Sunday, December 31, 2006


Last year, or almost last year...I made some predictions. Here they are.

1. Gasoline will rise to close to $4 a gallon. Close!

2. Tom DeLay will be convicted but will receive probation instead of prison time. Didn't happen.

3. Cheney will have a mild heart attack and resign. It will turn out that he only had indigestion, but Bush will tell him, “A deal’s a deal.” Didn't happen. Darn!

4. Indonesia will become the new hiding place for Osama bin Laden. Didn't happen? Or did it?

5. Gold will increase in price to over $700 an ounce. Didn't happen. But close!

6. Kenneth Lay will be acquitted. “Terminal stupidity” will be his defense. Didn't happen.

7. Jack Abramoff will testify in open court and 14 congressman and 6 Senators will have mild heart attacks and resign. Didn't happen.

8. The stock market (DJIA) will drop below the 10,000 mark. Didn't happen.

9. Daimler Chrysler will go into bankruptcy. Close!

10. Southwest Airlines will buy Delta, United and US Air. Didn't happen.

I guess I had better stick to some other subject...prognostication is not my forte. But, despite my failures, I'm sure I will come up with some predictions tomorrow.

Back to the...past?

The last day of the year is finally here and I can begin a new volume of my journal tomorrow. I’ve already created the file and built my first calendar (January) for it.

I suppose I could recap the year here; almost like a Christmas letter, but a week or two late.

January, ( I just drag the slider up to the top…) and I see that we had celebrated the New Year by attending a “New Year in Charleston” party at the church, where we dined on fried chicken and pecan pie. We’re going to do that again this year; only the locale is now Boston. We’re having baked beans, something else? and Laurae and I have volunteered to make four (4) Boston Cream pies…from scratch! Festivities are over at 9 PM, local time. Also, the month contained record amounts of rainfall and that had the authorities worried about the levees. Kitty and Dean came to visit and that was fun.

February was a time for Laurae’s birthday party, our 43rd anniversary and the Almond Blossom 5K walk; where I came in first (Men’s, Walk) Now I will have to defend my title this year. I was already well into my practice sessions for the first ½ marathon of the year, the Bidwell Classic in March. Followed by a total of three marathons this year. I’m proud of that!

There were some good entries regarding the cat. She had just become a member of the household a few months earlier and she was starting to earn her keep by catching a mouse that had plagued us for a week or two. She is still with us and we don’t see mice anymore. Nor do we see ground squirrels strutting about the patio area as they once did.

Do I really want to recap all of this? Nah! I can just open the file whenever I want and simply read the original entry. I do know that a lot has happened this year; that’s one of the reasons that I don’t feel like recapping it. Too much work!

On to the future!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Always the Same

Just the usual news this morning. More killing in Iraq. When will we ever learn?

After reading American Theocracy, I’m not sure that we can learn. As a nation, we seem unable to read history and apply the lessons learned from it. I’m still recommending the book; it’s definitely worth reading and who knows? Maybe we can learn something from it. I know that I have.

On a happier note… my hand seems unaffected by the spider bite. I can still tell that I was bitten, a vague ache, but there are no other symptoms. I might have been fortunate that the bite was in the palm of my hand where the skin is thicker. And now gloves are on my shopping list. I do have gloves for this kind of work but they were in the truck and I didn’t feel like getting them. Now I will have gloves in various locations and less excuses.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Thanks, Google

Scary! I was outside getting some firewood when I felt a sudden and very sharp pain in my hand. I dropped the wood immediately and clutched my hand. Whatever had bitten me quickly disappeared, though I searched the grassy area around the fallen wood. The pain was as severe as I had felt in some time and I had a feeling it might be serious. Now here is where Google saves the day; Laurae quickly typed in “woodpile bite” and the first thing up was a California state page on the treatment for spider bites. Was it a Black Widow? We won’t know for sure and the best treatment is ice unless other symptoms develop, but the bite usually resolves itself in a few days.

Thinking Alike

For Ford, Pardon Decision Was Always Clear-Cut
Friends say Gerald Ford never wavered in his insistence that the pardon of Richard Nixon was a necessary act.

Well, he was wrong. Very wrong! It was just as much a criminal act as those that Nixon committed. But, since Ford was a member of the “Good Old Boys” club, nothing was done. A nation of laws? Yes, for some.

And I finally found someone that agrees with me, read here…

Middle School?

You may have to log-in, but it's worth reading. And scary!

An Artist to Admire

I heard this interview yesterday...great piece!

Here's more on Betye.

What was I thinking?

Now that was scary! I just went out to the garage and picked up a piece of firewood. And on my way into the family room I stopped and opened the oven door. I was about to place the log in the oven! Why? I think it has a lot to do with similarity of functions. The oven door opens in much the same way as our woodstove. I have had the same experience with the trash can in the kitchen being mistaken for the clothes hamper, just a few feet away. They open the same way. Old age? I’m sure that’s part of it. So if I’m ever missing a favorite shirt, I can probably assume it’s in the Glenn County landfill.

Another thought on the same subject. I think it may be part of the Intuitive side of my personality type index. (MBTI) Intuitives don’t depend, as they should, on their senses.

You might say we're "sense-less"

Our Government at Work

Some news…
F.D.A. Tentatively Declares Food From Cloned Animals to Be Safe
The finding could make the U.S. the first country to allow products from cloned livestock to be sold in grocery stores.

Gosh! Am I alone in the thought that this is really non-news? Why wouldn’t it have been safe? An elementary understanding of cloning should have made that perfectly clear, even to the FDA. Cloning doesn’t change the molecular structure! It’s not synthetic; a cloned cow is a real cow. Duh! The real problem lies in the fact that we already have far too many cows.

What I would like to see the FDA work on approving is irradiation for all foods. Salmonella and E. Coli infections could a thing of the past. Irrational fear is the only thing keeping it from being used more often.


I keep a journal and have since 1990. When I opened it this morning I looked down at the page count; it’s hard to believe that I’m already up to 401 pages in the yearly (2006) journal to this point. That’s more than a page a day and that’s just this year. Sure, a lot of it is fluff. But it is all about me, fluff and all, and that is the point of having a personal journal. And as usual, I sometimes wonder why I include as much as I do? You would think that I would keep the personal stuff to myself, but since it is a personal journal first and a historical journal second, that is appropriate. When, or if my descendents read it, I will be gone. In the meantime, it serves me as a means of communicating with myself. Yes, that’s what I do. I’m talking to myself and I go back over the pages and years quite frequently; noting how I have changed and how my values might have changed as well. We’re always evolving and the journal is a great way of keeping track of where you’ve been. It’s therapeutic as well; writing down those things that bother you seems to take some of the weight off of them. Also, it contains historical facts, both minor and major. What happened to me and what happened to the world. I love the fact that I can go back to the year 1990 and read my sparse entries (5) from that year. Each year’s journal grew larger as I became a better chronicler of my life.

Fifteen minutes a day. That’s all you need to start and maintain a journal. You must have a computer and word processing software. Not much else is needed. I started with a continuous journal and the first ten years are in one file. After that I kept yearly files and now I have 6 of them and I’m about to open the 7th one. Part of the reason for the growth of the files was that my ability to cut and paste additional text and images grew and so my journals reflect that new skill. With 400+ pages this year, I can probably expect to see 450 or 500 in the next year. I should note here that I use hyperlinks within the journal to move easily from day to day and month to month, as well as moving me to various photos and articles. It’s a simple trick and it sure helps when the document grows beyond a couple dozen pages.


