Thursday, July 31, 2008

Decline

Seen in Numbers of People Here Illegally - NYTimes.com

As usual, the Republican's just don't get it... Fences don't keep people out. Lack of jobs does that trick. But the Republican's don't want to admit that the economy has anything to do with it. The Bush economy.

Website comments

bring out the inner vulgarian - Los Angeles Times

For the life of me, I just do not understand why anonymous comments are allowed. It seems like such a simple solution. And fair.

I know that every once in awhile I make the mistake of reading past the article and into the comments before I can stop myself. Then I'm captured by them as I try to find a sane comment amongst the trash.

From Time Goes By...

Senator McCain’s Age

Well said... or written... or typed.

Yes, it is...

It’s time. I’m up and about. Coffee has brewed and is now available. The cat is in and the windows are open while the fans stir the air. I love the early mornings!

Now, with cup in hand I review the state of the universe and find it to be…well, normal. I wish it were better, but ‘normal’ is about as good as it gets these days.

Also, I spent the first few minutes of the morning working on the new blog, The Planet Orland. I had forgotten to set up the comment section correctly, plus a few other settings needed tweaking. And I can report that I took half a dozen photos yesterday, photos of buildings other than meat packing plants. Still, I will limit the posts to no more than one a day.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

McCain ad

compares Obama to Britney Spears, Paris Hilton - CNN.com

So far Obama hasn't fallen for the bait and has kept his cool (and the high road). McCain should be ashamed...but he isn't.

Something New

Because I read an article in the Chico News and Review all about ugly buildings in that city, I've been tempted to do the same here, so I started a new blog, The Planet Orland. It’s going to be a photo blog with photos of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly; all photos taken on the Planet Orland and the surrounding galaxy of Glenn.

And I’m not going to focus heavily on the ugly. I will do my darnedest to give some balance here, with photos of the good stuff on the Planet Orland.

Low-Road Express

An Editorial - NYTimes.com

If you didn't know this was coming, you weren't paying attention. Even Republicans should be embarrassed.

"Many voters are wondering whether a McCain presidency would be an extension of Mr. Bush’s two disastrous terms. If the way Mr. McCain is running his campaign these days is an indication, Americans don’t have to wait until next January for the answer to that one."

An Informed Electorate

Meaningful data from the book, Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. 7 out of 10 Americans believe that the Equal Rights Amendment has already passed and is law. They’re wrong. And these are the same people that will vote for a new president. Scary!

Party Time!

What was I going to rant about this morning? So many choices! And that’s a shame. I guess the first one on my list is the Senator Stevens (R) indictment story, only because I was in Alaska a few years ago and flew in and out via the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage.

What a great airport! Every city should have one like this; modern, spacious and basically empty. You won’t have to fight any crowds in this airport! And it was with gifts like that that Senator Stevens (R) was able to build himself a 40 year career in the Senate.

From all that I could see during a short trip and from what I’ve read, the oil companies run Alaska and the senator was always their ‘boy’.

And as the dates for the political conventions draw near, I can’t help but become irritated. At the waste. Waste of money, newsprint and time. Political conventions are so 20th century! Wait…make that 19th century!

The Democrats and the Republicans are going to have a party and you and I are not invited. A lot of money will be spent on food, drink and funny hats. This will make the host city happy. The news media will enjoy some of the party activities and then engage in meaningless conjecture over every little bit of rumor that flows out from the convention.

Now here’s my usual rant. Do you really want to be associated with yahoos like this? Give yourself some real power and register as an independent voter.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Alaska

Sen. Stevens charged with hiding gifts | Reuters

It couldn't happen to a more deserving fellow! (And long overdue)

From Barbara's Blog:

The Suicide Solution

If we would act with the courage that the French have, we would have seen marches on Wall Street a year ago...

No smoke...simply clouds

Early Opinions

Ah! It’s 4 AM, I’m alive and thinking once more. Coffee in hand with more on the way. Sure, it’s early but that’s nothing new. I’m always awake at an early hour. You would think that I had been raised on a farm, but no, just too many years of early commuting.

Now it’s time to browse the news and the blogs. Come up with an opinion. Or two.

