Thursday, May 31, 2007


Oh, the stuff you see when Stumbling!

Last Day

This is it; the last day of May. And once again time has moved far too fast! I am very much a procrastinator and time is always my enemy.

For a gardener; or this gardener specifically – June will be a very slow month, as I will be waiting impatiently for the tomatoes to ripen. I have 6 ‘official’ tomato plants and a couple of volunteers. And I’m such a sucker for the volunteers; giving them personalities and a chance.

On a different note; I couldn’t help but notice the sudden and very much unexpected fall in gasoline prices. Memorial Day prices were right around$3.45 a gallon and today they are down to $3.26…how very odd?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google Maps

does it again!

I wonder if they'll do Orland? Yeah, maybe in the year 2050.

The Hole in the Ground

Wednesday and all is well. After much confusion and the replacement of a few missing pieces of equipment, the pool works again. When we finally contacted the ‘pool guy’, he said, “We don’t use the bottom drain anymore. It’s just another hole in the liner and you don’t need that to make it work. We stopped using those about 5 or 6 years ago. Didn’t I tell you that?” No! He hadn’t told us; although in the back of my mind I was hoping that would be his response. I really didn’t want to empty that pool again.

After getting the good news it didn’t take long to fill the pool to the correct level and get the pool sweep installed; which promptly failed to work because of a missing (heavy) nose wheel. Now where did that go? Probably tossed out with the leaves of last winter. A visit to the pool supply place netted us a new (used) wheel for free and the necessary chemicals to make the pool swimmer friendly. In fact, after mowing the orchard yesterday afternoon, I jumped right in to test it. Ah!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Down Memory Lane

Speaking of Caracas; the news reports always mention that Hugo Chavez is a ‘socialist’ dictator. Truth is…he is a dictator. Plain and simple. There are no other descriptives that can modify the word ‘dictator’. You are one or you’re not. And Chavez gives Socialism a bad name.

Any leader of any country who places himself/herself above the law is a dictator.

But, if you’re a world leader and are caught being a ‘dictator’, it’s best to remember these Words of Wisdom from the ‘Great Communicator’ when being questioned… “I don’t remember. Period.” Ronald Reagan 2/20/87.

How about

A few new photos of Colum? OK, here they are... courtesy of Michelle.

The cost of travel

The wind has stopped for awhile. Yesterday’s breezes weren’t as irritating as they had been in the past week and they really tempered the heat for us. A most comfortable day. The first half of the day was spent in pruning walnut trees and repairing sprinklers; sprinklers I had torn up with my rototiller. The second half? A nap, of course!

I do love this time of the morning. A growing light on the eastern horizon and the trees slowly coming into focus. But, still…I see no bats? And a neighbor noted that he hadn’t heard the resident owls this spring. What’s up with that?

According to all reports I’ve read, the cost of gasoline didn’t stop the Memorial Day crowd from moving about the country over the weekend. I wonder what would happen to travel plans if the price ever hits the levels experienced in London, where gasoline now sells for about $6 a gallon? (I had heard it was $10, obviously an error) And how about the price in Caracas? 19 cents!

Monday, May 28, 2007


Declaration of Human Rights

Seems sensible enough. So what's the problem?

War and Art

Memorial Day. And this Memorial Day, more than any previous, has my attention as we count the numbers of dead and wounded in Iraq. A terrible waste of lives…and of money. Remember? It’s always been about money. But the money wasted will return to us eventually. It always does. The soldiers, never.

It has been said countless times before this that we should never send our young to fight the wars. They are our future. Send the old and the wise. Then see how long a war lasts.

On a different subject; the arts have struck again. I’m feeling creative. Why does that only happen sporadically and not on demand? Grrr! This episode of creativity started with our visit to Zack and Michelle’s house where we saw Zack’s artwork and studio. And while we sitting in their living room, I spotted a magazine that contained very hip advertising images; lots of them. (I have to find out the name of that magazine!) Then I saw a book that Laurae was registering for the internet book sales; Splash 5. That led me to a work by Victoria Greene. In this work, (image unavailable) the artist had used a ‘hot wax gun’ to create blank islands surrounded by dikes of wax. The islands were filled with water and then pure pigment was added and blended. After everything was dry, the wax was scraped off with a credit card, leaving a white space. Most cool! So now I’m looking for a source for the hot wax sticks and low temp glue gun, the ‘weapon of choice’.