It’s already Friday and I have not even looked to see if I was a winner in the lottery. The waiting…that’s part of the fun. I may not look to see that I lost for another day or two. In the meantime I get to perfect my daydreams. Value for my money. I still haven’t figured out what roles Alicia and Bill would play in our adventure, the one I created yesterday. Maybe I will know after today’s walk in the park.

All of this lottery talk makes it sound as if I spend a lot of time on it… I don’t. Not even once a month. A couple of things have to be in place before I will play. I have to be in Raley’s on East Avenue and I have to notice the scrolling sign displaying the value of the jackpot. That number has to be at least 15 million. And then I have to have a $5 dollar bill. If just one of those things is not present, I don’t play. OK, that sounds far too precise; the truth is that I usually forget.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I quickly grew bored as I circled the park this morning and so I indulged in my favorite fantasy…winning the lottery and deciding how to spend the money. Getting started in this fantasy was easy as I had bought a lottery ticket yesterday and the prize was $30 million. I think that figures out to be about $12 million after all of the taxes are paid. Anyway; I used 12 as my daydream starting number. Now here is what happens after I win…

First; I would have to call all the family together so we could enjoy the moment! How about a hotel in San Francisco? We would need rooms for all of the family… Dunn’s, Ahlswede’s, Kelly’s, Medici, Zumwalt’s, Maiorano’s, McPhearson’s. Did I miss any? Did I misspell?

Then I think we would need to form a trust that would encompass all of us. (Remind me to invite a lawyer to our meeting) First order of business would be to disperse 10% to charities. Then we would create individual trust accounts for all of the minor children.

After doing all of the sensible things, we could spend some time brainstorming how we wanted to spend the rest of it. Business ventures would be my preference. How about a Plant Barn Annex in Garden Valley? Plus the new and expanded Plant Barn II located where the Growing Grounds used to be. And how about a fine yoga studio in Scottsdale Arizona? Kitty and Dean, as Trustees, can watch over that business venture if they wish. Of course Shannon will simply have to go to law school; we will need a family lawyer. Since everyone will be a member of the trust, all will be free to pursue their dreams.

As for ourselves; I’m thinking about investing in real estate. First; a home in Hawaii. Probably two of them; one a condo in Honolulu and the other would be a house on the Big Island. We will keep the Orland house but I would also want a loft in downtown Chico. And vacation homes! I can’t forget those. How about Rick Thompson’s place on the peninsula at Almanor. I hear it’s still for sale. And I would want to buy a cabin at Lower Twin Lakes. What else? Maybe another condo, but in San Diego and close to the docks at H&M landing.

Is there any money left? If not, it was sure was fun spending it!

Gloom Gone

Pre-Christmas, the days seemed gloomy; wet and cold. Exactly like winter. Yesterday provided some relief as we were able to enjoy sunshine and some warmer temperatures, despite a strong wind from the northwest. Now, it looks as if we will see more of this kind of weather for the rest of the week. It’s certainly welcome.

My fickle companion, Boo the cat, has joined me this morning and wants my complete attention. We have a refrigerator magnet that has a photo of an odd looking cat and the words, “If cats could talk… they wouldn’t”. I used to think those words were most appropriate, but now…I do believe that Boo would probably be quite the chatty cat. “Feed me. Let me out. Let me in. Scratch my head. My belly. Higher. Lower. More wood on the fire. Pay attention to me!”

From the news; I see that we have a third strong candidate for President; John Edwards. I have listened to him in the past and I have been impressed. In fact, I will go out on a limb here and say that I think he will (or should) be the final candidate. The theocratic Republicans would love to see Hillary as the candidate and would resort to “anything goes” tactics to defeat her. Senator Obama would make a great candidate in 2012 or perhaps as Vice President in 2008. Now there is a thought!

Also from the news… “In an interview never before published, former President Gerald Ford said President Bush and his chief advisers "made a big mistake" with their justifications for the Iraq war.”

Wrong. That wasn’t a mistake at all. It was quite deliberate.

Locally; we were in town yesterday to buy a few things. One item was a Craftsman scroll saw that was on sale at OSH… $35 dollars off! And we needed some material for a bulletin board for the wall on my side of the study. We found all we needed at Jo-Ann’s. Then we headed to TJ’s to get some 99¢ eggs and some snacks. And on our way home, we passed a large Christmas tree lot near Mervyn’s. The scene was incredible! There were mountains of unsold trees. I know that the trees are grown for Christmas and have no other use, (Mulch?) but I still saw a huge waste of resources. I wonder what the Christmas tree market was like in other locales?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Another Christmas Letter

From Minnesota, no less.

Thanks, Julia...


It might be an appropriate time to start posting some of the photos of our own leaders shaking Mr. Hussein's hand while we were busy selling him weapons.

Time Magazine

Time Magazine says that bloggers are the 2006 “People of the Year” and that pronouncement received a lot of griping from the established press. So, are we really making a difference? And does it matter? I don’t have more than a dozen hits a day when I post and so I would say I’m not into blogging for any kind of ego stroking. OK, maybe a little. Blogging is similar to having a conversation with a few friends over coffee and maybe a blueberry scone. Except I don’t have to tip the waitress.

But… (there is always a “but”) Time Magazine is correct in that, collectively, bloggers have made a big difference in how news is shaped, spread and perceived. If that weren’t true, we wouldn’t be hearing the gripes.


Some free articles from the latest issue of The Economist.

About the rise of Pentecostalism

A Code of Honor in Afghanistan

Free Will?

Good reading

Lots of it

There is plenty of news this morning, including this editorial comment from the New York Times; “Depriving children of adequate health care while giving the rich tax benefits that were intended for average Americans is flat-out wrong, and Congress must move quickly to prevent that.”

So what do you think? I know that poor children and their poor parents don’t have much money to give to political causes, so I’m thinking that the situation will require another editorial comment at the same time next year. And the year after that.

There’s also a history lesson…
Lesson #1:
ON THIS DAY in history; On Dec. 27, 1979, Soviet forces seized control of Afghanistan. President Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and executed, was replaced by Babrak Karmal.

Lesson #2
That day in history needs to be followed by this one… “February 16, 1989
Last Soviet Soldiers Leave Afghanistan


I read the news that Gerald Ford has died. There will now be a flurry of news items about the good things he did during his mercifully brief presidency, most of them will be false. His pardoning of Nixon should have earned him some jail time.

I’m sure that Bush is welcoming this diversion in the news. For a couple of days there will be less attention paid to him and his plans for the continuation of World War III. He will get to assume a statesman’s role and say some nice things about Mr. Ford. I’m sure someone will tell him who Mr. Ford was…

Why not?

Counting down to the start of the new year; 5 more days to go. And I have been doing some more thinking about the Christmas letter subject. Since I already have a daily journal in Word, it would be quite simple to browse through it, cutting and pasting to the Christmas letter as needed. A little editing, add some photos from my huge collection, a fancy cover page and I would have it done! I could then convert it to a .pdf file format and it would be just the right size to e-mail; or print and mail for those who don’t have computers. Are there any people like that?

Well, I have all year to think about it and plan. Somehow, I feel that I will probably put it off until the last minute. So why don’t I start right now? Nah! That’s just not me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Apres Noel

Tuesday and we're back to normal. But isn’t this the day for the “After Christmas” sales? I wasn’t paying attention to the ads, but I think that’s how it works. You buy a whole lot of stuff before Christmas and then find it for sale for less on the day after and so you buy some more. A lot more. And you do this while fighting with hordes of crazed shoppers. It’s all part of doing your patriotic duty and boosting the economic fortunes of a few.

