Saturday, November 17, 2012

Those Crazy Swedes! ;o)

This is what happens when you put a Volvo 240 turbo engine in an old tractor...

(Video from Gotland, Sweden.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Autumn 2012

Autumn 2012

Autumn 2012


(First, let me point out that this is not really political, so technically I'm not already breaking my psuedo-resolution to kinda-sorta avoid political postings on this blog for a while.  Technically. (g) Or maybe I'm just fooling myself!)

In UK, Twitter, Facebook rants land some in jail.

(Ok, so it's not new news, since some of the examples are years old, but...)

I don't respect the content of the messages that are putting these people in hot water-- and even joking about bombing an airport, these days, is possibly criminally stupid-- but this is a fine example of the Slippery Slope.

The thing that occurs to me (and that I didn't see mentioned in the article in my brief scan) is that people on Twitter and Facebook only see the comments of people they choose to follow*.  So... if people see something they don't like, why can't they just unfollow/unfriend them?!  (Everyone's done it, whether because someone tweets too much or has "said" one thing too many that has grated on your nerves.)

I guess my (fuzzy, unclear) point here is that these people's outrageous remarks are probably just attempts to get attention.  You want to monitor their further online interactions to make sure there's no legitimate reason to suspect that it's leading up to some criminal/terrorist action?  Fine and good.  But what harm are they doing, really?  Who are we protecting by taking these "dangerous criminals" off the Internet?  Is there room in the UK's jails for every idiot who says something stupid online?  Does anyone really believe they are threats, or is it more a matter of preventing offensive commentary?  If the average person sees the garbage they post/tweet and duly clicks "unfollow", doesn't the situation take care of itself?  Do TPTB in the UK not trust people to make their own judgement calls? 

* Well, I'm assuming about Facebook, since I don't actually use it.  And for Twitter, if you search a subject or click a trending topic, you can see tweets from anyone and everyone-- but you have to make the decision to do so, and when you do, you're almost guaranteed to see something that offends or annoys you.  Clicker beware!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Trixie at Mealtime

Trixie's Mealtime

This is how Trixie likes to eat-- plopped down on the floor so that she eat while lying down.  She takes great pains getting the bowl in just the right position before settling in for a meal, too.  You can easily tell when she's preparing to eat by the sound of the bowl scraping across the floor.  Silly girl!

And because they make me smile, here are two goofy photos of our sweet Eskie:

Funny Face

Funny Face

(Though to be fair, I'm sure you could get some really embarrassing photos of me, too, if you ambushed me with a camera while I was in mid-chew.  (g))

And With That...

And with that, I solemnly vow to avoid politics (here) for a while.  I'll still be following them, I'm sure, but I'm going to shift the focus of this blog.  Four years is a long time, and I can't take much more of this nonsense without the rest of my hair turning grey.  ;o) 

Less grumbling about idiots and charlatans (I hope). 

More photos. 
More "this is what we've been doing lately" posts.
More of just life. 


*Sigh of Infinite Weariness*

Well, thanks a lot, slim majority of my fellow Americans who checked the box for "More of the Same Old Crap"!  Thank you, brainwashed masses!  Thank you so much, unions!  Thank you from the bottom of my little ole heart, those of you who voted for the guys who would make sure you continue to get handouts you don't really need.  Thank you, voters for whom a candidate's complexion is paramount!  (Did I forget anyone...?)

I'm so tired, and I didn't even stay up that late last night.  This is soul-level weariness, right here.  This is why I don't understand people (well, at least slightly more than half the people in this country).  This is why my faith in humanity (its intelligence, its honesty, its morality) is severely shaken.  This is why I sometimes want to become a hermit living in the middle of the wilderness.  (Well, sometimes.  Fortunately, the impulse passes.)

The economy and employment numbers will likely continue to improve-- albeit with molasses-like slowness-- because that's what the economy does... and now Obama will take credit for it, and we'll be expected to bow down to his greatness.  ("See?  All he needed was more time!") But we'll never know what might have been-- how much better it might have been.  (Sour grapes?  Whatever; I'm not going to start caring now what other people think about my grumpiness.)

Obama's victory speech promised that "the best is yet to come".  I'm highly skeptical, given the direction in which he's been leading.  The best of what we've experienced since he's been president?  Oh, that's not so difficult to achieve.  The best of what this nation in its entire history has experienced?  ...I don't see it happening during the next four years, based on his performance to date. 

Obama also said something (typically platitudinous) about how this election proved that we're not so sharply divided as some have tried to say-- that this election proves that we are the United States.  (*pause for mindless cheering*)  Um, have you seen the numbers?  You might have won, but vote against vote, it was a narrow victory.  Nearly half the country wanted you out of the office, sir.  I think you need to recognize that fact... and possibly consider what it means.  Half of this country doesn't like the job you've done or the way you've done it-- but I know it's too much to ask for you to contemplate altering course.  Let me guess: This was a mandate?  *shrug*

Well, better buckle in tight for another four years.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Voted!

We voted this morning.  It was Donald's first time voting in an American election. 

(He was surprised by the lack of "voting booths".  Yes, that is kind of weird, I guess.  On TV, at least, there are always curtained booths protecting the sacred voting machines from prying eyes.  Our local polling place just provides circular tables that seat four each; there are no partitions at all. And instead of pushing a button or pulling a lever, you fill in arrows and feed the page through a machine.  ...Then the machine beeps at you and you're done. (g))

...Now it's just a matter of waiting, hoping, praying.

Don't forget to vote-- but only if you're voting Republican.  ;o)
(Hey, someone has to balance out those bloggers begging their readers to vote for Obama.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Voter Fraud of the Worst Kind

Concerns raised over possible exploitation of mentally disabled voters.
Jimmy Green's stepdaughter had never voted before. The 57-year-old is mentally disabled, and Green said she doesn't understand the concept of casting a ballot.

But this week, she called her parents to say she had voted for President Obama. The care home in Fayetteville where she lives registered its residents to vote and drove them to the polls, Green said.

"My concern is that somebody told her who to vote for," he said. "She didn't even know there's two different parties."
 That is just sickening. 

Unions Are GREAT.

Non-Union Alabama Utility Workers Denied Entry into New Jersey

Makes perfect sense.  Because non-union workers wouldn't be able to help get power back to people suffering after Sandy.

We live in hurricane country (obviously), and we know firsthand what it's like to go without electricity for days at a time.  It's pretty miserable.  You can't turn on your electric stove/microwave to cook a real meal.  Your frozen and refrigerated food goes bad quickly (and even before it does so, you're almost afraid to open the door and let the cold out, in case the power comes back "in time"), so you're left with shelf-stable food and whatever you might be able to fit into a cooler.  You don't have hot water for cleaning yourself or your dishes, laundry, etc.  (If you get your water from your own well, like we do, you can't even run any fresh water and have to rely on what you stockpiled before the storm hit, unless you have friends or family with water/electricity who can help.)  You don't have climate control.  (For us, that means sweltering without A/C; for many in the Northeast, this time, it means no heating.)  Obviously your lights don't work, and your entertainment and links to the outside world are cut back severely.  It's amazing how many of our routines and comforts depend on electricity-- and how cut off from normal life you feel without it.

Some people in New Jersey could've had their electricity back a day or two (or more) faster, if non-union workers from other states were allowed to pitch in and help.  Now they'll just have to suffer a little bit longer.  That's fine, so long as the unions are happy.

For posterity's sake... ;o)

In the days after I posted this, there was some push-back on this story.  To put it briefly, I'm unsure of the accuracy of the story.  Honestly, at this point-- and in light of subsequent events (read: the reelection of Obama and the coming end of this country as we know it, ha ha, well, maybe not so funny), I don't care enough either way to really look into it.

Whatevs.  (As they say.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Redistribution of Wealth

It's Halloween!

Have you seen this video?

(Description of video in case it's no longer available at some point in the future: In a demonstration of the unfairness of wealth redistribution, a man sets up a "booth" with a hidden camera at a Trunk-or-Treat and attempts to redistribute candy among children.)

Unless the parents were already in on the "prank", I think he's lucky an adult didn't step up and confront him!  (To be fair, he did apparently give all the kids he "pranked" a bunch of candy to make up for the redistribution/frustration...)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The REAL Question...

