Saturday, October 31, 2009

And we are here, why?

This is the kind of news that makes you want to gag.

"Abdullah Abdullah, the chief rival to President Hamid Karzai,
plans to announce on Sunday his decision to withdraw from the
Nov. 7 run-off election, effectively handing a new five-year
term to Mr. Karzai, according to Western diplomats here and
people close to Mr. Abdullah."

Now is the time to change our emphasis from a war we'll never win, to an aid mission that will educate and truly help the people of Afghanistan. Imagine, if they were educated, thieves such as Karzai wouldn't have a chance.

An odd fact; true, maybe not...but I read that the cost to support one U.S soldier for a year in Afghanistan would build 200 schools for these beleagured people.

Amazing!

I would be remiss if I didn't pass this link around. The video loops for you to see it twice if you weren't astounded enough the first time. The link.

Something new

I'm back into the business of pricing old books once more. A few years back, I volunteered to do this data input for our local Friends of the Library. The Friends subscribe to an online book selling service for the donated books that may be of some value. As the Friends receive donations all of the time and some of those donations really do have value, it's a small but worthwhile enterprise. We average about $1,000 a year in online sales and although it's not much, it's all collected by volunteer labor so it goes directly to helping the local library. Long story short; I did the data entry for about six months max and then it shifted over to my long suffering wife who continued it quite bravely for the past few years. It's really a dreadfully dull business to search out book titles and their possible values, all online of course. Once you have settled on a price you have to describe the book in question, another boring job. Until recently. My wife told me a few weeks ago that she was seeing some expensive books in the boxes that were littering her side of the study. She was pricing some into the $75 dollar range and that is very high for the usual books we see. Our supplier, the man who does the collection, pickup and sorting had told us that he had picked up a large number of books from a local estate and they looked pretty good to him. He was right. Then, a few days ago my wife complained to me that the books were beginning to affect her breathing, a definite job hazard when opening old and musty books. I volunteered to take my old job back since I can't do much of anything else and right away I hit pay dirt, an $80 dollar book followed by some $40's and $60's. Then I picked up a pair of books, volumes 1 and 2 of 'The Outer Shores' by Ed Ricketts and John Steinbeck. Hmmm? The Steinbeck name would give these books some value and they were exceptionally clean looking. So I began my search for value and was quite shocked to see $300 as the price for a similar duo. Single titles from the pair were going for $200. Whoa! A jackpot for the Friends of the Library…if someone buys them. So we will post them online and then put them into a rusty old trailer in the city yard that serves as our storage facility. And wait. In the meantime, before they go, I will read some from this pair and then I've already set aside that $80 dollar book, Modoc War, that I want to read. It's all a benefit for the labor. I get to read expensive books in exchange for typing a few lines of data. Fair enough. And I think I'll get one of those dust masks to wear from now on.

Friday, October 30, 2009

9.7 million gallons and counting

How did I miss this story for the past few months? Sure, it's happening a long way from here, but what happens if the same thing occurs off our own coasts? It won't happen again? Oh, good.

in reference to:

"off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida’s Gulf Coast and Panhandle beaches."
- Journey Home (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Turn it off!

Shameful...

And when do they play?

in reference to:

"The amount of television usage by children reached an eight-year high, with kids ages 2 to 5 watching the screen for more than 32 hours a week on average and those ages 6 to 11 watching more than 28 hours."
- Kids watch more than a day of TV each week -- latimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Great stuff here...

Check out the whole story. Link at the bottom.

in reference to:

"Were you aware of the fact that in countries like England, France and Canada, people over the age of sixty-five are advised not to vacation in the United States because if they get sick or injured over here it could cost them everything?"
- "The Rant" by Tom Degan: Health Care and Woe (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Only twenty?

Ran across this blog with helpful reasons to not vote for the GOP. I had to Sidewiki it...link at the bottom.

in reference to: "The Rant" by Tom Degan (view on Google Sidewiki)

Familiar

This is the best thing we ever did. Severed our connection to the satellite dishes and bought ourselves a nice new 47" set to replace our 20 year old 27" set. We use it for Wii games and for our Netflix connection (Roku) for movies and television shows. No more $60 satellite bills.

News? That's what the internet is for.

in reference to: Pulling the TV cord yet staying plugged in -- latimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

From Wired

Ralph Keeney: Cheat Death:

"We may know that it's bad to drive without a seat belt. But we don't correctly weigh the cost (the three seconds it takes to buckle up) against the risk (death)."

Great little story that confirms what I thought...we are becoming dumber every day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Going hunting

"Brek allowed police to search his Linden home and officers found 43 firearms, Kelly said. The firearms were still being processed, but no illegal guns had been found.

