Saturday, March 31, 2007


The dispute over the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys poses a fundamental question: To what degree may the president exercise authority over the direction of law enforcement?

He can't. Those are my attorneys...they are your attorneys. Only if they are not doing the job as described to them and agreed upon when hired, can they be fired. It's elementary. But, since this president has endeavored to put the Supreme Court in his pocket, who knows what kind of decision we can expect when the question reaches them.

Fantom Titanium-

500GB 7200 RPM External Hard Drive $129.99

My Dealio toolbar came up with this a few minutes ago... Obviously the toolbar works as they hoped it would. (I'm such a sucker for the geek stuff)

But...500 GB for only a $130. If you only used it once to backup your computer, it would be worth it.

More History

Yes, I finished the book, All Governments Lie! by Myra McPherson. A biography of I.F. Stone. It’s definitely worth reading if you’re interested in history at all. It’s well documented of course. That was one of his trademarks. I’m afraid there aren’t many reporters like Izzy anymore.

I picked up a new book at the library, another history book (You need to read history books if you want to know the future!), Moscow 1941: A City And its People at War. “…this is really a compilation of stories about how Moscow and its citizens dealt with the war and the threat of the approaching German armies.”

So far so good. And I was reminded of a man I once knew when I was working in Los Angeles. I knew him as Art, the taper, but he was a Russian immigrant and had another name, a very Russian name. He had been a soldier defending Moscow during this time and was captured by the Germans. (That was his good luck) The stories he told us! They all seem to come to life once more as I read this book.

With Liberty

Life goes on. And so does the weather. Almost boring as it’s forecast to be sunny and in the 70’s for the next week. (Except at night of course…it will be dark then) Not a drop of rain is expected

I looked at the news first thing this morning and ran across the story about David Hicks. He is the Australian born terrorist that recently pleaded guilty at his ‘trial’ in Guantánamo, Cuba. This is the prison where bush & company have kept the “worst of the worst”…the most dangerous terrorists.

“An Australian who complained of his treatment at the US prison at Guantánamo in Cuba has been convicted of supporting terrorism, but will spend less than a year in jail at home in a deal that requires his silence about alleged abuse.”

…and justice for all.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Painful Lessons

Ouch! I smashed my finger yesterday and it’s throbbing this morning. And since it’s one of my two typing fingers, I’m going to be very slow today. Probably about half fast.

The news gets better every day as the news media finally realizes that they are supposed to investigate and report the news, not just take what the Administration hands out as press releases. But they have a lot to make up for. All of those “embedded” reporters should be ashamed of themselves! I think that the era of the investigative reporter is gone now, replaced by the “media for money” reporter.

As the presidential campaign moves forward, Bill Richardson looks better all of the time. One can only hope.

I was reading some of the comments left on the Old Bluejacket’s website and once again I was amazed (and scared) by the attitude of the so-called “patriots”. It’s their way or the highway! No dissension allowed. What kind of a country would that be if we all had to think alike? You’re free or you’re not. You can’t be a little bit free. Despite the odd comments, I did enjoy the photos of boot camp. Most were scanned from a book that I own as well. Every recruit received one when graduating. I copied most of the photos from the website and won’t have to take my own book apart to scan them.

OK, enough of the memories…on to the news of the day. The first thing that caught my eye was this, THE war in Iraq has been pursued with “an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam” and is “destroying our military”. No kidding. That’s something that has been said for the past 4 or 5 years and now someone notices? Amazing. If only someone in the administration had been a student of history we wouldn’t be in this position. It wouldn't have taken a Rhodes Scholar, just an average student could have pointed out the obvious.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Average Temperatures

in California on the Rise

"The only area to cool was a narrow band of the state's mainly rural northeast interior."

Where was that? It can't be too far away from here...we may want to visit later in the year. Around August or July.

This is good...

Of course the tattoos have me thinking about my Navy life. And I found this site that describes boot camp quite well. I was there 3 years earlier than depicted, but it was still the same. Definitely!

More Tattoos

A high demand for arm services

San Diego. That's the place for tattoos. And on Broadway.

I remember this place well...

