Monday, December 31, 2007

Seen these?

  1. About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends. - Herbert Hoover
  2. Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four. - Katharine Hepburn
  3. A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. - Carl Reiner
  4. Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Getting Sleepy

Tonight we’re doing the last of our Extroverting for the year. A New Years eve dinner at the church and I will be doing the cooking; New York steaks. We hope to be home by 10. To sleep. The extroverts don’t know it, but for an introvert, the act of extroverting drains their energy away at a furious pace. The larger the crowd, the more frequent the yawns. Get. Me. Out. Of. Here. Now!

And 2008 will bring me a chance to start a new and somewhat different daily journal. In the past year, my journal has morphed over into my blog and I need to separate them again. I’ve been journaling since August of 1990 and each year has seen a growth in the size of the journal. That would be normal. But this past year has seen a dramatic growth, from 5,000KB in 2006 to 22,000KB this year. It takes forever to load the document and then another ‘forever’ to save it.

What's the Plan?

Exciting. The New Year will start with some natural fury as a large storm is heading our way; expected to arrive with heavy rain on the 3rd day of 2008. The winds are blowing at about 12 mph even as I write. (Gusts to 20mph!)

Hoping. That all have made it home safely after our late Christmas celebration. I know Bill made it home after a harrowing drive up highway 36. Even in the middle of the day, there was ice and sliding cars to reckon with. But, where’s Ms. Medici? The MacPhearson’s?

....Planning. Although Karlee Grace is officially in charge of all upcoming Christmas events, I think a week or two on the Big Island would be a great destination for us for next Christmas. Pork Manapua for dinner, along with Huli-Huli chicken? We could stay in Volcano Village; it’s usually chilly in the mornings at that altitude and that could remind you of ‘the season’.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Think or Thwim

US Military Expenditures Are Larger Than Rest of World… Combined

"All we have to fear is fear itself"...

Apparently, we're very much afraid.

Inspired


This is kind of fun...showing off your presents on your blog. Thanks, Michelle!

I'm currently browsing through the Polymer clay designs. Fascinating. This is the material that would make great pieces of folk art/altars. And of course Colbert is the perfect antidote for those times when you're feeling Rush'd.








The Onion -

As usual, they get it right! - America's Finest News Source

Say, what?

We were talking about Social Networks last night and I have to say that I’m not a big fan of them. (I’m an Introvert, what did you expect?) I looked at and joined My Space when it first showed up. I stayed around for all of two days. Naturally, I didn’t fall for its successor, Facebook. Stumble was another and I Stumbled for a month or so and then forgot about it. I also joined up with Eons. A mistake from the beginning; a cyber Del Webb Leisure World on steroids. I looked at Twitter and that one scared me. Far too much work involved! I also looked at The Well, an old BBS that has a new life, but it’s pricey and has an aura of exclusiveness that makes me feel uncomfortable. Now I have joined up with Utterz. Why? I’m not sure yet. Am I crazy? Could be. I guess I’m also an Optimist. Somewhere, there is a social network I will identify with.


Be Herd? My Stall? Oh, please!

Christmas Odds and Ends

Alright; it’s over. It took us a week longer than most to have our family Christmas, but we finally did it. And what a show! 15 were in attendance; 10 adult sized children and 5 normal sized children, ranging in age from 1 to 13. The 15 includes all 7 of our grandchildren and our great grandchild. Very special.


It was a cold and wet day, but we were certainly warm inside with all of those bodies in the house. We finally had to open the windows and turn on the fans. Woodstoves are very difficult to regulate for comfort and they’re either on or their off. We had to choose off.


It really was a day for children and they took advantage of it, racing from one end of the house to the other as they played. It certainly wasn’t a day for cats and our cat enjoyed the solitary life out in the garage. Plus, there was a dog in the house, one of those teacup sized dogs, which, for its own safety, was passed from hand to hand all evening. Very cute, but scary to see it on the floor. How could it survive among all those moving feet?


I don’t know if our gift giving saved the economy this year, but I’m sure it helped.


And speaking of economy. We did a quick and very random check, not at all scientific, and oddly enough, most gifts were not made in this country. The majority were made in China. Here’s a photo of the new Supercenter in Willows. I’m pretty sure that’s the right photo?


Last night I was commenting that China doesn’t sell anything directly in this country. If I were in Portland, I could shop at a ‘Made in Oregon’ store. The same for Texas and Virginia. As far as I knew, there were no ‘Made in China’ stores. But, this morning, as I looked at the photo above, I suddenly realized that I had overlooked the obvious; there really are ‘Made in China’ stores after all.


By the way, I’m not a China basher. I think it’s a fascinating country and I would love to visit. I would say that I’m more anti-sanctimony than I am anti-China and I love to point out how we, as a country, will preach one thing and do another. Very similar to the way we raise our children.


