Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stock Market opens lower?

High anxiety for 401(k) investors - Los Angeles Times

By Any Other Name

Official Sees Kenyan Ethnic Cleansing

Yesterday, January 30, 2008, 7:52:09 PM JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

The top American diplomat for Africa said that some of the violence that has swept across Kenya in the past month was ethnic cleansing.

Don’t you just love these great words they come up with to describe murder? Ethnic Cleansing, and how about that classic misnomer, Collateral Damage? Just another way of saying, Oops!

Caltrans

Live Traffic Cameras

More of the same but different. They seem to have a few new cameras on I-80. I was just watching a pair of plows making their way down the Whitmore Grade.

Thank You For Calling

On an entirely different subject; our new ISP, Clearwire, is so much better than Hughes Net. What a difference! Someday, we will have real connectivity; connections that the rest of the civilized world already enjoys, but this will do in the meantime. Could we talk a Korean ISP into coming over here and competing? They would make a fortune! I should also mention that when I called Hughes to cancel our account, I was told that they would be unable to do that as their system was down. Could I call back later? How appropriate!

How Close?

Another rainy day is on tap for us. And showers on into the weekend. Perhaps we will see sunshine next week? But, after a short year for rainfall, it’s nice to see a good start in the water year. I haven’t read anything about where we stand in regards to ‘normal’, but I’m guessing we’re close.

I should mention that the new SanDisk Sansa Clip mp3 player is a great product. I tuned in the FM radio while we were in Chico yesterday and it worked perfectly! I was able to listen to Fresh Air while shopping. Mervyn's and Target had great reception...Kohl's was so-so. And even better; I was able to pull in the same signal while on the Planet Orland. Amazing! I can see that my racewalking in Bidwell Park will go much better with a radio to accompany me. Sure, I would like some humans to racewalk with me but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

From outside the box:

The Republicans Had Their Chance

As I read about the debates last night; the ones held in the Reagan Libary, I got so darned angry that I couldn't even think straight; Those idiots invoking the spirit of a dead president in their quest for power was sheer idiocy! We've already suffered through 7+ years of Reagan style conservatism and these fools want to do it again? That's their inspiration?

And since I couldn't really think straight...it was nice to read this shortly after I began digesting the news of the day. The author says what I wanted to say if I had been able to.

And I had this thought, what if, after the debates were over, they found the doors to the library were locked and couldn't be opened? And they would have to stay in there forever, endlessly debating which of them was the most 'conservative' and most like Reagan! Oh, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys!

(The truth is...they are all like Reagan; clueless.)

Early Risers

Palmdale. Think about it. Desert. Low priced homes and a two hour commute to a job in Los Angeles. It was almost ten years ago that we had to sell a home in that lonely region. We had inherited the home and had hoped to sell it for a profit but there was absolutely no market for it. But later, after we had given the house away, the housing market surged with low cost loans and pretty soon Palmdale was booming again. But…there is no work available in Palmdale. There have always been rumors that they might build an alternate airport there; one similar to the one in Ontario, built to help LAX carry the load of increased air traffic. Something like that would have attracted all sorts of industry, but that has never come to pass. So the majority of the good citizens of Palmdale gets up early and drives to the San Fernando Valley and beyond.

With gasoline over $3 a gallon and good paying manufacturing jobs almost non existent now; how do you make a house payment? It’s just speculation on my part but I think Palmdale is headed for another ‘bust’. And that ties into a story I read the other day about the water behind the dam in Lake Oroville. The County of Butte owns some of that water because of agreements made during the construction of the dam. Butte County doesn’t need the water and it would be difficult to pipe it anywhere in the county right now, so it just sits in the lake with all the rest of the water. This was fine till those in charge of the lake decided to charge 'rent'. They now expect a hefty payment for storing the water and so a deal was made to ship it south to Palmdale for something like $1.4 million. That’s about twice the amount needed to pay the rent for the water. Of course they need the water in Palmdale. (It’s a desert…duh!) So now I’m wondering just how long Butte County can expect those payments to be made? And if Palmdale goes belly up, Butte will have to find another buyer right away. Again, it’s just speculation on my part.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Vigilante

Journalist

I don't know how they do it... (caution...extreme violence)

Party Time

Aging is in the news this morning. With John McCain winning the Republican primary in Florida (Home of the Aging), his age is now front and center. Time Goes By has a good article on the phenomena of equating age with disability.

