Thursday, April 30, 2009

Get Out of Jail – Free?

We went into Chico today to do some shopping and I had a chance to return to my favorite coffee house, Cal Java, and have a small latte while reading the local 'alternative' newspaper. I don't know why it's called alternative, it's definitely better than the more established newspaper. Anyway, as I was reading, I came across an ad posted by the local ACLU; to wit;

We have become aware of what may be a pattern and practice by the Chico Police Department to arrest individuals on questionable or unbelievable charges, followed by transport to jail in Oroville with "charges' subsequently being dropped upon release from jail.

This unacceptable practice is commensurate with another apparently dangerous practice by the Butte County Sheriff, who upon your release, sometimes hours after your arrest, replaces your money with a check, and leaves you in the parking lot of the Oroville Jail, miles from services and without regard for your safety, to fend for yourself. If you have been subjected to this treatment, we want to hear from you!

The reader is then directed to the local ACLU website to fill out the needed form.

If this is happening, it's definitely dangerous. The county jail is out in the middle of nowhere! And there is certainly no place to cash a check out there. You might have to walk 5 miles or more to find a convenience store.

Anyway, I went to the website and read this account. Very disturbing!

Link to document regarding lawsuit

From the Economist

An industrial poker player to the rescue

An interesting article about the CEO of Fiat and how he intends to operate Chrysler. Chrysler executives beware! Your jobs are on the line and from the description of how the company was being run, it's about time...

"The Italians have been shocked by how bloated Chrysler's management still is—there are nearly ten times as many people in external communications as there are at Fiat"

Soooey!

I've been reading the Swine flu headlines and I see that panic is already setting in across the country. (Americans are pretty good at panic.) They say that pork prices will be dropping soon as people do their best to avoid anything 'piggy'. Restaurants will have specials on Tofu and Eggs. The people really should take the time to look at the numbers and not hide in the closet during this pandemic. Did you know that there are 36,000 deaths per year from the run of the mill flu? People die all of the time from the flu. And there are over 300 million people in our nation, so what are your chances of dying? Pretty slim. And Swine flu doesn't kill everyone who gets it; it's actually milder than some of the really feared influenza, such as Avian flu. And…flu season is almost over. In the meantime, I'm not kissing any pigs. Pass the bacon.

For info…just Google 'flu don't panic' and read the results

From Just my little piece of the world

.. Bachmann..she just can't keep her facts straight.

Amazing video. Where is her district in Minnesota and why haven't they recalled her? It must be terribly embarrassing for them to see her walk up to a microphone. Any microphone.

But wait...part of my tax money goes to her salary as well. Now I'm mad!

From Time Goes By -

The Truth About Taxes...

The truth never makes for good television...

"We get what we pay for and we seem to want a huge military more than we want, say, better public schools and health care."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another

I finished another one and this one will go to the Plant Barn. Hopefully it will sell...not for the money, but to prove something to myself.

Propositions 1D and 1E - Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times says Yes on Propositions 1D and 1E -

That's plain evil! Vote NO on these two...

From "A Hamburger Today"

My Year in Hamburgers

Glorious story. I am so hungry! (Where and how did I develop this hamburger mania?)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Torture

From Tom Tomorrow (Comics)

You are what you eat…

We have been searching for a great burger in our locale and have come up empty. I admit that we have different tastes than most when it comes to burgers. We have good taste. We want to sit down and be waited upon. It's a special occasion; why should we have to make our own dinner? And that's what happens at most burger places…you are handed a burger and bun and directed to a 'condiment' table, where wilted lettuce reigns supreme. Or, even worse, you have to read a menu that is longer than the Old Testament. Just give me your burger! Give it your best shot and if it's any good, I'll be back.

All of which reminded me of one of the best burger places I've ever been to…The Dutch Oven, in Boise, Idaho. Here's a quote from a site on the internet.

"The Dutch Oven has quite a burger; not only does it have excellent taste but you get to discuss WWII bombers and horse racing with the owner/cook. You can try to order something from the menu, but you better take the burger (served with fruit salad) that was thrown on the grill when you walked through the door."

There was no menu. He sold hamburgers and they always came with fruit salad. No fries. The only choice you had was which flavor of soft drink to have. And he really did put a burger on the range as soon as you walked in the door. It was your burger. He ground his own meat and made just enough patties for one day. He called them his 'bullets' and when he was out of 'bullets' he closed the door for the day. Sorry. See you tomorrow.

