Friday, August 28, 2015

4097 Choices

Friday, August 28, 2015

Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
-- Plato --


I'm at the country house, drove up yesterday evening.  I watched TV last night and went to bed after the 11 o'clock news.  I had forgotten how quiet it is here, and how comfortable the bed is.  It was noon before I awoke.

I had also forgotten how much I love this house.

This week is the Dutchess County Fair.  It's been years since I've been to the fair, so I'm very tempted to say fooey on working here and just go to the fair.

I also love this area.

I hate the choices one is forced to make when one gets old.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

4096 Splish-splash.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

There is no “i” in “team”, but there's a “u” in “people who don't understand
the difference between orthography and meaning.”


I had mentioned that I had a problem with Jasper splashing and dumping his water all over the floor.  It's been about six weeks since I found the solution, and it does seem to be working.  (Photo from, "Greedy Pup-Best Slow Eating Bowl on The Market", by Greedy Pup.
It's meant to slow down dogs who eat too fast.  For Jasper, I fill it with water to the tops of the bumps.  It's a hair over 9 inches wide and heavy, so he can't tip it, drag it, or pick it up.  The bumps prevent his making tidal waves, but still allow him to make satisfying splish-splash noises, and there's enough room between the bumps that he can drink easily.  The sides are not quite high enough to bother his cyst. 

It wasn't his splashing that bothered me, it was his emptying the water all over the floor, so this seems to be a good compromise.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

4095 Bugs

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ignorance: the root of all evil.”
-- Plato--


Another cricket arrived in the kitchen Monday evening, living in the same general area as the last one.  There must be some opening of some kind in the foundation slab there that allows them in, under the cabinets in that corner.  That area is also the entrance for teeny tiny ants, and very cold drafts in the winter.  It's probably where the A/C hoses come in.  This cricket sings.  Jasper didn't discover it until last night.

I was watering the potted tomato plant just below the front porch this afternoon, and as I bent over, my robe (yeah, I wasn't dressed yet, wanna make somehin' of it?) open a bit, and I saw a tick walking up my leg!  I hate ticks!  That's the first I've seen in this area, and I can't believe I picked him up just on my porch!  I've been funny about ticks ever since I was in about third grade, and one got embedded in my scalp right in the top of my head, not just attached, embedded, the scalp had swollen up over the tick, and my mother totally freaked and dug it out! in pieces!  using a huge pair of sewing shears.  Not like a knife, big heavy scissors blades!  Without anesthesia!  Digging and scraping.  I hate ticks!

I don't usually wear robes any more.  I'll throw on a caftan to pot around in until I'm ready to get dressed (and that usually doesn't happen until I'm ready to leave the house).  But this morning I had slept in and was awakened by the doorbell.  I looked out the bedroom window and saw the mail delivery lady leaving the porch, so I called down to ask if she needed me to sign for something (yes).  Yesterday's caftan was in the laundry, so I grabbed a robe.  Feels weird.  Caftans are much more like clothes, you know?  And you don't have to worry about them falling open and flashing the neighborhood.  But if I'd had a caftan on, I'd never have seen the tick.  Piece of luck.

Of course now I itch all over, thinking about all the caftan-covered ticks I haven't seen over the past days.  Ick.

Monday, August 24, 2015

4094 Stock Market

Monday, August 24, 2015

There's more money to be had in pandering to ignorance than in explaining it away.


Yeah, how 'bout that stock market, eh? 

I talked with Piper last week, and told him yes, I'd heard, no, I'm not worried, and I told him strongly, in no uncertain terms, he is not to attempt to "play" the market with my account.  No selling off anything, no buying anything in an attempt to find bargains, no nothing.  Stand pat with my account.  Let it ride.  He seemed to be ok with that, which surprised me.  I'm sure he's freaking out today, but he's got other accounts he can play with besides mine.

The market has crashed before, and it always recovers eventually, and then goes higher.  We just need to be in nice solid boring stuff that will recover, and I have plenty of patience.  It was a bit too high, too optimistic given the state of Europe and China, and with no nice stimulating wars on the horizon it had to drop to a more reasonable level.  This huge drop is because people are in a panic.  It will stabilize when everyone calms down.

