Thursday, November 28, 2013

And a Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Add some taters and a refreshing drink and you're good to go.

Note:  My wallet didn't benefit from this post.  And the soda is for real.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I Couldn't Help It

I was in line to waiting to pick up a prescription and the store's book section is nearby.  Perhaps that's deliberate - it's not the first time this has happened.  Given all the commentary and commemoration, this immediately caught my eye:

It's a really interesting take, stepping away from conspiracy theories and focusing on assassination ballistic evidence and the question of how a total loser like Oswald, using a poor weapon with an even worse scope, managed to kill the 35th president of the United States with a shot to the head that caused the bullet to disintegrate.

One of the theories I've heard was based on time between shots - an insistence that another round simply cannot be chambered and fired in a Mannlicher-Carcano in the time that elapsed between the critical shots.  Don't know - I haven't seen that mentioned in this book.

From a review at JFKfacts:

Hunter’s observations
Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano was an inferior weapon that fired a relatively slow-moving bullet. Hunter doubts it was the murder weapon.
Oswald was not particularly skilled with a gun. Yes, he was rated as a “marksman” in the Marines Corps, but he failed to qualify as an “expert,” the mark of an accomplished shooter.
The bullet that killed JFK disintegrated upon impact in a way that an ordinary Mannlicher-Carcano bullet would not. The official investigations never accounted for this fact.
And in the panicky aftermath of the assassination, Oswald inexplicably returned to his boarding house to fetch a pistol that he could have brought with him to work that morning. What prompted him to suddenly need a firearm? Swagger concludes, correctly I think, that after Kennedy was killed, Oswald knew his life as in danger.
Hunter’s theory
If I read him right, Hunter isn’t actually proposing a conspiracy theory that is Historical Truth. He’s proposing a different way of thinking about JFK. The best way to understand the causes of Kennedy’s death, he suggets, is to reason backwards from the incontrovertible ballistic evidence to the guns that caused it.
Not from assassination evidence, but a good pic...

The sins of the past have risen up to attack lives in the present, and that's where the story begins.

I haven't met Bob Lee Swagger before, and I have to confess that his name is of the sort that can put me off a book.  Dave Robicheaux.  Jack Reacher.  Those are sensible hero names.  Bob Lee is just too close to Billy Bob... I'm afraid I can't read a Dirk Pitt book, either.  I just can't bring myself to read a book in which the lead character is named Dirk Pitt.  But this is an engaging read by a guy who seems to enjoy guns, so I'll probably keep an eye out for others in the series.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Once Every 20 Years

Less four months.  You can't miss November 22's significance, no matter what you think of Kennedy - we have a tendency to commemorate in a big way in increments of 50 and 100 years.  I was thinking, though, that there's three moments in my almost 60 year- long-life that I clearly and distinctly remember where I was and what I was doing. Hence the "once every 20 years.

The first, of course, is the assassination of JFK.  I would have been 9 years old. We were on the school bus on the way home and the bus driver at some point said something to the effect of  "Well, President Kennedy was killed today."  Which silenced the bus load of kids pretty effectively.  I remember that as I got off the bus in front of the house, Mom was coming around from the clothes line with a basket of laundry and she was crying and then I knew it was true.  What I find interesting is that I have no memory of knowing who President Kennedy was.  Or even what a president was.  My memories of anything with "President Kennedy" attached start at that moment.  But I must have known or a sense of "It's true" wouldn't have been significant.

And then I remember sitting on the sofa with Mom and Dad and watching Ruby shoot Oswald live on TV and Dad said "Well, that's not going to help anything."  I count that day and the day of the actual assassination as one - they're sort of merged in together.

And then there was the shuttle Challenger disaster.  Oh, how I loved the idea of the shuttle program.  It wasn't deep space, and the ships were shaped wrong, but we were going back and forth into space and that was something I had dreamed of for at least since the first time I read The Wonderful Flight To The Mushroom Planet.   One of my coworkers would bring in a little black and white TV and at first a goodly number of the office would squeeze into his cubical to watch each launch.  Eventually the flights began to be routine and while Dixon would still watch each one most of us just went about our business.  Then one day he burst from his cubical - "The shuttle has exploded!"  And we pushed in and watched in horror - a horror not lessened by its playing out on a small black and white screen.

