Thursday, January 31, 2013

Oh to have had a camera....

When you have a well, you have to have a well pump.  If you have a well pump and the power goes out, you gots no water.  With the weather looking more than a little icky yesterday I filled a tub with flush water just in case. 

Hadn't gotten around to draining said tub this morning when Perry had a fit of "crazy kitty" - a few minutes of burning off energy by romping through the house at a wide-eyed dead run.  I wasn't watching but I heard him as he swerved into the hall bath.  And then he apparently decided to route his run through the tub.  The one with the water in it. 

I so wish I had had a camera on him at that moment.

Not Perry, but just as happy with wet

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Patty Andrews, the last of the Andrews Sisters, passed away today. 


It's not here yet, but it's coming, and ahead of it are winds winds winds.  Nervous-making level of wind howling through the trees.

So it's appropriate to wish everybody a happy Windsday, and to spend a little time with "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day."  Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Warm Memories of Cold

I don't like cold anymore.  In particular I don't like it when my hands, feet, and nose are cold when I'm in my own house.  But there's the power bill to think of, so I keep the thermostat down.  I'm just not very happy about it.

My memories of cold, cold mornings at Grandma's house 50 or so years ago and of waking up in Ikie's bed are far more pleasant.  Ikie was my Aunt Lillie, and I have no idea how a childish lisp turned Lillie to Ikie, but we kids all called her that.  I tried referring to her as Aunt Lillie when I thought I was too adult to use such a silly name as Ikie.  She was long gone by then, the victim of a car accident and a blood clot that stopped her heart when she was 41.  But "Aunt Lillie" just wasn't right - I went back to the Ikie of my memories.

Ikie sometimes had a room in town, leaving her room at the farm free for company.  When we were very small, Grandma's bed accommodated Grandma, my sister, myself, and two stuffed teddy bears that were nearly as big as we were.  But as we grew we spread out a little more, and while the living room sofa was acceptable, snagging Ikie's bed was best.

The farmhouse was old even then:  clapboard and plank with a tar paper roof and no such thing as insulation or thermo-pane windows in any part of its construction.  Ikie's room at the top of the stairs did have the advantage of having the rough stone kitchen chimney running through it, though.  The beds were not box springs and mattresses like my queen sized pillow top is now and age and use had caused every bed in the house to sag in the middle.  I would wake up down in the that valley in the middle of the mattress, buried under so many quilts that I could barely move, and with what little bit of me that remained exposed feeling frosted.  I would have to pee.  Desperately.  And it would be too bloody cold to want to get out of that bed to use the chamber pot.  Not to mention that that metal chamber pot would get doggone cold during the night.  So I'd hold it as long as I could while the rest of the house began to stir into the daily routine.  Grandma would be downstairs first, rattling the clinkers out of the stoves, loading them up with coal, and getting them firing again.  And I would wait as long as I could so that chimney in the room began to take the worst of the teeth out of the cold before scrambling out onto the wood floor and plunking my shivering self down on that cold enameled rim for blessed relief. 

By then the smells and sounds of  breakfast cooking would be drifting up.  I'd quickly dress and trot down to the kitchen that was dominated by the big coal stove, the stove from which so many wonderful things came:  fresh baked bread, roasted chickens, green beans full of bacon, mince pies.  And in the winter the most wonderful thing in the world came from it, baked on an old black griddle that was constantly being greased by a piece of fatback stuck on a fork that always lay on the top ledge on the stove.  Buckwheat cakes.  Properly made, properly sour buckwheat cakes.  You don't just mix up buckwheat batter.  As Uncle Lynn would say "You have to let it rot a bit before it's good."  Starter was carried over every day for the next day's batch, and Grandma knew how to let it rot just right.   Those cakes kept coming as long as you were willing to eat, topped with real butter - homemade and strongly flavored, not this weak stuff you get in the store - and a syrup that Grandma made out of a simple mixture of brown sugar and hot water.  On the side would be eggs and thick cut bacon and coarse sausage from her own hog, and thick slabs of the bread she made each week, thoroughly smeared with butter and jam.  Eating was serious business in that house.  None of that froo froo sugary cereal stuff that lines supermarket shelves.

There was one concession to modernity, however - Tang.   Good enough for the astronauts, it was good enough for us kids prepping for a day of playing army, scrambling through the woods, and harvesting icicles from the roof edge.