It looks like we will be doing something for the economy, our little bit, in the coming year as well. Our television set has a definite problem going on with the sound system. (Hey, it’s twenty years old!) It has never given us a bit of trouble…till now. Since we are not television viewers and only use it for movies, I’m not sure what we should do for a replacement. I suppose we should think positively and assume that sometime in the near future, television programming will improve and cable/satellite providers will allow you to buy only the programs you want. Right! And we should look for a moderately sized flat screen HDTV. Made in China.


To recap; the house became relatively silent about 9 PM. And the cleanup began. The living room was the hardest hit and we’re still hoping that the governor will declare it a disaster area. Strange, but when the younger children were quizzed as to how it happened, most pointed to Colum as the likely culprit. Colum, all of one year old, remained silent and would not confess.

Now, at 6 in the morning, the woodstove is back in operation and the cat is stretched out in front of it. The twins are asleep, so the security level is Orange. All is well.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Today

From the Writers Almanac...

Today is the anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee, which took place in the army camp in South Dakota, 1891. The band of Indians had been fleeing through the cold when they were ordered into Wounded Knee. The next morning federal soldiers began confiscating their weapons, and a scuffle broke out between a soldier and an Indian warrior. The federal soldiers opened fire, killing 290 men, women, and children. The gunfire was so haphazard that the soldiers killed more than 25 of their own men in the crossfire. Even though it wasn't really a battle, the massacre at Wounded Knee is considered the final battle of the Indian Wars, which had lasted 350 years.

A little known fact; George Washington insisted on treating the Native American Tribes as Sovereign Nations. Not all Americans were happy with that. But he quickly conceded that he was powerless to prevent American citizens from stealing their land. He had only a small army and it would have taken an army 10 times the size to stop the settlers in their rush for land.

Forever

Today is the day; we’re celebrating (family) Christmas and all will be here on the Planet Orland for the festivities. Bill and the twins made it through the snow and arrived last night. Today, the rest of the family will be taking less hazardous routes to the planet. We’re all (Except the cat) looking forward to today’s event. Cookies have been made and the presents are wrapped and under the tree. (Where the cat hides) The dinner will be ham and the usual side dishes.


According to the weather forecast, it won’t be too bad of a day after all. Now that I’ve switched to Weather Underground, I think I am getting a better picture of the weather. They have everything to satisfy a weather nut like myself. The hottest and coldest places in California. Earthquakes. And a whole army of Personal Weather Stations that upload reports to the website. There are no weather stations on the Planet Orland, but there is one in Corning, about 15 miles north and I use that one for reference.


And this morning I saw that China Lake was the coldest spot in California, with a temperature of only 19°. That name brought back some memories. When I was growing up, we often made the long trip up highway 395 to places like Bridgeport and Topaz. Even Tahoe. To get there, we would take highway 14 from Newhall and through Mojave before joining up with 395 at China Lake. And I was always fascinated by the beauty of the desert. Stark and seemingly endless. If we stopped along the road and stepped out, there was no noise, except for the wind through the brush and the tick, tick, tick of the cooling engine. Even today, I would love to live in the middle of a vast playa, where I could see forever.

Crime Falls

and It Actually Makes the News

So rare. We're all victims of this. I was watching TV a month or so ago, hoping to see my daughter on the news, and I was startled by the number of 'crime' stories that were being played up as if we were in the midst of a cultural breakdown. Terror in the streets! Not.

Since we don't watch television or read the local newspapers, it was quite easy to see through the media hysteria and see this kind of reporting for what it was...an attempt to gain viewers by sensationalism. And THAT should be a crime.

Cynicism: Your only hope!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Most dangerous jobs

Aug. 16, 2006

Despite the claims by the police... they didn't make the top 10. Nor did the firemen. But they both have much better PR people than the poor trash collector, who has the 5th most dangerous job.

TSA

new forbidden item

Goodness! That was close...

Starving Artists

A news item; what I didn’t know about the on-line ‘sales’ of music. Most recording contracts award the performer 50% of the licensing profits. And only 7% of the sales profits. So an artist would love to have their music ‘licensed’ and not sold. But, when it’s sold on-line, the labels pay the artist the 7% and then turn around and sues the p2p downloaders for illegally downloading ‘licensed’ material. (They can't sue if it were 'sold') That’s some cake. And eating it.

Reason

Daily Brickbats

What is it about Best Buy?And Claudia? You don't want to mess with Claudia!

Politics

Airport security

I know, I know...here I am, whingeing about the TSA once again.

But, hey! It's only money. Yours and mine.

The Swamp

Obama: says...

"...I will begin to organize a summit with all the Muslim leaders around the world and have a direct conversation with them, our friends and our enemies, about how we can align the Muslim world against these barbaric actions, against terrorism. I believe that part of that will be to begin phasing out our occupation in Iraq, part of it will involve talking to actors like Iran and Syria, to get them to act more responsibly, part of it will be for us to shut down Guantanamo and restore habeas corpus and send a signal to the world that we're doing things differently. That's the kind of non-conventional thinking and approach that we're going to have to take to reverse the decline in our moral standing around the world that inhibits our ability to actually take on terrorism. That's what it's going to take to make us safer and that's what I intend to do as President of the United States."