I’m 67 and a half, almost. But I will be 68 at election time. And John McCain is not my candidate. Not now. Part of the reason for not supporting him is his age. To be truthful, most elders don’t like change. Most elders are conservative. If that is a description of John McCain, then he will never be my candidate. And I will vote for the candidate that promises change. (Heck, they all do.) The candidate with fresh ideas. A candidate that embraces science. A candidate that rejects anything that smacks of theocracies. Of course that could change. I’m not a Party animal (sheep) so I am free to vote for who I please.

Let it snow

It's a little after 4 in the morning and the truck scales at Truckee are a cold and lonely place. The lights are always on so it's a good place to watch the snow falling...

(I tried taking a screen shot of the video, hoping it would capture the moment...but that didn't work. All I had was a black image? I guess I will try something else and in the meantime, you can click on this link and that will take you to the CalTrans video page. )

I give up. I tried all sorts of ways to get a video screen shot of the snow and wind. You'll just have to take my word for it. It was looking pretty bleak up there at 4 in the morning.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Smoke Alarm

I was listening to NPR this morning as they dissected the 'Speech'. Point by point, it was obvious that his speechwriters were playing fast and loose with the facts. So, of course the Presidential pants must have been blazing last night! It is absolutely amazing that he can stand there and deliver those lies without even a smirk; his usual expression. But, since it was only his job to recite the carefully crafted words, I suppose he may not have even known what he was saying… (Duh! Of course he didn’t!) I have to give him credit though...he never even looked down as his trousers turned to ashes.

To celebrate the fact that this president is on his way out for real this time, I voted and sealed the envelope. Now, don’t call me until next year. To preserve my sanity, my phone is off the hook till the elections are over in the fall.

Caltrans

Live Traffic Cameras

It's cold and miserable outside so I'm enjoying myself, inside...watching people struggle through the snow around Tahoe. Live feeds at Myers and Truckee scales are good for feeling better about where you are at the moment. Throw another log on the fire!

California Senate

Rejects Health Coverage Proposal -

Back to 'business' as usual...

Counting

The Votes

It might take a while...but at least they will be counted. The networks won't be happy, but do we care?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Time for a party?

I have been wandering all over town today, Butte and Glenn counties, trying to get rid of some ‘green waste’ from the Plant Barn. Both sites were closed and I ended up going back to a friend’s place and dumped it on his burn pile. What a waste. Now why would you close a recycling center for green waste? For any reason?

The good news was that I found a SanDisk Sansa Clip mp3 player at Radio Shack while I was out and I’m listening to some of my music even as I type. The player works great and it’s not putting a dime into Steve Jobs pocket…always a good thing!

I’m hoping that the FM radio included with the Clip will pick up KCHO while I’m in the park so that I won’t miss any of the NPR programs that I like. I did hear a good show today on the truck radio as I wandered in search of a dump; Talk of the Nation had a show all about the delegate system (listen here) and how it works…or doesn’t work. What I found so interesting was the fact that most of those that called in with questions were simply baffled by the whole process. And why wouldn’t they be? Democracy? Not even close! And the only way to change it is to abandon the party system. If we all quit our respective parties and register as independents, the parties will be forced to change or disappear. Be smart; join the party that Einstein favored, None of the Above!

More good news; we'll be out to dinner when bush reads that speech tonight and will have to miss it. What a shame he couldn't try something original for this last State of the Union speech; like write it himself? Use his own thoughts? Maybe even apologize?

Working around

the problem...

Bill couldn't get these photos delivered by email, so we're doing a cut and paste from my blog. There is always a way!




Another old photo

"...with Reinhold Niebuhr, one of America's leading theologians, and Sherwood Eddy, an ordained minister and missionary."

Interesting if you are at all interested in Niebuhr. (I have a love/hate relationship with his views...but at least he makes you think!)

Let it Snow

I guess it’s a photo kind of morning. I just got some pictures of two of the Lassen County grandkids and so I did some editing to show where our camper would have been if we had left it there for the winter; which, luckily, we didn’t!

All of this makes me realize that we’re not getting our regular servings of grandchild and great grandchild photos, not to mention grand niece (is that a word?) Where are the rest of the photos? Colum? Sophia? Karlee? Kyle? Shannon? Meghan? Zack? (Here’s a link to some older ones of Zack and Colum that might have been missed…)

A paper jam

roils California vote -

Any nerd could have warned them...and did.