I guess we're stuck with In and Out Burger for awhile. They have a good hamburger, a minimum of choices and very few questions. 'Do you want onions?' (Of course I do! It's a hamburger isn't it?)

We’re better than this…aren’t we?

The torture debate has gone on far too long. Fact; torture does not work. It has never been considered a reliable source of information by any legitimate authority. And I'm talking about hundreds of years worth of facts. Pain, mental or physical, will makes any of us say or do anything to cause it to stop. We will lie! Fact; people who support the use of mental or physical torture enjoy torture; just the thought of torturing someone makes them happy. If they didn't enjoy it, why would they support it? In fact; I knew a guy in the third grade, Clyde, and he liked torture. Really did! And I doubt that he ever got over it. These are mentally ill people and they should be in treatment. Now, before they hurt anyone else.

Change

I've been thinking about Arlen Specter, the Senator from Pennsylvania that just became a Democrat after decades as a Republican. He's 79 years old and so I have to wonder why on earth he wants to remain a Senator? He would be 86 years old at the end of his next term. That's wrong. No, not that he's old…but that he's running again. And the only reason he changed parties is because he stood a good chance of losing the primary vote and the Senate seat if he remained a Republican.

And what's wrong with a 80 year old running for office? Nothing at all as long as that person is not an incumbent. What does Arlen Specter know about the world of his constituents? Not a blessed thing. I'm sorry, but we need change, Being an elder and a Senator means that meaningful change is the last thing he is thinking about. The only change you will see from Arlen is political parties. Or a different brand of hair dye. Equally important.

Can't elders embrace change? They could, but the sad fact is that most won't. And that's why we need term limits for lawmakers. With term limits in place we won't need age limits. And if you're 79 or 85, you could run for office…for the first time, and as an elder that understands change.

Monday, April 27, 2009

From Make: Online :

Gutter gardens

This is such a great idea! I've been looking for some way to grow strawberries off the ground and I had thought of cutting 12" PVC pipe in half and nailing the half sections to the fence...but this is even better. You just have to find one of those guys that makes custom gutters and ask for the biggest one he has.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

From My Left Wing:

Why Not Rip Out Their Fingernails?

You know what torture is? It's watching Clifford May trying to defend the practice...

Lazy Sunday

No, I didn't get around to planting the tomatoes and that's something that should be done soon. But there are still some problems with the drip system that need to be fixed. Can I do the repairs, pain free? In the meantime, the plants are outside near the pool and the tall ones are secured to keep them from breaking off in the wind. And what is it about drip systems? I try to buy the best and still they fail. Planned obsolescence?

Hmmm? I thought I heard the wind so I went outside to see if the tomato plants were OK; they were and it wasn't windy at all. Must have been my imagination. And I have poured myself a third cup of decaf coffee. Surprise; it was easier than I thought to give up caffeine entirely.

Right now, I'm browsing the net and looking out the window at Venus, still shining on the eastern horizon. A horizon that is already silver. And Boo the Cat is out there somewhere; she was in for short time this morning, but insisted that she had things to do outside and so I let her go.

Since it is a lazy day, I guess I could cull the contents of my RSS feed reader. I find that I'm just not getting around to reading them all. They are very much like magazines that you subscribed to because they were so fascinating and then find yourself wondering, in about two years time, why you ever subscribed? It's about the same time you receive the first of many 'Last Chance' subscription renewal offers.

OK, back on topic…I have one folder, titled 'Politics' and there are 29 feeds in there…and I haven't opened the folder in a month. I have 43 feeds in a folder strangely titled 'Infrequent'. What? And now that I have taken the time to count, I see that I have way over 200 feeds! What am I thinking? I can't possibly handle that many thoughts/opinions in a day!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another Day

Life goes on. It's early, the window is now open and some fresh and cool air is replacing the old and stale air here in the study and I have my first cup in front of me and I begin to read…and the first thing that hits me is the fact that the headlines are still focused on 'torture'. The headlines don't call it torture, they call it advanced interrogation techniques, but it really is torture and calling it something else is simply a lie...but that's normal for those in power. This is from the same people who gave us 'collateral damage' to replace 'murder'.

