Friday, March 31, 2006


I think we ordered it in October?

And during the holidays we marked it's absence with a masking taped "X" on the carpet.

But, it was worth the wait because...

besides looking good, it's even comfortable!

End of the Week

Friday. End of the week and end of the month. That didn’t take very long; in fact it seemed to fly by despite the interminable rain. And yes, it’s raining again. And it will rain tomorrow and the next day and…

I haven’t written very much about my cat and I suppose that’s because I don’t want to be known as a “cat person”. A person who obsesses about every little thing that their cat does and considers it all to be “cute”. But she does give me a lot of enjoyment. She is sleeping out in the garage right now, where she keeps the mice away. And around 7:30, I will let her in the house. She will then pester me to pet her quickly and go back out to the garage and feed her. At 8, she is back in the house and ready for a brief wrestling match and then a nap. That takes place in her bed which sits on the chair here in our study, and lasts till about 1. Then it’s time for quick trip outside, followed by her return and a game of tag. I chase her around the house for 5 minutes followed by her chasing me for 5 minutes. Then it’s time for another nap. That lasts till about 5. Then she has dinner followed by her return to the house about 7, where she will lay in my lap, sleeping, while I watch TV, till 10. Then she has to go out to the garage for the night. Tough life! I wish I could include a photo of her, but black cats don’t photograph very well at all. Their features can’t be seen against all the black and you end up with a photo of a black “blob”.

There was a recent news story about a cat named “Lewis” that resides in W. Virginia and it seems that he attacked the local Avon Lady as she was getting out of her car. (So what’s the crime?) His owner is being sued for $5,000 and Lewis is under house arrest. Would the Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses believe me if I put up a warning sign about my cat?

What’s new, besides cat news? Not much. Just more of the same old news. World War III continues, with lives and money being lost on a regular basis. You can always print more money…and we will. But lives?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Good News

Another day, a Thursday to be exact. And since I saw the sun briefly, but brilliantly, late yesterday afternoon, I’m hoping that it will re-appear this morning, in time for me to get in some walking exercise. It doesn’t have to be much; a couple of hours of uninterrupted sunshine are all I need. Let’s see…60% chance of rain is the forecast. I guess I had better go for it. Tomorrow shows a 100% chance of rain. Same for Saturday.

That reminds me; Daylight Savings time is almost here again and that means that the early hour for walking will slip back to 7 for awhile. Darn!

And I just read the good news for today!…American reporter Jill Carroll was set free Thursday, police said, nearly three months after she was kidnapped in a bloody ambush that killed her translator. Her editor said she was "fine." I’m looking forward to reading that story!

On the Border

“A New Jersey labor broker and a security guard firm in California are among thousands of businesses that have filed Social Security tax payments for a large number of workers that do not match any known taxpayer. That, the Social Security agency says, is a sign that the workers are most likely illegal. In 2001, payments for 96% of the New Jersey company's workers did not correspond to any taxpayer on file. Yet the authorities who enforce immigration law have no access to the names of the companies or the workers.”
And less than 1% of the money earmarked for immigration enforcement is used for crackdowns at the workplace, with the overwhelming majority spent at the nation's borders. The border, where 99% of the money is spent, is the last place we should be looking. Let the Minuteman do that. They seem to like sitting out in the desert with a camp chair and a cooler full of cold ones nearby. And they do it for free! Who makes these decisions? Why?

Last year, 127 employers were convicted for hiring undocumented workers — a very small fraction of the thousands of businesses thought to be using illegal labor. Is that because of this odd fact? “The number of federal workers who focus on finding illegal immigrants on the job has dropped in recent years, from 240 in 1999 to 90 in 2003.”
But wait, the government has a tool for employers to use and Basic Pilot is the name of this software gem. With Basic Pilot, employers enter employee information into a website within three days of making a new hire. “The system matches the information with data at the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, using Social Security numbers to confirm or deny the employee's eligibility to work. Employees who do not get confirmation must be fired.”

Three days? Why does it take three days? In three days you have integrated that worker into your business. He or she is part of your overall strategy for doing business now. To remove them will cost you money in lost efficiency and unnecessary paperwork. And you have to start over again, with the same chances of success. Why would anyone want to use such a system? Well, it’s voluntary, and many don’t use it. Can you blame them? “About 5,500 of the country's 8 million employers were registered to use Basic Pilot in March.” … 15% of queries to the Homeland Security Department had to be entered manually. Government computers aren’t always linked. Why not? “The program can detect document fraud, but it is blind to identity theft. Borrowing a legal worker's name and Social Security number allows an undocumented worker to sail through the checks.”

Congress and the Senate now want to make the use of Basic Pilot, mandatory. The same people, who brought you FEMA, want you to trust them to do it right…this time. But not to worry…the Senate wants to give employers 5 years to implement the program. The House version gives employers 6 years…

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


“Enough material to 'make two bombs' gets through customs in Texas and Washington State.”

And enough material to make a dozen bombs could come in by way of our unguarded port system, where only about 10% of the containers are checked…
You really have to see one of these container ships up close to appreciate how huge they are and how many containers are on one. I was on a fishing boat out of Fort Bragg one time and we encountered a northbound container ship as we were heading back into port. Suddenly, our fishing boat seemed to be the smallest boat on the ocean that day as the passing container ship obscured our view of land and half the sky.


Artist Acrylics
This is the paint I'm using for the's very nice! A little pricey, but it goes a long way.

Art Stuff

Wednesday is upon us. And so is the rain. April’s showers are beginning early and perhaps that means that May’s flowers will arrive early as well.

The newspaper has decided to raise the subscription rates and that just might be enough to push me over the edge and cancel it. (I’m of the opinion that the advertisers should pay for the newspaper delivery.) But, the paper showed up early yesterday and that’s a plus…now will it be there before 6 today?

Art stuff…I’m enjoying all of the possibilities. Yesterday, I tried adding some real copper accents to my gourd project and it looks like it will turn out well. I just need to find the right colors to go with it. And I experimented with some watercolors, outside of the required work from the class.
You can’t see the copper accents all that well in the photo. And I’m not sure about the direction for the watercolor? But hey! I’m not finished…I added the stem and leaves last night and now I’m thinking I need to blur that addition a bit.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


ABUJA (Reuters) - Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, wanted for war crimes by a court in Sierra Leone, has disappeared from his residence in southeastern Nigeria, the presidency said on Tuesday.

Wow! No think someone tipped him off? (The fact that they were going to send him back has only been in the news for the past 3 days.)


With all of the talk about immigrants, legal and illegal…I wondered; how did you become an American? Did you have to pass a test? Did it cost you a lot of money? How difficult was it for you to become an American?