As a counterpoint to that thinking, I found this in my in-basket this morning…

The Work of Christmas
Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

Source: The Mood of Christmas

Darn cat! What a pest she is. Wants in and then wants out. On my lap and then off my lap. But she did pretty well with the Christmas day crowds, sticking to her personal spot under the small table in the family room despite all of the commotion going on around her. Though I’m sure she was happiest when we moved the action to the living room. OK, she’s out again and no doubt will soon make an appearance at the window here in the study to announce her desire to rejoin me. And being well trained…I will comply.

Did we get everything we wanted for Christmas? Oh, yes! We had most of our family here and although we missed Bill and the twins, we knew they were safe and having a good time, as all 4 year olds do on that day. For the children, Meghan, Karlee and Kyle, it’s always a wonderful day.

We even did a “structured” present opening, with all taking turns. Very pleasant! I wish I could say that was my idea, but it wasn’t. I think we were teasing Kyle, without mercy, about who would be allowed to open their presents first, and Kyle, being the youngest and very much a little boy, was all in favor of himself being allowed to pillage the packages. One thing led to another and we were soon taking turns quite naturally. Who knew?

Food. Lots of it. The meat, 2 tri-tips, was quite good. They might have been taken off of the fire a little sooner and that would have made them better, but I am a fan of very rare meat and not all are. The scalloped potatoes were popular and I will have to post a recipe on my food blog. The carrots/beets dish was definitely al dente. I made a bad call on the roasting time so they had a crunch to them.

And appetizers/desserts; plenty of them! The bacon wrapped dates that Alicia made were way too good! Candy and cookies were everywhere, plus pies. But I didn’t let common sense slow me down at all. I tried each and every one.

I had made grand plans to take photos of everything as the day progressed, but the camera was soon forgotten in the press of family and fun. I saw Alicia taking photos so I will have to hit her up for some copies.

Monday, December 25, 2006

What a tangled web we weave...

Bah! Humbug! May a thousand misdirected packages rain down upon your heads, Amazon!

Amazon; the superstore that I always admired...and used, has misdirected my packages for the last time. Since we no longer use our old mailbox, for security reasons; we live on a country road where the mailbox is located just across the road from the house, and so we have changed our mailing address to a safer PO box. But Amazon no longer uses UPS to deliver all of their packages, sometimes...for slower (and cheaper) shipping, they use USPS. Well, USPS won't deliver to our physical address anymore because of the address change and UPS can't deliver to a PO box number. This leaves us in the middle and with all of our orders being returned to Amazon as "undeliverable" because of a perceived problem with our address...we don't exist? And when I questioned Amazon about it, I was told that all I had to do was to subscribe to Amazon Prime for $80 a year and the problem would be solved! Gee! Why didn't I think of that? Now I ask you, why should I have to spend EXTRA money to have a package delivered?

The party is over...

The remnants of a night without power

Denver International

Great photo!

Power's on and I'm surfin'

I was skimming through the various websites for important news and trying to avoid the usual, “highlights of the past year”. Here are some odds and ends I found.

A quotation from W; from the year 2000.

“I don't know whether I'm going to win or not. I think I am. I do know I'm ready for the job. And, if not, that's just the way it goes.”
--George W. Bush

Well, it’s six years later and now we know. He really wasn’t ready for the job. And I suppose that’s just the way it goes sometimes; when you’re unlucky. As we all were.

And I found a few opinion columns where W was being roasted for lying. As usual, in the comments section, the conservatives had jumped to his defense by noting that Clinton had lied. I’m not sure why they always bring that up? The fact that another president lied shouldn’t excuse the present one, should it? That reminds me of kindergarten logic, “Well, Johnny did it first!” And there is the fact that Clinton’s lies were of a moral and ethical nature…and no one died because of them. W’s lies, on the other hand… never mind, you already know the rest. (It should be noted that Clinton apologized.)

Of course, I was simply shocked to learn that politicians lie… I think I’ll go read Dilbert and try to forget what I have learned so far.

Pass the French bread, please

Merry Christmas. It has happened once again…or I should say, “It is happening once again.” And as it is with most older folks, I have memories of Christmas’s past; lots of them!

But this Christmas season is already memorable and will be forever known as the time of the Christmas Eve Power Failure. It was close to 5 last night and I was busy cooking a great spaghetti sauce for our anticipated guests, the beets for today’s side dish were roasting in the oven and all was well with the world. And then the lights went out…mid simmer. And there was an indefinable “certainty” to the failure. I knew instantly that they were going to be out for a long time. How did I know that?

There’s not a lot of light available at 5 PM these days and we were soon in to the candles and flashlights. I did walk outside to see if I could tell how far the power outage had spread, but I could only guess, so I turned the scanner radio on to see if I could hear something that would let me know what was happening. All I heard was a request to put out some detour signs for Highway 32 because, “it looked like it would be awhile”.

My guess was that we had a pole-car incident, or a car-pole incident. The difference being who hit whom. And a later phone call to David confirmed that a car had, indeed, removed a power pole from its rightful place in terra firma and that he and a crew were on their way from Willows, that very minute, (8 PM) with a new pole in tow behind their truck. He also said it might be 2 AM before the power was back on. But, he also said that they were trying for a goal of midnight, maybe?

That was when we decided to get in the car and head towards Orland to see what the chances were for a midnight service at the church. I took the back roads as I knew they had blocked Highway 32. Surprise! The power was on in the town and apparently the severed pole had only affected those to the east and to the north of the highway…that would be us and our neighbors.

With that information, we returned home to await the 11 o’clock hour before returning to the church for the candlelight service. (How appropriate) And we did just that and it was great! Superb in fact. I do love this church! We then returned home at 12:30 (Merry Christmas!) and found that the lights were still off so I filled the stove with wood and we went to bed.

I woke up quite early (I had been napping off and on during the outage) to find the house ablaze with lights and the clocks flashing. So I turned off the lights, put another log on the fire, made some coffee and re-booted the computer. Here I am…my electric world is whole again. And my spaghetti sauce is simmering once more. Smells great!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas is a coming...

We’re almost ready. Just a few more things to do; vacuum and dust. Bake a pie. Maybe pick up and hide some of the books and magazines till after the crowd is gone.

Speaking of magazines; we’re going to cut back on the number of subscriptions we carry. They really can become a burden; with not enough time to read them all. And the guilt! I can hardly bear to throw them away…

And what was all about? The phone just rang…once. I don’t like a phone ringing at any hour, but a ring at this early hour is especially disconcerting. Who was it? Was it a wrong number or was it someone we know who decided, at the last second, to halt the call?

Telephonophobia is a fear of phones…I don’t have that. I simply dislike them. Of course I Googled the subject and found a site that would, for a nominal fee, cure me! “Our premium 'VIP' One-on-One service, Working one-on-one with one of our team, with guaranteed lifetime elimination of Fear Of Phones. From $1,497 and up. Call…” By only disliking telephones and not fearing them, look at the money I have saved!

We have had some amusement the past few days as we have watched the cat bonding with a pottery pig. The pig sits on the hearth and perhaps Boo associates the pig with the welcome heat from the fire. She curls up close to the pig, resting her head against it and sometimes placing a paw on it’s neck…weird. But funny!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Overtime Bonanza?

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. - About 6,000 California corrections officers earned more than $100,000 in the last fiscal year thanks to overtime work in the strained prison system, and one brought in more than a quarter of a million."

