have been on for about three years now. Two years ago I started reducing the number of plants I put in. I had more than reached the capacity both of the space and my energy. That continued last year and I started thinking about the oldest of my containers which are showing their age and are increasingly fragile. I was just debating when to take them out and with what to replace them. Well, they come out this year are we aren't replacing them. Instead we will rearrange the remaining large pots. I had already planned for fewer plants again this year.

I have a suggestion for all the politicians gnashing their teeth over the failure to pass Trumpcare and replace Obamacare. Start referring to Obamacare by its official designation "Affordable Care Act." Soon everyone will forget that it was passed during the administration of the first black president. That is their primary aim, isn't it? To erase Obama.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday--March 24

Hoping that the temperature rises as expected into the 70s. I have a lot of outside work to get done with the planned reconfiguration and the retirement of three large containers. I saw marigold seedlings breaking through in the pots upstairs.

Yesterday Mom was reading a piece in which one interviewee asked why she and her (healthy) husband, who have taken good care of themselves, should have to pay to provide health insurance for others who couldn't be bothered to do the same. She obviously felt she and her spouse were being rewarded for living their "virtuous" lives with good health and others simply weren't being that "virtuous" and were receiving their just rewards for their "sins." My thoughts on those sentiments include: 1) you self-righteous bitch, 2) you are damned lucky not to have had an auto accident that left you needing expensive care or an accident at work requiring the same, or an unexpected serious illness that also required expensive care, 3) and you are a selfish bitch who like most of the Repthuglican party needs a brain transplant (because you can't think beyond your own comfortable circumstances and precious self) and a heart transplant (because yours--if you have one--missed the compassion function). Perhaps you think I am being unreasonably harsh and judgmental. However, her argument assumes that people who need help paying for medical care (or the insurance that provides some access to that care) have somehow caused their own circumstances of their own volition. And it assumes that all medical conditions can be prevented if only people lived rightly, ate properly, whatever. And it mistakes being damned lucky for being virtuous. As this article shows we don't know what causes two-thirds of cancers. I knew a family a long time ago whose father was stricken at a fairly early age by Parkinson's. They didn't know then that the condition is heritable and was present in his family because the relatives refused to talk about it because OMG it involved SEX. There was nothing they could have done to prevent the disease and no amount of right living would have helped. I remember a young girl from my junior high school days who had contracted polio before the vaccine because widely available often at a much reduced cost to those who couldn't afford the treatment on their own. No amount of right living or money would have saved those who came of age before the vaccine. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tuesday--March 21

Started seeds for the Chicago pickling and the Dragon's egg cucumbers, Mitoyo eggplant, Oxheart and Roselle tomatoes, Strawberry Blonde marigolds. I unplugged the heating mat under the starting tray. I think it is warm enough up there that it isn't needed now. I threw some lemon basil seeds into the pots where the first plants failed just to see what will happen. The little tomatoes, eggplants and peppers I want to keep inside are doing well--so far.

Wednesday--March 22

Thursday--March 23

Didn't see much to comment on yesterday. It turned cold again though no snow or rain. The weather people say the temps should start up again. Most of my thoughts were on modifications to the gardens I hadn't contemplated making. We have three containers that need to be changed out. They are deteriorating from the extremes of temperature and from the summer sun. I had intended to let them go another year or two but Mom wants them out this year. We won't replace them but will instead rearrange the other pots. I can't start on that right away because the recent stretch of cold temps froze them again--solid. I hope they thaw quickly with the rise in temps.

The more I hear about Gorsuch the less I like the idea of him occupying a seat on the Supreme Court. Take a look at this article and this one. The first shows an extreme lack of common courtesy toward a female lawmaker and the second shows the absurdity of "textualism."

John Feffer has a good article on why the Tangerine's administration wants to increase the Pentagon's budget by $54billion--to start another war...somewhere. What intrigued me to the point of sending me to a Google search was the comment that the $54billion was more than the military budgets of all but five countries. Let that sink in--the proposed increase, if it were a country's military budget, would rank it as sixth in the world. I had to check it out and found this list.

And then we have the Tangerine's eldest three kids and their families vacationing in Aspen on the taxpayer dime and pissing off the locals (and other self-funded vacationers). Parasitic presidency indeed. These guys give leeches a bad name. For more on this sorry state of affairs see this story.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20--Happy Equinox

We woke to heavy rain, lightening, and thunder. I wonder how wet it will be today. We should have some warm days coming up and, if it is dry, I might get some clean up outside accomplished. My plant starts are a mixed bag. About half of the Thai basil and only one of the lemon basil have survived so far. I got three small lavender of which two are still going. The little tomatoes are doing very well with most of the peppers and eggplants a bit behind them in growth. I should start the some of the outside plants soon. I have been somewhat lazy on the planting schedule.