I’m afraid I can’t tell you of a heroic tale about my becoming an American. I was only born here. Didn’t cost me a dime. There was no test to pass. It just happened.

Now my grandparents, great grandparents, and even further back than that…they were the real heroes and heroines! They came to this country. They left everything they knew and gambled on an unclear future. I have no idea if they came here legally or illegally. It really doesn’t matter. They came and that is what matters. They were brave enough and I get to reap the benefits.

'Buckypaper stronger than Steel'

'More on Bucky'
Great stuff!


I was reading an article about carbon nanotubes the other day and it appears that a manufacturing process has been developed that allows them to make a carbon nanotube sheet. The article didn’t say how wide the sheet is, but they can make it at a speed of 20 feet per minute. It’s an older article, but very relevant…

So what do you do with a sheet of carbon nanotubes? (First, you have to find it. It’s transparent; as well as being much stronger than steel.) You could wrap ordinary items with it and transfer that strength. It’s an excellent conductor of electricity, so my thought would be to cover roads with it. The road would never wear out and could also carry signals that controlled vehicle speeds and directions. The ideas seem unlimited!

The best part of nanotubes? It’s the fact that they are also known as Buckytubes, to honor R. Buckminster Fuller. Mr. Fuller was a man who always asked “why?’ And he is best remembered as the man who created the first Geodesic dome. But he did so much more than that…and he’s always been one of my heroes.

Cookie weather...why not?

A rainy, wet Tuesday. And the forecast is for more thundershowers all week long. Depressing. Is that why the volume of my writings has slowed to a trickle?

Maybe it’s the news that is so depressing and not the weather at all? Nah! It’s the same old news. Murder and mayhem…what’s depressing about that?

On a positive note, I did get the fertilizer on the rest of the lawn before the rain started. Also, I was able to get the Roundup onto the weeds. And slowly but surely, I have been clearing some work space in the garage. Now I have a space for my watercolors and a place for the gourds. What else did I do? Yes, I made cookies; oatmeal scotchies.

Yesterday, before I became so serious about my chores, I went into town and got in the usual 6+ miles of walking in the park. And while I was walking I started thinking about how important it is to always ask “why?” Reporters are taught to ask “who, where, what and when” when beginning to cover a story. “Why?” is the question the question that we are supposed to ask after we read the story. Think about it; asking “why?” is the single most important thing we can do if we want to be informed; if we want to be a part of this world. Every thought should begin with “why?”

Funny; children understand that better than adults. At a certain age they begin to ask “why?” and of course it drives us nuts after awhile. They are expecting answers! Yet, we really should be nurturing that kind of questioning. Asking “why? should become second nature to them. And to us.

Why? Sounds like a good title for a new blog.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Reading and Math

That's where the money is...

"The intense focus on the two basic skills is a sea change in American instructional practice, with many schools that once offered rich curriculums now systematically trimming courses like social studies, science and art. A nationwide survey by a nonpartisan group that is to be made public on March 28 indicates that the practice, known as narrowing the curriculum, has become standard procedure in many communities."

Say goodbye to a generation...

The Plan

“An Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity has been moved to a notorious maximum-security prison outside Kabul that is also home to hundreds of Taliban and al-Qaida militants, officials said Sunday.”

All part of a plan to make certain that he dies. No one will be held responsible. It will, simply, happen. It would have happened if he had been released as well. Tribalism admits no differences.

It's Here

Sunday morning is here, and although it’s cold, 37°, it is not raining and that’s a good thing. In fact, the forecast doesn’t look all that bad. A few thunderstorms possible around Tuesday, but that doesn’t always pan out and the key word here is “possible”.

Saturday was our watercolor class day, 2 ½ hours of trying to be creative. Ouch! Our task was to find a subject and then create 5 different perspectives on that subject using the elements of painting, Line, Color, Shape, Texture and Value; focusing on each in a separate  drawing. And then create a 6th work, using all 5 elements in one. I picked Stonehenge as my subject and I think that was a mistake. It’s all about Line and Shape and not much else. I’m struggling with this one.

Ah, a faint light! I do enjoy seeing the horizon so early this morning. No clouds at all, just a silver band in the east as the sun begin its climb. But when does Daylight Savings Time begin?

Time for more coffee!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

School Daze

Schools Cut Back Subjects to Push Reading and Math
Trying to meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind, thousands of schools are reducing class time spent on other subjects.

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Surely, we have been blessed indeed by this president…


“A conservative blogger on the Washington Post's website resigned following allegations that he repeatedly had plagiarized material that appeared under his byline in earlier articles.”

And he states that the “liberal attack machine” did him in. And if he wasn’t guilty, wouldn’t he have stayed and fought to clear his name?

Hurricane Donation

Benefited Bush Son
Golly! That's a surprise!


I was watching NOW on PBS last night and there was a good story on the rise of centrism in this country. I still consider myself a centrist and it’s nice to see that the position is gaining in popularity. There has been a 300% increase in the number of people registering as independents. Hopefully, the two political parties will lose their power in the next decade and intellectuals, those who can think for themselves, will come into power. That would be you and I.  


Another morning of rain and wind. I can hear the wind chime faintly ringing. And all of this will end, when? I know…rain is good. For farmers. Well, it looks like the forecast is good for those farmers, with rain forecast for next week as well.

I was just reading another article on the perils of the Guest-Worker programs. Back in the “old days”, and that would be my days…we had the “Bracero” program and it was a form of legal slavery. Agricultural workers couldn’t ask for higher wages or they would lose their status as braceros and be deported. The growers would like to return to that program as it gives them complete power over the cost of production. But, if the borders are closed, cheap labor will become scarce and the cost of production will be in flux. But what is the cost of labor as we see it, as the consumer? Let’s say that we pay Jose 3 cents for each head of lettuce he picks. And he picks 200 heads per hour. Or about one every 25-30 seconds. That will give him $6 an hour. And if I pay him a nickel per head of lettuce, he makes $10 an hour. And I have to pay 2 cents more for my lettuce. So none of the arguments that try and tell me that the growers are only trying to protect the consumer from higher prices…are valid. Can’t we attract American workers to agricultural work with wages of; let’s say $12 an hour? That will cost us 3 cents more per head of lettuce, or a total of 6 cents over what we used to pay. Oh, let’s be really crazy and pay a dime more for our lettuce! Can you afford a dime? $26 an hour.

Of course it’s not that simple. With free trade and fast container shipping around the world, every country has a chance to sell produce at a lower price. Look at the supermarket ads and see how much of the produce came from outside the U.S. It’s in small print, so you have to look carefully. Or put your glasses on and read the little labels they attach to the fruit. That has the country of origin printed on it as well.