Of course it's not the whole story. It just makes a great headline. What's not said in the aricle is the fact that the overtime is forced, not voluntary. The officers have no say in whether or not they will have to work. And the story doesn't mention the fact that an officer who has worked 12 or more hours is certainly less watchful and definitely more vulnerable to attack. Yeah, I think it's a crime!

Get a Grip!

Bozo Alert!!!

"Fear and Bigotry in Congress The flap over whether one newly elected member of Congress can use the Koran rather than the Bible in a private ceremony demonstrates the founding fathers’ wise decision to avoid institutionalizing any religious faith."

Right! if using the Bible has kept our representatives on the straight and narrow path.


Odds and ends: I was just reading an article about the Pashtun of Waziristan; a most interesting group of people. Tribal. And the level of their ignorance is frightening when you realize that they have some powerful influence on what happens in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and to some degree, Iraq as well.

If our country continues with a policy of “winning” the war in the Middle East, we’re in for a very long war. Their culture (Pushtunwali)does not allow for defeat, only for revenge for being dishonored. Diss’d, if you will. It is that kind of ignorance that will keep us entangled there for years to come. The British learned that many years ago and left as soon as they could; which makes it doubly stupid for them to be back! Ignorance knows no borders, obviously.

Can't Stop Now

Inexorable. Always one of my favorite words. And that describes the coming of Christmas day. Do we have all of the presents? Enough food? Ready or not; here it comes. And I imagine that the stores will be filled early today and remain that way through Sunday evening. That is if the merchant’s prayers are answered.

We were out shopping at 9 yesterday morning and it was eerily quiet. No crowds at all. Being true introverts, we loved it! But the moment was really wasted on us as we were doing “real” shopping, not Christmas shopping. We were buying things like dishwasher soap and TP. How dreary!

A Photo Blog

Here's one that I spotted the other day. Great photographs! I particularly like the ones that give you a glimpse of Quebec; a city that I really enjoyed visiting.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Very scary...

Denver International

I can't imagine having to spend three days in this airport...torture! I once had to spend 8 hours and I thought that was the longest day of my life. Do you know how far it is from one end of Terminal C to the other end? I don't either, but I walked it a hundred times as I endeavored to stay active. Seating? There is none. Any day of the week it is common to see hundreds of travelers sitting on the floor of the terminal, backs against the glass panels of the moving sidewalk.

The Burning Bush...and other biblical tales

A note from the past…found on the Commentary page of the American Theocracy website.

“In October 2005,, the BBC aired a documentary in which Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen and Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath recalled a June 2003 meeting in Jordan with George W. Bush: Shaath quoted him as follows: “I’m driven with a mission from God . God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan.’ And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq ...’ and I did. And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘George, get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East,’ and by God, I’m going to do it.” (BBC release, Oct.6, 2005, “George Bush on Elusive Peace”) … the White House denies these quotations.”

Now, if true; this puts George in the company of Abraham, Noah, Moses and Paul. Pretty heavy!

Growth Industry

And I just read this from the Los Angeles Times… “Governor calls for prison growth - Trying to avert a possible court takeover of the state prison system, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday proposed a multibillion-dollar expansion of correctional facilities and opened the door to sentence reductions for some crimes.”

Expansion? That means more prisons and a larger Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation? That means nothing. Zip. Nada. No money is allotted for it. The only money ever spent on it was to change the stationary and the business cards; adding the words, “…and Rehabilitation” to the old name.

Chances Are

chance of rain…followed by a chance of rain. That seems to be the forecast for the next 3 or 4 days, including Christmas day.

My cold seems to be better this morning. I think it’s the diet of mandarin oranges and hot soup that keeps me healthy enough to shake off a simple cold.

I started a new book, American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips. A great read so far. The fact that he (Phillips) was a major figure in the Republican Party makes his words, and his logic, that much more persuasive. The commentary available on the website is very informative as well. (Shannon should read this…)

As I have said before, living in Orland is like living in a small “Red State” and so his comments about the evolution of the Heartland to the Red State were right on and very familiar to me. Orland has the distinction? of having at one time the most churches per number of citizens, a dubious record. And one that made me pause; as I had been in the South (the Heartland) many times and had seen many small towns with churches from one end of town to the other. I always thought it a southern phenomenon.

Password, please!

I found a new use for the Tabbed version of Internet Explorer. Since I can no longer post from my Word program, I go through the password hassle first thing in the morning and just leave my Blogger entryway open in a tab of its own. Then, if I find something I want to comment on, I can use CTRL+Q to open the Quick Tabs and move back to Blogger...

OK, so I found a way around the password hassle...but I still want the old Blogger back.

To insure or not to insure?

Talking about a niche market...this is it!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I have a feeling that education is low on the list of priorities in this country...sad.

New Blogger

What a joke! Why did I change? Now I have to input a password for every screen I come to and never the same one. Sometimes a Google password is used and sometimes a Blogger password. The program that allowed me to post from Word no longer works..."incorrect login information" and I can no longer Blog a website. Checking the box to "Remember me on this computer" doesn't work which means that I am constantly re-typing the same information.

Thanks a lot Google!


Bah! From out of the blue, a cold has struck me. No warning at all…suddenly I was sneezing and running for the Kleenex box. I’m taking antihistamines now to combat the drippy nose but those pills give me a very “spacey” feeling.

The weather has changed from cold to OK. The change in temperature means that rain is in the forecast and we should see a drop or two by this afternoon. In popularity, rain always trumps cold and I like the fact that I won’t have to feed the fire as often. (What’s that noise?... it’s already raining.)

I’m using the new version of Blogger, which took almost 6 hours to convert my blogs to the new format. That was scary! I was wondering if I would ever see my blogs again. (Memo to self…get a life! It wouldn’t be the end of the world.) Everything still looks the same as I haven’t decided on a new “look” for any of them. Overall, it seems to be working better than the old version and it won’t require a lengthy learning process for me to use all of the new features.

News from World War III…
U.S. soldiers in Iraq urge Gates to send more troops
Reuters: Top News
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers in Iraq urged their new boss on Thursday to send reinforcements, after their generals told Defense Secretary Robert Gates they were concerned a surge might delay the time when Iraqis take control.

I would say the same thing if I were in their shoes. Change the odds!

And then I was reading about the situation on the Turkey/Iraq border. With Turkey hinting at invasion and the Kurds ready to repel them, it doesn’t look like diplomacy has much of a chance. Turkey feels snubbed by the EU and the average Turk dislikes the US, intensely! Yet we need Turkey because of the airbases that we use for striking Iraq. The Kurds, who control northern Iraq, want autonomy while the rest of Iraq would like to see them dead. Yet we must support the Kurds because they control the only part of Iraq where peace reigns; for now. The story indicated that spring would probably bring a Turkish invasion.

Life…and death, becomes complicated when meddling in the affairs of others and playing favorites.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Flip Flop

"We're not winning, we're not losing."
- President George W. Bush, in a striking semi-reversal from his pre-election statement, "Absolutely, we're winning." (Source:
The Washington Post )

Let's see...not winning and not losing? How far removed from "Mission Accomplished" is this?


An obligatory cat picture
One of the legs of the step stool...I'm thinking about stained glass in the holes

Some lemons

And the new Google Blogger uploaded the photos without a problem.


Of course I took some time to look at the news while waiting for Blogger to do something with my photos…which it didn’t! And I found this headline story from the Times, words from the Decider as he contemplates adding more troops to the battlefield.