Finally, of course, there was 9/11.  I was teleworking, sitting at the dining room table, on the computer.  My daughter and I were IM-ing and I had to reboot the computer.  Whatever program we used for IM back in the day always popped up with a news headline when first opened.  I don't remember the exact wording of the headline, but I clicked on the link.  Only a single brief line about a plane flying into the World Trade Center.  Its brevity told me that little was known yet, and of course I assumed it was a small plane.  Wouldn't be the first time such a thing has happened.   I'm not sure if I turned the TV on right then or if something about an update caused me to later on, but of course that was the end of work for the day.  And for several days after.  They closed the government and sent people home.  I was glad I had been teleworking - the sudden flood of people trying get home gridlocked the city and left thousands of people very vulnerable to any further attacks that might have come.  The folks who commuted by public transportation in particular - just because the government suddenly closes doesn't mean the train system has staff on hand to start running trains up the line. 

If I keep to the average there will be at least one more memory-searing day in my life. I'm not really looking forward to that.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

They Can't Ask and You Don't Have To Tell

Caught a little bit of Rush Limbaugh today, and heard a caller say that a medical practice wouldn't take his wife as a patient until she answered questions about guns in the house.  With all the changes that this mess is causing, we need to remember that under the law that has created the mess - the Affordable Care Act - no practice or insurance company can do this.

Section 1001\2717: 

and health promotion activity implemented under subsection (a)(1)(D) may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to—
‘‘(A) the presence or storage of a lawfully-possessed firearm or ammunition in the residence or on the property of an individual; or
‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition by an individual.

‘‘(2) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used for the collection of any information relating to—
‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition;
‘‘(B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or
‘‘(C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.

‘‘(3) LIMITATION ON DATABASES OR DATA BANKS.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain records of individual ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.

‘‘(4) LIMITATION ON DETERMINATION OF PREMIUM RATES OR ELIGIBILITY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE.—A premium rate may not be increased, health insurance coverage may not be denied, and a discount, rebate, or reward offered for participation in a wellness program may not be reduced or withheld under any health benefit plan issued pursuant to or in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act on the basis of, or on reliance upon—
‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or
‘‘(B) the lawful use or storage of a firearm or ammunition.

‘‘(5) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS.—No individual shall be required to disclose any information under any data collection activity authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act relating to—
‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or
‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition.

Happy Anniversary

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. 

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Well It's Just Been a $#@!*& Day In The Neighborhood

So life is a tad stressful right now - the major home project is slow because I have to work around furniture and can't move stuff until the floor paint cures enough, which takes several days.  The house is filthy because all the sanding makes dust sift into everything and until I was done with the sanding cleaning was futile.  It's been...on my nerves.  And the whole scare with Blu.  Although at least that's being treated - as soon as I described the seizure in detail to his regular vet she turned off the lights and had a good look-see in his eyes.  Retinal hemorrhaging says high blood pressure.  And apparently what I took as slowing down due to age was just that he wasn't feeling right - within two days of starting the medication he was sailing up on the kitchen counter and stomping through the dish strainer just because he could.  And his appetite has returned with a vengeance so I imagine his next appointment will show that his weight loss has reversed.  So there has been relief there.

Come cold weather, I put a shelter out on my front porch for one of the local wanderers.  I've never been completely convinced that Pretty Boy doesn't have a home up the mountain - he always looks very sleek and healthy.  But he's a handsome, pleasant fellow who has no bad habits and so I leave some food and water out for him and come cold weather put I put a shelter out for him.  He doesn't know I've been discussing relieving him of his maleness with the local trap and neuter folks, but that's for the future.  I figure that even if he does have a home they have been letting a full male roam without a collar or tags and that makes him a stray when it comes to the neighborhood preventing litters of feral kittens.

