Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pulling Back

the Immigration Posses - New York Times

Good for her! Now when will Sheriff Joe leave? Not that it will change anything; he's quite the 'role model' and his successor will be tempted to outdo him.

And this from

cab drollery: Time For Change

"We have a White House occupied by dysfunctional idiots, and it has given up everything civilized that distinguished this country, and made us proud." I love it!

Should I be worried? I read blogs to get my blood pressure up; a good thing. And I pet my cat to get my blood pressure down; a good thing.

More Eavesdropping

on Life

She has quite a talent! I'm always glad to see a new post here...


This is it, the end of the month and one day closer to summer. And of course it’s Wednesday, the ‘every other Wednesday’ that I irrigate the orchard. All is ready, the orchard has been mowed and the gates are in place and all I have to worry about are the dogs that hang out along the road leading to the main canal. But, it’s lighter now at 6 and I should be able to see them quite clearly. They are barking dogs and don’t appear to be aggressive, but just in case… I always have my club with me!

I’ve never understood the reason for having a barking dog. If you really want a guard dog, you want one that is always in ‘stealth mode’. That’s the one that would scare me if I were in the burglary business. Dog barks? He knows where it is and will take it out! Scenario: “John, wake up! I hear the dog barking! Oh? He stopped barking… I guess it was just a cat.” Yes, it’s silence that makes a burglar nervous!

Unfortunately, we have a lot of barking dogs in our neighborhood and apparently all the burglars are out and about between 7 and 10 PM, as that’s when the dogs do most of their barking. But…I do love our double pane windows! They keep out most of the noise.

Time Goes By

Medicare Generational Split?

Some more scary thoughts about Medicare...

You know, we could take care of any perceived Medicare problems easily if it weren't for that $3 trillion dollar war we had going on. Or, we could join the rest of the civilized nations and act responsibly for once.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Winter Soldiers

Back from therapy...Ouch! But I'm getting better. And to reward myself, I had a coffee at my usual spot, Cal-Java, and I read the paper(s). Ah! This is what retirement is all about. A time to read and reflect...

And this is what I read, "The Winter of Their Discontent" printed in the Chico Beat. Just 3 page views...won't take long to read.

"If all of America were to hear these voices, the occupation of Iraq would already be over."

By the way, the Pentagon has not approved these stories.

Looking for Mr. Wright

- Los Angeles Times

"The minister reveals that he's as radical and bigoted as his critics insist."

Unlike, let's say Rush Limbaugh or Jonah Goldberg?

Power to the people!

I couldn’t help but notice that the current issue of Mother Jones is all about the energy crisis. It wasn’t planned that way, but I picked up Lights Out by Jason Makansi while we were at the library yesterday. Interesting read so far, especially the facts that very few graduating engineers are headed for jobs in the power industry. Boring jobs. And the fact that approximately 50% of the existing engineers will be gone in the next 5 years. Which means…the replacements, if any, will have no experience at all. And just to make my morning interesting, when I Googled ‘lights out’, I came up with this website… who knew?


Daily News, Political Commentary and Analysis

Do you really want to know what's happening in the world? It's not all here, but it's a start. The un-network news!

Ranting at 5

That’s better. Slide that window open and feel the breeze. It’s the best part of spring, summer and fall. Winter? Bah! I love fresh air, except for the occasional times when the wind reminds us that we do live in the country…next to a small herd of cows. And that’s not happening this morning.

We were out with the Monday night diner’s crowd last night and I was reminded once again that few people, very few, bother to know what’s happening in the world. Their world begins and ends on the fringes of the Planet Orland. I can’t really pick on Orland, it seems to be everywhere. Real news; the full story and beyond the headlines, takes some effort to discover and because of that it is generally ignored. It’s a shame, because what happens in Myanmar really does affect us. And in Tajikistan. Zimbabwe. Abu Dhabi. Far too many of us watch the 6 o’clock news and then half an hour of the History channel and call that good enough.

What brought on that rant? Last night, except for one, no one else had heard about the food crisis in the world. No one knew that rice and wheat are in short supply beyond our borders and in the third world. They were amazed to hear that Wal*Mart was limiting sales of rice…right here in this county! What?

With this all too obvious lack of knowledge, why do we allow these people to vote? Shouldn’t there be a test? You have to take a test to drive! But that would be undemocratic of course and so we will end up with a president that was elected because of how the candidate measured up by those things that the ‘talking heads’ of the 6 o’clock news deemed important. Flag lapel pin? Check!

Excuse me, I have to go stick my head back in the sand.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Orland Free Library

They have a website...who knew?

From cab drollery:

Some One Cares

How about "Elizabeth for President!"? I'm for it...

Something added

I have placed a ad on the right hand side. Check it out. There's lots of opportunities to make real difference in the world. You could even save your spare change to loan here and make something miraculous happen in a far off part of the world.

And on the Kiva site, look at the left hand side (Impact this week) to see the statisitics rolling by. Amazing! Yes, it is a small world!

The Power of Positive Thinking

On a positve note; my own health has improved. Despite the Saturday workout at the closing of the book sale, or perhaps because of it, my hip seems to be improving. I was able to sit all of the way through dinner last night, a rarity, and I was able to drive without a lot of pain. All good signs. I’m not sure if I can credit the physical therapy for all of the improvement; OK, maybe 90%, as I’m pretty sure that the enforced inactivity had to help as well. Not being able to stand or sit without pain makes for a long and boring day! Once I feel that I am physically able, I will have to try to catch up on the chores around here, including the painting of the family room. At the same time I’m going to be wary of exceeding my current limitations. Slow and easy. I’ve too many years ahead of me and I want to enjoy them as much as possible.

