Saturday, June 30, 2007

History Lesson

First Anglo-Afghan War -

Pay attention, there will be a quiz later on...


Another beautiful morning. This is the best time of year to really enjoy the mornings; and early is better. I was out in back about 4:30, dodging the low flying bats and looking at the stars as they receded in the east; where the approaching sun was creating a silver band of light and chasing the stars away. You do have to be careful at that hour as the spiders have been working all night to perfect their webs and you’re bound to run into one if you stray off the normal paths.

We’re surrounded by agricultural land and so we have to ignore, as best we can…the spiders, the flies and the dust. Plus lots of other unidentified bugs. Did I mention mice? And this time of year is when all of the above combine to harass the human inhabitants on the land.

Speaking of agriculture…pigs. I was listening to the ‘Pig’ the other day and heard Laura Love singing ‘Simple’. Now that’s something you don’t hear much of on NPR. Life is good…I have 3-1/2 great radio stations to listen to now; NPR, KVMR, KZAP (The Pig) and that other Chico public station? The Pig is the only commercial station of the above and I have to suffer through some odd commercials if I want to hear some good music.

Friday, June 29, 2007

More Fun...way more!

My sister Kitty asked me when I might be through with the project, noting that it looked like it was almost done. And oh, how I wish it was! But looks are deceiving and I must tell her that I still have caulking and spackling and touch up and etc, etc. Maybe even some remodeling. Plus a lot of detail paint work behind the drapes; I didn’t want to take down the whole drapery assembly for just that and so I will do that work carefully and slowly.

I did find that this work was good exercise for a senior citizen; lots of cardio workouts from climbing the step ladder to measure and fit and then climb it again to re-measure and re-fit. Good memory workouts as well…what was that number? 41-3/8” or 43-1/8”? Climb the step ladder and see. Also, I gained some core strength as I tried to balance on the step ladder and not fall into the stacks of fine china that were on the floor. I even learned some ‘anger management’ tricks when the last blows of the hammer revealed that the nail was impossibly lodged against some foreign object in the framing and I wasn’t going to be able to get the nail out…bend the nail over, drive it in flush and use lots of spackle!

But it’s looking good! The next time I write about it I will include the finish photos.

More Fun

Slowly but's the inside corner detail And another

ceiling/wall molding...'Kitchen" to the right
A possible trim's a reed and oak leaf design. I want to put it about 4" below the ceiling trim and use gilders paste to highlight the oak leaves on a white washed surface.

Peaches and Cream

Well, it’s a cloudy morning and sort of cool. But according to the forecast, we should be up to 108 by next Thursday. Now that’s summer!

I guess I had better look at the watering times on the sprinkler controller and make sure that all is set for the increased heat. This heat should make the tomatoes go wild! And the gourds… which are already gourd-jus. (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.) I should include some garden photos here so you can see what I mean when I write about the tomatoes, the squash, the peppers and the gourds.

I shouldn’t forget the peaches either…they look great and taste the way a peach should. I bought some heavy cream the other day and I’m putting it to use in making peach ice cream. This afternoon. A great way to end a hard day of painting.

Life in the Hothouse

What do you want to grow?

I remember being fascinated by the plants that grew wild in Baja California...plants that we had to grow in a protected environment. But no longer! We don't have to go to Mexico to see these plants...Mexico is coming here!

For you folks in Arizona... I think your garden options may be decreasing.


Aches and pains this morning. All from the major re-decorating project in our dining room. Finger and wrist joints damaged long ago by a career in construction have a tendency to be quite painful after an almost full day of painting. A little ibuprofen and I’m good to go for another day; which will include more painting of course. Painting a dark color over light without using a dark tinted primer was a mistake and it looks like I will have to coat everything twice, at the minimum. But…it’s looking good!

It also looks like my projects are mounting up once again. I have far too many unfinished ones. And now I have added an old ½ wine barrel to the list. It’s sitting in the garage, filled with water to keep the staves tight until I can get around to cutting a scalloped edge around the top. Of course I had to add a drop or two of oil to the water to keep the mosquitoes out of it. We’ve been lucky so far and haven’t been bothered by a lot of mosquitoes…spiders and flies, yes…but no mosquitoes.

And speaking of mosquitoes; I bought a window fan for the guest bedroom and plugged it in yesterday morning. What I didn’t notice, in the dark, was the fact that I hadn’t replaced the screen in that opening. I had taken the screens down a few weeks ago to wash the windows. Of course the fan worked quite well, sucking in the cool morning air…along with every flying insect that happened to pass by the window.

