Monday, April 30, 2007

Look Again

It's been awhile since I last saw this program but was reminded of it by a some blog I was reading while Stumbling. If you haven't seen the show, take a look at the website...powerful story! And there are times when I wish I had had a teacher like Jane Elliott.

Busy

Another busy day ahead. Apparently, the warm weather has abated somewhat and that will make this morning’s practice more comfortable. And after the practice I should stop at Lowe’s and buy some MDF baseboard for the dining room. Since our long range plan is to re-paint every room in this house before that day when they take us off to the rest home, we need to get busy on that project

(Later) Well, no baseboard. I forgot to take the truck when I went into town and 12’ lengths of MDF won’t fit within the confines of a VW wagon. But I did stop at the Plant Barn before coming home and while I was there a few things caught my eye; yes, more tomatoes. And zucchini (1). And summer squash (Scallopini). And one cantaloupe. And the herb, Za'atar. (As explained here, Za'atar is the Biblical Hyssop plant.)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A slow news day

Some odds and ends from the RSS feeds this afternoon…

Despite Drug War, Cocaine Purer, Cheaper

Yesterday, April 27, 2007, 9:00:01 PM

“Cocaine prices in the United States have dropped and the drug's purity increased, despite years of effort and nearly $5 billion spent by the U.S. government to combat Colombia's drug industry, the White House drug czar acknowledged.”

Gosh! Do you think we’re doing something wrong? Maybe we’re not spending enough money.

And I really liked this one; note the key word, performance. Yep, that’s what we want in a president, the ability to act as if she knows what she’s doing…even when she doesn’t. Too bad our current president hasn’t mastered that skill. As soon as he opens his mouth; we know…

Steady Clinton Handles A Lively Debate

Yesterday, April 27, 2007, 11:30:12 AM

“The Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina was neither dynamic nor dramatic, but Sen. Hillary Clinton delivered an error-free performance, re-establishing her as the candidate to beat, Vaughn Ververs reports.”

Iran May Be Closer To Nukes Than Thought

Thursday, April 26, 2007, 6:30:12 PM

“CBS News has learned exclusively that a new U.S. intelligence report says Iran could build a nuclear weapon by 2010. Pentagon officials say the new report narrows the window in which Israel might launch a preemptive strike against Iran.”

Israel is still the loose cannon; the most dangerous player in the Middle East. Far more dangerous than Iran. Israel already has a bomb and has no qualms about using it.

Fans

4:23 AM. A warm morning already. The remote thermometer tells me that it’s almost 61° degrees outside. And it’s 76° where I am sitting. It’s time to get the fans out of storage and start running them at an early hour, ridding the house of warm stale air and pulling in the cool. Should we think about installing a whole house fan?

If I remember correctly, this is the day that the Zumwalt/Maiorano families head to Costa Rica for the big wedding. Kitty said she will take her new laptop along and so I hope she will send me some photos to post on my blog. Or, she could even create her own blog and give us all the details…as they happen!

Back to the fans; if I go out to the garage to get the fans, I will most likely be bitten by a mosquito; as I was a few minutes ago when I went out there to let the cat in. It’s that time of year and I will have to make a decision about whether or not to use the mosquito repellants again. I really don’t like the thought of putting volatile substances on my skin. On a lot of skin! We tend to think of our skin as being a sort of shield when it’s actually quite porous at a ‘nano’ level. And although the news media has abandoned the hype over West Nile Virus, it hasn’t gone away at all; it’s just not newsworthy anymore.

I gave blood the other day and once more I noted that they were testing for West Nile Virus and I would be contacted if had been exposed to it. I really hope I have been and then I can stop worrying about it altogether. No, I don’t spend much time worrying about it, still, it would be nice to have it off of the list.

And when I gave them my pint of blood I asked them why they were concerned about whether or not I had an ear piercing or a tattoo during the past year? Those items were on the questionnaire. It seems that they require a one year wait after either of those two activities before you can give blood once again. Darn! But you only live once…

Friday, April 27, 2007

SYLVIA

Home Page

Since giving up on newspapers I have had to suffer the consequences; which means no Sylvia on a daily basis. And I ran across a book of her work the other day while collecting books for the Friends of the Library. Sure, I kept it. And had a good laugh as well!

That daily strip? Right here.

High Priced Energy

And Why It's Good for America! Take it from these folks...

I'm sure you already knew this...
I grabbed a screen shot from Jim Hightowers newsletter and highlighted the numbers. There's a lot more than just what you see in this shot...