A little investigating reveals that Victoria Greene’s technique was influenced by Maxine Masterfield. Now here’s an artist that I didn’t know about before today, but now that I’ve seen it, I love her work! Especially the mixed media and her works with metallics. OK, she is my new ‘favorite’ artist.

I can already see this technique being used on my Karlee project. Along with the pieces of acrylic mirror, of course.

Then I looked at the Dick Blick catalog. I shouldn’t have done that. There are far too many exciting possibilities in it. Especially in the Acrylic department. I saw some of the high temperature acrylics and thought I might be able to mix copper, gourds and high temp acrylics together. Can you safely bake a dried gourd for 30 minutes at 325°? We shall see...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Where's the drain?

Can you describe your luggage for us?

They're right. The IRS never lost my bags! And while it's true that the IRS never gave me peanuts, they did give me respect. Really.

History Lessons

I just started reading Mayflower, by Nathaniel Philbrick. He is the author of In the Heart of the Sea, a great book. I hope this one is as good as that. This book focuses on the story of the Pilgrims and the King Philip’s War of 1675; a story rarely talked about. After all, it doesn’t square very well with our school book mythology of the poor Pilgrims.


I was just looking at the various music downloads available from Really odd stuff this morning. Barry Manilow? Chinese Assassin, 4,000 Years of Korean Folk Music, Black-Eyed Peas, Bongo King, Greek Pop Music, Reggae Classics, African Serenades and Ojos De Brujo. I was hoping to see some Hawai’ian music, but it’s a rarity here. Maybe tomorrow.

Cooling off

I should be very upset but I’m practicing calm and peace. Not perfect yet; still practicing! Aging should give you a different, more peaceful outlook on life, but it only happens when you practice it. Otherwise you end up being cranky as a matter of habit. OK, I’m trying!

Our pool is still unusable. Without the main drain being open, we can’t run the filter. How could the ‘pool guy’ forget to cut it out when he installed the liner? And why didn’t I notice it? We tried to connect with the ‘pool guy’ yesterday, even driving up to his store in Corning (He said they would be open on Saturday - they weren’t.) but without any success. We left messages at his various numbers and no responses were received. Something tells me that he is going to be gone for the whole weekend.

But…here’s the bright side. The pool looks great! And I suppose I could always go out and walk around the shallow end to cool off if necessary.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

30-Year-Old Men

Aren't as Rich as Dad

I find it hard to believe that it required a 'study' to discover this.

But what really bothered me was the fact that it was considered positive that it now takes two working adults to show a gain in wages over those of the 70's. How is that positive?

"The authors of the report were reluctant to speculate as to why men's wages are weaker today, but suggested the decline might be attributed to more women in the work force, a generally weaker economy and men working less hard than they did a generation ago..." A bunch of slackers!

Summer Suits

Is it summer yet? No, it’s still May and we have a few weeks (A month!) to go before the official start of the sizzle season. But still, it will be in the 90’s all week long. That sure seems like summer. And the Phoenix/Scottsdale area? Whoa! I just checked NWS for Phoenix and this is the first time I’ve seen the orange tinged icons that represent REALLY HIGH temperatures. I think this is the time of year that the Zumwalt’s and Maiorano’s begin their reverse hibernation; drawing the blinds and keeping all the doors and windows closed until October. Not that we’re much better off; we are usually just 5 or 10 degrees below them.

The garden is on the mend after being battered by high winds last week. The tomatoes all have scars where they were being whipped against the bars of their cages. Everything else is growing well; maybe too well. I prune everyday, picking off fruit that is burdening the branches.

Yesterday, I did my part for fair business practices and bought a two-pack of Terracycle Garden Fertilizer. Smart; they package the stuff in used plastic soda bottles. And I did my own comparison of labels between Terracycle and Miracle-Gro. They do not look alike. I think Scott’s is being a bully with their lawsuit, whether Terracycle is all that good or not. I will find out soon enough as I sprayed my garden with it yesterday afternoon.

I’ve been Stumbling this morning, finding all sorts of useless sites, like this one… Now, let’s see where my next Stumble takes me.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Iran bomb possible by 2010, U.N. official says
By Bob Drogin
IAEA chief says Tehran could have enough enriched uranium in three to eight years. U.S. to push for more sanctions.