Yes, non-conventional. We've seen how well 'conventional' thinking works.

Secret Revealed

An update. I did make a stew last night; decided on beef. With carrots, onions, celery and sun-dried tomatoes. Plus, the secret ingredient; Homade Chili Sauce. That’s the little jar with the minimalist logo. I’m sure you’ve seen it on the condiment shelf at the market. I used just half the jar as it was a small stew, servings for four. It is so good!

And now a ‘new’ vacuum update. Disgusting! What else can I say? I can’t believe we were living with all of that dirt. We might as well have been in a third world country where we swept our hard packed dirt floor each day. I will be vacuuming again today, just because I’m curious as to how much more dirt I can suck out of that carpet.


Yes, carpet is the problem and in a future life, we’ll be rid of it. I should get a quote from someone just to see how much it would cost to replace the carpet (slowly).

Sounds like

If it snowed last night, I missed it. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. Snow has its place, but just not here. We lived in snow country for 11+ years; I do have some experience with it and I’m quite willing to forgo the pleasure this morning.

And on a different note; I’ve added some stuff to the right hand side of my blog. Words, Quotes and a Spelling Bee. Oddly enough, I had spent a little bit of time trying to add one of these on my own just a week ago; stealing the code and trying to fit it into the right hand space. It was a wasted effort and so I had given up…until I spotted them on the Eavesdrop Writer’s website this morning and decided to try it again.

I really enjoy the fact that I can hear the pronunciation of the words by simply clicking on the loudspeaker icon. I’ve done that in the past in my journals, by using MS Word to insert an Object (a WAV file player) into the document and then finding the appropriate file for it to play. It’s sort of a hassle, as you have to know where the file is located and then the size of the document grows tremendously. But it looks cool!

It just so happens that we were talking about pronunciation just last night. Laurae and I have seen the word ‘whinge’ or whingeing’ many times and neither one of us knew how to pronounce it. Now we do.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pakistan -

Bhutto assassinated -

This is scary...

Odds and Ends, again

I think I’ll do some vacuuming this morning. Put a few more miles on the new machine and enjoy watching it work. And I want to make a stew for tonight. I already have some beans soaking, but do I want a beef stew or a chicken stew?

And I need to spend some time browsing the internet for information on cars. Again. I read a Click and Clack column the other day where an Elder had sought their opinion as to the wisdom of buying a new Honda Civic or a Mini Cooper. My two new favorite authorities said it was the Mini!

And once again the Global Warming wars are heating up. The Right Wingnuts are proclaiming that ‘400 Scientists’ say it ain’t so. That it’s a conspiracy by Al Gore. OK, let’s say it is a conspiracy; what’s the point? What does Al get for it? What’s the goal of this conspiracy?

I was reading an article in the latest Economist all about the volcano named Laki, located in Iceland. It exploded in June of 1783 and caused momentous weather changes all around the world. Thousands of people died from starvation as the crops withered from lack of sunlight and acid rain. And this happened in places as far away as Japan. In the USA, ice floes were reported in the Mississippi River at New Orleans and out into the Gulf. So, think about it. Here was an event that changed weather globally. A natural event. At that time there were no cars. No airplanes. No power plants. And the world population was only a fraction of what it is now. So why is so difficult for us to believe that all of those things have changed our climate in some way? 224 years have passed! We must have done something to this planet in those years.

Maybe those 400 ‘scientists’ should go to Alaska. Newtok, Alaska.

Tiny Newtok, Alaska, against the tide

By Tomas Alex Tizon

Stanley Tom wants to give Sen. Ted Stevens a tour of his Yupik Eskimo village, one of several seeking help to relocate away from shoreline that is rapidly eroding as the climate warms.

Another Million...Please

A little bit chilly this morning and so I decided to give the wood stove a break and pump a little bit of forced air heat into the far reaches of the house. That would be the exact moment that the batteries on the thermostat decided that it was time to expire. OK, new batteries and now the warm air is on its way.

And it’s also time for me to make another million dollars with an invention. Same story; you use the idea and you pay me 10% of the profits. On second thought, this is pretty good, so make it 20%. As you may know, emergency vehicles usually contain a transmitter that electronically changes the traffic signals ahead of them as they travel through traffic. The traffic signals have a receiver module that switches the lights to green in the direction that the emergency vehicle is traveling. Suppose you had a receiver module in your vehicle that would also respond to such a transmitter. And when it did, it would override your radio/cd player and the message, ‘Emergency vehicle! Pull over…Emergency vehicle! Pull over!’ would be heard. Also a flashing light would signal the driver from the dash. If the radio was not in use, then the module’s own speakers would be used. Make it required equipment on all new vehicles and I think I’m rich!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not enough?

We're back from our shopping expedition. And the first thing I see in the news is the 'fact' that we didn't do as well as we could have in our role as customers. Retailers are worried! Well, this 'wallet warrior' is all through fighting the good fight for the retailers. We did what we could today and if that's not enough...call me next year.

