Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Something new...finally

I finally got around to posting something new at my Working blog. Now I have to find something new for my Family Matters blog… These are blogs that I hope my grandchildren will enjoy some day.


That didn’t seem to take very long at all. Here it is; the last day of the month. And it’s Halloween…my least favorite holiday. I’m not bothered by the supposed irreverence or any possible links to Satanism. When little witches or devils come to my door I am bothered by having to get up and answer the knocking. Simple; I’m an introvert and Halloween requires far too much extroverting for me! I would be much more comfortable if I could leave a basket of candy on the front porch and trust the little devils to help themselves, equitably.

Of course I had to do some research on the holiday…

“Pagans first marked Oct. 31 as Samhain, a time of dwindling daylight when the living could most easily communicate with the dead. Christians later planted their own rituals for honoring the dead, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, now celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2, respectively. Oct. 31 over time became known to Christians as Allhallows Eve or Halloween…”

This holiday now marks the beginning of fall and is a bonanza for the candy merchants. And I have to wonder how different our Halloween is from the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos? Considering that they evolved in the same way; borrowed from a pagan culture, I would say that there is no difference.

Christians co-opted a lot of pagan festivals for their own use; Christmas and Easter are two other examples. Something to remember when accusations of “taking Christ out of Christmas” are hurled indiscriminately during the national shopping spree. Christ was never in it to begin with and I have always had this thought that Christians of all denominations could get together (fat chance!) and come up with an alternate date to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. That way we could leave the shoppers with a holiday all of their own and we could celebrate as we wanted.

Monday, October 30, 2006

At 2 TV Stations in Maine,

Al Gore’s Movie gets bad reviews

Mr. Palmer is quite correct. We shouldn't have to hear or see stories about Global Warming. Just the word, "global" implies that the earth is round and we all know that it's flat. Hah! Science, indeed!


The heater is roaring at this early hour; OK, maybe it’s more of a loud whisper that I hear, but it is also money making sound for the stockholders of PG&E. The temperature is down to 41 and will probably fall a few more degrees before he sun makes an appearance.

Wood is not the most economical substitute for PG&E’s gas delivery but it satisfies; giving off a heat that warms the soul just a little bit. I swore that I would never burn wood again once I left Lassen County and I held to that promise for about 16 years. But when we moved here we had a wood burning stove in our new family room and a pile of firewood out back. And I caved in and we began to burn wood on the coldest of days. Sure; I liked it (except for the mess) and now I have to buy some more wood as that pile we inherited is getting pretty small.

I guess I can stop at the local wood dealer and see what ½ a cord would cost; picked up and not delivered. I can do the stacking myself. After that, we can say that we’re ready for winter.

For some reason, I seem to have collected a lot of quotes this morning, beginning with this one from Inward/Outward

Dangerous Business
By Emilie Griffin

Prayer is a very dangerous business. For all the benefits it offers of growing closer to God, it carries with it one great element of risk: the possibility of change. In prayer we open ourselves to the chance that God will do something with us that we had not intended We yield to possibilities of intense perception, of seeing through human masks and the density of 'things' to the very center of reality. This possibility excites us, but at the same time there is a fluttering in the stomach that goes with any dangerous adventure.

Don't we know for a fact that people who begin by 'just praying' - with no particular aim in mind - wind up trudging off to missionary lands, entering monasteries, taking part in demonstrations, dedicating themselves to the poor and sick? To avoid this, sometimes we excuse ourselves from prayer by doing good works on a carefully controlled schedule.”
Source: Clinging: The Experience of Prayer

And then there are these wonderful quotes from Abraham Lincoln that I found on-line this morning. Believe it or not, the current holder of the office of President of the United States is supposedly a great fan of President Lincoln, reading his words regularly.

I would like to speak in terms of praise due to the many brave officers and soldiers who have fought in the cause of the war.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.

I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.

I shall try to correct errors where shown to be errors, and I shall adopt new views as fast as they shall appear to be true views.

Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.

I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him.

Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose — and you allow him to make war at pleasure.

Force is all-conquering, but its victories are short-lived.

The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Better than a garage sale...

The Unclaimed Baggage Center

Future Tax Shock -

New York Times

And now for the rest of the story... (Sorry, Paul Harvey... for using your line)

Time Travel

The morning has started quite early, just as I feared it would. Can I get myself into the rhythm of the Standard Time in less than a week? I hope so. When I was traveling it was quite easy for me and it took only a day to accommodate 3 hour time zone differences. But lately, (the past two years) it has been difficult. Aging?

Last night, at the Bunco game, (Yes, I was playing Bunco…though I’m not even sure how to spell it? Bunko?) I heard that Daylight Savings Time will be extended next year? How odd that I, a news junkie, didn’t know that? Is it true? Sure enough, here it is, “New Federal Law—Springing Forward in March, Back in November, months after Indiana passed the law that got it in step with the rest of the country, the federal government announced a major change in Daylight Saving Time. In Aug. 2005, Congress passed an energy bill that included extending Daylight Saving Time by about a month. Beginning in 2007, DST will start the second Sunday of March and end on the first Sunday of November.”

Once again I had a problem posting to my blogs this morning, same as yesterday, so I did a quick search of the topics on the Blogger user’s forum and found out that I wasn’t alone. And I found a fix; sort of… when you get the error message after trying to post, click on Re-Publish Index and it seems to take care of it, though I noted that not all of the users in the forum were successful in using this cure. Bloggers may have to wait till Monday morning for a complete cure.

And what’s new…besides the time change?

I have to access my new Google News Reader to see the news of the day. My “old” news aggregator, Pluck, has decided to get out of the news business in January, so I’m starting early in my search for a replacement. Google is OK so far, a little clumsy but it fits in with my Google Desktop/Home page and all of the Google add-ins.

Here’s a headline for the season…“TORONTO (CP) - There isn't enough proof that flu vaccine is effective to support public programs advocating widespread use of flu shots, a controversial vaccine epidemiologist is suggesting.” This is going to be a tough one to prove as the program has been in effect for so long and the pharmaceutical companies love it. Of course I can’t prove it either; I just know that I have always had a vague suspicion that the flu vaccination program wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

And there’s still news about the Great Spinach Disaster of 2006… I’m sure that the local farmers markets are reaping the benefits of the publics fear of packaged produce but I would have to say that it is now safer to eat packaged produce rather than local. Your local farmer could just as easily have contaminated produce…even easier if you realize that the local farmer has no one looking over his shoulder and monitoring how he picks and packs. The large commercial producers are now under more scrutiny than ever before, including their own incentive to not go out of business!

Get Out the Vote

As we were driving home yesterday afternoon, I spotted a large bus with signs painted on it supporting the passage of Proposition 89. You couldn’t miss the message; in large letters that covered the bus, it read, VOTE FOR PROPOSITION 89 AND STOP POLITICAL CORRUPTION

I got the message but I had these questions. Is that all it will take, just a vote? So why didn’t we do this a long time ago? Imagine if we had; this administration wouldn’t exist. Nor would the previous one. Or the one before that. Come to think of it, who could have run the country if we had eliminated political corruption? I guess it would be up to you and me. I don’t know about you, but I already have plenty to do so I suppose we’re going to need some political corruption if we want to get anything done… “POLITICAL CORRUPTION. IT’S AS AMERICAN AS MOM, APPLE PIE AND BASEBALL. VOTE NO ON 89!”