Want to know something really scary? Israel has nuclear weapons right now, though they won't admit it. (They don't allow snooping by the IAEA either)

Congress OKs War Funding,

Minus Timeline

Why in the world do we allow these useless old men (and a few old women) to have the power they do...and then abuse it? Next election; remove them all!

Sued By Scotts

That's it! I'm through with Miracle-Gro

Now where can I buy TerraCycle? Does the Plant Barn have any?

Let's see, Target, that 'other' store, OSH, Home Depot, etc. I'm buying some today!


And once again I’m interested in audio blogging. I read Michelle’s blog this morning and she had a posting all about using Odiogo for podcasting. It uses a computer generated voice to read your posts and it’s done quite well. No, it didn’t sound anything like Michelle, but it was clear and understandable. Now all I have to do is figure out how to include an RSS feed in my blog.


And this from the Blotter; “The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.”

Here we go again. These are exactly the same things we did to Iran when we thought it made sense to remove their president and install the Shah, a dictator and our man.

Of course ABC was vilified for breaking the story, even called "traders" by one ignorant commenter. ABC's side of the story? "In the six days since we first contacted the CIA and the White House, at no time did they indicate that broadcasting this report would jeopardize lives or operations on the ground. ABC News management gave them the repeated opportunity to make whatever objection they wanted to regarding our report. They chose not to."

Duh! Of course they didn’t object. They wanted Iran to know about it.


Clear skies and just a mild breeze to touch the tops of the tallest trees. There is a very large oak on the north east corner of the property and it dominates the view from our study window. I use it to determine wind speed and direction, as the uppermost branches will sway in the lightest of breezes. Yesterday, I added to the view by planting honeysuckle and potato vine along the fence to the north of us. Someday I will be able to look out the study window and see those vines covering the fence and blocking the view of the weeds on the property next door. And on a warm night I will be able to open the window and smell the fragrance of the honeysuckle.

Today is the day that the pool will officially open for business; just as soon as the final filling takes place. I want to talk to the pool installer and see if there isn’t a better way to keep the pool clean other than by using chlorine. It’s the chlorine that slowly destroys the liner and I would love to keep the liner longer than the 15 years that seems to be the average.

In the news, I spotted this from BoingBoing. It had some news from Guatemala and I have an interest in this country. And I do enjoy BoingBoing. Lots of good commentary every day.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scary People!

Couldn't the $27 million have been spent on the poor among us? WWJD? I'm pretty sure he wouldn't build a museum with it.

2007 Honda Fit

Research Reviews and Specs

Yes, we're still shopping! This is one we are looking at...

But Laurae isn't so sure about it. She wants one that will be certain to embarrass our children. That's #1 on her list of priorities. The Scion xB certainly fills that requirement. But how about this one? The Nissan Versa.

Almost full

Ah! the vacuums are silent and the pool is as full as it needs to be.

During our visit to Garden Valley, mention was made of the small town of Volcano, located in Amador County and south of Garden Valley. That reminded me of our visit to the other town named Volcano, located on the ‘Big Island’. And when we got home I found that Kitty had sent me a link to a site offering vacation housing. Of course I looked for some rentals in Volcano and there were a dozen or more. All nice. But then I looked at some on the North Kohala coast, near Hawi. This one caught my eye. I could almost smell the sweet trade winds! And about 30 minutes from Hilo; where we would find fresh produce at the local farmers market. This part of the island is home to half a dozen artists colonies as well.

Apparently the cat has forgiven me for torturing her. I kept her in the garage overnight and while we were gone, ‘strangers’ had come and made all kinds of noise with vacuums roaring outside her place of refuge. All very traumatic. And once she got out last night, she wasn’t coming back in! She stayed under the car and glared at me. But a few minutes ago she knocked at the window and I let her in. She’s asleep now in the chair next to me.

Swedish Shopping

I’m awake at an early hour this morning. The droning sound of the two vacuums made sleep difficult. I have looked at the water in the pool and it’s getting close to the level where I can shut off the water and the vacuums. The silence will be deafening.

We had a most interesting trip on Tuesday, driving down to Garden Valley to see Zack, Michelle, Rory and Colum. After a short detour; OK, I was lost, but after a phone call to Michelle we were back on track and made it their house about ten minutes later. What a great house! And the location; in a very private valley with wonderful views. We had a tour of the property and then spent some time with Colum, of course! A happy baby. We also had a chance to see Zach’s artwork and his studio. Great stuff! Michelle says he will soon have a website to display it on-line.