So what does this ‘health event’ do to my plans for a marathon attempt in September, in Portland? Right now, I’m thinking that I will cancel. With just 3 months left for the hard training needed, I don’t see myself walking 18 – 20 miles on a Saturday in August. I was only up to 6 miles at speed when the pain put me out. But I do have alternate plans; healthy plans. Since I won’t need to drive into Chico every day for training, I can use my bike more often. And I can walk into Orland from here and get a good workout. Walking all of the way to downtown would give me about a 5 mile round trip. And I want to do some photo blogging; walking and cycling will give me the opportunity for that.


Another warm morning. This is quite nice; opening the windows and letting the spring breezes pass through the house. Another month and this will be the norm.

We had one of those good news/bad news moments last night. Our friend, Byron, had passed away yesterday. He had been in hospice care for about a week and had been sleeping most of that time. I remember Byron telling us his age once but I’ve forgotten; 91 or 87? What we do remember about Byron was his good spirit. We used to pick him up once a week and take him out to dinner with a group of elders and although he had to use his cane and moved quite slow, he was certainly quick witted. And he was always positive; a rarity among so many elders. “I’m so lucky!” was his favorite phrase. Why do you say that, Byron? “I’ve got so many friends!” was his answer. Well, his friends miss him this morning.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


still pushing back on pins, patriotism, and politics - The Carpetbagger Report

"In my heart of hearts, I don’t really believe there are any Americans who would base their presidential vote on flag pins and the Star Spangled Banner. People can and do back (or oppose) candidates for some pretty superficial of reasons, but no one’s that dumb."

Believe it!

Jess & Jim's

- Martin City, MO

I was just browsing through my journal and decided to add a photo to it. And this site had some of the best. How many times did I eat here? Too many! Our corporate offices were about 30 minutes away and this restaurant was a required stop for just about every trip I made.

Books and More Books

The book sale is over. Preliminary reports indicate that the Friends of the Library made about $3,600 and that could be a record. And at 50 cents a book, that’s a lot of books! They’re even cheaper on Saturday when we sell them at $2 a bag.

Speaking of books, as I was; I mentioned the other day that I had read the book, The Thing about Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead by David Shields. It’s one of those books that I will read again just to get the facts straight. And it might be a good book for those under the age of 50 to read. That’ll make them less snotty about elders! Of course I would edit the book first, just to remove all of the endless stories of the author’s basketball skills as a young man. To be truthful, I wish his 97 year old father had written the book. He seems more likeable. But…the facts that he recites are fascinating and that’s what makes it such an interesting read.

Yes, I thought about John McCain after reading this book, and if all of the facts about aging are correct, (Why would the author lie?) he really shouldn’t be running for president. Especially true if Huckabee ends up as the VP candidate. Just as we have a right to a trial by a jury of our peers, we should be lead by one of our peers your peers. McCain is one of my peers and unless he changes his rhetoric, he is a supporter of the status quo; the favorite position of far too many elders. And as the election draws closer, McCain, unlike the author, may find reason to lie and to seemingly embrace change.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What a mess!

Dr RiceFrom The Brunei Times

I found this link on cab drollery.

A very clear explanation of why she has failed, again... but wait, she's just the messenger of this administration. And that makes me wonder why she hasn't quit?


From the

Why do we keep hearing about that darn lapel pin? The flag lapel pin? Do flags really define us? Colorful pieces of fabric, originally used to keep the fierce hordes focused on the 'correct' side of the battle lines during the horrific wars of the Middle Ages and beyond, their use today is less than necessary. We should be examining what people say and not what they jewelry.


Suspends Briefings for Analysts - New York Times

It's about time.

I was just thinking, as I scanned the news, what a mess this administration had put us into. Every news item I read that came from a government source was considered 'doubtful'. After 7+ years of lies, what else can I think? At one time, long ago...I actually believed what some leaders told me.

Spring Sale

It's over. Today is the last day of the Orland Friends of the Library book sale. We'll start boxing up the remaining books at two this afternoon.

The book sale does wonders for the local library and that’s a good thing. Glenn County isn’t very supportive of the library and so every dollar we make is needed. I heard the story that one supervisor said that most people ought to have enough books to read; already in their homes. And I’m sure he did.

An odd thought; I wonder why so many people buy their books at the book sale? Almost every (but not all) book could be found in the library. But I admit that I do buy a few myself, choosing from among the art books, because for only 50 cents a book, I’m going to cut them up for collage work. Someday.


Oh, oh. Something is different this morning. One, it is warm. I didn’t feel the need to move the thermostat up a few degrees to take the chill off; there is no chill. None. Two, Boo the cat wasn’t waiting for me at the kitchen door. I make the coffee and when it begins to perk, I open that door and she usually marches right in. Imperiously. Not today; I found her ten minutes later, climbing the screen of the study window to alert me to her presence. OK, back to the door to let her in and now she is ready to join me in a quick match of cat wrestling. I have found that getting down on the floor and playing with her for a few minutes helps to stretch the muscles of my hip and makes me more flexible, sooner. Pain free! For the moment. And since she is only a 7 pound cat, I can usually win 2 falls out of 3.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Surprise? Not!

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain, on the last leg of this week's tour of economically struggling regions on Friday, was campaigning alongside former rival Mike Huckabee.

Definitely saw this one coming...a mile away! Odds are? Even?

