Tuesday, July 31, 2007


before a run may help fight cancer

Another good reason to come to Portland for the marathon. Lots of coffee shops!

Portland Memories

I was looking through my desk drawer last night and ran across my blue wrist band from the Portland marathon, circa 2006. I slipped it on. The memories came flooding back. OK, should I do it again? I know that I’m already missing the excitement and feeling of accomplishment it brings and I’m tempted to do it one more time, in 2008. But would anyone do it with me? Anyone? Anyone?

The Local Scene

Well, that didn’t take long at all and that’s a bother. It looks like the month of July will soon be gone; less than 24 hours and it’s history, and that also means that we have less than three weeks left to enjoy downtown Chico before the students arrive once again.

I learned something about local demographics at dinner last night. With ten adults present and seven of them being ‘seniors’, the name of the movie, Sicko, came up. (It was part one of a two part answer to an NPR radio quiz…) among the ‘seniors’, Laurae and I were the only ones that had heard of the movie. Everyone else professed ignorance. And these are people that subscribe to the local newspaper. Huh? Please don’t let this happen to me!

More about the demographics… I’m pestered quite often by some of these same seniors to join them in a game of pinochle or bridge. I always to say no to that. So last night I volunteered that I would be glad to play a game of chess… silence.

And what would I read in the local paper if I were a subscriber? Not much. ‘Red’ counties, like Butte and Glenn, do not translate to mean ‘read’ counties.

Now speaking of papers. It looks like the Wall Street Journal will soon be available in your local supermarket; right next to the Star and the Enquirer. Apparently, Sir Rupert is about to close the deal to acquire the paper. Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. What a combo! And what a letdown!

Yeah, I'm feeling kind of 'culturally deprived' this morning. I'll get over it.

So how about this link to cheer up with? I love this kind of stuff!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Op Ed: No Child Left Behind

Now Demands Decent Fix: Less-Threat, More Common-Sense

Telling the truth about the NCLB.

You would think that the man would be ashamed, wouldn't you?

Boing Boing:

Cursing: the neurology, law and sociology of cuss-words

A subject dear to my heart...

And now I know more than I should.

Another Poke in the Eye

to Islam -

"They also insist that most of the arms are "defensive" in nature. Aren't they all."

Nothing says "Peace" quite like a 500 pound bomb, right?

Lost...and Found

A few minutes ago I wrote “Now what will I do with a food mill after the last tomato has been picked? Will it grow dusty and forgotten in the back of a cupboard?”

That brings me to the story of the lost nutcrackers. Last winter I went looking for a nutcracker and couldn’t find either one. I had a plain and simple one and then a much nicer one ($$), but they weren’t to be found anywhere! So I did what I had to do and bought another one. Also a very nice one. ($$) Then, last week, Steven was asking his grandmother about the fancy bowl that sits on a shelf in the laundry room. She took it down to show him and of course, in it were the two nutcrackers and some very old and dusty walnuts. You have to envy a guy that has three (3) nutcrackers! Don't you?

Food Mill

I made three mistakes at the library. Two were big ones. Too often I fall for the larger books, as if, somehow, the author must know what he/she is doing to have created such a huge volume. I should know better.

One in particular, Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon, looked so interesting at first inspection that I just knew it had to be great. Well, I’m about 400 pages into it, a third of the way, and I’m wondering if I should continue to invest myself in it? I love the language that he uses, but the story line mystifies me. What’s the point? In fact, I’ve turned the pages back a hundred times, looking to see if I’ve missed something that would tell me where I was…

I’m a sucker for great written language. Umberto Eco is a favorite author as is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Maybe it’s because I was raised on the books of Richard Halliburton. I read them all. And I remember them as ‘large’ books, filled with ‘language’. Were they really large books, or was I really small?

Funny; I was reading the Wikipedia entry for Richard Halliburton and saw this… “While many of Halliburton's stories recount his own irresponsibility and document attitudes which today would almost universally be condemned as racist…” Well, if he was a racist, it went right over my head. But then again, growing up in the all white city of Manhattan Beach, in the 40’s and 50’s, racism was not a word we heard. What was ‘race’?

On a different note; we bought a food mill to process the many Sweet 100’s tomatoes that are ripening. But no instructions came with the darn thing. No matter, I can always Google it and come up with something. I did try it out of course and came up with about a quart of skinless tomato sauce. I will add to that amount and then cook it up with fresh spices and ground turkey, for a winter time spaghetti sauce.