…we’re going to need a military that’s capable of being able to sustain our efforts and help us achieve peace.”

I’m confused; how does an army achieve peace? Is that the “Mission Statement” of armies? I don’t think so.

Bad Blogger!

There is no denying it any longer. Christmas is coming and coming quick! The stores are opening early and the final sales are underway now, a perfect time to shop; as long as you do it between 7 and 10 AM. And I think we’re pretty close to being finished with our shopping; one more day (today) and that should do it.

I picked more lemons yesterday, adding another 50 or more to the pile. And I gave away about 50. And I’m sure I can get another 50 off of the tree by weeks end. And then it will produce another crop this coming summer. A magic tree! Myer lemon? I’m not sure; I do know it’s the smooth (thin) skinned variety that grows exceptionally large and lovely fruit. (Note to Kitty: How about a lemon tree in a container for your patio area? I bet they would do great in the Arizona heat.)

Now I need to learn how to preserve them the Moroccan way. I found some recipes for the process but I would love to find a photo display along with the text. A picture is worth; well you know…a thousand words.

And I have begun the step stool building process for Karlee. The ideas have to run around in my head for awhile before they gel and I put a saw in my hand; and even then I have found that I sometimes have to backup a little and re-think the whole project. But right now I have a mental picture of the final product and so it’s full speed ahead. I promised her some “bling” and “bling” she will have! Of course, each of us may have different ideas as to what constitutes “bling”.

After taking some photos this morning, I got in a hurry and downloaded the images to the Adobe Elements default location and now I’m trying to find them again. I had a vague idea as to where they were and so I used my PowerDesk search application to look for all .jpg files on the C drive. Whoa! There are almost 11,000 jpg files on the C drive alone; and that’s not the drive I use to store my images on. I had no idea that so many applications use images and lots of them.
I used Laurae’s camera to take these pictures. It’s a Canon A430 and it’s really a good camera. I was surprised at the quality, considering the price; but it delivers sharp images every time and is very simple to use. That was Laurae’s criteria for a new camera; simple.

(Dumb Blogger! won't upload any photos this morning.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Here he is...

Colum J MacPhearson...

Our great-grandson

News from the battlefield!

The War on Drugs is doing as well as can be expected.


Cute Overload! ;)

Diabetic? Stay away from this site!

The Actor

This, from our acting governor… Governor demands changes in lethal injection protocol” … “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered his administration to fix problems in California's lethal injection protocol "to ensure the death penalty procedure is constitutional.”

The death penalty never has been and never will be constitutional. It’s an aberration that keeps us from joining the ranks of civilized nations.


On my blog, I have a link to the Chimp-O-Matic site and it displays random quotes from the “Decider” and often they are from speeches he made during his election campaigns. Here’s one of my favorites: "I refuse to be sucked into your hypnotheoretical arguments. --George W. Bush Indianapolis, IN 10/15/2004"

When I read these; I have to ask myself… wasn’t anyone listening? What were you people thinking?

For the past year though, I think his handlers have seen the light and they give him more prepared speeches to read and don’t allow him as many opportunities to speak his mind. And there is nothing worse than listening to him read a speech that he is seeing for the first time.

Who was the last president to write his own speeches? Truman? Roosevelt? Lincoln was a great “stump” speaker, a talent that was much in demand during his day. The speeches were extemporaneous, without notes of any kind. Being intelligent and mentally nimble were the requisites for being a good stump speaker. And for being president.

Shouldn’t there be a law that mandates that the president must write his own speeches? Don’t we deserve to hear his own thoughts, if any, on the subject at hand? When the people heard Lincoln, they heard his mind.

Ho Ho Ho

Speaking of Christmas cards; tis the season. We’ve never been really good at the practice of sending out cards. It just never rises to “High” on our priority list and so we often will send them at the last minute, vowing to do better next year. But we are fans of the Christmas letter; that extraordinary combination of Christmas card and informational letter. There have been lots of jokes about these letters and they are often placed in the same category with Christmas fruitcake but we love them just the same.

Mind you; we don’t send these letters ourselves, we just enjoy the receiving. And we look forward to certain ones; letters from Alex, from Julia and Art, and from Kay. Yes, even Marilyn’s letter. But I was thinking…right after reading Julia and Art’s great letter, that there is no reason why the Christmas Letter couldn’t be on-line. A Christmas Blog. (Julia writes quite well and really should have a blog of her own.) And the best part of a Christmas Blog would be the photos to go along with the story. In a physical letter, you can only send so many photos before the costs make it prohibitive to have lengthy list of recipients. And the cost of the cards! The postage! You can blog for free…and it’s a great way to embrace the 21st century. Sure, Hallmark will fret and so will the postal service, but if we could make it a movement, we could see it sweep over the land, from coast to coast! (Can you imagine Marilyn’s letter on-line…and with photos?)

Now that I think about it, some enterprising souls could offer Christmas Blog templates and on-line courses on how to use them. For a nominal fee, of course. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 18, 2006


This is one of those mornings when you wish your computer could be located close to the fire, instead of down a long hallway and around the corner. Wireless would work, but I’m chained to a larger under-the desk model with a large flat screen monitor. I guess I have to put that on my Wish List.

As I was glancing through the headlines, I spotted this one; Gates set to take over at Pentagon (AP) and wondered what Microsoft was involved in at the Pentagon? It was a brief moment and I realized my mistake quickly, but now that I have had to time to think about it, why not?

And then there was this one, Most people unprepared for disaster. Duh! If we were all prepared, there wouldn’t be any disasters. But I decided to read the article anyway and had to agree that we were really not as prepared as we should be. But will I do what it takes to become prepared? Without a sense of impending danger, it becomes difficult to be motivated. We live in a part of California that has rarely experienced severe earthquakes. Although I can see two volcanoes, the last eruption was in 1915…or was it 1918? Surrounded by orchards, forest and brush fires are no longer a concern. The Sacramento River could flood, but that would only make our trip to Chico a little more difficult; 1-½ hours versus ½ an hour. Riots in Orland are highly unlikely and I doubt that we are a strategic target for any terrorists.

On another subject; as I was moving through the different web pages while headline hopping this morning, I had to admit that I do like the new IE7. Of course, Firefox (Mozilla) had it first but they never had the audience. Tabs still take some getting used to but I have found that if I open 2 or 3 tabs right away, blank ones, then it becomes easier. It’s all about habits. Also, some web developers are writing for tabbed browsers and they will open automatically in a new tab and not a new window. Good for them.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Egg Head

On a different subject altogether; I was thinking about software and the fact that you really can’t get your hands on it anymore. I have downloaded a number of (good) programs recently and I can’t help but think that I will have a real problem when it comes time for me to swap computers; old for new. If there was one problem that software engineers should focus on, this would be it. We need to have a completely painless way of upgrading to a new computer. If you want to sell computers…and software; you need to make the swapping of computer content so easy that even a child or senior citizen can do it. I have a lot of technical knowledge in my background, but if that knowledge isn’t up to date; I’m in trouble!

Remember Egg Head software stores? It hasn’t been that long since they were the hottest store around, selling programs on floppy disks and the exciting new CD versions. When you left the store, you had a package in your hand and if your computer failed, you could always re-install the software. You had little plastic “safes” to contain all of your valuable software. The good old days.

Definitely Better!

Chilly! My wireless thermometer tells me that it’s about 27° outside. And that number agrees with the internet version of our weather. Scary!