Federal jury convicts movie theater crawler.

Anthony Johnson's weekends of crawling across movie theater floors, pilfering purses and running up $30,000 bills on other people's credit cards are over for now.
Johnson, formerly of Philadelphia, was known on the street as "Hustlin' Tone".  He drove a gold Mercedes and had a taste for dapper designer clothes and high-end sunglasses.
[His two female accomplices] described Johnson as slithering "like a snake" across movie theater floors before reaching inside partially opened purses and pilfering the credit cards...
"A good weekend was $50,000 to $70,000," McGowan told the jury. "Thirty (thousand) to $40,000 was a bad weekend."

She said Johnson chose primarily Fairfield County theaters showing movies like Eat, Pray, Love; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; and Twilight Eclipse because "there'd be a lot of white women there ...He said these were million-dollar movies."

The real question here is... what in the world were these women doing putting their purses on filthy movie theater floors in the first place?  Ew!   No, there are germs (and apparently, slithering, slimy crooks) down there. You keep it in your lap-- at most in an empty seat right next to you (though I'm too cautious to do even that).  Same thing goes for restaurants.  And I pray for your everlasting soul if you dare put it on a public restroom floor.  If there's no hook on the stall door, you find a way to hang it on the corner of the door or you wear it the whole time.  There is no excuse for anything else.  --No!  I said there's no excuse.

...I think we all learned an important lesson here, today:  Paranoia pays.  ;o)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Such a Nice Guy.

It's nothing new.  We've known for a while that he has a tendency to be, well, a jerk...

Still, last night was a reminder (if any were needed):

So very... Presidential!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vaguely Creepy Song of the Day*

Music for when you're walking in leather boots through a rain-slick, eerily empty city at night, possibly pursued by an ominous foe, in which case I suggest you pick up the pace... 

"Tick of the Clock", by the Chromatics

*Why "vaguely creepy"?  Well, we are getting close to the end of October...  (There may be more Vaguely Creepy Songs of the Day to come.)

Keeping It All in Perspective

Joe Klein (of Time, according to the article) has stated that the Benghazi attack (and, one presumes, the resultant deaths of four Americans, including an ambassador) "has been like the October mirage-- it really isn't an issue". 

No, but he's right.  The attack and the coordinated attempt to pin it on some inane video-- them's small potatoes compared to the BIG BIRD CONTROVERSY and that shocking-- and quite frankly, stomach-turning-- incident in which Mitt Romney spoke of having (~whisper~) "binders full of women"*. 

Let's keep the focus on the real burning issues of our times!

* Are there really women out there who are truly-- somehow, inconceivably, illogically-- offended by that phrase, taken in context (or, really, out of context)?  I mean seriously, honestly offended, not just making a show of it because it's the best they could come up with on short notice.  Because I'd like to stare at them with a look of mingled disgust and disbelief.  Then point and laugh.  And then walk away with a shrug.  Girl power!  ;o)

Penny Sales Tax

I heard this morning that our county superintendent has said that if we don't renew the "temporary" penny sales tax (B-------n Amendment 2), they'll "have to" close five schools, consolidate four others, fire teachers and other employees, and cut programs.  The five schools they'll "have to" close include both the local R-------n Elementary and the school where I went as a child-- E------r Elementary.  I guess both would be diverted to R-------e, instead.  

That whole situation just makes me mad.  Tell people you'll tax them for three years, then when the three years are up, tell them that-- whoops!-- you apparently don't own a calendar-- didn't plan ahead-- whatever.  The point is, you need more money for the children.  What kind of awful person wouldn't support a measly little penny tax for the sake of the children?  Even if you don't have children or grandchildren in the school system, yourself, don't you have fond memories of your own school days? Where's your school pride?  Do you really want that schoolhouse to sit empty... doomed to eventual decay or demolishment?  They know that many will hear these sob stories and begrudgingly vote in favor of the tax-- just like when a city needs more money and the very first thing at the very top of their "To-Cut" list is... you guessed it, police and firemen.  Oh no!  But we gotta have our police!  It's not safe, otherwise... Gosh, give 'em all the money they need-- whatever they ask for!  ...Whew!  That was a close call!"

It's amazing how the school systems always need more money, yet we also keep hearing that (no matter how much money they get) student performance isn't where it needs to be... It's almost like we've reached a point of diminishing returns or something... Like there's this mysterious point at which more money doesn't really improve the quality of education... Hm.  

It's strange how children of the past managed to get an education in a one-room schoolhouse, often with only one teacher to tend to the needs of students of all ages and abilities.  Alright, I'm not saying that's ideal or that every student would get the best modern education from such a situation... but look how far we've come from those days-- and yet we get too many graduates who can barely write a coherent paragraph.  

Seriously, look at the "School Exhibition" in Little Town on the Prairie.  Those kids parsed sentences and did long division in their heads.  No paper.  No blackboard.  Just sharp-as-a-tack minds and an incredible command of the necessary skills.  How much do you think it cost to educate them, adjusted for inflation, etc.?  How many pennies per every dollar we spend today?

I think most of us can agree that there's waste-- and frills that simply are not required when providing even an excellent education.  And yet we're bad guys if we can look at the quivering, pouty lips and teary eyes of children and dare to say NO.  


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Can It Be True?

This feels familiar... I think I might've heard it (or something like it) before.

So... Can it be true?  Could an adult (without a severe mental handicap) really believe that deer cross the road at specific places because of the presence of deer-crossing signs?

ETA: Well, maybe it is true!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

After the First Debate

Before the official Republican nomination of Romney-- before the first debate, I was intent on voting for Anyone But Obama.  I wanted some real "Change"-- and practically anyone who had won the Republican nomination would've been guaranteed my vote. 

After the nomination-- after hearing more about him as a person-- I felt better about the fact that the person getting my vote would be Romney.

After the first debate, I was happy to support Romney.

By last night, I was cheering him on.  I'm feeling fired up on his behalf.

Look, Romney's not perfect, but I am so glad that I no longer feel I am simply voting against Obama, but am voting for someone. 


I've been (mostly) resisting any urges to post politically themed rants or links, because I assume that most of you who read this fall into one or more of these categories:

1.  You're already familiar with the information, and you likely agree with most of the points I'd try to make.

2.  You may or may not be familiar with the information, but you've already made up your mind and are unlikely to be swayed by anything I can say.

3.  You aren't an American citizen, so you can't vote in our elections, anyway.

...But I have (of course) been following the news and watching the debates, because I think the upcoming election is extremely important. So, even though it's essentially pointless, I may still occasionally spout political opinions (even as I gradually cease "following" people whose own repeated political comments have driven my blood pressure through the roof for the last time)...

I may mention (belatedly) that during the VP debate, Biden's insane grin and (rudely interruptive) laughing reminded me of the Joker long before I heard anyone else say so. ;o)

I may growl about Obama's ill-earned smug self-satisfaction.  ("UGH.  Someone pass me a barf-bag!  I may be about to break my decades(?)-long no-barf streak*...")

I may question who was responsible for selecting Candy Crowley. (I'm sure I could find out, but why bother?  The damage-- if any-- is done, and it was predictable.  I just don't get why the Republicans can't fight a little harder to get a more neutral moderator!)

* I honestly don't remember the last time I "got sick".  (Um, sorry to those of you with weak stomachs...)  I'm pretty sure it was before the teen years...  This long absence of cookie-tossing has been a blessing and a curse.  ;o)  A blessing, because-- well, that should be obvious.  A curse, because it's been so long that I now have a special horror of it and know that my "streak" can only last so long.  All good things must come to an end.  (g)  Weird things, too-- like this post.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Silver Factory Theme", by Dean + Britta

Music for a lazy, hazy afternoon in early September... ;o)

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Don't Ask Me Why; I Don't Know.

Going through a bag of yarn I recently bought at a thrift store, I found a few interesting, "vintage" labels.  This one takes the prize for Most Amusing:

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull Yarn

Jonathan Livingston Seagull Handicraft Yarn. I remember my parents talking about reading the novella in school (back in the 70s), and it just strikes me as hilarious that there was a brand of yarn "based on" the book. 

