Friday, February 29, 2008
$4 gasoline? It's news to Bush
When asked about the possibility of the price going that high, president says, 'That's interesting, I hadn't heard that.' He also says a tax hike on oil companies would drive the price up further.
He hadn’t heard that $4 rumor? Although 99% of Americans have heard it. (I made up the 99%...but I bet I’m close.) But, we must remember that he leads a very sheltered life. Reality is never allowed past the front doors of the White House. He learned that from his father.
The computer was doing fine this morning. Pages loading fast and furious. And then I went to Pioneer Woman Cooks, followed by a trip to see what’s new on Shorpy. I think it was the Apple Dumplings that really slowed my computer to a crawl. Then Shorpy’s HD photos finished it off. Time to reboot and reclaim some memory.
Interesting story...and lately the news has been filled with stories about a fear of 'stagflation', the curse of the 70's. And I remember that time well. That was the time period when I decided it made sense to go into business (a partnership) as a General Contractor. Who knew? We never went bankrupt and we paid all of our bills, but we made no profits to speak of. Year after year. All that work and we just couldn't seem to get ahead. And that was when I thought about the possibility of starting over in some different place. A place like Lassen County...and the rest is history. Our history.
And I heard this same thing on the radio; from Dubya and about the possibility of talking to
Talking will give ‘great status’? Oh please! And this ‘wisdom’ is from the lips of one who loves to be photographed shaking hands with tyrants all over the globe. (Did you catch the double negative in the quote above?)
Here it is; that extra day, seen just once every four years. Funny; so far it seems to be exactly like all of the rest of the days of the year. Not much is happening in the news and no storms. Just like yesterday.
There was a great story on NPR yesterday, all about ‘executive function’ and how it is suspected that our current cultural focus on organized play for our children has caused an increase in the diagnosis of ADHD.
“…when kids are in leagues and lessons, they are usually being regulated by adults. That means they are not able to practice regulating themselves.”
Of course it’s a subject that is on my mind a lot, as I’m one of the few people in the world that thinks that Little League should be outlawed. Believing instead that children should be furnished with a ball and a bat and sent outside to create their own games. No, you don’t need a glove. If you need one, you will mow some lawns or do some other chores raise the money to buy your own. Get over it!
This leads me think about the fact that we are so happy when our children are imaginative. (Their natural state) “Oh,
Sure, I’m just an old guy; ranting, as elders are prone to do. But I’m from that generation that didn’t see much television while growing up. I was ten when we had our first one. And Little League in those days was not democratic. Only the very best could even think of trying out for a team. “Not democratic’…duh! That’s how life really is! Might as well learn that when you’re young and resilient.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Nothing but stray thoughts this morning. What if we had a new cabinet position; Secretary of Peace. This whole War thing hasn’t been working all that well…in fact; it hasn’t worked well for over 60 years now.
In that same vein; suppose we assume that the whole world is a corporation and one division within that corporation is the War division. Can you imagine their profit and loss statement? Can’t you just see their PowerPoint presentations as they try to justify their existence?
Wasn’t there a song once; Give Peace a Chance? Have we ever done that? No? Well, color me naïve!
And then I read about the slight delay in the ‘Virtual Fence’ that is being built to secure our borders. “The $20 million project of sensor towers and advanced mobile communications was supposed to be completed in mid-2007 but had been delayed by software problems.” Hmm? Software problems? Well, that’s something that can be fixed by simply throwing some more money at the problem. And we all know how well government computer programs work. Just give them some time. (Can you say ‘Star Wars’?)
It’s simply amazing that we give such people power over our lives. These are people I wouldn’t want to spend 5 minutes with because I would be afraid of losing my intelligence, just by being in their vicinity. Ack! What’s that sucking sound?
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
And I heard a bit of history today while listening to Fresh Air. They broadcast an audio tape of the trial of the
And I heard that the Secretary of War (Gates) was in
And did anyone notice that the California lawmakers are not complaining about the possibility of their wages and benefits being cut 10% in the slashing and hacking of the budget that is proposed for the rest of the state departments? Would that be because they aren't included?
And here's a photo of a local deity; the Catfish God. Crowds of worshippers can be seen here in this orchard during a full moon. Scary!
Yesterday, I was stuck for something to write about. I read all of the news and browsed the various blogs, but there wasn’t much available to stimulate the brain. And the same thing is happening this morning.
