Thursday, January 29, 2009
I'm spending far too much time exploring blogs. But…what else would I do at this early hour? I do believe it's a great way to wake up; to read something new and fresh from the mind of a stranger. It gets your mind in gear and your neurons buzzing; it's better than caffeine!
This morning I started with Time Goes By and picked some of the newer elder blogs to read. Of course they lead me to others, which lead to even more and now I have an additional list of blogs to add to my 'Blogs I read' list.
One of the blogs I read regularly is that of the Eavesdrop Writer where the author observes a fragment of life and then describes it for us, wonderfully. Well, I think that eavesdropping is what I'm doing as I move from blog to blog. I won't attempt to recreate what the Eavesdrop Writer does; she's far too talented. I'll just keep wandering and reading.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Back in the day... and in another life, I had dinner one night at an Argentine (or is it Argentinian?) restaurant in Parkville, Missouri and fried cheese was a featured dish. So good!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Put another log on the fire. Boo the Cat wants in. It's little bit chilly this morning and that's a good thing. Maybe it will remind the trees that it's far too early to be blossoming. The spring-like conditions of the past few weeks may have encouraged the wrong kind of behavior in the orchards and normal February weather could cause havoc among any early blossoms.
Monday, January 26, 2009
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'blood sucking parasites'.
It's chilly this morning as it always is after a good rainstorm. Could we have another? Please? Unfortunately, the forecast is for sunny and more sunny for the next week and beyond.
Over the weekend I heard about some of the problems facing the local school districts as the county runs out of cash. Cash owed by the state of California. Of course it isn't just Glenn County, it's everywhere the state does business. And then I read that the state wants to cut over $400 million from the textbook budget for the schools. That's criminal. And if I were a superintendent of a school district, I might ask; what will it take to get the attention of the legislature and the governor? And then I would simply shut down the schools. Let them arrest me. And what if that happened in every school district? Would the state finally take notice? Probably not.
And whose fault is it? Those who wish to abolish taxes. We say we want the best for our children but we aren't willing to pay for it. Even if the state was paying their bills, we would still be behind in the quality of our education.
I can't help but think back to my working days, (only 5 years ago) and I remember that our budget for computers and software was $2 million per year. For less than 700 employees. We budgeted close to $3,000 per employee per year; at a construction company. What does a school district budget for the computer needs for 700 students? Aren't they as important, or even more important?
Sad, but I've been upset about schools for a long time and I really don't understand why anyone would want to be a teacher. The pay is miserable and so are the working conditions. If you compare the teaching career to similar careers in the private sector, you would never make the choice to enter a classroom.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The pruning crew has gone and we now have a very different view to the east of the house. All of the fruit trees were brought down to manageable levels and the big walnuts were topped as well. It looks like a disaster! I have to admire the pruners skill though; they can see the future when they begin to cut.
We'll have to look at this devastated landscape for a few more months and then the buds will come, followed quickly by the leaves. In fact, the local almond crop has already begun to bud and we'll see blossoms in a month or less. But in the meantime, it rains and that's a good thing!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
An interesting and, I believe, factual story...
I was just reading the story of President Obama's Blackberry and all of the concerns about security. So I suppose we can't expect to follow him on Twitter? Or Facebook?
Wouldn't you love to read his Tweets? Or send him some Flair on Facebook? Let's get a petition going; we want our president connected!
Friday, January 23, 2009
The day has begun in a normal fashion and I am just finishing up my second cup of tea. Boo the Cat has abandoned me in favor of a better spot in front of the fire. It may or may not be raining outside; too dark to tell. I've wandered around most of the usual internet news sources and found little of interest. Is it just me, or are we all becoming a little jaded after the high drama of the past election season?
But, the morning is young…and after reading this post from Cab Drollery, (about halfway down) I am upset once again about the death and destruction in Gaza. It's so frustrating! There is never an excuse for civilian deaths when politicians decide to wage war. You may notice that none of them were killed or wounded. No politicians actually participated in this and they are quick to shed any blame for the results of their inability to negotiate a way to peace.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I've been reading Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan. It's a great book and I always enjoy Amy Tan's work. She makes you read every word and that's an accomplishment; and although that makes her work a little more difficult to get into, you are soon enjoying the pace. But… as I was reading her description of the Karen tribes people of Myanmar, once known as Burma, I couldn't help but think that most of us make a mistake when we think of these tribal societies as being ignorant. Ignorant of what? I know that if I had to keep track of the hundreds of Nats (spirits, evil or kind, sometimes pesky) that affected everything in my daily life, I would soon go crazy. I'm not smart enough to be a Karen.
My daughter, Alicia, has been scanning and posting old photos on Facebook and it's been great! Even though we are separated by miles, the whole family has joined in as though we were sitting around some large living room and passing the once lost photos between us. It's stuff like this that makes me wonder why more elders don't have Facebook accounts?