Now what will I do with a food mill after the last tomato has been picked? Will it grow dusty and forgotten in the back of a cupboard?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It must be the heat

"Phoenix police said Saturday that a man whom patrol cars chased may be held responsible for a crash of two news helicopters that collided over the scene Friday, killing all four people aboard."

OK, why? I don't have much sympathy for the guy who was being chased, but to charge him with responsibility for the crash of the helicopters is logic convoluted to the max.

A Meme

OK, another free* idea (Just the usual 10% of the profits). How about some software that will find (scan the web) the correct pronunciation of names and/or difficult words and then play the correct pronunciation for you?

I was trying to find the correct pronunciation for the word 'meme' which is often seen but rarely heard. I found a clue and learned that it sounds similar to 'gene'...but is that correct?

Oh, I know I can find this;
IPA: /miːm/
SAMPA: /mi:m/

But it would be so much easier if I could just hear someone say it...

Yellow is the Right Color

Daily Kos: Just in case...

you were wondering if there were any geniuses working for the government. Rest assured.


Gangs Spreading In The Military

Oh, great! Gangsta's with tanks!

It must be the high standards we use when accepting enlistments.

Rule the Web

Some good stuff this morning

Boing Boing: Ikea

opens free hostel for shoppers who don't want to leave

Let's see now, Wal*Mart lets you park your own motor home "FREE", in their parking lot...

What's fair?

And this bit of news… sounds right to me. I would especially like to see government agencies do this. Law enforcement and fireman. They have a far larger responsibility to stay in shape than most of us.

Workers are told to shape up or pay up
By Daniel Costello
“To hold down medical costs, some firms are penalizing workers who are overweight or don't meet health guidelines.”

But, to be fair…they need to be told of the guidelines when hired; not 6 months down the road. And just think; retirement would have a whole new meaning for us!


An experiment. At this early hour I decided to see if turning the fans around and blowing warm air out would work better than blowing cool air in. Mr. Science (me) was right! That works much better. Dropped 3 degrees in just a minute or two.

And another experiment. Although I hooked up the TV to an antenna to watch a PBS special on the 24th; that was the last time it was turned on. Are we cured? Hallelujah! OK, maybe it wasn’t a fair test; watching TV on a tiny screen does have some drawbacks. What if I were to hook up the antenna to the big screen? Now that would be a test.

Quote: Television is the first truly democratic culture - the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want.

An interesting and fairly accurate quotation. But – we don’t get what we want on television. We get what someone else thinks we want. We’re not given a lot of choices; even with a gazillion channels, as each one is trying to give us the same thing, because they think that’s what we want.

And that’s why the internet is so much more fascinating than ‘Television Land’. It’s Pull technology versus Push technology. It’s what I want versus what they want to give me.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ship of fools:

America's swashbuckling neocons

I ran across this article in the Chico Beat...great!

When the Facts Get Tough,

the Tough Stop Fact-Gathering

No surprises here!

The Good News from Wall Street

Blue skies and the air temp is just right. I love the feel of the fresh air coming in the windows; drawn in by the fans. Summertime is the best! Even with the late day heat, it’s so much better than the dismal chill of winter. Lazy days? You bet!

After checking to see if my daughters/granddaughter had posted to their blogs (They didn’t – what’s up with that?) I decided to do some Stumbling this morning and I ran across this old internet classic that appeals to the older generation. Of which I am a member. And I agree with all of it!

And I have revisited a favorite blog of mine, A Daily Dose of Imagery, a photo blog. You have to check out all of his photos. Stunning. He has a new camera, a larger format one, but he writes that he still likes to use his Canon Rebel.

And in the news…

Economy Rebounds Smartly

Yesterday, July 27, 2007, 7:01:35 AM

Economy Springs Out of Rut and Grows at 3.4 Percent Pace, Best Showing in More Than a Year”

OK, sounds good, But, at the same time the DJIA fell over 600 points this week? How much good news can we take?

Neon Graveyard

- Something to do while in Las Vegas

Bored with the Strip? Try this...