I told Piper at the end of last year to get me out of the far east, primary and secondary --- it was obvious that China was headed for the same housing-lending-banking train wreck that the US had not so long ago.  Yep.


The green quote above, by the way, is absolutely random.  Not that it applies, anyway, except that it mentions money.

4093 Pumpkin plant

Monday, August 24, 2015

If the answer has to be now, it has to be no.


I have another volunteer pumpkin in front of my porch.  I put the old Halloween pumpkins (painted by the Nugget, not cut) near the mailbox every fall so the squirrels can eat it, and ONE seed (why only one?) sprouts.

We've had a lot of very strong sun and little actual soaking rain, and I am amused at the way the pumpkin vine has adapted.  This is the way the first leaves looked - large and flat:
Every morning by mid-morning they were wilted and folding from too much sun.  That struck me as odd at first, since they are field plants and made for sun, but I guess in the field they shade and humidify each other.

This is what the second growth of leaves look like.  The photo looks more green than they actually are.  In life, they look mostly white with scatterings of green.
Apparently the plant decided that wasn't quite working, either.

The third set of leaves look like this, more leathery with deeper cuts in the lobes.  (Notice the white one to the right.  That's a better representation of set #2.)

I guess the plant decided, "Hey, we've got an idea here!", because the fourth and final iteration of leaf style looks like this.  Lots of wrinkles, very deep cuts between the lobes, ideal for the full hot sun and scant water conditions.
Congratulations, pumpkin!  It looks like an entirely different plant.

Now, if only it could similarly adjust the blossom situation.  Pumpkins will put out separate male blossoms and female blossoms, both on the same plant.  However, to ensure healthy cross-pollination, a particular plant will put out only all male or all female flowers on any particular day, and the blossoms last only through the morning.  So it's very difficult for a plant to self pollinate.  In a field of pumpkins, this isn't a problem, since they can pollinate each other.  For one lonely plant, it's celibacy.

Last year I checked every morning, and a few times I found like one female, or one male, in the midst of a sea of the opposite sex, and I played bumblebee myself.  I think we had two pumpkins out of it.  So far this year, the segregation has been strict.  In fact, so far it's been almost entirely male.


I had mentioned Jasper hunting the cricket.  The cricket has disappeared, but Jasper is ever vigilant, in case it comes back.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

4092 Ramblings

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Every time we impose our will on another, it is an act of violence.


What's with all the baseball caps?  It seems like every male I see in this area wears one, all the time!  Walking down the street.  Shopping in the hardware store.  Working in the yard.  Watching TV in their living rooms.  Sitting at a table in a decent restaurant!  Do they ever take them off?  Do they sleep in them?

There's a guy a few doors up who wears a suit to work.  He doesn't wear a baseball cap to work, although everyone else seems to.  Hercules wears nice shirts and slacks to work, and he doesn't wear a baseball cap either.  For yard work and ramming around he wears what looks like a floppy Australian campaign hat.  Otherwise, it's all baseball caps all the time around here.  I hate it!


I told The Man I had eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant.  He asked if there was anything on the plate.


Some senator wants to get really tough about mental health tracking, for strengthening gun control background checking.

Yeah, ok, I see where that's coming from, but I suspect it would only make things worse.  When I was young, men wouldn't even consider any kind of counseling for anything, not even if they were seeing little green men who were telling them to do stuff.  It was considered unmanly to admit that they might need some help handling issues.  Over the decades that attitude has relaxed a little, but not so much in the very population that wants guns.  A "permanent record" of seeking help that might prevent one's getting a gun will, among that population, absolutely shut down any possibility of help, any admission of weakness even to the people closest to them.  The "nuts with guns" will go further underground than they are already.

Bad idea, but I have nothing better to offer.