Pretty Smart

You want to know how John McCain will win? By doing and saying things like this...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican US presidential candidate John McCain accused North Carolina's Republican Party of being "out of touch with reality" over its refusal to pull an advertisement criticizing Democrat Barack Obama.

McCain Faults Bush Response to Gulf Storm New York Times - 10 hours ago By ELISABETH BUMILLER BATON ROUGE, La. - Senator John McCain took direct aim at the Bush administration on Thursday as he stood in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, the area hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and declared the handling of the...

The Associated Press

3 NYPD detectives acquitted in 50-shot killing

The facts: No one ever saw a gun. There was no gun. Doesn't that count for something?

Everybody Loves a Parade!

“Efforts to combat illegal drugs play a major role in explaining long prison sentences in the United States as well. In 1980, there were about 40,000 people in American jails and prisons for drug crimes. These days, there are almost 500,000.”

500,000? Apparently we are winning the War On Drugs. We’ll have a parade any day now. Get there early to get a good seat.

Election Systems Upgrade:

Money's Gone To Iraq -

It's the subject that just won't go away...

My thought? Buy all of the old cash registers from Safeway and hack them. At least they would have the capacity to be secure and could provide the needed 'paper trail', plus they would let you know if you were eligible for a free latte.

I can't see!

Another typical morning for me. Still struggling with the new coffee maker. Trying to see how much water to put in it is almost impossible. Black raised markings on a black background when observed in the dark, or near dark, are impossible to see. Turn on the lights and it’s only a little better. Nope, still can't see it. I guess I need to find a cheap plastic pitcher that I can mark up in a way that can be seen easily. But wait…aren’t cheap plastic pitchers toxic? What to do?

I seem to be fixated on the political campaign of Mr. Logue and I took a look at his website again. It’s filled with toxic statements without any supporting evidence. Why not? He has a website and it can expand as much as needed to give some evidence for his beliefs. There are no limits as to the number of pages on his site. Do you suppose he doesn’t really want you to see that evidence because it may not be true? Facts are easily disposed of during a campaign and lies, if told often enough, can easily replace them. That’s the new politics as practiced by both parties. Ok, it’s not new.

But I did have this idea last night; maybe a thought and not an idea… wouldn’t it be great if we could rid ourselves of both Republicans and Democrats? Have lawmakers that stood on their own particular values instead of hiding behind a political party’s ideology? They could be a Republican or Democrat, if they wanted to, but it would have to be on their own time and not while they were working for us. Similar to being an Elk or a Moose. Clubs that little boy/men like to join.

The day is young and I need to look at something other than politics if I want a good day. I suppose the weather is worthy of some attention. Hmmm? Mostly boring. I would love to see a good storm or two; one that would wash the pollen and other irritants out of the sky for a little while.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Politics as usual - disgusting

What else is new? How about a campaign for State Assembly where Dan Logue is running? Mr. Logue wants us to think that it is his job (if elected) to ‘secure our borders’. Which borders would those be? It can’t be the US border as that’s not one of the job responsibilities of an Assemblyman. That’s a federal responsibility, unless Mr. Logue has a second job as a Border Patrol agent? Or, do you suppose he just might be pandering to the Rightwing nuts of the north state? Funny, his campaign signs say nothing about budgets or education or healthcare or anything that a real Assemblyman might be interested in.

Oh, Please!

I read this headline a few minutes ago…Kids Removed from Sect Have Never Seen TV” OK, I know it’s not funny and there are some serious things going on there, at the radical Mormon enclave in Texas, but…someone tell me what is evil about children not seeing TV? And why would anyone make that a subject of headline news? Should I be held on charges of spousal abuse because I removed the DirecTV service? (Actually, we agreed on it…call us kinky!)

More odds and ends

I’m back from visiting the evil physical therapist; whose ‘therapy’ tends to make me cranky and sore. And then I read the papers and I’m angrier than ever. Plus, I read a newsletter from Jim Hightower. Is there no end to the Bush idiocy?

Some highlights from the Hightower newsletter; Pharmaceutical company profits in 2001 were $30 billion. In 2008, they are forecast to be $80 billion. Cost of family health insurance in 2001 was $6,230. In 2008, the cost is $12,106. The newsletter goes on and on, comparing 2001 with 2008. The Republican years. All depressing. By the way, your annual earnings have gone down during this period. Bright side of that is that if you’re paid less, you will pay less in taxes, right? Just like the rich folks! Yes, they pay less in taxes. $546 billion less for the top 1%.

And I was reading the guest commentary from the Chico News & Review and found it most refreshing. It reminded me that, yes; we once did think that medical care was a basic human right. It was never even debated. So how did we get from there to here? Where did the greed come from?

And of course that made me think about the pharmaceutical companies. Back in the day; the days when I was much younger, we expected pharmaceutical companies to do their research and, while working with doctors and patients, come up with drugs that might help us to defeat a disease, cure an infection or even save our lives in the process. We thought that the drug companies and the doctors were working hand in hand to make this a better world. OK, I was young and naive. As it turns out, doing business that way was not as profitable as it could be when you eliminated the middleman; the doctor. Take your ads right to the consumer. Tell the consumer what is wrong with them and push a lovely vision of coming good health by simply asking them to urge their doctor to prescribe this medicine for them. All will be well; the little tiny print was for the possible side effects. (Don't worry!) I guess none of us realized that the doctors were running interference for us in the old day; making sure that the drug actually was appropriate for you, the patient. And a lot of doctors weren’t ready to argue with each and every patient that came to them with demands for certain drugs. It was quicker and easier to give them what they wanted and then they were out of the office and out of their hair.