But a few days ago, just as it turned cold, a cat I didn't recognize showed up in the shelter.  Couldn't see well except to see it is a tortie and from the condition of its fur I assumed it was a feral.  We have a problem with that up here.  It also seemed that it might be ill.  Trouble was, I wasn't going to stick my hand in to a strange cat to see if I could tell.  Did that once.  The cat didn't care for it.  My first mistake was grabbing the cat.  It bit the fool out of me.  My second mistake was letting go of the cat. It escaped and I had to go through the rabies shots thing.  Which was bloody nuisance because it confuses the heck out of insurance - you have to get the (very expensive) vaccine from the state (at least you did then) and the bureaucracy that deals with meds doesn't deal well with stuff that doesn't come from the pharmacy.

So I fretted and worried because the cat didn't seem to move or eat or drink.  I thought it might be dying.  And then finally it came out yesterday morning and I was horrified.  Emaciated, covered in feces, a large lump on its spine.  Worse than I've ever seen any of our ferals.  And obviously not feral - it came to me, meowing.  I had to leave for an appointment right then, and I did see it go down the street.  But all day long I debated whether or not I should try to get it into a carrier and take it to be destroyed.  I was miserable and weepy all day both from the upset at the condition of a cat that obviously was accustomed to being around humans and from the idea of having to kill it just after it had decided to trust me.  But I also remembered that she had headed down the street, and that I almost hit a kitten there a week ago and I was worried that a litter might be involved.

Then today I spotted her in a neighbor's yard with another cat that I had also thought was feral because of its poor condition.  So I walked up the driveway.  They came right to me.  I knocked on the door.  Are these your cats?  It went downhill from there.  I didn't cuss him, despite a strong desire to do so.  Well, right about the upteenth "I work 80 hours a week" I did say that I didn't give a rat's ass how many hours he worked - he needed to take care of his animals.  And oh, yes, the kitten that I almost hit belongs there, too.  Another future neglect case for his kiddies to play with.

So I got ordered off his property.  And at the top of my to-do list is contacting animal control and seeing if at a bare minimum a neglect case can be pursued for the one.  If I could I'd have the police on his doorstep but I doubt they'd be interested.   I imagine neighbor will keep the cats in for a little bit now.  If not and the tortie shows up on my porch again, photos at least will be taken and given to whomever I can find to give them to.  If animal control does respond and take her she will be destroyed.  But I am maxed out on the number of animals I can afford vet care for - my own three are rescues that need a variety of medications twice daily.  Trouble is, it needs to be made clear to these people that if you are going to have pets you need to care for them, not leave them to suffer or for your neighbors to suffer over and care for. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


...what's going on.  Sometimes I can comment.  Sometimes not.  Sometimes I can get to my blog, sometimes not.  Sometimes no matter what I try do I'm told that it's an "invalid request".  Knew there was a reason I didn't like computers.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I haven't been online since Friday afternoon, so I'm late, but better late than never.

My heartfelt thanks to all who have served and continue to serve.

And something to watch for, and, if you can, support.

The lack of knowledge of history in this country is frightening.  I rather wonder how many people know the significance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.  Our last witness to World War I, Frank Buckles, lived just down the road and passed away in 2011.  Fortunately, there were some folks who were working to preserve his story at the time he died and the project has gone on.

Read more about the project at  Pershing's Last Patriot.  And if you have a few spare bucks, consider throwing some their way.  The time machine is gone, now a time capsule needs preserved.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bad Music

I think I once put up the appalling video of the TV rendition of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" that Leonard Nimoy did once upon a time.  Can't find the post but I vaguely remember watching it several times because it had the same fascination as a bad car wreck - it's so awful you can't look away.  And I did have the record - the rest of it was just as bad without hobbits as a redeeming feature.  It's nice to see Nimoy poke fun at it in the Audi commercial, but picking on ol' Spock alone isn't quite fair.  It was an era when TV personalities made records regardless of musical talent.*

So Spock's captain also made a record or two. Actually, over time, he has made several, but this one is way up there in the awful level.

His rendition of "Mr. Tambourine Man" is, well, different.

I have to say that I was never a Kirk fan.  My guys were Bones and Scotty.  But I started liking Shatner after seeing him at a Trekkie convention.  He had me howling with laughter - I loved his sense of humor.  The best word I can think of for it is "impish".  While I never passionately followed him, I loved his Denny Crane in Boston Legal.  And I've enjoyed his Trek documentaries.  Recently I heard that when he realized how difficult he had been when working on Star Trek he went back to people and tried to make amends.  If so, that's impressive - big egos don't do such things easily. 