Latest tooth-grinder:  the Rhinebeck town blog/newsletter (at the country house) sent out an alert that the Linden Avenue bridge failed inspection, and has been closed until it can be replaced.  Estimates as to how long that will take will depend on efforts to obtain the "right-a-way" for the replacement.  "Right-a-way" was used several times in the article, and my stomach clenched every time.  Another example of "of" being misused, and another example of someone saying something with no idea whatsoever as to what they are saying. 


My hair has passed the bra strap and is now three fingers from my waist in the back.  It doesn't appear so long in the front, though, I guess because it's cut in a curve.  I'm still shedding a LOT - there are long hairs everywhere, in everything.  They compete with Jasper fur in the dust bunnies.  But I'm growing new hair at a good pace, too, so it's still thick (thickish - my hair is too fine to ever look thick) as it goes up toward the scalp.  In the least bit of humidity all the new hairs make a curly corona of fuzz around my head.  It makes me look frazzled.  I probably should start smoothing it with some kind of dressing --- but I really don't want to.  It seems happy frizzing.


I own a bazillion pairs of earrings (clip, I'm not pierced), including some I've been wearing since the '70s.  I love wearing earrings; they draw attention away from my face.  However, I haven't been wearing any kind of makeup in several years now, and for some reason I had this idea that I couldn't wear earrings unless I was made-up.  Not that I'd thought about it at all, just that with no makeup I didn't think of earrings.

I recently realized I really miss them.  I'm wearing them again, makeup be damned.

Monday, August 17, 2015

4091 Rambles

Monday, August 17, 2015

If women are expected to do the same work as men,
we must teach them the same things.”
-- Plato --


I mentioned that I have been unable to go north to the country house for various reasons.  I realized the other day that there's another reason I have resisted getting in the car and just going.  My last two trips were both emotionally, physically, and financially draining.  I just can't face doing that again.

I'm actually afraid to go north again.


I find Bernie Sanders very interesting.  I like all his positions and observations.  But I doubt that he's electable.  He's a socialist, and to the average idiot 'Mericun voter socialism is a dirty word, even though they have no idea what it means and they aren't interested in finding out.  These are the same people, by the way, who seem to think that corporate fascism (the end game of capitalism) is just fine.

And even if by some miracle he was actually elected, he'd have even more opposition from Congress than Obama did on anything seen as even remotely "socialist"  even if it happened to be a "friendly" Congress, so he couldn't make any difference anyway.  

An exercise in futility.


People sure do love fireworks around here.  Every local fair, several a year, ends with an hour of house-rocking booms and huge colorful chrysanthemums, often six or eight in the sky at once for the whole damn hour, even long before the finale.  I see them through the trees, and every time I find myself wondering how many people could have been housed or fed on what it cost to burn all that material.  And I see my $8K in real estate taxes going up in smoke, even as my car falls into axle-breaking potholes.


I haven't had a retirement raise in 15 years.  I don't understand.  I understood at the time I retired that I would be getting periodic COLAs.

I have this idealized version of how it should work.  In very simplified terms, let's say that at the time I retired there was $100 in the total employees retirement fund (you can think of that like 100 million or whatever, I'm just using $100 as an example), and let's say that I had contributed $5 to the fund before my retirement.  So my principle in the fund was $5, or 5% of the fund.  It seems like I should be entitled to 5% of the profits earned by the investment of that fund.

As more employees contribute and retire, the total fund balance goes up and my percentage share in the principle and profits in the fund goes down, but the total profit in the fund goes up, so the actual dollar value of my share of the profits should go up - especially when over time other contributors die off and their principle stays in but their profit share no longer goes out.

Carefully invested, the retirement fund should be earning at LEAST an average of 7% per year, even with the 2008 panic averaged in.  Properly invested, it should be earning more.  A lot more!  My IRAs and 401K without active management on my part earned 30%+ last year.

So, even though my idealization isn't the way it works, why haven't I seen a raise in 15 years?  Can you imagine the inflation in my costs over 15 years?   I've probably dropped in retirement income buying power by a huge amount.  A table I found online says that $100 in 2000 is $140 in 2015, at about 2.5% per year inflation.  It seems like there's something very wrong here.