I haven’t been commenting on the governor very much these days, but it’s certainly not because I approve of him in any way. He is still an actor and a fool. His insistence that the budget must be cut ‘across the board’ reveals his lack of intelligence. Sad. And there is no one among the legislators that can come up with a plan that all can endorse so that the budget mess will move forward. They’re all playing politics with our future.


Do I want to read the on-line news this morning? Probably not. Reading a genuine newspaper will be my source for the news this morning. I have to go to PT early this morning and then it will be time for a small latte and the Bee at Cal-Java before limping home. Besides, I’ve already peeked at the headlines and nothing outraged me, but it is early!

Israelis Claim

Secret Agreement With U.S. -

A secret agreement? (OK, now everyone look surprised)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

UncommonGoods - Again

Unique Gifts With A Creative Twist

I think I've mentioned this site before...but I am always amazed whenever I browse here. Like this door mat. No, it doesn't go with anything at our house and I'm sure I don't need it, but it would be fun to see at someone elses house!

Inmate Count

in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations’ - New York Times

So it goes without saying that we live in the safest nation in the world. Or...

It goes without saying that we live in the most dangerous nation in the world.

I'm so confused! It's no wonder we need a Decider.

The Survey

  • If you are still working, what are you thinking about retirement? Do you have a solid plan you’re happy with? Does not apply anymore. But…when I was working and before I retired at the end of 2003, I didn’t really have a clue as to what it all meant. Here’s what I wrote in my Journal on the first day of 2004, “I just realized that I am now unemployed. (I really do understand that I am actually “retired”, and not unemployed, whatever that means.) Now what will happen? My mind is going 60 miles an hour as I try to understand the significance of that.” So much for planning. The only constant in my mind was the fact that I wanted to stop doing the work I was doing. There was no joy in it anymore. And at that age, there weren’t a lot of other choices to make. I had been happiest, long ago, when I was working in the field; building things. Or had I just imagined that? It didn’t make any difference; my body was not ready for me to return to construction work on a regular basis and so retirement was the only option. Oops! Scratch that. I did have a ‘plan’ to do consulting work for the corporation I was leaving. Nothing ever came of it, though I did some small amount of consulting for the local school district. More frustration than I wanted for only $25 an hour and I gladly left it.
  • If you are retired, how is it going? Do you have enough to fill your time? Are you ever at a loss for something to do? How is it going? Hmm? It is going just fine. Never bored; just frustrated that there really aren’t enough hours to do all of the things I would like to do. I know; you’ve heard that before. But it is true. We began by volunteering and joining civic groups. Ones we had an affinity for. Friends of the Library and the Food Pantry. Neither of us are extroverts, so we had to push ourselves a little to get involved. After that it’s easy. And volunteer work is perfect. Don’t feel like working today? Don’t. You’re a volunteer and sometimes it happens. Someone, another volunteer, will take your place. The world won’t end. We took art classes and will take some more when they become available. Hobbies become important again and start to feel like mini-careers. Careers without a time clock.
  • How do you feel about saying you’re retired when asked what you do? I feel proud. Silly me.
  • Did or do you have trouble identifying yourself – who you are within yourself - when you can no longer say you are a doctor, an engineer, a teacher, etc.? Sure. At first, but it didn’t last long. And now, when people ask me what I used to do, I’m sometimes at a loss for words. Do they want to know that I was a carpenter for 25+ years? Or a construction estimator? And I was an IT guy for the same construction company. An instructor for their Strategic Development group? Superintendent, foreman, project manager, programmer? And once a dishwasher in fancy Chinese restaurant! I’m all of those things and none of them…now.
  • How has the transition gone for you from decades of full-time work, a place to go every morning, to not having that obligation? I love it! The freedom is incredible! And so the loss of ‘corporate obligations’ is very noticeable; my personal obligations are minor and flexible where the corporate ones were oppressive.
  • If you’ve been retired for some years, have you made any major changes in how you spend your days? If so, why and how? I’m in my 4th year of retirement and I see changes all of the time. Nothing major yet, but I’m welcoming of them all. I think that’s important and I preach about it constantly. Change is good! I’ve met far too many elders that hang on to the past and they are not happy!
  • Retired, do you feel less involved with the world, your community, the culture at large - or more so? Oh, I’m involved all right. But only at the community level. I have to use my blogging and reading to keep up with the world at large. And that’s not always enough. In my dream world; the one where I have won $60 million in the lottery, we have a condo in most major cities and hideaways in the most desolate of places. A cabin somewhere in Mono County and a loft apartment in San Francisco. But in real life, I think it’s too easy to become content with where and who you are. And you need to be on guard…keep changing!
  • Are you happy in your retirement? What’s good and what’s not good about it? I can’t even imagine not being retired. It’s who I am. I remember my previous life with some affection. But I don’t want to relive it. So I simply write about it and that’s enough for me. What’s good about retirement? Just about everything. And what’s not good about it? It’s the inevitable worries about money and health. Inextricably linked. This becomes something that you have to spend a lot of time giving yourself pep talks about. There are days when I feel pessimistic; the stock market collapses, health insurance premiums go up and I end up with a bad case of piriformis syndrome. Yikes! So attitude matters the most. You can’t change what is going to happen; your body will eventually fail and with any luck there will be just enough money left at the end…for a party.

That’s the end of the questions and the end of the answers. For now.