Friday, July 27, 2007


The future...described quite well


OK, mental health has been checked and found to be alright… for the moment. I can still do the daily Jigzone puzzle in less time than the average. On the physical side; good news! I went to the local blood drive yesterday and gave a pint. They had a ‘give a pint - get a pint’ reward for donors, giving us a Baskin Robbins certificate for a pint of ice cream. (Only 12 oz in California?) The ice cream was a nice touch, but my blood pressure, 120/64 was a most pleasant surprise! And a pulse of 64.

And speaking of cats as I was; the phlebotomist that was collecting my pint yesterday was the chatty type. I’m sure they are given instructions to keep the ‘customers’ engaged at all times; it helps to prevent fainting at the sight of that needle. Anyway, she mentioned that she had read a story about a cat that lives in a retirement home. This cat seems to have the ability to know when someone is going to die and comes to lay with them within just a few hours of their passing. Now that would be scary! To see the cat waiting at your front door? And I have to think of our own cat, Boo, who loves to lie upon me when I’m taking a nap. Should I be worried?

A Brief History

of House Cats

“In the United States, cats are the most popular house pet, with 90 million domesticated cats slinking around 34 percent of U.S homes.” I guess that number includes the lady in town that has 30 or more of them living in her front room.


I’m awake and moving. The coffee has been made, which means that the well is functioning this morning. That’s good enough.

The subject for discussion this morning is blogs and blogging. During the past few days I’ve been reading the blog
As Time Goes By. There’s a lot to read on the site and most of it is quite interesting. And I couldn’t help but notice the nice looking ‘interior decorating’ on the pages. Everything is orderly. My own blog is getting cluttered and it’s starting to resemble the top of my desk. That’s a bad thing!

As I was reading some of the comments on her pages, I noticed that a lot of people have some discomfort with the word, ‘blog’. Many used the word, ‘log’ when complimenting her endeavors. And some used the word, ‘flog’. That’s one that I like, although it means, to sell when used in Britain, and do I want to be known as a salesman? I know I have said it before, the word, ‘blog’ feels clumsy to me and I’m always hoping that someone will come up with a better word.

So why do I blog, log or flog? That’s a question that I usually ask myself at least once every morning. This morning’s answer is… for my mental health. I think it’s good exercise for your brain. I suppose if I lived in an ideal physical world, where I could just step outside the door of my house and find myself engaged in bright and articulate conversation; where I could easily pick and choose from 100’s of news media outlets; where there was an art gallery on every corner and a great coffee house/bookstore in between… why, I wouldn’t need the internet at all. And I certainly wouldn’t waste my time blogging, logging or flogging.

OK, so it isn’t a perfect world and I have started the morning trying to remember just what it was that I wanted to comment upon in my blog this morning. As I was getting ready for bed last night, I thought of a Very Important Subject to write about. But, this morning finds me lost in the attic of my thoughts, finding nothing but old and dusty memories. Darn!

But now, after reading
Crabby Old Lady’s blog, I have plenty on my mind. Who are these people? For starters, they have to be in denial. Age happens. And after reading some of those comments, it can’t happen fast enough to them!

OK, old people are sometimes irritating...now take away the word 'old' and use 'teenagers'. These are the same people that used to irritate you when you were in high school... true for every age.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

This is your brain

Good tips to grow old with...


and this one...


Danger: Can be embarrassing!

Success, but now I'm wondering

The water supply problem has been solved for now. I checked the main panel and found the breakers were not tripped. Darn! So I went out and looked at the well head. Kicked a few pipes and twiddled some valves. Nothing.

So it was back to the garage and the holding tank. I knocked on the tank. (Echo…echo…echo) I looked all around for a reset button. Finally, I noticed a small box mounted on the wall nearby, with conduit leading into it. I opened it up and found a scary nest of wiring…but there were three old fashioned fuses lying on the bottom of the box. There must be a fuse holder in there as well; but where? With some careful prying apart of the wiring, I discovered a flexible rubber fuse holder and when I touched it, it flashed! Way scary! I removed that fuse and stuck in one the fuses I had found. That produced a ‘Click’ and I heard the tank beginning to fill again. Success. But now the question is, why?

On an entirely different subject; I am wondering if there are any plans for a Mira Costa class of 1958 reunion? I checked the Mira Costa website and found nothing useful. Google didn’t provide me any answers either. Too bad; 50 years is a suitable milestone for a class reunion and I would have gone. Sure, there’s still time, but it doesn’t look promising. And here’s a scary thought…what if there are only one or two of us left? Maybe that’s why there are no plans?