A message left by The Associated Press at Brek's home Wednesday was not immediately returned. His father, John, told The Star-Ledger of Newark that his son has the guns because he's an avid hunter." (Define 'avid')

Let me guess, he's also a lifetime member of the NRA? And you know what? My fellow Americans scare the heck out of me!

in reference to: The Associated Press: Newark, NJ, airport guard accused of Obama threat (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Missed

A place I always wanted to go to when I lived there...but I didn't. Sigh.

Testing

I'm using Google Sidewiki to post here. It looks like a handy way to comment and share different websites. And it may allow me to add something to my blog easily. This will be the test...will it show up when I press 'publish'?

in reference to: Projections (view on Google Sidewiki)

What's up

It looks like my posts here will be infrequent. I'm taking far too many drugs (all legal!) these days and as the warnings on the bottles stated, "may cause loss of concentration, sleepiness, drowsiness, etc, etc," and they were right. I can't drive a car anymore because of these drugs and the latest one I'm taking, Lyrica, has my mind wandering off to play somewhere other than where I am. OK, I was exaggerating. But what is happening is an inability to type more than four words without having to go back and correct at least three of them. And since typing is needed for blog posts...as well as a sound mind. I'm only going to post when I have moments of clarity.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quote

Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
- Samuel Johnson

The Real Story on Health Insurance

And very well written. Worth your time...

New

Some new words on my Short Laps blog…

Off the Shelf

Onto the Laptop - Libraries Try Digital Books - NYTimes.com

I was just reading this New York Times article about libraries and the increase of e-book collections. Exciting stuff. Yes, there are some restrictions such as publishers that won‘t allow their books to be digitized. That won’t last for long. And the fact that e-books can’t be read on Kindle or iPhone’s. That too will change as the collections grow. Sony Reader and others can do it and will have an edge. Who wants to pay $10 for an Amazon book when you can download it for free at the library? How much does a Sony Reader cost? $199


Curses!

Borrowed from the New York Times

QUOTATION OF THE DAY


"I think the administration has put her in the driver's seat; it's very disconcerting."

REPRESENTATIVE RAÚL M. GRIJALVA, Democrat of Arizona, on Senator Olympia J. Snowe's influence in the health care debate.

Disconcerting? It's criminal! Who cares what she thinks? She's the enemy! She is owned by the health insurance companies. Didn't anyone in the Administration notice that she was a Republican? I would like to use to use profanity here but I won't. You'll just have to imagine it for yourself. Be my guest and indulge yourselves for me.

One Term

It's really quite simple. Without the Public Option, the health care bill is irrelevant. Pounds of paper without meaning. And so is a Democratic Party that has abandoned all who supported it. (I'm glad I got out six years ago) This President will have one term if the Public Option isn't in place when he signs the bill.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stupid!

The so called historic health care bill is making its way out of committee and all because one Republican voted for it. What a shame. Democrats have the majority and the power and they depend on Republicans. What? They should ignore the Republicans altogether. They're evil and they are never going to change.

"Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said the legislation would place the nation on a "slippery slope to more and more government control of health care.""

I believe that there are millions of Americans that would disagree most vehemently with Mr. Grassley; might even ask him outside for a comment like that. We want more government control of health care because that's the only thing that works! Under private control we have slipped to unheard of levels in health care. Former Soviet countries have better health care than we do. And the one thing that all of those superior countries have in common is government run health care.

It's too bad there isn't one very public forum on the net where all of the people who have been abused by insurance companies could share their stories and name the companies and the representatives that they had to deal with. Then invite the Senators and representatives to read and comment. Maybe those sharing their stories could include their Zip codes and then the data could be given to the correct Senator and Representative. Let them see how well the 'private' sector deals with their constituents.

Me, I'm still sending emails to my Senators/Representative with the message that I want Single Payer or Medicare for all. I have to keep trying, and I always include my age so that they know that not all elders are stupid.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

News for you

I've been reading the usual world news via the internet and the Economist magazine. With that combination I think I get close to the truth. Why a 'foreign' news magazine? Well, it's because if you wish to have a more truthful view of the world you have to know how we, as a nation are perceived from afar. You can't surround yourself with national news magazine that have a national bias, plus there are so few news magazine that are even close to the stature of the Economist. Time Magazine is a joke from cover to cover and fit only for Greyhound Bus waiting rooms, along with People magazine. Newsweek is a close second to Time.

I'm not trying to sell subscriptions to the Economist, though I can say it would be a smart move on anyone's part to read it. I donate my weekly issue to the local library for inclusion in their magazine rack. I live in a bright 'red' county, so a weekly dose of genuine news is my contribution to the effort of opening closed minds. But, enough about that. As I was trying to get my own mind in gear, I searched for 'news magazines' and found this link to all magazines with free on-line content. I tried one of the links and I found no surprises and so I'm assuming that they are all like that. I'm already adding a bunch of these to my RSS feeds. There are some great ones in there…I just added the Utne Reader.

http://www.world-newspapers.com/news-magazine.html

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Top Judge

Calls Calif. Government ‘Dysfunctional’ - NYTimes.com:
And he is right on the money...