We did get our vacuum cleaner. It's an Infinity, by Shark. Or vice versa. And it has been tried. We just ran one tank full of dirt through it. Unfortunately, that part was too easy. The real test will be in a few days when I vacuum the same bit of carpet again. And I do like the easy dumping feature as well as the 2 miles of power cord that's included with it.

And how much did we pay for it? Well, it was on sale at Linen's and Thing's for $199, regularly $249. Had a 20% off coupon and so we bagged it for $171, tax included. And the clerk gave us an unsolicited testimonial about its quality. Her parents bought one and they have 5 dogs and they love it. (5 dogs? Are they crazy?)

This...just in!

A special weather statement...

Due to the cold dry airmass in place when the next weather system moves into interior northern California Thursday night... there is a chance snowfall may occur at very low levels. Locations including Redding ... Red Bluff ... Chico ... Lakeport and many communities in the motherlode where snowfall is rare may see up to an inch or two of snowfall.

Quotes

OK, it's time...my favorites are BOLD

  1. My theory is that all of Scottish cuisine is based on a dare. - Mike Myers
  2. A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions--as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all. - Friedrich Nietzsche
  3. Humor is always based on a modicum of truth. Have you ever heard a joke about a father-in-law? - Dick Clark
  4. If all the rich people in the world divided up their money among themselves there wouldn't be enough to go around. - Christina Stead
  5. Behind every great fortune there is a crime. - Honore de Balzac
  6. We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else. - Tom Stoppard
  7. Saying what we think gives us a wider conversational range than saying what we know. - Cullen Hightower
  8. He's the kind of a guy who lights up a room just by flicking a switch. - Unknown
  9. There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures. - James Thurber

mental_floss

A Tuesday Turnip

Who knew!

Now, 6 out of 10 readers will Google '7 out of 10' followed by '8 out of 10'

Driving

I read Time Goes By every day, along with a dozen other blogs by Elders. So, thinking as an Elder is becoming second nature to me. I recognize when Elders are being diss’d. (Is that a word? If it is, I don’t like it.) And I don’t like being diss’d. Some of the more common negative slurs from the youthful are those comments concerning the driving habits of the Elders. So let’s see how that mental process stands up to investigation. Insurance companies use vast tables of data to determine who should pay more for their insurance. Unsafe? You pay more. Safe? You pay less. There are no emotions involved in this data. It’s just numbers. Insurance companies charge more for insuring young drivers than they do older drivers. Ergo; older drivers (Elders) are safer. End of discussion. You still want to argue? Go talk to an actuary.

Reporting for duty

It’s over. And I can’t believe that I’m contemplating going shopping this morning. No, not at 6 AM; I haven’t lost my mind completely. But, with our time extension for the celebration of ‘family’ Christmas, it does make sense to do some shopping for that last minute, last minute gift at low sale prices.

We’ve done a drawing for names among the adults and now I have just one person to secure a gift for. It should be easy. Gifts for the grandchildren and great grandchild are already secured and wrapped, so that part is over. And since we no longer buy for each other, we’re looking for that special gift for the two of us, the gift that says ‘I love you’ in a way that can only be expressed after many years of marriage… a new vacuum cleaner.

This whole shopping thing is very strange. Am I expected to believe that an important segment, a cornerstone, of our economy will fail, if at the end of a 2 month advertising blitz we don’t buy enough? Giant corporations will close their doors if we don’t buy enough Christmas presents? What kind of business operates that way? Oh, sure I can see the mistletoe vendors being in jeopardy, but Target? Wal*Mart? What would happen if automobiles were marketed this way and they had to make their profits in November and December; the assembly lines dark and empty during the other ten months. I don’t think so. And now the mall merchants are slashing prices by 75%. Are we supposed to believe that they are giving the merchandise away just so they can have customers in to see their pretty store and say hello? Please!

But, who am I? Obviously the retailers know what they are doing and from all I’ve read, our economy has been saved once again in December by a valiant army of shoppers. I’m just doing my part. ‘Wallet Patriotism’.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Souvia

Tea -

We received a beautiful gift of assorted teas from this store...from Kitty and Dean.

So what's up with this tea thing? Why the interest? I guess I have always been a tea drinker, but I've never been one to start my day with tea. That's coffee's job. Tea is for the mid-morning break and late afternoons. And now that I would be well advised to slow down my caffeine intake, tea makes more sense...

I think it was Grandma Dot, bless her hard heart, that got me interested in tea. I always liked the ceremony of making a cuppa.

I'm still looking for the perfect tea, the one to become my all-time favourite. PG Tips is a favoured tea, as is Typhoo. And now I have 6 samplers to try; could be fun!

And a Happy New Year

Aaah! Isn't that pretty?

Turkey Says

200 Rebel Kurd Targets Hit in Iraq

Don't you just love the English language? 200 'targets' hit. That's like in archery, right? That wouldn't be flesh and blood people, would it? And 'Rebels' or 'insurgents'. Those are just people you disagree with. Nothing sinister there.