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Usual Suspects

Our local election results will probably end up showing a slam dunk win for the conservative crowd. This part of the north state is filled with dyed in the wool conservatives who are still stuck in the 19th century. For instance, Sam Aanestad who represents the 4th State Senate District; Mr. Aanestad opposes the bill that would create public funding for elections. Why? Because he doesn’t want to see the money going to “just any Tom, Dick and Harry”. Really? I thought that our form of government was based on the fact that any Tom, Dick or Harry could run for public office… it’s called “democracy”. Would it be OK if the money went to a Sam?

This same Sam dislikes any environmental restrictions as they only slow economic growth. And he really dislikes Proposition 87 because it imposes an extraction tax on oil companies. Well, that makes sense…everyone knows that the oil companies are having tough times.

Then there is Rick Keene, incumbent Assemblymen. He’s pretty much against anything that might cost money. He says universal health care is “socialized medicine” and he’s against it…whatever it is. He also dislikes minimum wage increases, “We are competing in a global marketplace, and wage increases make us less competitive.” I’m not sure how that relates to the wages of the lowest paid among us; the janitors, ag workers, burger flippers, etc. I don’t believe there is a lot of global competition for those jobs. If we could get our burgers flipped for less in Thailand, would we send them there and back via Fedex?

And if you really want to know about Mr. Keene’s intellect, his comment on Global Warming has to be the clincher. He says it’s based on “questionable science”. Now that’s a position that even his leaders in Washington gave up months ago…where was Rick?

Wally Herger is the incumbent Congressman for this area and has been for 20 years, which tells you a lot about the powerful people of the north state. Wally is all for the “War on Terrorism” and supports the building of the 700 mile long Great Wall of Arizona…but he also wants a guest worker program so that foreign workers can harvest our crops and then get the heck out of here!

Mr. Herger also likes the suspension of habeas corpus for “known or suspected” terrorists. Apparently Mr. Herger doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “suspected”. That’s something that most conservatives have a problem with. To the conservative ear it sounds just like, “Guilty! Hang em’!”

I remember that a year or so ago, Mr. Herger went to Baghdad on a “fact finding mission”. (Anytime a congressman travels anywhere…it’s always on a fact finding mission) He spent all of his time there in the safety of the “Green Zone” and then on his departure, he noted that the happy Iraqi civilians were waving to him as he passed over in his helicopter. Happy? Waving? How close to the ground was he flying?


My, how time flies! Daylight Savings Time is scheduled to end this weekend. What will we do with all of that extra sunshine in the morning? And how will I get used to waking up later? I don’t think that will happen easily. I can see that afternoon naps are in my future and there’s nothing wrong with that!

I have finished voting and my ballot is in the mail. (Does that mean that the computer generated political advertising phone calls will end? I doubt it.) And I can report that my ballot will show that I voted for candidates from the whole spectrum of political ideologies. I also voted to tax the smokers and tobacco chewers to near bankruptcy. I voted for school bonds and against levee repairs. Why? Because the children are our common responsibility. And our common resource. The levees are the responsibility of the levee districts…let the members of those districts pay for their maintenance; something they have neglected to do for many years. Why should I pay for their failure to maintain their own assets? And does anyone really know what California would look like if we didn’t have this network of artificial channels?

I also voted against Proposition 83, the so-called Jessica’s Law that provides for millions of dollars worth of monitoring of child abuse offenders. Here’s a law that politicians love! They get a chance to appear as if they are against all things Evil and all in favor of Good, when in fact the new law will do nothing to change things. Except to lighten your wallet. Some facts are in order; since less than 7% of child abusers are strangers… that must mean that more than 93% of child abusers are people we know; friends and family. Duh! But what good are facts when emotions are running high? Common sense goes out the window. (By the way, the same figures hold true for murderers as well… so keep an eye on Aunt Millie!)

I didn’t vote for the judges or anyone else that was running uncontested. Why bother? And I got a chance to vote for a write-in candidate; that doesn’t happen very often. I’m afraid his chances are slim, though I could be surprised; he has a lot of friends here. The tough part is educating people as to how to vote for a write-in candidate. That seemingly simple procedure intimidates a lot of people.

Also, I spent yesterday afternoon at the Kountry Kitchen restaurant; the site for the quarterly blood drive. I hadn’t donated in a long time and I thought it was time to do it again. Plus, being in Orland, I knew it would be the social event of the month. I wasn’t wrong. Everyone who was “someone” was there to give blood or to help with the process. Plus you get to eat home made cookies afterwards… without guilt!

Unfortunately for me, I got a double stick of the needle for my troubles. I had hoped to use my left arm for the donation but after a few painful tries, they conceded defeat and had to move over to the right arm. Something to remember next time. If there is a next time… for in the back of my mind, I’m wondering if I haven’t been exposed to West Nile virus, and this donation will tell me if that has happened. I would rather not have had it, as that means you can’t give blood in the future. But, at the same time; if you had West Nile and didn’t know it… you won’t ever have to worry about getting it; you’re immune!

Last, but not least, I should mention here that my granddaughter has returned to blogging. Check it out…

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Chico News and Review

October 26, 2006

Good comments by a local history teacher at Cal State Chico... and another look at the Gold Rush.

Just Do the Math!

Too good! Thanks, Kitty...

"Donald Rumsfeld briefed the President this morning. He told Bush that three Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq.To everyone's amazement, all of the color ran from Bush's face, then he collapsed onto his desk, head in hands, visibly shaken, almost whimpering. Finally, he composed himself and asked Rumsfeld, "Just exactly how many is a brazillion?""

Words have power

Whenever I begin to type a little bit faster than normal, my fingers will sometimes hit keys that “shortcut” me to a specific Word program function. And oddly enough, I think I hit one a few minutes ago that enabled the speech recognition software. If the microphone hears a sound, it tries to recognize it as a word and it automatically types it for you. I didn’t know this function was on but I must have coughed and sure enough, some words appeared on the screen. Not words that sound like a cough…just my computers best guess at it. I will try it again; saying the words, “Hello. My name is Steve.” Oops, “Bill limiting is the.” was the result of that test. OK, another test; Hello = Hello. (Good job!) Good = Good. Job = You will? OK, I give…now how do I turn it off?


The wind has slowed some, but is still more than a breeze, despite assurances from the weather folks that it will be mild today. And the weather forecast, long range, tells us that we will see some rain next week…in November!

The first bit of news is good for a laugh or two this morning… “President Bush on Thursday will sign a bill authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet the centerpiece of his immigration policy, a guest worker program, remains stalled in Congress.”

What will they call the new wall? Hadrian’s Wall II comes to mind. Or perhaps they could call it the Maginot Line II. Or even the Great Wall of Arizona. It will be just as effective as those named above. Although it will be beneficial in another way; some contractors who love to do government work, (Think Bechtel) will become quite rich while the building of this debacle takes years and years. And thousands of “Change Orders” will be issued, money in the bank for contractors.