But I hate to see people getting tattoos because of some 'sheep' mentality. That is how I got mine. Wanting to be like the other guys in boot camp. Not a good reason.

Female sailor's

release may be delayed

Iran is going off the deep end with this one. This wouldn't even rate a D- in a Diplomacy 101 course.

Devious and Obvious are not synonyms!

Ex-Gonzales aide

to testify on fired prosecutors -

"were properly made, but poorly explained."

Wrong! The U.S. attorneys are supposed to the people's representatives in legal matters, not the presidents personal flunkeys. This all part of bush's plan to elevate the presidency above any rule of law.

What, me worry?

Another month is close to ending and once again I’m trying to figure out where the time went. Did I get anything done at all? (Asking that question of an INFP personality type doesn’t make much sense; we are ‘natural born’ procrastinators.) So on to the next month! I’ve got a whole year to get stuff done…why worry about it now?

Yesterday’s irrigating process went well. And all of the immediate neighbors got together to debate the merits of various plants, trees, fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and etc, etc. We stood by the flowing channel, all wearing the required milking boots and shouldering pitchforks, shovels and rakes. It is one of the rites of spring, this gathering of a community united by the arrival of the water. After another month has passed, we will rarely see each other; Eric will leave his gates open and I will divert the water to his orchard when I’m through watering mine. That’s all.

Of course I had to begin my gardening blog again, adding some pictures of the trees and the water. I’m not taking any pictures of the garden area yet, it’s far too messy! I did get the two raised beds cleared out and have filled the compost pit to overflowing with debris, all covered with topsoil of course. The next step is to get a load of decomposed granite (DG) and use it on the paths throughout the garden area. Then a few more raised beds would be in order.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Way Cool

Yes, that's a tattoo... I love it! (No, it's not mine...I wish it was) And if you're in NYC, you can get one like it at Inkline Studio

gum disposal

does this mean that Canadians are more civilized than ourselves?

I think so...See; if we didn't spend all of our money on "Defense"? we would have some extra for things like this.

(And what if you needed some gum? Can you get your hand into that small opening?)

Say, what?

senator defends gun rights -

Oh, oh! Another village, this one's in Virginia, has lost its idiot!

The senator said, "I believe that it's important for me personally and for a lot of people in the situation that I am in to be able to defend myself and my family …" The situation he's in? Who is he afraid of? His constituents? OK, he's got a point there. Give him back the gun.

Military spending

A way to go -

Being first is so important. So important that we ignore all of our other needs just to stay on top. Don't you feel safer? (And it's so nice to see your tax dollars at work for you)

"China is increasing its military budget by 17.8%, to $44.9 billion (at market exchange rates) in 2007. The country has raised military spending by over 10% every year since the early 1990s. America, though, is by far the biggest spender, allocating over eleven times as much as China to its defence budget, and more than the other nine biggest combined."


Mugged by reality from the

Great article; hopefully you can read it without having to log in.

And it ends with this note...

"What a waste. Most Iraqis rejoiced in the toppling of Saddam. They trooped in their millions to vote. What would Iraq be like now if America had approached its perilous, monumentally controversial undertaking with humility, honesty and courage? Thanks to the almost criminal negligence of Mr Bush's administration nobody, now, will ever know." (emphasis mine)

This is from a respected publication that once defended this administration.

Tillman's family

takes on Pentagon -

I heard this on NPR yesterday and I was surprised that Mrs. Tillman was as calm as she was... I think the generals made a big mistake when lying to this woman.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Many Americans

see little point to Web?

Of course. And most of them live in the middle of the country, away from the edge of the world...don't want to fall off!

What's Real...What's Not

Chilly! The thermometer tells me that it is 38° outside, a number we haven’t seen for quite awhile. In a normal year, we would be seeing those kinds of temperatures for another month or so. That would be…normal. And there’s still a chance of rain for today. Good.