Retirement Questions

Time Goes By has me going this morning. Good subject! Good questions! And I would bet that my sister will find them to be the same. She’s not retired. But I know she thinks about it…and wonders a little. I’m going to have to spend some time on these subjects before I post my answers. It's actually more complex a subject than it seems at first glance.

So Boring!

It’s obvious. The Democratic race has gone on too long. This morning, when I first sat down at my computer to see what was new in the world, I turned to a story about feet. Feet? Yes, Clinton and Obama can wait their turn. Some things are simply more important. And it looks like I wasn’t the only one to feel this way. The Google news page was filled with other news. Important news. I had to search out the story and that was anticlimactic. All of that hoopla and all of that money spent on a defining campaign in Pennsylvania and the situation remains the same after the votes are counted.


Shoes are Ruining Our Feet

Good story and so true! I can’t say when I first began to wear shoes; I’m sure my parents put them on me when I first began to walk, but once we moved to the beach, they were gone! Or so I like to believe. From the age of 5 till I was 19 and joined the Navy, I was shoeless whenever possible. The end of the school year was the end of the ‘shoe year’. Even today, the shoes come off as soon as I’m in the front door. And I learned a fact or two from a sports physiologist about the benefits of being barefoot while aging. Yes, it’s better for you to be barefoot as much as possible as it helps you to retain a better sense of balance. You get some of that important balance from nerve endings in the bottom of your foot. Shoes on; those nerves sense only the shoe. Dull. Boring. Shoes off; things are happening!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bad Apples

Just a few Bad Apples.

Do I sound 'bitter'?

Maybe...Maybe Not

Jimmy Carter is really catching it from the Right Wingnuts these days after spending time talking to Hamas. As every good little conservative knows, you can’t find peace by talking to those who could be, should be, and might even be involved in the peace process. Especially if you don’t like them to begin with! It’s better to bomb them and teach them who the boss is! That way you don’t have to hear what they might have to say. Besides, there is a good chance that Hamas is lying to Jimmy. Or not.

Corn is Down...from $6

Published: February 6, 2007

The current price of corn is $3.23 a bushel, more than half again what it was a year ago, and beginning to bring to mind the record $5.545 a bushel set in July 1996.

Today’s price is $5.93 a bushel (At 10:00 AM)

Ethanol can be made from any plant material. Grass. Wood chips. Pea pods. But it is made in the USA with corn, a foodstuff and at the core of almost all we eat. Why corn? I guess one would have to ask the corn lobby. And to make that ethanol, one of the first things that must be done is to convert the corn into a form of sugar. This requires heat (energy). In Brazil, they make ethanol from sugar cane. It’s already sugar and doesn’t require heat (energy) to break it down. Now if you wanted to import some of that cheaper Brazilian ethanol you would first have to pay 54 cents a gallon tariff. Why is that? I guess one would have to ask the corn lobby. The price of eggs? I guess one would have to ask the corn lobby. The price of pork? I guess one would have to ask the corn lobby. The price of beef? I guess one would have to ask the corn lobby. Candy? I guess one would have to ask the corn lobby. Ad infinitum.

#96 New Balance Shoes

Stuff White People Like

Oh, no! Yikes! This is me... I do have 4 pair of NB shoes. 3 pair of Crocs and I'm looking for the 4th pair. Birkenstocks? Yes, 2 pair. OK, just one Uggs and no Earth shoes. Ever.

I'm so ashamed!

Regarding the previous post

I read the article by Bob Herbert and was NOT amazed at the facts and figures he gave regarding our ‘obsolete’ education system. He quotes Bill Gates, “By obsolete, I don’t just mean that they are broken, flawed or underfunded, though a case could be made for every one of those points. By obsolete, I mean our high schools — even when they’re working as designed — cannot teach all our students what they need to know today.”

I’ve seen it. In person. As a nation we are in denial. We think that if our children can use a Game Boy, they are technically savvy. We allow schools to remain open while denying them the funds to actually teach our children. It would be cheaper to hire baby sitters. How many teachers can say that they are technically literate? Not very many! But we have no plans to educate them. Our schools have computers and software that haven’t been seen in the workplace for years. I even know adults that are proud of the fact that they don’t use a computer. ‘Never have. Never will!’

I sometimes think we celebrate the 'ordinary'. Why?


in America - New York Times

"Roughly a third of all American high school students drop out. Another third graduate but are not prepared for the next stage of life — either productive work or some form of post-secondary education."

A high school dropout every 26 seconds. There goes another one now.

Fair is Fair

I was reading an article yesterday about the fact that some fair minded folks are trying to reduce the drinking age, thereby allowing those who would enlist and fight for our country…and possibly die, to have a drink; legally. A great thought. It would certainly be fair. But, on second thought, why don’t we approach the problem this way. Let’s say that you can’t join the armed forces until you’re old enough to drink. That would also be fair. We’ve already made it clear (By our laws) that children under the age of 21 can’t be trusted to do the right thing and drink responsibly. So why would we want to put a gun in their hands at the age of 18?

Monday, April 21, 2008


The Democrats are handing the Presidency to McCain--(one hopes not!)

Speaking of the previous and now forgotten Democratic candidates; Bill Richardson included... "In short, the media overlooked them because of the phenomenal presence of an African-American and a woman who might become President of the U.S."

A perfect example of the power that the news media holds. Oh, if only this power would be used for good! (Who said that? Spiderman?)

From cab drollery:

Death Took A Holiday ...

If only. If only sanity and reason were part of the process, but those who don't weigh the facts and leave all reason behind in a rush to execute still have the upper hand. But there is always hope...