And this. “New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the state Constitution guaranteed gay couples all the rights and benefits of marriage except one: the word "marriage."

They are right. Except for using the term “gay”. The court ruled that all couples have legal rights. Marriage should be the business of the church and the state should never become involved in it. But they have over the years and now the term “marriage” has more of a secular meaning than a religious one. It should be returned to those of us who are religious.  

In most states, couples who live together…even in a non-sexual way, have no legal rights as a couple and that is plain wrong. It’s not all about sex, it’s about being fair. And those couples should have a legal way of uniting (and disuniting); call it anything you want, but marriage is not the right word. That word belongs to the church.

And then there is this…
Conceding Missteps, Bush Urges Patience on Iraq
President Bush urged Americans to avoid disillusionment over a war he said was still winnable.” OK, I give. What does winning mean? And how will we know we have won? Will there be a big parade? And why shouldn’t we be disillusioned? We have been lied to during the past 5 years and hundreds of thousands of innocents, including far too many of our own innocents, have died. Where is the positive spin on that?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Get Out the Vote

The wind has returned this morning, howling at the doors and windows and shaking the trees. This strong breeze ought to remove the rest of the walnuts from their hiding places high up among the branches. And it will probably cause more than a few leaves to fall. Wind, but no rain is in the forecast and that is odd. October is almost over with and even the long range forecast holds no hope for rain. Global warming?

I’ve taken a look at the news this morning and this caught my attention…
“U.S. officials, apparently caught off guard by the Saudi government's recent release of more than two dozen former Guantánamo Bay prisoners, are voicing fears that the men will join the camp of violent extremist groups.”

Maybe, just maybe… the Saudi government found them to be innocent? Maybe they were even given a hearing? And who wouldn’t be surprised that they might want to join a “violent extremist group” after spending time in Guantánamo? Even the fully innocent might hold a grudge against those who imprisoned them without due process.

And some of the local news also reminds me that it’s time to vote. There’s nothing in the news that would cause me to change how I feel about most issues and candidates. Living as we do in a “red” part of a “blue” state, we have a serious obligation to vote and cancel out the votes of a couple of conservative voters. Every little bit helps!

Also local… I’ve been working on the Plant Barn website and it’s finally starting to take shape. I found a good FTP program, that helps to get it on-line, and once I have the FrontPage software that I ordered, I should be able to make the graphics load faster. And I need to gather up all of my Plant Barn “images” that I have scattered across my “Desktop” and put them away in a Folder. At times this computer desktop gets as messy as my physical one.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


in the Middle

I used to read his daily blog a few years ago and then lost the address...no good excuse; so I am putting him back into my Favorites.

Does Tee Stand For Terrorist?

Just when you think people can't be dumber than dumb...

They show you that it can be done. In spades! I feel so much safer knowing that tee shirt terrorists aren't going to be allowed on ferries.

And speaking of tee shirts, have you read some of them lately? For some reason, the profane tee shirts don't merit Coast Guard attention.

High Crimes

In the news… “Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said he wants to make the recording of movies in theaters a crime, and hold building owners liable for illegal distribution on their property.”

He’s right; that’s a crime! Though I don’t like the part about the building owners being responsible; that turns the owners into policemen. On an entirely different, though somewhat similar subject; what about copyright law? It seems to be in the news all of the time. It was a hot topic when music was being downloaded and copied and now it’s even hotter as video copying becomes practical due to the availability of broadband in more areas of the country.

I have a very simple view of copyrights; if you don’t want me to have a digital copy of the music or the video…don’t sell it to me. Because once I buy it…it’s mine. And I can share it with anyone I want. Lease it to me or rent it; that way the owners retain full protection of the law and I cannot steal it from you; that would be illegal. In my opinion, the corporations that sell music and video have an obligation to protect their own property. Make those videos and musical CD’s theft proof if that’s their intention. The biggest problem is the fact that those same corporations really don’t want to spend the money to protect their property.


Brain Teasers, Puzzles, Riddles and Games.

This is part of my Google homepage...Yeah, you're right; why do I do this to myself?
Alzheimers prevention?

Monday, October 23, 2006


Questions for Candidates

I know that I posted a link to these comments a little while ago, but I read them again this morning and thought you might want to do the same.

Say What?

What’s new? Here it is; a brand-new day and I haven’t even bothered to look at the news after being awake for over 30 minutes. Do I have some idea that the news won’t be pleasant? Or am I just slow this morning?

OK, now that I have looked at the news, here’s an update on yesterdays post… “- A senior U.S. diplomat who said the United States has shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq said he "seriously misspoke" in an interview aired on Sunday after President Bush said he was flexible on tactics, if not strategy.”

Seriously misspoke? An interesting phrase; I wonder if it will save him his job?

And I just read that Senator Obama is re-thinking his decision not to run for the office of President in 2008. Now there’s an interesting match up. Hillary versus Barack. I don’t see it as a contest at all. The Senator would win easily.


makes a comeback -

Oh, if only it would! I am not a good grammarian, but I recognize good writing when I read it, And you don't get a chance to read much of it anymore.

And spelling...shouldn't that be important as well? I was driving into town the other day and spotted this sign on the side of a brand-new truck, "Yoder's Refridgeration Service". Perhaps he was on his way over to one of my favorites, the "Artic Aire" shop?

Poor spelling has reached epidemic proportions on the internet. And here’s a quote from a blogger who didn’t like someone criticizing his spelling. "Propper spelling is no more an indication of intelligence than propper packaging is an indciation of safe shipping." Sorry; but it is…it takes a certain amount of intelligence to submit your words to a “spell checker” before posting.


One of my favorite authors, the late Mike Yaconelli spent some time with Henri Nouwen at L’Arche

Faithful to the One
Henri J. M. Nouwen

There is no promise that everything will be rosy. The first thing is not to play savior of the world but to keep living in the world as a child of God. I see all these things happening, but I do not allow them to seduce me into the darkness. I live in the world but belong to God. If you live a life of watching and waiting, you will know what kind of call you have. You are not called to solve every problem in the world....

I work with mentally handicapped people. Sometimes I spend hours with one person, and we barely speak. Does that help people in Bosnia, does that help people in Northern Ireland, does it help people in Somalia? I don't know, but I think it does. I think that when I am faithful to one person who is given to me, then I am doing more than when I am anxiously trying to put out all the fires all over the world. And that gives me peace.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And the winners are...

The Crop Walk is over for this year...go here to see the results.

Bush's family

profits from 'No Child' act - Los Angeles Times

A family that ..... ......., (fill in the blanks) stays together.

Me? I was going to use, "schemes together" And why isn't this on the front page of newspapers?

He said what?

And here’s one more bit of news…
DUBAI (Reuters) - The United States has shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq despite its good intentions, a senior U.S. diplomat said in an interview aired by an Arabic news channel on Sunday.

I wonder if this guy has updated his resume?

Blowing in the wind

I took a walk outside to see the stars this morning. It’s always delightful to see the heavens filled with the bright lights of far away galaxies. You can’t do this in the city!