I see from the news that another prisoner from Guantánamo has pled guilty. Or so we’re told. Why wouldn’t I believe it? Is it because no one is allowed to see or hear the proceedings and we’re only told what someone decided that we can hear? Is it the fact that this president is afraid of holding a real trial on American soil? Mr. Hicks may truly be guilty of something, but without a fair trial, an open trial…who knows? Anyone? I will take a cue from Thomas Jefferson on this one… “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.” - Thomas Jefferson

Monday, March 26, 2007

Music Everywhere

Disjointed. Bothered. In flux. Bewildered. My mind is wandering this morning after reading through the first of many ‘news’ e-mails concerning the state of the world this morning. Just one e-mail has done that to me. Should I bother to look at the rest? Perhaps I should just go back to bed and try again in about an hour.

Luiz Bonfá. That’s the name of the artist whose music I’m listening to this morning. From a 1959 album. Obscure? You bet! I do love his guitar work though…

With our newly revived stereo system in place, I have been burning CD’s of some of my favorite music, but what I want to do is to play the music directly from my computer. Skip the middleman. There are some bridges that perform that function but require hard wiring to do it flawlessly. I’ve read the reviews and there is almost always a complaint about the wireless performance quality of these products. Sure, I could buy an iPod and they make a bridge or ‘streamer’ that holds the iPod and connects to your stereo system. But do I want to go over to the ‘dark side’ by buying an Apple product? I’m not ready for that! Maybe Crutchfield sells something else that I can use? I have far too much music on this computer to let it sit unused and unheard. 84 GB to be exact.

Silly cat! Boo is being a pain this morning. She’s full of more energy than I can handle at this hour and she’s purring non-stop at a high volume. On my lap. Off my lap. Back and forth she goes as she head butts my hand or my leg to force me to pay attention to her.

Time for more coffee...

Executive Branch Secedes rom the Union

What kind of a democracy do we want?

"This the Imperial Presidency of Richard M. Nixon, now brought to inglorious summer by the (adopted) son of Crawford. It was under Nixon that the philosophy of a supreme executive was gestated. It was under Nixon that the men who populate the current administration were taught their love for tyranny over justice."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Product details

for ieSpell

Here it use it!

Yes, that's right. I can't help myself. I agonize over mispellings and am mortified when I see that I have erred. In fact, I use Word for almost all of my blogging. That way I can use the built-in spell checker and then just drag what I typed right down onto the Blogger post window. (Yes, I know I'm neurotic and I'm proud of it!)


It’s so easy to become blasé about life, in general. The news sometimes just overwhelms you and it’s easier to be complacent. If only that feeling would last! Nope. Life wakes you up every time. Not that you can do a lot to change things…but as it’s said, Hope springs eternal…”

I have been reading All Governments Lie!, the story of I. F. Stone and I’m about halfway through with it. I will have to take it back to the library on Tuesday, unfinished. Since it’s a new book, I can’t renew it but I will check it out again in a week or two. The book is sometimes a hard slog and then a flurry of great pages. The author is, shall we say…inconsistent. But what’s fascinating about the book are the stories that I remember and can identify with. The blatant anti-Semitism of the 40’s and 50’s. How evil and pervasive segregation was (and is). And disappointing; how little we have changed as a nation. If you want to know what we are going to do next in Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran; read our history as told in this book.

Of course all governments lie but we don’t like to admit it. We are reminded almost daily that we are being lied to but we tell ourselves that it must be for some good purpose. The lies only affect someone else, never us. Our government is a good government. And we surround ourselves with like minded people so that we can be more comfortable with the lies. Democrats, Republicans…it’s all the same, yet they both claim the moral high ground. Someone must be wrong. How about both?

New British Drugs and Alcohol Study is

a Big Yawn

What a shame. The war on drugs continues to waste time and money...

It's almost as if it's a bill that we pay routinely. We have even forgotten why we pay it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Music Man

It’s early morning and I’m busily downloading music as I type here. Once again the fever of music collecting has struck me and I have spent the past few weeks gathering classical pieces. This morning it’s flamenco that has my interest. Most of it is quite old, but it has the sound I love!