Re-View

I posted some photos on my blog yesterday and the one that shows a man sitting on a bucket while ice fishing is already one of my all-time favorites. I would love to know more about the photo, but I just realized that I took it from Library of Congress collection that’s posted on Flickr. It’s one of over 3,000 photos. And if I go back and find it, what information is attached to the photo?


Maybe I don’t need to know anymore than what is seen. The man looks so very much alone. You almost forget that the photographer was present. It’s the eyes; the fact that you can’t see them that gives that feeling of remoteness. Eyes connect you with a subject.


As I look at it, all sorts of subconscious stuff floats up; my father was from Minnesota. I think they go ice fishing there? But he left that cold climate as a child. Would my grandfather have gone ice fishing? Sat on a bucket, in the cold and pondered what to make of his life? Maybe.


In the meantime, the picture was free and so it's mine now and I can think whatever I want about it.

Yada x 3

I have started my day as I usually do by going to the ‘feeds’ to see who has written something new. And over the weekend I took the time to add any newspapers that allowed RSS. I already get most of their emails, but I wanted to clear up my in-box and just go to RSS for all of my information. Some news outlets still don’t get it and want you to jump through hoops to obtain the news you can get without a hassle somewhere else. But the major players, even the Economist, a premier publication, have decided to open their pages more often. It’s my plan to take all of my information gathering tools off of my computer and put them on Google’s servers. Then, when my hard drive fails I will be OK.

The first feed was Time Goes By and Crabby Old Lady was reviewing a book about blogging. Just another opinion. What’s with these people? Must everything be defined to their satisfaction? Categorized and labeled! With over a 100 million blogs on-line how could anyone be so na├»ve as to think they could define that phenomenon?

As a proponent of Myers Briggs Type Indexing (MBTI), I am of the opinion that certain types will never be found blogging. It only appeals to a few. (Yes, 100 million worldwide is a few) For instance; I’m an INFP type. As an Introvert, I wouldn’t enjoy any ‘real’ venue to spout my opinions. I can keep people safely at a distance on my blog. For an Extrovert, the immediate reaction that they need and receive from a live audience is missing. For them, what’s the point of a blog? And, since my opinion is not all that well formed yet, I will drop the subject.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wandering through

Flickr, I picked out these images just for fun. From the Libary of Congress collection. First...A picnic for two





The Story of Stuff

with Annie Leonard

Go ahead...take a look.

Farewell, Fred

C'mon...laugh!

It really is funny!

Grand Grocery Co

This is irritating!

I must have missed something here...what's with the comments scattered all over the photo? I'm usually on top of most geeky things but this one escaped me. Is it a Flickr thing?

Just run your cursor over the photo and you will see what I mean. It's like 'graffiti' on your monitor.

But, on the other hand...I think I know some places I would like to use this feature!

So Lucky!

Yes, I’m still reading American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips, but I’m close to the end. What I have found most interesting about the final third of the book, (Economics) was the fact that my suspicions about how the Republicans have manipulated our once healthy economy for their own profit schemes are revealed as being true. Reagan’s plan to grow the government and cut taxes at the same time (Debt is good!) was an obvious symptom of his poor mental health. Even when those in his own party tried to tell him that he was crazy, (Emperor Bush, The Elder, called it Voodoo economics)) they were ignored.

You remember that bit of data about mental health; that one in four Americans suffers from some form of mental illness? Well, it’s just our luck that most of those so afflicted run for office.

Iraq: The War Card

The Center for Public Integrity

Speaking of intelligence and ethics...as I was in the previous post; here's some evidence that those two qualities have been lacking for some time now.

Some Choice

Same old, same old. The rain continues once again after a nice day without it. Well, most of the day was dry.

The work day at the Senior Thrift Store went well. The volunteers now have room to work and the mountain of donations has been reduced to a manageable size by sorting and boxing. I even found one small treasure; an ancient Scrabble game and we can use the old wooden letters for some arts and crafts type projects. Other than that, it was just a day of heavy lifting and hauling and my body resents it. Painfully!

And I’m trying to make sense of the news reports of Obama’s win in the South Carolina primary. All I can say is that if the news media tells you that the contest is now all about race, it’s because the news media has made it so. What a shame.

Race and gender have no place in this contest. But there they are, bigger than life! It’s the eleventh hour for the primaries and I’m still looking for the intelligent and ethical candidate. With Richardson out of the race, I’m not sure that I even have a choice anymore.