Later in the afternoon, we made our way down highway 193 to Placerville. Now that’s a road I wouldn’t want to take every day. And Placerville was a traffic nightmare, with detours and construction everywhere. The town has always been a major stumbling block for traffic on US 50 and it hasn’t changed a bit. We found a hotel and had dinner at Jed’s Grill. Very good dinner with a great Chili Verde plate.

We slept in. Unbelievable! It was 7:45 when we woke up. After getting packed up, we went into town for breakfast at the Buttercup Pantry. A little pricey, but it was good food.

Afterwards, we headed down the hill (US 50) and into Folsom, where we encountered a dead stop on the freeway. Just an accident, one car totaled and two others damaged. It looked like someone, or two or three were following too close; that seems to be the regional pastime, getting as close as possible to the car ahead of you. In this particular case, the car in the middle was totaled by being caught in the vehicle sandwich. No one hurt.

By 10:30 we were pulling into the parking lot at Ikea’s.

OK. We’ve been to the mountain top and we have seen the light! We are new converts in the Ikea cult. We liked it; a lot. It took us 3 hours to make our way around the store and we ended switching from a shopping bag to a shopping cart. There were bargains everywhere! But, I think an explanation is in order. This may be a Swedish store, but the products are almost uniformly, all made in China, just like most of their competitors.

We bought an odd assortment of items; a kitchen knife, some scissors, place mats, a kitchen trash can, countertop cutting pads, an alarm clock, etc. etc. What we found most frustrating about the shopping experience was the fact that Ikea had all sorts of things that we had been shopping for during the past few years and they had them at half the price…or less. Drinking glasses were .50 cents each and we had bought some at the Dollar store for, duh! A dollar each. Kitchen canisters, half price. Whenever we saw something we had purchased somewhere else during the past year, we were afraid to look at the price. It was always less.

I don’t know if any of Ikea competitors are looking at how the Swedish giant does business, but they really should. They know how to make the customer feel good. I was even excited about their shopping carts! On our next trip we plan to be there at 9:30 for breakfast; only $1.99. The store opens at 10.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


When we returned from our short trip south to Garden Valley and the big city, we heard a strange noise when we entered the house. It was the sound of water running, plus two vacuums going. The pool liner had been installed and the vacuums keep the vinyl wrinkle free while the pool fills. Right now the schedule calls for the final filling on Friday...still in the month of May, as promised, sort of.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Keep an eye on his hair and his beard...


The Pakistan Military

Do yourself a favor and buy this book, Charlie Wilson's War. That will help you to understand why Pakistan is so dangerous. Hey, it's only $6 at Amazon...or better yet, get it at the library.


Was that a bird or a bat? I just saw a dark shape dart across the sky. It might have even been a leaf, blowing past in this gale we are experiencing. And now it’s light enough to see that the weed block fabric is still in place…good!

I won’t be here for the scheduled irrigating day on Wednesday. We’re heading south this morning to visit Zach, Michelle, Rory and Colum, in Garden Valley. And we’re also going to spend the night somewhere in the Sacramento area before visiting the IKEA store in West Sacramento on Wednesday. This will be the first time in 3 years that I haven’t made the bi-weekly trek up to the canal for water. We really need to get out more often! It’s so easy to get tied to the house and garden and all of the little chores that take on far too much importance.


The north wind continues to blow. The EVIL north wind continues to blow. I looked out the window yesterday and saw my weed blocking fabric sailing across the garden. All of the stakes had been ripped out. One minute and all of my work was undone. I have a 20’x20’ area set aside for growing gourds and the weed block fabric was defining this area for me. All very neat. After about 15 minutes of unraveling twisted fabric and gathering bricks to lay upon it, we had the garden shipshape once again. It’s still too dark to see if the fabric is in place this morning, I can only hope.

Speaking of work; I ran across this memorable quote that puts work into proper perspective.

“What is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so.” - Bertrand Russell. (I prefer the second.)

Another family member has decided to explore their creative side; writing for their own blog. Denise started one a few days ago and here’s the link. So why do we blog? (I still wish there was a better word for it. ‘Blog’ just seems clumsy. It’s only one letter away from ‘blob’ or ‘clog’.) I think I once explained that I do it as a minor form of communication. Idle chatter mixed in with things I consider serious. It’s exactly the same conversation I would have with you if we were face to face.

