Saturday, July 31, 2010


It's been a good morning. We arrived at the park about 7:30 and took our usual route on the south side of the creek. Saturdays are different in the park as we have found that more people are willing to reply to our 'Good Morning'. We give everyone that simple little greeting; on foot, on bicycle, walking or running, and during the weekdays we have a success rate of 25% to 30%. On Saturdays it may increase to 50%.

Why is that, saying 'Good Morning', so hard to do? We learned to do it when we were children. It was considered to be the simplest of polite gestures. But here in the park, I can be looking right into their eyes and I'm sure that they see my mouth opening. Can't they hear what I'm saying? I'm sure they can, but apparently they aren't interested in communicating. And here is the odd part…my wife and I are hard core introverts. Why do we even bother?

Anyway, back to the walk…we made a 4.1 mile walk out of it and at a 3.3 mph pace. Once we were back near the car, I checked the GPS one more time and then we continued on to the Farmers Market. And what a great morning it was for shopping! We were there at 8:45 and the place was packed. We strolled around the two aisles once just to find out what was looking the best…except for the beautiful tomatoes that we spotted. Those we bagged right away. And I had to have a cup of Columbian Dark roast as we made our final trip around the market. A beautiful white and yellow kernel corn tempted us as well as a deep purple eggplant. How do people resist eggplant? Even if you didn't eat it, you could enjoy the color for at least a week. Finally, we bought a small, ripe right now, cantaloupe to go with our corn, eggplant and tomatoes. Then it was back to the car which gave us 4.5 mile overall for the morning.

The month of August has to be the best month for the Farmers Market and I'm already looking forward to next Saturday. Everything is ripe and the sights and smells in the market are like heaven. Everybody is happy…smiles everywhere. And Chico has three (3) Farmers Markets every week during the summer with one on Wednesday morning at a different location and then the Thursday Night Market when traffic in the heart of Chico is blocked off and vendors fill the street. We avoid this market time as this is the one that allows all sorts of vendors and not just produce. There's also music…lots of music! It's really geared for a younger crowd and that wouldn't be us.

I should mention that we are hoping that today's tomato purchase will be the last one of the summer. Our own tomatoes are soooo close to being ripe. Just another day or two. Or three.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Taking Body Count Home For Recess « Alan Colmes' Liberaland: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Here are the most important statistics from this blog...

Why would you ever vote for a Republican? I'm curious.

From Tomgram:

Andrew Bacevich, Giving Up On Victory, Not War | TomDispatch:

This was too good to pass up. I had to post this link...

Thursday, July 29, 2010


It's been awhile since I last posted some thoughts here. I've been busy…sort of. I wake up early enough to do some writing but I don't because I feel somewhat rushed; we now have some serious walking on our schedule. We're on the road by 7 each morning and making our way into Chico so that we can walk in Bidwell Park; a gem among parks nationwide. We park over by Annie's Glen, a section of the park named for Annie Bidwell, the benefactress that gave us this wonderful park. From here we can take the new subway under Mangrove Blvd.

and make our way to One Mile, where the loop trail begins. Until 8:30, the park allows dogs to be off leash and so we have to keep an eye out for those dogs that are less than well behaved while we make our way up the road to Cedar Grove where we will turn around with two miles of good walking behind us and then make our way back. We don't have to return on the same path and sometimes we will cross over the creek and come back on the north side trail which will allow us to walk by the municipal pool created by damming the creek. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we will see a trout among the few swimmers that brave the cold temperatures of the pool. Then we cut across at the dam and we're back at our car about an hour and ten minutes after we left. Four miles walked in that amount of time is sufficient to give us a good workout and we've been doing it religiously.
Along our way, I've been noticing the scraps of sycamore bark that litter the sides of the trail. Sycamore trees are constantly shedding this thin bark as they grow and during the summer months they will shed even more as they swell with the large amounts of water they have taken in. And I noticed that the bark scraps have interesting shapes and textures, so I have begun collecting the ones that catch my eye. Once I have them home, I have been painting them with an acrylic wash in various 'never seen in nature' colors. I'm not sure of what I'm going to do with them but I have some ideas floating around.
The addition of bags filled with colored bark to my 'studio' space has created even more clutter. More than I'm comfortable with but what can I do? The house is still for sale (no lookers yet) and there's no sense in remodeling my garage studio. Though I do have thoughts about our new and not seen house; we really want to have a space where we can consolidate our computer space with our art space. Yes, they go together. And the space will be inside and not in a cold/hot garage.
Here at home and in the here and now, I have a garden to deal with. It's starting to mature and I picked out first tomato the other day. I know most gardeners have seen their first tomatoes some weeks ago; I got a late start…what can I say? There's also some zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers in various hues, wax peppers and Ancho chilies for Rellenos.
Out in the orchard we have prunes that are just about ready to pick. The tree is groaning under the weight of them. And I should mention the olive trees as they have a great crop coming as well. The rest of the various fruit trees are empty now. But the walnut trees are also bending with the weight of their crop. We have 5 walnut trees which is about 4-1/2 trees too many. Those are harvested in late September and what a mess that is! We don't spray our walnuts and so a great number of the nuts are infested with the offspring of some sort of walnut loving moth. You can usually spot the infested nuts and throw them away before they make it to the cracking table…but not always! I really hate cracking a likely looking walnut, one that I'm planning on eating, only to find a fat worm sitting inside.
I also have a fine crop of gourds out in the garden, but I am hoping that we will be gone, our house sold, when they are ready to be harvested next April. But nothing much is being sold these days. Our realtor came over last week with a young lady that has a business that films a house and then puts it up on the internet as a 'Virtual Home Tour'. She filmed it all in about thirty minutes. We saw a preview the next morning and now our house is being seen by thousands…maybe millions of would be customers! Have we had any responses so far? Not!
Later today…we did the walk as expected and it was fine. Grand, to tell the truth! The temperature was just right and so we went an extra quarter mile. And that was where we saw an interesting event unfold. A couple was walking with their dogs (no leash) when a cyclist approached. One of the dogs wandered out in front of the cyclist who braked in time and then said…'Why don't you leash that blank dog?' or something to that effect. The dog owner quickly replied that he didn't have leash the dogs till 8:30…so there! Of course no thought was given to the safety of the dog. A leash would have prevented this incident altogether. And the cyclist was also in the wrong for not giving warning of her approach; A bell or even a verbal warning. Unfortunately, Chico has some of the worst bicycle riders in the…state? Nation? World? Take your pick, Chico riders qualify.
On the way back to the car we passed by the pool and it was being cleaned for the weekend crowd. We also saw one trout left behind in the shallows near the dam. He'll be fine once they release the creek to flow back into the pool.