Where does it all end? Guns, steel, and concrete walls at the borders won’t stop market forces. Never have and never will. But that’s one of those history lessons and no one likes to pay much attention to history. Our current crop of leaders seems to prefer to learn their history the old fashioned way…by repeating it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Dick Cheney's Suite Demands

Heaven forbid that the TV might be tuned to PBS...
No dissent!
And speaking of PBS and NPR stuff...The Number One radio station in the Chico market is Public Radio! (KCHO)


What else is new this morning? A couple of headlines.

Red Cross Sifting Internal Charges Over Katrina Aid.  
The accusations include improper diversion of relief supplies, and officials said some of the actions might have been criminal. My perception? It’s always been this way for the Red Cross; heavy on administration and light on substance. The Salvation Army never makes headlines…
Bush Is Facing a Difficult Path on Immigration
Many Republicans object to the president's call for a guest-worker system, insisting that the focus be on stopping illegal immigration. Now what’s he going to do? His business supporters need the “guest worker” system to maintain their profit margins…

State Department Is Criticized for Purchasing Chinese PC's
The criticism is the latest sign of American unease about the role of foreign companies in the American economy. But what part of a PC isn’t made in China? Or India?

Truly Micro Electronics in a Single Molecule
I.B.M. researchers have succeeded in fashioning an electronic circuit around a single carbon nanotube molecule. Now that’s news!

Friday Memories

Friday once again. And once more I reflect upon my good fortune. I’m not leaving my hotel room and heading to the airport this morning…sweet! I know it’s been a couple of years since the last time I had to do that, but I still think about it occasionally.

Waking up early. Packing the suitcase. Will it all fit back in there? The drive to the airport. I didn’t realize there was this much traffic at this hour? Give back the rental car. Make sure you have a receipt! Join the crowd on the shuttle bus. Join a line to the ticket counter. Am I early enough for an “A” boarding pass? Not in this line! Is my suitcase too heavy now that I have packed that book I bought? Is the book on top, where I can take it out easily? Suitcase is overweight by 2 pounds! $25 dollars please! Will that be cash or on your Visa account? Oh, yes! A “B” boarding pass…not the best, but one I can live with. Now wait. And wait some more…”Sorry folks. We have an equipment malfunction and the ground crew is on their way to remedy it. There is a diaper stuck in the flush valve and we can’t board the plane until that is taken care of. Please take a seat…it shouldn’t be long.” Take a seat? Where? In some other terminal? There are no seats here! (Once a flight was delayed for 2 hours because the trash compactor didn’t work.) The flight? Full! But I have a window seat and have created my own little sanctuary, safe from the crowd, except for the guy in front of me that decides to stretch out and reclines into my lap; and the kid behind me that kicks the seat back in some odd rhythm that only he understands. The flight lands safely and now it’s time for a game of Airline Roulette. Will my bag show up on the carousel? When it does (Hurray!) I’m off to the shuttle desk and a 2 hour ride home in the back of blue van. True, I only lived 30 minutes from the airport, but since we will drive in erratic circles all about the city, dropping the lucky ones off, it‘s going to take 2 hours for me, since I’m the last one. What a fun day!

Just a few

A few odds and ends…
“A Kansas meatpacker is suing the United States Department of Agriculture for the right to test all their cattle for mad cow disease.”  Imagine that; the USDA does not want meatpackers to test ALL cattle for this disease. True story.

“Social conservatives win a victory in Connecticut when lawmakers decide not to vote on a bill that would require hospitals to give rape victims emergency contraception, or Plan B.”  Would those be compassionate conservatives as well, or just plain “social”?

And finally, “As broadband subscriptions continue to rise, more people are choosing the Internet over TV or print as their primary news source.”  So I guess I will be in good company if I cancel my newspaper subscription…

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Where is it?

The morning has arrived once more…but will the newspaper? We’re at that decision point once again; shall we continue to pay for something that doesn’t satisfy? The paper was quite late yesterday and neither of us had a chance to read it until after noon. Going “paperless” could be traumatic after close to 50 years of hands-on newspaper reading. Speaking of “hands-on”, my mouse won’t smear ink on my hands.

But I also realize (How embarrassing!) that the most traumatic part of losing the newspaper will be losing the comics. What? Surely I can find the comics somewhere on-line. I already gather up 90% of my news on-line and I won’t have to pay for them to be late.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


The Paradoxical Commandments
These are good.

And this one, not a paradox..."The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:34). Golly, that sounds fairly straightforward doesn't it?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Much is being written about the Bush wiretap case and so I suppose there’s no reason why I shouldn’t write something as well. So I will start with some quotes…

“One man, Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold accused fellow Democrats on Tuesday of cowering rather than joining him on trying to censure President Bush over domestic spying.”

And yet, Feingold doesn’t want to stop the wiretaps, he only wants the president to follow the law and obtain a warrant. In fact, under FISA. A warrant can be approved after the fact; so what’s the problem?

"They want to do just as they please, for as long as they can get away with it," Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I think what is going on now without congressional intervention or judicial intervention is just plain wrong."

And the American Bar Association thinks that what the president is doing is illegal as well.

And then I heard someone speaking on NPR, a lady in Ohio, a registered Republican, and her comment was, “I think what he’s doing is fine. If you don’t have anything to hide, you shouldn’t have to worry.”

She doesn’t have a clue, does she? If there were nothing to worry about, why was this provision to make it illegal, part of our Constitution? And when you say you don’t have anything to hide, do you know who is doing the looking and do you know what they’re looking for? It’s not the president who decides…it’s some nameless bureaucrat who is doing the looking and they are being directed by equally nameless superiors. The Attorney General admitted that he couldn’t guarantee that all the rules would be followed by his staff.

Doesn’t anyone remember J. Edgar Hoover? The man who should have gone to jail for the illegal wiretaps he used…to gather information to further his ambitions of total power. Worry? You bet I do!


From the Washington Post.

"We either die by the Americans, the insurgents in the name of jihad, the security companies, which kill you and leave you laying in the street, the Iraqi police or...the death squads. Three years after the American invasion of Iraq, I have only one wish. I do not want democracy, food, electricity and water. I just do not want to die."
- Laith Muhammad, an Iraqi student.

"The toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime was worth everything. I have never felt as free to speak any day in my life as today. If George Bush did anything good, it was toppling Saddam Hussein. I am not pessimistic. But I'm upset, because the war and the occupation, which could have led to a new situation in Iraq, were squandered by the stupid mistakes committed by the American administration and military and the U.S. representatives in Iraq."
- Fakhri Fikry Kareem, owner and publisher of the daily Iraqi newspaper Meda.