At first I didn’t notice anything was wrong, except I did see a large gnat or mosquito fly close by my monitor, attracted by the light. I assumed it had come in when I had opened the garage door earlier. Then I heard the cats ‘meow’. It sounded really close? I got up and looked out the screened window in the study but couldn’t see her. Then I heard it again and realized that she was right behind me. What? How did she get in? Had we left her in the house all night? Slowly, a little light came on in my brain…a dim light. The window – the screen – the insects – the cat! Quick, turn off the fan and close the window! Too late of course and so we battled flying insects all day yesterday.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Everyone needs a descriptive title for their I guess 'antipartisan' is mine. Always better than being known as one of the 'sheep'.

Just what I want to do...

Rule the Web

Interesting stuff for bloggers.

High School Days

A beautiful morning and it’s almost time for me see how warm the pool is with an early morning swim. It was up to 85 yesterday and the water was crystal clear. In the past, I think I have been too hesitant about the amount of chemicals to add to the water and that only allows the algae to get a head start. Resolved; I will add whatever it takes. ($$$) Now I need to find the best place to buy those algaecides and clarifiers, etc, as the price for most of these is quite high…but even worse if you buy them while shopping at the supermarket. The old joke about a swimming pool being a large hole in the ground where you throw money is no joke. But first, more coffee…

I was listening to Talk of the Nation on PBS yesterday and the program focused on Web 2.0 and Social Networks. Pretty interesting stuff. There was all of the usual conversation about MySpace, Facebook, Eons, and even Twitter. But a different type of social networking was also discussed; philanthropy. was mentioned and I went to their website after we got home. Great site! I think I will add it to my StumbleUpon list of favorites. Yes, StumbleUpon is a social network as well, along with YouTube and Flickr.

And speaking of MySpace and Facebook…apparently those sites have become polarized by the popular teenage culture. An article I read said that Facebook was now the ‘desired’ site to be involved in. MySpace was for ‘retards’ and ‘dweebs.” It only makes sense that this would happen. It’s all part of teenage life; or life before reality…

Do you remember? Being in high school and finding that the lunch hour was probably the most traumatic hour of the day. You couldn’t just sit and eat…you had to be aware of who you were with. Very aware! The social implications and fallout from making the wrong choices during this hour were unbelievably cruel. Yes, I’ve been scarred for life because I was once seen talking to a social outcast and suffered the consequences.

Also interesting; a caller to the Talk of the Nation show mentioned that musical groups have found it to be mandatory for them to have a Web 2.0 presence. They have to be able to show prospective clients just what they can do, not just talk about their act. And at the same time they can entertain their fan base with videos and interviews, etc. Another caller noted that she auditions dance groups via their websites. Apparently, lots of employers are using these sites to research the facts about prospective employees; sometimes obtaining information from the former co-workers of that applicant. All done quickly over the internet. And anonymously. Scary!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

To be or be

And now; speaking of knowledge… Kitty sent me a link to this site, A site for the aging boomer and those just beyond boomerhood. My first experience hasn’t been all that good. Being an INFP personality type, I was not too crazy about the signup…”Pick a FUN screen name!” I don’t do fun names; it’s swdunn or else I’m out of there. Then the first brain enhancing game I picked was a ‘social” game, playing against some stranger…somewhere. Not! I left the site, but I will return sometime later and look around for something more my style.

Technologies Promise

to Turn Garbage Into Gold

"it can be difficult launching new technologies in the United States."

Can you say, "Waste Management Inc." ?

You can bet that giant will be lobbying against it.

News - Local

On the local scene, Orland is embroiled in a political storm. A recall of the City Council is imminent, complete with YouTube videos of the council meetings being posted on-line. What I find funny is the fact that with over 30 videos posted, there isn’t one single comment on that page. Probably because there aren’t more than half a dozen people in town that even know that YouTube exists.

The other big news for Orland is the coming of a new Kragen Auto parts store… the NAPA store is in serious trouble now!

Through the years, I have always heard women complaining about the attitude of the clerks in auto parts stores. And I used to chuckle about it… After all, I knew what I was doing when I walked into the store. I knew the language of the parts store. When I used to shop at Sunray auto parts in Redondo Beach, it wasn’t really shopping, it was more like going to a private club that I was a member of. But… no more. Now I’m thoroughly baffled by the clerks and they know it. (Will Kragen be different? I doubt it.) Today’s automobiles require knowledge that I simply don’t have anymore. Sigh.

More Work

Another frustrating morning. Every other website seems to be ‘unavailable’. Is it my satellite connection? Maybe I should begin calling AT&T every day and asking them about the wonderful DSL service that they are advertising. Of course I already know it’s not available on this road, but if I were to pester them? No, it would only frustrate me and AT&T wouldn’t even notice.

And speaking of satellite service, I ran across a photo of a neighborhood (apartments) in Holland where all of the satellite dishes had been painted by artists in an attempt to beautify the neighborhood. Colorful, yes, beautiful, no. I would include an image here...but my satellite service says, 'no!" That leads me to the subject of colorful painting and that’s what I’m doing in the dining room. Painting colorfully. It’s a slow go, as painting dark colors over light inevitably creates tiny ‘holidays’ where the color is missing. Little pinpricks of light in an ocean of rich color. So you roll it again and again. And you can come back six months later and find places you missed. Guaranteed.