Jim Hightower

A story about bee's

As usual....Mr. Hightower cuts right to the chase. I think his theory about CCD is right on.

Your local bee's need your support! Down with corporate bee's!

I would love to hear Mr. Hightower speak at Chico State some time...I wonder what the chances are of that happening?

Floors

Yesterday, while I was Stumbling around the internet, I came across this site… Take a look and see where you might like a floor like these. I’m thinking that a pond floor would look great in a bathroom! How about a flower laden floor at the Plant Barn?

Faster and Faster

It’s just not fair! The days of the month are moving faster than I am. I haven’t accomplished half of what I had planned for the month and it is almost over with. Planning and Execution have a large gap between them in my life. But should I expect to be different after 66 years? I guess I had better take my comfort from the small accomplishments.

Well, I need to get out and get with the program this morning; getting in a 5 mile practice at least. That would be a small accomplishment. Then, as it’s a habit I love, it’s time for a cup of coffee and the reading of the two alternative newspapers. Alternative? When compared to the Chico Enterprise-Record they certainly aren’t. And the one paper, The Beat, has been publishing some negative articles about the Downtown Chico Business Association and their sponsoring of the Thursday Night Market. Apparently, a lot of business people don’t care for the market night as it only drives away legitimate customers. I would have to agree with them. We tried the market a few times but the vendors are mostly of the ‘fringe type’… with an abundance of beads, baubles and chiropractors. There are some farmers, but they are outnumbered and look somewhat embarrassed by the company they keep. We’re not going back; a decision made long before we read the articles.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Made To Stick:

Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

An interesting book that I just started and one of the things I learned from it prompted me to make those remarks about "conservatives" who won't change.

The Army has plans. Lots and lots of plans. But there is one drawback to all of these plans and the Army knows what it is and identifies it thusly, "No plan survives contact with the enemy". True. Because all plans never take into account the unknown! If the Army understands this, would we want a president that doesn't? Oh? We already have one like that?

Gilmore

officially enters 2008 race
"...calling himself a "genuine conservative." "That's why I'm in this race, as a consistent conservative that the American people can count on, someone who won't waffle, waver, change or pretend they're someone else to get this nomination,"

I don't get it. What is the matter with these people? To admit that you're a conservative? Why would I want to elect someone who can't change? Who's afraid of change? We have one of those presidents right now and he's a disaster because he can't change.

I really think that "conservatives" are missing something vital in their brains. It has to be a physical defect of some kind. You really wouldn't want to think that way...

U.S. Constitution Test

Go ahead...try it

Do you think, maybe... some of the immigrants might know more than you? Ask your kids...

What If School Foods Improve

and Kids Are Still Fat?

Well, that's exactly what will happen unless parent's demand that schools close their campuses. Just go to a supermarket near a high school right around lunch time and you can see for yourself that the diet guidelines are only a dream by the time the kids get to the checkout...

California Assembly: They

should try out some prison beds for themselves; they deserve it!

What bozo's...what this doesn't do is fix the system. It only adds more beds to an overburdened system. Almost all Correctional Officers are working 'forced' overtime right now because there is not enough staff; a dangerous situation. And believe it or not...not everyone wants to be a Department of Corrections employee.

When Life hands You Lemons...

Besides irrigating, I also got a start in the garden; rototilling a section and beginning the cleanup of the raised beds. I want to continue that today and get the ground ready for the gourds that I bought. I have those seeds sprouting (hopefully) in the greenhouse at the Plant Barn. And I would like to build two more raised beds.

But, at the top of my chores list today is “make lemon bars” for the blood drive this afternoon. I’m using the recipe that Erin gave me and I have garnered a fair amount of fame here in Orland for my lemon bar baking skills. I just use a little bit more lemon than is called for (I use the zest of two lemons and not one.) and that makes the difference. In fact, today I’m going to add ½ tsp of lemon extract to the crust portion of the recipe. I know a lot of that will evaporate during the baking, but a hint of lemon should remain within the crust. I was also thinking of making a lime bar…almost the same recipe, but adding lime zest and green food color to accentuate the difference.

Ranger Alleges

Cover-Up in Tillman Case

Why is anyone surprised? This is how this administration has operated from Day One.

Drip

Only in Orland. We had a bad day in the orchards yesterday as the irrigating process slowed to a trickle. It started out just fine and then it slowed enough to make me get in the car and go back up to the canal to see what was happening. Hmm? It all looked normal and when I returned, the water was flowing again. The whole process took about 90 minutes, which is normal enough. But a few hours later and after I was through, the neighbors down the ditch from me experienced the same thing. By the end of the day, there were at least 4 hostile water users demanding to know what was going on in the water district and calling for a meeting…which I declined to attend! When was the last time you saw a meeting that produced tangible results? Meetings are events where good ideas are paraded out before killing them. Hopefully all will be resolved before we irrigate again in two weeks. I’m sure glad I’m first in line on the ditch…

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

So sad...