Seyed Alavi-

Public Art and Installation
Good stuff! The Sacramento airport already has a lot of neat "art" stuff in it and this looks like it would be worth visiting the airport to see. Have you seen the stack of luggage "art" in the baggage claim area? Let me see if I can find that's around here somewhere.

It's the Law!

Here we are, Wednesday morning again. And my new wireless thermometer tells me that it’s 68.2° inside and 37.4° outside. I love it! OK, I know it’s useless data but I love it just the same. And most data is useless. We read it, we’re startled by it, we ponder it, we debate it…and we continue to do as we always have. Hang the facts!

In the news: There are lots of comments to be made about the case of Abdul Rahman, a citizen of Afghanistan, who is being prosecuted for being a Christian. He faces the death penalty under the Islamic law that governs that country.

One; this case is not about Christianity versus Islam. It’s all about tribalism; and the hazards of being different in any country where tribalism reigns.

Being “different” is always hazardous; no matter where you live, but in Afghanistan it’s deadly.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Lobby-

More on the power of Israel's lobby and how it affects American foreign policy...

Study alleges US sets aside own security interest for Israel's

I thought everyone knew this was happening? Why the controversy now?
The controversy should have erupted long ago, when we first got into this unholy union...


Just before I arrived at the park this morning for my early morning exercise routine, I heard the news that today was the day for the final exam for high school students. The Exit Exam. I’m afraid that thought dominated all my other mental wanderings as I circled the park.

One; I’m against it. If that high school student, a child, has to take the exam to receive a diploma, he or she should be taking it with the dozen or so teachers that passed him on through the years from kindergarten to high school in attendance. Where are they? He or she will pass or fail depending on how well they did their job. And his or her parents…where are they? Shouldn’t they have some responsibility? These students are children and yet we’re prepared to punish them for the sins of others that failed to do their job.

I’m particularly disturbed by this Exit Exam because if they had such an exam when I was graduating, I would have failed. To this day, I can remember the math teacher that did his best to humiliate anyone that couldn’t stand and deliver a verbal explanation of how they arrived at the answer to an algebra problem. I received a D- in that class. And I know what my IQ score is as well; I was beaten (verbally) by my high school counselor on a regular basis. She would flail me with that IQ score, “Why can’t you do better?” but she never suggested an alternative for me.  I was on a college prep path and that was all there was to it.

And this morning, as I listened to comments from teachers and administrators, I was disturbed further when I heard a teacher say, “Well, I know they have to learn this to be competitive…” Wait! No one has to be competitive. One only needs to be happy.

The state superintendent still defends this ugly exam and I can only hope that I have a chance to vote him out of office.

Anybody see my bag?

Tuesday has arrived, as usual. Anything new? Well, I did run across an airline new item yesterday, “An estimated 30 million bags were temporarily lost by airlines in 2005, and 200,000 of those bags were never reunited with their owners, according to an industry report released Monday.” I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I mentally say “goodbye” to my luggage when I hand it over and begin making plans on how I will survive without it. And when it does show up again at my destination, I’m excited! So much better than that feeling of despair as you watch an empty carousel slow and then come to a halt. Your bag? Gone.

Memory: When I was working on the McCarran Airport (Las Vegas) remodel, I would often be behind the wall that hides the inner workings of the bag transport system. It’s a maze of roller coaster-like moving belts with a complex system of gates that feed the bags onto various paths. When you see your bag move slowly through that curtain, you assume that the trip to the plane is sedate and dignified. Not so; as soon as it disappears from your view the speed increases and bags begin to fly…long before they are on the plane. At critical bends in the machinery, I would often have to step up and over large piles of bags that had been ejected from the process.

We’re having newspaper troubles once again. And I’m wondering if we should continue the subscription. The Bee had been delivered early ever since we began our subscription; arriving before 5:30 each and every day. Something changed a few weeks ago and now it’s close to 7 before we see it. By 7, I can read all of the news I want on-line.

Newspapers are having a tough time in today’s market and so you would think that they would want to make certain that the “point of contact” with the customer would be a pleasant one. That’s where their business begins…and ends. I shouldn’t have to think about my subscription…that should be their number one priority; getting the newspaper into my hands as soon as possible. And I’m the customer they don’t want to lose. I have been a newspaper reader since the age of nine, reading the Los Angeles Daily News in the mornings (sharing it with my parents) and reading the Herald Examiner in the afternoons. And I have been reading the Bee since 1988.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Out Like a Lamb

It’s a Monday morning and according to the weather report, it will be another rainy day. What’s happening? This is the first day of spring and we deserve sunshine, not rain! Who’s in charge of this anyway?

OK, I do know…but I can still wish for a nicer day.

My plans call for a good walk this morning, even if it rains. Then a return to the garage projects. I did get the lawn mowed yesterday (or is it mown?) and I fertilized it. And since I will be in Chico, perhaps I should stop and buy fertilizer for the orchard as well. It’s that time of year.

An update on the portable greenhouse disaster: Gourds have survived. Which ones? I don’t know, perhaps some of both varieties. I will plant them and find out what I have later this summer. And apparently no place is safe from the swirling winds. After the second spill, I pushed the greenhouse into the space between the supply room and the bathroom door, thinking that little alcove would be out of the wind. I came out later to find that the wind had removed the clear vinyl enclosure from the greenhouse, forcing it up and off of the frame. I’m going to have to re-think this whole “greenhouse” idea.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Dear school:

Please let my kid have fun
I really like Ellen!

MinuteClinic and FastCare

I read about these the other day and apparently they can't build them fast enough.

FastCare is another one and they are showing up in in all sorts of places.


marijuana use may fog the brain
Well, there's a "Duh" moment in the news.

And am I the only one that thinks the Jack in the Box commercial about the befuddled young man who wants to order the 30 tacos...might be a parody - a comment - on marijuana use? Or am I just reading too much into it?

And to keep things even..."Long-term alcohol use may fog the brain." Ah! But one is legal and one is not.

Down and Out

Darn! There it goes! My portable greenhouse has flipped over once again. I had it blocked and close to the house, yet a stray gust of wind got between it and the house and toppled it over. I didn’t have that much left in it after the first disaster, a few weeks ago…but I didn’t need this! I guess I had better see what I can salvage from the mess.

My View...again

“Leaving Iraq now would be like handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a column published on Sunday.”

My view…I agree that we can’t leave Iraq at this point. We made this mess, we need to fix it. But what galls me to no end, is the fact that not one of these administration hacks, like Rumsfeld, will admit to any errors. From the top down, it’s all about “spin”. Why is that so hard for them to do? Admitting errors is a sign of inner strength and great integrity.