I haven't been nearly so lazy on the needlework. I finished a crocheted placemat and started another. The afghan is building nicely. I haven't picked up the cross-stitched dresser scarf for a while though I thought about doing some over the weekend and then got busy with the crochet work.

I do like this one. For much too long the Supremes have, from my point of view, prioritized the powers of the government and the privileges of the corporations over the rights and welfare of ordinary citizens. I was stunned to see the part of the article which said the decision was unanimous.

Is there anything sane about the Tangerine's administration? This is just another example of the insanity.

Friday, March 17, 2017

March 13-17--

Monday--

This was a sickening story to find first off. Somebody needs heart to improve his sense of compassion and brain transplant so he can figure out that most people can't afford out of pocket medical bills upwards of $2k per month. Mom and I looked at each other and asked if either of us gets $2k a month. We barely make that together. I would like to see this SOB staked out on a fire ant hill. Evidently, according to a later story, did apologize for his insensitivity but the apology doesn't really make me think better of him since he attributed his initial response to a "knee-jerk reaction." I think that should be edited to read "jerk reaction." Though the story came from the middle of last year, I reminds me too much of a recent one in which some asshole politician (whose name I can't remember, unfortunately) claimed poor people could afford their health insurance if they just made smarter financial decisions--like buying insurance instead of that new smart phone. Like all that many poor people have the ready cash for either!!!

Peter Turchin has a good article that parallels our thinking here--most of the dietary advice of the half-century is pseudo-scientific bunk.

I have seen this coming for the last three decades. I remember a colleague in a history department nearly that long ago who gave up a teaching assisstantship because she got fed up with "slacker" students who didn't want to do any work to get the grade they wanted. They refused to read the material and couldn't (or wouldn't) write a cogent and coherent paper or test. I remember students who wailed and railed because I refused to give them multiple guess tests and insisted they write essays. I remember a Doonesbury cartoon showing a professor who told his class that once upon a time he assigned six books, some hefty, and gradually scaled down the list till he was only assigning three very short pieces. And a student protested "Whoa--Three???" I remember students who were concerned with getting their grades up to a "D" because "D for Diploma." And one who was upset when I helped her pull her grade up from a D to a B because I didn't gift her with an A--and her father contacted a state politician who contacted the president of the university who contacted a Dean who contacted the head of my department who contacted my advisor who contacted me. Thankfully, they had my back--that time.

Amen, sister!! Technology can be good or bad and too often we adopt something without thinking about it. Before our last computers died we had rejected a system update--the so called improvements were not enough of an improvement to justify the cost. When we needed new phones we deliberately refused to go for any smart phone and the ones we have many more features we simply don't use.

Tuesday--

"The Parasitic Presidency"???? Perfectly descriptive.

Wednesday--

Has anyone else noticed how strangely quiet the mainstream media has been about the debt ceiling? It reappeared today and with it the government's ability to borrow supposedly evaporated. I have seen very little about the situation even in the economic press. Perhaps because we have a white president and no rabid GOP senators calling for a shutdown of the government as a blackmail strategy. A government of hypocrites with a parasite as president makes all the difference.

As I have said often before, technology is wonderful--till it isn't. The author of the article in the link reflects much of my experience. We have traded ersatz convenience for real annoyances and paid a premium for the exchange.

Thursday--

Friday--

I saw a headline that said Trump's budget director claimed that "Meals On Wheels" doesn't "work" and that we can't continue to spend money on programs that don't work. This piece by Slate expands on that. There are two parts of the argument he tries (and fails) to make. First, he claims the Community Development Block Grants, of which the Meals On Wheels program is a part, doesn't work. And, second, he claims that Meals On Wheels, specifically, doesn't work. Please note he claims that neither the block grants nor Meals On Wheels work but provides no proof to back up his claims. Merely stating something doesn't prove that thing. I can say "Unicorns exist and they are awesome" but my saying so proves neither their existence nor their awesomeness. On what criteria does he base his assessment? He doesn't say. I also find it interesting that the Trump administration wants to convert Medicaid and educational funds to block grants that the states "can use as they choose" but here is claiming that a different block grant that the some states have chosen to use to fund programs like Meals On Wheels aren't working and, therefore, should't be funded. This isn't really a matter of choice on any level. It is solely based on the fact that the Trump administration wants to spend money elsewhere--like on a useless 12th aircraft carrier or a border wall the Tangerine promised Mexico would pay for.