And in a perfect world, those accused of torture would hang their heads and sob, 'yes, I'm guilty…I'm so sorry!' when confronted with the overwhelming evidence of their crimes. But that's not going to happen. There are too many people in high places that are touched by this and so they fight back, explaining with false logic that these interrogation methods (torture) worked and because they worked, we weren't attacked during the past 7 years. We were not attacked by aliens from outer space either, but that doesn't make torture OK.

Let's face it, these are defective people. They appear intelligent but there is something wrong, something evil, deep inside their minds. They actually enjoy torturing other humans. As children, I think we were all capable of this at some time, but most of us mature and that spark of evil dies out. As it is supposed to.

I can only hope that somewhere there are a few brave souls that will ignore conventional wisdom and do their best to bring these people to justice.

Mischief

We received our ballots the other day for the special election in May. This is an election designed by the powerful to steal from the weak, and I think it's going to work. It's pure evil cloaked in 'Law and Order' and that usually swings an election for them. Hey! It's endorsed by all the law enforcement agencies so it must be good. And it's all cleverly worded so that you would seem foolish not to vote for the measures…so why read the fine print?

Do yourself a favor and read what the League of Women Voters has to say and then Vote NO on 1A-1F…

League of Women Voters link


 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist - Friedman

- Swimming Without a Suit - NYTimes.com:

"...in 30 industrialized countries, the U.S. ranked 25th out of the 30 in math and 24th in science. That put our average youth on par with those from Portugal and the Slovak Republic,"

Thomas Friedman describes it well...

It's not magic; you have to invest in schools if you expect to get something from them. And that means money! Lots of it... tax money to be exact. And none of it should ever be spent on football teams and cheerleaders. Spend it on education for a change.

Naturally

"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way."
  - Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Apartment Therapy

Food Science: What's the Deal with Ultra-Pasteurization?

Milk that doesn't taste like milk so you add things to it so that it does...again?

Ya know...I can't think of any good reason to help the dairy industry, we already subsidize them 'till the cows come home' and this goes beyond being sensible.

Nope!

I was reading Four Seasons in Rome and I had a revelation. The author describes their adventure that begins when his wife collapses at home and he has to find a taxi and somehow get her downstairs and into the taxi, then to the emergency room. After much discussion, all translated of course, his wife is admitted to the hospital and an IV drip is started. By the next afternoon, things have become much better and she is diagnosed with exhaustion (twins) and dehydration. (she forgot to eat or drink) She is discharged and all is well.

Except; and this is why Italy will never be a great nation…they are not billed for the doctor or the hospital stay. Criminal!

Progress


More on gourds... this is one in progress and no, it isn't a giant salt shaker. I have a reason for the holes on top. At this stage, I'm adding hundreds of small circles, courtesy of a black Sharpie. Each circle is different and I try to vary the sizes. It's almost like doodling and I find it therapeutic. I was thinking of adding a raised dot of color in the center of each one, but that was way to much OC. Eventually I will have the gourd covered with circles and then it's time for a wash coat of some Lascaux Perlacryl color...but first I have to attach the hammered copper accents (8). The holes on top will then be filled with another accent...

From Orion Magazine

More from Anthony Doerr : AmI Still Here?

I can relate to this. Really.

Good Reading

I'm reading a great little book, Four Season in Rome by Anthony Doerr. You may remember him as the author of The Shell Collector. He's quite good and this 200+ page book will make you want to read more of his works. It's a true story of his family's life in Rome for one year. He secures a fellowship that takes him, his wife, and twin boys…infants really, away from Boise, Idaho and places them in the heart of Rome. Neither one speaks Italian.


 

Link to Anthony Doerr…

Turn here…

Life goes on. And so do the drugs. I'm taking an antibiotic now to fight off any infection from the cyst that was removed the other day. And on the list of possible side effects…'may make you dizzy. You should avoid operating machinery…'. It seems that is the same side effect for every drug I take, or is it just the manufacturer guarding himself against any and all possible lawsuits? I think it's the latter. But…the results for me are still the same; I'm not driving. It's now close to two months since I last drove the car. After 54 plus years of driving, I'm sitting in the passenger seat and trying to be nice about it.

But this just occurred to me; what if antibiotics really do make you dizzy? How many dizzy drivers are out there every day? Otherwise perfectly normal people, but loaded on Keflex. Just say no to antibiotics?