Who knew?

Discover the Barefooting Alternative

Those who know me know that I love going barefooted...is this the answer for those times I hesitate because of the terrain?

Not a Drop

Everything was just fine. The coffee was made and the cat had made her entrance. It was time for that second cup of coffee and that was when it all changed. I usually add a cup of water to the coffeemaker at this time and when I turned on the faucet…nothing! At all. Nada. And since we have a well and not a city water system, I will have to deal with it; I have no one to call and lodge a complaint. But, it’s early and too dark for me to do much at all, so I won’t. Ah! Coffee!

And the news… plus some sarcasm.

“The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to hold President Bush’s chief of staff and the former White House counsel in contempt of Congress.” Is it OK for me to be in contempt of Congress as well? Or have I said that wrong? After 6+ plus years of malfeasance in office and this is the best that Congress can do? That’s contemptible!

Pentagon Study Sees Threat in Guantánamo Detainees


“A new report is a rebuttal of assertions by detainee advocates that the American naval station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is filled with hapless innocents.”

Hey! I have an idea; let's hold public trials and then we can all see who’s right. And I think it’s an old American custom to do that anyway…or it was.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Well, why not? I was Stumbling when I ran across this site and it appealed to me. Seniors that know the difference between a modem and a mouse are rare, so we will see if they can hold my attention... And I do qualify; being close to 67 years of age and with half a dozen blogs to manage.


Brothers and Sisters


One of the most amazing reversals brought about by W.’s reign of error is this: He may have turned my sister into a Democrat.

Now that is a shame. Better that her sister were turned into a thinking person and had registered as an independent.

Don't bother with the link...it's to a pay per view page.

Exit Here

Found on the New York Times editorial page...

"No Exit Strategy With a veto-proof majority, Congress will have to tell President Bush that prolonging the Iraq war for another two years will not bring victory."

Don't you find it surprising that no one will tell you what 'victory' means? How will we know when we have won? Or is this another Orwellian phrase?


As usual. Grrrr! My satellite internet connection is a joke. Note; do not invest any time or money in a Direcway satellite system. I guess I’m stuck with it until AT&T decides that DSL service in this area might bring them a buck or two. It’s particularly irritating as I know that the fiber optic cable lies empty and unused just across the road from us. I could call the local wireless company, but that would mean another email address change between now and whenever DSL becomes available. And the local wireless is not much faster than satellite. Even so, I’m tempted…

How long has it been since we turned off the TV? Well, it’s on again…sort of. As an experiment, I took the small set, the 13” Toshiba and connected it to an antenna lead in our bedroom; the only connection that isn’t tied to the useless satellite. Behold! There was a picture and sound and we were able to watch PBS last night when they aired the special on the city of Susanville and its relationship to the prisons there.

It was just as I thought it would be. I wish that there had been some sort of revelation; but no, they showed the flawed prison system for just what it is. A bureaucratic nightmare. And they revealed how the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (from now on… known as ’The Department of Punishment’) had lied to the community. It’s obvious that the legislature and the state judicial system are flawed to the core and they are the ones that control the Department of Punishment.

I may not know much about prisons but I knew they were lying back in the 1980’s, when they said the prisons would benefit the community. Most of the disposable money coming from the staff payroll goes to Nevada, as Reno is less than a hundred miles away. Officers quickly learn that there are no bargains to be found in Susanville. So they shop for their big ticket items elsewhere. A case in point is the arrival of Corning Ford. They came up from the valley, where they are a big player, and bought out the local automobile dealers. Now they are planning a huge ‘toy’ store on the road out to the prison, so the officers can get a better look at what’s new and exciting on their way to and from work. I don’t know how it will work, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see sales revenue staying in Corning. The dealership could use the registration paperwork to indicate the vehicle was purchased in ‘Corning’ and delivered to the customer in Susanville. Would they do that? Whatever works. They have no local roots or loyalties.

Well, here goes…I’ll try the internet connection again and see if I can get on-line. Slow and slower! I think I’ll go for a swim while I wait for the page to load.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

High Desert

PBS will have a special tonight, all about the city of Susanville and the impact that the prisons have caused in the community.