I was thinking of music yesterday as we went by the furniture store and I saw that a local radio station was doing a ‘remote’ broadcast. You know; the brightly colored van and a sun shade, plus lots of signage to indicate a real happening! That reminded me of a story I heard the other day; it seems that commercial radio stations are losing their audiences at a fast clip. No one wants commercials with their music anymore and the iPod has made that possible. Get in your car, plug in the iPod and you never have to hear those whiny DJ’s ever again! I can burn CD’s that will play for about 4 hours by recording up to 120 MP3’s on them. 2 CD’s and I can drive the length of the state without hearing a commercial.

I would say that the whole music industry is in a state of flux right now. Dramatic. Commercial music radio has to change or it will die. Nothing wrong with that. And you can use streaming audio DJ sites on the internet to program exactly what you want to hear for free. Although the recording industry is trying to force the internet music sites to pay full price for the privilege of playing their music, that won’t last long. Those sites will simply move ‘offshore’ and life will continue as before.

So where is the advertising dollar going to go? Which industry can prove that people are watching and listening to the ads? Newspapers are disappearing. Does anyone listen to AM radio? FM radio is on its way out. Pop up blockers cancel out a lot of ads. So does Tivo. Satellite radio is in trouble. Oh gosh! What will we do without advertising?

On a different subject altogether; we had a chance to visit with our great grandson yesterday. Colum, all of 3 months, going on 4 months…is a bright and cheerful chubby baby! One of the nice things about seeing Colum yesterday was the fact that we weren’t using wheelchairs, walkers or canes while visiting with him. Cool!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Gates wanted to close Guantanamo

It's nice to know that one person in the administration has a brain...

But with these people, smarts and $2 dollars will buy you a cup of coffee and nothing else.


On the local scene, the news is all about the new owners of the Kountry Kitchen restaurant. I heard that the employees were told that they would continue as usual; nothing was going to change. But in a small town, (pop: 7,000) rumors abound. The Kountry Kitchen has been the social hub of the community for many years and the citizens depend on it being ‘the same’, day in and day out. And you have to know that this restaurant should have a warning sign out on the sidewalk, “Danger – High Cholesterol Ahead”. I sometimes think this is where the suicidal in Orland eat breakfast. Slow suicide. We also heard that the new owner has a Mexican restaurant in Chico. Which one? No one seems to know. But I would say that the rumor mill will have that information soon. Of course we’re hoping that the owner does not try to change the Kountry Kitchen to a Mexican restaurant. We have far too many of those already. How about a good Italian restaurant? Or a real Chinese restaurant? Basque would be nice.

I knew it

What’s that noise? Oh, it’s the heater. It’s been a couple of weeks since it last ran and that has produced a much smaller gas bill from PG&E. And we even received a $25 credit for the time we went without a heater and had to use wood. Let’s see; a cord of wood was $270 and with $25 dollars off…it only cost $245 plus the regular bill for gas. Yep, right around $400. Should I add in the cost of my labor for gathering and cutting the ‘free’ firewood I used as well?

What’s new? I found this…

Alcohol is ranked much more harmful than the Class A drug ecstasy in a controversial new classification system proposed by a team of leading scientists.

Finally, there is some validation for my beliefs! But, do you think this will change anything at all? This report will soon slide back into obscurity.

“In the new system legal drugs, such as alcohol and nicotine, are ranked alongside illegal drugs.

The new ranking places alcohol and tobacco in the upper half of the league table. These socially accepted drugs were judged more harmful than cannabis, and substantially more dangerous than the Class A drugs LSD, 4-methylthioamphetamine and ecstasy.”

Socially accepted? That means that a great deal of money is made from the sale of these drugs. Much more money than that made from socially unaccepted drugs.

Special Reports

So many children (and their parents) left behind!

Amazing numbers...70% of Americans are not "science literate." and that simply means that they cannot understand an article describing some scientific methodology in the newspaper...

Thursday, March 22, 2007


The wind is dying down and the temperature is going back up. Just another spring day ahead of us.

I see that the “Homepage” wars are heating up as well. I used a My Yahoo page for many years and had it customized as much as possible. Then Google grabbed me 3 or 4 months ago because I could do so much more with it. But I would go back to My Yahoo every once in awhile to see what was new and this morning I saw that they were offering a “beta” version of a new homepage. I went for it and I like its looks so far. But…yesterday, Google was offering new themes for their product. Decisions, decisions!