Yes, Republicans are for the war...

You're not? Then let's get together and impeach!

More water

Here it is, another irrigation day; another chance to break my ankle when stepping into an unseen gopher hole while traipsing up to the canal in the dark. OK, you get it; that’s the part I don’t like. I think it’s more the fact that I’m stuck with the chore because our property lies first along the ditch and the by-laws of the irrigation district state that the homeowner closest to the canal will be responsible for opening the gates. Me? Responsible? And I don’t remember getting to vote on this either…

But I did vote in the national election in 2000 and again in 2004. And so far this president has not disappointed me. He is behaving exactly as I said he would…in fact he may have exceeded my expectations. I’m sure of it.


And to really make my day...I ran across this ad. Surely, Jesus wept... (who are these people?)

Boing Boing: Security

expert Bruce Schneier

I can't help it...I'm drawn to any story that reveals the idiocy of the TSA.

But let's face it, we'll never be rid of them and their mindset. They have to discomfort the passenger's in some way just to let the passengers know that they are working. That's how all bureaucracies operate...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Visual Data

Kitty stumbled upon this one...

Amazing photos!

Soldier says...

Honor troops like Va. Tech dead

It's all part of a plan to make the war 'invisible' to the majority of Americans. We get to see it as a media event and not real. Printed words and a few photos. 45 seconds on the evening news. No blood, no coffins, no one crying. Flags at half staff would be so depressing!

Castles

Another fine spring day, and this morning’s chore will be to return all of the books that weren’t sold at last week’s sale. The Friends of the Library made about $3,200 from this sale. And at an average of 25 cents per book…we sold a lot of books! Even so, it looks like we have about 12,000 books to return to storage or to the recycling center. A full morning’s work.

I was listening to NPR, Fresh Air, and heard an interview with Bill Moyers. Great interview by Terry Gross. I heard that Mr. Moyers has come out of retirement and has a new show on PBS. If there were any reason to return to television viewing, this would be top of my list. But I can’t justify the return based on just one show…

I was in ‘memory mode’ this morning. The Middle Ages and castles were a favorite subject of mine to explore every time I went to the library when I was about 10 years old. And I enjoyed making toy castles from clay and then attacking them with my own ‘weapons of mass destruction’; Tinker Toy catapults.

So it was interesting to see that the Pentagon still believes in castles; building great walls around some neighborhoods in Iraq. And we’re even committed ($$$) to building castle walls on our national borders. Now, weren’t the Middle Ages also known as the Dark Ages?

Monday, April 23, 2007

History Lessons?

'Supreme Discomfort' leaves Clarence Thomas as an open case

By David J. Garrow

Clarence THOMAS is the most intriguing and perplexing of the U.S. Supreme Court's nine justices. Sixteen years ago, Thomas narrowly won Senate confirmation following an ugly debate over unproved allegations of sexual harassment. Once on the court, Thomas quickly began articulating a consistent, conservative judicial philosophy in which the original intent of the Constitution's framers, as best that can be determined, trumps all other arguments and considerations.

This is the kind of judicial ‘logic’ that simply makes no sense. His philosophy is simply his…he cannot determine in any way what the framers of the constitution were thinking. For him, or others, to think they have some sort of insight is egotism at its worst. And the ‘unproven’ allegations of sexual harassment? They were proven all right; just not believed. Men do stick together when threatened and Anita Hill had threatened one of their own. Bad! Bad girl! Now Thomas has repaid that political debt by always pretending to somehow know the minds of the original framers of the constitution. Pomposity has no limits obviously.
Oh, oh! Here it comes…91° is forecast for Saturday. That will have the gardens and the gardeners in a sweat. Planting something…anything at all! will become the focus of thousands of people by this coming weekend. The tomato plants will be flying off of the shelves. Along with Bell peppers, squash and the ever popular zucchini. The air will be redolent with the odor of fertilizer and compost; and some perspiration. Whew!

And speaking of gardening and of those things associated with gardening; I’ve made some new signs for the Plant Barn. I’m using my new scroll saw to create the letters using a Tempus Sans ITC font. Naturally, the Open sign has the words, Closed on the opposite side and in a white on red theme, similar to this photo of the sign for the Pottery section of the store.