But, before I go there, I just thought of one from yesterday. When we bought our new car, the dealer included a 3 month subscription to XM radio, the satellite service. And I do enjoy it. Sure, it’s free - for now. But I have been really surprised at the advertising I hear. ‘Train your brain in just 7 minutes!’ What is all that about? In fact, I haven’t heard a normal commercial yet; they’re all just a little bit odd. And why are there any commercials at all? I really thought satellite radio was commercial free.

So yesterday I was listening to the XM station that features old time radio shows, like The Lone Ranger and Jack Benny. And although the original Jack Benny show was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes, you don’t hear those commercials; a good thing. But it did make me think of how pervasive those ads were. Growing up, we were surrounded by tobacco. Radio, movies, newspapers and magazines; all filled with tobacco ads. It was ‘normal’. Smoking was what you did when you grew up.

And now I have to wonder why we allow those same companies to stay in business. They’re criminals. Drug dealers. It would be nice if we could punish them for past behavior, but that’s not possible. But allowing them to stay in business is criminal.

Just a rant. I feel better now. And as you know, there is no one more vindictive than a former smoker.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Market Snapshot -

U.S. Stocks Fall Hard As Economic Worries Take Over

It's a whole lot like watching a train wreck - in slow motion.

White House

sees record budget gap in 2009 | Reuters

If you have any questions about this, just drop him a note, down there in Crawford... he'll get right back to you!

From Street Use

Guns on Segways

Who knew?

Democratic convention

brings challenges to Denver - Los Angeles Times

Well, let's make it the last one...ever. (The waste of money is obscene) And the same for that other 'party'. You want your voice heard? Leave the political party system and become independent. It's growing. And it's scaring the powers that be...

From Joe Bageant

The workers are not yet unhappy enough:

"What Obama brings a lot of us is freedom from the shame of having an obvious imbecile for president, something that McCain certainly doesn't offer."

I guess that's a good enough reason to vote for him. (like I had a choice!)

No, Never

Last night I finished reading the book, Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women's Lives Aren't Getting Any Easier--And How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters by Carolyn Maloney. And so much of what I read had me angry. Angry because I knew that she wasn’t telling us everything, in her book. That there are far worse abuses of power in Congress and the Senate, but who has time to record them all? Or read them?

And then, this morning, I read Time Goes By and the story about Senator Hollings interview with Bill Moyers. That’s when I came to the same conclusion that Ronni Bennett did; that it makes no difference who is elected in November. My view; it’s all simply an exercise to keep the electorate diverted from the truth and to spread the campaign money around. Change? Not in my lifetime…or yours.

Sneaky

And Carolyn Maloney was making a point about her Single Payer health care bill and she noted that her detractors were calling the bill ‘socialized’ medicine. She said that it wasn’t, that socialized medicine is when the government hires the doctors as they do in Great Britain and elsewhere. So…thinking along those same lines; what do we call it when government hires the policemen? The firemen? The teacher’s? The trash collectors? Sounds like Socialism to me! Those Socialists are so darn sneaky! They’re everywhere!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Walter O'Malley

treated Dodgers, and fans, like family - Los Angeles Times

Before turning Walter into a saint, perhaps it would be worthwhile to read a little bit about Chavez Ravine... some people weren't treated like 'family'.

From.cab drollery

Finally Free To Speak Out

Now, you weren't surprised, were you?

And when nothing happens to the 'suits' that own and run the plant; you won't be surprised either? Right?

Look!

Up! Up in the sky! What is that? I think it’s clear! The smoky haze is gone! It’s still a little early and so I’m not getting the full blown ‘blue sky’ effect, but it certainly looks good so far. OK; the windows are open.

Rumors

I’ve been reading again; this time it’s the book, Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women's Lives Aren't Getting Any Easier--And How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters by Carolyn Maloney. Sad to say, it’s non-fiction. And despite the title with its liberal use of the words ‘we’ and ‘our’, it’s really a book that all men should read. As the author recites the facts in this accounting of the culture war against women, you have to wonder if there is any common decency left. And you also have to wonder; who raised some of these men? Wolves?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

From Joe Bageant

Life in the Post Political Age

I think 'anonymous' nails it...