I’m having the same problem with my book selections. I went to the library yesterday, hoping to find a book that might hold my attention for more than a few hours. There was nothing. Not that I search with any kind of plan; I don’t. I walk the aisles of the library, head tilted sideways to see the titles on the two rows that I can see without crouching or getting a step stool. I think there are probably 6 or more rows that I never see. I’m saving those for a rainy day.
I made the mistake of picking up a
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
This would be a good question to ask the Senator from Illinois... Yes, he has voted for all the Ethanol bills.
"...2007 energy bill called for a whopping 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022. In order to ratchet up to that level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently ordered that 9 billion gallons be blended with gasoline this year. Most of that will be ethanol made from corn; last year, the U.S. produced 5.8 billion gallons of the stuff."
I'm sure you noticed the difference that the 5.8 billion gallons made. Food prices have risen and so has the price of fuel! Aren't we all happy?
What’s happening this morning? Not a blessed thing! The news is simply the ‘news’ and it’s more of the same thing we read yesterday. This is one of those times when I wish we had a parliamentary form of government; we could simply tell the current occupant of the White House to pack because we have ‘no confidence’ in him. Time to go. Here, let me hold the door for you. Next!
And apropos of nothing at all; yesterday I was in the midst of complaining to the post office about late deliveries and I suddenly had a flashback. It’s sometime in the late 1940’s and the postman comes to the front door with the mail. It’s about 10 in the morning and I’m hoping that my Dick Tracy Magic Decoder Ring will have arrived. The mailman says, ‘Sorry. Maybe it will be in this afternoon’s mail.’ And sure enough, when he arrives back at our door at 3, he has the package for me. Yes, kiddies, gather round while grandpa reminisces…two deliveries a day! And all for the price of a 3 cent stamp. Would I lie?
According to the Inflation Calculator, 3 cents works out to 26 cents in today’s financial climate.
"...the recall is so huge that it's "a great drill for the state" in trying to enforce a new law that requires disclosure of where recalled beef went..."
OK, folks, nothing to worry about. It's just a drill. (But, what if...?)
Monday, February 25, 2008
Absolutely amazing...80%! But for some reason, most never made it to church last weekend. We still had a few seats left. Actually...more than a few. But; who's counting, right? Maybe we'll see them next weekend; ya think?
I was listening to the author of this piece being interviewed on NPR this morning. Very much eye opening. But...will Americans ever change? As a nation and as humans, we all (some more than others) want to deny that mental illness exists. What a shame.
I’m reading a great new book, Facing East From Indian Country, by
Today, people say, ‘Why do we treat the ‘Indians’ any different than the rest of us?” Why? Because
Yawn. Another day…but without wind and rain and so that’s good news. The only bad news so far was the phone call from our neighbor at 1:30 this morning to report that a sprinkler line was broken and would I mind turning it off? Of course. And I will deal with it in the daylight.
Now, awake once again, I have read the current post on Time Goes By and found a good article on dementia and Alzheimer’s. The article states what I’ve said many times, exercise and staying engaged with the world (education) helps to prevent these feared conditions. And the number of cases is dropping, “…what we may be seeing here is the accumulated effects of better education and better cardiovascular prevention…”
I know so many elders that seem to be dedicated to the goal of becoming ‘elderly’. Life is a burden. Change is feared and avoided. Can’t is the most frequent word heard from them.
I simply can’t imagine not wanting to know more about the world we live in. And I am not sure that this is an inherited trait, I think it’s a habit that you need to develop. You need to pursue knowledge daily, even when the first few things you read make you want to say, ‘Oh, no! It’s the same old news!’
Exercise is even harder to develop as a habit. Facts are still facts and I’m getting older and I can’t do all of the things I once did. But I can do something! I remember mom telling us about the old man that lived at ‘the home’ where she lived, and the fact that he walked 9 or 10 miles each day…and he was in his 90’s. I never met him, but he became a hero for me.
And I was just thinking; how few elders bother to exercise (walk) regularly. I know of 3 or 4 that I see walking on a regular basis here on the Planet Orland. There are more to be found in
I’m just guessing, but I think it’s fear that keeps them at home. Most seem preoccupied with burglar alarms and personal alarms. Of course some of that phobia comes from our society’s bad habit of believing everything they see or hear on the news. (Read. People, read!) If you want to stay healthy; mentally and physically, you have choices to make and you can’t let fear, fear of change, keep you from living a full life.