OK, last photo. This looks as if I have abandoned Karlee’s step stool project. Not so! The mental processes continue and now I’m thinking that a mirror would look great behind the circular cutout’s you see here. So I’m on the lookout for 2 small mirrors to cut and shape to fit on each side. Then the “jewels” would be suspended in the middle of each cutout.


Does anyone ever really ‘finish’ a project?

(I give up! I've been trying to post all 3 photos here for the past hour. Hughes Net has to be the worst!...I tried to contacting Clear Wire and was told that it wasn't available in my area yet...although my next door neighbor has it. So close!)

Lost and Found

What a pain! I’ve lost the journal entry for Sunday. The computer was giving me problems all morning and then when I tried to shut down to reboot, it apparently didn’t save anything at all. I’m running a file search right now to see if I can find any .ASD files (Automatically Saved Documents). Success! It was found and now I can continue.

Yesterday was definitely a ‘bad’ day for the local newspaper. Besides the usual idiocy in the “Tell it to the ER” column…my copy was missing the Sunday comic section! For me, the comics are the only reason to buy this rag and that’s twice now in the past month that they have missed inserting them. To give you an idea of how good this paper is; they had two (2) full page ads from competing chiropractors in the front section of the paper along with one quarter page ad. These bozos were selling the use of the DRX 9000 Back Adjustment Machine. One chiropractor had a photo of himself in a sort of Superman costume? OK, maybe newspapers have to take any kind of advertising to make a profit these days…but this should tell you all you need to know about chiropractors!

Then there was an article about State Senator Carol Migden and her drive to require labeling for cloned meat. Now that should tell you plenty about her level of intelligence. Unfortunately, the article also reveals the intelligence levels of the “average” consumer as well. We have been eating cloned fruits and vegetables for decades and cloned meat is no different.

The front page was filled with the usual “what if” articles about the shootings in Virginia. The LA Times had some thoughts on that…

Predicting random chaos from hindsight

By Niall Ferguson

“Why do we insist on drawing causal chains to exceedingly rare calamities after the fact?”

A good question. Millions will now be spent on researching the “what if” factor and in the end, nothing will have changed. Until Americans come to realize that mental illness is a very real problem, it will only be swept under the bureaucratic rug. This nation can’t handle physical illness very well; how on earth will we ever get a handle on mental illness? (Thank you so much, Ronald Reagan!)

Gunman was one of us

By Gregory Rodriguez

“The Virginia Tech killer is a reflection on all of us, not just a single ethnic group.”

To blame it on Koreans is simply idiotic. Mental illness isn’t ethnic. But violence is! A culture that worships violence will be violent. Americans, as a rule, are violent and we love it…but we’re not alone in our love for it. The majority of mankind loves it as well. (Man-kind? An oxymoron?) Though some ethnic groups love it more than others do. A Korean did it? No, a human did it. This is tribalism in its full glory. There are no individual races…only the human race. And until that’s understood, violence will continue.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Listening

Susan Sontag and Opera Attic and Rodrigo y Gabriela. What do they have in common? Just bits from programs I was listening to this morning as I was driving to and from Chico. What would I do without public radio? I can listen to all three, KZFR, KCHO and KVMR and never once have to hear an obnoxious ad.

Rodrigo y Gabriela are definitely on my list of favorite musicians now after hearing some of their work. We’re talking acoustic Metallica! And I have to find some more of Susan Sontag’s books. She is fascinating…though she died in 2004. Opera Attic is simply fun; lots of quirky info about opera mixed in with selected arias and librettos. Opera has attracted me recently because of its exuberance. Really; it’s very much like heavy metal!

Will it work? Not!

I have to add this bit of news…

US Erects Baghdad Wall to Keep Rival Sects Apart

April 20 - American military commanders in Baghdad are trying a radical new strategy to quell the widening sectarian violence by building a 12-foot-high, three-mile-long wall separating a historic Sunni enclave from Shiite neighborhoods.”

(Believe it or not, but the Pentagon refers to this as a “gated community”.)

And you should compare the news above (widening sectarian violence) on the 20th with what the president said on the 19th. President Bush is again rejecting opposition calls for a timetable to pull US troops out of Iraq, saying his new strategy is beginning to reduce sectarian violence.” When you read stuff like this you have to wonder what planet this man lives on? It must be the same planet that the wall advocates live on.