An interesting piece. Makes me wonder how many of the "benefits" companies provided were actually paid for by government tax policies, i.e., by all of us who had to pay more in taxes to cover them. Reminds me of the indignant response when, here in Indiana, Obama told  business leaders that "they didn't build that," referring to the road by which their goods left for the markets where they were sold. He was quite right. They didn't build it--at least not by themselves. And given the propensity for governments to give "tax breaks" and build infrastructure to entice businesses to their area, perhaps they didn't build it themselves at all.

Jon Aravosis is suitably sarcastic on this one. Back when Bush II was giving the horse shit about "compassionate conservatism" I said it was an oxymoron. I didn't see anything compassionate about Repthuglican conservatism. I guess I just didn't ask the right question: compassion for whom? Compassion for the poor, the elderly and others who depend on the service the program provides or the well-heeled, well-fed, well-housed who have to some how scratch up the tax money for the service? Frankly, I didn't know that "Fuck you" was synonymous with compassion. I think Robert Reich describes the situation better: unnecessary cruelty. And the Rude Pundit calls it mundane savagery.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Weekend Musings--

Saturday, Mar. 11--

Found this Scientific American article almost first off.  CNBC also carried a story on the bill which would allow employers to require, as part of their "wellness" programs, employee undergo genetic testing or pay much higher premiums for health insurance--and that the company have access to the results. We haven't had any good experiences with the "wellness" provisions of the ACA to date. Most of that comes through Mom's insurance which she gets as the widow of a deceased employee covered by a union contract. Her doctors spent more time asking the questions on the "wellness" questionnaire than actually talking to her. The insurance program included as a benefit membership in the Y but the program never worked for us. Mom injured herself on one of the machines and had to rest for a couple of weeks to recover and another program was supposedly low impact but was too much for her (and for me as well though I lasted a bit longer.) We tried hard to see the benefit from the programs--so hard I think we "saw" benefit that wasn't really there. I have almost never had health insurance through an employer and the rare times I did I never needed it. James Clapper recently came out and proclaimed in an interview that we don't really have privacy any more given the government's ability to snoop into our lives. If the Repthuglicans (and it was they who voted by party line for the bill) our rights to medical privacy will also disappear.

Sunday--

Well, here it is again--the time to switch our clocks. Although I am now retired and now longer have to live by the clock, the change still disrupts my system. I will take at least a week for my sleep rhythms to get back in sync with the clock.

Check out this from The Nation.

Friday, March 10, 2017

March 6-10--

Monday--

Good weekend. I spent a good bit of time on a scrap afghan and consolidated all my orphan yarn of the right weight to use in the project. I decided to learn a new stitch, the Catherine Wheel, which is looking quite good so far. I am about one-third finished with the new place mat using some yarn I found on sale. And I made progress on a stamped cross-stitch table scarf that has been languishing for weeks now. Most of the seedlings I started are doing well. I pulled the one sickly tomato plant but I have two more thriving plants. I need to transplant the eggplant and peppers. Those are all very small varieties and will remain inside. Mom noted that she is almost out of basil. This year I have four varieties already started (Thai, sweet, lemon and lime). so we should be good on that after they are big enough to harvest from. I rearranged plants so I have room to start the outside plants in about two weeks.

I was wondering when someone would ask this question: are we facing a water "affordability" problem? The article focuses on urban populations but I have read of problems in rural and small towns as well as aquifers and other sources of water dry up.

Tuesday--

The Rude Pundit had an article that doesn't incorporate his usual lewd level of rudeness. I haven't--yet-- approached his level of hatred for the Tangerine playing at being president. And my feelings of disgust/distain/nausea are more generalized. Trump is where he is thanks to trends in our society and economy that have accumulated over the last forty years, thanks to idiots who wanted to "take back their country" by robbing me of mine. thanks to Americans who live in the "land of the free and home of the brave" but are enslaved by fear and at home with their cowardice, thanks to those who need scapegoats for their own feelings of outraged entitlement.

Wednesday--

Thursday--

Well, if what Mom read this morning is right, the Repthuglicans passed their bastardized replacement for the ACA out of committee last night. Par for the course, they did it in the dead of the night. Let's see if they can get it through the house. Looking up the news I found that the actual measure passed out of the Ways and Means committee involved revoking the mandate that everyone have insurance or pay a penalty. That eliminates the money flow to the insurance industry and the penalties the government relied on to fund other parts of the ACA. Death by a thousand cuts???

Just moved my outside pot tower to its new home. I wanted easier access to all parts of it and it wasn't easy rotating the pots. It is now on the stool where one of our bird feeding plates was. I found two cells of chives thriving and several possible survivors among the strawberries. I didn't do much outside because the temperature is still a bit cool but I was nice to be looking at things outside again. Maybe I will start the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants for the outside gardens.