It’s 50° outside and the forecast is for wind, and lots of it. But, early this morning, not a leaf is stirring and the skies are crystal clear. But later, when the wind picks up, the dust from all of the recent harvesting activities will cause a brown haze to fill the valley. Walnuts are the latest crop to be harvested and the roads are clogged with exotic orchard harvesting equipment moving from one farm to the next. Shakers and sweepers, windrowers and bank out wagons, all part of the necessary tools to gather the nuts. A byproduct of all of this activity is dust and lots of it!

We have 3 walnut trees and those trees provide more than enough nuts for this family! Most are not harvested and go to waste. But a few are eaten; I love to pick a handful of walnuts, then crack and eat them. I have a bag filled with them out in the garage and whenever I feel the urge, I grab the nut cracker and enjoy!

And later this month or the first of the next, I will be seeing the pecans dropping…and the crows descending. Pecans are not a normal crop for this part of the valley, though I heard that some farmers are experimenting with them. We have 2 trees and 2 varieties of pecans; both quite good. This year the nuts are much larger than last year, though not quite as many. That’s fine; as much as I like pecans, there is no way that we can eat them all. And we give the nuts at the top of the trees to the crows.

Here’s a little something from the news…

Blowing in the Wind
What finally caused President Bush to very publicly consult with his generals to consider a change in tactics in Iraq was the fear that his party could lose in the Congressional elections next month.

Of course I have to ask; isn’t that called flip flopping? Waffling? What ever happened to “stay the course”? Of course it can all be explained away with a few choice words. And politicians are quite handy with words. And speaking of words; when you put the Pentagon and the politicians together, they can come up with all sorts of new words. Like “collateral damage”, this replaces “killing of innocent civilians”. Or “redacted”; replacing “censored”. How about “rendition”, which is the new word to replace, “kidnapping”. Do these people really believe that by creating new words to replace old ones, you can somehow lose the meaning?

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Good questions...

But do we have candidates worthy of answering them?

World Public Opinion

Majority rules! Not...

If only it did.

I was browing through the Economist last night, the one with a picture of Kim Jong Il on the cover, and I suddenly had this thought; why? why do we allow so many idiots to rule over us? Of all the world leaders I was reading about, there wasn't one among them that I would want to break bread with.

I know, I know...I should be a better person. But sometimes it is very difficult to be that person.

Friday, October 20, 2006


"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is concerned that China is pursuing policies aimed at giving its own firms an unfair advantage over foreign competitors, a top U.S. trade official said on Friday."

You must be kidding! Do mean to say that China is like...subsidizing their farmers and industries? I can't imagine any country doing such a thing!!!!


I just went for a short stroll in the backyard, in the dark, to see what kind of day awaits us. There was no wind and it was warmer than I expected; 63° and that’s warm for late October. The moon has almost disappeared from the sky but there were plenty of stars to see. Amazing!

Back inside and seated in front of my monitor, I have a much smaller view of the universe and to my surprise…on my Google homepage I see a quotation from A. Einstein, “When you look at yourself from a universal standpoint, something inside always reminds or informs you that there are bigger and better things to worry about.” He was right of course. Looking at those stars will almost always remind you of your proper place in this world.

The Google homepage; my homepage…the one I designed; has all sorts of oddities on it, including moon phases and Joke of the Day. With all of the options available, I’m surprised I don’t have more odd things on it. Try it, you might like it…

On another note; this morning I am browsing the blog of Julie Zickefoose, where she has a great lesson in watercolors. Then, in her blog from Wednesday, I see that she is one of those people that are wide awake at early hours…as I am. She attributes it to "sleep maintenance insomnia." Let me Google that one.

Apparently, "sleep maintenance insomnia." (22,300 hits) is another one of those old age complaints. Darn! Although I have been waking up like this for a long time; even before I was “old”, probably for 20 years or more. I don’t see it as a problem and I certainly don’t want to take drugs for it. Ms. Zickefoose also blames her insomnia on an overactive mind. I have one of those as well, but I sort of like it… (Define “overactive”?) this reminds me of a story I read yesterday, where an established author wrote that “writers” must write every day, even when their writing isn’t all that good; they must write. And that’s me. Whenever I am on the trail around Bidwell Park, doing the monotonous chore of training, I am usually composing stories in my mind.

Nieman Watchdog -

Last-minute questions about e-voting

No problem here...absentee ballots are our choice and they still have to be counted the old-fashioned way. Why doesn't everyone do it?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Calif. candidate

urged to exit race -

Ah! An Orange County Republican...they are definitely a sub species of the Genus Californium Republicanus and extremely dangerous because of their willingness to attack without provocation or cause.

These are

Desperate times...

Politics. "The Republican Party can stave off defeat with a strong turnout on Nov. 7, party leaders are telling the faithful - but they are finding it tough to sell that message to some disillusioned conservative voters."

Disillusioned, or eyes opened at last?

The Democrats still have 3 weeks left to lose this election, and if anyone can do it...the Democrats can!

Social Commentary

In my garage, I have a scanner that is on all of the time. This is the kind of scanner that picks up calls to the police, fire, sheriff, ambulance, etc...

It's not that I have a desire to chase ambulances or race to crime scenes...I don't. But I do enjoy the odd call or two that I hear. And the one I heard the other morning was priceless. "Dispatcher to officer": "Mrs. Blank of 1001 North Blank Street is requesting an officer. Her 7 year old daughter refuses to get out of bed and go to school."

A good read?

I said that I needed a new book to read and as I was reading the daily post from the New Dharma Bums, I saw this one… Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class -- And What We Can Do About It. After reading the reviews, I already know that I will like the book, but won’t it simply frustrate me? And how much frustration is healthy? I’m a MoveOn.org member; I have a membership in the ACLU, but even these worthy groups get to me when they seem to focus on an agenda and not on the people. OK, I know what I want; to live in a society where I won’t be drawn to books like that and where authors won’t feel a need to write them.

Early Times

The morning, for me, always comes early, ready or not. And this morning I was ready for it at an even earlier hour. I don’t know why, but I woke up out of a sound sleep and then couldn’t get back to sleep. After about 30 minutes of vainly trying to regain that sleepy time feeling, I decided to get up and make some coffee; defeated. So here I am… cup in hand and the keyboard warmed up, ready for a thought.

Of course I have spent some time going through the news of the day and reviewing my e-mail. Something there should have raised my level of creativity but nothing comes to mind. Maybe I need more coffee?

In the “lost comments” to my blog posting on October 11, my sister wrote, “Ahhh......the 60's. I graduated high school in 65 and what a great time it was. The rally cry was "Question Authority". It seemed to be an enlightened generation, however, what happened to those people with high ideals? They can't be our current politicians? Are they still on a commune somewhere, blissfully living apart from our turbulent times?”

Wow! 1965… I guess I had forgotten that I had already graduated from high school, joined the Navy, married and was the father of a toddler when she graduated. Obviously, we had slightly differing views of those times; yet we experienced the same things in our culture. And I think that our views on authority were influenced by our mother. I thank her for that.  

Back to the question; what did happen to those people with high ideals? And she is correct; they cannot be our current politicians. I doubt that “ideals” were ever a thing they worried or thought about very much. OK, I know that I’m generalizing, but where are the voices of reason within the ranks of our lawmakers? Pretty few and far between!