(I see that it was originally 48 cents at K-Mart.)

Jonathan Livingstone Seagull Yarn

Check it out! This is "a very special yarn based on the very special thoughts expressed in JONATHAN LIVINGSTON SEAGULL."  It's "for creating any number of imaginative, unique items by any handcraft process you choose-- rugs, crocheting, knitting, macrame, etc.  The versatility of this acrylic yarn is limited only by your desire to create."

Limited only by my desire to create... That's deep, man.  Deep...  ;o)

"Acrilan!  An acrylic fiber by Monsanto."  Capitalizing on the popularity of some random book (that as far as I can tell had nothing to do with yarn).  It's the American way!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Isaac Changed His Mind

Well, it seems that Isaac won't be coming this way, after all!  (This is why we shouldn't waste time and energy worrying, though that's easier said than done.)  Looks like Louisiana will have to deal with it, instead, though the local weathermen/women are still holding on to hope ;o) that we'll get something out of it all.  Meanwhile, schools as far east as the Florida panhandle have cancelled classes (some as many as Monday through Wednesday)... So enjoy those free days, kids!  (You'll be making them up later in the year, though, I guess.)

Ok, I guess it's still possible that we'll see more than a few drops of rain and a breeze, here, but it feels less and less likely as time goes by.  Better safe than sorry, etc., but there's caution and then there's a Henny-Penny-level sky-is-falling over-reaction.  For some reason, the media has made a bigger deal of this particular storm than it appears likely to merit.  There's no denying that a lot of people were hoping Isaac would disrupt the RNC even more than it already has, so it got a lot of coverage from that angle-- and now (despite the fact that it missed Tampa altogether) they've already worked themselves up to such a fevered pitch that they can't just admit that (comparatively speaking) it's not that big of a deal.  (Even if it is headed toward New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina.  This is not another Katrina, and even if it were, I fervently hope that people have learned the importance of evacuation from low-lying areas and preparation/self-reliance until things get back to normal.  Possibly?)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mobile Bay, Hurricane Magnet

So.  Trying not to worry too much.  The projected track could (will) shift between now and whenever, and even if it followed this exact path,  a weak category 2 isn't another Ivan... but I can't deny that my stomach has been more prone to knotting over the past few days...

No time's a good time for a tropical storm / hurricane, but we've got company* from overseas coming sometime in early September... and the people building our garage were tentatively planning to start bringing in materials on Monday.  Somehow I get the feeling they'll want to put things on hold for a few more days, now.  ;o)

* Speaking of our company, the last we heard (on Thursday or Friday), they were planning to stay on in the Florida Keys until either today or tomorrow. (I think Donald said Monday...)  I guess a mere tropical storm is something of an adventure when you don't have property damage to worry about and can easily pick up and leave at a moment's notice.  (I do hope they won't get stuck in traffic trying to get out of town, but apparently the locals weren't worried, so there likely won't be a traffic jam.)

Friday, August 17, 2012


We've been trying to take photos of each stage of the garage-building process.  The concrete's curing, and the builder has been informed.  Now we wait for the concrete to cure a little longer and the builder to start bringing in the materials.  (Not yet sure when, exactly, but soon.)

Here's one current photo.  There are several more over on our Flickr photostream.  :o)

Garage Construction

This photo is taken facing the southern side of (what will soon be) the garage. The larger ramp/apron on the right is where the garage doors will be.  The two others will lead to a personnel door and a larger door for the lawn mower, wheel barrow, etc.  (There's also a small concrete square that's there just temporarily.  The "concrete guy" found that when he was clearing the sod, and I guess he set it there when they finished cleaning up today...)

There's a little left-over dirt around the site that we told them to leave as-is, because we have a few spots around the yard that could use filling-in. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Baffled Again

Sweden was a trending topic on Twitter, so I had to check it out (of course).  Turns out it's trending in relation to some new development in the Assange case.  It's baffling how many defenders that guy has-- and how obsessed they are.  People really can become obsessed with anything, can't they?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Have No Fear! Goateesaver's Here!

I know it's early yet to think much about stocking stuffers, but... all you ladies with husbands or boyfriends who like to keep a little facial hair, take note, because we've found the perfect gift!

I present to you... the Goateesaver!!

For only $20, you get this nifty plastic (?) thing-um that (if I understand correctly) a man can hold in place with his mouth.  It's an adjustable template for shaving a goatee!  (How did they manage to shave before the invention of this life-changing device?!)

Donald thinks this other photo (showing the results of using the Goateesaver, I guess) looks Photoshopped:

(Men's beards don't usually grow so thickly and uniformly over parts of that area under the mouth, but possibly he's a werewolf... or Chuck Norris.)

I love it that one of the Amazon reviews of this product is titled "Very OK".   Ha!

But for all my joking, it has over fifty reviews... so maybe it really is a good gift idea for someone out there.  Twenty dollars seems high, though.  You could just make your own with a cut-off drinking straw taped/glued to a "custom-made goatee template" (i.e. an oval-ish piece of cardboard-- or if you want to get really fancy, something cut out from the lid of a tub of margarine).

Use the money you save to buy The Facial Hair Handbook!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Late Summer?

I keep coming across people referring to "late summer" and being on the verge of a seasonal change.  Admittedly, I don't spend much time outside, this time of year, but I'm not seeing it-- or more to the point, feeling it.  Notable:  None of them live around here...

So, I'm still counting the days until the end of September.  October is the Best Month of the Year (weather-wise, at least).  ;o)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Oh, and One More Thing ;o)

Since writing my last post, it has come to my attention that the "no closer than 40 feet" rule has something to do with a goal to "Preserve the Beautiful Rural Nature of B-------- County's Roads" (or some other such nonsense to that effect).

Point Number 1:  
In that case, O Brilliant Minds of Local Government, why not have a rule that you can't build within 40 feet of the road (as opposed to one's property line)?  If I didn't make it abundantly clear before, we live-- and our property line lies-- way off the road.  There's no way our garage will affect the nearest county road at all.  I doubt you'll even see it from the road, and if you do, you'll have to be looking for it (which isn't a safe driving practice).  In the next twenty or thirty years, two or three more houses could easily be built between our garage and that road.  So... basically what I'm saying is that you need to re-write your dumb rule for it to make any sense at all.

(Oh, and if/when we alter the property lines so that our proposed garage will satisfy the zoning ordinance or whatever it is, the garage will be the exact same distance from the road as it would be if you DIDN'T put us to this unnecessary expense and trouble.  ~youdarnstupididiots~   ...See my point?  No?  Oh.  Well, I tried...)

Point Number 2:
I am a native and lifelong resident of this county, and in general, I like it (though you shouldn't ask me what I think about its government, right now).  I think that it has at least its own fair share of natural and man-made beauty-- but let's just be honest.  Like most large counties, there are also plenty of eyesores right off many roads, in very plain view.  Junky trailers.  Run-down or abandoned buildings.  Overgrown fields of weeds.  Our proposed garage, even if it was closer to the road and not hidden by eleventy-hundred trees and shrubs, would not be as offensive to the eye as hundreds of other extant spots along the county roads.

Just sayin', is all (as the cool folks put it).

On Building Permits & Idiotic Zoning Laws

You decide to build a garage on your property, which is way off the nearest county-maintained road.  You try to follow the rules by going to get a building permit, even though you really feel that it isn't any of the county's business, anyway, where / when / how you build said garage.  (Seriously, why must you pay the local government for the privilege of building a simple garage on your own-- decidedly rural--  property, which you own free and clear?)

But still, you go to apply for the permit.  And then they inform you that you are not allowed to build it where you've planned it (and in fact, have already had dirt brought in and leveled, because who could have foreseen that there would be an issue?).  No, they say, it's too close to the property line.  You see, that's the property line that faces the nearest county-maintained road (which, again, is way off through hundreds of yards of trees), and any structures built on your property must be at least 40 feet away from that property line.  Now, if it were the side property line, 15 feet would be enough of a buffer.  (Our buffer is currently about 18 feet.  We had no idea our rural area even had zoning laws.  I am SO VERY VERY HAPPY to know, now, that it does.  Yippee, hurray, hurrah.)