Friday--

An interesting fall-out from the late election: the Mexican sugar chamber can't find anyone to negotiate with in the U.S. Commerce Department because Trump (or his Secretary of Commerce) hasn't filled the relevant staff positions. The sugar chamber has, as a consequence, cancelled sugar exports to the U.S. Evidently, from this Reuters story, the story is far more convoluted.

I am glad to see someone actually has the guts to call out the Repthuglicans on their heartlessness. They don't have any mercy in them.

Just put the patio sized peppers and eggplants into their individual pots to join the tomatoes which are doing nicely. I also transplanted the rosemary I started from cuttings last fall into a larger pot and put it in the window with the plant I took the cuttings from. I also got all of the basils (Thai, sweet, lemon, lime) into individual pots or into cells of the tiered planter. We'll see if all of them like their new homes.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Feb. 27--Mar. 3---

Monday--

Another story from the Twilight Zone that is now the United States. Henry Rousso put the matter very succinctly: "the United States is no longer quite the United States."

Someone who, unlike Trump, really tells it like it is: evangelical christianity is the American Taliban.

I really like this article. Some time ago, when I cleaned out my closet, I got rid of most (if not all) skirts and dresses. I hope never to wear one again. I haven't bought a pair of panty hose in years. Again something I hope to never wear again. I have come to the point of hating bras because they all chafe, pinch, or bind--or all three at once. And we never, never, never have enough pockets.

Hummmm?? "Financial Toxicity" is a good term but not just in cancer treatment. All of medical care and medications are too expensive for a growing number of our citizens. Just the way the medical industry likes it.

More support for the course we started on a few years ago. We cut back both salt and sugars some years ago and shifted to cane sugar (when we use it because beet sugar is usually from GMO beets) at the same time we shifted to full-fat dairy where we can. We found cottage cheese and milk which fit that category but getting the yogurt we like in the whole milk variety is difficult. We absolutely refuse to buy the 0% fat cheese, milk or yogurt. We also shifted from margarine to butter and occasionally use lard in cooking. We believed for some time that the "expert's" dietary advice was off base and ignored most of it.

Tuesday--

I have decided that any bread recipe I see which gives instructions for mixer, hand mixing, and bread machine in the same paragraph I will ignore. I used a recipe for sourdough that did just that and though the bread came out nicely the dough was a pain in the ass to work with. I am old school on most of my cooking and everything is done by hand. On a humorous note on bread making: I wondered, having just printed off two pumpernickel recipes and using one recently, just what constituted "pumpernickel." So I looked it up and discovered it was simply a bread made with a higher proportion of rye than regular rye breads. I can be made with either rye meal (course grown whole grain) or rye flour (finer milled). The humor comes in with the derivation of the name which according to the source I found comes from two German words: pumpern meaning "to break wind"(a.k.a., fart) and nickel meaning "a devil or demon". They say the course rye meal does roil the digestive system. Mom laughed when I read that remembering when people referred to political gasbags as "pumpernickels".

Wednesday--

Thunderstorms last night but thankfully no hail or tornadoes. The temperatures should drop over the next couple of days. I have to remind myself this is still only March 1. Meteorological spring might start today but the equinox (astronomical spring) is yet three weeks away.

I was going to label this "More on the fake food front," but that isn't totally accurate. Instead it should be "More on the food bait-and-switch fraud," Takes the "tastes like chicken" meme to a whole different level.

Thursday--

We got snow flurries driven sideways by very strong winds. The snow didn't accumulate and the wind has calmed for now.

This is hilarious!! Leaks have been plaguing the Tangerine's administration since the beginning. His current spokes-shill recently demanded all his subordinates hand in their official and personal phones for inspection in an effort to find the leak. Evidently, two private security firms have identified what they think is the source--the Tangerine's own unsecured Android device.

Friday--

I have always been skeptical about the charter school fad and the voucher rage in education enthusiastically promoted by the newest (and least qualified) Secretary of Education, Betsy De Vos. This article provides support for my skepticism--to date the performance hasn't lived up to the promise.

Damn!! Another GMO to look out for.