Simply Afraid

Now that I’m back into a writing mood, I can report that I mowed the orchard yesterday afternoon and while I was out there I noticed that we seem to have a bumper crop of apples coming. Same with apricots and grapes. The peaches and pomegranates are also doing well; in fact, all the trees are doing well, even the ones afflicted with Fire Blight. I guess the severe pruning has worked to increase the crop.

And after reading the latest headlines about bush&co, I have to admit that some things have changed for the better in my own small world. Back in 2001, when bush took charge, I was afraid to travel outside of the country for fear of attack by some crazed terrorist. Now I’m no longer afraid! I’m simply embarrassed. I think that’s better?

It's all about the money

I’m just browsing…or Stumbling this morning. And I came across this image, which seemed appropriate in light of what has happened during the past week. This artist has lots of interesting pieces, both sculpture and print.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Nice Clock

Now I need one!

Small cross

I have completed my first project with the Black Walnut pieces I bought awhile ago. It was small and simple because I wanted to see how the wood works with different finishes. The piece is only 3.5”x7.5” and with a polyurethane matte finish. You can see that the finish doesn’t do well on the end grains. The copper strips turned out OK, though I need a better way of making straight ones. It took me 3 tries to get the (almost) right size. The copper is glued down with contact cement and that means I need to be careful and not get it on the wood. The next project will be done with a dado blade or a router for a smoother cut. And a Tung Oil finish.


I have always been fascinated by the shape of the cross, or crucifix. And not just for religious reasons. The shape and its many variations seem to be one that humans have used throughout history. Folk art is a great place to see its use...

Cut Heart Risk

by Eating Less Salt

It is such a simple addiction, but deadly. I've even seen people putting salt on their pizza!

Failing

What a bother! The cat has to be in my lap this morning and she won’t take no for an answer. But I need another cup of coffee, so off she goes…And when I return, she is waiting and leaps back up and makes herself comfortable.

I see an almost cloudless sky this morning, so I’m going for the race training again this morning. I drove into Chico yesterday for that but it was raining too hard for me and I quickly abandoned the idea. There is a storm forecast for the weekend, but it won’t cause any problems for today.

And this…unbelievable!

Reid says war is 'lost,' drawing GOP rebuke
Boston Globe - 4 hours ago
By Anne Flaherty, AP April 20, 2007. WASHINGTON

“Senate majority leader Harry Reid said yesterday that the war in Iraq is ‘‘lost,’’ triggering an angry backlash from Republicans who said the top Democrat had turned his back on the troops…”

The war was lost…from the very beginning and by the Republicans and their leaders. These are the same people responsible for the poor treatment of veterans, yet they say that Democrats have failed the troops? When it’s the Democrats and some responsible Republicans that want to bring them home?

A Moment On Earth

Mosaic

Something I stumbled upon...

Posada:

“Estoy muy contento.”

And the families of his victims? Are they content?

Follow the money

Gates allays Israeli fears over US arms to Saudis
By Andrew Gray. JERUSALEM (Reuters) - US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sought on Thursday to allay Israeli concerns about Washington's possible sale of advanced weaponry to Saudi Arabia, arguing that friendly Gulf states are a bulwark against Iran.

Amazing! But I suppose it's no more amazing than the fact that we sold weapons to the Taliban. And Saddam. After all, it is all about the money...

He Said...

Gonzales's testimony falls flat
Globe and Mail - 2 hours ago
WASHINGTON - US Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales, President George W. Bush's long-time friend and trusted legal adviser, was clinging to his job yesterday after failing to persuade skeptical senators that he wasn't lying...

"Senate Judiciary Committee members expressed grave doubts about Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales’s truthfulness and judgment in the firing of federal prosecutors."

I think "It takes one to know one" is apt here.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Boing ?

Kid wrongly imprisoned for bomb threat - error due to Daylight Savings Time

Better safe than sorry? Right?

Boing Boing

Boss-proof your computer with a USB foot-switch

Only $40? They could sell a million at $80 each, easy!

Repairs?

FBI searches Congressman Doolittle's Virginia home
Tahoe Daily Tribune - 3 hours ago
"The FBI searched the Virginia home of Congressman John Doolittle, focusing on his wife's business which could spell trouble for the Republican who has been trying to repair his political image."

Maybe he should ask the Attorney General for a little help here... Oh? He's busy with a problem of his own?

The Olden Days

Old photos of New York City...I just stumbled upon them a few minutes ago.

More Stumbling

The best part of StumbleUpon is the record keeping they do for you...

I have 30 sites I liked enough to flag and now I can go back quite easily, much easier than with "My Favorites." And since I have CoolIris installed, I can even see a preview of the site before I move there. (Only with Firefox)

Oops!