Your Decision

I've been to the doctor and had a troublesome cyst cut open and drained. Ugly! And painful as well. But it feels so much better, despite the large and painfully slow injection in the hip I had to endure afterwards as they pumped me full of antibiotics. But… once again I was reminded of the current and disturbing practice among medical professionals of letting the patient decide what should be done. This morning, after surveying the scene of the swelling cyst, the doctor says; 'You have two choices. I can give you antibiotics and send you home. That should take care of the infection in a weeks' time. Or, I can cut it open and squeeze all the evil out of it and then give you an antibiotic and you'll be fine in a weeks' time. Which would you like me to do?' He's asking me? He has a medical degree on the wall; I have a blue ribbon from the Lassen County fair on my wall; why would I know the correct answer? (I chose the more dramatic method; I wanted it out and I wanted it out now!)

This deferral to the patient in all of his or her supposed wisdom is idiotic. And all of the doctors do it. It's an epidemic!

A couple of years ago, the doctor wanted to know if I would like to have a colonoscopy? Like? I don't think that's the proper word to use here. A couple of weeks ago, a doctor told me all the details of the cystoscopy and then turned to me and said, 'Would you be interested in having that done?' Of course I wouldn't, you idiot! Who would? Go ahead and name any medical procedure and then ask yourself if you would be 'interested' in having it done? I want it to be necessary and I want the doctor to tell me it is. I want doctors to be more like…doctors; and not like a concierge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

From Hrrmph!

Hrrmph! says it all!

Read and then go here...

A classic...of sorts

Powerful

Life goes on. And I'm having a difficult time with my 'cold turkey' approach in my plan to stop posting on my blogs. I stopped posting last Monday, the 13th, because I had such a bad attitude that morning and that may have been caused by the various meds that have become an important part of my life. Just the fact that I have to take meds at all is frustrating enough and then the side effects creep up on you and pretty soon you're not sure where the 'real you' went. And in the meantime, I keep finding things in the news and on other blogs that seem to be interesting enough for me to share…and for me that is what blogs are all about; sharing thoughts and ideas. But, without a blog to post those thoughts, what do I do with them? I'm frustrated!

So I have come up with a plan to renew my blogging life…I will post when I want and what I want; without a schedule. And I will try to be more diverse. Politics? Only some of the time. More real life.

For instance; today I saw the work of an artist (Brendan Flanagan) on the 'daily dose of imagery' site and was fascinated by the power of his work. I had spotted him once before but I hadn't gone down the trail to his website to see his work up close. Awesome! I wish I could feel free enough to do work like this. Obviously you need a large space to work in…and lots of old clothes.

And that reminded me of my favorite painter, El Greco. Born in 1614, he was at least 300 years before his time. No, it wasn't the old clothes that made me think of him, it was the power!

Daily dose of imagery

Brendan Flanagan (click on the mask)

El Greco


 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Later

Life goes on. Yes it does and sometimes it brings change. Such as; I think I will have to give up this blog for awhile. I'm developing a bad attitude and it shows, so it's time to rethink and regroup, or vice versa.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nasty little people

I was going to post another something on my blog, but I'm so frustrated by the pure evil I read about these days, I'm going to cut back and post later, much later. (Link to story that makes me ashamed to be human.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still Working

It's a quiet morning for me. I'm working on a post for my Working blog; not ready with that one yet. I do have some new stuff on the Good Eats blog and the Short Laps as well…it's a tough life when you have more than one blog! Condense them into one? There's an idea…I'll think about it.

Sad

Oh, oh…stuff is getting past the spam filter! I don't know what it was; it had an attachment and so I just deleted it. If the header doesn't appear 'friendly' the message is deleted. If it was really important, they can call me. It looks like the spammers are winning this battle…I just heard that 90% of email traffic is spam.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

(Comics)

Teabaggers Unite!

As usual...Tom does it with great style and insight!

Newspapers

should give away free netbooks

It sounds like a great way to save a newspaper. Embracing the computer age could actually save them...actually.

From Timed Goes By

Readability

You really have to try this out. It took me about ten seconds to install and it works great! Advertisers have to hate it but that's not your worry...