History can tell us that none of this new; politicians have always been perceived as being more interested in power and wealth than in doing good things for their constituents. Of the two, power has always been the more seductive influence in a politician’s life. You only have to read the news to see that. And you have to admit that the power of being the “Decider” has to be slightly intoxicating; indeed!

But, as I have said before, Americans don’t like reading history. Much to their peril. And so we think that the politician that caters to us is only interested in our welfare.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mea Culpa

I’m so sorry! I just found out that I had turned off live “Comments” on my blog. And I see that I missed about 18 of them. OK, I have them turned on again and now I will read them. Forgive me, please.

Hang Them!

Here’s a comment I came across in a blog… “Bush and a supine, cowardly Congress shredded the US Constitution on Tuesday, abolishing the right of a court review (habeas corpus) for some classes of suspect. Suspect, mind you, not proven criminal.” Emphasis mine.

What is it about the word “suspect” that prompts otherwise intelligent people to read the word as “guilty”? I mean, one starts with the letter “s” and the other starts with “g”. How difficult can that be? Is this a failure of our education system? Or our government? I suspect it’s the government…


This makes sense...

But will it fly?

Time to Read

I just ran across a book that sounds promising, "All Governments Lie! The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone” written by Myra MacPherson. I need a monumental book to read, I’m tired of the fluff I’ve been reading lately. Or how about one from this list of books from Amazon?

And this from the morning news… There's been a lot of political buzz about Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, and now I know why: In one swoop, his Commonwealth PAC this week hired what could be the A-team of political consultants.” If you thought that Bush had divided the country along religious lines, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Mr. Romney, the consummate politician, is also a Mormon. Not a “jack” Mormon, but a highly regarded Mormon. And if there is anything that religious conservatives hate (and they hate a lot) it’s a Mormon. I wonder how they will approach this dilemma? Being conservatives, they are drawn to the Republican Party and at the same time they can’t hold to their beliefs and actually support a Mormon. This ought to be an interesting time of doubletalk. I’m certainly going to enjoy watching them wriggle!


Another day has dawned…well, almost dawned. The sun, or even a hint of the sun is absent at this early hour. I do have my coffee though and that must mean that it’s morning time.

And this morning I have to go to the physical therapist for an hour of pain and misery. When I first mentioned this odd feeling in my shoulder, the doctor was quick to order x-rays and prescribe physical therapy. I was somewhat used to the occasional bit of pain and usually ignored it; after all, it went away. But now, because of “modern medicine” I get to experience the pain almost hourly now. There is no forgetting it!

The therapist tells me that it is the rotator cuff that is giving me the problem. It’s not torn; just loose. This allows the bone (ball) to move away from the socket in that joint (Impingement) when I do anything more than a simple extension of my arm. And the cure for that seems to be certain exercises that flex the muscles that hold that ball and socket together. Those same exercises also produce some major league pain that lasts until the next session with the therapist; where you get to do it all over again.

Googling “rotator cuff injury” produces 984,000 hits…more than I can read at this early hour! So I will stick with the best; the Mayo Clinic. And they have this to say… “The injury is also common among people whose jobs or hobbies include heavy demands on their shoulders, such as athletes, archers and people in the construction trades. Poor posture, especially as related to your shoulders hunched forward, also can contribute to rotator cuff injury. As you get older, your risk of a rotator cuff injury increases.

Most of the time, treatment involves self-care measures or exercise therapy. Other treatments include steroid injections and surgery.”

Darn! Another one of those age related things. Is there any ailment or complaint that I have that isn’t age related? What was that old saying? Oh, yes, “I would have taken better care of myself if I had known I was going to live this long.”


Looking for votes…but not among the farmers.

Some Democrats Send a More Conservative Immigration Message By RACHEL L. SWARNSSeveral candidates are publicly breaking with the party leadership's demand for the creation of a guest worker program.

Interesting. The other day I noted that the olives were being picked in the grove nearest our house. Last year, these trees were some of the last to be picked because no labor was available earlier in the year.

And I saw some odd behavior among the pickers; the grove borders state highway 32 and the pickers were on that first row of trees, visible to all who pass by. Most were picking with their heads swiveling back and forth between the task at hand and the highway; watching all of the passing traffic and obviously nervous. I passed by three times during that day and it was always the same.

A Tenement God

A few good words
Certainly worth reading...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hardly Used

The new day has begun in its usual fashion, with a full cup of coffee and a little browsing through the news while the cat pesters me to play.

I also spend time working on the Plant Barn website; looking for just the “right” graphics and the perfect layout. I’ve been browsing the News Groups for clip art and have found some good stuff there. And I downloaded a limited use (free) version of Coffee Cup software to put it all together with. But I think I need to look around for a better HTML editor; my programming skills have eroded somewhat and the technology has moved ahead without me. Who knew?

Dreamweaver is probably the best of the best when it comes to HTML software, but do I need that? If I could find it at a bargain price, I might be tempted…but then I remember that it is an Adobe product and so it will be less than friendly to use if I remember correctly. A thought; wouldn’t it be great to be able to buy genuine “used” software as easily as you buy a used car? You would still need a license, so the developer is still in the loop and that would be fair. Maybe I should look a little harder?

Well, I Googled “used software” and I see what appears to be some sleazy deals… the prices are ridiculously low and it seems that you have to download the software; no physical product at all. And at the same time I found a news clip that said a German court had agreed with Oracle that used software was illegal to sell. In other words, when you buy software, you only buy the right to use it; not sell it. So why don’t they call it “leasing”? That is what it is… and I can see where this leads to software piracy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Left Turn Signal

The news from Ecuador has the American conservatives in a dither. The runner up in the presidential election there is a rabid left wing politician. He will be in a run-off election pitting him against a multi-millionaire conservative candidate. What has everyone excited is the fact that there is a definite tilt to the left in South American politics lately and that makes American conservatives nervous. As they should be. Whenever conservatives are in power, no matter where, they get greedy. Eventually the poor take exception to this and will listen to anyone promising a better life. It can happen anywhere.


What’s new? It’s a brand new week and that means I have to get out and get some running time in before it warms up. But, wait…it’s cool today; even cloudy with a chance of rain. I can go running any time at all.

And run I must. I just read an article about the dreaded “Homer Simpson” effect caused from being overweight. According to French scientists, (France – home of the cream puff) as your BMI (Body Mass Index) goes up…your IQ goes down. Now if someone would just post a copy of the article at the entrance to Costco, I could have a great shopping experience there. The aisles would be clear and the checkout would be a breeze. But what would be in my shopping cart? My own body calls out for Cheetos! Lots of Cheetos! Now if that isn’t a Homer Simpson snack, I don’t know what is. So, yes I have to run.

My own BMI? Well, at 74” and 195 pounds… it’s 25.0 and that is bad. Here are the ranges.

BMI Categories:
  • Underweight = <18.5

  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9

  • Overweight = 25-29.9

  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

    As you can see, I’m right on the edge. No wonder I can hear the Cheetos and ice cream calling out to me. If I want to silence those voices, I need to get down to 190 pounds. Or convert some fat pounds to muscle pounds.