Of course this all evokes memories for me and now I’m trying to remember the homepage I used to use in the early and mid 90’s? Ah! Yes, it was AltaVista. I do believe that they were among the first in search engine development, but they are no longer among the leaders in the homepage race.

I just searched through my journals and I see that it was October of 1994 when I officially left my position at PCI as a construction superintendent/estimator/project manager and began working there as a full time geek. An IT/instructor kind of person. The Help Desk guy. I don’t think Yahoo was even around at that time? I know Google wasn’t.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Calls Rush 'Irrelevant'

Our acting governor has finally made sense! Mr. Limbaugh is an entertainer only. His views on anything should be suspect. By the way, entertaining is never to be confused with rocket science...they are completely different. Rocket science requires brains.


It will be at least a week before there’s another chance of rain. March is turning out to be a dud for rainfall. Yesterday’s soaking was slight, though welcome of course.

Despite the rainfall, I was able to get the truck loaded with yard trash; debris from the irrigation channel and prunings. And these all went to the dump instead of being burned. I’m usually frustrated by the burning process as the waste is always too green to burn completely in the spring and then it sits all summer long; in the way and unsightly. It costs $7 a truckload to dump, but at least it’s gone!

The herb garden is on its way back with only a few casualties from the freezing of winter. Some still look dead, but we’ll give them a few more weeks just to see if they might revive in the warmth of spring.

Have you run across Dealio? Apparently I allowed the program to be installed and then promptly forgot about it. Until I went shopping on-line. That was when the Dealio popup window appeared and told me that there were better deals to be had. Much better. Really? My first response was that I needed to uninstall the program…but I stopped before I did and debated with myself. Dealio had come up with better pricing. And it’s not as if I weren’t being tracked already by Google and Yahoo. For the time being I am allowing it to reside on my computer.

I was reading a PV advice column this morning and one question was, “What are widgets?”. Good question. And I can now tell you that Dealio is a widget. A small application that runs seamlessly in the background and provides a simple and useful function; usually just one function per widget. And this same column gave me the story about the new Adobe program, Apollo. Apollo will create widgets! Now if only I had bought stock in Adobe. It’s the software company I love to hate when I’m using some of their products, yet I admire the heck out of them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Grand Canyon

Yeah, it's in French...

But you get the idea even without the translation. And I liked the pictures. Could you do it?

Me? Yes, on my 85th birthday I will go for a walk on it. And then head down to Flagstaff and go sky diving.

The rest of the news

In case you missed these pronouncements the first time around… I found them posted again on a terrible liberal website! I’m certain they’re making this stuff up. Well, some of it anyway…

“It's amazing that more than two weeks into the liberation of Iraq---as residents in Basra are cheering British forces and Americans occupy Baghdad's airport and Saddam Hussein's main presidential palace---the antiwar crowd is still spinning a doomsday scenario. But it's getting harder and harder to take seriously the claim that freeing Iraq will make it harder to win the war on terrorism. [...] Who said war never solved anything?”
---Brendan Miniter, Assistant Editor, Wall St. Journal's Opinion,

“There's a certain amount of pop psychology in America that the Shia can't get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There's almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq's always been very secular."
---Bill Kristol,

"The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics' complaints."
---Tony Snow, Fox News,
(Tony Snow? Doesn’t he work for the Decider these days?)

TED KOPPEL: [Y]ou’re not suggesting that the rebuilding of Iraq is going to be done for $1.7 billion?

ANDREW NATSIOS [Agency for International Development]: Well, in terms of the American taxpayer's contribution, I do. This is it for the US. ---Nightline, 4/23/03 (Does this mean that Andy is going to pick up the rest of the tab?)


I guess I had better get to the news; the Airbus A380 has made its initial flights into the US as Airbus tries to hype their product. I can guarantee you that I’m not interested in flying in one those. Sure, I would love to see one and then take a short 30 minute flight, but to be trapped in one with over 500 other people for hours on end? Not! And can you imagine how long it will take to empty the plane at the destination? And how long you will have to wait for your luggage?