Yes, the cat was quite eager to come in this morning and sit by the fire, despite the known presence of two strangers in her house. I think she knows that Karlee and Kyle are snug in their bed this morning and no threat to her. And she seems to have accepted Karlee’s presence these days and will allow her to pick her up and pet her. That’s progress…

Speaking of grandchildren; we took them into town last night for a ride through the Christmas lights display at the fairgrounds and then for a visit with Santa Claus. While waiting for the line to make some progress, I walked around the hall and looked at all of the trees that had been decorated by various civic groups. I shouldn’t brag… but I will. Our tree looks MUCH better than any that were on display.

We started a few days ago, but the house is now decorated and Christmas memories abound. I always feel good about the process as I go up into the attic and get the 3 tubs that hold the decorations. Why is that? I guess I like the familiarity and the history that each piece brings with it. A few of the pieces are as old as our marriage. And even though Christmas is usually all about memories, we seem to add some new d├ęcor each year and these quickly become familiar and loved. I’m thinking that it might be nice to have a new tree, one that has the lights already in place. But it would be painful to toss the old one! I believe that I will put off that decision for awhile.

All of this talk of Christmas decorations brings other memories as well. When we were young; quite young, we would look forward to seeing the department store windows in downtown Los Angeles at Christmas time. Most of the time we only saw them from a car window as we passed by on our way to pick up Nana from her job. But once in awhile, we would park and then walk around the downtown shopping area and marvel at the scenes in the display windows. Amazing! I can’t describe it adequately; these were childhood memories and mere words usually fail.

Let’s see…The Broadway, J.W. Robinson’s, (Where Nana worked) Bullocks and the May Co. All of these stores allowed their window dressers full reign (And full budgets) during the holiday season and the results were spectacular. And probably expensive.

Hmm? “Window Dressers”. I wonder if that’s a job description anymore? Do department stores even have windows to dress?

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I have been looking at the weather via the National Weather Service. They don’t have an RSS feed, so I have to include them in my Favorites. But I do like their website as it has a little map to “click” on that lets you get right down to your neighborhood. For instance; my personal page shows the weather for a spot 4.6 miles east of Orland. Close enough. Does it make a difference? No. I still get the same forecast that Oroville gets. But if you’re a weather freak, they do have 2 day weather histories available.

I have the wood stove going again and I’m trying to gain a little bit of a temperature increase. With the fire dampened all night, the house has become chilly this morning. The cat isn’t bothering to come and visit me here in the study; she’s stretched out in front of the fire. Smart cat.

Why Do They?

It was a long day at the parish hall. But everyone, or most, was fed. The numbers were very close to the same as last year, but the number of food boxes for seniors increased by at least 30%. Is that because some from the ranks below “senior” grew old enough to be included in a new category or are there more seniors in need of aid?  

Complaints? Sure; since some of the funding was given by the local Salvation Army, there is a mandate to buy locally. With only one source for the turkeys, we felt that there was some price gouging going on. And though you always hope that most of the volunteers are there because of altruistic reasons, it’s disturbing to hear some of the sniping that goes on “behind the scenes”. There’s plenty of evidence that the “haves” don’t co-exist all that well with the “have-nots”. Which begs the question; why do these people bother to volunteer? Is it just to make themselves feel better about their own situation?
       With the weather turning colder, much colder; I need to get much of the citrus off of the trees today before the fruit is damaged by the 29 degree frost forecast for Sunday. Our lemon tree has been most prolific and I’m sure there are at least 80 or more lemons left on it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

News for Sale

Once again I’m looking for a good newsreader and this morning I am exploring NewsGator Online, a (free) web based reader. These are the same people that bring you FeedDemon, a little pricier ($30) RSS reader. I’m not averse to spending the $30 if it’s actually going to be a better product; better for me that is. And it looks like FeedDemon will download podcasts for you…is that a better thing? Not yet, but I’m hoping to find a good podcast player some day.

Breaking Things

Today will be busy. Both a good thing and a bad thing. We’re handing out the Christmas food boxes at the parish hall today. I think we gave out 350 boxes last year and I would guess that we will have more this year. A sign of the times.

Orland is unique in that the citizens are quick to respond to social needs and they do it without any government oversight. The food supply, “The Pantry” is managed by most of the churches here and is staffed 4 days a week by volunteers. The senior center takes no government aid and is self reliant.

Speaking of government; I read that the consensus among Pentagon types is that we need an additional 35,000 troops in Iraq. Armies break things and kill people. That’s what they are trained to do. And how will that make us safer here at home?

History (there’s that terrible word again!) has shown that the deployment of additional forces has only increased the resistance of the insurgency. Just ask the generals of the former Soviet Army who were caught in the same situation in Afghanistan. Or ask British historians about the events leading up to the formation of Iraq as a country. Or better yet; read our own American history as the original patriots of the 1700’s reacted to the additional troops (Hessians) sent by King George to quell, once and for all, the insurgency.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


A quiet morning; even the news is slow. So I have been busy trying to organize some of my files; a never ending task. And while I was doing that I found a bunch of files that I had moved over from my last computer but had never filed away in their new home. Better late than never. And while I was at it, I also downloaded a backup program to try. I need to make certain that I can survive a hard drive failure with as little pain as possible.

     I just finished reading a book about the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, the Columbian Exposition. Fascinating stuff despite the fact that the book wasn’t that well written. It made me wonder why we don’t have another “World’s Fair”? Was the last one in Seattle? No; it was in 1984 and in New Orleans. I guess it wasn’t that memorable.

From what I read, the Columbian Exposition was certainly memorable. With an attendance figure that equaled half the population of the country. And the majority of those citizens got a chance to see electric lights for the first time. And elevators. And best of all; a Ferris Wheel!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Great stuff here...check out Alfred Stieglitz and his works with Georgia O'Keefe. Lots of others as well.


Can you spell “disaster”?

WASHINGTON - As President Bush weighs new policy options for Iraq, strong support has coalesced in the Pentagon behind a military plan to "double down" in the country with a substantial buildup in American troops, an increase in industrial aid and a major combat offensive against Muqtada Sadr, the radical Shiite leader impeding development of the Iraqi government.


Speaking of fascists; I was listening to NPR yesterday and there were some on-the-street interviews with some of Chile’s citizens who were fans of Pinochet. They were bemoaning the fact that (in their minds) life was more orderly under his rule. There was less crime and no civil unrest and somehow that was good.

Of course there was no less crime…it just wasn’t reported anymore. People who committed criminal acts simply “disappeared”. Civil disobedience? Who would dare? So many people…in all countries, including ours; don’t realize that true democracy is messy. If you want freedom for yourself, you have to give it to all. Not just to the ones you like.

Rambling (Obviously)

I have been posting photos every now and then on my blogs but I guess I never explained that you can see an enlarged version of those photos if you just move your mouse over the picture and click it.

Have you ever thought about how the “slanguage” of computers has crept into our everyday speech? Mouse and click. Boot? Boot is already old and may be on its way out. Monitor? That used to be a kid with an armband that would stop and ask you for a hall pass when you were 8 years old. Little fascist wannabe’s! And yes, I was one once. Sigh!


Funny, I don’t feel like a great-grandparent? But we are. A boy, Colum is his name and he weighed 8 pounds and some ounces. He was born on the 10th of December at the Garden Valley home of his parents, Zachary and Michelle Byal. Life goes on. Ain’t it grand?

Yesterday I posted something about AADD; and just for fun…I decided to see if Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD) was a possibility for me. Oops! After taking the on-line test I was not surprised to see that I had scored quite high. (207) In this case that’s not a good thing. It’s like golf; low scores are better. Now I need to have someone else score it for me…like Laurae. She certainly knows me well enough to give accurate answers. And it doesn’t stop with me; sorry to say, it’s hereditary.