But that’s still better than trying to paint light on top of light. The new ceiling color is only a few shades different from the previous one and almost impossible to see when you are rolling it on. I was really frustrated by the process and probably put a lot more paint on the ceiling than I needed to. I have heard about a paint that remains pink until it is dry, when it reverts to the color you picked. Now that would be great! (There’s a brand of spackle that does that trick as well.)

We’re doing the entire room in the one color, which will harmonize beautifully, or so we hope… with the adjoining room. What you can’t see in these images is the white molding that will be installed at the ceiling line. I don’t like crown moldings unless they are in really large and tall rooms. The normal sized crown molding usually overpowers a room, so I use fancy door trim instead. Smaller, yet interesting. And I am thinking of adding a second trim about 6 inches below the ceiling trim. A fancy chair rail trim that is only about 1-1/2 inches wide. Almost forgot...there's a 4" white baseboard to replace that tiny brown one you see above.

Boomer Stuff

Keyboards for u and me...

If I were the perfect touch typist I wouldn't need one, but...

And it's OK to check out the rest of the stuff they sell. No one will know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


What a bore! Computer problems galore. Slower and slower…I guess I’ll have to give up and re-boot. OK. That’s a little better…

Now, where was I? Reading the war news of course. And it struck me that it seems to be next to impossible for the ones in charge to say the words, “I’m sorry. I made a mistake.” Why is that so difficult? It’s something we teach our children to do…or we hope to teach them that. Is it really such a foreign concept? Sorry?

But for fun I also read this… In London, the top offender for traffic fines is the US Embassy, which refuses to pay the "congestion charge" for driving in central London. The US Embassy owes the city of London £1,484,765 in unpaid fines. This state of affairs has prompted London's mayor, "Red" Ken Livingston, to call US ambassador Robert Tuttle a "venal little crook."

"The majority of missions pay the congestion charge on time and do not incur fines. We also wrote to all missions owing over £1,000 in fines urging them to settle their debts with Transport for London."

The US embassy - along with many others - has refused to pay the congestion fee on the grounds that it is tax; and therefore diplomats are exempt from paying it.

It has led to stinging criticism from London mayor Ken Livingstone, who branded US ambassador Robert Tuttle a "venal little crook" for his refusal to pay.”

Of course he’s right…Mr. Tuttle is a former car dealer. Perfect credentials to become an ambassador for this administration.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Returns... As a Pig!

Eat your heart out, Sacramento!

Play it Again

Also scheduled this week; on-line protests over the fact that web broadcasts of streaming music will probably end on July 15th. But, I have a feeling that somehow, common sense will prevail in the end. The whole subject of intellectual property and copyrights needs to be re-examined by lawmakers without the influence of baskets of money from the recording industry. Can that happen? I hope so…

The recording industry is quite young, less than a hundred years old, but it’s a huge moneymaker and those in charge of it are greedy. Just ask the recording artists. And do we, as a society, want to continue to be ripped off by these people? (They aren’t musicians. They are accountants.) So far we have…being quite content to pay $15 - $20 for a CD that cost pennies to create.

Cool - or what?

I was looking for an article on the New Yorker magazine website and it couldn't be found...but I got this screen instead. I love that kind of thinking!

Business Speaks

The news is filled with the promise of a showdown on the immigration bill now being debated in the Senate and on the internet. Bill or no bill, nothing much will change for the migrant workers. We have been inviting them here for the past century and promising to pay them very little while abusing them…and it has worked! They continue to come and always will. An immigration bill and more Border Patrol will only slow the process, not stop it.


So the day begins. A cup of coffee with a splash of Almond Roca syrup in it for quick energy. I’m probably going to need it. We’re buying paint for the dining room today and I have all of the new, larger baseboard freshly painted (white) and ready to install. I’m still undecided about a crown molding for the room; should I or shouldn’t I? I added a crown molding in the living room and in our study, so a precedent has been set…but still, there’s no reason why I can’t change and do something different. Change is good!

I was thinking that perhaps a small molding at the top of the wall would be nice; especially if it were painted in a complimentary color, not a contrasting one. Then, a small trim, maybe a ½ round molding just 6” below that and the space between the two moldings to be painted a third color. Hmmm? But, living with a Sensing personality type makes spontaneity somewhat hazardous. I’m going to have to have a ‘plan’ for the crown molding that includes the color and size if I want full approval. Now would be a good time for me to begin repeating the mantra, “it’s only paint”.