I'm without a television...but I already know what they have done to this city and to Lassen County. When I lived up there I was against the proposal to build the prison, but the lure of easy money from the state caused most voters to approve it. It has been a disaster. And I don't think that most of the citizens even realize what they lost when they allowed the prisons to be built. And it's forever; you can't unbuild a prison...

A Dry Heat

It’s going to be tough to get the house temperature down this morning. Outside, it was 75° at 4 AM and 82° inside. No amount of fans will overcome that kind of a head start. As usual, I look at the weather for Scottsdale AZ and once again, our temperatures are similar. Odd? They have a higher humidity than our forecast for today. I have always been told that Arizona enjoyed a “dry heat”… (Maybe 'enjoyed' is the wrong word to use)

I’m going to be looking for a food mill in the next few days. With the great number of cherry tomatoes now ripening, I need to utilize them in sauces and paste. I would bet that I gave away 3 pounds of those tomatoes last night when we went out to dinner with friends. The Sweet 100’s tomato plants are like a machine…the tomatoes just keep coming!

I had one of those humbling moments yesterday. Every once in awhile I work for a couple of hours at the local food pantry where we give out boxes and bags of donated food. A guy came in yesterday and asked for some food and we talked for a little bit. It turns out that he normally lives under the bridge on old Highway 99, just north of town; where Stoney Creek crosses under the highway. (CHP and Fish and Game are OK with his being there. He’s approved!) Anyway, there was cigarette caused fire near the bridge the other day and the fire moved from the side of the road and down through the bamboo that surrounded his ‘home’. He was able to get his belongings, a tent, bicycle and sleeping bag, out of the way of the fire, but now he has to find another spot to stay. Oh, yes…he has lived there for 4 years now. Yes, he gets food stamps. But since that doesn’t include ice for his cooler, he’s somewhat limited as to what he can use the stamps for.

OK; don’t tell me how he should clean up his act and get a job. What would his address be on his job application form? And maybe; just maybe – he’s mentally ill? Wouldn’t it be a ‘wonderful world’ if we were all perfect? Well, we aren’t and some of us need help. And helping one another…isn’t that what being human is all about?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Boing Boing

Report: security flaw lets hackers pwn iPhone

Well, that didn't take long at all. Your new iPhone can now 'own' you...

Hot Hot Hot

Oh, oh…triple digit weather for the coming week and beyond. That ought to stress the tomatoes into full production. And that will move me into the pool on a more frequent basis.

I started reading the headline news from the networks (CBC, ABC, NBC and Fox) and had to give up after a few minutes. With that kind of writing it’s no wonder that they are losing market share. It’s getting harder and harder to find good news sources. Reuters is usually a cut above, as is the Economist. Actually, the Economist is the ‘gold standard’. The Christian Science Monitor also employs good writers and I always enjoy Boing Boing.

The internet is redefining how news is spread and it makes for an interesting time for those of us that enjoy the news. And news and advertising go hand in hand. I had this thought the other day; the public is actually renegotiating their contract with newspaper publishers. We want our news to be free. It’s time for the advertisers to pay us to view their ads. And they can do that by giving us the media. It’s the same story with music and other entertainment media; musical artists are making a move to sell directly to their fans and rid themselves of the middleman. If movies are using product placement in their content, we want lower prices. We are renegotiating our contract!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Old Camera

I do wonder about the feasibility of a photo blog? Recently, there have been all sorts of stories about photographers being hassled by the ‘natives’ whenever they appear to be photographing something sensitive… like a bridge or a shopping center.

On Friday of last week, I saw a photographer along the highway (32) and I would bet that he gets bothered all of the time; he was shooting something? and using an old glass plate camera, on a wooden tripod and complete with a cloth hood for the photographer to hide under. Very suspicious! Especially so when at least 75% of the population has never even seen a camera like that.

Ready or Not

The morning arrives. On time, and whether I want it to or not... OK, I’m ready.

And what’s new? Yesterday morning I made my way up to Home Depot in Red Bluff via old Historic Highway 99. It’s not a particularly scenic route but it’s ‘different’ and every once in awhile I like to get off of I-5 and see something different.