You explain that you are way off the county road, and that the proposed garage, like the already existing house, will face the (non-county-maintained) easement... so really, that is the front of your property. (Through gritted teeth:) ...Right? 

Sorry, not so!  We, the Mighty and All-Powerful County Zoning Poo-Bahs do hereby proclaim that the front of your property is now and forever shall be that north-facing side, because of how it is oriented regarding the nearest county-maintained road.  But no biggie.  Just move the garage (extremely inconvenient) or have the property line moved.  Simple as that!  Then (and only then) we'll be more than happy to accept your money and generously grant you permission to build ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY.  You're welcome.

Oh, and have a nice day! 
We're always happy to serve!

They don't care that no-one lives anywhere near that property line.  Neither are they moved by the information that the land is owned by family, who would not care about the location of the garage and would sign a document to that effect.  Nope.  (In robo-voice:)  Does not compute.  Must not build within 40 feet of front property line.  MUST NOT-- MUST NOT-- MUST NOT...

~soul-weary sigh~

We're fortunate that my family owns that land, and there's not a house or something already on it-- so we can work something out-- but still, incredibly infuriating. 

One of the things I want in our garage, should it ever actually be built, is a punching bag.  No, seriously.  I mean it.  I need an outlet for my rage.  In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to hold it in.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

...Something Completely Different

Summer music.  Almost makes you want to go to the beach.
Almost.  ;o) 

Monday, July 30, 2012

This Screwed Up World We Live In

A woman wants an abortion? 
Well, it's her body, her right to choose.  Don't badger her!  Don't try to counsel her against it!  How dare you interfere in something so personal?!

A woman wants to feed her newborn on formula?
She must be given a "talking-to" and shamed for her awful, toxic choice.  After all, though we must grudgingly accept that the final decision of how to feed their babies is up to mothers, "it's our job to educate them on the best option." 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Good Grief!

This sounds familiar, so I've probably heard it before, but seeing it in print makes a stronger impression on me:

"In the 1970s, one in 50 Americans were on food stamps-- today that figure is one in seven."

Well, I'm sure no bad can come of that

(Quotation from this story:  USDA uses Spanish soap operas to push food stamps among non-citizens, citizens.  ...Which makes you wonder, if one in seven Americans are currently on food stamps, how many non-citizen residents are, too...)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Disgusting Excuses for Human Beings

(With a post title like that, you know I'm in a good mood this morning!  Actually, I was... and still am, apart from my reactions to the news, including this dismal reminder of the existence of evil people.)

Re: "Woman killed after confronting men in car about speeding in West Mobile":

Some people simply don't deserve to live... and sadly, right now I feel that also applies to some of the idiots in the comment section for that story, too.   

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My "First World Problem"?

So, I know you're really interested in this...  It turns out that my "first world problem" (of the moment, at least) is the phrase "first world problem".

I doubt I could put together a strong argument for why I dislike it, but it just... irks me.

It reminds me of a teacher I had in elementary school who (at least once) chided a student (honestly can't remember if it was me or someone else) for saying s/he was "starving", before lunch.  She thought it was flippant and wrong to use the word "starving" to mean "hungry" when there were people out there really, truly starving.  Now, I understand what she meant-- and I guess her lesson worked on me, at least, because I don't think I ever say that I'm starving... But I don't know... I'm sure that the kid she "corrected" meant no harm, and I have some bad memories of adults coming down a little too hard on sensitive kids for saying/doing something harmless/without understanding that it could be taken the wrong way.  They don't realize how long those things stick with a person and the bad taste it leaves in your mouth, being made to feel guilty for something when you scarcely understand why.  (And yet I'll probably still do the same thing in my own interactions with children; it seems difficult to avoid, when you're trying to teach them how to behave and present themselves in society.  Oh well.)

Hm.  I got off on a tangent, there.  (g)

Back to my annoying elaboration on why I find "first world problems" irritating.

By the logic of "FWP" ("first world problems"), no-one should ever complain about anything, EVER, because, trust us, someone has had it worse.  While I agree that many of us ought to complain less about small problems-- make a joyful noise instead-- it's human nature to complain (for some, a larger part of our natures than for others).  It's one thing to be aware (and thankful) that you were fortunate enough to be born in a wealthy nation, to have had parents who took good care of you, to not have to worry about whether you'll have enough to eat tonight.  It's another to obsess about it to the point that you can't make an everyday comment on something that's frustrating you in your daily life without feeling that you have to put a disclaimer at the end of it.

Some people use FWP as some sort of excuse to make themselves feel better (I guess?) about themselves.  "Yeah, I'm complaining about relatively small problems in my average-to-luxurious life, but I'm gonna put this 'first world problem' tag right here at the beginning or end of my complaint so that you'll know that I know that it's not really a big deal, and I should totally be happy to have this sort of problem... to sort of assuage my guilt about posting about it to begin with... Mmkay?"  

Yes, we know that when the grocery store stops carrying our favorite kind of chicken burritos, it's nowhere near the same level of problem faced by someone with a serious medical problem.  (Hint: That's why we never said it was the same sort of thing.)  But what kind of life is it if you have to feel guilty about commenting on any problem that isn't life-threatening?  Personally, I hate walking on eggshells.  If your problem is so trivial, perhaps you should reconsider writing about it in the first place.  Or go ahead and do write about it, like I am now.  Just don't make me watch you take a self-inflicted FWP guilt-trip in addition to reading your complaints. 

I wonder if people who frequently use the FWP tag are judging others who don't do so.  "That Michael is such a spoiled first-worlder.  Writing a whole blog entry about how hard it was to choose a vacuum cleaner from the eleventy-billion models available on-line!   She doesn't know how lucky she is!"  Would the handy-dandy FWP stamp redeem me, in their eyes?  ;o)  (No.  At this point, I know I am completely, utterly lost, as far as they're concerned.  Well, I would be if they were even reading this, which I trust they are not, since hardly anyone does.)

Most of the time I see people using it in a joking way.  I may even have thought it was funny the first time I saw it, but now?  It's been done to death, so please, find a new meme. 

(Note:  I've almost never seen anyone use FWP against someone else, though apparently some do, or have in the past.  That would be infuriating and well-deserving of a virtual smack-down.  No, it's bad enough when people use it-- somewhat jokingly-- as a commentary on something they themselves have just written.)

...On the other hand, in the grand scheme of things, it's not much to complain about.  Especially not while there are still people out there using the disgusting "FML" tag for every little irritant under the sun.  Out of cereal?  FML!  Broke a nail?  FML!   It's just wrong.

Whew!  ...Ok.  I'm all whined out!

...And yes, I know that being annoyed by irritatingly over-used "catch phrases" is such a First World Problem.

I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that I cannot stand the modern, slangy (over)usage of the word "epic" (frequently presented in EPIC all-caps).  It seems like it is finally, mercifully fading in popularity, but for a while there, my eyes were at risk of a serious strain from all the violent rolling.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Final Frontier, Here I Come...?

Darn it.  I was really hoping I wouldn't have to become one of those space colonists.  I don't even like to fly, and the thought of leaving behind the whole planet really just doesn't appeal-- but the way things are going down here, lately... 

You space colony organizers better get a move on.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No, I refuse to believe it's true.

I just read something to the effect that Cameron is filming three sequels to Avatar simultaneously. 

...And my eyes bugged out-- because three

Do I correctly understand that there are going to be THREE MORE of those movies? 

No...  No no no.  Say it ain't so! 

...Ok, ok.  I know I don't have to see them if I don't want to... and maybe, by some fluke, they'll turn out more interesting than the original one was (not holding my breath, though).  It's just that we'll be hearing all the hype about them for years to come. 

Cameron says: "I think within the Avatar landscape I can say everything I need to say that I think needs to be said, in terms of the state of the world and what I think we need to be doing about it. And doing it in an entertaining way." 

And I respond:  "No offense, but I don't particularly care what you think about the state of the world-- or what you think we need to be doing about it.  Frankly, watching you preach your message (especially in a CGI world populated by blue people) sounds any but entertaining.  Thanks anyway, but I've no real interest in watching Fern Gully-- er, I mean Avatar 2, 3, and 4." 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


(Warning:  Today I am on a grumping rampage.)