When compared to blogs, phone calls are rarely honest. We feel compelled to put a positive spin on everything we say. “I’m just fine…how about yourself?” “Yes, that would be great!” Our voices are on a stage and we must act.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Judge halts enforcement

of rental ban against illegal immigrants

Finally! There is someone with some smarts in Texas. Turning landlords into Immigration police was idiotic to begin with. How could a landlord determine the validity of the identification documents? Impossible.

White House says

Carter is 'irrelevant' -

Good for you, Jimmy!

If Carter is 'irrelevant', why does he bother bush so much?
Actually, everyone that disagrees with bush is irrelevant. Including the 70% + of all Americans that disagree with him. So Jimmy is in good company!


The wind is blowing and that means the temperatures will soon be rising. I’m watching the trees in the orchard bending in the breeze and I’m reminded…that I need to wash these windows!

Some random thoughts about the xenophobia that is spreading throughout the land. (Xenophobia: A dislike of foreigners. Tribalism.)

This week, the Senate is working hard on a new immigration bill that will place the Senators firmly in the hearts of their constituents…or so they hope. And I hope it becomes law. I really do. I want those who dislike immigrants so much to have their wishes come true. America for Americans. Send them all back. All of them, with no exceptions! Exceptions would show favoritism and that’s un-American.

No matter how many economists tell us the hard truth; that immigration, legal or illegal…raises the value of an economy, no one wants to hear it. They already have their own version of the “facts” and it doesn’t include uncomfortable ones like that. If removing all of the immigrants will cause a depression of our economy, that’s a small price to pay to get to the truth, right? And one of the first things we need to do is to remove those words found at the base of the statue of Liberty; “Give me your huddled masses, yearning to be free…” There is no sense in being embarrassed while we rid ourselves of those huddled masses.

My own ancestors were both victims and perpetrators in the relentless spread of xenophobia. I’m part Scot; those ancestors were hunted down by the Romans as wild beasts. Extermination was the goal. The “civilized” Anglo-Saxons did the same, massacring them at every opportunity. It was “Ethnic cleansing” before those words became a sad part of our vocabulary. And since I’m part English, I inherit some of the blame. Laurae’s ancestors include some Welsh, another group despised by the English. Do you see a pattern here? The Romans were an empire as were the English. The American’s? Yes, also an empire. The powerful always fear those around them and do their best to demonize them. And when the immigrant has the bad luck to look or act “different” in any way, the xenophobic has a field day! That’s history, look it up.

So, how did you become an American? Did you work really hard at it? Good for you! Or were you simply born here? If it wasn’t simply good luck and you are sure that God placed you here in America; are you properly grateful? Do you thank God every day? Without fail? And if it were God’s design to have you born in…let’s say, Soweto? Would you curse God every day? Hey! It could have happened!

Me? I was just born here. As were my mother and father and some assorted grandparent’s. Lucky me. And I have behaved pretty much like an American ever since. I dislike paying my fair share of taxes and I’m always looking for loopholes. Like 90% of my fellow citizens, I dislike the way government works. I only like to obey laws that I agree with. (65 mph? Are you kidding me?) On Memorial Day I go shopping.

How about some of those ancestors of mine? My paternal grandfather came from Scotland. Legally? Did he ever become a citizen? I have no idea and I really don’t care. He was also thoroughly disliked by his family; abandoning them in California. Yet he is someone that I should be proud of. (A little bit) At some point in his life he decided to risk everything, and abandon all that he knew in Scotland and emigrate. Could I do that today? And great-great- great grandparent’s; they gathered their courage and made the trip away from what was known. They faced the unknown quite bravely. Braver than me and I’m proud of them. I’m also willing to bet that they didn’t always check in with the Immigration Service when making this momentous change. They didn’t wait ten or fifteen years for their name to come to the top of some bureaucrats list.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Stumbling around this morning netted me a couple of sites about auto design…which triggered memories. That happens a lot with aging. Anyway, back in my early teen years I was very interested in automobile design and spent hours sketching what was in my head. And I had a vague plan to become a student at the Art Center, the premier institution for industrial design and art. And my favorite car? That was the Pegaso. I drew hundreds of variations of it. I even had a couple of Revell plastic models of the Pegaso and they had a prominent place on my dresser. It still has a classic look, though it’s over 40 years old.


To Be Dictator...

What a great picture of dignity!


A cloudy morning, but I don’t think that portends anything at all. Summer is on its way; there is no stopping it, and no rain is in the forecast.