Saturday Recap

Sunday is here. And Saturday was a winner. I wonder if this Sunday can top it? The sun is going to shine today and that will help to make it memorable.

The day (Saturday) started out well. We didn’t have to wait too long for the newspaper to arrive. Always a good omen. And after that we were off to our watercolor class. After a hesitant start, I think we both found our creative “voices” and for me, the painting just flowed from my mind to the brush. As Laurae said, “It’s hard to be artistic on demand.” And so it’s a real joy for both of us when it just happens.

Afterwards, we met Alicia and went to the Chico Home and Garden show at the fairgrounds. And I can report that it was much better this year than last. In 2005, we were wet and cold and searching everywhere, in vain, for a garden display and a cup of hot coffee. Coffee was not required this weekend! Lots of interesting displays and only six (6) chiropractors were hustling the crowds for business. Denise was there as well, displaying the offerings from the Little Red Hen Nursery.

After seeing all that we needed to see at the fairgrounds, we left and went to Glazed Creations, a “U-Decorate” pottery store, where we spent some time being creative once again. I decorated a unique looking cup that I hope to make an integral part of my large mosaic project. Now I have to wait 4 or 5 days before going back to the store and picking up the finished cup. And while we were busy glazing, I saw some blank tiles and other shapes that might be fun to decorate for the mosaic wall.

Then it was time for dinner with the grandchildren. A good time! And Kevin showed me how his new Traeger smoker/barbecue works. It’s definitely a machine for the serious outdoor cook.

We were home by 8:30, after a most satisfying day.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Smoking Ban

Moves Outdoors
I love it! If only all cities were so enlightened.

The Evolution

of the American Front Porch
My sister probably doesn't have the same feeling towards porches that I have...being 6+ years younger, she might have missed the era of the porch. I can still remember the wonderful front porch of my cousin's grandmother's house. It was in Glendale and just a few doors away from our own Nana's apartment. The porch had glider on it and it was deeply shaded, so comfortable! A great place to spend a hot summer afternoon. Unless you were running through the sprinklers!

And Orland has porches! The city has many, very old houses and most of the interesting ones have great porches. If I were to build or buy again, (not foreseeable!) I would have a porch.

I will have to spend some time with my camera and see if I can't get a few good Orland Porch Shots...


It’s amazing how sunshine can change your whole attitude. Especially after a long season of rain and gloom. Yes, the forecast calls for a few days of rain next week, but today and tomorrow we can enjoy the sun. And that means a great watercolor class today, from 9:30 to noon. A beautiful day for it. Maybe we will go outside for some painting? That would be interesting; to see the colors as they were intended to be seen. And the colors I see right now, on the eastern horizon, are fantastic; how can I possibly paint them? My “skies” are far too gray and my “clouds” aren’t really clouds at all. Duh! That’s why I’m taking the class…

All is Fair

Saturday, and it’s the middle+ of the month already! No matter what the groundhog says, spring is close at hand. (OK, so he was right) Just seeing the sunshine streaming in the window while we were eating dinner was awesome!

The blossoms are blooming and the bees are buzzing; everywhere! Trees are beginning to leaf; pale green leaves unfurling slowly in the sun. Allergy sufferers are hitting the drugstores for relief, so yes…spring is almost here. (And on a note of national importance and spring, combined…I can see that the enforcement of immigration laws is working. They are still pruning in the orchards. The commercial pruning is usually over with in January, but not this year.)

And speaking of the news; I was being inundated by the Google News Alerts I had set for news of Oil, Nanotechnology, Iraq and Iran. I was receiving about 40 alerts a day and a lot of them were repeats. So I decided to cancel them. After all, I have the Pluck News aggregator to keep me informed up to the minute. And that worked…sort of. The Iran alerts continue to come to my mailbox quite regularly, and when I go the Google page to remove them, the page indicates that I have no alerts scheduled. The page is blank. A software glitch and I will probably receive Iran alerts for the rest of my life.

A thought that I read recently…“many Americans would never think of returning land that was violently taken from the original inhabitants of this country; (Manifest Destiny) but they would argue that it’s morally correct to re-establish property lines drawn in Biblical times.” What’s with that?

And another thought…when we say the word “diplomacy”, we assume it also means “fairness.” Why?

Hooman Majd

Flattening Iran
An interesting critique of Thomas Friedman's latest column on Iran.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Now, imagine yourself in one of these t-shirts...I did and I see myself in the "Original Nutter". Perhaps you might like "Lobster".

Photo Op

Here's a few photos... She looks harmless, doesn't she? So why do I have a warning sign when you are about to enter her lair?

And gourds...

...some macro focus shots of current work on two gourds. I just got started this morning. That macro focus is far too revealing! They actually look a lot better in person.


Friday has arrived in its usual fashion and I see by the newly installed wireless remote temperature sensor that it is 45° outside. And 67° inside. Ah, technology! I love it.

What will that knowledge do for me? Not much; as when it comes time for me to go out and seek the newspaper, I will do it in my usual fashion and not dress appropriately.
I just read that the World Baseball Classic is over for the United States. Mexico defeated the USA team, 2-1. That leaves Japan, South Korea, Cuba and the Dominican Republic as the final four. Does that tell us anything about steroids? Or money?

And, according to the news; Friday, more than 20,000 supporters of a radical Islamic group held a peaceful rally against the publication of Prophet Muhammad cartoons in an eastern Pakistan city and accused the government of being "soft" on the West over the controversy. Pakistan; that’s the country that already owns more than a few nuclear bombs. And it’s the country that has shared that technology with North Korea, among others. Yet, Bush says Iran is the bigger threat to world peace?

And this…“Prominent leaders from the Christian right have warned Republicans they must do more to advance conservative values ahead of the US mid-term elections.” Perhaps they should ask what would Jesus do? And they should ask it more often.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Daily Reckoning

It's a Good One This Morning.
The Gold Bugs" are at it again...but read it carefully. There's a lot of truth in what they have to say.


"Levee project is sole survivor as ambitious public works proposal stalls over Republican opposition to $49 billion in borrowing."

Let's face it...any politician looks good while standing on a levee for a photo-op. Not one is going to pass up an opportunity like that.


I have been working on gourds (art) these past few days. And I have some good ideas for more of it. I want to use some of the copper sheeting I bought, applying it to the gourds in strips and other shapes. I will have to experiment with adhesives and find one that will hold the copper tightly, but still allow me to move it around for a little bit before the adhesive sets. I want to be able to place it in just the right spot. And I don’t want to forget the watercolors. I have a project or two that need to be completed. Between watercolors, stained glass, gourds, and a growing interest in mosaics and concrete art, not to mention a half dozen other methods of artistic expression…I have plenty of methods to use my artistic voice. I just want to find the one that really satisfies me. Will I?