OK, with Laurae concurring, I guess it’s official enough for me. I do have AADD. This means that I had it as a child. Where it would have been more appropriate to call it ADD. Do I want to change though? I’ve been this way for 66+ years and I’m not sure that I need to “correct” myself. But I would like to. See? There I go, procrastinating like all who have AADD.

Here’s a thought; what if…we’re “normal” and it’s the rest of the world that has a problem? Hey! It’s a possibility!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Adult ADD / ADHD Checklist

This was sort of scary...

But I've been wondering.

What's for lunch?

I’m feeling better this morning so I guess I can assume it wasn’t the flu that had me down yesterday. This only leads me to the possibility that it was the Polish hot dogs. I’m sure that most were willing to convict the hot dogs from the very beginning. They just seem suspicious, don’t they? Made from…what? Does anyone really know? And I have the rest of the hot dogs in the freezer; should I just toss them? I supposed so; I certainly don’t want to test them by having another one for lunch!

     Speaking of politics…as I am now. I noticed an interesting phenomenon the other day when we met with our Sunday night group at the church. Most are older and most are, or were, passionate Republican conservatives. We don’t speak of politics most nights, but somehow the name “Obama” came up and I was surprised to hear that most in this group were very favorably disposed towards him. The reason that most liked him were the things he said; not what his press secretary said or what was reported that he said. Most had read some of his speeches and liked him immediately, just from that. Imagine! And apparently, most were color blind as well. How refreshing! Now if this group of older and conservative Republicans can change their ways, who knows what, might happen in 2008? Could sanity return?

A gift

Incoming Democrats face fiscal minefield - "The outgoing Republican Congress has placed a political time bomb for incoming Democrats: Nearly all domestic programs paid for by the federal government are level funded through mid-February with no adjustments for inflation, a situation that probably will trigger cuts or reductions in such popular areas as veterans' affairs, children's healthcare, housing vouchers, and low-income fuel assistance."

Don’t you just love these people? “Oops! My bad!”

Monday, December 11, 2006


And this one from our acting governor.  “Troubled Prisons Push California to Seek a New Approach” With the election behind them, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers say the time is ripe for the first major overhaul of the system since the 1970s.”

Perhaps these dimwits could read some history first. Specifically the story of the British system of justice in the 1700’s. Criminals, both minor and major, were lumped together in crowded conditions. Every offense was punishable by prison time and very soon the government lost control of the prisons. (much like it is now) Since America had revolted in part because of the practice of sending (Transport) convicts to the colonies, the British had to use the abandoned ships of the Royal Navy as temporary prisons. The Hulk Act utilized ships that lay at anchor in the Thames and it didn’t take long for the prisoners to take over these ships until a decision was made as to where to send the convicts. It turned out to be Australia and Tasmania.

Our problem? We don’t have a vast continent to hide our mistakes. But I have a feeling that an attempt will be made to sweep it under the rug; so to speak. Stay tuned!


Good comments...but Isaiah usually does.

No Justice

News from the LA Times; "WASHINGTON - With the Bushes preparing to stand down from a quarter century in top elected offices, a frenzied competition has erupted in the Republican Party over who will inherit a fundraising and vote-getting machine built by the family over the years into one of the most valuable assets in modern politics."

Shouldn’t that bother us? Shouldn’t it bother Republicans?

"SANTIAGO, Chile - Augusto Pinochet, the embodiment of the brutal and intensely anti-communist South American military dictator, died Sunday, a military doctor said. He was 91 and had suffered a heart attack a week earlier."

Beyond the reach of human justice now. Maybe we should set an example and point out all of the American “conservatives” who worked with him and gave him aid. Let’s name them. That seems to be fair.

“Pinochet's government received tacit approval and material support from the United States. The exact nature and extent of this support is disputed. (See U.S. role in 1973 Coup, U.S. intervention in Chile and Operation Condor for more details.)”


Bad night! Food poisoning? Or the flu? Whatever it was it was, the effects were disastrous and I’m wiped out this morning. Though I do believe the worst is over. I’ve been drinking water; lots of it and that seems to be helping.

We had been to an open house in the afternoon and I had eaten a few things, but not much. Right now, my suspicions are focused on the Polish sausage (2) that I had for lunch. We both had the same thing for dinner (Curry) and I’m the only one affected, so that rules out the dinner as being the guilty party. I may never find out.

It looks like naps are in the forecast for today…


I recently ran across an old favorite; Snagit. This is screen capture software that now does much more than it ever did before. I used to use it when I was teaching because I couold build great PowerPoint presentations with it, showing the student what he or she should expect to see when using our estimating software.

I downloaded a fully functional trial version and now I'm going to see if Blogger can handle the .png format. You can change to jpg or gif, but I would rather just use the default png.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


We have all heard of Darfur and the hundreds of thousands that have died from violence and starvation. And we have all heard that the government in Sudan won’t stop the violence; Strangely enough, the rest of worlds nations aren’t too keen on stopping the killings either.

Darfur is part of Sudan, as is Khartoum, the capitol of Africa’s largest country. Khartoum is also the site of Africa’s largest construction site; 1,500 acres in a place called Alsunut. This is a $4 billion development and just the first of many that are planned for this region. Sudan has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa; GDP is expected to grow by 13% this year!

Does any of this make sense? Only if you realize that oil is the reason for this kind of insanity.

U.S. troops must defeat enemy in Iraq

; says Rumsfeld

Tell me again; how will we know when that happens?

Sale Over

What’s new this morning? Well, the big Plant Barn sale is over with. And I would have to say it was a success; as well as a great learning tool. And we can’t help but think of how much better the sales would have been if the weather had cooperated. Rain and a cold wind were intermittent throughout the day and it was pouring during the last hour of the sale. Despite all of that, I think Denise, family and friends had a good time.

On the downside…I’m really tired of looking at poinsettias. I used to think they were pretty cool; even exotic. Now I’m bored by them. I can’t imagine how anyone working in the wholesale greenhouses can stand to look at one after Christmas. I bet they get a kick out of throwing the unsold plants into the dumpster!

Ken who?

Below are some comments/quotes I found in my Journal from two years ago…

“I believe demolishing Hussein’s military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk.” – Defense Policy Board member Ken Adelman, 2/13/02

“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” – Vice President Dick Cheney, 8/26/02

“We do know that (Saddam) is actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.” – National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, 9/10/02

“It is not knowable how long that conflict would last. It could last, you know, six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” - Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld, 2/7/03

“My belief is, we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” – Vice President Dick Cheney, 3/16/03

“We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” Deputy Secretary of War Paul Wolfowitz, 3/27/03

“We know where (the weapons) are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, north and south somewhat.” - Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld, 3/30/03

“Iraq will not require sustained aid.” – O.M.B. Director Mitch Daniels, 3/28/03

“Major combat operations have ended.” – George W. Bush, 5/1/03

“A year from now I’d be surprised if there’s not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush.” – Former Pentagon Advisor Richard Perle, 9/22/03

Every once in awhile you need to revisit the past and learn from it. Those in power need to do it more often than most. But will they? Nah!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Christmas Carols for the Disturbed

Our friend Julia sent this and I had to post it...I especially like the first one!

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

10. Obsess ive Compulsive Disorder --Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle, Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingl e Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ....