I seem to remember that there is a time of year when paint always goes on sale. When is that? And why doesn’t it coincide with my inclination to pick up a paint brush? And that got me to thinking about paint in general and the fact that it’s a hazardous material now. Any paint left over is a liability and must be dealt with in an ecologically sound way. You can’t throw the cans into the trash. Is anyone working on the development of environmentally safe paint? Wouldn’t it be great if ‘earth tones’ also meant earth friendly?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The results are in...

I must be truly retired. As I was waking up, I could not remember what day it was; Saturday? Sunday? Monday? True; when I was younger I had the same problem on occasion but for a different reason. What was different for me this morning was the fact that it didn’t really matter…I was simply curious.

And I was reading a small article in Wired magazine, all about the fact that most voters don’t really 'get it'. The Pew organization has the results of their poll taking here. The numbers seem dramatic, but the truth is that the numbers go up and down routinely and never stray too far into positive territory. I remember reading statistics like this 40 years ago. It has always been this way throughout our history as a nation and the politicians actually depend upon our ignorance. (Duh!) Of course I did a get a laugh about the fact that Fox news viewers were among the least likely to know much at all after watching the news, followed by the network news viewers, and that only by the slimmest of margins. Ignorance is probably the wrong word to use; apathy is a better description. Apparently Fox News viewers are so apathetic; they can't be bothered to change the channel...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

How Sick!

I wouldn't mind seeing this in a theatre...just to see the audience reaction.

Absolutely Amazing!

I seem to be out of words (temporarily) this morning. I’ve read and then read some more, but not much seems relevant. Even the local alternative press seemed ordinary and bland. Would more coffee help?

How about this woodblock image from Cornell University’s collection of old and very unique images. What I find amazing about it is the fact that the artist ‘knew’ in the year 1863 that the elephant would be the symbol of the Republican Party and represented it accordingly!

Title: Béhémoth

Medium: woodblock

Book: J.A.S. Collin de Plancy. Dictionnaire Infernal. Paris: E. Plon, 1863. Page 86 Notes: A heavy, stupid demon, despite his dignities)....his powers are in the gluttony and the pleasure of the belly."

Photography Banned

in Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland

Makes you wonder?

Here's a link to some of the 'forbidden' photos

Friday, June 22, 2007

Whose Tax Dollars

At Work ?

And a picture is worth?

A Good Read

I was reading a book last night, Little Altars Everywhere and the author wrote a very powerful chapter on the war in Vietnam; the opening engagement in the long running World War III. For some reason, her words brought back all of the images of that terrible time. How we were deceived! And nothing ever changes… the lies and deceptions continue today. How odd is it that the President of Vietnam is visiting our capitol today?

Sleep; perchance to dream...

Somni-, somno-, somn-, -somnia, -somniac; all Latin and related to sleep. Also, something I’m quite good at doing. Sleeplessness is certainly not a problem for me; I love to sleep! In fact, I do it 2 or 3 times a day.

The nap is now one of my favorite things to do. As a young American, I was taught that napping was a foreign vice; indulgent and just plain wrong! But I know better now. It’s a delightful way to spend an hour or so in the afternoon.

I think it was the Navy that taught me how to sleep. While I was in ‘boot camp’, sleep was a precious commodity and you grabbed it whenever you could. I do remember sleeping while standing up braced against a pole to avoid the embarrassment of falling. And working a graveyard shift at the Naval Hospital made sleeping during the day a necessity, not a luxury.

The longest day of the year is over and gone; we’re heading towards winter now, each day a little bit shorter. Darn! Maybe we should think about a move to Hawaii, a whole lot closer to the Equator. Each day created equal (Latin – equa, equator, equal?) and with more time for naps!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The King (Postscript added)

I’ve been reading one of those oddly interesting books that I spotted among the discards from the Chico Library. It’s titled “The King of California” and, no, it’s not about Arnold. It is the story of J.G. Boswell and “The Making of a Secret American Empire”. True story, just Google his name and you can see what effect he has had on the world.

I’ve learned quite a bit more than I knew about the great valley of California by reading this book. 465 miles from the bottom of the Grapevine to Redding and 60 miles wide. And Mr. Boswell transformed this valley into his vision of how the world should operate; a vision that he brought with him from post-Civil War Georgia. It certainly answers a lot of questions I’ve had about the mindset of those who live in the valley. And it explains why there is such a deep cultural divide between the valley and the coast. It’s almost as if there were two entirely different states within the borders of one.

Time's a wastin'!

How many days are left till the Decider has to leave the Whitehouse? Someone must have a ‘countdown clock’ available on the internet. I must look for it. (Found it!) And I was thinking yesterday that it’s been a horrible waste of time; almost 7 years of wasted time! Time that could have been spent doing something good in the world. I really believe it’s the waste that bothers me the most.