My bedroom isn't nearly as cold as Ikie's was those mornings.  I don't need as many blankets, my mattress doesn't sag in the middle, and I have three full bathrooms in the house.  But I wonder if I would notice the cold as much if I could wake up in Ikie's sagging bed, buried under Grandma's hand-made quilts.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Internet is down and posting from a cell phone is for the birds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The wind was up last night as the cold came in and you wouldn't think that 13 mph with gusts is that much but my house was creaking and flexing as I sat in bed and read.  Living in the woods is nice.  Except when we get a lot of wind.  Then you start thinking about how close those big, shallow-rooted things are and about where, exactly, that big oak would fall if it came down.  Since the answer is "right on my bedroom", I'm not keen on wind.  I got even less so when I heard crack crack crack CRASH!!! right next to the house. 

Virtual sleeplessness ensued, waiting for the indication of big things falling down.   Except for one of those dreams that you struggle out of only to keep falling right back into it.   I had my work computer in its pack and I set it down and then I couldn't find it again.  And I wandered through a strange building having a constantly changing layout as I searched for the computer and I couldn't find the area that I had been in.  Trying to go around the outside of the building involved getting bogged down in knee deep mud.  Nobody who worked in the building could tell me anything about where I needed to go or how I could get there.  Hadn't found the computer by the time I got up.  I suppose the fact that in the real world it's sitting on the kitchen table should relieve at least that worry before I go to bed tonight.  I'd work at picking out the symbolism but I'm too sleepy.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Yeah, They Were Contemptable, Too

It's to protect the chiiiiiiiiiilllllldren!

Others have used children as props, too.

You want to make me believe that you really care about the lives of children?  There's about 1.5 million children being slaughtered every year that could use some protection.  Not to mention several maternal deaths a year due to so-called "safe" abortions.  Hey, if we can save just one life, right?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Well. That just sucks.

The news.  A former co-worker in the last stages of brain cancer.  And another co-worker dead.  All we know is he was working in Maine and got sick enough to go to hospital.  Something about a blood disorder with 50% mortality rate.  And now he's gone.  He came back and now he's gone and we just want to crawl under our desks and cry.

H.R. 142

HR 142 IH
1st Session
H. R. 142
To require face to face purchases of ammunition, to require licensing of ammunition dealers, and to require reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition.


January 3, 2013

Mrs. MCCARTHY of New York introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

To require face to face purchases of ammunition, to require licensing of ammunition dealers, and to require reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2013'.


    (a) Licensing of Ammunition Dealers-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 923(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1), in the first sentence, by striking `, or importing or manufacturing' and inserting `or'.
      (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 921(a)(11)(A) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting `or ammunition' after `firearms'.
    (b) Requirement for Face to Face Sales of and Licensing To Sell Ammunition- Section 922 of such title is amended--
      (1) in subsection (a)(1)--
        (A) by striking `for any person--' and all that follows through `(A) except' and inserting `(A) for any person except'; and
        (B) by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting the following:
      `(B) for--
        `(i) any person except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, to--
          `(I) sell ammunition, except that this subclause shall not apply to a sale of ammunition by a person to a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer; or
          `(II) engage in the business of importing or manufacturing ammunition, or in the course of such business, to ship, transport, or receive any ammunition; or
        `(ii) a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer ammunition to a person unless the licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has verified the identity of the transferee by examining a valid identification document (as defined in section 1028(d) of this title) of the transferee containing a photograph of the transferee;'; and
      (2) in subsection (b)(5), by striking `or armor-piercing'.
    (c) Limit on Shipping and Transporting of Ammunition- Section 922(a)(2) of such title is amended--
      (1) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by inserting `, or to ship or transport any ammunition,' after `any firearm'; and
      (2) in subparagraph (B), by inserting `or ammunition' after `a firearm'.
    (d) Recordkeeping Regarding Ammunition-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 923(g) of such title is amended--
        (A) in paragraph (1)(A)--
          (i) in the first sentence, by inserting `or ammunition' after `other disposition of firearms'; and
          (ii) in the third sentence, by striking `, or any licensed importer or manufacturer of ammunition,' and inserting `, or any licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer of ammunition,'; and
        (B) in paragraph (3), by adding at the end the following:
    `(C) Each licensee shall prepare a report of multiple sales or other dispositions whenever the licensee sells or otherwise disposes of, at one time or during any 5 consecutive business days, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition to an unlicensed person. The report shall be prepared on a form specified by the Attorney General and forwarded to the office specified thereon and to the department of State police or State law enforcement agency of the State or local law enforcement agency of the local jurisdiction in which the sale or other disposition took place, not later than the close of business on the day that the multiple sale or other disposition occurs.'.
      (2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 4182(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to exemptions relating to firearms) is amended by inserting `and except as provided in paragraph (1)(A) and (3)(C) of section 923(g) of title 18, United States Code,' before `no person holding a Federal license'.