(Intelligent and ethical? When did we last have a president with those qualifications? The last 7 years has shown us just how far we can go in the opposite direction.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Treasure or Trash

It’s almost 7 in the morning and I still haven’t found my writing voice. I’m just wandering around the internet. Click here and a click there. And I have to be in town at the Senior Thrift Store at 8 for a morning of cleaning and sorting. I spent about 3 hours down there yesterday, just trying to make sense of the stacks of boxes and bags. It will be the same thing today. We have far too many donations for the small number of volunteers to sort through and it’s almost impossible to keep up with it all if we don’t hold these periodic cleanups. Or enlist more volunteers. I’m sure there are some small treasures amidst the trash, but it has to go!

Maybe I should take a camera and record the treasures I do find...I found some real old and unique cabinet hinges yesterday. Can't throw those away!

Gates

Troops could go to Pakistan - CNN.com

For those of us old enough to remember the 60's with great clarity... here's a quote from the article, "Gates said that if a training plan went through, it likely would involve "a very small number" of U.S. troops."

And that's exactly how we got involved in Vietnam. Small numbers and training. That's all; honest!

Local News:

Woman hits coyote on 32

Obviously a VERY slow news day on the Planet Orland. (Film at 11!)

Obama's misuse

of history - Los Angeles Times

"Despite the candidate's claims, Lincoln and Kennedy were seasoned politicians before they became president."

And how much 'seasoning' is enough? And when is there too much 'seasoning'?

No, my ballot still sits on the desk...blank. Obama? Clinton? Voting for Clinton would give me momentary satisfaction; just knowing that my vote would irritate some rightwing nut. But, I must be more serious than that...

Boring

Looking at the weather forecast for the morning, I see that conditions have finally changed. We no longer have storm warnings for the north state, we have flood warnings. Great!

These are tough times if you’re a cat. And our cat has been reduced to playing with humans. Boo’s normal routine has been so disrupted by the rain that she tried playing ‘Tag’ with us last night in her effort to fight off boredom. Funny thing about cat tag; we’re always ‘it’. And there’s no way that we can keep up with her as she races from room to room, behind couches and over the chairs. Only by ganging up on her were we able to win a round. Of course this story tells you just how bored we are by the endless rain.

OK, it time to get serious and look at what’s offered on the feeds. I’m still being drawn to Shorpy a half dozen times a day to see the latest postings. I posted the one photo of Grandpa Ray on the Members page and I’m still hoping that someone, somewhere, might see it and know more about it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Finally, An Admission

But, I already knew that

And I even know some people that don't believe in Global Warming. For them, it's all very simple; saying, "I don't believe it" any time the subject comes up. That takes care of it.

Laura’s Zoo

Up North, with Bears, Moose and Wolves

Why do I read this every day? To make myself feel better? I hope not.

Male Teen Violence

May Be Instigated By Sports Machismo

Another 'Duh!' moment... and another good reason to spend more money on education and less on sports. But the 'addicts' will never let it happen.

Gotta Love Them!

These people just never stop, do they? Makes you feel 'Proud' all over!

U.S. to Insist Iraq Grant It Wide Mandate in Operations
With its international mandate in Iraq set to expire, the Bush administration will insist that the government in Baghdad give the United States broad authority to conduct combat operations and guarantee civilian contractors immunity from Iraqi law, according to administration and military officials.


Why would you need immunity...unless you were planning on doing something...illegal? Heaven Forbid!

If I won...

And now that I have brought back memories of where we have traveled and lived, I couldn’t help but think of what I would do if I won the lottery. Of course you have to play if you want to win…and I keep forgetting to do that! Oh, well; it’s just dreams anyway. And since it’s a dream, I will make it a big win. $60 million and I get to keep about a third of that. Now that I have the $20 million, where do I want to live?

First things first. On the Big Island; North Kohala coast, somewhere near the little towns of Kapa'au or Hawi. Or even Volcano Village, high in the mountains above Hilo.

Closer to home, (wherever that is?) I would probably buy a loft in downtown Chico. Just for fun. Further away; a vacation home in Little River or Albion, on the Mendocino Coast. And very high on my list would be a summer/winter home in Mono County, near Twin Lakes and Bridgeport.