I guess you can see that I haven’t become bored by my retirement. In fact, I rarely think about work anymore. It’s as if it never existed. I am writing about work in my blog, but it’s the telling of a story and I don’t feel connected to it anymore. It was fun…but it is history now.

When I first retired, I went through all of the usual emotions associated with retirement. A sense of worthlessness. Lost. A lack of power. Disconnected from the world! OK, it’s over now…and I am just fine. Moving on.

And speaking of projects, I need to install the doors in the closet for our “television” room. That’s definitely a high priority item! I should measure those once again and see if I can’t get that done this coming week.


Thursday once again and for some odd reason I’m awake at a far earlier hour than yesterday. Should I worry? No, it was probably the wind that woke me up. It’s raining right now and according to the weather report, the wind is blowing at 24 mph. That certainly has the wind chimes ringing! The wind has caused the temperature to rise and so it’s only 52°. Perhaps it was the barking dogs that caused my sleeplessness? The wind brings strange noises and scents to the dogs and they respond. I’m sure glad those dogs are as far away as they are; I would hate to have them next door to me.

It’s time for my second cup of coffee and a view of the news. Here’s something…Nearly 90,000 lightweight trailers built to be temporary are in an area prone to flooding, tornadoes and, of course, hurricanes.”  I hope those cruise ships haven’t left port. The citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi may need them again. Soon.

And this bit of news…“The Republican-led Senate, worried that seniors will punish GOP lawmakers at the polls for missteps in the new Medicare prescription drug program, voted to authorize the government to lengthen the sign-up period for the benefit and to negotiate cut-rate prices with drug companies.” I’m one of those seniors and I am enjoying the power! Yes! But I’m also going to need some new software just to track the Medicare costs. Luckily, that’s available now. Imagine…individual citizens needing computer software to navigate the perils of medical billings.

One more…“Effort to Overhaul Lobbying Gets a Chilly Reception
WASHINGTON-House GOP leaders say they'll persist despite colleagues' resistance to post-Abramoff plans.”  Why comment? It’s business as usual in Congress.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


issues low on voters' minds.
Could this be a problem for possible presidential candidate Brownback?

The Morning Musing

Here it is, a Wednesday morning once again. And with coffee in hand, I’m as ready as I can be to face the day. But wait…maybe just one more cup!

I started off this morning by reading the mail from the Daily Reckoning, always guaranteed to wake me up with a startling bit of data. Like this…

"The median family has about $3,800 in the bank, does not have a retirement account, and has a home worth $160,000 with a mortgage of $95,000. No mutual funds, stocks or bonds populate their investment portfolios. They make (jointly) $43,000 and struggle to pay off their $2,200 in credit card debt. That means 50% of Americans are in worse shape than the above. It is not a pretty picture." (That also means 50% are in better shape…but the author didn’t mention that.)

And then I read this little bit of news…

“The U.S. Government estimates that the cost of raising a child born today from birth through high school to be $211,370. Raising the standard two children would set an American family back nearly half a million dollars, and these figures do not take university education costs into account. It is this highly-predictable spending by families that drives our modern, mass-affluent economy. This spending continues even during very difficult times, as the first half of this decade has shown."

Whoa! That’s a scary number. And your cost may be higher. Depending on your Zip code of course. But I just thought…that’s over a span of 18 years. And so the $$ number per year, per child is $11,742.777777777777777777777777778. More or less. That’s still a lot of money, but it sounds better than a quarter of a million dollars.

Now, taking a parent’s view of all of this math…children are a bargain! They are priceless!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


is so much fun!
"The possibilities for special fees are almost limitless, Trippler said. Airlines just need to be creative." And don't forget to charge for the view if you have a window seat!

What'd He Say?

All together now!
In unison..."Let's get our stories straight!"
Thank you.


That was odd. I woke up at 5 this morning. And I have no idea as to why that happened, although there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s simply odd.

I hope that the newspaper makes an early arrival…but I doubt it will happen. It has been arriving later and later each day for the past week or two. I would complain if I didn’t have to phone someone to do it. Hello? It’s the 21st century; why would I need to phone someone? Eventually I will have to decide if I even want the newspaper.

The newspaper? It’s a McClatchy newspaper, the Sacramento Bee. And McClatchy just became the second largest publisher in the US when it bought the Knight-Ridder publishing empire over the weekend. The McClatchy plan is to sell off most of the bits and pieces, keeping just a few prime newspapers.

It wouldn’t be such a terrible thing to lose the newspapers. Historically, newspapers are fairly recent innovations. They didn’t become popular until the level of illiteracy dropped below 50%. (Duh!) In colonial times, newspapers were only read (and printed) by the intelligentsia. Reporters didn’t exist in those days and newspapers weren’t held to any standard of truth. The publisher/editor was paying to print his views. Truth didn’t enter into it.

And we are entering a new age of literacy; one that we still have to define. People still read, but at a minimum level. Libraries are closing and not receiving a lot of support when they are able to remain open. More and more parents aren’t particularly disturbed when told that their children don’t read well. People want their news in brief, not in depth. And they want it now.

I wonder if this need for “news in bites” is related to the fact that we have access to so much more news than we ever had before? Does the news overwhelm us?

Monday, March 13, 2006


“The fairness of the sentencing trial for confessed Al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui was called into question Monday, with revelations that federal prosecutors had coached several witnesses. US District Judge Leonie Brinkema called a surprise recess to decide whether the death penalty should still be considered in a case now jeopardized by what she called the most "egregious violation of a rule on witnesses" she had ever seen.”

He had already confessed! What were they thinking? And a few more questions…Shouldn’t those prosecutors lose their jobs? Wanna bet they don’t?

Tom Fox

Our brother and the brother of all...


I just caught the tail end of a Wal*Mart discussion in the Letters to the Editor pages of the Bee. Apparently a reader wrote in and was defending Wal*Mart for some reason or another. (Wal*Mart always needs to be defended) And in this letter, a comment was made that Union meat cutters “are grossly overcompensated” because they make $21 an hour. From that statement we can learn that the writer does not make anywhere close to $21 an hour. There’s nothing wrong with that…what is wrong is to make assumptions about what gross overcompensation is.

I also read the Sunday paper Parade supplement and it included a section on the wages of Americans…“What People Earn: Our Annual Report on the Economy and You.” And from that list, here’s my contribution to what constitutes “gross overcompensation”. Howard Stern makes $31 million. Kobe Bryant makes $15.9 million. Terry Semel (CEO-Yahoo!) makes $120 million. It goes on and on, of course.

And on the flip side, how about “gross undercompensation”? Jimmy Moronta, Sgt, Marine Corps, $22,000 a year.