How Clever

Life goes on. And I've started my day in the usual way. A cup of weak coffee with a dash of my current favorite, Coconut Crème creamer. Now I'm wondering where Boo the Cat is? She is so clever! And patient. She can keep hitting the locked cat door with her paw until it swings out toward her just enough for her to catch the edge of it. Then she slips her head through and she's gone. Yes, I saw her doing it one time.

I'm still reading Tear Down This Myth by Will Bunch. It's slow going but not because the subject is boring. Truth is, the subject (Ronald Reagan) fascinates me, but I find myself becoming very angry as I read the facts about his presidency and I have to put the book down for awhile. I can't recommend this book enough; it's factual and pertinent for today although his presidency took place twenty+ years ago.

Reagan said it himself, "facts are stubborn things…". And yet the Republican Party has ignored those facts and in some sort of odd but effective Orwellian plan, have kept repeating the same lies over the years until the 'blind' believe them and believe most fervently! We find it frustrating to watch. It's as if someone keeps repeating, black is white, black is white, black is white…over and over. Could it be true? Of course not, but millions now believe it because they heard it or read it. But they never looked for the facts behind the lies.

Our only consolation is the fact that we knew this about Reagan back when he was our governor. And it only became worse, much worse, when he was elected president. And although it feels good to say, 'we told you so' it doesn't erase the damage that Reagan caused. And we won't be truly happy until the day a sailor grabs a can of gray paint and a brush and then carefully and completely removes the Reagan name from that aircraft carrier we paid for.

Oops! There's Boo the Cat, banging on the window screen to tell me that she wants back in the house. I'll walk to the kitchen garage door and she will have raced back over the fence and across the patio and through the useless cat door to meet me there just as soon as I open it.

Link to the Will Bunch blog

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Regarding an earlier post…

Ok, Laurae did her homework this morning and reviewed all of the information on Prop 1E. The best information comes from the League of Women Voters…unbiased and easy to read. As I thought; since it's supported by two Peace Officers associations and a District Attorneys group, it's definitely against funding for mental health programs. Why spend money for crazies? Just buy new toys for the law enforcement types. How about tanks? And a new prison or two. Vote NO on Props 1A through 1F.

League of Women Voters link


 

New Stuff

Something new on my Good Eats and my Short Laps blogs

Voting? Again?

We have a state wide election coming up in May, and yesterday, we received one of those two page, glossy, adverts. This one was for Yes on Props 1A – 1F. There was total of 4 pages, full color and 72 point bold type. All to tell me as little as possible about the measures. But…it was filled with easy to remember slogans and a list of those who supported 1A through 1F. As if that mattered. Well…I guess it does matter. If politicians and Peace Officers associations are for it, I'm against it.

Well, one of those tiny bits of information stated that Prop 1E would temporarily redirect unspent funds to help pay for children's health programs. That sounds good, except for the weasel word 'temporarily'. What? A week? A year? A hundred years? Enough about that, what was odd was the fact that Prop 1D stated the same facts; funds for children's health. What was going on?

Suspecting something was wrong, as we always do when it comes to politics, I searched on-line this morning and found out that the funding for 1E would go to children's Mental health programs. Ah! That explains it. You can't pass a bill in this state that supports mental health in any way. The voters in California would rather pay to build 10 more prisons than to spend a dime on mental health. Mental health? Yeah, it's all in your head!

Oh, yeah…did I mention where that hateful attitude came from? Ronald Reagan.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Report

Teacher Shortage Looming - NYTimes.com

"...one of every three new teachers leaving the profession within five years..."

And why wouldn't they? No respect and low pay. Stifled by a bureaucracy. Unemployment might be better...

Just the facts

I just started reading the book, Tear Down This Myth by Will Bunch. It's definitely my kind of book as it uses facts to destroy the fables that have been a large part of the Reagan legacy. I can't help but say 'I told you so' as I read it. I say it silently now, but as I get further into the book, I may say it very loud! The sheer number of lies told by the wingnuts should make everyone shout. And since those lies were repeated by the 'talking heads' that inhabit our television sets, they were believed…sad.

Link to Book Review

Get Your Grill On

Get Your Grill On ?

Ah, technology! And only $5 apiece. But it is a good idea for those who have a smaller, deck sized BBQ. (I wish I had thought of it)

(Kitty...you can see them at Basha's)

From Dezeen »

Helix Hotel by Leeser Architecture

It's amazing what can be done with money and there seems to be plenty of it in Abu Dhabi...