An apartment in Manhattan Beach, for nostalgia. A condo near Point Loma, for the sport fishing. Another condo in Asheville. And a real house near Taos/Santa Fe. Away from the city itself. And I mustn’t forget North Dakota! I love extremes… Have I spent the $20 million?

Living Good

It’s pretty much the same kind of morning as we saw yesterday and according to the ‘experts’, it’s the same as the one we will see tomorrow. Rain and more rain.

With that description of the weather, I can easily segue into the focus of today’s post on Time Goes By; why do you live where you do? Wow! What a complex subject to explore.

The post starts off with a link to Chris Pirillo’s description of why he wouldn’t live in Hawai’i. Of course he is all wrong. But that’s good! That’s one less person that wants to go there and he’s telling plenty of others. All good.

Back to the subject; why do we live on the Planet Orland? Because that’s where time and fate has delivered us. Every place we have lived has been for that reason. We never had a grand plan to live in a specific place for the rest of our lives. We live here because we are close to our children and grandchildren. (And now a great grandchild) Not too close, but not that far away.

We both grew up in Manhattan Beach during the 40’s and 50’s, long before it became a place for the rich and famous to live. It was all middle and lower-middle class back then. And we spent all of our time at the beach. Surf, sun and volleyball. Barefooted 365 days a year.

When we married, in the early 60’s, we couldn’t find a place to live in Manhattan so we moved next door, to El Segundo. But work soon had me commuting to the San Fernando Valley so we looked for a place there. And we lived all over that valley before we bought a house, our first, all the way out in Ventura County; Newbury Park. More time and fate.

Work then took us to Orange County for awhile and then a momentous decision to leave Southern California. I didn’t know where I wanted to be, so I drove north until I stopped, attracted by the scent of burning cedar in a logging town; Susanville. We moved into Janesville (All in Lassen County) and I worked in Reno, Nevada.

11 years later and fate made me follow work to Roseville and I was back in the midst of people. A crowd. Some would say that Sacramento is a cow town still, but I would say that it’s a huge metropolis and far too many people live there and after 16 years and retirement, it was time to go somewhere quiet and still be close to the children, etc. So now we’re on the Planet Orland.

During those 16 years in Roseville, I spent quite a few of those years commuting to the various offices of the corporation I worked for. There were offices in almost every region of the country and I didn’t miss seeing any of them. And since I was traveling during all of the seasons of the year, I got a chance to experience both the good and the bad. Mystic in the winter. Bad. Orlando in the summer. Bad. Albuquerque in the spring. Good. Knoxville in the fall. Good. Hawai’i in all seasons. Good. Yes, we had an office in Honolulu. Now closed and that makes me sad.

Sure, I have favorite places where I wouldn’t mind living at all. And they all have drawbacks of some kind. If I lived in Hawai’i it would be on the Big Island and on the ‘wet side’. Away from the tourists. When we stayed there, we found a small hotel in a residential district of Hilo. We shopped where the local shopped, ate where they did and just tried to blend in. It was the same on Kauai. We stayed at what had to be the smallest hotel on the island; 4 rooms to rent. We took the one luxury suite for $90 a night! And whenever I had to go to Oahu, I stayed far away from Waikiki.

Let’s see…where else could we live? Asheville, North Carolina. Taos, New Mexico. Boulder, Colorado. Woodinville, Washington. Little River, California, Cannon Beach, Oregon. And probably a dozen more that I haven’t been to. Yet.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Browsing

I have been browsing through my old journals once again, looking for clues. Clues as to the meaning of life. I become very introspective every once in awhile and wonder what it’s all about? So it’s nice to be able to go back in time and see what had me worried and what made me smile so long ago. It’s reassuring to see that we weathered a terrible financial storm back in 2000. “I was just checking the stock market a few minutes ago and it had plunged 390 points, a sharp decline! Now it has recovered to –301 points. I have a stock market simulation portfolio that has lost $200,000 dollars this month! Good thing it’s only play money.” I wrote that back in October of 2000. And in August of 1998, I wrote this, The Stock market plunged yesterday, and disaster is imminent in Russia. Financial news around the world is all bad…” And even further back; September of 1990, Our economy is shaky right now, and a war could precipitate a severe recession.”

OK, its now 2008 and we’re still here.

Virtual Tourist

The wet weather continues. What a drag! I’ve been fighting off the depression by using the Weather Underground web cams to see the sun coming up in Maine. Yes! There is a sun…although the ground is covered in snow most places I look. Perhaps I should have started in Florida if I wanted sun?