I was just looking at the photoblog, 'daily dose of imagery' and noted that the last two posts are images, by a Canadian photographer of Canadians with an interest in Obama. Why? And all those images of crowds around the world watching the Inauguration. Why? Because the rest of the world believes that we still have the power to do good. Thank you, world. And yes, the world does belong to all of us! Let us all celebrate
Regarding GM... "These are the self-inflicted wounds of a company that chose a path of least resistance rather than confront the need for dynamism and innovation."
Just what I've always said... it takes two signatures to complete a contract.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I think that I have my parents to thank for my attitude towards prejudice and bigotry and injustice. And over the years I have become very sensitive to it. Maybe too sensitive at times? Nah! Wrong is always wrong. And now all of this media attention on the color of President Obama's skin and his ancestry is driving me crazy. Barack Obama is a human. As we all are. Nothing more than that. As long as we keep noting the differences, we will never see the similarities.
Well, it's all over and we have a new president. It feels good. Better than good! But… I am very much aware of how dangerous it can be for us if we place this man on a pedestal. He's human, ambitious and powerful, and we need to remember that. We also need to remember that his power comes from us. That's our power. We didn't use it very wisely in the past so it's important that we remember.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"…and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."
These were the words that resonated with me…
Fun to do when bored... start the slideshow, sit back and enjoy the odd mix of photos. And, if your processor becomes a little bit taxed from all of this digital activity, you will see what look like double exposures now and then. Make up your own stories to accompany the photos!
I just read that Fiat is making a run at the American car market by taking a large position in Chrysler; 35% large. That means that Fiat will be making the decisions. The good news is that they have experience, having been around a lot longer than Chrysler (Founded in 1899). So they have experience. And they have always been innovative. Below is the new Chrysler Imperial Four Door Town Car...
Here it is; the day we've been waiting for. President-Elect Obama, no more. At 9 this morning he will become the real deal! But what can I say about it that won't be said by the thousands of writers, reporters and pundits? Not much, so I will just say that I'm happy. Very happy. Yes, I already know that I will not be supportive of this president in everything he does. He will frustrate me and irritate me. He can't help it; he's a politician. But he is also an intellectual and it's because of that that I'm happy. Imagine it; a university professor of Constitutional Law and he's our president and he can actually think! All by himself. That's something that we will all have to get used to.
And the bad news is…I will miss seeing the inauguration. I don't know what I was thinking when I accepted the doctor's appointment for 8:15 AM on the 20th
of January. So I will probably be in a waiting room, filling out paperwork while the rest of the nation celebrates. Sure, it's my fault, but why would they even have an appointment available at that time? Unless…the doctor is some sort of unreformed right wingnut wacko? Well, if I'm lucky, I can be back in my car and listening to the ceremony.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I'm in the database. President Obama has a huge database of names; the names of those who supported him in his run for the presidency. And because I am in the database I get a lot of 'personal' email from both Barack and Michelle. OK, it's not really that personal, but the mail does have their names at the bottom. And I'm usually being invited to pony up a little cash for some event or another. But a few weeks ago I was given a chance to win an all expense paid trip to the inauguration. We could be one of 20 lucky couples! And although a donation was asked for, it wasn't required to enter the contest, so I did. Well, it's the 19th Of January and I haven't received my tickets so I'm going to assume I didn't win. Which is a big relief! I don't know what I was thinking when I entered this contest. Did I really think that there wouldn't be a gazillion people in Washington? That I would have to wear a suit at the very least? I'm an introvert! An INFP…an inauguration would be like torture for me!
More browsing. I came across this piece and it made me upset.
By Peter G. Gosselin
Unemployment could be worse than now by the time President-elect Barack Obama's first term ends.
Look at the two weasel words, 'may' and 'could'. Why would anyone write an article like this? And why would we read it? I didn't.
I am SO tempted to rant!
I was browsing without direction (is there any other kind of browsing?) and reading a little about the folly of expanded war in Afghanistan. Which made me think of the Department of War. True, it's called the Defense Department now because of some politically correct thinking back in the late 40's. But until that time it had always been the Department of War. Proud and unashamed of its mission to wage war where needed!
And then I thought of the opportunities that might be afforded by our new President. Here's a man that proclaims 'Change' at every opportunity. Could he be persuaded to create a Department of Peace? Imagine a department whose sole mission is to avoid war and threats of war by peaceful means. Let's face it, peace has never had an advocate in any president's cabinet. Now there's a change I could support!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
More bad news; I just read that Gottschalks Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection. Apparently the only growth industry around this part of the country is the one that hires people to stand on corners with 'Going out of Business' signs.
Which reminded me of something I read today, "An underpaid man is a customer reduced in purchasing power. He cannot buy. Business depression is caused by weakened purchasing power. Purchasing power is weakened by uncertainty or insufficiency of income. The cure of business depression is through purchasing power, and the source of purchasing power is wages."