Drink Up!

I don’t smell smoke. Or do I? The window is open and I’m prepared to shut it quickly if I’m wrong. Or, perhaps I’ve grown accustomed to the smell after a few months of it.

I’ve been awake for an hour and haven’t even looked at the news. What am I thinking? That the news is old and tiresome; much like me. But…I better take a look and get my mind engaged in the affairs of the world.

And the first thing I spot is the news of a leaking barge on the Mississippi River. Leaking heavy fuel oil. ‘Officials’ are making all of the usual foolish noises about the spill as they try to minimize the public’s perception of the problem.

“I’m very concerned, but I don’t think it’s a calamity of the proportions of Exxon Valdez,” said Robert A. Thomas, director of the Center for Environmental Communication at Loyola University. “Here, you’re talking about an enormous amount of oil, but it’s in a river that averages about 450,000 thousand cubic feet per second of flow,” he said. “It’s going to flush this stuff out,” Mr. Thomas said.”

But…flush it out? Flush it where? He doesn’t mention that.

And then I learned something that really disturbed me about New Orleans; they drink the water from the river. Why? The Mississippi is the nation's drain. What drains off of a farmer’s field in Minnesota will end up coming out of the tap in New Orleans. I know; it’s been tested, inspected, disinfected and etc. But would you want to drink it?

Friday, July 25, 2008

California Dreamin'

I’ve resumed playing the lottery again. Just once so far and not a habit. But, it all depends on the results. The jackpot for Saturday is $40 million so I had to take a chance and if no one wins, I will probably do it again.

Is this a sign of the times? Are we all willing to take a dollar chance, or more, maybe $5 as I did to rid ourselves of financial worries? I think so. I already know that I can have a little bit of fun as I imagine what I would do with the money. Let’s see…first is the house or houses we will share with Kitty and Dean, on the Big Island. Then the rest will go to health insurance. What a dream!

Here Comes the Sun

No filters. Just shooting right at the sun at 7 AM . Darn smoke!

When?

A dilemma. The outside temperature is 65° and inside it’s 80°. All I have to do is open the windows and let in some of that cool air. Fill the house with it and the AC won’t turn on for hours. Wrong. The smoke is still with us and as soon as I cracked the window, I could smell it.

No Camping

Writing of Dutch Haven, as I was, brings back lots of memories. At that time, the 60’s, we were living in the San Fernando Valley, one of the original suburbs, but one that had already grown too expensive for us to dream of owning a home there. We rented. And we dreamed of owning our own home. Hey! it was America!

One Sunday we decided to drive all of the way out to Ventura County to see the houses we had heard about in Thousand Oaks. OK, they were nice but still expensive. And since we had nothing else to do, we drove a little bit further north on 101 and got off the freeway in Newbury Park, following the signs to the model homes for Dutch Haven homes. There were half a dozen cars in the parking lot and we wandered through the models without being disturbed by salesmen. They were nice houses. Raised foundations with hardwood floors. All electric. Shake roofs. And all quite reasonable, if we could only come up with a down payment.

We went in to the sales office to see what we could do. And that’s when we learned that the day before, Saturday, had been a madhouse at the sales office. Hundreds of people had driven up on Friday and had camped out on the lawns just make certain that they could be in line to buy a house when the tract officially opened for business Saturday morning. We were a day late!

As it turned out, we weren’t late at all; in fact we found the perfect house and didn’t have to wait in line for it. We used my VA loan to buy the house and then we would drive out every weekend to watch it being built. All American.

The End (well, not quite)

I watched the movie (documentary) The End of Suburbia last night. Interesting, but I felt as if I were being accused of a crime. Yes, I confess; we bought a house in Suburbia* in the late 60’s. And yes, I drove hundreds of miles to work and back. Wasting cheap gas.

But, in my defense… I couldn’t afford a house in the city at that time. And it was that house, the first house in a long line of houses that has enabled us to live in the one we find ourselves in today.

OK, back to the movie. And oil. I knew a long time ago all about Peak Oil, but I had this streak of optimism. I just knew that people were working on the problem and a solution would be found at any moment. After all, we sent men to the moon, how difficult could it be to come up with an alternate energy source? Naïve.