And the best obfuscation of the day has to be, "Officials in Iraq have claimed civilians were killed in the attacks, but the Turkish statement said any reports of civilian casualties were a fabrication and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said civilians were not targeted.
"Air operations or ground operations we will do whatever necessary within the limits of what international law allows us to do," Erdogan told legislators from his ruling party on Tuesday. "Civilians have never been our targets."


(I love that word, 'obfuscation'.) Of course no civilians died, civilians weren't the 'targets'. Were they?

Talking Points Memo

"Angry Black Man"

Those darn Republicans! So funny!

Politics

in the Zeros

Home, sweet home.

But not to worry, China, Abu Dhabi and Singapore have now invested BILLIONS in Wall Street firms and banks. 18.5 BILLION to be exact. And just in the past few weeks. Saves our bacon.

And the Decider? Well, he says, "I don't think it's a problem," Bush said, as he warned against a protectionist backlash which he said could harm investment flows.
Beijing's financial firepower has been swelled by over one trillion dollars of foreign currency reserves while the energy-rich UAE's coffers have been fattened by rocketing oil prices.
Top US government officials say the deals should not spark undue alarm, but do merit scrutiny."


Now...can you show me Abu Dhabi on the map? And will the folks now living in the tent even care?

The Gift

During the Christmas Eve services, I was thinking of Jesus. That almost goes without saying, doesn’t it? Anyway, my inevitable thoughts were of how so many of us have taken his message and perverted it for our own use. Ignored the right and now we worship the wrong. The pastor spoke of God in a ‘box’. How we want our God to be manageable and accountable. Just our size. ‘Why God? Why didn’t I get what I wanted?’ is our cry. And of course the answer is right there in his words; you really do have to give before you ‘get’ anything at all. You can keep your money. God doesn't need it. Or want it. It’s not gifts that God wants, he wants you.

And if you want to give something of yourself, let me point you to the Student/Farm Worker’s Alliance.

Flowers Galore

Christmas Day has arrived. Early for me. We went to the midnight services and didn’t get home till 12:30…but my ever alert internal time clock took the amount of time used for a nap before the service and added it to the actual time in bed and came up with…surprise! 6 hours. Time to wake up! (Curse that clock!) But it was also just the right time to add a little more wood to the fire and now all is warm here.

And we enjoyed a fine Christmas Eve at Denise and Meghan’s house. All was decorated splendidly with poinsettias. They were everywhere and in every color and size! It was a simple case of over ordering and under selling at the Plant Barn. Not that she didn’t sell a ton before Christmas… she really did. The only sad note was the fact that I didn’t have a camera with me. A picture or two would be perfect for next year’s sales pitch; “Don’t be content with just one poinsettia this year, use 2, 3 or even more for that perfect holiday d├ęcor.” And at the conclusion of the evening, we took a spare poinsettia home with us. No sense letting it go to waste!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Everything I Need to Know

About the Regressive Right I Learned In Junior High -

He's all wrong! It was in high school...not junior high. Junior high was fun!

TSA

is as unpopular as the IRS -

I don't know why I love reading this stuff...but I do!

Yes, it's all theater and we're paying a lot for it. No, it doesn't make you or I safer at all and if you believe that... you will believe anything. And we need to talk. Bring your credit card.

The Plain! The Plain!

I feel like I need to bake something today. Cookies are the obvious choice. I have all the ingredients handy, I just need to get busy and do it. I really liked the oatmeal cookies that Kitty sent, but I’m missing the recipe for that one. (Hint, hint)

I was reading Time Goes By this morning and read of the disaster that befell the author as her computer crashed and died. Which makes one think…or it should. But, it will never happen to me. Lalalalalalalalalala

Anyway, she mentions that she will buy a Mac…someday. As I will. The problem as I see it is that I would have to have two computers for awhile; a pc and a Mac. Going cold into the Mac world just wouldn’t fly. I would need the security of the ‘familiar’ close by while I explored the unknown.

I didn’t use to be this way. I loved the challenge of the new and unexplored. I welcomed each new computer I was given to try out. (2 or 3 every year) I read all of the computer magazines and didn’t get on a plane without two or more new issues stuffed in my laptop case.

This reminds me that if you’re looking for a good computer magazine, I think I have found it in Smart Computing magazine. As it states on their masthead, ‘In Plain English’. I like that now.

Nothing at all

What’s that noise? It’s raining once more. And I would imagine that will create some snow at the higher elevations. As soon as it’s light enough to see, I will take a look at the Cal-Trans cameras for Lassen County and see how the rest of the family is doing this morning. And I see that Cal-Trans have added two cameras to the lineup, one in Janesville and another in Doyle. What’s to see in Doyle? Nothing.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Think

New Mountain for Texas...Hmmm, maybe this would work for Dyer Mountain? Do you think?

Technology Review

"You Don't Understand Our Audience"

Great story. I read all 7 page views and now I wonder why I ever watched television during the past 20 years...

Shopping!