Well, that seems to be straightforward and true, though I don't have a lot of respect for the man who said it; Henry Ford, in 1926. Henry had some faults, such as anti-Semitism, that makes respect difficult. But in this, he was right.
Credit, despite what the distributors of plastic cards would have you believe, is not purchasing power, it's wages. Cash. Everything else is a lie and a scheme. And that's why the payment of a living wage is so important. Henry Ford knew it and paid his workers twice the prevailing wage. It's time for the rebirth of the unions.
Back to Gottschalks; I have a personal stake in the local store as it was one the first projects I was involved in when we moved to this part of California. We built it just about 20 years ago. With union labor of course.
Now that I've entered the wonderful world of modern day medical care, I've been frustrated by the fact that technology, modern technology, has not made it into the doctor's office. Why do I have to repeat the medical facts to each physician I come into contact with? Why aren't they reading an electronic version of my medical history? And what happens when I omit (carelessly) some vital fact? I asked my regular doctor for an electronic copy of my records so that I could upload it to my Google Health account. I'm still waiting, 3 months later. I would even chip in the bucks needed to buy some jump drives to give to doctors. Each one preloaded with my records.
Get with it!
I'm having a terrible time getting anything started this morning. The thoughts and ideas are simply absent. Is that a function of age? Or plain and simple boredom. Ennui is a much better word for this condition; why don't we use it more often? 'I am suffering from ennui.' See? Doesn't that sound better than 'I'm bored.'?
I read that English now has over a million words in it. I believe it. Back in the day when I was child, I used to enjoy reading the dictionary. I probably couldn't even pick up the dictionary now!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
It may take awhile, but it's coming. The recording industry has finally surrendered, now it's time for the cable and satellite monopolies to read the handwriting on the wall. Ala Carte television!
The fantastic landing that was made in the Hudson River the other day by the bird struck US Airways Airbus revived a flying memory. No, I didn't crash land and walk away, I was simply flying home to Sacramento late one winter evening. As the plane made its turn to line up with a runway hidden below the clouds, I looked down and saw a huge flock of Canadian geese flying just above the clouds. It was a bright moonlit night and I could see them quite distinctly, silhouetted, dark on light. Did the pilot see them? And if there was one flock, were there more? We kept turning and descending and just as we dropped into the cloud cover, I could see the flock disappearing behind us. Beautiful and scary.
Here we go again, another day of fun and frolic. Or not. I've browsed the news and the blogs and can't seem to find a lot of fun so I'll finish my story about CraigsList. It's been awhile since I've had to hire someone, yet I found the same mistakes in these current applications that I experienced 20 years ago. Doesn't anyone teach the 'how to's' of job applications? In high school? Truth is, the schools fail us in this regard, just as they did when I was in school. They really should have a Life 101 course for each of the 4 years of high school.
Sure, I was only hiring someone to do some pruning, but really…spelling and grammar count. And since the email was going to be their only chance of winning me over, shouldn't it be the very best they can do? I can't see them and be charmed by their smile and firm handshake. Their written words have to do the job. And 90% failed.
Back in the day…when I was an instructor for the Carpenters Apprenticeship classes, I used to teach a small segment on 'how to get a job' and it was easily the most popular class. Truth was, it was the only class they liked!
Another thing I noted about these job applications was the fact that about half had used someone else's email account to send their application. OK, that tells me they don't a computer of their own or access to one on a regular basis. And I can't help but think about the project that was created to build and deliver $100 laptops to children in the poorer nations of the world. But I don't think we've finished supplying the need here at home. Our library here on the Planet Orland has about 8 public computers and they are always in use and a waiting list is filled. They could easily use 8 more.
A computer is no longer a luxury. It's a necessity. It is where the information is. And without information, where are we? Headed back to the Dark Ages…
Friday, January 16, 2009
I did it. I put another nail in the coffin of the 'real' newspaper business. I posted an ad on CraigsList and it cost me zip. Zero. And it wasn't my first ad, I've done this before. This time I ran an ad looking for someone to do pruning in our small orchard. I think I got 17 responses in a day and a half. Not bad. It's a negative comment on the economy but a good one for me. And I couldn't help but think of how the 'real' newspaper ad business worked. First; you had to call the newspaper and get the advertising department. Then you had to tell someone how you wanted the ad to read. No help was given here as they wanted you to use lots of words! After that, you were given dozens of options; did you want BOLD or a box around the ad? Photos? Etc, etc. And how many days did you want that ad to run? 'Thank you, sir. That'll be $95 please.'
Once again I have to open the window here to get some relief from the heat. In the middle of January and with the fire banked as low as I can get it. Odd times indeed, with a high in the mid 70's forecast for the day.