"“Much of this constitutional and statutory structure has been brought about not by legislative fact-gathering and deliberation, but rather by the approval of voter initiative measures, often (always) funded by special interests. These interests are allowed under the law to pay a bounty to signature-gatherers for each signer. Frequent amendments — coupled with the implicit threat of more in the future — have rendered our state government dysfunctional, at least in times of severe economic decline.”"

Unfortunately, special interests rule this state; just ask any lawmaker in Sacramento.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Reading

Due to my 'infirmities' I have been reading more than I ever have in my life. I've been going through the books at our local library at a furious pace and although I had good intentions of recording all of the titles on my Shelfari web page, it never happened. I added a hundred or so titles and then forgot for awhile and then it seemed like a wasted effort to try and catch up, so I didn't.

Ah! Thank goodness for the local library. Though it's a small town and located in a poor county, the library is still open. We're suffering through some abbreviated hours, but the head librarian decided, on her own, to help the budget process by retiring early. I think that helped immensely. And she still shows up once a week to help out.

Yesterday was one of the abbreviated days at the library and we forgot, so we had to make two trips to town for me to return the books and then plunder the New Book section. Unlike a lot of libraries, we can take as many new books as we want and I wanted five new books yesterday. One caught my eye just as I was about to leave and I grabbed it, a large paperback titled 'King Leopold's Ghost'. When I got home I read the Intro and was fascinated. I think I'm going to like this one.

Now that I've done some research, I find that the book is eleven years old and an award winning documentary was filmed three years ago. Sigh. OK, that's the downside of a small town library. The book was new…to our library. And to me. That's the important part.

From life on peach eater creek:

what i'm reading now

I think Wally has found another great book to read, but who will read it? Those who should, won't. And in some cases, those who should, can't. So the minority, that's us, get to read the book in peace and quiet. And that's a darn shame! Books like this should create uproar and outrage. There should be vows from both left and right to correct the situation...but there won't be and the book will pass into obscurity.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Runners

(and walkers) are baring their very soles -- latimes.com

I have been a fan of this idea for quite awhile and I've always threatened to do a 5K or a half marathon barefooted. But, alas, I've never followed through...which is a shame. Growing up, as I did, at the beach, I was never in shoes except for the hours I was in school. I soon developed a very thick callous on my feet and was never bothered by rocks or anything else that was on the ground. Later, much later, I attended a racewalking clinic that featured a program on core strength and balance and the speaker noted that humans have nerves on the soles of their feet that are there strictly to feel the surface we are on and to direct the muscles to help us stay balanced. We shield those nerves with $100 track shoes and they soon become insensitive. You need to wake them up! Especially true for elders...who have far too many falls.

Venting

Here we go again. Another day in paradise. No, that's not true, Paradise is small community 40 miles east of us. Anyway, back to our own 'paradise', if somebody offered us the right amount for this place, we would be out of here in a minute. The majority of the people in this county are Republicans, conservatives, non-thinkers, anti-intellectuals and afraid of any change. All the smart children leave the community as soon as they graduate and never come back. Truly, these are the people we need to be afraid of in this country, not terrorists.

I never know how I will feel when I wake up and this morning it was time for a Norco immediately. No waiting. Do it now. That's not a good harbinger for the day. So now I sit here in a narcotic haze but the pain is forgotten for the moment. The pain is not gone and that's because it is nerve pain and it never goes away, but forgotten is always a good thing. Yesterday, it was close to five hours after I awoke before I needed the first Norco. What's different? What caused the early pain this morning? Who knows. I never know and I always do the same thing, day after day. It must be written in the stars, perhaps I should use my Magic Eight Ball before I even get out of bed.

Looking back at what I have typed, it seems that I'm just a tad pessimistic this morning. Well, at seven this morning I will take my handful of prescribed pills and in there, amongst all of the other pills, are my antidepressants. Half an hour later and all will be rosy again and I will take the 'For Sale' sign down. Or not.

Believe it or not, I haven't even read the headlines, yet my pessimism hangs over me like a cloud. That's probably because I already know what the headlines say. (Loud sigh) Imagine how pessimistic I would be if I watched television! Yikes! Those 'talking heads' should drive us all crazy, but sadly they don't. Some people actually believe what they hear from the lips of those bozos. I know…it's weird; why would they believe them? Didn't they go to school? Ah! Perhaps that's the problem…they did go to school. And 'critical thinking' is not in the curriculum. Never has been. Apparently we all want good little boys and girls and good little boys and girls don't ask questions in school. I was not a good little boy.

That's enough venting for the day. Thank heavens we have blogs! Otherwise we would just hold all of this stuff in until we exploded and that would be messy.

Saturday, October 3, 2009