Here's the story, and here's the video:

Oh yeah, they're really concerned about the children.  I tell you one thing, if one of those kids near that shouting, angry man had been my son or daughter, I would not have been happy, and Mr. Idiot would've heard about it.  I know that if I'd been one of those kids with some big, angry stranger standing right next to me, shouting, I'd have been terrified.  (Ok, I'd still be scared, even as an adult.  Some people are crazy, and you never know what some complete stranger might be capable of doing, so small warning signs like yelling tend to make me nervous.)  Maybe he wasn't directing his comments to the kids, but to the adults behind them, but I doubt all the kids really understood what was going on.

It's disgraceful.

Also, to all those people who are so appalled to see children "used" this way for political purpose, what about this?

Or this?

And remember, the whole reason those kids were singing "God Bless the USA" at this protest was because they were banned from singing it at a graduation ceremony, because some stupid individual was afraid immigrants would be offended. (Never mind that apparently many immigrants with children in the school wanted the song to be sung.)

I'm sick to death of this bizarre idea that we should celebrate the different cultures of the world / multiculturalism in our own country but somehow simultaneously be ashamed of our own culture.  As if expressing pride in one's own country is an insult to everyone else!

You know what?  I'm not especially proud of my country-- or at least our modern, declining culture-- when I see absolute utter crap like this happening.  What's wrong with these people?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Our Backyard-- the Wonderful World of Wildlife

This has been a great day for wildlife in our yard (and nearby).

This morning, I found a black window spider in one of the dog houses.  The dogs very rarely use them, since they're usually indoors, but still-- I'm never happy to see a black widow, and especially not on our back porch.  Donald was working from home today, and between the two of us, we killed it.  Ok, so he did the actual deed, but I helped.  Anyway, the point is there was a happy ending, after all.  I saw another one near our rock pile a couple months ago, but that one got away from me before I could kill it.  (I have no mercy on black widows.  They all must die.)

I could tell you about the birds that visited our feeder today-- the sparrows and some sort of finch-like bird with a red head... the multiple sizes of doves... the bluebird... the family of cardinals (with the adults still feeding the fluttering-winged juveniles)-- but that's nothing unusual, so I guess I won't (only I just did).  ;o)

Similarly, I won't bore you about the many (comparatively slow, lazy) green anoles and (paranoid, skittery) skinks that can be seen in our yard at practically all times of the day (if you know where to look).  

Instead, I'll tell you that Donald saw what must have been a hognose snake on the easement, today.  From his description-- mean/dangerous-looking, hissing, flattened out like a cobra-- there's little doubt that it was another hognose.  I'm glad it wasn't something worse (like the moccasin Molly found a month or so ago). 

Finally, do you remember that time (not quite two years ago) that Trixie discovered a headless rabbit in our yard, first thing in the morning?  Back then, she came right in when called, like a good doggy.  Well, this time she wasn't so well-behaved after finding another headless rabbit (this time with the front legs missing as well).  Instead of coming when called, she decided that it was a clear case of Finders Keepers.  She was basically a brat about the whole thing, ate goodness knows how much of her prize, growled at Donald when he tried to get her to leave it, and stubbornly ignored even the most tempting of our Emergency Squeaky Toys.  Donald finally managed to put a large leaf rake over the rabbit so that she couldn't get to it, and while she was distracted, he got it out of the yard.  (Molly didn't see what it was, so we got her back inside fairly easily.  Otherwise, there's no telling what might have happened...)

So.  Such is life in the Great Wilderness of Southwestern Alabama.  Trixie has a wild streak of vicious wolf hidden just below the deceptive surface of silky-softness, intelligence, and faithful companionability.  And something needs to stop making a habit of leaving headless animals in our yard.  (Please?  Why not take it home with you for later?)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dear Milk Ad...

Dear Milk Ad on the Side of My Cereal Box,

I don't understand why you're there, extolling the healthy benefits of having milk with cereal.   I've already bought the cereal (or if I'm seeing the ad at all, I'm obviously at least in the market for cereal of some kind).  That means it's pretty much a done deal that I'm going to buy milk, too.  How many people eat a whole box of cereal dry, I ask you?  And what else might I pour over my cereal?  Ok, I guess that these days they have all sorts of fancy non-cow's-milk milks to choose from, but most of us are loyal to Real Milk.

I'm just sort of baffled by your existence... Actually, come to think of it, why are there advertisements for milk at all?  It's weird.  Milk's one of those things you either drink or you don't.  If you drink it, you'll almost always have it automatically on your shopping list (or you won't need to bother writing it down, since you have a special ability to remember exactly how much milk is in the fridge).  If you don't drink it, there's probably a definite reason why you don't (health issue, don't like the taste), and you are unlikely to be swayed by an advertisement.  And it's not like milk's a new product that everyone needs to be made aware of... ("New in stores, it's MILK!" or "Look for our newest flavors-- "Chocolate" and "Plain Moo-Juice"-- in your local grocery store today!!")

...Just a few things you might want to consider.


P.S. ...You're not wasting tax-payer funded subsidy money on this sort of thing, are you?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just Because...

Just because I never want to forget that (apparently) making someone drink Ensure is torture, I'm posting this:

(For the future, when the embedded video no longer works, Leslie Stahl refers to sleep deprivation and "dietary manipulation"-- in this case, the practice of giving detainees Ensure to drink-- as "Orwellian stuff".)

I wonder if it's "Orwellian stuff" when parents "manipulate" a child's diet by requiring him to eat his meat and vegetables before he's allowed to have a cookie...

"Sesame Street Songs Used to Torture Guantanamo Detainees, Al Jazeera Reports"

The man who composed music for the show for many years is upset by this report.  In the article linked, he is quoted as referring to "the horror of music being perverted to serve evil purposes".  Ha!  Look, man, music's been used for evil purposes plenty of times over the course of history.  (Propaganda, anyone?)  And anyway, making someone uncomfortable with loud (annoying, mind-numbing) music in order to persuade him to give up potentially life-saving information hardly seems "evil"-- especially when you compare it to the sorts of things these same people were/are so eager to do to as many Americans as possible.

(Evidently, music from Barney has been used similarly in the past.  I don't know what the guy who wrote that music thinks about it, but I'll be sure to blog about it as soon as I find out. ;o))

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Random Songs of the Day

"Big Broom", by Races:

"Black Winged Bird", by The Cake Sale, featuring Nina Persson:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pet Peeves of "Window Treatment" Photos

I'd like to sort out the "window treatment" situation in a few rooms of our house.  We've been making do for years; it would be nice to gradually upgrade to something nicer. 

(And I guess we've already started, in at least the breakfast room.  I like the thicker, faux wood blinds we put in however-long-ago so much that we may not even need any curtains/shades/whatever else in there-- but I'd like to find a way to fix it so that the cornices (?) that came with them sit straight.  They tend to slide down too far on one side, which is painfully obvious from the bright light that sneaks through the gap.  This bothers me more than it ought to.  Anyway, as I was saying... )

So I'm trying to figure out what might look nice in different rooms (and what curtain rods we need to make those looks possible).  Of course this eventually leads to looking online for inspiration photos-- which in turn leads to the titular pet peeves.

Pet Peeve #1:  Where are the blinds?

It seems very rare that these photos include blinds.  Maybe this is just another way in which I am weird, but I must have blinds on (almost all) our windows.  (Exceptions: the window over the kitchen sink and the windows in the doors.) 

Partly this is due to a wish for privacy without completely blocking out the light and the view with curtains.  (Yes, those airy, billowing sheers next to the bathtub are lovely, but-- privacy?  Or maybe this is an upstairs bathroom-- and they live on their own personal island in the Caribbean.) 

Partly it is because I live in a place where it gets insufferably hot in the summer, and to cut down on the heat in the house-- and the electric bill for the A/C-- we use blinds to block the direct sunlight.  (Maybe these people live above the arctic circle and don't have to bother about grueling summertime heat.  Lucky.) 

So there are all these gorgeous curtain arrangements-- but none of the photos give me a good, realistic idea of how a similar curtain might look in our house, because we are weirdos who use blinds.  No matter how hard I try, my curtains will never look as nice as theirs, because I use blinds.  (Boo hoo.)