I was ‘nostalgia’ blogging about the department store Christmas display windows the other day and Laurae reminded me of our annual visits to Kansas City; always at this time of year for the corporate Christmas party. And we would always make a trip to Country Club Plaza, where department stores still had those windows! Country Club plaza, the country’s oldest shopping district. Where the sidewalks are clean. Where there are no parking meters on the city streets. Where parking structures are disguised and hidden away. Where there are no traffic signals…in some cases, no stop signs. And everyone is polite. Honest! Chico could learn something from this…

My favorite restaurant? That would be Fedora's. Or was it Plaza III? (Oh, oh...Fedora's appears to be missing? George Brett's has replaced it. Darn!)

Innocent until proven guilty

Once again I am listening to the police scanner and wondering what’s the matter with the world? Who are these people and why are they behaving this way, at 5 in the morning? I know…I should just stop listening and then my world will be just a little bit smaller and a lot more peaceful. But then, there’s the national news and the world news. And don’t forget the galactic news! I’m addicted.

And then I read this news…Best Buy kiosks not connected to Internet

By David Lazarus. The Connecticut attorney general's office sued Best Buy in May, charging the electronics heavyweight with using deceptive in-store websites to trick customers into paying higher prices than available on the company's actual site.

What? Was that on the police scanner? It should have been. OK, now the question is this; why on earth would you shop there? Must. Wait. For verdict.

Where?

The morning begins as usual; a look at the news and then the blogs. And while I was doing that I ran across a photo of a restaurant and hotel in Borneo. That was when I realized, once again, how foolish my perception of the world is. Borneo is not a strange or exotic place to be, not anymore. Sadly, my mind is still stuck in old Richard Halliburton books.

(Now that's fresh seafood!)

Hoover

Planned Mass Jailing in 1950 -

Hoover's idea's didn't die with him. Here we are, 50+ years later, and evil people still want to suspend our freedom's for 'the greater good.'.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

TackyChristmasYards

Ho Ho Ho!

Anyone?

Shopping is a different affair this year as we celebrate (family) Christmas at a later date. Oh, we’ve been out among the shoppers but without the sense of urgency we would normally have. And of course I had to remember Christmas past. Not Jacob’s ghost of Christmas past, but my memories of the holiday back in the 1940’s.

We were in Penney’s yesterday morning and we were looking for toys. Nada. Zip. They have no toy department. And that was when I remembered the department stores of yesteryear. What great places to shop! And at Christmas time, they were a destination all of their own just to see the decorations and the lights. Newspapers would announce the opening of the window displays for the holidays and seeing the artistry of the department store ‘window dresser’ would be the best part of your trip to the store.

One of the highlights of our year was when we would go downtown (Los Angeles) to pick up Nana from her job at J.W. Robinson’s, and if we were lucky, we would find a parking spot and then go strolling past all the windows in the downtown shopping district. Robinson’s, The Broadway, May Co., Bullock’s and Buffum’s. If no parking was available, we would circle the blocks in the car, dad driving slowly past all of the brightly lit windows before he took us home.

Those stores are gone. The consumer has voted and we all lost. Wal*Mart mentality rules.

And speaking of Wal*Mart; as I was…they will open a Super Center in Willows soon... another blow to the local economy on the Planet Orland. Doesn’t anyone see the connection between a failed shopping district in Orland and the growth of the ‘big blue box’ in Willows? Hello? Anyone home?

Bad news - Bad news

The bad news finally sank in last night. What had I been thinking? We’re not even finished with the primaries! And I’m already out of energy. It feels like we’ve been put through the political wringer for at least a year and we have another ten months to go. Has it always been like this? It’s like watching a NASCAR race run at 5 mph, tops!

So, I’m thinking to myself…hmmm? Maybe that’s the plan all along. Wear out the voters and they will vote for anyone just to end the agony. And the candidate with the most media exposure wins because it’s the only name you can think of when finally faced with a ballot. Sort of like that advertising jingle that won’t leave your head.

EPA Chief

Is Said to Have Ignored Staff

This article lays it all out for you. And the money they will use for the trial, for both prosecution and defense? Yours and mine.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Observations

Chilly! But it’s nothing compared to the rest of the country. I can still remember the bite of sub zero mornings in New England, the Sierra’s and the Midwest…and I’m quite happy right where I am now.

The coldest? An evening in Spokane. I had gone to watch hockey in the new arena and afterwards, we used a little known stairwell to exit the arena; avoiding the crowds. We were moving fast and we pushed the exit door open on the run; it was as if we had been punched in the chest when the cold air hit us. It was -28°. Ouch.

OK, enough of the memories; I need to see what’s in the news and in the feeds. And what do I see? A memory. Griffith Observatory. It was always a favorite place to go when I was younger. Although, I don’t remember the planetarium being named after someone?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Later, in the day...

All is well. We did some more shopping and we have been watching the price of artificial Christmas trees falling. But when will it be the right time to buy? Probably at the same time the price of new vacuums is right.