A Fresh Start in a New Place

Alright! Nora's back...sort of

Speaking of Driving

Been to the board meeting; got the links to the CHP site and did some research. It looks like I will have a few more years of driving, probably more than a few, but it is definitely something that every elder needs to resolve in their mind before it becomes a crisis point. I’m telling my children and my wife that I will respect their wishes. OK, perhaps we need a little democratic action…they have to vote on whether or not I should continue to drive and it will require a 2/3 majority to make it binding. Is that fair? And no, I don’t get a vote. More fair.

Where's my keys?

I have to go to the Glenn County Seniors board meeting this morning. As the designated driver of course. And one of the topics on our agenda is the subject of elders and driving. A sensitive subject. The actuarial tables tell us that we’re still ‘good to go’ when it comes to driving. But what about that time when you have to come to grips with the fact that you’re not as good a driver as you once were? OK, wrong word; you can be a ‘good’ driver and not be a safe and competent one. “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”

And this subject is one that isn’t mentioned very often in places like the Planet Orland. Why not? There are few alternative forms of transport for the elder who gives up their keys. What’s a rural elder to do? No easy answers here.

No easy answers here. It’s hard to imagine losing that freedom. I’ve been driving for the past 52+ years and it’s a major part of my life. At some point we have to think about moving to a location where walking is a viable alternative. Or a bus. Taxi? I can only hope that we have it all figured out before the time comes for us to give up our driving privileges.

Coffee's On

Traumatic morning. We have a brand new coffee maker (Hamilton Beach) and that’s a tough thing to face at 4 in the morning. I should have tried it out yesterday, in the light of day. OK, so far, so good. I actually have coffee in my cup and there doesn’t appear to be any tell tale drips left on the countertop. That was the failing of the last appliance. Poor Mr. Coffee.

And as soon as I got my coffee in hand and sat down to read the feeds, I saw that the survey was up on the Time Goes By blog. Of course I had to take it. I love surveys and data! Even at 4 in the morning. Perhaps Ronni Bennett can do these surveys quarterly, now that she has the tools to do them?

Time Goes By -

- It's Survey Time!

OK, you only have to be over 50 to participate...that's 'elder' enough. Just follow this link and it will only take about ten minutes of your time. And you don't have to be a blogger to take the survey, just that 50 thing. Do it for me, please...


Sunday, April 20, 2008


From Wyoming’s Energy Bender - New York Times

"One oilman, State Senator Kit Jennings, took the microphone in Casper and declared that Ms. Williams had demonized the oil companies. He rejected her contention in a local newspaper article that the energy boom had helped drive up the use of crystal methamphetamine in the region and announced that he had demanded that she be fired from the university for her criticism of the industry."

Criticism? Remember free speech?

Science Friday

Water Power Cracks Ice Sheet

This was a fascinating story...

"...a flow rate exceeding that of Niagara Falls. The water from that lake appears to have cut completely through over 3200 feet of ice to the base of the glacier."

Look at the photos...these people needs ropes! According to the story, the researchers could feel the ice vibrating at night as they were in their tents and sleeping bags. Vibrating as billions of gallons of water dropped over half a mile to the rock bed below.


to ourselves - Los Angeles Times

"Americans are increasingly close-minded and unwilling to listen to opposing views."
No kidding? Perhaps it's because of the attitude of the right wingnuts... those that invented the modern smear campaign; Swift Boating.

"Swift boating" can succeed in politics only because of the correct assumption that huge numbers of Americans lack the broad knowledge that would enable them to spot blatantly unfair attacks. If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, we will surely hear, from the slimier corners of the blogosphere, a renewal of the lie that he is a Muslim."

I know I should be more open minded. I often preach that. But. Truth is, it's been 8 years and I'm tired of the lies. Maybe I will be open minded next week or the week after.

From... outside the box:

Failed Right Wing Policies and Whiny Liberals

Don't you love lists! I do...

True, it's a short list, but it is a start.

No clouds...but

Hmm? My outside/inside thermometer tells me it is 33° at this early hour. Is the thermometer broken? No, it really is cold and windy out there this morning. Just a typical spring weather pattern; teasing you with some pleasant warm days and then a quick reminder that it was winter just a few weeks ago.

I don’t see much of interest in the news or in the blogs. Daughters and granddaughter have apparently fallen off of the face of the earth and abandoned their blogs awhile ago. I guess I will write something for my Working blog.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Extra! Read All About It!

This is important stuff…that never seems to make the headlines. I found it on cab drollery this morning. Why not on the front page of the Times? The Bee? The Enterprise-Record? The News & Review? Anywhere?

Since 2004, the Pentagon has spent roughly $16 billion annually to maintain and modernize the military's business systems, but most are as unreliable as ever—even as the surge in defense spending is creating more room for error. The basic defense budget for 2007 was $439.3 billion, up 48 percent from 2001, excluding the vast additional sums appropriated for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to federal regulators and current and former Pentagon officials, the accounting process is so obsolete and error prone that it's virtually impossible to tell where much of this money ends up. While the department's brass has made a few patchwork improvements, billions are still unaccounted for. The problem is so deeply rooted that, 18 years after Congress required major federal agencies to be audited, the Pentagon still can't be.

The Fat Bush

A Theory - New York Times

Jeekers! I almost missed this piece of satire, but my clever wife noted it and clued me in.


- Comics

If you're a fan of Tom Tomorrow, (I am!) here is a link to some of his current work...