Ah, Crabby Old Lady is back at Time Goes By and she is right on the money with her critique of the internet today. It is a rare day when all the frustrations mentioned don't have us swearing half a dozen times (or more). I have recently fantasized about taking days off with no computer exposure at all but then I need to look up some crochet stitch or other information.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday, Feb. 26, 2011

I try not to post on the weekends. However, this item make me angry. Yesterday it was Muhammed Ali, Jr., who black and Muslim. I guess the agents who questioned him for 2 hours failed reading in school and couldn't glean from his American passport that he had been born in Philadelphia and they were so ignorant of our cultural history the name didn't ring a bell. His mother had to produce a picture of herself with the elder, deceased Muhammed Ali to prove her connection. But Mem Fox??? She is neither. What? Did they some how fail geography is school and think Australia was in the Middle East?

Yeah--deja vu all over again!! There aren't many sequels I enjoyed and this one looks to be particularly unappealing.

Friday, February 24, 2017

February 20-24--

Monday, again, and it feels more like late March or early April than February. We even brushed 70F yesterday. I went out on the patio and cleaned out some of the dead plants I had left as ground cover and to let the roots rot in the soil. I transferred the purslane to cells of the tiered pot under my grow lights. I think I will have to transplant the two rosemary plants out of that pot into their own slightly larger pot. I should also move the basils out from under the starter tray canopy because they will soon be too tall.

I pulled out the crocodile stitch crochet work I had done. The stitch is pretty but it eats up yarn like a rabbit goes through a spring garden. I simply didn't have enough yarn to make anything useful in that stitch and I really didn't want to have to try and match what I had. I started a couple of light weight headscarves in a stitch I have used before and liked well. After I found a refresher course on line because finding it in my print collection was somewhat challenging.

I love this "Breaking News" alert from the Archdruidess. Absolutely hilarious!!

Another post from the Archdruidess but not a funny one. I read recently of wildlife biologists trying to help a starving whale that had a lot of plastic bags clogging its stomach. Little wonder it was starving.

Tuesday--

Wednesday--

Yesterday was a day of errands (planned and unplanned) that took us out of the house. Today will be a day of household chores. And it is supposed to be another day of record or near record high temperatures. Yesterday set a new record for days in a row of 60+ days in a row in February, tied the number of sequential days of 60+ days in a winter and today may break both. But starting tomorrow the temps should go back to almost normal for this time of the year. I have to constantly remind myself that we are still mid winter here not mid spring.

This is painfully hilarious! Refugees from the U.S. seeking asylum in Canada.

Thursday--

Friday--

Nothing much to say talk about yesterday. I planted sweet basil, lemon basil, spearmint, and lime basil. Moved the Thai basil out of the heated starting tray. I am seeing more articles telling gardeners what seeds for their spring gardens now. They must all be a couple of growing zones south of me. I will start the seeds for the patio gardens in about two weeks. Everything I have started to date are for inside use. The tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers started earlier are small pot varieties and are doing well under lights. The eucalyptus I cut back severely is putting out some new shoots which makes me very happy. I should fill more of my starting cups and get them moistened and in the starting tray. Otherwise, I will decide what small part of my areas to straighten and clean up. As I get older I much prefer things neatly in their places and have become more strict with myself about putting things where they belong.

Friday, February 17, 2017

February 13-17

Monday--

Half way through February already. I should move the mini-belle peppers and eggplants to larger pots. Those seedlings are almost too tall for the starting tray. I have seeds for sweet basil, lemon basil, lime basil, thyme and oregano to start also. The local Menards garden section already had its seed display out so I added those to my collection. I did some more cleaning in the plant/craft/storage room. I hope to clear enough space to set up my sewing machine again--that itch has been growing. The weather has been unusually warm lately--the kind of unusual that makes you wonder when Mother Nature will decide to smack you in the face and remind you it is still winter. In case you are wondering why in the name of whatever Divinity I am planting things now when the average last frost date is around May 15 in my area, all of the plants I recently started are staying inside. I will start the outside plants at the end of March.

Tuesday--

The Thai basil has I planted late last week has started to spout. I should start some of the herb seeds I got over the weekend and fill some more starting cups. The little heating mat is working very well in that small space to get the temperature for the seeds to a good germinating temperature.

I debated linking this. On the one hand I do believe out industrial society has altered the climate. On the other I don't think we can change how we live, even if we had the political will do do so--which we don't, soon enough to make much of a difference. I think I wrote on this blog somewhere in the past posts that, when I became aware of the idea of climate change some 20 or so years ago and most pundits claimed we had to keep the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere below 350 ppm, I looked up the historical levels of CO2 and discovered that we had passed that level around 1985. I have seen a number of articles about how we might adapt to warmer average global temperatures and even have seen a couple of hints by prominent politicians on that subject. However, However, once again it is too little, too late and there isn't any kind of consensus about what "we" might do or even if there is a "we" to do it. Whatever "it" might be.