(Related:  These windows never seem to have screens.  Ours do, of course.  Screens are ugly, but necessary, if the window is ever to be opened.  I hate flies, mosquitoes, wasps, etc. more than I dislike the ugliness of screens.)  

Pet Peeve #2:  Why are all the windows so FANCY?

This isn't as much of an issue-- because there are fairly regular, plain-jane windows in some photos-- but very often, these photos of curtains and "window treatments" (which phrase I cannot use without the quotation marks, sorry) are set in such fancy, perfect rooms!  And ok, that's just the way it's usually going to be in any home decorating photo, but still, the windows!  The very windows are all so FANCY that I think to myself, "Why are you even bothering with curtains at all?  You're hiding your fancy (and obviously expensive) windows!" 
Well, possibly that's an exaggeration, but you get my point, right?  Once again it's a case of  "no matter how nice my new curtains are, they cannot make my plain window into something that extravagant, and by the way, thank you for making me a little bit dissatisfied with my plain windows". 

...You know what?  I don't really enjoy figuring out "window treatments", at all.   Another tick against me as a perfect homemaker.  Shoot, and I was going to be so close to perfect, other than that one little thing! ;o)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

(More and More Often)

Sometimes I wish we had decided to settle down in Sweden...

Well, too late for that, now, I guess.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Looking at History...

Looking at history through Obama-tinted lenses!

"Obama Drops His Name Into the Other Presidential Biographies".

" turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford)."

That is just hilarious.  And pathetic.  And the sort of thing that ought to be somewhat shocking/embarrassing, but at this point, is simply what we've come to expect from this administration.

Well, thanks for the laugh,!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Song du Jour

Peter Bradley Adams, "Darkening Sky"

Apparently it was on The Mentalist, which I don't watch (so I wouldn't know).  I found it a while ago among Amazon's freebies.  (There are more than are listed on that page, too, but at the moment I can't find an easy way to see them all listed... Just click on a freebie and more are usually recommended somewhere on the new page.)  If you're looking for new (free) music, it's a good place to start, and the offerings change regularly.  Never know what you'll find! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Beautiful Planet

Thanks to Grandpa L. for sending along this video-- "Time-lapse footage of Earth as seen from the International Space Station" (complete with electrically lit cities, thunderstorms, and the aurora).

Warning: May cause you to tear up at the sheer beauty of it, so possibly NSFW, unless you're fine with public displays of emotion. ;o)

(Or see it bigger on YouTube. The largest size won't fit in my current blog format.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Random Things

In no particular order...


We've been seeing a couple of turtles in the pond, lately.  They seem pretty skittish, though, so no up-close viewing.  Mostly just a splash when we get anywhere near where they are, then two little heads popping up out the water-- and popping back down again when they apparently decide that we look scary.

I've been trying to do a little yard work this spring.  There's still so much more to do, but at least I'm trying.  Every little bit helps, etc., etc.  This morning, I planted a new "daisy gardenia" near our patio (where we can enjoy the fragrance of the blooms), transplanted some roses, and mulched a little.  Next up-- more mulching, more transplanting (white spider lilies, snowflake flowers, montbretia), painting the sundial and obelisk "trellis", finishing bushwhacking the Jungle (a.k.a. the overgrown flowerbed by the bay window), putting river stones and pavers by the front door (where the runoff from the roof is particularly punishing during downpours), doing something about that unfortunate patch of the yard that covers the septic tank, and so on and so forth.  It should be enough to keep me busy for, oh, the rest of my life-- or longer, if there were a way to do yard work from the Great Beyond...

We've started looking more seriously into having a garage built.  It's one of those things I really want to have done-- but dread doing.  (Or deciding, planning, arranging, and paying to have done.  Same difference, as they used to say in school.)  Still, it will be nice to have a really good storage spot for our tools (which now take up too much room in the utility/laundry room) and various other odds and ends-- and I long for the day when the threat of a severe thunderstorm doesn't make me worry that one of the cars will sustain hail damage.  (Alright, damaging hail doesn't happen that often, but it has happened once, and I'm paranoid about hail, now.  You'd almost think I was Pa Ingalls worrying about an all-important crop that's a week away from harvest.)

I think Donald mostly wants a garage so that we'd have a place to play ping-pong, justifying the purchase of one.  (Well, maybe not really.  I don't think I'll be enough competition to make it that much fun for him.)

I tried making some hypertufa in the past couple of weeks.  Some of it turned out okay (knock on wood), and some of it did not.  I'm not sure what was wrong, really, but I plan to give it another try, sometime. 

I've made hypertufa stepping stones, troughs, etc. before, and it always worked fine.  (Not to say that none of it ever broke; some things did, but that was probably because I didn't use any reinforcing wire mesh or fibers... and they were relatively thin.) 

Anyway, hypertufa is a fun and easy outdoor project-- but it's more fun when it actually works.  (g)

I (and then sometimes Donald) started watching That Girl in the evenings, a couple months ago, when the local "retro TV" station began showing an episode every weeknight.  I was really enjoying it-- and so of course the powers that be decided to reschedule it for 7 a.m.  I still catch it, occasionally, but it's not exactly a convenient time for relaxing in front of the TV.  (Tsk!) 

Anyway.  About the show.  I find it inordinately amusing-- and curious-- that (reportedly) Marlo Thomas didn't want the series to end with Ann and Donald (um, a character on the show by that name) getting married because she didn't want the young women watching at home to think that marriage was a woman's only real purpose or goal in life.  She even thought that having the (engaged) couple actually get married at the end would "defeat the somewhat feminist message of the show" (according to, erm, Wikipedia... so give that as much credence as you see fit). 

And yet taken as a whole, the program (or as much of it as I've seen so far) is far from presenting what I'd consider a uniformly strong feminist message.  (Maybe that says more about me and what I think of as "feminist" than the program itself... Or maybe it's a reflection of how feminism has changed over the years.) It's just that Ann is frequently presented as a somewhat scatter-brained (or maybe "scrape-prone" would be a more accurate descriptor) individual and regularly needs Donald (or her father) to come to her rescue.  Not a very feminist portrayal of an independent woman, as I understand it. 

That's not to say that the character seems weak-- far from it.  Let's just say that her boyfriend is a prominent feature of her life in the show.  He's in nearly every episode, usually to play some important role.  He treats her with respect and affection, takes her career aspirations seriously, and supports her in her pursuit of that career.  I can't see how it would've hurt anything to have her finally marry him.  It's interesting how you never hear people saying that it somehow emasculates a male character when he gets married in a book or TV show.  I can't recall anyone ever suggesting that when a male character admits he wants or even needs a woman to be a permanent fixture in his life, he's no longer independent enough and is setting a bad example for the young men who look up to him.  Why should it be any different for a female character?  Sure, she could continue living alone, unmarried.  Hadn't they already shown her doing just that for a few seasons?  Why would having her marry-- at some point-- not even necessarily the very last episode-- have weakened the "message" that Ann was a successful example of the independent woman?

...But again, "feminist" isn't one of the labels I'd apply to myself, so possibly I'm just incapable of seeing the what the big deal was or is.  Of course I think women should have the same rights as men and be treated with the same level of respect, but that's just common sense and common decency-- and so the belief doesn't (imho) require any special designation.

...Not that it matters whether the character marries or not.  (g)  It was the (supposed) fact that it was purposely avoided that makes me think about it at all...

Gee, aren't you glad I got started on that tangent and that-- lucky you!-- you were here to skim or altogether skip it?!  ;o)  (I don't blame you.)

I recently had cause to glance into some of the earliest journals I ever wrote (and kept), and let me just say that few things could be as mortifying as reading your own words from when you were... I don't know, 13 or 14 years old.  So embarrassing.  My only hope is that (nearly) everyone is as silly at that age as I was.  Of course, not all of them were or are foolish enough to make a written record of it... 

It wasn't so much what I wrote about-- well, okay, maybe that, too, at times-- as it was the way I wrote it.  Good grief.  If you think I'm too wordy now.  I clearly wanted very desperately to be "fancify" reality.  Actually, I wanted to be living in an LMM novel, and apparently I thought that if I wrote as though I were, then I would be.  (Or something like that.)  The horrible purple prose-ification of a teenager's rather dull life!  The amplification of the mundane and the trivial into the Deep and Meaningful!  And, of course, almost every teenage girl's natural gift for finding potential for drama in the most unexpected places.  Well, at least I have a handy way to bring myself back down to earth, whenever I begin to form too high an opinion of myself. 