And don’t hang around depressing old people…they already made their choice and they would love to drag you down into their tiny world. Don’t let them!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Oh no! It's the 'Silly Season'...and it lasts right up till the last vote is counted.
I'm not a big fan of pledges or pins, as they mean nothing. Except to the person using them. When 50,000 people in a stadium stand with their hands over their hearts, are they ALL patriots? All 50,000? Patriotism is found in sacrificial actions, not mere symbols.
I was typing away when I heard some sirens about 5:30. A quick look at the CHP pages on the CalTrans website showed me that a pole had fallen across the road at County Road 202 and Wyo. Apparently this pole didn’t carry any electricity to our house, as the lights never even flickered. And although it’s still dark outside, I tried some of the CalTrans live feeds.
Did I ever mention the time it took me 11 hours to go from
Lucky for us, the big storm isn’t. Sure, it’s still raining and it’s quite windy, but the 60 mph gusts have been absent overnight. Maybe 45 mph, tops. Of course I’m writing this down without visible evidence to the contrary. It’s still dark and for all I know, the trees in the orchard and out in front are all down…but I doubt it.
I do know that that the almond trees in
And it’s on mornings like this that I’m grateful for the previous owners’ attention to detail when they were building this house. Well insulated with double paned windows and a concrete tile roof. We can just barely hear the wind blowing and the driven rain on the windows is muted.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
What is with the Democrats and this fighting over ‘experience’? And I suppose we can even include McCain in this fight as well. Truth is; no one can be experienced in the role of President, except a former president and we don’t need one of those thankyouverymuch. Who was arguably one of our best presidents?
More truth; Americans have always resisted meaningful change. And just because they have done that for so long doesn’t mean it’s right or good. We need our eyes opened and soon.
"Mostly cloudy with a slight chance of rain in the morning...then rain in the afternoon. Highs 48 to 53. Southeast winds 15 to 30 mph with gusts increasing to 40 to 50 mph by late in the afternoon."
In January we were frustrated by trying to read by candlelight and we didn't want to use up our flashlight power with reading, so we stopped at Target yesterday and got the very last battery powered 'family sized' lantern. It's charging right now and should be ready to go this afternoon.
I’m awake and thinking. That’s always a good way to start the day. And I started my ‘thinking’ with this quote I found on Time Goes By;
Quote of the Week:
“How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It’s the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It’s been 200 years at it. It’s superb.”
I’m not sure what specifics prompted
It made me think of Patriotism. That indefinable something that every politician loves to cloak himself in every day before heading off to the office. And it’s at the office where he will defend everything he does as being ‘patriotic’. Every piece of legislature that is introduced and every bill supported is a patriotic one. And every one who argues against that legislation is therefore unpatriotic. It’s all quite simple. And the simple love it. They love it so much that they emulate it in their own lives as well. Weaving it into every fiber that makes up the fabric of our society; the cloak of patriotism is made to fit us all, like it or not.
It made me think of the Flag Salute and Pledge of Allegiance. OK, take the patriotism away for a moment and look at the ceremony for what it is. Children and some adults reciting words, hand over heart, day after day. Week after week. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. After a few months of this, do any of them think beyond the order of the words themselves? Of course not, but it does make them aware of patriotism and the need to be part of the society that worships it. Thinkers; those who question… are not welcome.
Friday, February 22, 2008
28 miles? Isn't our border a little bit longer than that? And it's either $15 million or $20 million; it's hard to tell from the article. OK, so it's a little under a million dollars a mile. That's close enough for government work!
And now...if I were a 'geek' and I'm not of course, I would see the fence as challenge and not a barricade. Hey! Bring it on!
Do people actually get paid for being silly? I guess so. C'mon. Get real! It's still El Porto. It will always be El Porto.
Back in the day, when I was the 'delivery boy' for Bill's Liquor store, I would have an occasional order to deliver in El Porto. Not many, as the El Porto drunks were less likely to have the cash for delivery AND a tip.
Although I grew up in Manhattan Beach, I'm sticking with the residents of El Porto on this one...
I think it’s past time for me to post some things in my other blogs. I have neglected the Working blog for quite awhile now and I should also report that I made (and we consumed) the tomato soup from The Pioneer Woman Cooks site. That’s worth a posting on my Good Eats blog.
Another rainy morning. Even so, I need to brave the weather and get in some racewalking time in the park. I’m pretty sure I will join the small crowd in
Nature has delivered some color right on time for the Almond Blossom race; despite the sad weather, the blossoms are exploding everywhere. Orchards are turning pink and white all throughout the region. And the bees are already busy at work. They’ve been wandering around for the past few weeks, looking anxiously for a blossom or two; now they have millions to choose from.