Another way to tell that summer is coming is to see the great number of trailers and U-Hauls roaming the streets of Chico as the students prepare to leave. It will take few weeks before the cast off sofas and broken chairs are removed from the landscape and then the city of Chico will be returned to the “locals” for the duration of the summer.

Over here, in Orland, summer is not so easily recognized. It might be recognized by the increased height of the corn crop. Or, the ripening of the apricots; the ‘official’ first fruit of the summer. Cherries (a spring crop) have already peaked and are being stripped from the branches right now. That reminds me; I better check this morning and see if the higher branches on my cherry tree are ready to be picked.

Some political thoughts; Hillary Clinton is still the front runner in Democratic circles and I’m wondering why? She has the money and the power within the party and that seems to drive the polls. But where are the populists? Are the people going to allow the official polls to define their choice? Shame on them!

To recap my position; I’m very supportive of the idea of a woman as president. But not Hillary Clinton. Not today’s Hillary. I would have voted for the Hillary of 1993 in a heartbeat. The intervening years have turned her into a politician. An ordinary politician. And that’s a shame.

No, you can’t remove politics from the presidency and there’s the shame of it…but you can (and should) hope for extraordinary politicians.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


to be debated -

The truth always seems to make people uncomfortable, but that's nothing new...and it provides political ammunition for dimwits like Rudy!


"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." - Rene Descartes

And do it often! Only sheep are easily led

(On a different subject...I fixed the Morgan links on the previous post)

No Clothes!

A silver dawn with not a cloud in sight. Time to water the plants and make a quick inventory of the garden. Yes, all is well at this early hour.

The news from the White House just gets better every day. With Wolfowitz now gone; the ideal way to start the new week would be for Gonzo to resign on Monday…Oh, be still, my heart! If only he would! I think the public is finally beginning to see that the Emperor has no clothes on.

And last night we had dinner with a group of friend’s; turkey with all of the fixings. Yes, I know it’s not Thanksgiving but there was bird in someone’s freezer and we had the time, so why not?

After dinner, we sat around the table and listened as Darlene told us the story of William Alexander Morgan. Her story; in 1946 she was traveling across the country by train, from Washington DC to Orland. The war was over and she was leaving her job at the Patent Office to marry a local boy in Orland. And on the long trip west she met Mr. Morgan. A whirlwind romance ensued and they got off the train in Reno, made a trip south to Minden (where the courthouse was still open) and were married that night. Mr. Morgan, who was in the Army at the time, then shipped out to Japan for occupation duty. She never saw him again and 18 months later, she had the marriage annulled after finding out about his girlfriend in Japan. Oops!

Anyway, she suggested that we Google his name and here’s part of the story. There was even a second wife, a snake charmer from Ohio. Honest! That’s what we were told. Fascinating stuff! This morning, Darlene, who is 80+ years old and blind, will be participating in the Orland parade that leads to the county fair. She tells us she will be wearing overalls, a straw hat, some “BillyBob” teeth and will be trying to play a kazoo. Handicapped? No, that's not in Darlene's vocabulary.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Father Knows Best

Ah! The good old days...

IE or Mozilla?

I keep going back and forth between the two browsers, Internet Explorer and Firefox. Firefox is certainly the better browser; images appear much faster and pages load quicker. But it’s not all that friendly when it comes to managing bookmarks/favorites. I have always edited my favorites outside of the browser by using my file Explorer. It’s much easier, but Firefox has them so well hidden that I have given up. But on the plus side, Firefox remembers my Blogger password and lets me on whenever I want.

Grrr! IE just shut down unexpectedly. “We’re sorry…” Yeah, right! IE always chokes when you get to lots of images. Like these…


I was looking around the Flickr website and found a whole lot of ephemera! Always a favorite of mine...

But this one made me pause and reflect. I was 7 years old in 1947. Could I have been one of these boys?

No one!

And I just read a great quote, “Future presidents rejoice; no one could possibly be a worse president than George W. Bush.” I don’t know who said it…I do know that I’ve thought it many times. Dubya's name will soon join the ranks of the likes of Nixon, Reagan, Ford, Hoover, etc, etc.