In the back of my mind is a plan for a photo blog and 99 has plenty of unique photo opportunities. Scenic is not the same as unique and most of the things I have seen along this stretch of road would not qualify for inclusion in Sunset magazine. Let’s put it this way; every time I drive this stretch of road I am reminded of Lady Bird Johnson and her self appointed task of beautifying America… apparently, the program never made it to Glenn and Tehama counties. Or if it ever did, it has been long forgotten.

On another note; yesterday we were discussing the fact that during the two weeks that the twins were here, the television was on only once for their entertainment and that was only for 10 minutes. They wanted to see Chicken Run (VCR) and after the 10 minutes had passed, they remembered that they had already seen it a gazillion times and shut it down. So, that proves it again…humans can live without the tube!

So what did they do for entertainment? Besides the usual routine of playing with the stash of toys found under the bookshelf, they persuaded their grandmother to read books to them. 3 or 4 times a day. Grandpa wasn’t called upon for this duty, except for one morning when I was tasked with reading If You Give a Pig a Pancake. I’ve read it before…many times. And it really is my favorite children’s book. In fact, I’m not sure there is an age limit for this book. It’s funny!

"My Encounter...

with the TSA"

An older story...(3 days+) but it is still worth reading.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Just an opinion

A random thought; we were driving through Chico and noticed that the car ahead of us had an “Impeach Bush” bumper sticker. That made me look at more cars and I soon opined that the majority of the 2004 election bumper stickers, supporting Bush/Cheney had been removed. I can only guess, but I think that there is some validity for my opinion that at least 75% of those who once had a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker, have removed it; probably late at night and with the garage door down.

Bush transfers power

to Cheney

Hold it! The test can be done without anesthesia...and I don't want Cheney to be president for even a minute or two. Give him half an hour and who knows what he might do!

Friday, July 20, 2007


It's over! They graduated today with a jump off of the diving board and into the deep water. (Abby climbed up the ladder and ran back to get in line for a repeat jump.)


Amazing! As of August 14th, you can bring a lighter onboard an aircraft, But, no, you still can't bring water. Boggles the mind...

Bay Bridge

-A real test for your nerves


It’s far too early, but I’m unable to sleep. Too much napping? Yesterday afternoon I was privileged to have the twins napping with me in the ‘BIG’ chair in the living room.

And Boo has joined me this morning, requesting and gaining entry in her usual manner. (Through the window) Now she is asleep in the other chair and will remain there until about 7; then she is off to her hiding place for another 4 or 5 hours.

I guess you can say “Mission Accomplished”. As you can see by the photos I’ve posted here recently, the twins have learned to enjoy the water. No, they aren’t real swimmers yet…but they are getting close. I imagine that by the end of the lessons next year they will be swimming. And today is their last lesson; culminating in a jump off of the low diving board and into the deeper waters, where their instructors will be waiting and coaxing them. The kids have been talking for days about how far they are going to jump, so all is positive...film at 11.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Scott Ritter

He has a good point

Summertime Swimming

We had some fun yesterday when Karlee and Kyle arrived to spend some time in the pool and everyone got to show off their swimming skills. But I think we may have spent too much time in the water during the past few days…I went in again in the afternoon and I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that my allergies are bothering me this morning?

Karlee and Kyle are truly summertime ‘fish’ and our only problem was making sure that the twins didn’t try to emulate them in everything they did. But it was sure fun to see them all having a great time together.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Boing Boing:

Evidence that the 23% figure is correct

(See first post of the day)


So, who needs to read?

What's That Noise?

Surprise! I went to open the patio door earlier this morning and I was greeted by the sound of heavy rainfall on the patio cover and the mewing of a wet cat. ‘Let me in!’ OK, the forecast did say that we had a 40% chance of rain for today, but I was skeptical.

This will help the garden of course. And the orchard. And since today is orchard irrigation day; it might seem a little odd to be trudging up to the canal to open the flood gates in the rain.

Here’s something I read yesterday;

“Nearly a quarter of Americans are offline, with no experience of the internet, a survey has found.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project studied the ever-shifting internet population in one of the world’s most wired nations. It found that the digital divide is likely to remain in place as the number of people dropping offline equals the number of new users adopting net technology. The share of the US population on the internet has hovered around the 60% mark since October 2001 and is likely to remain around that level, the researchers said. According to the US Government’s National Adult Literacy Survey, up to 23% of the population struggle so much with literacy that they have difficulty completing everyday tasks. This is likely to be a major barrier to net take-up.” (Those facts are brought to you by the same government that brought you “No Child Left Behind”…odd?)