I just ran across a new blog, and a pretty thoughtful one at that. The Watchdog Blog: Questions the Press Should Ask. It’s going into my Favorites! And from that site, here’s a blog that caught my attention.

And to end the subject; here’s something about the authors of this blog. None of them are familiar names that leap out as being “famous”, yet I seem to remember a few of them; vaguely. And that’s the way it should be. “Famous” people seem to think they have an obligation to say something even when they have nothing to contribute.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

View from the window

From my vantage point here in the study, I can see that the moon is fading away, just a shadow of its former self; though it’s still casting a decent light from its position over the mountains to the east of us. The cat has just come in and is purring like crazy from her seat next to me. I am now ready for my second cup of coffee and I have read most of the news. Yes, all is normal.

Did I say normal? After looking at the headlines I should come up with a better descriptive word than “normal”. For instance, this is “normal” for Iraq and Afghanistan.

AP--…reconstruction funds are drying up and they're pulling out, leaving completed projects and unfulfilled plans in the hands of an Iraqi government unprepared to manage either. The Oct. 1 start of the U.S. government's 2007 fiscal year signaled an end to U.S. aid for new reconstruction in Iraq. ... Scores of other projects were canceled, and the "gap" can be seen on the streets of Baghdad, where people spend most of their day without electricity, and spend hours in line for gasoline and other scarce fuels.”

“KABUL (Reuters) - At least six people, including a member of the provincial assembly, were killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said.”

“AFP - Two bombs have torn through the convoy of a high ranking Iraqi interior ministry official in east Baghdad, killing seven people but leaving the official unscathed.”

“BAGHDAD (Reuters…More than 40 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq this month. At the current pace, October would be the deadliest for U.S. forces since January 2005. Two to three soldiers on average die every day in Iraq, most the victims of roadside bombs.”

Then I read a piece by Joe Klein of Time Magazine… and I was instantly optimistic! It sounds as if there are enough moderate Republicans out there who are sick and tired of the current administrations stranglehold on a free society (ours) and they are willing to vote for the “other guy” just to make certain that the legislative branch is truly a third voice in our government.

The Examining Room

of Dr. Charles

Here's a good piece on the value of using Snopes on forwarded e-mail. Or better yet; set your spam filter to block anything forwarded.


Until Confirmed Guilty - New York Times

No pesky laws to bother this president!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


The morning starts in the usual manner; let the cat in and pet her. Make a pot of coffee and wait for it to brew. Pet the cat. Check out the e-mail and read the news from the Times (LA and New York). Pet the cat. Pour a cup of coffee. Pet the cat. Read the news collected on the aggregator. Pet the cat. Read my favorite blogs. Pet the cat. Pour more coffee. Pet the cat. Open my journal. Ah! Cat is asleep…

Here’s something I read this morning… “The GOP richly deserves to lose its majority in Congress. I just wish the Democrats deserved to win one.” Oh, so true! My thoughts exactly.

There are 25 days left before the election will be over and we can go back to a more normal life. I rarely answer the telephone anyway, but now with phone ads coming at us a dozen times a day; I never touch a ringing phone! It might be Barbara Boxer on the line…she calls regularly.

I do have to wonder; do people really listen to those phone ads? I’m sure someone monitors their effectiveness; why spend money for something that doesn’t work? Which begs the question; why do we pay our Congressmen?

Nobel Prize Winner

Yunus Revered by Poor

The rest of the story? He started this project 30 years ago! It's about time he was recognized for his efforts.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Rolling The Dice

Internet gambling is big business and the conservatives have decided (Along with the Decider) that it has to stop. I can only presume that they weren’t getting a cut and that’s why they passed legislation to ban it in America.

Last year 12 million Americans placed about $6 billion in on-line bets. That’s half the worlds total!

Of course the new law is a grand demonstration of the conservative’s love of hypocrisy. With every other kind of gambling allowed, even welcomed…why would they decide to do the impossible? Do they really think that the market place will allow a $6 billion market to fade away? Even as I type these words, the smart people are working on ways to get around the law. And they will, and we will begin a new war, the War on Internet Gambling. Millions of our tax dollars will be spent trying to eradicate this scourge and all of those efforts will fail. Just like the War on Drugs; 20 years from now it will still be a war un-won. (Is that a word?)

That Other War

From the state department of Utter Nonsense and Frivolous Failures comes this news; Bill Lockyer (State AG) announces that the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) eradicated a record 1.2 million marijuana plants this year. Way to go, Bill!

Now, according to the National Drug Threat Assessment report…"Marijuana availability is high and stable or increasing slightly.” This, despite spending around $4 billion dollars nationwide on the eradication project.

Say, I have an idea. Let’s spend $4 billion dollars on drug education and treatment. Guess what happens to the price of a product when there is less demand. The price goes down and less people are interested in marketing it. Yes, even with drugs, the law of supply and demand regulates the prices. Duh! So with every raid, the price goes up and that creates an even more attractive market for some new criminals.

How long has the War on Drugs been going on now? And can anyone claim a victory? Any victory at all? It’s kind of like hitting your head repeatedly against the wall; eventually you need to ask yourself, why? And then stop doing it.

Morning Musings

The things I have learned today! First, I was reading the Sac Bee and ran across a column by Rick Kushman, the TV guy. He reported that a survey of news content found that the Daly Show had the same amount of actual news content as the broadcast (serious) news shows. Somehow, I already knew that.

And in the Chico News and Review I read a street interview feature where one question is posed for 6 different and somewhat randomly chosen citizens. The question was, “Are we doing enough to support young people?” and I was pleasantly surprised to read that two people felt that not enough attention was given to the arts and too much was given to sports. “Right on!”

Then there was an article reporting on the recent speech (Laxson Auditorium) by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Some tidbits from his speech;

Only 10 percent of Americans now read newspapers. Thirty percent say their primary source of news is talk radio? (So that means that 30% of Americans are idiots? Hmm...could be.)

A sizeable majority of soldiers serving in Iraq believe they are there to punish Saddam Hussein for the 9/11 attack. (Now that’s scary! Did they get that info from talk radio?)

There was a crowd of 1,200 there to hear him…another “Right on!”

There was some comedy in the news as well, as a columnist poked fun at the recent winners in the “Best of Chico” contest. I had to agree…how could Starbucks win anything? And Casa Ramos? You must be kidding!

Bad news

Oh, oh…

“WASHINGTON - A new book by a former White House official says that President Bush's top political advisors privately ridiculed evangelical supporters as "nuts" and "goofy" while embracing them in public and using their votes to help win elections.”

Sounds like politics as usual. Maybe the rabid evangelicals will get the hint and desert their "main man".


The day begins in the usual manner. I have coffee and I begin to type. Then the cat announces her presence at the window. If I’m lucky, I hear her first and can move to the back door and let her in. If not; if I’m so busy typing that I miss her clues, she leaps into the air and grabs the window screen. With her dangling less than a few feet away, I can hardly ignore her.