And I should write about the beautiful morning we had here. It really was spectacular. About 7:30, the fog was increasing in the fields to the west of us, so we thought that we should go to town while it was still clear. So we headed east towards Chico, and as soon as we were on the road we were surrounded by swirling mist and brilliant sunshine, all at the same time. Ahead of us, we could see the Sierra’s with brilliant white clouds sailing over the peaks. I suddenly thought of the movie, Brigadoon; that was it! And we were both exclaiming, ‘Look! Look over there!’ I could kick myself now for not pulling over to the side of the road to watch the beauty of each passing minute. But we didn't and the sparkling mist soon turned to drab gray and the moment was gone.

Then, after we were home, Laurae had a suspicion that there might be a package on the front porch...sure enough! A 'care' package from Scottsdale. Unfortunately, one of the packages contained in the box was slightly torn; enough for us to see that it contained COOKIES! What should we do? Taste them of course! Delightful. Oatmeal with a hint of ginger. Thanks, Kitty and Dean. The other package goes under the tree.

Yesterday

Funny. Grandchildren Karlee and Kyle were being told that their Uncle Bill was on the Planet Orland trying to catch an escapee. They questioned; what’s an escapee? And after that was explained, Kyle asked if Grandpa was helping Uncle Bill? Karlee set her brother straight. No, Kyle. That’s not his job. Grandpa’s job is to be a grandpa.” I am so relieved!

The Eclectic Cleric

In Praise of Dyslexia

"...the speculation early in his administration that our President is dyslexic, which explains both his mother's interest in literacy, and his own routine butchering of the English language. Then again, he could just be stupid. I also seem to recall him saying that the underlying problem with the French economy is that they don't even have a word for "entrepeneur." (Emphasis mine)

Funny!

Contemporary Wall Art

ZCMacPhearson »

Always makes me happy!

Burger King

as Scrooge

"In 2006, the bonuses of the top twelve Goldman Sachs executives exceeded $200 million -- more than twice as much money as all of the roughly 10,000 tomato pickers in southern Florida earned that year." You want fries with that?

Honest!

Good news and bad news. They made a movie from the book, Charlie Wilson’s War. Now, more people will know about the truly evil actions of Charlie Wilson, but they will also think it’s just a movie. It REALLY HAPPENED! It wasn’t Tom Hanks

Time Goes By -

What it's really like to get older

I know the feeling. Every morning I read the headlines and hope that the electorate has regained their sanity...but, no. Wait; I know! We're stuck in Groundhog Day! Right?

By the way, have you even seen a candidate in your neck of the woods? Have you ever been asked to participate in a poll? Where do those numbers come from?

Common Dreams

News & Views

All the good stories...

Caught!

It’s all over. The escapee is caught and the Planet Orland is safe once again. He was only a few minutes away from a bus ride into Chico when he was taken into custody yesterday around noon. So close!

OK, that’s the local news; on the national scene it’s all so predictable. The Decider says that California doesn’t have the right to control the vehicle emissions. The Terminator says we do and the courts have agreed so far. But will the case end up in the Supreme Court? The court that the Decider bought and paid for? I sure hope not.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The VP

I read this morning that there was a fire in Cheney's office. I'm not sure but I would guess that he probably hung up a pair of pants in his closet and they were still smoldering...

The Mundane

Weather, or not? Another day and more of the same, although the rain has passed by for now; returning later today. And my mid-winter cold remains solidly in place. Sniff!

I’m listening to the scanner this morning and all is quiet. The escapee is still at large. Not that we’re worried; Bill and another officer are asleep in the other room. But…there’s a siren. Hmm? That might be the ‘woman in labor’ call I heard a few minutes ago.

I was looking below the ‘Dashboard’ on Blogger this morning and I see that they have corrected their mistake and are now allowing anyone to use their non-Blogger URL to make comments and link back to their own sites. And they have a photo slideshow available as well. I need to look into that.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Search on

for escaped inmate

I have a feeling he has left the Planet Orland.

Of course this wouldn't have happened in the Phoenix area... the prisoners there wear pink underwear under their stripes; which demoralizes the heck out of them.

New Jersey

bans death penalty -

Finally! Some sanity...

Unclaimed

Baggage Center

This is the place! Our granddaughter lost her luggage a few days ago... well, she didn't lose it, the airline lost it. But since they never own up to their responsibilities, we'll have to say that she 'lost' it. And once it's truly lost, this is where it ends up. So it looks like she may be heading to Alabama soon.

If We Had No Moon

Astrobiology Magazine

Don't ask why... (I'm not sure either) but as I was walking the other day, I had this thought about the moon and the effect it has on the earth. Since the moon's gravity distorts the surface of the earth as it passes over it, pulling it up and then letting it down as the moon moves on, why couldn't we use that power to create electrical energy? Tiny, nano sized rotating engines that would be linked together to create a grid of energy producers. You could embed them in the the surface of the highways and parking lots. Problem solved!

(It's possible. There are tidal engines that produce electricity from the power of the tides and tides are caused by the effect of the moon's gravity)

Rainy Day

Wet and wild. But it is warmer! The rain and the wind have arrived as scheduled and it’s very comforting to sit and listen to the storm while basking in the warmth of a wood fire.