23%! That’s a whole bunch of people. We interact with those people on a daily basis. Sometimes, they make decisions that affect us. And they aren’t playing with the same number of cards in the deck that you and I have. They’re guessing when they should be dealing with written facts. They’re using their ‘gut’ feelings. Shouldn’t we be doing something to change those statistics?

And, speaking of reading…

The saying "Getting there is half the fun" became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines. - Henry J. Tillman

It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree. - Charles Baudelaire

Bureaucrats write memoranda both because they appear to be busy when they are writing and because the memos, once written, immediately become proof that they were busy. - Charles Peters

You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind legs. But by standing a flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men. - Max Beerbohm

I especially like the last quote. So true!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Impeachment or War?

Impeachment or War? Cheney Urges Bush to Strike Iran

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse...

Antelope Complex


It's all over. 100% contained and nothing exciting left to look at except the photos...and that's a good thing.


The ‘bird cannons’ are firing early this morning. Either that or the wind is bringing the sound to me. And there are dark clouds on the horizon; what’s the forecast? Darn! Wind and rain are forecast for tonight and tomorrow… well, the pool was clean.

The kids and I have been harvesting Sweet 100’s, the cherry tomato. It’s perfect for little fingers and they really enjoy trying to figure out which ones are ‘red’. These tomatoes have just reached the stage where you think you might have a handle on the harvest; you can gather as many as are ripe. But, lurking beneath the leaves are dozens more and they will reveal themselves very soon. Then you won’t be able to keep up. The ground will be littered with abandoned tomatoes despite your appetite for the juicy morsels.

I was reading the latest issue of the Economist and it seems that it could be the last issue I read. They have decided to put the entire magazine into an audio format on the net. You can listen to the whole magazine if you wish. They hired ‘professional’ readers and even with pro’s doing the reading…it takes 5 or 6 hours to hear the entire magazine. Oh, yes, they still send you the magazine if you want to read it yourself. Of course I have to try it; just to find out what accent the readers have. It’s a UK magazine, but the North American edition.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Swim, Swam, Swum

Of course there are only so many photos you can take of swimming lessons in the Orland pool...so I promise these are the last of them for awhile. Unless something spectacular happens. I may find a few decent shots around the home pool, later in the day...

Honest...she was not unhappy. Bad timing on the photographers part.



Someone needs to tell me again how he became our president?

'our' means that he is supposed to be working for our good.


Allergies. It has to be allergies that make me feel this way. I was almost convinced that I had developed a summer cold, but the symptoms went away later in the day and have only returned this morning; same as yesterday. Very depressing. I haven’t been bothered by allergies in years!

But, as I was typing that last sentence, I looked up at the screen just as I created the word ‘been’ and saw the word, ‘bee’, which made me think of honey… and honey is supposed to be good ammunition in the fight against allergies. It has to be local honey, not your everyday honey packaged in a plastic bear. That sort of makes sense. Local bees, local flowers, local pollen. And the honey contains small amounts of the local allergens. It’s sort of like having a vaccination. OK. More honey!

It looks like it’s going to be a pleasant week with temperatures that we can easily bear; all in the low 90’s. Next Sunday will return us to HOT.

And as I read the news stories this morning, I am struck by the ones that tell of crackdowns on internet use and access. Most of the stories are about governments in Africa and Asia that are doing their best to keep information from their citizens. When the governments are technically unable to stop the flow of data, they resort to the physical; imprisonment of the offenders. I have a feeling that executions won’t be far behind. Information is just too powerful a weapon for these governments to handle. And since, at their core, all governments are alike…we need to be wary of anything that restricts our own usage of the internet. Our legislators are a mirror of society and our society has some especially dangerous ‘fundamentalists’ within it. They would love to keep you ignorant.

A very short time ago… 80 something years ago. Those same kinds of people pushed their agenda onto this nation with the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution; the Volstead Act, or ‘Prohibition’. It was only after the fact that the population decided that the law went too far. But it was too late. The ‘fundamentalists’ had done their job and the nation suffered immense damage from it. All because the citizens had abdicated their responsibility to watch over their representatives.