For many years I was a Union carpenter and made union contract wages. With that money I was able to live the middle class life. We bought a home and raised 3 children. We were never rich. We lived in neighborhoods with insurance agents, assistant department store managers, salesmen, engineers, etc. Was I “grossly overcompensated” and living beyond our “class”?

Paperless News

Some news…
Newspaper Chain Agrees to a Sale for $4.5 Billion By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE and ANDREW ROSS SORKINKnight Ridder, the nation's second-largest newspaper company, agreed Sunday night to sell itself to the McClatchy Company.

Related news; I was reading an article on the financial problems of Canada’s pulpwood industry and it appears to be linked to the overall health of the newspaper industry. Not good. And locally; a sign of the times. As I drive about the communities here, I see more and more newspapers lying in the driveways at 4 in the afternoon. Never read till…when? Am I the odd one? (Don’t answer that!)

Weather...or not

Monday has rolled around on the calendar once again. And I just made the mistake of looking at the weather forecast. In a previous forecast there were bright symbols of sunshine for at least a few days this week. They’re all gone now…replaced by symbols of rain and more rain. Oh, sure, the rain is good for us. Or so they say.

Last night, we attended a Community Sing for the first time. A large number of churches within the *Greater Orland Metropolitan Area sponsor a gathering once a month, simply to sing hymns. There were Pentecostals, Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and other assorted denominations. I believe there were eight churches represented. Delightfully ecumenical!

It might have been ecumenical, but it wasn’t as diverse a crowd as it should have been. All of the churches represented have a problem attracting the Hispanic community to worship with them. Even the Catholic Church, traditionally the faith home for Hispanics, has a problem in trying to consolidate their congregation(s) into one. Orland has a large Hispanic community but we rarely see them in church. A dilemma.

(*GOMA…it doesn’t exist. But, it should!)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Monty Python's

Silly Walks Generator

What fun!

What's new?

Just some stuff I found while browsing the internet…

“"Claude Allen has been a valuable member of my Administration since 2001, helping to improve the health and welfare of all Americans. He is a dedicated public servant and a tireless advocate for those in need. I look forward to his continued service in this new role as my domestic policy advisor," stated President Bush.”

"in the early days of Katrina, the White House Katrina task force was being run by Claude Allen."

“The resignation of Claude Allen last week as domestic policy adviser means a true-blue conservative is no longer shaping policy at the White House. But why exactly did Allen pick now to go?”

“We’ll probably never know the real reason, but that’s what makes speculation so fun. In any case, Allen will be missed. He won widespread praise when he was given the job. And while some of he initiatives that came up under his watch (Social Security being the biggest) didn’t go his way, at least he was rooted in conservative thought.”

“President Bush said he was "shocked" to hear of the arrest Thursday of his former domestic policy adviser, saying that if the theft charges against Claude A. Allen were true, the one-time judicial nominee had misled the White House.”

“Police began investigating Allen on Jan. 2, after he was accosted by a Target employee who allegedly saw Allen getting a refund for products he did not buy, said Lt. Eric Burnett, a Montgomery County Police spokesman. The investigation turned up dozens of other instances in which Allen allegedly would buy merchandise and later return with his receipt to select the same items and -- without paying -- "return" them for a refund, Burnett said.”


Sunday. The Sabbath Day. You don’t hear that very much anymore. And I grew up during the time of transition; when Sundays became less a day of worship, rest, and relaxation, and more a day of shopping. When I was nine or ten, you could walk downtown on a Sunday and every store was closed. Every store. And, “the thing to do” was to take a Sunday drive. Which we often did. It all sounds very quaint and old-fashioned now…Hmm? How old am I?

No rain this morning; yet. (Thunderstorms are forecast) But the temperature has risen. And that same forecast calls for more rain next week along with those warmer temperatures.

We went to our watercolor class yesterday morning and watched a “How-to” video presentation by Charles Reid. Enthused, we went to Aaron Brothers and bought a few more art supplies. Not that we were all that enthused about Mr. Reid’s work; we weren’t, but the video did generate some excitement about art in general. And during the ride into Chico, this generated a conversation about the lack of support for the arts in our schools. Sad. Especially since Laurae has seen students who were academic failures but possessed a gift for the visual arts. With no support, they are eventually going to exit the school system without ever being credited for their talents. Simply failures.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Odds and Ends from the headlines…
Push to Tighten Lobbying Rules Loses Strength By SHERYL GAY STOLBERGthe drive for a tighter lobbying law is losing momentum, a victim of shifting political interests and infighting among Republicans.

It’s also because Congress is pretty sure that the public isn’t watching anymore…Roll out the corporate jets and let’s party!

Port Deal's Collapse Stirs Fears of Repercussions in Mideast Ties By DAVID S. CLOUDPresident Bush expressed concern that the Congressional opposition over the port deal could have a broader negative effect by alienating allies in the Middle East…

And he’s right! It could certainly affect the economy as well, as foreign investors re-think their positions. The American business community is trying to patch things up behind the scenes, as this could bring about retaliation by some countries.  Some governments are going to look more critically at American investments in their countries. Xenophobia strikes again!

Hail and stuff

Saturday once again. It’s currently 32° outside and so the heater is on and the inside thermometer is headed back up towards 68 degrees. And the forecast calls for more rain in the form of thundershowers today. We had one of those yesterday and we were certain that we were in for a repeat of last years disastrous hail storms. The sky grew ominously dark, the temperatures plunged and the rain fell. Within a few minutes the rain turned to hail, but soft hail. It turned the ground white but it didn’t come down with any velocity. I think everyone has seen hail bouncing as it strikes the ground; this didn’t happen. It simply fell onto the ground.

Last year, the hail cut the leaves from the trees and the roses, bruising and scarring the developing fruit buds. Blossoms and leaves were scattered all over the orchard, but this last storm seemed to leave no damage at all. Now if we can only be so lucky again today…and tomorrow.

I was reading the news this morning and I saw that there was a story about an oil spill from the Alaskan Pipeline. That’s the same pipeline that was going to monitored at all times and the likelihood of a spill was supposed to be minimal. So I guess one spill of 267,000 gallons is minimal. They say that internal corrosion caused the spill and I guess I have to wonder about the condition of the rest of the pipeline? Or was that just one isolated corroded spot and the rest of the pipeline is perfectly safe? I guess we could ask an oil expert. Maybe one of those experts that have been telling us that drilling for oil in the ANWR will be safe could take some time off from lobbying and check out the pipeline for us.

Don’t you just love “People in Denial”? The Pipeline Will Never Leak. Global Warming Is Bad Science. The Citizens Of Iraq Will Welcome Us. The World Is Flat.