Wednesday--

So the Flynn tweets about being the "sole scapegoat" in the affair of his conversations with the Russian ambassador were fake. A lot of people were fooled but, being of a suspicious mind, I wonder who was behind the phony Twitter account and what were their motives. Considering how events unfolded it seemed plausible that Flynn was scapegoated. It seemed plausible, though not necessarily likely, that he was stupid enough to have the discussions described with a foreign ambassador before his boss was actually president. After all said boss was acting as though he was president almost from election night when he, in fact, was not. But I have begun taking everything I read with a ton of salt not matter what source it comes from. And the question still lingers: who set up that fake twitter account back in January and for what purpose?

This isn't a good sign. I said above that by the time we recognized (or at least some of us recognized) that anthropogenic climate change was upon us it was too late to prevent it. Well, we have done the same with various types of pollution.

This sounds so very familiar--and the author does draw the parallel with Trump's election over here.

Thursday--

Not much happening today. I think I saw the first bit of a stevia plant breaking the surface and the last of the eggplant starts suddenly decided to sprout. The Thai basil is doing well but won't need to be moved for another couple of days. I got some more of the table cleared in the plant/craft/storage room so I am close to having an area for the sewing machine. I spent some time trying to figure out the crocodile crochet stitch and I think I have it figured.

Friday--

David Kaiser has an interesting post today with which I disagree in several parts. When George W. Bush was elected (even in his very unusual election by Supreme Court decision the first time) I was able to say he was my president and wish him well. His military adventurism forced me to amend that a bit by refusing to condone actions I mightily disagreed with though I could do nothing about. Trump, however, is something else again. He does not speak for me, act for me, or in any way represent me. He happens to be the president of the country I was born in, have lived in for all my 67 years, had at one time been proud to be a citizen of and to have served in my (inglorious) stint in the armed services. But he is not my president. Yes, a little less than half of voters voted for him but without the Electoral College he would have lost to the slightly larger half who voted for Clinton. So which half should defer to which? Kaiser talks about compromises which ended (sort of) the divisions of the Civil War but that required concessions by both sides. I have seen damned little compromise from Republicans over the last almost 20 years.

I agree with the author of this post and I am not at all surprised by the development. The militarization of our society continues.

Friday, February 10, 2017

February 6-10

Monday--again

I started some Red Mini Bell peppers, Patio Baby eggplant, purslane and lavender over the weekend. I plant to keep all of those inside. We are still a month and a half away from the time to start outside seedlings indoors. I cut and formed about two dozen starter pots from the tube cores from toilet paper and paper towels so I have plenty to start. I read bloggers who make hundreds of paper pots each year but they have large outside gardens and a lot of space for seedlings inside (if not in a greenhouse). Not my situation.

Everyone needs a good laugh!! I rather expected the punchline but it is fun anyway.

Ira Chernus has a very good article on Tomdispatch today on Trump's (in)security team.

Not much else going on. I baked bread today and when I do that I don't really want to do much else. Made a change in the recipe that we hope will taste as good as it smells.

Tuesday--

The bread turned out quite good. I used apple nectar in place of most of the water and included chopped, dried apples.

The purslane I started Sunday has already sprouted. I plan to get more cups filled and watered to start more greens and to transfer the lettuce and spinach into larger pots. I noticed new growth on the eucalyptus so the drastic pruning may have helped.

This should get interesting. California pays more in taxes than it receives in Federal funds. It has one of the top ten economies in the world. And California contributes a bit more than 13% to the U.S. GDP. It is an interesting question as to which would hurt worse if Trump follows through and "defunds" California.

Tom Englehardt has another good post on the future crimes of the Trump administration.

Wednesday--

Thursday--

Friday--

I did fill and water more starter cups and discovered that I need to be less liberal with the water. Four of the 20 cups I set up were beginning to come apart. Get the soil moist but don't soak everything. I moved the purslane to the other side of the planting area because the seedlings were getting too large for the space under the plastic cap. The tray forms a micro-mini-greenhouse. I think one of the peppers and one of the lavender are trying to surface. We'll see. I have had only limited success with lavender. I hope I have much better luck this year. Otherwise, I get seedlings from the local garden shop. I just started another group of orach (the first group failed), a group of stevia (which I have never had any success with), some Thai basil and more spinach. The tomatoes, spinach, and lettuce I put into larger pots are doing well. Since I planted the entire thing (plant, root ball, and cardboard cup) none showed transplant stress.

Friday, February 3, 2017

January 30-February 3--

Monday--

Beautiful sun today which was absent except for very brief and infrequent interludes over the past weekend. We got about two inches of light, fluffy snow which was very easy to sweep off the car and patio. It is cold but we keep reminding ourselves that it is still mid-winter after all--only a couple of days away from Groundhog Day.