Also odd. The financial statements are piling up on my desk. I used to enjoy reading them and kept them all current and posted in an Excel spreadsheet. Now I can barely summon the courage to open them. I used to start each day by looking at the DJIA; not in great detail, just a glance to see the drift of the market. I haven't looked in a week or more. So I looked this morning. Yikes! I know, I know…be happy!
I think I'm like most people; I want someone to blame for this. Immediately. I don't want to wait for history to do the judging. Heck, they haven't decided on the culprit for the Great Depression and that was almost 80 years ago. I don't have 80 years left.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Almost there. 5 more days and the world changes forever. As it should. A few minutes ago I was reading a short news item about the fact that President Obama had dinner with some prominent conservatives the other night. That's a good thing and perhaps indicative of what we will see more often from his administration. What was disappointing were the comments from the usual malcontents that saw a plot behind the dinner; that, somehow, Obama was breaking with liberal ideals by breaking bread with conservatives. What idiocy!
I'm thinking, and I could be wrong, but we have a chance to have a presidency that unites us. Our president. Left and right, liberal and conservative alike are making a big mistake if they allow themselves to wallow in the rhetoric of hatred. I've been there; I don't like conservative thoughts or ideas and I'm always tempted to say exactly what I think about them and I've just spent the last eight years in frustration.
I already know that I'm not going to be happy with everything that Obama does. He's already frustrated me by indicating that it will be at least a year before the prison in Guantanamo is closed. And he hasn't given a clear signal about the possible prosecution of the Bush administration for 'war crimes'. I think he should.
But, everything is really speculation until the 21st of January. And if Obama wanted to signal a clear change in direction, he could rescind the first executive order that W gave, back in 2001; the order that sealed all the papers of the past presidents. When W did that, 8 years ago, I knew right then just what kind of person we were dealing with and nothing he did ever surprised me from then on.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Since I am constantly moving my thoughts back and forth between my blog and my journal, my blog looks more than amateurish. Fonts change unexpectedly as well as colors and the fact that I'm using Word 2007 to publish the blog doesn't help. I really need to become settled on a clean and simple format. OK, that's my goal for the year; I'm going to clean up the sidebars and find a new template that will make it easy to read. Black on white!
Nice weather persists. Darn it! California depends on winter storms for its water supply and we've been deficient for a couple of years now. Almost all reservoirs are reporting record lows and I just read that the governor is going to use a number that is just half of what was spent on firefighting last year as the new budget figure. A brilliant man!
OK, I've read the weather forecast and scanned the headlines. It's just more of the usual…but I did have a stray thought. Now is the perfect time for thinking Republicans to desert the party and become independents. If you stay in the GOP and spend any time criticizing the new administration, your complaints will be dismissed as just 'sour grapes'. But as an independent you can be heard!
A nation is a society united by delusions about its ancestry and by common hatred of its neighbors.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I've been having fun with the Facebook group, I grew up in the South Bay which means I'm Kind of a Big Deal.
Lots of memories of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa and Redondo… and while I'm doing that, I'm revisiting the one memory that causes this terrible mental conflict every time I say the word 'Esplanade'. Growing up, we went to Redondo Beach and to the Esplanade. (anod, not anade)
In Chico, one of the main streets is the Esplanade, (anade, not anod) but if I say it correctly, people stare at me until I say it incorrectly. So I have had to learn to pronounce it incorrectly every time. A bad habit. Heck… I think I'll just start pronouncing it correctly and see if I can't change things around here. I have nothing better to do…
Yesterday, on Fresh Air, I was listening to an interview with John Yemma, editor of the Christian Science Monitor and the first major daily newspaper to abandon the print format. Of course it will be free. The only newspaper that the paid subscribers will get will be a Saturday recap edition. It's good news as far as I'm concerned. The 'paper' news is hopelessly antiquated and always 24 hours behind internet news. The only bad news associated with this is the fact that most small town newspapers have small ideas and will be left behind in this revolution. OK, maybe that's not bad news after all.
Something odd is happening. I use Gmail and their spam filters work just fine, or did work. I used to get half a dozen a day and they were always caught and placed in the spam box without any action needed by me. But now I'm seeing 30 or more a day being caught. I know; I could ignore the whole thing and just let Gmail take care of it, the spam is on their servers and not on my computer and everything over 30 days old is eliminated automatically, but I have this compulsion to go and empty the spam box every time I see something in it. Darn…there's another one!
Once again the weird weather is with us with the temp showing 56 degrees at this early hour. This doesn't bode well for the summer ahead. I have a feeling we're going to need a lot more firefighters than we did last year, and that was a bunch! California is always so pretty at this time of year as the green grass blankets the hillsides and it's getting a head start as this unseasonal warmth can only accelerate the growth of fuel.
I wish that the weather was the only news worth mentioning, but everything I've read this morning seemed to be disturbing. Perhaps I will do the morning jig-saw puzzle and let that relax me…and then start over.