And that's more than enough for one entry.  Much, much more than enough.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"If I Wanted America to Fail"


Jimmy Fallon Helps Obama Slow Jam Democrat Talking Points and Republican Attacks on NBC's Late Night.

Confession:  I didn't watch the whole clip.  I just couldn't make it through the whole thing, but the part I saw... wasn't even funny, imho.  *shrug*

As for the blatant bias and the continued chipping away at the dignity of the office-- well, what else is new?  (Still infuriating, though.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Donald snapped a couple of photos of a turtle we found on a walk down to the pond last week.


It was crossing the power-line clearing, headed west.


Wonder where he* was going... and if he* got there on time.  ;o)

* Or she?   I don't even know for sure what kind of turtle this is, much less the gender. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sad State of Affairs

Here's a blog (in English) for anyone interested in the increasing problems Sweden faces-- the politically incorrect news that is often ignored even in Sweden itself.

Caution: May cause feelings of impotent outrage and disgust with politicians and "journalists" who seek to obfuscate rather than elucidate.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sightings: Eskie & Snake

This morning, I noticed that Kindle had changed the ad display overnight-- and the new advertisement included what looks an awful lot like an Eskie:

Eskie Sighting

...I guess it could be something else, but it looks a lot like an Eksie wearing a pair of goofy glasses...
...Not that I would have any reason to know what that looks like...

Librarian Trixie

You don't see Eskies in ads or other media as often as the more popular breeds, so it's exciting (for Eskie-obsessed people, at least) when you do spot one.

197/365 - Yo, Dawg!

Sorry, couldn't help sticking in another silly Trixie photo.  Or three.  ;o)

 - - - - - - -

This afternoon, we were standing with the back door open, watching the rain and enjoying a little fresh air.  I think we saw the snake at the same time, because when I asked, uncertainly, "Does that look like a...?", Donald finished my sentence: "Snake."  (g)

He went out to get a closer look and see what kind it was-- a kingsnake.  I'm always happy when it's a kingsnake-- the best kind of snake there is, around here.  (They eat venomous snakes!)

Eastern Kingsnake

I went out with the (smaller, lesser) camera later, took a few photos, and watched it leave the yard.  Maybe it'll stay in the area, but just not in the yard.  I don't want the dogs (Molly, most likely, because Trixie seems to have a little more sense regarding snakes-- maybe-- knock on wood, cross my fingers, etc.) wrangling with any snakes, if I can help it. 

Eastern Kingsnake

That's not the first snake sighting of the year, though. Donald and I have both seen what is probably a black racer, this spring, and Donald has seen at least one brown water snake on the easement. So far, no really bad snakes, though. (Knock on wood again...)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Vote This Way, Gramma.

I remember hearing about this type of thing, back in 2008-- and this isn't the first time I've heard about it this time around, either.  The gist is that "the young" are supposed to go around explaining to their elders-- grandparents and great-grandparents especially, it seems-- that they should vote for Obama. 

Michelle Obama, speaking to a group of approximately two dozen youths in a group of 350 (at a fundraising event with a ticket price of $500 each):

“I mean, I can’t tell you in the last election how many grandparents I ran into who said, I wasn’t going to vote for Barack Obama until my grandson talked to me, until my great-grandson talked to me, and talked about the future he wanted for this country.

“You can get out there with your parents. You guys can knock on doors. I had one young lady who brought me a petition — she’s already working. You can convince wrong people. Sometimes we don’t listen to ourselves, but we will listen to our children.”


When I was a child, I was taught to treat my grandparents with respect-- not to "give them a talking to" regarding their political positions-- not to (incorrectly) assume that they were too feeble-minded to have already been following the news and making up their own minds about how to vote.

(Also, "wrong people"?  *snort*)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Crystal Sounds", by Thirteen Senses to listen to as you realize that you twisted a cable the wrong way in your knitting. ;o) The plus side-- you don't mind (quite) as much when you have to figure out how to fix the mistake.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Trixie Says...

Why not find a cool spot on the floor and take a nap?
Try it; you'll like it! ;o)


Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Stupidity of the World Hurts My Head

Come on.  You know, things like this are a reminder that, really, it's no wonder it sometimes feels as though the whole world's falling apart... 

Someone on Twitter has been tweeting about how it's not right that Skittles profit because so many people are now buying them as part of demonstrations regarding the Martin/Zimmerman story.  It's just not right that they profit "unfairly" from Martin's death.  In fact, they really ought to make some huge donation to this or that cause.  Otherwise, they're getting all this free publicity for, well, free.  And that's Wrong.

And even more amazingly, people are jumping on board.  Yeah!  Skittles is profiting unfairly!  Just another sign of how Corporate America is evil!  They hate people of color!

Seriously?  So some of these people think Skittles is somehow responsible for the incident?  Unbelievable.  And for those who don't take it quite that far, did Skittles ask to be used as a symbol?  (I have a strong feeling they'd rather not be involved at all, supposed increased profit notwithstanding.)  Also, is anyone forcing people to buy Skittles?  No?  Then-- if you'll excuse my rudeness-- shut up about it.  If you're that upset, stop buying Skittles and make a donation yourself to whatever cause you think should be benefiting.

Is there even any point in trying to reason with such people? 

The idiot in question, when someone pointed out that Skittles never asked that its candy be bought in connection with the protests/demonstrations, replied, " It's irrelevant that Skittles didn't ask us to buy. Should they profit over accidental association with a tragedy?"

. . .Well, if you insist on an answer, yes.  Yes, Skittles should profit any time someone makes the decision to purchase the candy.  Skittles is selling a product.  They don't much care why I buy Skittles or what I'm going to do with the candies.  I can eat them myself-- share them with others-- toss them out the window of a moving vehicle, one at a time-- throw them away unopened.  Skittles doesn't care whether I'm buying their product because I want to taste the rainbow or because I'm using them as a prop to make a statement-- and they aren't required to care.  (Nor should they be, since no-one's getting hurt.)  Why shouldn't Skittles make the same profit from bags bought by a demonstrator as they do from a bag bought by someone in search of a sugar high? 

Now, if Skittles decides to make a donation, that's fine.  But it's certainly not their responsibility to do so.  If you don't like it, well, too bad.  Go on a no-Skittles diet for the rest of your life.  (I prefer M&Ms, anyway.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lazy Afternoon

Dropping by to post a couple songs for a languid early spring (but more in line with early summer) afternoon.

First, a drowsy, day-at-the-beachy, 70's/Fleetwood Mac-esque melody:

And for the next one... Eh, just ignore the photo. (g) This song feels like a lazy sprawl in a cool, shaded room... decorated with floral prints in lavender, powder blue, and green... blue hydrangeas... ice slowly melting in a glass pitcher of water... ceiling fan barely rotating... Or maybe that's just what comes to mind for me. (g)

Monday, March 12, 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog...

Lately, I've pondered whether I should just close down this blog altogether.  I've simply had no interest in posting anything here-- or when I do, it's fleeting, and it seems like too much effort to be worth it.  I'd rather crochet or read for fifteen minutes than blog.

I guess I'll leave the blog up for the time being.  It's (probably) not doing any serious harm, just sitting here like this...

 - - - - - - -

In the meantime, Romney was in Mobile this morning, and apparently (according to Twitter, because I was out poisoning ant beds ahead of the rain... and wouldn't have thought to turn on the TV for it even if I hadn't been) it was pouring rain when he spoke.  Excellent timing, guys.  "Come to Mobile-- part of 'The South', where people say 'y'all' a lot, everyone eats grits three times a day, and there's a permanent torrential downpour.  Yay, Alabama!"

But hey, if MSNBC is anything to go by (which I fervently hope it is not, for many, many reasons), there may not be many people who can even find Alabama on a map, so why worry?

- - - - - - -

I finally blog again, and this is what it's about... I'm truly in top form.  No wonder I've stopped blogging. (g)

Monday, February 6, 2012

How Can You Have Any Pudding...?