Here's how I would really like to travel...

I've Got Mail!

Hey! I got a letter from Sam...
You can get one to...


Did it rain last night? Too dark to tell. But I see that the forecast still calls for rain today, including some thunderstorms. Even with rain and thunder, it’s been warm enough to be wearing shorts and that’s my kind of weather.

I sanded a piece of the black walnut that I bought the other day and it has a great color beneath the gray patina created by being exposed to the elements. I think a Tung oil finish will make it shine! And it’s definitely a hard wood; close grained and dense. That reminds me of our conversation with the artist that sold us the wood; he was describing the house he had built. It’s all slumped block construction with a red tile roof. The floors are all stone or tile and he made the comment that he thinks that carpets are probably a good source for the pathogens that can sicken us; so he avoided them altogether. He might be right about the carpet; the density of tile and stone makes it difficult for ‘critters’ to live in it, while carpet is filled with plenty of space for them to grow. And of course the tile makes a great cool floor for the summer.

It’s certainly something to think about when it comes time to replace the carpeting in this house. Hardwood floors or tile? Or a combination, including some carpet?

And apropos of nothing at all; I was talking to some friends about duck eggs and how much I enjoyed them when I was much younger and living the country life in Colton, CA. Of course I haven’t seen a duck egg in years so I Googled ‘duck eggs’ and came up with a site that ships them. Sounded good until I saw the price. $49 for 18 eggs! OK, I like the eggs, but not that much. Let’s see, a 3 egg omelet would cost about $8.16. (some pictures of duck eggs...what's with the pyramid?)

OK, I just checked and it is raining or has rained; either way, the ground is all wet and so the fact that I got the fertilizer spread out in the orchard yesterday is a good thing!

And that reminds me that I should get a couple or three more trees for the orchard. I’m replacing older trees by planting the new ones in between the old ones. 3 or 4 years from now, I can cut down the old trees and start the process all over again. But what kind of trees? Peach, yes. Apple, no. Rainier cherry? Yes. Nectarine? Plum? Decisions!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bush Announces Iraq Exit Strategy:

A last!

Thanks, Kitty...made my day!

Art in Durham

On an entirely different subject; Denise told us about a local artist that was holding a yard sale in Durham. So we decided to take a look. I’m glad we did. The gentleman was probably close to my age; older though. He had been a stone and brick mason in the Los Angeles area in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s; working on the same kind of large commercial projects that I had been working on around that time.

He was selling some of his artwork; carved stone. And tools that he no longer needed. He had built the house in Durham himself and he no longer needed a lot of the equipment he was selling. I was attracted to a large stack of black walnut rough lumber and bought that for $15. And he showed us his collection of basalt columns. In their natural state, they are fascinating; with all sorts of colors that can only be seen upon close inspection. I bought one of those, about 3’ tall, for $30. That will go in my herb garden. The black walnut will be used for a series of primitive crucifix’s (crucifii?) that I hope to make.

He was telling us that he travels quite a bit now, allowing his art to direct him to the various destinations…and paying for it. What a great deal! Now if I could only find my true artistic ‘voice’ amidst all of those that clamor for my attention.

Basalt; above

Black walnut; below


There is a story out there that says that Halliburton is moving its headquarters out of America and to Dubai to avoid taxes and an unpopular news climate. News that might lead to investigations of their business practices. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Philip Morris do much the same thing in the years ahead. Even though the tobacco companies have engineered a sweet deal with our politicians here; they continue to grow their markets without any expensive restrictions in the rest of the world. And the American stockholders love it! So much for ethics and morality. A Christian nation indeed…

Do unto others?

Feels Good!

A little ranting and raving is always good for the soul…and the body. It gets the blood flowing and the mind working. It proves that you’re alive!

And the book, All Governments Lie!, has me in a ranting mood. Fascinating! I suppose it’s because I see a kindred spirit in Izzy. It’s a library book and so I’m barred from using a highlighter on almost every page. I would if I could!

And I just read the review of a new book that I must read; The Cigarette Century. The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America.