Book Sale

All of this inactivity is getting to me. Boring! But, the physical therapist says to do as little as possible. So I will be riding around with Gary this morning as we prepare for the Spring Book Sale, starting on Monday. What a pair. Gary has a broken screw in his artificial hip and I have piriformis syndrome. Neither one of us can lift anything, so we get to direct others. And since Gary is having surgery next week for hip repair, my main function is to remember where all of the borrowed tables came from so that we can return them at the end of the sale. Or, more likely, I can tell someone else where to return them.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pentagon institute

calls Iraq war 'a major debacle' with outcome 'in doubt' -

I saw this headline on the frontpage of the Bee.

"No one as yet has calculated the costs of long-term veterans' benefits or the total impact on service personnel and materiel," wrote Collins, who was involved in planning post-invasion humanitarian operations."

Not quite true. The authors of The 3 Trillion Dollar War have made those calculations and they should be part of the evidence needed for impeachment.

But, back to the headlines. Why now? Where were these critics 4 years ago? Where was the news media? If they had been doing their jobs, we wouldn't be in this mess. A mess that millions of Americans saw coming and voted for the other guy. 4 years ago, with kind of information on the front pages we could have shook our heads, sighed and said, 'OK. The first 4 years was a mistake. An aberration. We've learned our lesson. Never again.' and that would have been the end of the Decider.

Now it's 2008 and thousands more have died since that election. Someone needs to tell me how and why it makes sense to elect someone who thinks just like bush, who has the same goals as bush; heck; he even sounds like him! Why would anyone vote for him?

Southwest Airlines

Now Taking Passengers To Destinations By Shuttle Bus

I like it...but they don't mention the "A" boarding passes?

Things I read

"George Bush complimenting the pope after his remarks in Washington:
Thank you your Holiness, awesome speech."


The pandering must stop

That 'Small Town Feeling'

Things you should know about small town values...

The praise of folly

Democracy in America

I'm so glad I didn't see this 'debate'!!!

Perhaps, if the candidates were honest enough... they would tell ABC what to do with any other debates they might have planned.

You know, this whole 'debate' thing is starting to look like the newspaper rack you see when you're in line at the grocery store.

Items From the Crabby Old Lady

Time Goes By

I have to agree with most all that Crabby is upset with. Especially when it comes to speeches by the Decider. I would rather have my fingernails pulled out then have to listen to the whole of one speech from this guy. It's the voice!

So I read his speeches. And even when I do that, I can hear a faint echo of his voice in my head. Yikes!

And I know as I read them, that the words aren't his. He is only the 'reader of the speeches' and a darn poor one at that!

If the presidency is going to be determined by the tenor of the voice making the speeches... Obama should win.


Another odd dream; this time it was all about casinos. And I can’t remember the story line for the dream, as usual. Perhaps the dream came about because of the news I read the other day; Harrah’s, the giant name in the gaming industry is changing that name to Caesar’s blah blah something Inc. So there it is. The Harrah name is gone.

But, how many people, today, know that Harrah was the name of a man? William Harrah was still alive when we moved to Janesville and I began working in Reno. And working on new Harrah’s casinos.

Memory: We had a chance to see his famed automobile collection before it was broken up and sold to pay taxes. (There’s still a collection of cars in Reno, the National Automobile Museum, but it’s only a shadow of the original.) When we took the kids to Sparks, where the museum was located in approximately 5 giant warehouses, we only made it through 3 of the warehouses before our children made it quite clear that they had seen enough cars for the day…or the year, or forever! We were always going to go back.

After he died, the casinos and hotels were sold to the Holiday Corporation. (Holiday Inn) Many owners later, the name really has no connection to the man and they might as well change it. He would have been embarrassed by the current owners anyway.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Daily Dish

By Andrew Sullivan

Tell me again why you would watch television for anything you needed to know?

"Again: it's now halfway through and there has not been a single question on the economy, foreign policy, healthcare, terrorism, Iraq or any other actual policy issue in this campaign. How much longer can ABC News avoid the actual policy issues in this election?"

Let's Censor

Our Conversation: ca. 1943

Hmm? This is an old poster. Do we need a new one for 2008? Let's ask the Decider!

God's Politics

- Don Imus and Va Tech...

A thought provoking essay.

Ecco Pro info

from Wikipedia

This was an amazing program and I'm happily surprised to see it is still around.

From Time Goes By

Universal Healthcare and the 2008 Election

(Is this the year?)

"The Veterans’ Administration, which is the only government agency allowed to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, pays 50 percent less than Medicare for the top-20 brand-name drugs sold to elders."

Hello; Senators-Congress... Are you idiots? Wait, don't answer that. We already know...

From cab drollery:

Clean Cups! Clean Cups!

What's amazing to me is the fact that legislators are able to convince the electorate that it's the prison system that is at fault here. When, in fact, it's the legislators who are in charge of the whole system. Very clever!


We were shopping at Costco yesterday; had to buy some tables for the Friends of the Library book sale coming up next week. Anyway, what I noticed while we cruised the aisles with our ‘big’ cart was an apparent drop in the number of customers. Yesterday was the middle of the month and normally that’s not a good time to shop at Costco as that is a payday for some shoppers and I seem to remember those days as being crowded. Could we be seeing a recession? Or was it just because everyone had been bitten by taxes on the 15th?

Obviously bored

Dreaming again. And this time it was all about some sort of fuel crisis. Imagine that! Anyway, the fuel in my dream was called GasL and everyone was upset at the price; $1.67. I told you it was a dream.