Don't Even Think About It

The War on Thought

Time Goes By has been fighting against this bill (S. 1959) for some time now. This is definitely worth a letter to your Senator!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Asking The Questions

Getting a few answers

Not surprising either...

From the above article; "While campaigning in Michigan, former Gov. Mitt Romney lashed Sen. John McCain for supporting stronger fuel economy standards, saying they would devastate Michigan's economy.Other GOP candidates – including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas – oppose tougher fuel economy standards. Aside from McCain on the GOP side, only Mike Huckabee has voiced his support for improved fuel efficiency."

Once Again

It’s time for another cat story. (If you don’t like cats, just move along.) The weather changes Boo’s behavior significantly; which, in turn, changes ours. She LOVES the wood stove. And the rug that lies in front of it. It’s made to catch sparks, so it’s rugged and she enjoys scratching and stretching on it. I haven’t seen any signs of wear! Third, she loves to have us pet her and rub her ears and belly. Simple. But we can’t hang out around the woodstove all day. And whenever Boo feels sufficiently neglected, she comes and gets us. In the study or in the bathroom, she finds us. And then, such noise! You would swear that she really needs to get outside and that’s there we head…until she makes a detour and then flops down onto her rug. “OK. Here I am. Get busy!”

Ageless Marketing

The Boomers Did It! They Caused the Panic of 2008. They Got Old!

Well, you can't blame me! I was already old. But we can all blame my little sister. (Something I used to do anyway)

Sign of anOlder Time

Shorpy :: History in HD

Why didn't we listen?

My thoughts

I’ve been reading Einstein by Walter Isaacson. A great read. I have always been an admirer of Doctor Einstein and as I read the book, it was soon obvious that we think alike. No, I’m not anywhere near his level of intelligence; I can’t think on three different levels at the same time. I love physics, though I don’t always understand it, and I hate algebra. But, we certainly agree on politics! He couldn’t imagine how anyone could join a political party. Certainly not a ‘thinking person’. For Einstein, governments were simply tolerated; they had no place in real life. By the time he was in his thirties, he had been a citizen of two countries; one of them twice. And only out of necessity. He was truly a citizen of the world… as we all are.

Lunchtime

"Let’s face it, the U.S. consumer is dependent upon housing prices and stock prices and with both of them sinking rapidly the outlook for the economy is not good.’" WILLIAM H. GROSS, chief investment officer of the bond management firm Pimco.

Is this a good time for us to discuss Social Security vs the stock market? When would be a good time for you? Let’s do lunch sometime and talk about it. You bring your food stamps and I’ll bring mine.

Pharma

New Vytorin TV Ads Are in the Works

Another benefit of NOT having a television!

Happiness is...

Yes, it’s raining once more, despite the 30% chance limitation from the forecast. I haven’t read about any records being broken, but I would say we’re getting close to what is or should be normal at this time of year. That would be nice.

The other day I was listening to a story about sleep and found it quite fascinating. Apparently, very few humans get by on less than 5 hours of sleep; less than 10%. And most need at least 7 hours. The story went on to describe how we have changed our sleep patterns over the past few centuries and not for the good. It’s those darn electric lights! (Curse you, T.A. Edison...and you to, A.G. Bell!)

Naturally, I thought about how it has changed in our lifetime. Growing up, we were in bed by 7:30 until we got to the age of 8 or 9. Then it was 8:30. At the age of 12, we got to stay up till 9. By the age of 16, we were closing in on 10 PM for our bedtime. But, we didn’t have television until I was about 10 or 11. Radio and reading constituted entertainment in the evening.

And we only had to look back to our Nana’s childhood to see that her generation depended on lanterns and candles and the radio was entirely absent. How late would you stay up?

Anyway, the story went on to describe the sleeping patterns of those early years and apparently they were accustomed to what were called first and second sleeps. People would go to bed early (why not?) and sleep for 4 or 5 hours and then awaken. There was period of an hour or more when people would converse or simply lie awake. Then came the second sleep for an additional 4 or 5 hours. This was normal enough to be included in the literature of the day.

To be honest, can we say that the light bulb has been around long enough for our bodies to have evolved to a point where we need less sleep? I don’t think so. Although I only sleep for about 6 hours each night, it’s really my ‘second sleep’. I’ve already had an hour or more in my chair or on the couch.