Get a clue

Most refreshing! Very cool air, in the mid 50’s, is coming in the window and I hope to capture a bunch of it! I may need it later on today. In fact, it’s so cool; I need another cup of hot coffee…

I’ve been browsing for awhile; seeing all sorts of new and interesting things on BoingBoing. I was trying to stay away from the political for at least the first half of the morning, but the Bloomberg story is such a good one! And this story from Timothy Gatto is certainly worth reading. (All things that I have said before…but he says them with style.) So don’t hesitate; resign from your current political party today! I would like to say that you will get less junk mail after resigning, but that won’t happen. 3 years later and I still get mail from the Democrats. I tell you, they’re clueless!

Anyone have a map?

Pictures of Insanely Complex Intersections

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dave says...

Yes, it's number 2 that I found to be most appropriate! The others aren't far off either.


speculation builds

Ya know? He's smarter than I thought he was!

Those Pesky Voters!

I have to admit it...the White House is right about this. But it will never fly.

White House Report Lauds Immigrants’ Positive Effects
The report, prepared by the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, says immigrants enhance the productivity of native-born workers and increase their earnings.

Likes and Dislikes

I also ran across an on-line article about Firefox and its benefits. The author stated that the main reason he enjoyed Firefox so much was the availability of ‘extensions’. The great number of add-ons is certainly what I enjoy the most when using Firefox. Whenever I return to IE, I find myself frustrated very quickly. And I found a great extension this morning, Split Browser.

But Firefox is not perfect. The interface with Blogger doesn’t work…or I haven’t figured out how make it work. And security is too tight for my taste. Firefox is definitely more secure than IE, but I get tired of trying to make a work around for some of the security settings. I’m still unable to download and use the advanced Google toolbar with Firefox. And I really like the IE feed reader; it’s much better than Firefox.

Harry who?

Chilly! Yes, the temps are into the 50’s this morning. It’s no wonder that Boo wanted in, to curl up next to me. And speaking of Boo…yesterday morning, she did her amazing disappearing act once again. We decided to use ingenuity to find her hiding place and began going from room to room, toting the vacuum cleaner, an object she despises! We would close the door and start the vacuum. And then we would shout! And stamp on the floor, of course. When we observed no response from any hidden kitty, we would leave the room and close the door behind us. That room was now ‘secure’. On to the next room. Well, we ended up with all of the rooms inspected and all of the doors closed but still no sign of the cat. So we repeated our search. And that’s when we spotted her hiding behind the drapes in our bedroom. But she hadn’t been there earlier as we had both opened the same drapes during our search. She had moved there after we had disturbed her sleep. OK, we know that her hiding place is somewhere in our bedroom. We’re a little bit closer to discovering her secret.

And today is ‘irrigation Wednesday’; time to flood the orchard once more. And it really needs it. The wind from the past week has really dried out the soil. I mowed the orchard yesterday in preparation for today and the mower was raising as much dust as it was grass cuttings.

I was reading an interesting article in the Economist about how voters tend to believe four myths, or biases that actually make them worse off. They don’t understand that pursuit of private profit yields public benefits; that’s an anti-market bias. They underestimate the benefits of interaction with foreigners; they have an anti-foreign bias. They equate prosperity with employment rather than production; a ‘make work’ bias. Last, they tend to think economic conditions are worse than they are. In each case they, the voters, are wrong.

The author gives examples of each, including the one where the public believes that oil companies are engaged in price gouging. Of course if that were true, then the price of gasoline would not go down at all. Gas prices are determined by the laws of supply and demand. But the wise politicians are quick to get on the bandstand and play a tune that the voters like, common sense be damned. So this week the Senate is holding hearings and grilling the oil company executives in search of a villain to deliver to the people.

And poor Harry Reid; according to the article, only 15% of the voters knew who he was. But 90% knew who Arnold was! In fact, I don’t even have to type out his last name and still you know who I’m referring to.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cover Browser

Comics anyone?

But where's Plastic Man? He was my all time favorite comic book hero!

"His adventures were known for their quirky, offbeat structure and surreal slapstick humor."


I'm still working on the 50's music downloads and I was just reminded of the funny names of the musical groups of that era...Dickey Do and Don't's. Honest. Or how about the Hillbilly Soul Surfers? The Eastcoast Tremors? And can we ever forget the Surfalicious Dudes? Yes, let's!

Check out the lyrics from Dickey Do right here...

Darn Me!

The family ‘curse’ struck again... last night. Even when I don’t want to, I can quickly spot errors in spelling and some errors in grammar. Grammar is more subjective and is always in a state of flux. Spelling is right or it is wrong. We were at dinner and I was looking at the brand new Berry Patch menus when I spotted the New York Streak Special…only $8.95. Should I tell the waitress? Agony… but only for a second or two. Of course I told her. I had to. And she didn’t believe me at first. Grrr! Why can’t I leave well enough alone?

That Darn Cat!