Had a nice quiet and productive weekend. Finished one project (a large shawl to replace the one I took apart last year because some of the yarn had worn through and I had some unintended holes in it) and made progress on the doily that had frustrated me almost to the point of ripping the whole thing out. Fourth try was the charm, so far, as the first three didn't work at all. I still don't know how I messed it up the same way three damned times. Ah, well it is going well now and I am almost back to where I was when I first discovered I had gone wrong with it.

Tuesday--

A mixed day today. I baked a loaf of bread using a new recipe. It smells good and we hope it tastes as good as it smells but I don't think I will do it again. It is a kind of quick bread and I didn't really like working with it. Next time I will find a regular quick bread recipe to work with.

I frogged the doily. I got past the problem I described yesterday but got to another section I simply couldn't figure out. I think the pattern might have had a misprint because the directions made no sense at all--at least to me. By that time I simply gave up. I will find another project soon.

I am not exactly ignoring politics but letting the issues simmer in the back of my mind a bit. I have thought for some time we needed change but I really didn't see anyone who I thought could change things for the better. Obama promised "hope and change" but I saw his policies as more of the Democratic usual than real change and some of the changes (like changing from the Bush "No Child Left Behind" to "Common Core") simply made things worse. I think we are still sleepwalking toward an ecological and energy cliff which none of our so-called leaders want to recognize much less address. Even if they did I have to wonder if we as a society would follow them. Perhaps not.

Ah, technology is wonderful--until it bites us in the ass. I had stayed in a couple of hotels/motels in the past that had key cards and never gave a thought to what would happen if the electronic locks went haywire. The blogger who linked to the story questioned whether guests were actually locked in their rooms. Usually you don't need the key card to get out only to get in but I don't know how the programming worked.

Wednesday--

We tried the new bread and it is pretty good but I think I will stick to regular quick breads.

I have a table scarf to finish the embroidery on and a small embroidered doily that has been waiting for hemming and trim about forever. Those are next on my list.

We are only half way through winter and it feels like early spring. We are waiting for wintery weather to slam us to remind us of what time of year it really is. Planning for the outside gardens is in full swing and the starting trays are ready upstairs. Every now and then we add something for inside. We just ordered Meyer lemon, and dwarf key lime and orange trees to keep inside as potted plants. I guess I will be learning a good bit more about pruning and tree care.

On the theme of gardening here is an interesting piece from Grist. I have seen more of this both in the blogs I read and here at home. Several years ago I noticed a patch of the land owned by the nearby Lutheran church had been converted into a community garden. How many of the plots are planted and tended varies from year to year but there is always someone gardening in the area. About that same time the city started a community garden which it has expanded at least once. A church near the downtown area created their own raised gardens about three years ago. I have been content to use my little patio space though I have thought about getting a plot in the Lutheran garden or the city gardens. But the Lutheran space doesn't have a water source so I would have to haul water to it. And there is no shade which means, at my age, some of our scorching summer days would be dangerous. The city gardens is simply too far away. Driving would use gas which would eat up all of the savings the produce would provide.

Thursday--

On the matter of "alternative facts" check out Ursula Le Guin's letter to the editor. She puts the matter succinctly. The current administration doesn't have "alternative facts"--they have lies.

I baked again today. I don't know what happened to the wheat bread I made but it never tasted as good as it smelled coming out of the oven. Substandard in every way. The rye I made today is from a recipe I have used before and knew what to expect. Two very pretty loaves are cooling now. I will freeze one for later. Generally, when I get three in the freezer I go back and start on the earliest of them continuing until all three are gone and it is time to begin the cycle again.

Friday--

Root Simple has a movement I can get behind. Actually we have been part of that movement for sometime. Needed new phones we went with "dumb" phones. We have computers so we don't need phones that double as computers or play movies. We still have a whole lot of features we don't use. We got the simplest we could. I bake bread the old fashioned way--mixing the dough and kneading it by hand (you know, those things on the end of my arms. "Fewer Features" sounds good to me.