Yes, I nap. I love it! I even look forward to it. It’s a great time for bonding with our cat, who loves to nap as well. I lay down on the couch and she snuggles into the crook of my arm. We’re happy.

War On Drugs

Hit & Run

What's the word for innocent victims's ??? Oh yes, 'collateral damage'. Sorry, folks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

He said...she said

How very exciting. The stock market has dropped about 385 points in less than an hour. And what will that do to us? Who knows at this time? Expect more useless pontificating by the candidates. Expect useless drivel from the president and his cronies. I’m going back to my books until some perspective has been gained.

More odds and ends

If Everyone’s Finger-Pointing, Who’s to Blame? (Good question!)
By VIKAS BAJAJ
The turmoil in the mortgage markets has incited a wave of legal tangles, as homeowners are suing lenders, lenders are suing banks, banks are suing loan
specialists. And investors are suing everyone. (Let me guess who is profiting)

The fire continues to warm us and that’s a good thing. Apparently, wood is about the only heating fuel you can depend on. I bought the firewood a few months ago and so the price on this particular load of wood has remained the same. But I would imagine that its replacement value has gone up.

And I just read that the editor of the Los Angeles Times has been fired because he wanted to offer more to the readers, while the owners wanted less. The ideal paper? In-depth reporting of the news. Investigative reporting. No ads for chiropractors or snake oil. Brittany and OJ on the back page, if at all.

The forecast

And now for the weather. Boring and gloomy. Rain every day for a week. We’re all ready for a week of sunshine; maybe two! There is no freezing here, but I imagine that our ‘mountain family’ will get more snow on top of what’s already there.


Seriously; what we need is some sunshine today! And so here is some from that 'mountain family'.




Go Now

Life goes on. I just read that the Asian stock indexes fell this morning. Again. A few more hours and Wall Street opens and one can only hope that the panic doesn’t spread. I am not optimistic.

Is there any good news? Well, the candidates have all weighed in with their various plans on how to fix the economy. Fascinating. My own opinion is that it could be fixed overnight if bush/cheney & company would resign. There’s a lot to be said for the parliamentary form of government. With a simple vote of ‘No Confidence’ the ruling party must go… now. I’ll vote for that!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bantam Cinema

Connecticuts oldest Movie Theater

Just browsing and ran across this...I was looking for an image of Duvall's restaurant and this popped up.

Yes, we've been there. And the restaurant. (Now Woods Pit BBQ?...what a shame!)

Morning Boring

What else is new? Even though it’s a holiday, I’m going to a board meeting this morning. The Glenn County Seniors meet on time, no matter what the calendar says. This mornings meeting will take place in the hospital in Willows; a ‘not bad’ place to buy breakfast. Cheap and quite good. The hospital doesn’t charge us anything to use a conference room and they provide free coffee. And it’s definitely better than meeting at the Black Bear Diner; where we had to contend with much noise and poor service.

I suppose I should post something about last nights Soup Simmer-Off at the Federated church. We ended up with about 13 pots of soup to judge and all were quite good. Plus, it was a good night for soup; cold! My soup got some votes, but didn’t make it into contention for the top honors. Maybe next year.

How Odd


What’s that noise? Rain. With just a 30% chance of rain, sure enough, we got some early this morning. And of course we have a Special Weather Statement for the day and the days to come; rain and snow.



Apropos of nothing at all; we were driving past the Chico cemetery the other day and I glanced over at the entrance. That when I saw the torpedo. Yes, a memorial of some kind as there was plaque mounted below it. But, wait…a torpedo? Why on earth would you put a once deadly explosive device on display at a cemetery? Do some cemeteries have bombs displayed? Do smaller cemeteries have a plaque with bullets on them? And how about really big cemeteries, like Forest Lawn; should they have an old atomic bomb on display? This is weird! And sick…

No, this is not the Chico torpedo. Chico's is much smaller. After all, it's a small town. And they had their choice of a torpedo or a hand grenade. The torpedo seemed a better choice.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Grrr!

I’m still reading American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips and finding it to be even more fascinating as I get deeper into it. It also has the ability to make me more than angry! To read how the citizens are treated as sheep that can be fed any lie is infuriating. But, sadly true. Why do we allow this? I guess we’re too busy watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’ to worry about the small stuff like our freedoms.


This is one of those books that I wish I owned, so that I could mark it up; underline and highlight! Kevin Phillips knows whereof he writes and it shows.