Dawn. It’s still dark but I can see a slight shade of silver on the eastern horizon. And I have been outside already; responding to the wishes of our cat. She calls at the window here in the study and I respond as I have been trained to do. I go out to the garage and open the bag of cat food. She eats and then leaves. She will come back to the window in another hour and at that time she will want to come in for her long nap. I’m sure she’s had a busy night!

Yesterday, she had us both fooled. She was very much like the famed ‘Cheshire Cat’ from Alice’s adventures. We knew she was in the house. But two adults, with a flashlight, were unable to find her. We looked everywhere – three times! And then, at her usual waking hour of 4 PM, I heard the slight tinkle of her bell and found her sitting in the middle of the hallway, licking her paw. When she looked up at me I think she grinned. A big Cheshire grin!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Only in Paradise

I wish it were only in Paradise! But this kind of response by 'compassionate conservatives' is pretty much the normal way for them to handle any opinion they don't like. Which is every opinion that differs from their own. And it happens everywhere, not just Paradise... scary!

Touching and Retouching

I just took a quick look at the blogs I read each morning and found that Alicia had posted something new. Oh, oh…sweet daughters!

I wonder if Alicia, being a photo blogger type… might retouch that photo for me? Remove the gray and the wrinkles?

Very Cool

The portable fans (noisy!) are pulling in the cool air and the temperature inside has dropped from 80 down to 73 in the last hour. It’s not as efficient as a ‘whole house fan’ might be, but it certainly helps. Outside, the temperatures are going to stay in the mid 90’s this week and the wind is supposed to die down. And then summer begins…

Granddaughter Meghan, who just turned 13, is flying off to New York City this week. It’s a school sponsored trip and she will have her dad flying along with her. Naturally I think about my one trip to that city and I wonder if it has changed? (It has) Would I like to visit there again? I would… there’s a certain energy that comes from places like New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles. The big cities. And it’s exciting to get close to that energy for a brief time. It definitely expands the mind!

Technically, I have been to that city twice. The first time I drove, coming in across the Throgs Neck Bridge, from Connecticut, and onto the island of Manhattan, where I soon realized that I never should have driven! The second time, I flew over the city in a helicopter as I made my way from Newark airport to JFK. The helicopter flew low enough for me to see the people on the streets and in the office buildings that we passed. I could feel the energy, even at 1,000 feet above the streets.

It might seem odd to some… but first on my list of sights to see if I were to go to New York City would be MoMA. Not much else would attract me as much as that place does! Second, would be to stroll the neighborhoods; where the people live. I would love to see the hundreds of small shops. After that, I’m open to suggestions.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Have it your way

Something I ran across on the Sojourners site

“Farm workers who pick tomatoes for Burger King's sandwiches earn 40 to 50 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, a rate that has not risen significantly in nearly 30 years. Workers who toil from dawn to dusk must pick two tons of tomatoes to earn $50 in one day.”

This doesn’t mean that they receive $50; it only tells you how much work they would have to do to get that huge sum of money. Let’s see…100 buckets a day at 50 cents is only 3,200 pounds for the $50. Now try an 8 hour day. 100 divided by 8 equals 12.5 buckets per hour. 60 minutes divided by 12.5 equals 4.8 minutes per bucket. Every hour for 8 hours. And if you were to double the price per bucket; to $1 – that would raise the cost of a hamburger to how much? If 32 pounds of tomatoes equals about 100 tomatoes, I would bet that the price of a hamburger would increase by a cent or even two. Disaster! (Of course I’ve mistakenly used 8 hours as the average work day for these workers. 8 hour days are for the ‘white folks’. No ‘white folks’ in those fields!)

More… “Worse yet, modern-day slavery has reemerged in Florida's fields; since 1997, the U.S. Department of Justice has prosecuted five slavery rings, freeing more than 1,000 workers. As a major buyer of Florida tomatoes, Burger King's purchasing practices place downward pressure on farm worker wages and put corporate profits before human dignity.”


in the Lap of Luxury

Does it get any better than this? Or sillier?

Visualizing Earmarks

Sunlight Labs!

What a cheerful name that is! And what a wonderful service they provide! Isn't it?

A Tenniel Gallery

These are the ones that I remember so well from my first reading of this classic. Every child should read this!


Will Save Our Troops?

I can guarantee that if and when peace returns...this will no longer be 'a problem'. Because the American public will simply forget that the soldiers ever existed. History proves me right. Since veterans make up such a small portion of our population, they are easily pushed aside. Remember, they're only good for one thing.

All the news

It’s that time of year again. And being sensible, I treated myself to new boxers. Now we can move on…

For some reason, this bit of news from the Times caught my attention this morning.