It looks like we’re seeing the beginnings of a ‘wireless war’, as the local wireless business is beginning to put up lots of advertising in an effort to gain customers. DigitalPath versus Clearwire. DigitalPath did this once before, maybe 4 or 5 years ago? But they were severely burned and quickly retreated. But I love seeing this kind of competition again. I was feeling somewhat vulnerable, being connected to Clearwire and with no viable options if I had to move to another provider because Clearwire went out of business. Not that they are in danger of it, but these are strange times, economically speaking.

I’m cursed! If there are any misspelled words within view, I see them and I’m bothered by them. It’s a genetic failing and I get no relief, it’s everywhere!

Like this “…both providing a provacative business case to drive your business forward.” The example above came from the DigitalPath website. But, let’s say we corrected the provacative to read provocative; what does the sentence now mean? Some of the synonyms of provocative are ‘insulting’, ‘confrontational’ and ‘offensive’. Or, perhaps they meant to use ‘proactive’? You would think that I had better things to do with my time this morning, wouldn’t you? No.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


to produce NutraCea stabilized rice bran

I have to admit I wasn't happy to see a giant ADM sign alongside the freeway, about 30 minutes south of the Planet Orland. But, I may have to change my mind...

Noon, April 10, 1913

In Rome...

I used to travel to Rome quite often, as we (PCG) had a branch office there. No, we weren't in the spinning business...

World News?

According to the world of Twitter, our oldest grandson is going to be hosting his own radio show for about 7 weeks? A DJ; which is a big part of who he is. Now I have to find out more details; where, when and if the show is going be streamed. That would be cool!

All Wet

Another irrigation Wednesday. Or I hope it is. I didn’t put the bi-weekly Task on my Outlook calendar so that I could be reminded the day before and I had to look through my journal this morning to be certain I had the right day. Yes, I do. Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

Vague thoughts running through my mind this morning. Should I forget the Portland marathon and simply concentrate on being healthier overall? I could get into a daily walk and/or bicycle ride routine right here on the Planet Orland and save myself lots of time and gasoline. Or, am I having these thoughts only because I’m falling behind in my training? Certainly something for me to debate with myself.

Now that I have this ‘vague’ thought, I’m developing it. I could ride my bicycle and engage in photography. All at the same time. Well, sort of. I would obviously have to concentrate more on steering and less on focusing…unless stopped. And as long as I stayed off of the main roads, I could enjoy a hassle free ride throughout most of the Galaxy of Glenn. I could ride all of the way to Willows and have coffee in the only coffee house in the galaxy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

After Taxes:

in 1939 Shorpy :: History in HD

"...because the Mexican will work much cheaper than whites."

Social commentary from 1939, or was it only yesterday?

Tell Me No Lies

Obama is getting the charge of ‘elitism’ pinned to him by his competitors. But…it seems to me that McCain and Clinton are the ones actually suffering from that social disease. They are the ones that don’t want to recognize the fact that people in those dying small towns are bitter. Darn right they are. And not always for a good reason. It’s a fact that you have to change if you want to move into the 21st century. It’s a fact that you have to become smarter. And when your job disappears because of technology or outsourcing…you have to move on. Even McCain once told the voters of Michigan (Detroit) that their jobs weren’t coming back…but he seems to have forgotten that fact. Senator Obama is telling the truth...or as much of the truth as a politician can.

U.S. to give $200M

in food aid -

Let's get some perspective here...6 months ago the cost of war was $720 million EACH DAY. And I'm gonna guess that it's probably the same today. You think?

Is it just me...or is it getting warmer?

Other things I heard yesterday. China builds and puts on-line, two coal fired power plants every week. Demand drives this, yet China understands what this is doing to the environment and has begun mitigation. Yes, they actually believe that Global Warming is a fact. And if there is one common thing we do not understand about China, it is the scale. Plus the fact that most our knowledge of this nation comes from the novels of Pearl Buck. We read those books 50 years ago.

Is it forever yet?

Not a good start for the day. Lying on the floor in the dark while I do my stretches to relieve the pain in my hip. It’s what the physical therapist told me to do…once an hour. Forever, or for the foreseeable future; whichever comes first. OK, stretches are done and it’s time for coffee.

First it was Facebook and now Twitter. Facebook makes sense as a lot of the classier news organizations can be found there. And that’s my excuse for signing on. So what is with this Twitter thing I’ve embarked upon; again? Tried it once when it first showed up but couldn’t see the hook. So I was thinking about it last night; for one, it closely resembles how I speak, normally. In snippets. I have a tendency to leave off the last few words in a sentence and let the listener intuit them. Why not? That’s what I do when I’m the listener. Anyway, I’m giving it a try again.

The wind has died down this morning and that’s a good thing. The computer took a hit last night when it the power failed about 4 times and I had turned it on again about 3 times. Should have left it off. I had to reset the internal clock and that’s not a good sign. At least I noticed the dates were wrong before I started writing files. But these mini power outages have me all fired up about public utilities in general and PG&E specifically. It’s 2008 and we’re still depending on wires stretched between wooden sticks. Exactly as we did 100 years ago. Hello? It’s the 21st century; bury those lines!

Along those same lines…Ha! get it? I was listening to Talk of the Nation yesterday and the guest was speaking about how the IRS was the only department that had entered this century. They want your money and so their internet presence is designed to make it easy for you to give it to them. The other departments are not so friendly. They really don’t want to hear from you and have a minimal presence on the internet. Then he pointed out how so many other nations, large and small, had given their connected citizens a much larger voice in the government. Best line of the program; our elected representatives don’t know the difference between a server and a waiter. Too true! Take a listen, it’s only 13 minutes long…or read this. Same thing.