Yes, she does

I was reading a 'letter to the editor' the other day and read where Michelle Obama has Constitutional protection from her critics; the Second Amendment guarantees her the right to bare arms.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Shift

to Make the Border Safe, From the Inside Out - NYTimes.com:

"...future enforcement would focus on employers who rely on illegal immigrants, rather than on the workers."

But...but, those would be Republicans. That's not fair!

When U.S. Says 'Insatiable,'

Mexico Hears '12-Step Program' - NAM:

"the official stand has been one of denial: Illegal drug use is a scourge visited upon Americans by drug traffickers who must create demand for the narcotics they have to sell to stay in business."

What amazes me are the mental convolutions that the 'official sources' had to go through to come up with that statement. I'm surprised that they didn't sprain their brains. Perhaps they did.

Today

Life goes on. And it's going to be a warm and sunny day! Close to 80 today and we're still in the first few weeks of spring. Of course, being spring and changeable, the 80 degree day will be followed by at least 4 days with temps in the low 60's and rain.

Shame on me. I had an uncomfortable moment last night at our weekly, less than conventional, Bible study. It was uncomfortable because I let myself get carried away and I'm certain that my voice was raised. I was indignant! And all because one of our friends noted that a particular passage from the Bible made it certain in her mind that 'welfare' was condemned in the Bible. (we live in a very 'Red' county)

Crankiness does not become me. OK, from now on I resolve to quietly tell those who make such statements, that unless they have facts to uphold their view, they have only an opinion. Not that there is anything wrong with opinions, after all, everybody's got one! But opinions should never be confused with the truth. There is a difference. And that goes for me as well…

Back to the first subject; the very fine day ahead of us…since it will be so nice, I will open the garage door and let the spring sunshine flood my small 'studio'. My haven for the arts. I have half a dozen projects; acrylics, watercolors, glass, wood and the ever present gourds that need my attention after being ignored all winter and today will be the day to get a few of them done. Or re-envisioned.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

From Dinosaurs and Robots:

Chicken Eglu

You have to look at this and then dream of those wonderful eggs! Eggs that have a bright orange/yellow yolk and taste like... an egg!

Home?

I was wandering all around the internets this morning and ran across some pictures of the 7Km Market, the World's Largest Shopping Center, located in Ukraine. It's built entirely out of shipping containers and although it's not very exciting architecture, it's certainly practical.

Although I'm sure that others have thought of it, I might as well re-think it this morning; why not create havens for the homeless with shipping containers? They are sturdy and they are waterproof. And they would create a safe environment for the occupants.

There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of these containers and in these days of reduced trade, most are empty.

I remember from my days as an estimator that the containers are always bought and sold and never rented. You buy one to ship your merchandise and sell the empty container at the port where it arrives. There are container brokers, of course, who will do the buying/selling for you and you will receive the current price in that location. And the current price has to be very low these days. Low enough so that just about any municipality could afford to put them in place for those who need shelter. And certainly cheaper than having the police rousting them every day. And since they are almost indestructible, the government agency would have tangible assets that could be used and re-used over a long period to time. Just a thought…

(This just in... 17 million shipping containers worldwide. And Bob Vila has a story about them)

Links…

7Km Shopping Center

Shipping Containers (Flickr)

Shipping Container Housing (Flickr)

Bob Vila Story


Counting

Life goes on. Oh, yes it does. And I'm awake at just a little before 4 AM, a normal enough time for me to be stirring. I have my coffee (1/2 caffeine) and Boo the Cat is now inside and asleep in her favorite spot. All is well with my world; for now. But, then again, I haven't looked at the headlines. But…I did look at the quotes for the day and found the one below. It's something to contemplate when you're outside on a clear night and enjoying the spectacle of a star filled sky.

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.
  - Richard Feynman

Friday, April 3, 2009

College of Agriculture

- California State University, Chico

An odd post, I know...but I was reminded of this great community resource last night as we cooked and ate a Tri Tip Roast purchased here last year. The pricing was good and the meat was exceptional. I would imagine that there is something like this wherever there is an agricultural college...