Some data from the book review; “…The single most shattering statistic about life in America in the late 1990’s was that tobacco killed more people than the combined total of those who died from AIDS, car accidents, alcohol, murder, suicide, illegal drugs and fire.” 400,000 Americans died from tobacco use each year! And yet, today…50 million Americans continue to smoke. In fact they are encouraged to smoke. Legally. To compound the evil, all of us pay a small amount of our federal taxes towards rewarding tobacco farmers for growing the crop that will kill.

In 1998, tobacco companies knew they were in trouble so they decided to ally themselves with politicians forever by proposing a settlement with the states of $246 billion dollars over 25 years. Now every state is tied to the purse strings of the tobacco companies. They are addicted to the money just as surely as the smoker is addicted to the cigarette. It didn’t cost the tobacco companies a dime; they simply passed the cost on to the addicts. And they have proved that they will pay any amount for a cigarette. As long as that money shows up every year, you will never see a law that actually bans tobacco use outright. Yes, there will be laws that irritate the smokers and make life more difficult for them, but no one cares about that…as long as the money rolls in.

And I’m supposed to support the ‘war on drugs’? Why? If we were truly the moral and ethical nation that we claim to be, we would imprison all those that deal in tobacco and we would do it now!

More on tobacco...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Getting Cranky!

Should I bother to look at the news this morning? Maybe the weather would be a better choice. OK, I see that rain is forecast for the evening on Monday; a good thing for me as I just bought my annual supply of fertilizer for the orchard and will put it out on Monday, right on time! But this morning? Clear and warm.

Of course I have to look at the news; you know that I can’t go that long without my “world news fix”.

Antiwar activists march in DC

Los Angeles Times - 6 hours ago

By Faye Fiore and Adam Schreck, Times Staff Writers. WASHINGTON - They started turning out before daybreak in the bitter cold. The antiwar demonstrators amassed on the north side of the Lincoln Memorial chanting demands for peace now.

An exercise in futility. Bush has the kind of personality that won’t allow for any outside event to influence him. He won’t change his mind unless an event threatens his power and image. Surrounded by faithful sycophants, there is not much chance of that happening. He lives in a different world than you or I.

And on a more positive note, I was browsing through my journals and ran across this entry from June in 2003. I was in Kansas City at the time…

“I am watching Bill Moyers interviewing Isabel Allende and she is fascinating to listen to. She writes every day when she starts a book, every January 8th, and she uses a candle to tell her when to stop for the day. She says that she knows that the characters and the story are in her and it’s her job to write each day and let them out. If only I could do that! I wonder if you are born to be an author, a story teller, or can you develop that talent?

Isabel Allende’s granddaughter wrote in a school paper that, “her family was not very interesting, except for her grandmother, who had imagination.” Imagination? Isabel Allende’s granddaughter said this to her grandmother when Isabel questioned her about it, “You can remember what never happened” What a great quote!”

It’s still a great quote! (But didn't I post this same thing awhile ago? Oh, well!)

Is it time for me to be a cranky senior citizen? I felt the need the other day when we were in Chico and decided to stop at Mo’s for a barbecue salad lunch. And then, just after we began to eat, the kids from the local high school arrived. First, schools should have ‘closed campuses. People say they want their kids to be safe, but then they allow the school to open the gates at noon and let them go anywhere they want. Hello? If a stranger should visit the school during the day, they must check in at the office and obtain a pass. But, at noon the students are walking all over downtown, free to do anything at all, free to meet anyone at all.

Yes, I’m still cranky; the manners of these children are terrible! Hats on at the table, shoveling in food and talking at the same time. And you have to wonder who dresses these kids before they head to school? Who is raising these children?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Old People

Having read that this winter was the warmest on record, or ever since records were kept. (1880) I have to wonder where this is leading us? As I noted while reading the book about the demise of the cod, no one would admit that the stocks were being depleted dramatically. And even to the very end; “The cod will come back” was the rallying cry for the clueless. The biggest problem is that these things take a long time, time that most people don’t seem to want to account for. When I was growing up, every manner of fish could be caught from our local pier and the brown pelican was seen everywhere. The pier is where I spent hours and hours catching mackerel, surf perch, sand dabs, tom cod and even an occasional halibut. Great rafts of anchovies could be seen from the pier and the brown pelican would entertain the pier fisherman by diving straight down into the silver horde, their huge beak open. They would reappear from the water and struggle to fly away with only a few lucky anchovies flopping to safety from their bills. Now? It’s a desert. The amount of time from then to now is about 60 years. A 30 year old citizen doesn’t have a clue! “Yeah. Right...the old people always say it used to be better in the old days. As if!”