Here's The Thing

Right now things are crazy.  There is a clear and present danger to one particular right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.  But on top of my concern about that particular right, there's a layer of annoyance.

I sort of get why this has happened the way it has - guns and ammo are physical things.  They are possessions that can be physically taken from someone.  But major portions of the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, have been ignored and violated repeatedly over the last few years.  Except for the occasional court case like Hobby Lobby, the battle for the religious rights abrogated by this administration and its supporters barely merits a peep anymore.  And no one seems to notice the steady extension of power that is being given to agencies like Homeland Security - an agency I don't think should ever have been created in the first place. 

We are fortunate that Barack Obama is lazy.  If he had the drive of a Hitler, this would have already cascaded into a full fledged tyranny.  But the problem isn't just with this administration.  We have a Congress full of people who are far more concerned about maintaining their comfortable positions and power and in pandering than than they are concerned about the Constitution they swore to uphold.

This administration is blatant.  But it was preceded by ones that meant well, but set the table for this.

All of which is underpinned by two generations who have had an easy life compared to the generations who came before.  The "Me Generation" has been rolled into the "Gimme Generation", creating millions content  to just be fat, dumb, and happy.  They have little concept of what true want or lack of freedom means, and having no interest in history, slide through life with equally little concept of what their decisions mean.

The ability to think analytically and to sustain a rational, fact-based debate is virtually invisible.  What I hear would not pass muster for a high school debating team, and yet it drives policy.

So, what do we do now?  Let's say the administration backs down on this.  But this is just a piece of what's wrong.  Where do we go from here?

Monday, January 14, 2013


Bit of blankness been going on recently.  And lack of focus.  Everybody else is covering things more than adequately, though.

I've managed to get the Christmas tree and decorations down - the front room looks nekkid.   I'd like to start replacing the upstairs flooring now, but there's that whole furlough thing looming again. So no large money outlays for a while.

The other day I suddenly thought "In about a month I'm going to be a grandma."  WHOA!  That's sort of startling...  It has started to sink in that things I never really considered before may now change - like when and where I retire.

I'm liking the warm weather.  I'd be fine with it if we just slid right into March at this temp.  It'll have to rain some, though, to bring the water table up.

Carry on.  Have a giggle first, though.

h/t Creative Minority Report

Monday, January 7, 2013


That's probably what purists will call this - my brief review of "The Hobbit", which I took in with a friend yesterday afternoon.

The Lord of the Rings and all things Middle Earth were an important part of my youth, and I've read the trilogy and The Hobbit many times.  Usually, I'm a purist - this is classic literature, after all, and you shouldn't mess with what your betters have already refined into perfection.

Peter Jackson's long awaited "The Hobbit" is nearly 3 hours long.  Of that time, probably less than an hour of what you see on the screen is actually in the book.  Some serious license has been taken with the original.  And I loved it, every minute of it.  The heart, the core, is true to original, and the rest, to me, is just plain rollicking fun.  Now I can't wait for the next installment. 

With one caveat - I wish they'd get over the 3-D thing.  It's not necessary - the characters and action on a movie screen are just as real to me in 2-D as in 3-D.  The funny glasses make my nose feel weird because they have to sit in front of my own glasses.  Plus every once in a while things move in such a way that I have to deliberately look away for a moment because it makes my stomach go a bit oopsy.

Is this a true-to-the-original movie?  No.  But I had a blast and I'll happily watch it again.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Tuskegee and Today

From 1932 until 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service conducted a clinical study in Tuskegee, AL, using 600 rural black men.  Of that number, 399 had syphilis.  The men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance.  But they were never told that they had syphilis, and they were never treated for it.  The purpose of the study was to follow the natural progression of untreated syphilis, and even after penicillin emerged as an effective cure for the disease, the men were not treated.  The number of victims was greater than just the men in the study:  wives contracted the disease from their husbands and children were born with congenital syphilis.

The study, which has been called "arguably the infamous biomedical research study in U. S. history", was ended by a whistleblower in 1972.