It’s addictive! StumbleUpon and ‘stumbling’ has become way too enjoyable. I would bet that most IT departments will be asked to exclude this from their servers; if they haven’t been already. Corporate productivity has to suffer when workers are faced with a choice of stumble? Or not to stumble? Stumble! It wins every time.

And I was reminded once again this morning that e-mail hoax letters are still making their way around the internet. It’s been so long since I’ve seen one that I almost forgot to check out Snopes.com to verify…but I did and of course it was a hoax. Maybe they have all been caught by the spam filters? I know that my Gmail filter catches a couple hundred every week. And my Hughes.net must be doing its job as I rarely have to use my SpamBayes filter at all. So when will the hoaxers and spammers give up? It’s almost guaranteed that any story coming to you via forwarded e-mail will be a hoax. And virus's...or is it virii? They seem to have slowed down as well.

Safe

The calm before the storm. Yesterday we watched the dark clouds gathering over the Mendocino range and then begin to rain upon the foothills to the west. It looked threatening all day long, but…never a drop upon us here in Orland. The clouds sailed off to the north and the south, only to gather again on the foothills of the Sierra’s. Where it rained and snowed. So what’s our problem? Well, we have another chance tonight; a 40% chance.

Silly cat! She has made herself at home here on my lap…which makes typing problematic. And slow. She has become a creature of habit, just like ourselves and she usually begins her mornings this way. In a few minutes she will get up and stretch before heading to the TV room to sleep in the wingback chair for the rest of the morning. And afternoon. So when is she doing her job?

OK, she’s gone and now I can do the daily Jigzone.com puzzle; my Alzheimer Indicator. I’m almost always faster than the average so I’m safe for now. Though I did hear that a good test for that disease is to try counting backwards from 100 by 7’s. If you can’t do that; you’re in trouble!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Taylor Hall

- Real?

I've seen this a dozen times and yet I'm always glad to see it again.

Pulitzer Winner

Explains 'Signing Statements'

I suppose we all have the same memories of a high school civic's class. We learned all about the division of powers in our government and how that 3 way division (executive, legislative and judicial) of power kept us free. It seemed so basic. And right.

But it's now quite obvious that it has been subverted by the executive branch. The president gets to decide what a law means and then proclaims his decision to be "constitutional". And since he doesn't veto the bill, congress doesn't get a chance to come back with an override. By doing this, the president has taken the power away from both the legislative and judicial branches of government and given it to himself.

I find it hard to believe that the legislators have allowed this? And the people? Why aren't we complaining? It's our freedom that has been taken from us.

Thank you, Charlie...you deserve the prize

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Finally...

And this, I was listening to NPR yesterday morning, just as the news of the Virginia Tech shootings broke and I heard this…“A White House spokesman said President Bush was horrified by the rampage and offered his prayers to the victims and the people of Virginia.

"The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed," spokeswoman Dana Perino said”

Unbelievable! People are dying as he speaks and he can only think of pandering to the NRA voters. What a guy!

And then I couldn't find that quote anywhere yesterday afternoon or early this morning. I was beginning to wonder if I had really heard it...but finally, there it was. Yes, he did say it, but it was quickly put aside in favor of something more intelligent or compassionate sounding.

Los Angeles architecture + photo gallery

For those of us with a love/hate relationship with Los Angeles.

Brings back many memories...

Headline News

For those who only read the headlines, the news was filled with ‘selective’ headlines yesterday. Here’s an example;

French "knew in 2001 al Qaeda was planning hijack"
Washington Post - 23 hours ago
PARIS (Reuters) - French secret services produced nine reports between September 2000 and August 2001 looking at the al Qaeda threat to the United States, and knew it planned to hijack an aircraft, the French daily Le Monde said on Monday.

What’s not in the headlines is the fact that the CIA was given these reports by the French. That fact changes how the headline reads…dramatically.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I like it!

I was able to sleep till 6 the other morning, but not today. Maybe it was the lovely nap I had yesterday afternoon that has caused this sleeplessness. Napping is such a wonderful habit and I can say that I look forward to it. It gives your brain time to sort and file all the information you have received…or so I’ve read. It’s a process somewhat similar to defragging the hard drive. A good thing! Maybe I should look for a list of famous people who have napped. I would bet that there is such a list. I must look.

Well, I found very little on naps, but a little more on “siesta”. It’s definitely a cultural thing and while it’s OK to nap in some countries, American nappers are certainly suspect, maybe even subversive.