A different kind of secret

This is the kind of weather I like. In the low 80’s to mid 90’s during the day and in the 50’s at night. And the plants like it as well. Speaking of plants and growing things…I was harvesting cherries yesterday and already have the small tree stripped of fruit. The larger tree is almost ripe now and not a sign of bird vandals? This is the first time in 3 years that I’ve been able to eat cherries from the orchard. The birds have always beaten me to them. The second year here I tried the flashing reflective tape to scare the birds away and that was a failure; this year I have loaded the tree with old CD’s, spinning in the breeze. Is that the secret? And I remember one tip that didn’t work…put a small battery powered radio in the tree and that was supposed to keep the birds away. Denise tried it and had the same luck I had with the tape.

Bicycles are the subject; new and old. I got my bike down from storage last week and bought a new seat for it. An ‘age appropriate seat’. It’s wide and comfortable. I also bought a speedometer but that was a mistake. The instructions for it left me in the dark and so now I have to wait for my son to arrive and help me install it.

Denise bought a new bike and the seat looks like it is already ‘age appropriate’ so she probably won’t need to customize it. It’s a most cool bike. Here’s a small photo of it. The image doesn’t really do it justice. The red spokes and big whitewall tires are quite splendid! It’s also loaded with flowery images on the frame and fenders. It’s a 3-speed, hence the name; Electric Gypsy 3.

Now; where do you ride your bike? Don’t say “on the road”. To tell you the truth, I don’t feel very safe sharing the road with the drivers I see every day. That bike lane doesn’t have any barrier to keep a 2-ton car out of it. It’s always popular to advocate the use of bicycles (It’s Green!) but our infrastructure isn’t made for their safe use. Whenever you’re out driving, keep an eye on the cars ahead of you and see how many times they violate the restricted space of the bicycle lane. Me? I'm heading for the safety of Bidwell Park.

Memo to Shannon; if you read this, please contact your mother. She wants to make sure you have drain holes in your new planter!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Give it Back!

I was listening to one of my home made CD’s the other day, one that will hold about 120 MP3’s and give you about 4 hours of music. The one I was listening to was all very old Hawai'ian music; stuff I have collected over the years. Of course that brought back memories of our trips to the islands and made me want to go back…soon! But a second thought was that of Hawai'ian independence. Why don’t we give Hawai'i back to its rightful owners? Of America’s last two acquisitions, Alaska was bought and paid for (cheap but legal) while Hawai'i was simply stolen. Something we should be ashamed of.


I love this time of the morning. The horizon is just beginning to appear and it’s cool outside. A great time to walk around in the back and listen to the silence of the early morning. Odd, but I haven’t seen any bats lately. I placed myself in a position where I could see their silhouettes if they were flying by, but none were spotted. And I haven’t spotted any mosquitoes either; which is fine. But I’m worried about the lack of bats. I hope the owners of the barn that lies to the north of us haven’t done anything to remove them. We may lack bats this morning but we certainly aren’t lacking for birds; although it’s still officially ‘dark’, the birds are making all kinds of noise as they welcome the dawn.

The Glenn County fair opened yesterday afternoon and we were there for it. The Orland Ministerial Association has a booth and I had made a PowerPoint presentation for them to show to the fairgoers. As part of the exhibitors team, we got in free, but, we were surprised at the cost for admission; $7! And parking is an additional $3. A family of four that attends the fair could easily spend $100 for admission, parking and then all of those carnival rides. And don’t forget the food…maybe $100 isn’t enough?

Earlier yesterday, we made the usual library run to Chico and back and I stopped for a cup of coffee and reading of the local alternative papers; the Beat and the Chico News & Review. Some good stuff to read, especially the article in the Beat about the Blackwater mercenaries. This is a story that never quite makes it to the front pages of the newspapers; but it should. Imagine a 125,000 mercenaries ‘working’ in Iraq. And yes, we are paying for them. And who tells them what to do? Not that it matters, as Paul Bremer, the former dictator, decreed that Blackwater will not be held responsible for any civilian deaths or injury.

And another stray thought; I was mentally lamenting the fact that there are no good restaurants in Orland. Maybe only two passable restaurants and that’s a stretch. And Chico isn’t much better. And all of those mental agitations made me remember Yelp. A reviewing website. I ran across it, or Stumbled upon it the other day and wondered if it would work for Chico? Surprise! Apparently, some readers have already done their homework and there are a lot of reviews posted for the Chico area. I may add to them, as it appears that most of the reviews have been written by owners or employees.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sound Science

This is something that needs to be explored! Who would have thought?

And besides the obvious 3rd world about going camping with one?