After coming home it was time to mow the orchard and then to get in some pool time of my own. Aah!
With all of that said…why aren't I commenting on the world scene more often. I used to post something every few hours. I seem to have lost my appetite for it. It might have something to do with all of the drugs I'm taking and that wouldn't surprise me. Now that I'm within a month or so of attaining the ripe old age of 70, I find myself taking more pills for more conditions; conditions that I didn't have a year ago. I remarked to my wife the other day that you really need to be as fit as possible when entering 'old age'. Aging isn't for wimps!
Anyway…I guess I will post here when I feel like it from now on and not a moment sooner. In the meantime I'm going to keep myself busy with my art because it's far more pleasant than the political scene.



Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010

On Thursday, the House passed this bill to extend unemployment benefits through November 30, making the extension retroactive to June 2 when the last extension expired. It was then sent to the president, who signed it the same day.

Rep. Wally Herger voted NO......

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I was reading some interesting facts about the census; in fact, about census taking everywhere. It seems that census taking is fast disappearing everywhere but here in the US of A. It's a Constitutional mandate, so I doubt it will be changing soon. Most countries have found that they already have the data they need within the myriad data bases that are kept by all governments. It simply requires some number crunching software that will explore all the available data and then come up with the needed information.

I was very disappointed with the last census as they had a great opportunity to gather much information and they simply blew it with that terribly abbreviated form. And now that I know how much it cost, ($13 billion) I am even more disappointed. That works out to be $36 per citizen while Finland does the same thing by data crunching for a little over a $1 million. An equivalent cost of 20 cents per head.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Great idea! my eyesight isn't all that good anymore and maybe it was the way the sun and the shadows were making things difficult for me to see, but it all turned out for the good. We were driving through Chico on the way to drop me off at the Art Center where I spend three happy hours every Tuesday when I spotted the sign for a popular fast food restaurant. Suddenly...flash! There it was, the idea for a great new fast food chain, Mac in the Box!!!
Alright, you may laugh, but I have grandchildren that swear by Mac & Cheese; think it's the only food worth eating. They would eat it for breakfast if they could, so imagine a Mac in the Box that served twenty different kinds of M&C. Breakfast M&C with sausage and served with an English Muffin. Mexican M&C covered with salsa. Chinese M&C with Chinese noodles. On and on and on. Unleash your imagination.
I know...M&C isn't all that good for you, but what fast food is? If this idea takes off I'll feel guilty after I make the bank deposit.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

From Critter's Crap:

How To Save $45 Billion Dollars Per Year:

I was telling my middle daughter about this same thing (the tax rip off!) the other day but without any this helps me to appear as if I know what I'm talking about. And I like that. It's good for my ego.

And then, to cap the article, there is this...

"We can't eliminate the oil corporation welfare. They will stop producing oil. They will stop drilling. They will stop exploring."

Well, you know what? It will affect domestic oil production. It will affect it by less than one-half of one percent."

But... lies are so much more effective with the electorate, so the Republicans will continue to scream that the world is coming to an end if we stop drilling. Facts are no fun at all...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One last editorial from the Chico News & Review

Strong-arm Chico

Chico got a new police chief a few months ago and from his early remarks I understood him to be smart enough to not be just another mindless zealot in the War on Drugs. His words were obviously a smoke screen and his actions the other day proved that he is just another cop who has sold his department and his integrity to the War on Drugs. He spent a lot money and ruined some lives (and trust) and what does he get for it? What do we get for it? Are we in any way, safer? Of course not. It's just more to go into the 'Black Hole' of the War on Drugs.