Wasn't it wonderful having a president that couldn't, wouldn't and didn't think for himself... disgraceful!
Monday, January 12, 2009
'Market Down Sharply' say the headlines. Wonderful. And then I had to listen to a debate as to whether or not Bush/Cheney should be tried for war crimes, while I was listening to NPR. There is no debate. Try him. I will never see my money back but it would be nice to dream of W sitting in a cell somewhere. Not for losing my money, but any conviction will do.
I was just reflecting on the technological wonders that keep showing up, despite our failing economy. It keeps me smiling! One was the 2 GB wireless flash memory card for your camera that will upload your photos directly to your pc or your website. No cables or adapters needed. And cloud computing keeps getting better and more of the public is becoming aware of it. Now I heard that some companies are thinking of dropping their licenses for MS Word and going to Google Docs or other cloud sites. And if you're not quite ready for cloud computing, there is Open Office…
Link to the Eye-Fi
Netflix Streaming Box Review, $100 and Unlimited Downloads!
Sounds tempting! Sure beats cable or satellite. And you wouldn't be bothered by any fuzzy headed local news channels.
, Thousands to Lose Jobless Benefits - NYTimes.com:
"50,000 New Yorkers"
Hey! On the bright side, the statistics now reveal that that there are 50,000 less unemployed! Statistics are wonderful things...
closing in on a family dog :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Lynn Sweet
Does anyone really care? I hope that the Sun-Times can do better than this in the future... Imagine 4 more years of this kind of saccharine drivel!
Israel pounds new Hamas targets:
"International aid groups have repeatedly said Israel must do more to protect Palestinian civilians, who are believed to make up about half of the dead."
The dead? Close to 900. Let's see, half of that would be 450 dead children. Sorry about that but we have war to fight here.
And those Hamas rockets that started the war? They killed 5 Israeli's during the year 2008.
There needs to be a special place in Hell for those who wage war of any kind.
Unbelievable! I've had to open the window here in the study this morning to cool it off. 75 degrees inside and 59 outside. High could be 76 today. What happened to winter?
Well, Boo the Cat thinks it's still winter. She's bedded down the same as if it were 39 degrees outside. And her winter coat is quite spectacular. She's a black cat and most black cats are somewhat boring to look at. No spots, no stripes; dull. But her coat this winter is fantastic! It shines and ripples as she moves; not that she moves that much, but when she does! I wonder; did they ever make cat fur coats? Oops! Sorry Boo…
Sunday, January 11, 2009
It's a slow and sleepy morning. Boo the Cat is nearby and asleep. I'm doing my daily jigsaw puzzle just to make sure my brain is functioning in an analytical manner. The house is warm and the fire is burning just right! Headlines? Who needs them! It's Sunday and I'll get to them later on. I'm just not ready to be disappointed once again in the state of humanity.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
They got away from me and now I'm catching up…
Laurae and I are both recovering now. After some little research we found that we had been stricken with viral gastroenteritis (Stomach flu) which is really not the flu at all and is caused by rotaviruses, noroviruses, adenoviruses, type 40 or 41, sapoviruses, and astroviruses. And that's a lot! Yes, viral gastroenteritis is contagious. Outbreaks (in which many people are affected) occur primarily from eating or drinking contaminated foods or beverages. And apparently we received ours from a local restaurant, as some others that we ate with that night came down with the same symptoms. Disgusting. And one more reason to avoid buffets or any other place where access to the food is unrestricted.
I couldn't help but think of the 11 million people that are now 'officially' out of work. That's a big number so I decided to put it in perspective. A perspective that I could understand.
9,948,081 was the estimated population of Los Angeles County in 2006 so I'm going to make a wild guess and say that it's probably pretty close to 11 million people now, almost three years later. That number also represents the number of Americans that officially don't have a job. So if you can imagine getting in a rental car at LAX and then getting on the northbound 405 freeway, all of those people you saw around you would be out of work. You pass through Santa Monica and Westwood; you can see Beverly Hills off to the right and on a clear day you can even see the Civic Center. And all of the houses and high-rises you see would be filled with the unemployed. Further north, as you crest the Sepulveda Pass you can see the San Fernando Valley spread out before you, filled with the unemployed as far as you can see. Then further north, to Newhall, Castaic and over to Lancaster, Palmdale and then back in, but going east this time along the Foothill Freeway, all of the houses you see on the right are the homes of the unemployed. It's the same on the left, there just aren't as many. Take that freeway all of the way out to the 605 and then head west towards Long Beach. Lots of cars and lots of houses out here and all filled with the unemployed. Turn north once you meet the 405 freeway and drive through the South Bay cities on your way back to LAX and a plane out of there. You've driven about 150 miles and seen about 1/10th of where the population lives. And think of them as all being unemployed.
You can create the same scenario with any major population center. Let's see, Chicago and Cook County has a population of 5,288,655 so just double that number. New York City only has 8 million people so you would have to throw in some boroughs to get to 11 million. And all out of work; officially.