The movie is already 4 years old and what I would like to see is the same movie, edited to include the events of the past four years.


* Newbury Park, CA 'Dutch Haven Homes'

Reverting to Type

It’s too dark to tell, but I’m hoping that today will be clear and smoke free. The smoke has been with us almost all week. All of the local counties have declared ‘air emergencies’…don’t go outside unless you have to. I haven’t mentioned it very much at all here and that’s simply because I’m tired of it. Tired of smelling smoke. Tired of looking at smoke. I want to see blue skies and puffy white clouds. Is that too much to ask?

The other day Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By asked the question, did our lives turn out as we expected or even planned? I think my answer was ‘It’s too soon to tell’ or something like that. Just a glib answer without any thought behind it. Seriously; do people have expectations for their lives? Wishes, yes. Expectations, no. I can’t help but believe that we are all held captive, to a certain degree, by our personality Types. Of course we strain against the confines of Type as we try to fit in at an early age and that changes us, somewhat. And if we’re successful in amending our Type, we can go through life looking and acting just like everyone else…sort of.

And then along comes elderhood. Retirement. We’re free. Free to be what our Type has been insisting on for all of those years. But now we have to struggle against ‘habit’. We’ve been acting a certain way for so long, it’s hard to undo those habits. If we made it this far, then the habits made us safe, or so we believe, and we don’t want to tempt fate by changing. Unfortunately, too many of us decide to play it safe. And those are the people who say that their lives turned out as expected.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Take This

I was thinking about ombudsmen last night. Have they disappeared? I remember when almost every company or organizations dealing with the public were hiring ombudsmen to fairly represent the public. Most large newspapers hired them.

The reason I was thinking about them was the fact that they are definitely needed within our health care system. I’m fairly certain that insurance companies wouldn’t welcome them but I still believe that most doctors would. I could be wrong.

Another thought; I was browsing through some of the paperwork that I’m supposed to fill out for a doctor and I saw an immediate need for someone to interpret some of the questions for me. (And I'm a former health professional) It might be a new profession! And as a certified nerd, I could see that what was needed was a digital standardized medical profile with all the usual information on a SIMM. Just hand it to the receptionist. Have a pocket full of them. Save a tree...or two.

As I think about the SIMM again, I realize that as usual, we are being ‘dumbed down’ by those who just don’t get it. And so we continue to use pencil and paper. We write checks. Why don’t we just leave this behind us and embrace the 21st century?

Who knew?

I’ve been reading as usual, but most of my selections have been boring so I’m just flying through the books. But…one of the books I’m slowing down to truly enjoy is A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz. It’s a history book that fills in a lot of the historical gaps and also dismisses some of the fables that pass for history. (Ponce De Leon was never looking for a ‘fountain of youth’.) Mr. Horwitz explains that he graduated with a major in history, but he soon realized that quite a bit of history was missing from his education and so he wanders through America, Canada and the Caribbean as he discovers and tells of what happened in these places long before the Puritans left Holland and sailed for America. Who remembers that Coronado reached Kansas in 1542? But he did. And what about DeSoto marching through Georgia in 1540? It was just like Sherman, 300+ years later.

I’m a real fan of New Mexico and so I especially enjoyed the narratives that described the Spanish occupation of this fascinating state. I’ve said before that New Mexico is a place where you’re surrounded by history everywhere you go. And art of course.

The book proves that once again, the winners get to write the history...not necessarily the truth.


And go here for some more Voyage Long and Strange. Take the test!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Obama and NCLR

F@$! You Brown Boy... F@$! La Raza - Citizen Orange

Just one more reason why I dislike the 'minutemen' so very much....

In fact, it's difficult to keep myself from saying things I would be ashamed of later.

Pay-to-Play

Bush Presidential Library

I need to know. We attend a 'Federated' church, a blend of Methodists and Presbyterians. It's actually common. OK, maybe not THAT common, but it happens. Can I complain to the Methodist hierarchy about this? (I'm on the books as a Presbyterian) SMU should be ashamed.

Health Care

for America NOW!