This morning I am lucky, I heard her first and now she is safely inside and being a pest. For some reason she seems to think that I exist only for her pleasure and comfort.  “Come here!” she demands, “scratch my head and rub my belly”.

Here’s some news that caught my attention;
China Drafts Law to Empower Unions and End Labor Abuse
American and other foreign corporations have hinted that they may build fewer factories in China if the law is adopted.”

That won’t happen. It’s an empty threat. Even with unions, China’s labor will still be the cheapest. And the most plentiful.

With a global economy desperate for talent, unions now have a chance to rebuild themselves everywhere and not just in China. Union labor has always been better educated and more skilled and now is the time to promote that fact.

One of the highlights of the current talent crunch is that corporations are being hurt financially by the fact that employees are not as “loyal” as they once were and are quick to jump ship if they see a better offer. Loyalty used to be a two way street and if you were loyal to the company, you could expect to work for them for your entire career. Then corporations discovered downsizing and outsourcing as a way of increasing the bottom line. A decade or two later and they wonder why the employees aren’t so quick to love them? In most large corporations the Human Resources department is now the most important. With Accounting in second place of course.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Talent Wars

Talent is the focus of last weeks edition of the Economist and it’s a great read. Pick it up if you have any interest at all in HR, outsourcing, or if you are wondering if you will have a job next year.

Some facts from the articles…

Infosys Technologies was started in 1981 by seven Indian entrepreneurs with a total of $1,000 between them. Infosys now has annual revenues of $2.2 billion and 58,000 employees. But Infosys is just one of hundreds of companies in Bangalore.

Every year, India produces close to 2.5 million university graduates, including 400,000 engineers and 300,000 IT professionals. India may have 28% of the worlds IT offshore talent.

The cost of an Indian graduate? 12% of that of an American one.

And an Indian graduate works an average of 2,350 hours a year compared to 1,900 in America.

But India is facing severe skilled labor shortages themselves…they expect to have a shortfall of 500,000 professionals by the year 2010. That’s 4 years from now.

And how are our schools doing in trying to keep up with this worldwide explosion of learning? With the money now allocated, we can barely keep the schools painted and heated, never mind trying to maintain a state of the art computer lab. T’ain’t happening! Besides, since the roof probably leaks, it’s better that there are no computers in the rooms.

And why is that? Simple, just ask any conservative. They hate taxes! I’m never quite sure how they expect schools to educate if they have no money. But to the conservative mind, it doesn’t matter. No new taxes!

Ouch! I don't know about you, but that kind of warped thinking gives me a headache...


16 Afghans freed after Guantanamo - Yahoo!

Didn't the Secretary of War, Mr. Rumsfeld, say that the prisoners in Guantanamo were all terrorists? The very worst of the worst? Apparently a few weren't... (so sorry!) And do you suppose holding a trial might have allowed evidence to be presented that would have separated the innocent fom the guilty? I guess we'll never know.

Is it getting warmer, or it just my imagination?

The Senate has its share of fools, as does each branch of government, but Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma is top ranked! He has decided to pursue the idea that all facts being circulated about global warming are simply statements without any scientific basis and are calculated to cause hysteria. The press is blamed as well as all environmentalists. Although the majority of scientists around the world now agree that we are facing the unknown effects of such warming; for the Senator…it isn’t even happening!

For myself…I use the less scientific method of my personal recollections of history. It used to be a fact that when dove hunting season rolled around on September 1st, the dove were usually well on their way to Mexico. A cold front would move through in late August and convince the dove to get moving. Not so for the past 4 or 5 years. The storms we used to see in August are just not happening anymore. Not at all scientific, but it seems to agree with the majority view.

I wouldn’t say that the Senator is closed minded… one has to have a mind to have it closed.


Ah, the power of coffee! What a marvelous brew it is. And how did the first person come up with the idea of roasting the little beans and then grinding them up and pouring hot water on them? Why? Of course I’m glad that happened. Aren’t we all?

I’m going to need to do another walk/run this morning and I can already see the benefits of
not training for a marathon. 2 or 3 miles of good training will only take me half an hour or less. Then I am free to do some of the chores I have to do while in town.

And here’s a bit of news that I listened to yesterday.

WASHINGTON - President Bush got some welcome news as the federal deficit for the last fiscal year shrank to $247.7.billion, the smallest in four years, because of a nearly 12% jump in tax revenue.

As it was explained, the president gets to claim the “good news” because he has to take the blame for the “bad news”. What’s not explained in the news is the fact that tax revenues are up because of huge corporate revenue gains (think oil prices) and not middle class personal revenue; it hasn’t moved and may have gone down in many cases.

“Corporate tax revenue has soared about 40 percent, after languishing for four years, and individual tax revenue is up as well.

Most of the increase in individual tax receipts appears to have come from higher stock market gains and the business income of relatively wealthy taxpayers. The biggest jump was not from taxes withheld from salaries but from quarterly payments on investment gains and business earnings, which were up 20 percent this year.”

But, most people won’t bother to read the facts; they will hear about the wonderful decrease in the deficit and think that W has their interests at heart. Hello? Anyone home?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mixed reviews

of Iraq death toll

Sure; whenever you don't like what you hear, simply say, "I don't believe it!" and that will make it all better.

And since he's the Decider, it must be so...

And the winner is...

When will it be over? The California governor’s race, that is… Mr. Angelides is an embarrassment; to himself! What is he thinking? He parrots the same dumb lines that the old time Democrats used to use and has had nothing original to say in months. I can almost predict what he will say in any given situation. And so can everyone else.

Here’s a state (California) that has more independent voters than any other and you would think Mr. Angelides would know that. But no, he is catering to the Democratic Party faithful and that won’t be enough to get him elected.

I will answer my own question. When will the race for governor be over with? It is.

Those 60's

The latest issue of American Heritage magazine focuses on the year 1964, saying that was the year that the era that everyone calls the 60’s, really started. They seem to have a good point and the evidence backs them up. The 50’s just sort of slid right into the early 60’s and then everything changed after 1964.

1964 was a time in history when the majority of people finally realized that the government was not their friend and could not be depended upon to do the right thing…ever. It was time of enlightenment and I loved it.

But, I was busy working through most of the 60’s. I was home from active duty (Navy) in 1961 and married in 1963. I was soon working full time as an apprentice “sheetrocker” and I became a father for the first time in 1964. In 1965 I was discharged from the Naval Reserve. I was a proud father once again in 1967 and in 1969. And I was working steadily, including weekends and evenings.

I had to work hard if I wanted to buy a house and a car and all the things that go along with living in suburbia. Our house, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, had a $21,000 mortgage. My Toyota Hilux pickup truck cost a little over $2,000, brand new. Gasoline was .27 cents a gallon. A hamburger at McDonalds would cost you .15 cents. And I had to make do with a $200 a week paycheck for 40 hours of work. Naturally I tried to find weekend or evening work; a little something extra was always needed.

The 1960’s? Yes, I would love to see them again.

Dumb and Dumber

Who are these people? Surely we didn't elect them? Did we?

"A bitter row broke out between Republicans and Democrats over who was responsible for allowing North Korea to achieve nuclear capability."

A house is on fire and these bozos are fighting about who gave who the matches...put out the fire, stupid!