A rainy and windy morning. Probably not the best day for a big sale at the Plant Barn, but it’s the kind of day that will keep the shoppers inside the Poinsettia House and in the Gift shop, where the hot drinks and snacks are going to be. And that’s where we want them!

Being only slightly prejudiced, I think the poinsettias grown by Chico Propagators are fantastic looking. I have never had much opportunity or inclination to study poinsettias before, but now that I have, I can see the difference. And I had to laugh when I passed by the competitions nursery yesterday; the sign out in front read “Poinettias”…

Big Sale Day

It didn't turn out to be a great day, weatherwise...but it is WINTER! And with winter comes poinsettias and the Plant Barn will be ready, starting at 10 this morning and continuing on till 8 tonite. Here's some views of the "Poinsettia House", the small greenhouse set aside just for poinsettia sales.

Friday, December 8, 2006

That didn't take long...

As I was saying in my post from a few minutes ago...

"ISHAQI, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi and U.S. officials gave sharply differing accounts of an overnight raid and air strike on Friday in which up to 20 people were killed, with a town mayor accusing American troops of killing five children."

Snug as a...

We’re certainly snug here…the woodstove has kept the house in the 70’s all week now. Sure, firewood is expensive and it doesn’t give out the BTU’s that a gas furnace will for less cost. But, despite the dirt and the ashes, it does feel better than gas heat!

And it looks like I need to make sure I have plenty of dry wood ready for the weekend. A storm is moving in with wind and rain, though the low temps will remain fairly high, in the mid 40’s.

Despite the rain, we have a full weekend schedule ahead of us and added to that, we have baking chores. We did some of it last night, making dessert breads and now there are 11 small loaves sitting on the kitchen counter. Today will be a “cookie” day as we need to make cookies for two different events. That would be a total of 6 dozen cookies. Then it’s time to clean the oven in preparation for the holiday dinner; though I’m thinking that we will be barbecuing tri-tips for Christmas. No, not the traditional turkey; I’m all turkey’d out! And if I use the barrel cooker, I can keep the oven free for the rest of the dinner. Now I have to find the perfect marinade for the roasts (3). Perhaps 3 different marinades?

This morning, the news from and about Iraq is predictable. Ten more Americans have died and close to 2 million Iraqi’s have now left the country; fleeing to Syrian and Jordan. Win the war? Just in case we have forgotten, we need to ask the Soviets how well they did with their own little war in Afghanistan. History is such an unforgiving teacher. Perhaps that’s why we never want to listen to what it has to say.

And this…US air strike kills 20 'Al-Qaeda terrorists' in Iraq (AFP) I think I can safely say that within hours (no, minutes), the story on the streets of Baghdad was very different. “US air strike kills 20 innocent…(fill in your own description here)” Perception is always reality.

I just read that the ISG report is going to be a top seller in the bookstores, though I don’t understand why. If you were paying attention to those who were against the war in Iraq during the past 4 years, you would have heard all that is in the report. (And W? He still doesn’t get it.)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Israelis piqued

by nuclear "confirmation"

In his speech regarding Iran, he said, "They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf,"

He should have said, "They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, an un-named state to the west that may or may not have nuclear weapons and us in the Persian Gulf," That would have solved the problem...Don't ask, don't tell, indeed!Do they really think that the rest of the world doesn't know? Are these people idiots? Hmmm...I think I know the answers!

More on water

Another view of history


Ah! Wonderful coffee! That first cup has just disappeared…no sipping. I guess I had better get another one and try to slow down and enjoy it even more.

I have been reading the news from the Los Angeles Times and during the past few days the headlines included a story about the historical significance of the restoration of water flow to the Lower Owens River. There have also been lots of stories about William Mulholland, the engineer from Los Angeles that came up with the plan to take water from the Owens Valley.

I’ve always had an interest in this part of California’s history. When I was younger, dad would take us north along highway 395, through the Owens Valley on our way to Lake Tahoe for vacations, or we would take that same road at other times of the year to go fishing in the Sierra’s near Bridgeport. Dad would tell us stories about the water and the Owens Valley “War” as we traveled. I would guess that I made that trip through the Owens Valley at least a hundred times and each time I would try and picture the orchards that used to fill the valley. That was hard to do, as the only thing you could see from the car window was a desert vista.

I also used to go hunting in the foothills of the Sierra’s, just to the west of China Lake and below Owens Peak. There, we would cross over the buried aqueduct many times as we searched for quail. And once again, except for the Department of Water and Power “No Trespassing” signs, there was only desert to be seen.  

Of course I was impressed by the scope of the water project. As you headed out of the San Fernando Valley, you would always look for the foaming cascade of water coming down the steep side of the mountain near the highway and into the reservoir. Then there was the huge Jawbone Canyon Siphon that would take the water down and then up out of the canyon. For hundreds of miles you could see the aqueduct or signs of its underground presence.

But what I find interesting in the latest stories is the absence of any stories that detail how much land Mr. Mulholland and his supporters owned in the San Fernando Valley. Land that was worthless without water. And how convenient it was that the first stop for that water in its journey south was the San Fernando Valley.

Speaking of orchards, as I was…I think I will add some varieties of citrus reticulata to our orchard. That’s Latin for Mandarins and Tangerines. I do love them! We have only one Mandarin tree and this year’s crop was disappointing; only half a dozen oranges were found on it. They were good, but six won’t go far. Now I need to ask my oldest daughter which varieties to buy. I looked on-line for a catalog but have been unsuccessful so far.

OK, Dave Wilson Nurseries came through…oddly enough they don’t sell citrus trees but they have great resources to share.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


I have been back into the digital image files of the University of Washington Library again. I keep hoping that I might find an image that would show great grandfather Fifer’s place of business. No luck so far, but I’m getting a real sense of what it might have felt like to be living in Seattle in the first part of the 20th century.

This research has made me realize that our great grandchildren will have a different problem when they decide to look for a digitized piece of recent history; there will be far too much available! How will they decide which is valuable and which is not? The images in the archives of the library number in the thousands while I have that many on my hard drive. But which ones reveal our “real” life?

This one is recent? Only a month older than I am. (Cable car at Yesler and Third. August of 1940)

Coal being delivered to heat your house...1918, and mom was a 3 year old toddler.

And I was recently standing on this same corner while my daughter was shopping for a t-shirt in a nearby store. (behind me) This photo was taken in 1919

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Rss Readers

All the news you will ever need

If you're looking for a good news's the links to most of them. (Pluck is a no-go after January 7th)

Paying Attention

It’s one of those cat days. As soon as I sit down at the desk, there she is…hanging on the window screen and meowing to be let in. (I must take that screen down before she tears it.) Then I go all the way to the other end of the house to let her in. She heads there herself as soon as she sees me stand up and will be waiting at the door. (Aren’t I well trained?) Then she’s in the house and going crazy! Racing up and down the hallway and flinging herself onto her back in front of the fireplace, demanding that I scratch her head and rub her belly. She is quite vocal about her wants and won’t let me alone until I pay attention to her. She is right ahead of me as I carry my cup of coffee back to the study and then she leaps onto the desktop and plops herself into her bed; which happens to be sitting close to the monitor. From there she can demand further attention…and she does. It’s been about 30 minutes since I let her in and she is finally content to purr and sleep and I can get back to typing.

Something new. I have always been a “visual” person. A picture usually tells me everything I need to know about a subject and so I have used Google’s image searching engine whenever I wanted to find out something. But I found a new image search site this morning, Picsearch and I’m making it a favorite. It has a simple interface and I like the way the images are displayed.