Or, using the same science...a self powered rock concert! The drums could handle the lighting and the guitars could power their own amplifiers. The singers could generate the electricity for the refrigerators and freezers.

Stop The Lie -

An interesting blog

But, Ron Paul? As a nominal Republican but more accurately a Libertarian, he doesn't have a chance.


The days roll on and we’re almost into summer. The temperatures will tell you that; into the 90’s all of this week.

The Republican candidates for president seem to be making all of the news these days as they try hard to distance themselves from Bush while trying to appear loyal to Republican ideals. I certainly hope they can come up with a man or woman of integrity and intellect; we certainly need one. But that candidate won’t come from the current crop. And I still have hopes for my preferred candidate for the Democratic ticket; Bill Richardson. But, since the winners are determined by the money they raise, my hopes for a ‘thinking’ president are on shaky ground. Money rarely follows intelligence. The average American voter is put off by any indication that the candidate might be “smart”. Hence we have a “bush” in the White House…for the second time.

Of course, right now the best show in town is the Gonzales/Wolfowitz "Extravaganza"...A laugh a minute!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What's that noise?


Something I Stumbled across...


What a mess! I forgot to wear some gloves while I working yesterday and now my right hand is all sliced up and bandaged. I had bought some concrete reinforcing mesh to roll up into tomato cages and somehow my hand got in the way of the rapidly unrolling mesh. Ouch!

Once the sun is up I’m going to have to take some pictures of the cages (and their contents) and post them on my garden blog. I know that I was once accused of having “wimpy” tomato cages, but that shouldn’t happen this year! Now I have to worry as to whether or not my tomatoes can fill the cages.

And yesterday, when I was posting links to Truckee, I forgot this one for old photographs of the area.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Let's Fight!

I subscribe to the Jim Hightower newsletter and this morning’s edition recaps some of the same things I had mentioned a week or so ago. He talks about the fact that the military is now offering $25,000 enlistment bonuses. An amount that will entice the poorer citizens to join up. This is especially attractive to the non-citizens among us. Better them than us, right?

And they have extended the recruiting age from 37 to 42. So if you and your wife had children at an early age, let’s say 21 or 22…you and your whole family could join up! As Mr. Hightower says; “The Brady Bunch does Iraq!” (Oops! I didn't mean "you" and "yours" ...I should have said, "them" and "theirs".)

An old one

I was wandering through my Journal from 2006 and found this…

A blonde man decided to wash his sweatshirt, but when he started to put it in the washer he stopped and asked his wife, "Should I wash the sweatshirt in hot water or cold?"

"What does the sweatshirt say?" she asked.

"University of Oklahoma"

The more I think about it, the more I think that’s not really a blonde joke, but a true representation of the differences in Type. A man whose Type prefers Sensing versus a wife who uses iNtuition. Oh well, it’s still funny!”

Did I post this before? OK, it is still funny.


Uh oh…it’s going to be warm today. It’s already 65° at 5:30 AM. And the wind is still blowing; raising the temperature. I was just wandering around outside a few moments ago, looking at the empty pool and wishing.

Oh well, back to the reality of the world. And one of the things I wanted to look at this morning was data about the city of Truckee. Granddaughter Shannon wants to move to Truckee and I wondered if she had read any of this…

I happen to like Truckee. It’s a great location, being midway (sort of) between Sacramento and Reno and very close to Tahoe. And being an old guy, I have funny memories of Truckee. When our family would travel through Truckee in the late 1940’s, we would travel on graveled roads. Paving was not part of the Truckee scene until the mid 1950’s. Interstate 80 didn’t exist back then so there were fewer visitors to this small town. Here’s a photo from 1945. I wonder if that’s our family car? (3rd from the right)

Back to the news. Here’s one that caught my eye.

“…Before leaving, my mother had purchased a small tube of lotion and put it in her purse. When she got to the security checkpoint at the airport, she realized she still had the lotion. She handed it over to the TSA worker who told her that it would be donated to a local homeless shelter.”

What’s wrong with that scenario? How about this: the TSA worker didn’t say the lotion would be tested thoroughly to be certain it was not an explosive before giving it to the shelter. She didn’t say that the collected lotions and other liquids would be destroyed so that they could never be used against innocent Americans. No; it’s already understood by the TSA worker that the lotion is safe and it’s simply a ritual that the two of them perform, the passenger and the agent, both brainless. Now; don’t you feel safer?