Friday, January 9, 2009
I just ran across an interesting item from the New York Times. Widgets. The Times has widgets for bloggers and you can choose just what the Times can place on your blog. No money involved, so the Times gets free placement for a few more eyes to see it. And I like the idea for now. It shows some clever thinking on the part of the NYT; they're not going out of business any time soon and not without a fight.
I just came back from a visit to the local vampire shop where I donated a small portion of my blood for cholesterol level testing. They open at 6 and I was their second customer of the day at 6:15. It didn't go well and I am sure I will have two bruised arms to prove it. It was all very much painless as the phlebotomist was really quite good. The problem was in the vacuum tubes they use to draw the blood once they hit a vein. She had 3 failures and had to use both arms and a 4th tube to get the job done. Yikes!
Now, speaking of blood sucking, as I was… I just read that he jobless rate hit 7.2%. That means 11 million Americans without a job. That's just the official number; the real number is quite a bit higher as you fall off the statistics once you've used up your benefits.
It's far too easy to be cruel. I was reading the headlines about the fact that 8 million TV viewers may be out of luck when the switch is made from analog to digital transmission in February. My first thought was… so what? What did people do before television? Do that again! Yes, that's the simple thought that first comes to mind, but then you have to remember that the television is the only link to the world for millions of poor, disabled and yes, elders. Would it hurt us to wait until all can be served?
My battle with the flu has ended and I won. Sort of. My sense of time, my inner clock, isn't working too well as I spent so much time napping during the past few days and now I'm not sure when I will be able to return to a 'normal' sleep pattern. What I do know is that I will definitely take the flu vaccine next year and not put if off as I did this time. And why did I put it off? Because I dislike lines. Waiting.
As per usual, I was reading Time Goes By this morning and this time the posting was disturbing. It was about ageism and included a short film clip that was supposed to be funny. So go take a look at the article and the clip and then I can continue…
Oddly enough, what bothered me the most was the thought that I would have been laughing at the clip myself not too many years ago. How do we go through most of our life denying the fact that we all age? Some never do get it. And is it just 'whistling in the dark' when we make fun of elders and aging? Or is there a real desire to hurt elders? Well, if you spent the time and money that the producers of this clip did, you wanted more than whistling. You wanted to hurt someone.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I was just reading a blog post about the experience/inexperience of Caroline Kennedy and her fitness to be a Senator. There has been a lot of trash talk lately about candidates for all sorts of offices, from president to dog catcher. OK, I don't know about the dog catcher. Yet there are no definitive qualifications for most of these positions. To be a Senator, you must be 30 years old and have been a citizen for the past 9 years. That's it. Oops! And you need to be a resident of the state you wish to represent.
It seems to me that if the founding fathers wanted the candidates to have more experience for the job, they would have written it into the Constitution. And if we, as a nation, think that more experience is needed, we can amend that same Constitution. Well, they didn't and we haven't. Those who wish to argue that point need to turn to the mirror and argue it there, with someone who will agree with them. Or care.
And, as we know, 'Junior Senators' are not allowed to touch the steering wheel or press on the gas pedal for as long as it takes before the 'Good Old Boys' of the Senate approve of them. Now that's something that needs fixing! I'm a dedicated foe of 'Seniority' as it has nothing to do with reality. You're good at the job or you're not. End of story.
I'm up early, but that's nothing new. What's new is that I went to bed at 1 and 7 and 4 and 10 and 7 again. The flu has claimed me and I've been sleeping off and on for the past 24 hours. I haven't been this sick in many years. And although I feel better this morning than I did yesterday at the same time, I can tell it hasn't gone away. I think I'll go back to bed.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I guess I can write about the new television now. It's in place in our entertainment center/Wii gymnasium/spare bedroom. And so far it's a hit. I will take the old TV to the thrift store, admitting that it has sound system problem and the sound is erratic. And that the picture size will vary, shrinking as the hours go by. With a really long movie to watch, the picture might be reduced by about a third at the end and the actors will all sound like Lithuanians. With bad colds.
I know it doesn't make a lot of sense; a new television and we don't have cable or satellite service. Surprisingly, the new set did pick up a fuzzy picture from channel 21, wherever that is? But back to what it does well; I can really enjoy Wii bowling now! The picture and sound are awesome. And although the new Blue-Ray player hasn't arrived yet, I did hook up the old DVD player and we watched a movie. It was great! We understood almost every word.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
We're in desperate need of a good Mexican restaurant. El Vaquero, our favorite, has closed forever and so we're on the hunt. We tried El Korita last night and it didn't make the grade. The Planet Orland has a decent number of Hispanic residents and so you would think that finding a good Mexican restaurant would be fairly easy. But no, most of these restaurants prepare food as they think Anglos would like it and not the way they would prepare it for friends and family. Canned and not fresh seems to be the rule.