Ah, the eternal question:  How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat? 

Ok, that has hardly anything to do with the topic du jour, except that it refers to pudding/sweets.  And it just popped into my head.  (That's what happens when you're exposed to Pink Floyd from infancy. (g)) 

The story:

A Florida lawmaker is pushing a bill that would ban the use of food stamps to purchase snacks and sweets, such as cookies and cakes.

Republican State Sen. Ronda Storms, of Valrico, says her goal is to stop a small percentage of recipients who misuse food stamps.

Her bill would also require food stamp recipients to take state-run classes on healthy eating and how making your own baked goods is cheaper than store-made sweets.
The bill is moving through state committees in Tallahassee.

Critics say the government shouldn't be telling people what to eat.

Democratic Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, of Pompano Beach, also says the educational provision is demeaning to minorities and the poor by implying they aren't smart enough to make their own choices.

At first glance, at least, I don't see a problem with putting restrictions on what food stamps can buy.

In response to those who argue that "the government shouldn't be telling people what to eat," I laugh.  First, some elements of the government would love to be able to tell all of us what we can and cannot eat, and that would be wrong-- but they still want to do it (and we are told that we are ridiculous or just plain wrong for worrying about the slippery slope).  However, when it comes to food stamp purchases, it seems completely reasonable that there be limits on what is and is not allowed.  If you don't like being restricted in your purchases, find a way to earn more money and get off food stamps

And as for Clarke-Reed's statement that "the educational provision is demeaning to minorities and the poor by implying they aren't smart enough to make their own choices"... some might ask if she isn't being demeaning to minorities by implying that they make up the majority of those on food stamps-- and the ones buying unhealthy sweets instead of fruit or the more affordable ingredients for baking their own sweets at home. 

Besides, it's not a matter of intelligence.  It seems more a matter of laziness.  (Yes, I said it.  Er, wrote it.)  Let's face it:  People don't buy sweets instead of baking them because they aren't smart enough to bake-- or to figure out that it's cheaper to bake sweets themselves.  People buy pre-made sweets (and other convenience foods) because they're easy.

It feels like the law-abiding, tax-paying citizen's choices are being limited on several fronts-- or at least there's a feeling that our choices are increasingly threatened by those who salivate over the thought of controlling how parents choose to educate their children, what we eat, how we handle our health care, what we drive-- even something as silly and simple as what light bulbs we can use.  And yet we're supposed to get upset when someone suggests tightened control in one of the few areas that could benefit from it.

Sorry if it sounds callous, but if you're on food stamps, there ought to be some limits on what you can and can't buy with them.  Ever hear the old saying "beggars can't be choosers"?

...The idea of requiring classes on healthy eating and how to bake, on the other hand... I'm not so crazy about that.  I imagine only a tiny percentage of people would benefit from such classes-- and it's just one more program we'd have to fund.  And aren't you supposed to learn about that sort of thing in school?  Good grief!  Why even bother with schooling at all, if we're not learning something as simple as basic nutrition?  Seriously, how can you be alive in the U.S., with our current obsession with health and food and not pick up a few pointers on healthy eating?  Anyone with a TV has access to tons of information.  All those cooking shows!  All those health-focused snippets in the morning news shows!  There's really no excuse.  The answer is that by far the majority know good and well what to eat for health; they simply don't want to do it, because it's not easy and/or it doesn't taste as good.  It requires a sacrifice of some sort-- either of time, or of quantity of food, or of comfort/pleasure-- and we don't like to sacrifice of ourselves on a daily basis.  (I speak from experience.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Above It All

The thing I do not "get" today:

People Who Claim They Won't Vote if _________ is the Republican Nominee

I guess they're just too principled-- too much above it all-- to dig out the old nose-clothespin and cast a vote for the lesser of two evils. 

I can understand if they're not thrilled with their options.  (I mean, I really understand.)  I can understand if they're disappointed because "their guy" (or woman) is no longer in the running.  I can understand if they're disgusted with the political process in general-- wondering why for heaven's sake we couldn't find a truly outstanding, inspirational candidate, this (or the last) time around.  (I mean, really.  Is this the best we could do?  This is not the cream of our crop.  The cream doesn't want to deal with the muck of the battle for the presidency.)  

But you know what?  I don't care if our party's eventual presidential candidate isn't perfect.  If someone really cares about the direction our country's going-- and anyone who lives here ought to-- he needs to get off his (or her) oh-so-principled behind and vote anyway.  He needs to lower his exceptionally high, unimpeachable Standards for the twenty minutes it takes to cast a vote, just like the rest of us will have to do.   

What is wrong with people?   

Friday, January 20, 2012

Citizenship Test & Stone Mountain

Not that long ago, Donald decided to start the process of gaining citizenship, and as part of that, he had to be in Atlanta earlier this month to pass the citizenship test.  Incidentally, he did.   Of course.  (g)

Now we're just waiting to get the date and time for the swearing-in ceremony.  I have no idea yet of when that will be, but so far, this process has moved along fairly quickly.  He may even be able to participate in the presidential election, this November!  (On the other hand, it may take a while.  I think it depends on how many people apply and are accepted in your state of residence-- or maybe even districts within your state-- and Alabama doesn't have a huge population to begin with, so...)

- - - - - - -

Early January isn't an ideal time for a mountain vacation (at least, not the type we're likely to take), but we did drive up early enough that we could "climb" Stone Mountain (right next door to Atlanta).  It was the first time either of us had been there (that I can recall).  It's pretty amazing to think that the whole thing is just one solid chunk of stone...

Stone Mountain 

Maybe it's because it's been a while since I've been on a mountain hike, but it was fairly intimidating in spots.  Easier coming down than going up, of course, but going up... I might possibly have been ever so slightly almost jokingly concerned that my out-of-shape heart couldn't take it.  But then I saw people who at least looked much more out of shape than I do, charging ahead, so I tried to be marginally more optimistic.   

But seriously.  Look at those patches of gray between the trees.  That's where you will soon be walking, from this spot.  Photos flatten it out, but it's a little scary in person. 

Stone Mountain

There's one section where there are handrails.  I guess it's the steepest part of the trail...

On our way down this part, we saw a couple carrying very small children in one arm, holding on to the rail with the free hand.  Crazy.  I don't think I'd want to do that trail with little kids-- especially not any small enough that they'd have to be held on the steep parts.  Just think if the child slipped out of your grasp and fell on the stone... *quease*

Stone Mountain

When we stopped at some of the steeper spots, the horizon was dizzyingly off kilter.  (It's mostly been straightened out in post-processing.  On the mountain, it felt like the whole world had wobbled slightly askew.)

Stone Mountain

Donald on Stone Mountain

 Donald on Stone Mountain

Michael on Stone Mountain

The view from the top was beautiful.  (Better than our photos can attest, sadly, but all we brought on the trip was our little camera.  I probably wouldn't have wanted to hike up with a nice camera, anyway.)

Atlanta, from Stone Mountain

There was this one hippy-ish, long-haired, middle-aged man skimming along quickly and easily in bare feet.  Yes, bare feet on a stone path in early January.  Well, admittedly it was mild for early January, but it was still a little nippy at the top of the mountain. Not bare feet weather.  Personally, I save my barefoot mountain hiking for May at the earliest.  (Sorry, no photo of the barefooted hippie hiker.)

At the top, there's this contraption that they use for hauling up and sending down (enclosed) carts, for those who can't (or don't wish to) walk up or down the mountain.  That side of the mountain is a sheer drop-off that makes me feel dizzy to think about, so no thanks to that ride.  I'd rather walk.  Is it just me, or does that thing look disturbingly like part of a roller coaster's track?  *more quease*

Stone Mountain     
There's a large carving on that sheer face of the mountain:

Stone Mountain

But personally, I think the names and dates "regular" people have carved into the stone were even more interesting.  Of course, how do you know if the years are accurate?  Someone could easily have carved "1879" just a few years ago.  (Ok, they probably wouldn't have that nice, smooth, aged look if they were carved just a few years ago, but still...)

  Stone Mountain 

All in all, an interesting hike-- especially considering the close proximity to Atlanta, where you wouldn't expect to find much of that sort of thing.