"There has never been a military commander in history who wouldn’t like to have more of something or other. That characterizes all of us here. The fact is, frankly, that we have all that our country is going to provide us in terms of combat forces — that is really it, right now." GEN. DAVID H. PETRAEUS, the top American commander in Iraq

Now, doesn’t that say something about the Decider’s plans to open another front in World War III, by attacking Iran? Which army was he planning on using? And has he factored in the distinct possibility that Turkey will probably grow tired of incursions by Kurdish rebels and will invade Northern Iraq? There is a large Turkish army sitting on the border right now and they’re not happy.

And speaking of Generals…

General Says Prison Inquiry Led to His Forced Retirement
Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, who investigated abuse at Abu Ghraib, has said that in early 2006 he was ordered, without explanation, to retire within a year.

I also spotted some follow-up info on the great ‘Sippy Cup’ fiasco at Washington National airport. Will we ever know the truth? Does it matter? As all veteran airplane passengers know, security is a matter of perception. And TSA knows this best. For passengers to think they are being protected; to really believe it…they must be discomforted and inconvenienced in some way. Otherwise, how would they know that TSA is actually doing something? As someone who has worked at an airport, I know that there are far too many ways to subvert the system, but most are behind the scenes and useless for ‘perception control’.

Friday, June 15, 2007


at Reagan National Airport

The joys of traveling...safely.

Decision Time

Now we'll see...

Delay Denied, Libby Is Seen as Weeks From Prison
A judge issued a final ruling that I. Lewis Libby Jr. would have to begin serving his 30-month prison sentence shortly, even before his appeals were exhausted.

I'm betting that the Decider will issue a pardon. He can't sink much lower in popularity and it would certainly be in his nature to do it.

Just the basics

Another beautiful day. Yes, it’s supposed to be a little bit warmer later today; OK, it’s going to be hot! But the morning is pleasant and I already have the house cooled off to about 76. I believe that an early morning dip in the pool would be appropriate.

I’m on the downhill side of the Karlee Project. I have the base color finished and now I’m going to work on the final finish. That will include some opalescent colored glaze and the jewels. Plus the mirrors of course!
Yesterday, we hurried to the library before our appointment with the ‘stuffing crew’ at the Senior Center and while we were there, I couldn’t help but notice some new artwork on the wall by the entrance. It was the work of Margarita, our local librarian. Very nice! Now I have to see if she will let me take a photo of it. Also, she is going to hold an art class this summer and I’m wondering if we might want to attend. She said it is a pretty basic course, but I’m thinking that anything that will feed the artistic nature is good for you, no matter where you think you might fall on the artistic skills scale.

Margarita is a classically trained artist, having an MA from Washington State. I’m more of a mixed media kind of guy, but it shouldn’t make a difference. Basics are always good.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Is Senator Kit Bond A Liar Or Just Plain Stupid? - The Smirking Chimp

Unhhh? Let's see... is this a trick question?

Can't he be both?
OK, that's my answer. 'both' and I'm sticking with it

dirty car art

I knew there was good reason to not wash the car!

More Saggy Pants News!

Texas is right next to Louisiana? I guess idiocy is infectious... Arkansas is next!

(What are they gonna do once all of the plumbers are in jail? Staggers the mind! Or it would if they had one...)



OK, I changed my mind. I don't want the Microsoft Surface for Father's Day...this will do

Just for fun

What would Darwin say?

The Real Fashion Police!

Only in Texas

I wonder how their test scores are? Or how about building maintenance? Surely the school trustees have something better to do...


When does summer officially arrive? We certainly have the temperatures of summer. It’s 77° outside at this hour, and inside it is 79° and slowly falling. But it can’t get much lower than that until I shut down the fans, close the windows and crank up the AC. This would make someone rich, and me, poorer... but cooler!

I did wander outside this morning; looking for some cool air. The north wind is blowing, of course. But the stars were bright and the heavens were filled with them. A distinct advantage to country living is the opportunity to see millions of stars.

The Glenn County Seniors are in the middle of a fund drive and so we have been drafted into a small army of envelope stuffers; we’re sending appeal letters to every postal address in the county…12,000+ of them. The results have been good in the past as this organization has managed to avoid taking any government funding at all. It’s the only senior center in the state that is self supporting, and it helps to provide a meal service for any seniors that need it.

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon dealing with a mountain of envelopes and letters. We stuffed for about 3 hours, until the rising temperatures were more than the fans could temper. So we will be back at it again today. Only 9,000 to go!

And after the stuffing task, it was time for me to mow the orchard. At least I had some air blowing over me as long as the mower was running up and down the rows. Plus, I had a chance to sample some apricots, fresh off of the tree. I love being able to steer the mower into the shade under the tree and then finding a ripe apricot to sample. I don’t even have to get off the mower! The apricots are warm and juicy; very sweet! One tree is ripening quickly and I will have to pick some more fruit today. The second tree is about a week or so away from ripening. And next year I will have three more…but small, apricot trees to pick from. Finally, with apricot juice in my beard, I’m ready to jump in the pool. That’s my reward for a little bit of work in the heat. Pool temperature? 84°

And here's a link to an interesting blog, a photoblog. (Kitty sent me this yesterday) Now this looks like a blogging experience that I would enjoy...driving and taking photos as you are moved to. A short story, a sentence or two to explain it and then move on. Daughter Alicia has a good camera and the skills, maybe should try it? I remember posting a link to another photoblog, awhile was filled with Northern California photos and they were quite good.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Microsoft Popfly

More startling stuff from Microsoft.