You want to know how paranoid I've become since Bush became the president? This paranoid; I'm wondering if I were to sign this petition, would I lose my current health care? Of course not! (Are you sure?)

Majority of economist

see McCain better for stocks | Reuters

Let me think about that for a moment. OK, moment's up. Trust an economist? Why?

From...From outside the box

Bumper Stickers

So many good ones. I don't know where to start...

OK, sure, there are some bad ones, but they are still funny.

Who is that?

Mission accomplished. The water is flowing as planned. But, I have a mysterious problem. On alternating Tuesday’s, I set up the orchard for irrigation by mowing it close and then closing all the water gates that aren’t needed and opening the ones that will be used. Better to do it in the light of day. Last week I closed the southbound ditch as usual but in the morning, when I went to see how the water was flowing, I found it open and water racing down the ditch. I closed it quickly and almost chalked it up to faulty memory. Yesterday, I put that gate in and made a mental note of it. Writ large upon my brain! And this morning, before opening the other gates, I checked and found it open? Grrr!

But, is that a bad thing? Now I have a mystery to solve…

To Starbucks,

a Closing; To Newark, a Trauma - NYTimes.com

But, wait... isn't this really an opportunity? Surely there must be someone with vision in Newark? And if Starbucks were smart, they would finance the vision.

My Outlook

Since I stopped using Outlook because it’s such a memory hog, I’ve had to depend upon my own memory and it is telling me that today is irrigation day. So, at 6 I will drive a short distance, park, and then trudge up the path to the canal and open the flood gates. Trudge is a good word to use here as I don’t have a neat garden path to skip upon. Nor do I have a slick paved surface to stride upon. This path is rutted and contains gopher holes and the stumps of long gone weeds and thistles. And I must go slowly to avoid the spider webs. So I trudge.

Strange, but I don’t really miss Outlook. I used it for at least twelve years and taught others how to use all of its many features. (Too many!) After showing the user the basic email features, I could easily overwhelm them with all of the other features in just a few minutes. I quickly learned to give out hints and tips only, and only when I revisited their offices. “Would you like to know how to invite just certain people in the office to a staff meeting? No? OK, see you next year.” Now I use Gmail and it does everything I really need.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

GraphJam:

Pop culture for people in cubicles.

Don't you love graphs?

From AlwaysQuestion

AlwaysQuestion

Almost a contemporary. I was an HM3 back in the day (Early 60's). This guy made Chief and a career. I got lucky and got out before Vietnam. He got to see the world and I got to see Camp Lejeune. I think I'll bookmark him. I like the way he thinks...

OK, it's done


Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By has been pushing elderbloggers to post a photo of themselves and their quarterstaff''s, or walking sticks. I tried doing it myself, putting the camera on top of the car, etc, but with limited success. So this morning I dressed in my best (car washing) clothes and asked Laurae to take the picture. I think it turned out quite well.

The stick, sadly, is not a natural. I went commercial because I wanted sturdy and this one is solid Ash; baseball bat strength. And it was custom made at what I thought was a very reasonable price by the Brazos Stick Co. I called them and asked if they could make their standard sticks a little bit longer... and they can. And no, I have no connection with them and I didn't get a free stick. I just thought they were nice people.

Fannie, Freddie rescue

could cost $25B -

Do you know what scares me the most? It's the fact that it's a government estimate! And what is the usual result of a government estimate? You already know the answer.

And if this money was being spent to help the 'poor folks', it would be called socialism. Evil! But since it's going to help the wealthier citizens, it will be called, simply, a helping hand. Good!

Fifty Years

I just received a letter from a professional organizer of class reunions. I had been wondering if the Mira Costa HS Class of 1958 was going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our graduation, and apparently a few brave souls have decided to make a stab at it. I had been searching all of the usual places for news of such a gathering and had come up with nothing at all. Until now.

Reunions Unlimited has the task of putting it together and they want a good amount of money for their efforts. $104 each, or $208 for the two of us. Cash bar, buffet dinner and dancing. Photographs extra $$. And the Manhattan Beach Marriott has a special price of only $119 a night. Who knew Manhattan Beach had a Marriott? When did they build that?

I think I’ll pass.