And this story…
Muslim officials taking part in a Copenhagen seminar aimed at fostering religious dialogue in the wake of the Prophet Mohammed cartoons row on Friday urged Denmark's government to apologize for their publication.

"We want the Danish government to engage in a direct dialogue with Muslims in Denmark and the Muslim world. We would like an official apology and we would like to change the laws in Denmark and the European Union."

What is it about “Democracy” that isn’t understood here? Apologize? For what, for being free to have an opinion?

But, the Muslims have a good point and that is the fact that 14 European nations have laws providing for punishment of those who deny that the Holocaust occurred. That is not “Democracy” either. Democracy has to have room for all opinions or it’s simply not a viable form of government. Anyone who would deny your right to an opinion hates democracy.
And there is some good news for the environment…Gale Norton has resigned as Secretary of the Interior. Gale Norton was a protégé of James Watt, Reagan’s Interior Secretary and an embarrassment to most Americans. That was the same James Watt that banned the Beach Boys from appearing at a concert on the National Mall because they would attract an undesirable element.

Let me paraphrase James Watt, "I never use the words Republicans and Democrats. It's (liberals) conservatives and Americans." -- James G. Watt, 1982. That tells you what kind of a mind he has.

Friday, March 10, 2006


More Will Join Their Ranks
"'We're all working to take care of children. That's our mission,' said Woody Woodward.
But it is a mission carried out more and more by older people, Chapman reported.
'We're almost half what we were 35 years ago,' Woodward said.
There are about 6,300 Shriners in the metro. Their average age is 65. In Canada, Mexico, Panama and the U.S., where Shriners used to boast 900,000 members, they have a little over 400,000 now.
The Shriners support clinics for patients who are treated at one of their 22 hospitals, including 19 orthopedic and three burn units."

They do a wonderful job; the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento is monument to their generosity. But...if they are looking for ways to increase their membership, they might want to look at the "hats".


Only 20% of men are working past age 65
According to the article, this is one of several surprising findings in the report on aging...and I have to ask, why is it surprising?

Goodbye, Dubai

More on Dubai - From the Los Angeles Times
And it's well stated. This editorial certainly illustrates the dilemna we face when we let popular opinion make the decisions that will effect our lives in so many ways.

popular opinion = American Idol

As I was saying

Speaking of ports and politics, as I did a few minutes earlier…here is something from The Daily Reckoning newsletter I received yesterday.

This is a national security issue," said Rep. Jerry Lewis, the chairman of the House panel, adding that the legislation would, "keep American ports in American hands."

And the newsletter goes on… “Well, as patriotic as that sounds, the London-based Peninsular & Oriental Navigation Company previously owned the five U.S. ports in question. Last we checked, London was in Great Britain, not America. And what about the other foreign-operated shipping terminals in the United States? China already runs a terminal at the Port of Los Angeles and Singapore runs terminals in Oakland...are we going to shut those down?

Another major detail the House seems to have conveniently overlooked - the UAE are our allies. U.S. Navy ships call at the port of Dubai, and the U.S. Air Force uses UAE airfields to launch missions into Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the UAE donated $100 million to Katrina relief - more than four times any other countries contribution combined.”

Bad Genes

Friday has arrived once again. And I think we have some rain in the forecast. Of course we do. That’s been in the forecast every day for the past two weeks. Most tiresome!

I’ve been trying to get the garage in shape once again, but the colder weather is making it a chore. I like to have the garage door open when I’m working out there, but the cold wind quickly drives me back into the house. And when I close the door to block the wind, I feel like I’m in a box. Perhaps; when we need to replace the existing garage door, we can buy one that has some windows in it. I want to be able to look out to the west and see the snow covered Humboldt Range at this time of the year.

I have the same feeling about our front door. I feel trapped by it. The entry way has stained glass on each side of that door, but you can only see shadows through the glass. I would like a door that allows me to see something beyond it; anything would be better than that grim barrier of wood. And we should have a screen door there as well; so that we can open the house to the flow of fresh air in the mornings.

One of the things that I am doing in the garage is throwing things away. That is a difficult task for me. It’s genetic of course. My father didn’t like to throw things away and so here I am, his son, faced with a painful decision; National Geographic’s? Out or in? Not that the decision making will end with the magazines; oh, no…I have a whole garage filled with those kinds of choices. All painful. Curses! Why did I ever begin watching the Road Show on PBS?

Bush's Approval Rating Falls to New Low

t's all about timing.
If only this had happened about a year and a half ago...Wait a second, no...that would have meant that "what's his name" might have won the election and that would not have been the best outcome. But, on second thought, it might have been better than what we have now!

It's odd that this dip in the polls is caused by the Dubai Ports controversy and especially odd that I agreed with Bush's position on port ownership. The ports have been foreign owned for years and many still are. (And still will be) A Chinese company owns the port in Southern California and Shanghai owns one in Oakland. What is not being addressed by this controversy is the very real problem of port security; less than 10% of containers are ever inspected and that has nothing to do with who the owner happens to be. But far too many Americans are quite content to let the "Talking heads" rule their thoughts...and Congress always follows the path of least resistance (and least thought).

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Rice, Rumsfeld defend it...

...50 Billion + 70 Billion. Wow, that's a lot of money!
Let's review that earlier story when the administration was going to use all the Iraq oil money to pay for the war. I liked that story a lot better!

Lenten Season

Here is something I spotted this morning...

Rule of the late Arthur Lichtenberger (presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, 1958-1964)

This year...
I plan to:Fast from criticism, and feast on praise

Fast from self-pity and feast on joy
Fast from ill temper, and feast on peace
Fast from resentment and feast on contentment
Fast from jealousy, and feast on humility
Fast from pride, and feast on love
Fast from selfishness, and feast on service
Fast from fear, and feast on faith.


Disturbing…the other day I was listening to a news story about the continuing slaughter of civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan and the report stated that the Sudanese forces were strafing villages. And I had to ask, who makes those airplanes and why does Sudan have them? Who sold them those airplanes?

A little bit of snooping on the internet found this…

And these facts: “From 1998 to 2001, the USA, the UK, and France earned more income from arms sales to developing countries than they gave in aid.

The arms industry is unlike any other. It operates without regulation. It suffers from widespread corruption and bribes. And it makes its profits on the back of machines designed to kill and maim human beings.

So who profits most from this murderous trade? The five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the USA, UK, France, Russia, and China. Together, they are responsible for eighty eight per cent of reported conventional arms exports.

“We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be both the world’s leading champion of peace and the world’s leading supplier of arms.” Former US President Jimmy Carter.”

And still it goes on…

Here’s another good link