Then I read this, Afternoon sleep is also a common habit in China and Taiwan. This is called xiuxi or wushui in Chinese. Its main difference from the siesta is that it lasts between two and three hours. It occurs after the midday meal and is even a constitutional right…”

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Imagine That!

Home again after a quick trip to Susanville to swap vehicles. I got my truck back and returned Bill’s FJ Cruiser. I got the worst end of the deal and I’m glad to have the truck back. And to get to Susanville, we had to make this ill considered trip through a spring snowstorm. It’s been awhile since I last drove through a wintry looking storm, flakes falling fast and furious while the outside temperatures quickly fall. It’s still not fun.

Now that we’re home, I have to wander out to the orchard and see what’s blowing around out there. Hopefully, there will be no trees down.

There was only a loose tarp out there, one that I used to cover the mower from the rain on Saturday. How much rain did we get? I’m sure it rained all of the time I was battling snow. I’m thinking that I would like to get a home weather station; I would know how much rain we had and I would know just how windy it is right now. The forecast says 25 mph gusts and I think they’re closer to 40 mph.

The wind drives me crazy; OK, not really crazy. It just irritates me a lot. Although I do get a certain amount of satisfaction from watching the winds shake the trees while we are snug in our house.

I was reading an article in Wired magazine this morning; one that really spoke to me. So I googled (the verb) “wired einstein” and found this piece from the Seattle P-I with a link. Follow the link or go there directly.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge," a comment from Einstein that should be written on school blackboards 1,000 times by superintendents, principals and teachers. Oh, yes…and parents as well. The young kids already know it; until we forcibly remove it from their psyche.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

More Local

Also in the local news; very local…the house at the corner is up for sale now and I love the price! The house next to it is also for sale but we think that price is too much. I’m really hoping that either one of the houses will sell for the asking price. Even if they don't sell right away, just the fact that a real estate agent was willing to list them at that price is a good sign.

Locally

I thought I heard it raining? It’s in the forecast but it’s still too dark for me to see. I am hoping that the rain will hold off for awhile as we (The Friends of the Library) have trailers filled with books to be unloaded at the parish hall this morning. About 19,000 books are on the trailers and right now they are safely under cover at the cow barns on the fair grounds.

I got a lot of exercise yesterday, starting with a 4 mile practice walk around Bidwell in the morning, followed by helping to unpack and move some heavy pots at the Plant Barn. Then it was time to load the trailers with books. And I will be getting even more exercise this morning as we unload those books and place them on the tables. Perhaps that’s why my hands are aching this morning? Nothing else hurts; just my hands.

I just checked and it’s not raining this minute but it obviously has been raining. This on again/off again rain is slowing down the progress towards replacing our swimming pool liner. And we’re really looking forward to getting rid of the murky swamp we used to call a swimming pool. What an eyesore!

We were third on the list of customers to get new liners and we thought that with an early spring, we would be swimming by May. It could still be possible, but they need a full week without the possibility of rain to get the work done. And there is only one contractor in the north state that does this kind of work anymore.

I see that Paul Wolfowitz has made the headlines. Another moral lapse by one of the Bush crowd. Isn’t it amazing how these people think? The most obvious ethical problems just escape them. It‘s really sad, as Mr. Wolfowitz has some good qualities despite his ethical myopia and conservatism.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tax Time

This just in: Nearly 40% of the total tax burden this year will go to military spending. We spend more on "defense" than all of the other countries of the world combined...! Isn't that a wonderful thing! We're #1...

So if 40 cents of each tax dollar goes to the military, what about some of the other pressing problems we face? Non-military national security gets 3/4 of a penny of that dollar. Global warming, national parks, pollution abatement and other environmental spending uses up 1.5 cents. That makes sense, none of those things make you #1, so why waste money on them?

Let's see how we're doing militarily. After all, Bush&Co. said we would only need to spend $50 to $60 billion back when the war was started. Today, we've spent close to $500 billion and the Decider says he needs another $142 billion for 2008. Sounds like we're doing just fine! And I don't know about you, but spending all of that money just makes me feel so much safer...

Bureau of Morality

Seriously!
Yeah... Right!
Don't give anyone any ideas...

Subpoenas vowed

over 'lost' e-mails -

Just wondering if those e-mail's would have been lost if they pertained to any subject praising the administration? Or if they had mentioned some "criminal" or "suspicious" links to ordinary citizens. If they had mentioned you or me (we're ordinary) in those messages, you can bet they would be present and accounted for.

Hmmm? 5 million e-mails lost? I doubt it!