According to the report… 100% rain, and the winds are 16 mph with gusts to 33 mph. Temperature is a balmy 48°. As soon as it’s light enough, I want to look at the Cal Trans traffic cameras for Fredonyer Summit and the grade down into Susanville. And be thankful that I don’t have to worry about that stuff anymore.

And outside, in the driveway, is a state owned pickup truck. It’s old and it’s broken down. We were out for dinner last night when we got a call from Bill, telling us that he and some other officers were leaving the truck at our place as it wasn’t running well and they were in ‘hot pursuit’ of an escapee. They would transfer to another car and return later to pick it up.

I don’t know how many officers were riding in the vehicles and I am not sure why they would be using an old pickup truck with a camper shell on it as a ‘hot pursuit’ vehicle. But, in my mind, I have this vision of the ‘Keystone Kops’ in action. What fun!

Report

Magnet and PDA Sufficient to Change Votes on Voting Machine

Fascinating! (I love my absentee ballot!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Russia Delivers

First Shipment of Nuclear Fuel to Iran

But...wait! Didn't Dubya look into the 'soul' of Putin not so many years ago? And didn't he like what he saw? That's the way I remember it...but hey! I'm old...

Granny Geek

Have Yourself A Tacky Little Christmas

War on Christmas? If the Christmas decorations seen here are the 'ammunition'...I'm changing sides!

Seriously now...don't these Capital "C" Christians have something better to do with their time? And money?

Code Name

Nora

OK, I've read it and I believe it. (Go to the first post of the morning to see where I came up with this subject) I remember Mom telling us all about life in 'The Home' as she so fondly called it. Oh, yeah! I have to bookmark this one!

FunQuotes

  1. Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence. - Frank Zappa
  2. Drive-in banks were established so most of the cars today could see their real owners. - E. Joseph Cossman
  3. Physicists like to think that all you have to do is say, these are the conditions, now what happens next? - Richard Feynman
  4. My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind. - Albert Einstein
  5. The perfect bureaucrat everywhere is the man who manages to make no decisions and escape all responsibility. - Brooks Atkinson
  6. I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there. - Herb Caen
  7. Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining. - Jef Raskin
  8. War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military. - Georges Clemenceau
  9. A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures. - Daniel Webster

Eavesdrop Writer

Playing Fetch

I was thinking of 'commenting' here...but what could I possibly say?

Rambling

Ack! Where’s the Kleenex? It’s time to eat more mandarins; the cold medicine of choice around here. When I had my annual physical this year I also had a flu shot and then, a week later, a pneumonia shot. Apparently the ‘common cold’ falls somewhere in between and is not touched by either of those preventatives.

I was reading Time Goes By again this morning and read about the possibility of an Elderblogger being less than forthright. Apparently this bothered some people. And you would think that it might bother me as well, since I’m on an anti-anonymous kick these days; upset with anyone who comments anonymously.

So I had to examine my feelings about that. I think what I’m upset about are the anonymous that use their anonymity to be cruel. Anonymous ‘praise’ is nice, but of little value. Anonymous cruelty and mean spiritedness is simply cowardly.

And when I signed up to blog, I didn’t agree to tell the truth, the whole truth, etc, etc. Quite often you get a story that is tainted by my perspective. Duh! But now that I’ve read about Nora and the possibility of her stories being ‘stories’, I may give it a try myself.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Woe Christmas Tree

Wal-Mart Buys Ornaments From a Chinese Sweatshop

And here on the Planet Orland, a new Wal$Mart Supercenter will be built in nearby Willows. And the residents of the planet wonder what has happened to the good old days, when they could shop locally for everything they needed. (I wonder if the clerks at the new Wal$Mart speak English?)

(Ex)Terra Incognita

(Fragments From Floyd)

Just 4% of our universe can be seen...(and we probably only understand half of that.)

Fascinating. Just think of the possibilities!

Looking for a Sale!

The middle of December already; time’s flying! And now I know why. The short story is that the brain needs to lay down, or imprint the ‘current’ memories into your cortex as they happen. This takes time. So, as a child, this seems to take forever. Each day is a new one for your brain to glean data and imprint it. But, as we age, the brain doesn’t have to work so hard; ‘been there, done that’ and the info is already on file. And so the time flies.


I have to include a photo of the cat here. This illustrates how much Boo loves a good fire in the winter. Normally, a small bundle of black fur, she luxuriates in the warmth from the woodstove. And the location she chooses to sprawl is right in path of traffic from kitchen to family room. Step right over her. She doesn’t mind!


And I suppose I could include a photo of our current Christmas tree. Our plan is to wait till later in the week and see just how low the prices go on the current crop of artificial trees. When the price is right, we’re buying a new one. We’ve had this tree for ten years; much to the irritation of our children. But, looking at the dollars involved, ($100, ten years ago = $10 per year) I think we saved enough to buy a couple of new ones!


Apparently I won’t be able to use a photo of the tree here. I took 6 shots, but they have all turned out to be less than flattering. Perhaps we really do need a new tree?