Friday, March 16, 2007

F.D.A. Warns

of Sleeping Pills’ Strange Effects

If you haven't read this story (NY Times) you certainly should...especially this part, "Sales in the United States of Ambien and Lunesta alone last year exceeded $3 billion. Use of those medications and other similar drugs has soared by more than 60 percent since 2000, fueled by television, print and other advertising. Last year, makers of sleeping pills spent more than $600 million on advertising aimed at consumers."

What terrible sheep we are! We should be counting sheep, not becoming sheep by buying what's new and popular. And what's the physicians part in this disaster? They are the prescribers. It seems obvious that you can't trust the doctors to do what is right for you...

This was the

world's warmest recorded winter

And the forecast for summer? Anyone? Anyone?

The World?

Your Oyster? Why Not?

He repeats, in a more literate and entertaining manner, what I've said in the past...


The month is half gone already. And it looks like spring everywhere you look. Blossoms are flying from the trees in a blizzard of pink and white. As I was driving home yesterday, I spotted a man wearing shorts and walking through a sudden flurry of white blossoms. Looked just like snow!

I finished the book, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, by Mark Kurlansky. I wish I could say it had a happy ending, but it didn’t and it can only get worse. Cod, which once ruled the world’s economy, (it really did!) is gone for all practical purposes. Nature, which abhors a vacuum, has already filled the void left by the disappearance of the cod. The book doesn’t preach conservation; it doesn’t have to. The facts are simply presented and you can reach your own conclusions.

Now I can get on with the next book, All Governments Lie! by Myra McPherson. A biography of I.F. Stone. I remembered him from the 60’s as he was a great defender of the anti-war movement.

The news this morning is just more of the same …same as yesterday. But I did notice this little clip and thought it was funny. It's not that I care if "Scooter" Libby gets pardoned. Sure, he obstructed justice, but putting someone named “Scooter” in jail seems a little harsh. Putting someone named “Scooter” in elementary school seems a little harsh.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would have wanted someone named “Scooter” working for me. I would have to question his competence.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one that’s suspicious of this so-called confession. (That was my first thought…but you know how I am)

Terrorist Leader Confession Raises Questions
Voice of America - 36 minutes ago
By Gary Thomas. According to a just-released US transcript, accused al-Qaida operative Khalid Sheikh Mohammad has confessed to a leading role in at least 31 alleged terrorist plots, including the attacks of September 11, 2001.

I even heard an ex-FBI official; a member of the 9-11 Commission, express doubts about it. And that is bound to happen when you hold secret hearings and secret trials. Without the evidence being exposed to the light of day, why should anyone believe it? Because they say so?

Legislator yanks

artwork in Texas Capitol - Los Angeles Times

But then he says he's "not an art critic". What? (He should have been arrested)

It is nice to know that California doesn't have a monopoly on idiots holding a political office. Every state has their share!

Don Perata


Of course it's not only Republicans that are foolish; Democrats have their fair share of fools and Don is an obvious example. You have to wonder about his age...isn't this something a 9 year old would do? Why did he do it? Because he could! Nyah, nyah, nyah! So there!

More News

The news gets worse. On top of the $3 million for studying the obvious, we’re going to need to come up with $1.5 trillion to get our schools back in shape after years of conservative mismanagement. The usual Republican response? "We will reject any attempt to raise taxes." Are these people nuts? How did we get into this mess anyway? By conservatives refusing to acknowledge our responsibility to provide a quality education. Who was going to provide it? The 'education fairy'? And of course they are quick to blame the teachers; no mention is made of ineffective administrators. Funny how the ones at the bottom take all the blame from those at the top. I would think that there is plenty of blame to go around...