The only drawback is the fact that you don't get to choose the meat from a selection; you go to the window, fill out the order sheet and they bring you your order from the freezer. Yes, it's all frozen, though you can request fresh and sometimes they have it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

China

Vies to Be Leader in Electric Vehicles - NYTimes.com:

"...by skipping the current technology, China hopes to get a jump on the next."

And the 'old' GM is still trying to figure out why we don't want to buy a new SUV...one can only hope that the 'new' GM will get the message.

We can be the leaders in this if we start now.

Make: Online

Crafting for guys:

"Void your warranty, violate a user agreement, fry a circuit, blow a fuse, poke an eye out. Make: The risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things..."

I can relate...totally!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Slow cook

the onions, and the results are delicious - From The Envelope - LA Times

OK, I may have posted something about these on my other blog, the food and etc blog...but in the meantime, I am right in the middle of cooking these up. I'm about 1 hour and 45 minutes into exactly and so I am stirring every 5-10 minutes while I have the temp at medium-low. I think it's gonna be a killer! Gotta go, must stir!

Op-Ed from the NYT

Cynicism We Can Believe In -

At the bottom of my email 'signature' are the words,"Cynicism is Power. Use it!" And I like to think that I've always embraced cynicism and so the header for this piece certainly caught my attention. I may not be a true cynic, I don't live in a barrel...but I can try to be, and this piece tells me that I'm on the right track!

For Sale---Cheap

OK, I'm on a roll…I've taken care of the healthcare crisis and did it before 8 in the morning, so now it's time to clean up the General Motors mess. First, put a 'For Sale' sign on it. The buyer assumes all liabilities except for the retirement benefits for the top echelon of executives. End of story. GM will be snapped up quickly, probably by a consortium, and production will only slow down long enough to get the new models ready to roll.

Once Upon a Time

I was just reading about the health care crisis once more. As I do every day. And why don't our legislators get it? We need Medicare for everyone. Single payer healthcare. End of crisis. Or, just enroll us all in the legislator's health care plan, the one they have has no deductible at all!

Anyway, that thinking brought me some medical memories. One took place in 1974; I was 34 years old and in great health. I worked every day as a sheetrocker and I was also a vocational instructor for the Los Angeles City Schools at night, and that meant that I had to get a chest x-ray every year. That year, a few weeks after the x-ray, I was contacted by the school health department and told that I should contact my own doctor because my x-ray showed something suspicious. I quickly found a doctor to call my own and he took an x-ray for himself to view. He then asked if I could go to the hospital…tomorrow. Scared, I did just that and stayed for a week. For 5 days I laid in bed and watched television and submitted myself to one test per day. Yes, one (1) per day. I had no idea how much all of this cost and I wasn't too worried, I did have a good Blue Cross policy because of my Carpenter's union benefits. It was a group policy that covered thousands of members.

Short story; After a week the doctor told me to go home and then return in a week for exploratory chest surgery. Which I did, and after all of that it was found that I had pneumonia scarring in my right lung and not cancer.

I'm sure the total bill for all of this was tremendous. And I also think that the doctors and the hospital colluded to drive the bill as high as they could. And the insurance company didn't seem to mind. So where was all of this money going and who was profiting? Apparently they all were.

To be honest, I still don't see anything wrong with that system. As part of a large group, I had very affordable insurance. Very affordable. I received great care. Boring, but still very good care. The doctors and the hospitals profited and so did the insurance companies. So what went wrong?

Greed did it in. Each wanted more than the great profits they were already making. That's when healthcare fell apart and that's why we have such a healthcare disaster today. And that's why we need to control it for ourselves, as a nation. With a single payer, Medicare for all, we could do just that. Imagine a whole country, millions of us, paying into that insurance plan. Everyone would profit. Just as they used to 35 years ago. Before Reagan. (I had to throw his name in…he deserves all the infamy he can get)

Not Here

Life goes on. And it's April Fool's Day once again. I have already wandered around the internet a little and have not seen any obvious April 1 jokes. That's a good thing. Perhaps we have matured as a society and put April Fool's Day back into the elementary schools where it really belongs. Along with Dodge Ball.

I know, I'm just a spoil sport, but unless I had come up with the greatest ever April Fool's Day stunt, and I mean ever, there is just no way that I will deign to notice anyone else's endeavor today.

Yes, deign is today's Recycled Word. And it's a great one! You can replace a couple of words if you use it wisely…and often.