Montana Governor

Foments Real ID Rebellion

Way to go, Brian!

Dept. of Homeland Security says... "The ability to get false identification must end, and Real ID is that step,"

Let me count the ways that the statement above is false. It will never end. As long as there is a challenge, someone will step up to it. And there can't be more than 5 million people that will try. Guaranteed. Just think of any government program...any one!

So confusing!

Now, on to something incredibly different. Politics. Riiight! The good news is that the Huckster is a loser; but you already knew that. Now it’s time for me to do some forecasting. About a month ago, I said to myself; this race will end up being a Clinton versus McCain affair. And I still say that. That’s not the result I want, but it’s the one I think will happen. Then it will be a photo finish!

I don’t think ‘Slick Willard’ has a chance. He won in Nevada as a Mormon and not as a politician. He was 4th in the South Carolina Primary. And I had to laugh at some of the things that have come from his mouth; “I've got Michigan in my DNA. I've got it in my heart, and I've got cars in my bloodstream,” That’s an amazing thing to say when you’re the former governor of Massachusetts. He also has a house there as well as one in Utah. Yes, 3 houses. 3 states. Is his DNA confused? I know I am!

1963/2007

Another fine morning. And I’ve been wandering around the web world of inflation and that’s where I discovered the governments little tool for figuring out how inflation has changed things for us.

First things first; I had to see how much (2007) money I was making back in 1963. I had just quit my job as a Texaco service station attendant ($1.75/hour) and had become an apprentice carpenter at $2.50 an hour. The $1.75 calculates out to $11.86/hour and the apprentice wages (50% of journeyman wages) work out to $16.94/hour.

Yes, back in those days that was normal. We were able to buy houses, food and go to the doctor without fear of bankruptcy. And we were simply ‘average’ Americans. What a life!

So, what did we do wrong? Or, maybe it wasn’t us? Who could have wanted our money and our power? And why did we let them take it?

By the way; gasoline was about $2.10 a gallon in 2007 dollars.

CPI

Inflation Calculator

Ya know what? You could play with this thing for hours! (And cry)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Paraplegic

man dumped in LA gutter sues hospital

Tell me again why I should fear 'socialized' medicine?

Cool Morning

Chilly out there! And for some odd reason, my mind is working overtime this morning. What fun!

And today’s the big day in Nevada and South Carolina. In my mind, two very disparate states. I really hope that neither one is a factor of any kind in this race. What will the news media make of today’s results? The pundits are sharpening their wits and honing their minds (where and if possible). But will any of it matter? Super Tuesday is the true test, everything else is just blather.

There are a little over two weeks left before that Tuesday vote and I still haven’t mailed in my ballot. I’m still undecided. And no, I am not waiting to see what happens in today’s contest. I think Obama knows too little, which could be a good thing. And I think Senator Clinton knows too much, which could be a good thing. Richardson and Kucinich should be among our choices, but the press has already decided who our candidates will be. And that's a bad thing.

The scariest candidate is still Huckabee. Federal funding for science has fallen to an all-time low during the past 7 years and with the Huckster in charge, we could be facing a new ‘Dark Ages’. When it comes to leaders, intelligence matters!

I’ve been reading American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips. It’s not an easy read, but taking the time to do it is certainly rewarding. Mr. Phillips has come full circle; from a senior adviser to Nixon to a distinguished critic of the Republican Party.

And one of the things that struck me in the book was his description of how the Republicans use fear as part of their overall election strategy. Running for president or for mayor, the goal is to motivate the voter to elect a Republican because of the fear of what would happen if the voter doesn’t. Rising crime rates! (Not true) Imminent war! (Not true) All of our social ills are magnified and used in a campaign of fear.

Erica Jong

We Deserve What We Get -

Short and very much to the point. All of the candidates are simply second best...or third.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Governor

says he made mistakes -

Whoa! He needs to spend more time doing the 'reflective' thing...

But, considering his history, I am still suspicious.

Typical

My morning has started in the usual way; no surprises at all. Coffee in hand and browsing the RSS feeds. The cat is back in, her ears have been scratched and the fire has been fed. It’s chilly out there. And last, I opened up my journal for today’s entry.

That was when I remembered yesterday’s poetry selection from the Writer’s Almanac. A poem written for me.

Now, what goes in my journal today? A fishhook or a marble?