For some time now, the Environmental Protection Agency has told us that particulate matter in the air is extremely dangerous, and they've pushed for tighter and tighter regulation of it based on that. They particularly warn of the fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5, found in smoke and haze, because, they say, it can  make its way deep into the body when inhaled and cause numerous health problems. 

PM 2.5 is so dangerous, according to the EPA, that there is no safe level for it.

And yet... since 2004 the EPA has been exposing humans, many of them already having health issues, to various levels of diesel exhaust and PM 2.5 at an EPA facility at the North Carolina School of Medicine.  Paying $12 an hour to participants, the same agency that has said that there are no safe levels of particulate pollution has been pumping the same pollution into the lungs of human test subjects.  A lawsuit has been filed against the agency as a consequence.  The agency's response has been that the court does not have authority over it.

So I have a couple questions:

1)  The regulations put in place by this agency based on their declaration of the danger of these pollutants cost American industries billions of dollars each year.  If it is so dangerous, how do you justify exposing human guinea pigs to it, particularly with the minimal warning the written disclosure gives:

Does it cause slight, temporary problems as the disclosure says, or does, as the agency has stated repeatedly, cause "premature mortality" at any level?  If it isn't that dangerous, why are they constantly tightening regulation of it, requiring expensive modifications that cost the American consumer at every level?

2)  And if a court has no authority over a government agency's actions, then just who does?

More at EPA Human Testing and EPA's Illegal Human Experiments.  Info on the Tuskegee study abounds for the searching but a good condensed version is here.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How Does It Serve the Community?

I assume that pretty much everybody knows that portions of Obamacare are looked on by many people as a serious infringement of their religious rights.  This delights many, I am sure, who take pleasure when people of faith are poked in the eye, particularly when it's Catholics whose eyes are being poked.  Some of that is simply because many people in our secular society do not understand what the concept of moral or immoral acts means to us.  In the Secular Church and the Church of What's Happnin Now there's not much room for the idea that to us an immoral act is one that separates us from God, possibly forever.  For all the different pictures of hell that exist, at its core is the absence of God.  And with the absence of God, there is the absence of all that we humans know as good:  friendship, love, affection, beauty.  All that's left is a howling, bleak emptiness that is eternal, and the full knowledge that we could have chosen not to be there.

Even if one doesn't care about another faith's views of the spiritual ramifications, I'm not clear on why people don't care about the societal ramifications - the impact on our communities. 

The news (at least the conservative news) recently pointed out that The Little Sisters of the Poor have concerns about being able to remain in the U.S. after the full force of Obamacare laws come into effect.  Like all Catholic charities, their mission is to people of all faith and no faith, in their case specifically care of the elderly.   Like most Catholic charities, the sisters both serve AND employ, which is why they are affected. Under the HHS mandate the fine for those who stop providing health insurance to their employees is $2,000 per employee and the fine for those who provide insurance without contraception/abortion coverage is $100 per day per employee.  Those sisters, along with many other religious organizations, are now being forced towards a choice:  limit their care and employment to only those of the same faith, or cease their activities in the United States.

I'd really like to know how requiring religious charities to limit their services and their employment rolls to people of their own faith or end their services completely serves the community, large or small. 

And what does it say about the United States when so many people have such disdain of religious views other than their own that they would rather deprive the needy and vulnerable of care than fight for the rights of those who have given that care so faithfully for so long?

"To enter a house of the Little Sisters of the Poor today is to recapture what Dickens experienced. Elderly men and women with no one else to care for them are given exquisite attention; the dignity of every resident is honored, no matter how difficult that dignity may be to discern amidst the trials of senility and disease. The Little Sisters of the Poor and their residents are living reminders that there are no disposable human beings; that everyone is a someone for whom the Son of God entered the world, suffered and died; and that we read others out of the human family at our moral and political peril."George Weigel, 2009 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Amazing Pic

Little Nevaeh was in the process of being born by c-section in Pheonix, AZ, when, while sill in the womb, she reached out and held onto the doctor's finger.  Dad was able to snap the pic.

h/t and a little more info over at Weasel Zippers.


A good night's sleep. 

I feel like my brain has come back, such as it is. I may actually be reasonably coherent today.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year

Happy New Year to one and all!

I go into the New Year without resolutions, because I never keep them.  But I also go into the New Year with some important questions.  Like who the heck are the Kardashians and why does anyone care?