Friday, January 27, 2017

January 23-27 --

Monday--

I wonder how long before the Repthuglicans move us back to the very early 20th century--if not the 19th. Perhaps we will go back to an age before Upton Sinclair (to paraphrase his comments on the reaction) hit the public in its stomach while aiming at its heart with The Jungle. I read somewhere a long while ago (and don't know if it is true or not) that Teddy Roosevelt couldn't finish his breakfast sausage after reading the book. We read labels here because we don't want salt and sugar laden pseudo-foods, or high fructose corn syrup, or unpronounceable preservatives designed to keep the product looking fresh forever (or till some poor schmuck buys the damned thing), or genetically modified ingredients. Evidently the corporatocracy's right to sell us crap Trump(s) our right to know what the hell they are selling us. Anyone else out there like drinking (relatively) clean water? Or breathing (relatively) clean air? For another take on the situation check out this Grist article. And we can't depend on the states to do the job the Federal government is abdicating as this article covering our Bully-in Chief's EPA nominee's testimony. He intends to review California's clean car regulations. Those boys love "state's rights"--until they don't. (And to be fair the Damnocrats are much the same.)

Tom Englehardt has a blistering review of the "Intelligence" Community's latest quadrennial report on future threats and trends. Frankly, we should demand our money back.

So one of the (s)news outlets is getting wise to our new administrations shenanigans. My question: what the hell took you so long? They have played you like a cheap piano (or a harp from hell to quote the Penguin--Batman reference for those who might not remember).

I am not sorry to see this. But it was dead in the water anyway. Vietnam and Malaysia refused to ratify it, and the Philippines and Japan were having second thoughts. The deal was too big, too complex and too driven by business interests at the expense of national populations and national sovereignty.

Tuesday--

It is time for something cute!! So cat-tastic!!

Wednesday--

Errands today so I don't know how much I will feel like commenting on. I baked bread yesterday and you can see the result above. But I ended up with two beautiful loaves of lavender walnut bread. I used a new recipe and it is a keeper. That is a tasty bread.

Oh, Ripley, where the hell are you??

I don't know where the Archdruidess gets these but here is another bull's eye? I hope someone somewhere knows some centaurs to do the job.

Ah, down the not so good memory lane with the Archdruidess.

This is the second literary reference connecting the incoming administration and dystopian fiction. The first referred to Melania Trump as Ofdonald. Those who have read The Handmaid's Tale will get the point.

John Feffer has a disturbing projection of where the Trump administration is going. Sadly it is an international expansion of what I have thought the domestic developments would be. Just after the election I said that Trump would fulfill some of the desires of his supporters who wanted to attack the gains women and minorities have made over the last 70 or so years, would follow a practice of Business Uber Alles, and would do nothing significant for those in the (once) working class and (no longer) middle classes. Trump's cabinet nominees reinforce my assessment.

Thursday--

I saw a couple of stories on this yesterday. Orwell's novel 1984 is on the best seller lists again reaching #1 on Amazon. Appropriate considering we are in the age of Trump's Alternative Facts.

Friday--

 A long and interesting piece from William Astore at Tomdispatch.

For such a (self proclaimed) smart guy, Trump can be damned dumb. Mom and I eviscerated his claim that he would force Mexico to pay for his wall by slapping a 20% import duty on its goods coming into the U.S.  Americablog does and even better job than we did.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weekend January 21-22--

Saturday--

An interesting question came up in our conversations this morning: How many voters voted for down ballot candidates but not for a Presidential candidate. The Oracle of Google has provided at least a partial answer. In fourteen states the down ballot candidates out polled the presidential candidates significantly. Wyoming would have been the fifteenth if the "none of the above" category (which is allowed in that state) had been included with those who didn't vote for president but did vote category.

Sunday--

Nimue Brown has a nice little piece on clutter. I have read pieces over the last couple of years about the "de-cluttering" movement (I guess you could call it.) Nimue is right that the philosophy is underpinned by a simple sounding assumption: we all have too much stuff. Sometimes that is true--sometimes not so much. I have gone through periods of de-cluttering. When I realized that I wasn't going to go back to science related course work I got rid of most of the advanced material I had held onto for almost a decade. I kept a (very) few basic books though I am more likely these days to Google a specific question than seek an answer in a book. When I realized that I wasn't going to go back to academic history I purged my library once again keeping a few favorites. But the clutter remains. I have needlework projects in every stage of development from barely a thought in the recesses of my brain, to just started, to halfway done, to almost done, to finally finished. Some I haven't picked up in a decade but will--someday soon...maybe. I finally got the floss stash pretty well organized and I don't add as much stuff to the stash as I once did. But the needlework keeps me sane in our insane world as do the books I have kept and still buy at a much slower rate than I used to. I think I would hate a thoroughly organized and de-cluttered space. It would be suffocating.

I notice the so-called "main"stream media didn't carry any of this in their sound bites. All those who voted for him hoping he would get us out of our various (and largely unsuccessful) wars of choice may regret their votes. His "America First" slogan doesn't preclude more wars of choice for any spurious reason his fevered simulacrum of a brain comes up with at any given time.