I stumbled across a listing for his autobiography recently.  Wherever it was (I can't find that particular listing now, of course) the first chapter was excerpted. He had me in tears from more than one direction.  I'm going to have to buy it now.  I think I may be becoming a fan.

*Note to younger folk - a record was made of vinyl, had two sides, was roughly a foot in diameter, and was not stored on some itty bitty digital thingy that I could and would lose in about 2 seconds.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

If I Like Your Plan

The thing is - I don't believe the president's lies will make a difference to liberals.  Oh, they may squirm a bit, but Obama is their warm fuzzy and warm fuzzy is easier to cling to than integrity. So "integrity" will, like "diversity" and "choice", simply be defined to suit the Obama marching orders of the day.

And I really don't get all the hollering about it.  We knew he was a liar from the get-go.  Every one of us that opposed him said so.  And we have been called racist, terrorists, stupid, and every other contemptible name liberals could think up for us just for pointing out the simple truth of the matter.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Had That Album...It Was Really, Really Bad


But playing off of a cheesy ballad from it, two generations of TV/movie Spocks, and nearly 50 years of Star Trek makes this Audi commercial really, really good.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Because I Wasn't Busy Enough

So after not the best day on Friday it was 10 pm and I was in my p.j.s, glass of wine in hand, watching "Jack Reacher", trying to decide if Tom Cruise was believable as Reacher.  Elderly cat Blu was, as usual, curled next to me.  Suddenly he started flailing and twisting.  Startled, I turned to look and saw his eyes - they were blank and empty as if there was nothing behind them.  He pulled himself up enough to grab the back of the sofa and started trying to drag himself up the back but he seemed to have lost control of his hind quarters - the right leg didn't work and the left was pulled up as if in spasm.  I don't know how long it went on - an eternity or 30 seconds but it scared the hell out of me.  When the physical attack passed he still seemed confused for a couple minutes, and when he went up the stairs I could tell his hindquarters were still weak.

Of course the nearest emergency vet that I know of is 45 minutes away in Winchester, VA.  Phone call to ML to find out their name and a phone call to them. Clothes thrown on, confused cat stuffed in carrier, dash for Winchester.  At night. Did I mention that I'm very night-blind?  And of course there's more traffic lights than I remember the last time I drove that route, all but one red.  Another eternity.

Turns out this is the same place that saved Perry a few years back, just in a new building.  And by the time we got there Blu was fine, all signs of whatever had  happened gone.  The vet noted that Blu is on medication for thyroid problems - she said that one possibility is a "thyroid storm" caused by his thyroid not being regulated correctly yet.  Also something about blood pressure.  He's got an appointment next Saturday for his 6 month blood test, so we'll see.  And I'm pretty sure that my own blood pressure was pretty high while he was flailing around on the sofa.  He's 15, and although I understand on one level that our time together is growing short very quickly now, I'm still not really reconciled to losing him.

$95 poorer, we came back home and finished watching the movie.  Meh.

Friday caused the weekend to get a later start than planned.  I commented in an earlier blog about physical conditioning.  I'm reminded this morning that tearing up carpet and padding, cutting it into pieces, pulling up tack strips and staples, caulking, and sanding acres of floor is its own conditioning.  It would take less time to list what ISN'T tired and sore this morning than what is.  But at least almost every bit of that nasty, dirt- and mold-filled carpet is out of the house now. 

My bedroom is the last room left with carpeting and it's going to have to wait until after Christmas because of the difficulty of working around the furniture and because I'll have to move into one of the spare rooms while I do it.  Also because floor paint has to be left for several days before you can move furniture back on it and the Christmas season will be on us by the time I finish the rest of the house.  And if I'm going to tear that room up I might as well do the ceiling patch I've needed to do while I'm at it.  I've ignored it because I hate hate hate working on the ceiling and I'm going to have to replace a piece of sheet rock over my dresser.  I hate hate hate working on the ceiling.  A lot.