And further afield, in Chico, the situation isn't much better. Mexican restaurants open and close on a regular basis there because no one can get it right. And too many of the others are open only because their regular patrons think canned food is acceptable.
Best ever Mexican restaurant for us was El Tecolote, located in the middle of the orchards of Camarillo, California. But that's a long way to go for a plate of chile verde.
Hmmm. Now that I think about it, most ethnic restaurants cater to Anglo tastes, which is why we can't find a decent Chinese restaurant either.
Luxuriate is the word for the day. And it can be applied to Boo the Cat as she enjoys the heat from the wood stove. We have a small flame-proof rug in front of the stove that is there to catch sparks when we open the stove, but she has made it her bed. Which she luxuriates upon. She's a small cat but she extends herself in all directions, until she is fully sprawled out upon the rug and soaking up every stray BTU that comes her way. I swear she's twice her normal size. And there she lays. You can walk around her or over her, it doesn't matter to her. Add Indolent to the word for the day.
Monday, January 5, 2009
If you are close to my age, you might remember the Shmoo. That was Al Capp's contribution to society via his Lil' Abner comic strip, which was really much more serious than it appeared. Honest.
I was 9 years old in the midst of the Shmoo frenzy and I remember that dad bought us an inflatable Shmoo that would stand upright and bounce back up if it were punched. Which we did.
So why did I bring this up? Oddly enough the Shmoo came up as a topic of discussion during our Bible study last night. And this morning I passed the Shmoo link on to our pastor. I think there's a sermon here!
As I read the Times article on President Obama's economic recovery plan, I couldn't help being startled by this Republican comment,
"Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, proposed Sunday that any money distributed to the states be provided as loans rather than outright grants.
"Nobody thinks we ought to be spending this money on things like mob museums and waterslides," Mr. McConnell said on "This Week" on ABC. "And if the money were lent rather than just granted, states would I think spend it wisely, and the states that didn't need it at all wouldn't take any."
'if the money were lent'? Wait a second here… whose money is it? And the states (us) would have to pay interest to use our own money? It only gets curiouser and curiouser as Alice would say. And what is with the comment about 'mob museums and waterslides'? Is he intimating that only Republicans know how to spend money wisely? Amazing! It's a good thing I have a seatbelt on this chair.
Boo the Cat applauds our decision to begin the wood heat season. Last night, she was quick to find a new napping place, the rug in front of the wood stove. Ordinarily she would be found asleep on my lap at that time of night. Yes, I was a good source of warmth she was seeking but not without some danger to herself. If I nodded off while reading, she stood a good chance of being smacked in the head with whatever book I had been reading. I'm sure she had to sleep with one eye open. And this morning, instead of hanging out with me in the study, she's back in front of the fire, asleep!
The wood stove is doing a great job. Eat your heart out, PG&E! Truth is the stove is working much better after I replaced the door seal that the chimney sweep recommended. I couldn't see that there was much wrong with the old one, but he has an eye for those kind of things and so I changed it. He told me I would get better performance and use less wood and so I have.
The only news that caught my eye this morning was the story about Al Franken being declared the winner in the Senate race in Minnesota and that's really not a story as it is only the beginning of a long legal battle. If I lived in Minnesota I would be terribly embarrassed about the whole thing. Were these two candidates the best they could come up with? What am I saying? That could be said of any state! But really now, Minnesota has now given themselves…Jesse Ventura and Al Franken? Not that we have done much better here in California, with Ronnie Reagan and Arnold. I know, I know…the really good potential candidates won't lower their personal standards to run for public office.
Yes, there is another story. That of Bill Richardson giving up his potential role as Secretary of Commerce. I believe he will be vindicated in the end, but in the meantime we will have lost the services of a very bright man. Yes, I know…but not bright enough to stay out of politics. Sigh.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Hamas ready for bitter urban battle
Fools. A war that will never be won and thousands of civilians will die. As long as there is a perception that Israel is the enemy, the war will continue no matter how much of Gaza is destroyed. Volunteers will continually spring from the abused civilians. What has to change is the perception. And that requires talking, not killing.
And a stray thought... who sells the weapons?
I thought I would mention Facebook this morning. No, it's not just for kids. Although…kids do seem to be in the majority.(Kids being anyone under the age of 30 40.) It seems to me that it's a perfect medium for elders. You can connect… or not connect with others, just as much as you please. All the tools are there to help you keep up with your family and friends. Or not. I like some of the groups that you can join and have found some good memory stirring ones with a simple search. Anyway, I'm going to start promoting it for elders. If we can get enough elders using it, the 'kids' will go away. (Just kidding!)
We have the thermostat set for 62° from 10 at night until 5 the next morning and so I was a little surprised to hear the furnace running at 3 in the morning. It must be the cold wind outside…or we received no heat from the sun yesterday. A combination of those things?