Gotta Get It

More coffee. Need more coffee. And perhaps an ibuprofen for the shoulder pains (Impingement…it’s an old age thing). Trader Joe has come through once again. After discontinuing their house brand of ibuprofen a year or so ago, they have it in stock once more. And so much cheaper than the drugstores!


I’ve been fooling around with design ideas from Web 2.0 and I think I’ve got it figured out that Web 2.0 is not a “thing” at all, but a concept and it is a very flexible or loose concept at that.


Will there ever be a Web 3.0? And will someone tell me?

What else is new this morning? I got a late start on the news this morning; that’s odd. And to show you just what kind of a society we live in, I see that the headlines are still featuring Don Imus. Don who? Why does this most common of men get a headline at all? I really wish the women of the Rutgers basketball team had pointedly ignored him; not given him a forum to defend his sorry self by apologizing. (Good article about racism…here)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Boing Boing

White House "loses" sensitive emails sent on illegal RNC server

Aren't these people simply amazing?

Design Meltdown

Now this looks good...

Familiar? I think it's the blue...

Art is in the eyes of...

As usual after a good storm, it’s chilly this morning; 42°. We had a nice thunderstorm with lightning and a fair amount of rain. That, plus the irrigating should have the orchard in good shape for the next two weeks. And I’m hoping that the rain will help the curly leaf willow to fight off the effects of the Roundup.

Thanks to Michelle, I’m looking at the basics of Web 2.0 this morning. Something new for me to think about. And I can’t help but think that the perfect website is like El Dorado, a mythical place. As I have been using StumbleUpon this past week, I have been exposed to a myriad of site designs and most are quite exciting. But are there any with staying power? Is it a race? Or is it art? If its art, there is no race.

I remember seeing the Google site for the first time many years ago and being impressed with its simplicity. I still am. So…after some thought, I have to say that site design is art. As much as oil and canvas. Pen and ink. And that makes it difficult. I took a design class at El Camino JC many years ago and the instructor was not one of those warm and fuzzy types, he was cold and calculating when it came to judging design. The first week’s assignment was to draw a black line across a white surface; ½” wide black on an 8”x8” white board. Straight. And not in the center, but placed somewhere, somehow, to create excitement. What? On Friday we placed our samples on a ledge where he could judge them. Two dozen studies in black and white. One by one he tossed them onto the floor until only one remained. It wasn’t mine. Yes, design is difficult and even simple design doesn’t come easy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Resume - George W. Bush

- What do you think? Should we hire him?
Oh..we already did?

Can you read this?

Can you read this? -

Fo croues, cna't ouy?

Bush wants a war czar,

but can't find any takers

I thought we already had a War Czar and his name was Cheney? Do we really need another one?

Life is...All wet

We’re supposed to see some rain today; well, a 60% chance of rain. And it’s also irrigation day and that means the orchard will get wet…no matter what!

I’m not all that enthused about irrigating at this time of the year. I really don’t like doing it in the dark and it will be another month before it’s light enough to clearly see all of the potential hazards where I have to walk up to the canal to open the gate that allows the water into our ditch. And with these cloudy skies, I won’t have the benefit of the moonlight either.

Some news…

Some in G.O.P. Express Worry Over ’08 Hopes
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and JOHN M. BRODER
Party leaders are concerned about dissatisfaction with the president and political fallout from the war in Iraq.”

Not to worry. The Democrats have at least a year or more to shoot themselves in the foot and they will; it’s guaranteed. And once again the electorate will be faced with a choice of tweedledum or tweedledee in 2008. They say that the ‘cream’ will naturally rise to the top…but that doesn’t happen in politics.

And something that caught my eye the other day. IBM has a little over 53,000 employees. In India. And they just moved their Purchasing department to China. Department head and all.

Something else. Who’s paying for the corn based ethanol? We are and we’re paying for it in the most unlikely of places. Since corn is replacing soy as the crop of choice in the Midwest, soy products are rising in price. So are beef and pork prices as corn based animal feed becomes more expensive. And let’s not forget the subsidies that help the corporate corn farmer (Think ADM) maintain the lifestyle that they are accustomed to. Politically; corn is king and it is American as apple pie. But, of all the possible plants to use for ethanol production, corn is the least efficient. One of the best? Sugar cane; as it’s already a sugar and doesn’t need to be converted as corn does.

Of course sugar cane grows best in the tropics and we don’t have a lot of that kind of climate in America. We could import sugar cane ethanol from Brazil, but we have placed a 70+ cents per gallon tariff on it, making it more expensive than corn based fuel. We don’t want no cheap ethanol!