What's with them? Some of their new stuff is really exciting!

Create is an interesting link to cater to your creative urges.

Business as usual

Some news…

Mexico City — THE COLLAPSE of the bipartisan immigration deal in the Senate last week sends a terrible message. As flawed as some considered the bill to be, it was certainly an improvement over the status quo for some very interested parties: the roughly 12 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. and the roughly 500,000 a year who will continue to go north for at least the next 10 years.”

While senators posture for the press, the immigrants go on with their lives and the abuses against them continue. Does anyone really believe a law or a fence will stop them from coming?

Father's Day

OK, this is all I want for Father's Day.

You already bought me something? Well, how about next year?


Back home again after a satisfying trip south to Vacaville and Roseville. (We even had the good fortune to zip right through Lincoln in record time.) It takes just 90 minutes to get to Vacaville when using the I-505 to cut across the valley and since we hadn’t used that road for such a long time, it was all new to us and we had plenty to see; like thousands of acres of sunflowers. They all had their faces turned towards us and the bright yellow against the green of the fields was spectacular. We should have taken some pictures…

We also learned that Vacaville doesn’t have the attraction for us that it once did. It’s just another shopping center among thousands, or so it seems. We have different priorities in our lives now and they weren’t being fulfilled by wandering around Vacaville.

But…we did go to two of my favorite stores, Mikasa and Crate & Barrel. No, we don’t shop for much there, we just look. Actually, these are my lottery winner stores. When I win the lottery, I will be back to actually shop for something. Mikasa has the plates that I want, all colors of them. Bright and bold! I guess I have plate fantasies. In my post-lottery world, I have different place settings for each day of the week. All vividly colored. And what I can’t find at Mikasa, I will buy at Crate & Barrel. And what kind of plates we do currently own? Plain white. The kind we always have owned. If I can’t have 7 sets of bold…then plain white is my favorite.

Does that story about plates sound odd to you? Should men even care about plates? Yes, they should! It shouldn’t make any difference; great design and beautiful objects aren’t gender specific. But men spend far too much time worrying about being proper ‘men’. Luckily, as you age, you’re allowed eccentricities and real men can stop worrying about this stuff after awhile. Honest.

A beautiful morning, 66 degrees outside and just a mild breeze. It’s time for an early morning swim, as I think the water is close to 80 degrees. It’s still dark but the sky is growing lighter on the eastern horizon. Maybe I can see the bats from a vantage point in the pool.

OK, only one bat and I didn’t stay in the water for long. There was just enough of a breeze to make it uncomfortable. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hot and...

Tomato growing weather...but, oh, that wind!
(click on image for larger view...but you knew that, right?)


Real Simple Syndication

Tired of looking up your favorite blog to see if something new has been posted? You really need to use RSS to help you keep track of news and new postings. If the text is BOLD, then you have a new posting or news item to look at. A quick scan of your subscriptions tells you what's new and what's not...

Very handy! And it saves you time, time that you can spend Stumbling!

Oops! Almost forgot to tell you how to do it...scroll down to the very bottom of the blog and "subscribe"

Emergency Cash

A Review-

Before spending the what Michelle has to say. Good stuff!

You know what bothers me about the marketing? That's the discounting at the bottom of the page.

"Download Your Videos Now For Only $97 $67 $37"

I'm the kind of guy that wants to wait and see if it will go a bit lower. Maybe $27? So of course I never buy it.

A Slow Morning

I’m slow getting started this morning. Don’t know why…just having a case of ‘lazy brain’ I guess. I downloaded some more music from the 50’s, but I haven’t even looked at the news. I did read the postings from BoingBoing and that’s news enough for me this morning.

We’ll be driving to Vacaville this morning, just to do some wandering and shopping. Then, when we drive home, we’ll stop in north Roseville and pick up the mattresses we bought last week at RC Willey’s. Unfortunately, that puts us on the road through Lincoln when we depart Willey’s. That will add a good ½ hour or more to the journey.

Now that I have looked at the news, I’m sorry I did. Imagine! Fred Thompson is racing ahead in the polls and he isn’t even a candidate yet. Now you have to remember that Fred was a non-memorable Senator from Tennessee at one time and he has a long career as a lobbyist from K Street. Yes, he was once an actor on Law and Order. Well, of course! He is the most qualified! Actors get the vote every time and isn’t that sad? And dangerous…