And now that I have looked at the weather forecast, it looks like the blossoms will be in some danger. High winds are forecast for Saturday night and Sunday. Darn! With all of this wet ground, there are bound to be some trees lost.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
"The project took 10 years and cost $15 million."
I admire Lincoln. Really. But this isn't about Lincoln...this is about your tax dollars at work. I wonder who the lucky contractor was?
Of course I started my morning with a dose of Time Goes By. And this mornings posting was all about blogging and blogger stats. For instance, who blogs? “…and the smallest group, 22.9 percent, are Republicans.” Of course. Oh, oh. There are so many places I could go with that simple fact. But to be kind…I won’t.
The day begins just like every other day. Make the coffee and let the cat in. Then it’s time for the weather report (44°, partly cloudy with a 90% chance of rain) followed by a review of the email. Coffee is ready. Back to the mail and the RSS feeds. Once I have determined that the world is still in its appointed orbit and has not self destructed overnight, I open my journal and write.
Let’s see…yesterday we had to see our accountant (tax time) and while I was there, I asked her about the possibility of a refund; the refund that is supposed to fix our ailing economy. She didn’t know the details yet, but as she understood it, the money will come from your own refund in the year 2009. It’s simply borrowing ahead from your refund money. And you won’t be able to refuse it. So the smart thing to do is to place it somewhere safe and let it collect some interest. This is not what the government wants you to do. They want you to spend it…now! At Best Buy.
Writing about taxes reminded me of the story about the
And that story reminded me of
Apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking of
(From the article..."And she recommended scuttling the yacht tax loophole that Assembly Republicans just won't give up") You see, the Republicans are there to defend the 'common man' and his yacht.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Berger Devine Yeager, the corporation responsible for the construction of this, has removed all reference from their website...in fact their website seems to be missing as well. I guess they're simply modest...as is the building.
The news is filled with
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Don't worry...it won't delay your trip. The trains are rarely on time.
"What we are trying to do is make sure the bad guys know we're out there but don't know where we'll be, or when," Rooney said."
In fact, nobody knows!
I’m in a Hawai’ian mood. I filled my Clip with Polynesian music the other day and have been listening whenever I get a chance. I never thought much about that kind of music until I was sent to
Every morning and evening, as I slowly made my way back and forth between hotel and office on the
But paradise has a troubled history and because of that I have always been an advocate of a ‘free’ Hawai’i; long before I visited the islands. I know it’s just one small inequity in a very troubled world, but it would be the right thing to do. Give
Monday, February 18, 2008
Did I mention that I now put my various RSS feeds into folders? That really helps me to avoid RSS meltdown, where I relentlessly follow every updated feed, as it happens. Now I can wait for a day or two before I explore a folder. And one of my folders is entitled, 'Art'. And there's a sub-folder named 'Encaustic' and it's a favorite of mine, as is this blog... For more info on encaustics, go here... or use the Google search for 'encaustics' on the Joanne Mattera blog above.
ps. And this link as well. Better yet, go to a gallery and see some encaustics. I found some at the Chico Paper Company.
Darn! I can’t go training/walking this morning. We’re having a board meeting at the Berry Patch and that includes breakfast. Groan! But I did get in some exercise yesterday. I cleaned the pool filter and re-installed the television antenna in its new spot on the new fence. So, if anything should ever happen to be on television, we’ll be ready for it. And I picked a bunch of citrus fruit for the customers of the Plant Barn, which I will deliver later today. I’ve been dropping off lemons and oranges there occasionally and I was rewarded the other day when a customer who had been taking some of those lemons, made cookies with them! Very good cream filled lemon cookies. (This is the same customer that makes fig tarts from
Pandering; intr.v. pan·dered, pan·der·ing, pan·ders
1. To act as a go-between or liaison in sexual intrigues; function as a procurer.
2. To cater to the lower tastes and desires of others or exploit their weaknesses:
1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.
v. lied, ly·ing (l
1. To present false information with the intention of deceiving.
2. To convey a false image or impression:
It’s Monday and it’s President’s Day. A holiday. Funny thing about retirement; holidays no longer matter. The only difference it makes in our day to day life is that we might see a larger number of customers in the stores while we were shopping. If we went shopping. Which we’re not… because it’s a holiday. So holidays DO matter after all!