The house has all dual pane windows and there is insulation galore, but yesterday, I was up in the attic putting away some Christmas items and I could really feel the wind coming in through the gable and soffit vents. I have an idea that is where the heat was going.
I think it's time I figured out an easy way to get firewood into the house and then get the wood burner going again. The house was built with two chimneys; one for the wood burning stove and one for a 'formal' fireplace. The fireplace is closed off and never used as it's so inefficient, while the wood burner actually has ductwork above it to deliver warm air to the remote rooms. Yet there is no place to store firewood. What were they thinking when they built the house? My wood pile is outside and far away from the house and I don't like bringing too much of it into the garage. But it looks like it will have to be done…
Saturday, January 3, 2009
OK, that last post was fun. Memories almost always are. Selective.
Now, on to the real world of 2009. I just made the mistake of reading some comments on a news story. Wrong! Why does anyone give these 'anonymous' cretins a forum? If they want to spew garbage, let them get a blog of their own. Like I did. And anonymous? Are these people so ashamed of their thoughts and words that they have to hide? Well, after reading some of the comments, I can see why they might want to remain unknown.
OK, I know why they allow and even encourage comments. It drives traffic to their websites… but it's still not right!
We're off to a good beginning this morning. A cup of tea is close at hand and Boo the Cat is asleep on her shelf nearby. The furnace is taking the chill off and my mind is wandering; a good thing, as it proves that I still have one… a mind.
Earlier, I was writing on a different subject and I suddenly remembered my life as an instructor and 'idea guy'. I worked for the Strategic Development Department of the company I retired from and we used to attend quarterly meetings at the department headquarters in Bonner Springs, KS. First; I loved the name, Strategic Development! What great name…made you feel really important even though it was only a department with 8 people in it.
Ordinarily I avoid meetings whenever possible, but these meetings were great and I loved going to them. Since we only saw each other four times a year, our department head insisted that we each spend a few minutes relating to the group all of the news about our families and life on the road. Really, the same stuff we would have talked about if we had had a normal office life and could have chatted around the proverbial water cooler.
We met in a small conference room and I would usually arrive first and set up a network hub and some power strips under the table. 8 of us would soon be sitting at that table with our laptops open and on. And once the family news portion of the meeting was over, most of us were multi-tasking. We would be taking care of problems in distant offices and surfing the web for jokes to share. Even instant messaging between our fellow attendees. Once in awhile we would look up and contribute something to the topic at hand. Our department head? He usually had to be reminded that we were still having a meeting as he became engrossed in whatever he was reading on his laptop. Usually it was stuff we had just sent to him.
And like most meetings, the real business was discussed later, at dinner…
Friday, January 2, 2009
Listening to NPR. Great stuff on President Obama's knowledge of constitutional law. And there's a good chance that he will be able to name 2 retiring justices on the Supreme Court. Just the fact that the President is very intelligent and can make a choice based on a candidates knowledge of the Constitution is going to be so refreshing!
Speaking of change... here are lots of thoughts on the question, 'What will change everything?'
For myself, I think it will be the multi-dimensional world contained in String Theory. Part of it is already here... Nanotubes and Bucky Balls!
Ronni Bennett had a posting on her blog that appealed to me and so I added my comment to her question: Do You Lie About Your Age?
I never lie about my age. (68) In fact, I find chronological age to be of little importance and potentially divisive and so I rarely mention it. I'm old, an elder, and any fool can see it. It doesn't necessarily make me wiser, but it helps...a little. I have been an idiot at age 25, 35, 45, 55 and 65. Hopefully I will get a chance to do it again when I'm 75!
No generation has a monopoly on wisdom. And that's my strongly held opinion...until I change it.
I guess that last sentence included the point I was trying to make. I do change my mind. All of the time. I think we all should. No, I don't mean hourly; I mean that we should always be open to change and willing to abandon ideas that no longer work and embrace new ones. OK, the earth isn't flat!
Yes, it is actually happening on the Planet Orland. Culture.
Well, the first day of the new year was a real yawner. Boring. The weather was cold and gloomy and it looks like day #2 will be worse; with rain and wind added to the cold and gloom. What to do? I tried getting my mind into my art yesterday, but a few minutes in my 'studio' out in the cold garage was enough to make any artistic notions wither and fade away.
Well, I guess I better take a look and see if I won the lottery on Wednesday; I definitely need a studio in a warmer climate. The Big Island would be my preferred site at this time of year and it will take a lottery win for that to happen. Hmmm…nope, not today!
That was interesting. When I went to the official site for the state lottery to see if I had won, I found an invitation to take part in a survey. Why not? So I did. It appears that the lottery commission is trying to perk up sales and they had various options that they were asking for opinions on. Since it's not at all convenient for me to play, I rarely do. And none of the options include play via the internet. That would be my preference. Perhaps my downfall as well?