Most people love the concept of democracy but hate the reality of it. “It (democracy) should be based on my morality and on my concept of what is right and wrong. Why should we even allow these other ideas?”

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summertime Blues

I’m definitely feeling weird this morning. Physically weird. Mentally weird is normal for me. Nose is all stuffed up and my throat feels raw. Is it a summer cold or too much time in the pool? I have a feeling it’s the pool time that has me down. Or? Second thought; could it be allergies?

The good news from the pool is the fact that Steven and Abby made great progress yesterday, getting over some of their mental hurdles and now they’re on their way to swimming for fun.

I was just looking at the Web Zen site and rummaging through the “Paint By Numbers” section and found this memorable piece of data…

“Surveys in the 1950s confirmed that many Americans regarded abstract designs with suspicion, except for the patterns that embellished floor tile or Formica”

I have a feeling that you could take the same survey today and come up with the same results.

The Web Zen site deserves a thorough inspection…I found this by looking through the archives.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


It happened...Abby decided to put her face in the water and Steven found his swimming talents. And after another half hour of exercising their new found talents, Abby was really swimming...arms and legs moving together and moving forward with her face under the water. Steven is still working on the actual coordination of arms and legs, but he was like a madman once he found that he could move all around the shallow end of the pool. Jumping and shouting..."I'm swimming! And I didn't even drown!" His enthusiasm reminded me of his cousin, Kyle, when he learned to swim. Same high excitement!

Sure, it's all fun and games in grandpa's pool. The real test will be on Monday when they return to class. So I guess we better practice again tomorrow.


and Mentos Fountain
(Not your ordinary Coke and Mentos video)
The things you can when sponsored by the 'big guy's'...

Big Tomato...Plants

Little tiny tomatoes. But sweet! (Sweet 100's)
The tomato plants though, are bigger than your 'average' boy or girl

Ya gotta watch out for that little boy...he loves to eat tomatoes off of the vine! Maybe I need a scarecrow?


Just in case you had nothing to do today. OK, I'm tempted...


You have to see this... (choose the British flag for an English version)

It rarely gets better than this...the world's finest architect.

I have worked on a lot of building projects and some I am quite proud of, but I would have worked on any of his projects for no pay, none!... just to have been a part of it would have been payment enough.


I suppose it’s time for a rant about the internet. I was reading the latest from Boing Boing and was disappointed to see so many typo’s in the text. I know it’s simply my problem and I should get a life… whatever that is, but every time I see typo’s I presume that the writer just didn’t care enough about the words to do a spell check. It makes the words less valuable.

It’s the typo’s that have figured into my decision to not subscribe to the local newspapers. Surprisingly, the alternative press does a better job of editing.

And I am going to comment on the ‘comments’ that are found on most web sites. Who are these people? Most won’t use their real names and I suppose that’s because they are, or should be, ashamed of the garbage they write. Yes; ‘Anonymous’ bothers me. Most newspapers won’t allow anonymous letters and for good reason. Of course the local rag, the ER, allows it. Another reason not to subscribe.

More Odds and Ends

Another interesting day ahead of us. Today, and tomorrow, we will be the swim instructors for the twins. The regular class will begin again on Monday. Luckily, for us, the twins are never reluctant to get in the water, so there is a good chance we can make some progress over the weekend.

News: Odd, but the Antelope Complex fire is now ‘old’ news. I can rarely find any updates on it. I guess that’s a good thing.

Oops! There she is. Ms. Abby is awake. Followed a minute later by Steven…I have convinced them to return to their room and collect a blanket and pillow. Now they are laying on the floor here in the study. How long will that last? My guess is that by 6 they will have had enough of that and will want, no, demand more attention.

Besides the swimming, which is a given, I have plenty of other things to do today. The remodel of the Senior Thrift Store continues and I need more paint on Karlee’s step stool. Plus I have to clean up the compost pile and mow the orchard once again.

I was working on trimming some of the squash plants that were spilling out of the compost pile and I was quickly reminded of how that plant protects itself against intruders. I had to hurry back inside and wash my hands, arms and legs where I had come into contact with the leaves. The itching is terrible! This morning I can still feel it on my fingers despite the soap and water.

I knew it…lots of giggles are coming from the pile of blankets and pillows behind me. It won’t be much longer and they will be up and running.