Another from the Chico News & Review

From This Corner -

I know that not everyone cares about the California Governor's race but the editor of the CN&R has written a good piece on the early tactics of Meg Whitman, who is well on her way to buying a governorship. Hey! It could happen in any state...probably has.

Yes, I support Jerry Brown. I really enjoyed his first run as Governor and would love to see his encore. And, as it has been pointed out by his campaign, at his age (70) he has no future aspirations. What you see is what you get. 4 years and he's through.

A short story...when we moved to Janesville Ca in the 70's, we were pretty sure that only a handful of people outside of Lassen County even knew where Janesville was located. Then, one summer, when the Mountain Maidu Indians were celebrating the Bear Dance up on the Janesville Grade, who shows up, (via helicopter) but Governor Brown. He didn't come for the votes; he came because he cared. Young voters in California need to know more about his first role as Governor...he was pretty darned good.

Friday, July 9, 2010

From the Chico News and Review

Driving through to nowhere -

Chico is blessed with an 'alternative press'. Without the News & Review, there would be no newspapers at all in this area. Oh sure, there is the Chico Enterprise Record if you're only interested in who died last week. But if you want real journalism, this is the place to go. And here is a guest column that proves my point...

There is no 'free' lemonade


You want to know what's wrong with the right wing, the conservatives, in this country? Ms. Savage is. Or anyone who embraces the weird thoughts that spring from her mind...

These were children. It was lemonade. Get over it!

(I'm sorry. I shouldn't have bothered you with this pathetic bit of nonsense...)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Oil Companies

Reap Billions From Subsidies -

I try to avoid linking these New York Times articles here because of the log-in necessary to view them if you're not a NYT subscriber...but I thought this was an extraordinary article and one that every Republican should read. And then, with a straight face, try and defend the oil industry. Oh, yes, the same sort of thing happens for agribusiness giants as well.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Michele Bachmann

Her Latest Insanity: “I Don’t Want The United States To Be In A Global Economy” « Alan Colmes' Liberaland

I simply had to share this. And wonder how she was elected?

A global economy? We've been involved in a global economy since the days of the Puritans and before. We can't exist without it. Our beloved War Department can't make a lot of weapons without the global economy that provides the rare minerals needed. Our well protected corporations are multinationals. And more...

Again; how does she become elected? By herself, she's not scary, but the fact that she's elected is definitely scary!

Road Trip

Another month has passed and summer is truly with us now. Summer is good. We love the heat, which makes us the odd ones in the community. Of course this begs the question; why do they live here if they hate the heat so much? Just a thought…

Anyway, we went on a road trip yesterday, about a hundred miles south to the metropolis of Sacramento/Roseville. Where we used to live. We had a shopping list that could only be satisfied by making the trip and we were actually eager to go.

After our arrival, we started with breakfast at IKEA's. A $2 dollar breakfast which was more than sufficient. I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't customers who came only for the breakfast. Coffee is free. Then it was time for a bargain hunt and bargains are easy to find at this store. In fact, it only took us an hour and then we were back in the car again, heading to University Art Supply. There were no bargains here. But what an amazing store! If you're used to buying your art supplies from a catalog, or worse, from Michael's, then this store is heaven. I bought a small handful of supplies; one tube of a watercolor I needed and two tubes of Golden acrylic that I couldn't do without. Plus two sheets of 300# watercolor paper and a block of smaller sized paper for a grand total of $85. Ouch. It's a good thing this store is a hundred miles away or we would be bankrupt. Then we drove into Roseville and a drive-by of our last house. It's for sale! Again. I just checked the Zillow pricing for the house and it's now $100k less than what we sold it for. All in 6 years. I guess that tells you something about the hyper inflated market of that time and just how depressed the market is today. Of course the house was a disappointment for us as we saw our great (to us) exterior decorating ruined! The house had been repainted and our xeriscape front yard had been torn out and replaced by lawn. What were they thinking? Some poor fool will now have to sweat every weekend as he strives to manicure that patch of green to community 'standards'. I'm sure the neighbors were happy to see the lawn was back. Our small act of rebellion now erased. Yes, it was that kind of community.

After that, we drove over to the more affluent side of town and after a stroll through their shopping center, (The Fountains at Roseville) I can only say that the current depression/recession has not hurt the very rich. It was the middle of the day and the place was packed.

After that it was time to get out of town and come back home to reality. And on our way back, we stopped at an Applebee's restaurant for dinner. Which was surprisingly quite good. Maybe it wasn't surprising, but we've never been fans of this restaurant chain and had stopped only because it was the last place around before we encountered a desolate stretch of I-5. While we were waiting for our dinner, I noticed and read the mandated nutritional value information for this chain of restaurants. I don't know if the information deters anyone from ordering their favorites, but it was certainly eye-opening! You might think that a chicken laced garden salad would be a good choice, but the Applebee version contained about 1600 calories, the equivalent of three healthy meals. It should be noted that the nutritional information is on the back pages of the dessert menu. How clever…you'll never see it till the damage has been done!

12 hours had gone by and we were home…