All of this leads me to wonder; what is President’s day all about? According to Wikipedia; among other things, we should see “Community, historical celebrations; honoring the veterans and Purple Heart recipients; Congressional recognition.”
Hey! I’m a veteran. I wonder what they have planned for me?
We all know that there is a small but powerful group of people in this world who believe that there is nothing more important than filling out a form properly. Even incorrect entries are welcomed as long as every blank space in the form is filled out. Some of those people work for
Before troubles were spotted in the Feb. 5 primary, the double-bubble system left nonpartisan votes uncounted in '02, '04, and '06, election officials say.
Here’s the worst of it… “Confusion over how to mark the ballot, critics say, caused tens of thousands of votes to go uncounted in three elections between 2002 and 2006.
At the time, election officials knew that some votes were not being counted but saw no need to make changes. After all, the missing votes went unnoticed in the three primary elections and no one complained.” Well, of course that makes it right.
It’s time for an open primary once again.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Guess what? It's cheap at twice the price! It's called 'democracy'. It's 'freedom'. It's what we are supposed to celebrate...whether you like it or not.
Ya know, the citizens in France take to the streets to protest and strike quite regularly. Their government is afraid of their citizens. That's a real good thing!
Found this site linked to the Shorpy photoblog...
- Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats. - Howard Aiken
- The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations. - David Friedman
- If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? - Abraham Lincoln
- Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish. - Albert Einstein
- Ask a deeply religious Christian if he’d rather live next to a bearded Muslim that may or may not be plotting a terror attack, or an atheist that may or may not show him how to set up a wireless network in his house. On the scale of prejudice, atheists don’t seem so bad lately. - Scott Adams
- Honesty may be the best policy, but it's important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. - George Carlin
- In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination. - Mark Twain
- Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer. - Charles Caleb Colton
An odd feeling. Yesterday, I was working on the roof of the new storage shed at the Plant Barn, putting down the felt underlayment and then the shingles. My first roof! Then my daughter walked by and we chatted briefly. That was when she said something like, ‘Well, you’re almost 70 and you’re learning something new.’ This was true. And I had no problem with the concept of learning something new. We all should. Every day. But the fact that I was ‘almost 70’…now that bothered me! I like to think I’m almost 68. On August 31 of the year 2010, I will be almost 70.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
That's crazy! There's plenty of marine life left. Look...right over there, by the edge of the world!
Hmmm? I wonder; what keeps the water from falling off the edges?
I do enjoy my training walks a lot more now that I have my Clip radio to listen to; but there’s a problem. It’s one way, as radio generally is, and I want to respond to what I hear. Especially when it’s something like the news report I heard yesterday; General Motors wants to retire most of their workforce so that they can hire younger workers and won’t have to pay them as much. Yes, they said that. It was at that point that I envisioned
Does General Motors deserve to fail? You bet!
Isn't that amazing? His photo (Jay Dyckman) seems to be that of an adult. But when I read the text, it 's the ramblings of a 12 year old...? OK, maybe 14.
I was going to comment on his blog, but I would have to register and that would take more energy than I want to expend on a kid.
When it comes to wedding anniversaries, I know you should be properly sentimental. Show some respect for the institution of marriage. After all, it’s our 45th. But I can’t help myself; I found this quote the other day and so here it is…
“I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” - Rita Rudner
Of course, having posted this, I'm in danger of being pummeled severely.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Be careful, you may get what you wish for. We were hoping to see the fence finished up yesterday and sure enough, it was. Jeekers! We’re surrounded by a blank wall! Our view of the orchard is gone and we’re trapped here...Help!
Ok, I know we will become used to it after awhile; after all, it was our normal view of the world just a month ago. And the return of the roses will help to soften the look of all of that bare cedar fencing. The roses were pruned last week and so they are just stumps at this stage, leaving even more of the new fence exposed.
While the fence is new, I will take the time to remove a board or two and fashion a hole for Boo the cat to escape through. Both coming and going.
Last night, here on the Planet Orland, it was time for the annual Valentine Dinner at the parish hall. It’s put on by the youth group of the two churches, the Catholic Church and the Federated church. Yes, it’s (Gasp!) ecumenical! And it seems to work quite well. The money raised this year will go towards their trip south to
What I find most refreshing about this group of teens is the fact that they don’t go to
Truth be told; the youth group wouldn’t even have to go more than a mile or so to find the kind of poverty that comes along with an agricultural economy here on the Planet Orland.