Milk, please...

The morning is starting off on an unusual note; I can smell bread baking! I’m trying out a bread making machine that my daughter loaned me and the machine lets you decide when you would like to experience the magnificent aroma of freshly baked bread. I chose 5 AM and it’s just starting into the baking cycle and the aroma is not quite the fully developed…but it soon will be! Is there any perfume that can match that of fresh bread?

The bread making experience started when I visited the local Craigslist and spotted a bread making machine for just $25. Well, I guess it really started when I looked at the machine that my friend Alex had sitting on his kitchen counter. With the arrival of fall, the idea of freshly baked bread seemed appropriate.

I seem to have developed a Craigslist habit during the past week. It’s like an on-demand garage sale without the driving. I visit the “General” for sale section twice a day, plus the “Tools” and “Household” areas. Yes, they even have a “Garage Sale” section. And I have read once again that newspapers are feeling the effects of Craigslist on their advertising revenues; especially in the large cities. There is something to be said about the unusual concept of “free” advertising. Also, more and more people are becoming skilled enough to include photos of the items for sale and that’s a real plus!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Skype Dual Phone
Ah, technology! Here's a phone for both analog (your AT&T) and Skype (think free). And it's cordless. All for about $120.


All The News That's Fun To Print

Now here's something different...

though I must say that I enjoyed the Carl Jung quote, "Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness." Too true!


The Orland Crop Walk is in just a few weeks and I'm halfway to my goal...just a few more donations would get me over the top. Can you help?

Thanks to all who have donated so far. And thanks to all who might donate soon!


Poll Shows Foley Case Is Hurting Congress's Image By ADAM NAGOURNEY and JANET ELDERAmericans say Republicans in Congress put politics ahead of protecting teenage pages, according to the latest Times/CBS News poll.

Funny…I didn’t realize that Congress had an image to protect?

Speaking of that; one of the local Congresspersons, Doug LaMalfa has election signs up that proclaim “He’s one of us!” Which “us” is he referring to? Since he’s also a wealthy grower, maybe the “us” refers to other wealthy growers. But for truth in advertising, the signs should read, “He’s one of them!”

Silent Night

Poor Columbus. He gets no respect; not that he really deserves any. I went to the post office yesterday and was quite surprised to see that there no cars parked in front and I was the only one in the building. I said to myself, “Is today a holiday that I don’t know about?” After receiving no answer, I assumed that it was simply a freakish event, but entirely natural. I took my mail and returned home. Of course that was Saturday’s mail and not Monday’s…but there’s no way to tell that by looking at it. It wasn’t till later that evening that I was told that it had been Columbus Day; all day. Huh?

There might have been some “Columbus” clues in the on-line news, but I certainly didn’t notice them and since Columbus Day sale ads are absent from an electronic newspaper, I was simply out of the loop.

And today’s news? “BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi police said on Tuesday they found 60 bodies across Baghdad in the last 24 hours, all with gunshot wounds with some showing signs of torture.”

Tuesday; that’s today and while I was sleeping, someone was busy, torturing and then killing. The same news, day after day. With or without Saddam. Peace? Freedom? Democracy?

Monday, October 9, 2006

Nuke News

From the news this morning...

"North Korea became the eighth country in history, and arguably the most unstable and most dangerous, to join the club of nuclear weapons states."

OK, I would argue that Israel shares the unstable and dangerous title with North Korea. A country that won't even admit it has the weapons and won't sign any treaties to limit their deployment. Sounds dangerous and unstable to me...

And let's not forget Pakistan where they operated a bargain basement shopping club for those who wished to have a bomb of their own and where the current leader is under threat of assassination at all times.

The Poet

Came to the Peninsula

Great post and a great poem...

The Morning News

I’m awake at the usual hour and the first thing I have to do is let the cat in; the “clinging” cat. Boo has decided that if she wants to make sure she is not abandoned at the vet’s office anymore, she needs to stay as close to me as possible. So now she is underfoot and on my lap at every opportunity. I’m almost ready to install a cat door out to the garage, so that she can easily make the trip back and forth and I won’t have to listen to the pitiful cries from outside.

And this morning I must grind some coffee beans to taste test the third and last of the Folgers Gourmet Selections coffees.

What’s new this morning? Well, I have posted to my Good Eats blog first thing this morning and last night I posted to my Short Laps blog, so they are all up to date.

The news is pretty much the same as yesterdays. Although I feel that I must declare that the headlines about corruption in Congress are over the top when blaming it on Republicans. Sure, they are easy targets as they always have been, (They can’t help themselves) but this kind of corruption occurs whenever any one group is in power. Republican or Democrat…you would be a fool to believe that either one has the intelligence to come in out of the rain when it’s pouring.

Would you like to change the way that politics are played in this country? Change your voter registration to “independent”. It’s a movement and it is growing every day! What are the politicians going to do when they can’t identify the party loyalists? They will have to become responsible to all of us…as they were supposed to do when elected.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

As if the world weren't dangerous enough

North Korea is reported to have successfully tested their first nuclear weapon...

Nukes in a nutshell…

North Korea
Believed to have enough fissile material for about a half-dozen weapons, but estimates vary widely and are unverifiable.


More than 5,000 strategic warheads, more than 1,000 operational tactical weapons meant for the battlefield and less powerful than the strategic arms and approximately 3,000 reserve and tactical warheads.


Nearly 5,000 strategic warheads, and approximately 3,500 operational tactical warheads. In addition, it has more than 11,000 strategic and tactical warheads in storage.


Approximately 350 strategic warheads.


As many as 250 strategic warheads and 150 tactical warheads.


About 200 strategic warheads.


Between 45 and 95 nuclear warheads.


Between 30 and 50 nuclear warheads.


Refuses to confirm it is a nuclear weapons state but is generally assumed to have up to 200 nuclear warheads.

Hard work will get you...nowhere

So much for justice…
“The Navy lawyer who led a successful Supreme Court challenge of the Bush administration's military tribunals for detainees at Guantánamo Bay has been passed over for promotion and will have to leave the military, The Miami Herald reported Sunday”
But you’re not surprised, right?


Know Your Limits

I just had to post this link. Great words of wisdom?


Here are some headlines I picked up from the Democracy Now website…

- Bolivian President Evo Morales on U.S. No-Fly List
- Students Disrupt Speech Minutemen Founder Jim Gilchrist
- Military to Try Suzanne Swift By Court Martial

I know they are at least two days old. But still relevant!

The first one, the story about the no-fly list, shouldn’t surprise anyone who has followed the history of bungling by the TSA and the related government agencies.

On the second story, no one should have disrupted Mr.Gilchrist. They could have done a better job of protesting by simply walking out. By participating in violence, they give weight to the hateful words of Mr. Gilchrist and he doesn’t deserve that honor.

The last story is one that won’t away…and the military hates that fact!

And since I was already on the Democracy Now website…I looked around and came across this story. (Read the transcript)

Now this is scary!

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Coping with Death

- Good Grief - New York Times

A good article. And I couldn't help but think of the Amish, who have already forgiven the murderer of their daughters...asking "how" and "why" they did are good exercises for us.