The Company puts out an annual report on various employee funds.  It's both very high level and very complicated, so I don't pay much attention to it, don't attempt to figure out what's going on with it, but I think I might delve a little deeper next time.  I want to know what The Company is doing with the money they aren't giving to me.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

4090 Catching up

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
-- Plato --


It must be the end of summer.  The cicadas, both of them, are buzzing.  Yeah, both.  There's one cicada a bit north down the street, and one to the east on the next street over.  North starts buzzing, then East answers, then they both stop and there's nothing for five or ten minutes, or more.

Poor cicadas.  Such a long time to wait underground anticipating this, your debut year, you dress in your fanciest flashiest clothes and then arrive at the party ready for your big once-in-a-lifetime chance at romance ... and find no one there.  Except another guy who keeps stomping on your song, and he's too far away to punch.


My back is still iffy.  I got a little worried because I felt a sharp pain under the last rib on the right, where the "good" kidney is.  But I ran my fingers along my spine on the right, found a tender spot, pressed there, and the pain went away for several hours.  I guess it's just an angry nerve.  I guess.


Catching up on saved stuff.

This one makes me smile every time I watch it.  I didn't realize walruses were built so similarly to humans.  Note especially the leg lifts and situps.  It's from opinionsofallkind, titled "Walrus fitness", 1:29.


This is so incredibly cute, especially his first attempt, it makes you want to run right out and kidnap a little kid.  From ChildrenVids, titled "Little Boy Trying To Break Board In Taekwondo", 1:54.


This is from CGP Grey, titled "The trouble with the electoral college", 6:30.  Fascinating.  He shows several ways the electoral college can really screw up an election.  We know this is a problem, and there's no way to fix it short of an amendment, but enough states benefit from the problems that it's not going to be that easy.  What's maddening is that the founding fathers planned it that way on purpose.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

4089 Overwhelmed

Wednesday, August 13, 2015

"Computers make it easier to do a lot of things,
but most of the things they make it easier to do
don't need to be done."
--Andy Rooney--


Poor Andy (above).  He may have been right 15 or 20 years ago, but I guess he never saw the scary video I posted on 8/7/15.


I haven't updated in a while because I've been, well, not so much sick as wracked.  Things are piling up.  I've been trying to get to the grocery store for weeks.  I am literally out of everything, have been living on Subway and WaWa sandwiches and salads, and what few things like cereal, milk, and eggs I can pick up at the corner quik-shop!  Which brings up another complaint -- my bank, which started out less than a mile from here, has moved to about 8 miles down the highway, and now my grocery store, across the street from where the bank used to be, is closing.  Going out of business (A&P).  The next acceptable one is a few miles down the highway, and most significantly, this being New Jersey, it's on the wrong side of the street, which adds another mile to the trip.

So Monday I gave up and placed a $300+ order with PeaPod, which was delivered yesterday, and with my back out, I still haven't finished putting all of it away.

Again, I'm late on paying the monthly bills.  I'm glad I don't foresee having to apply for any loans, because I'm sure my credit rating is in the toilet.

The Nugget has had a heavy chest cough since 8/2, but doesn't seem to have anything else going on.  Last Friday, 8/7, I started coughing.  It's a tickle in the back of my throat (which Nugget has also described), and a heavy dry cough.  Nothing else seems to be going on.  No fever or stuffy chest feeling.  The cough is really bad in the morning and late evening.  During the day it's not so bad.  Nugget and I together sound like a seal colony.

However!  As frequently happens, the coughing has affected my back.  My lower back "went out" Monday morning.  I'm wearing an elastic belt arrangement that presses against my tailbone and at least allows me to stand and walk, but the pressure on the nerves from whatever's out of place affects my legs.  My right leg is almost numb.  And it also causes, um, bathroom urgency.

I am very unhappy that (AGAIN!) I am unable to go to the country house.  I haven't been there in a month.  Things keep happening that make it difficult to leave.  I have to schedule my trips carefully to avoid traffic (like definitely no travel on Fridays or Sundays, and so on).  Going up on Thursday morning and returning on Saturday afternoon is ideal, because then I don't miss garbage or recycle pickups.  I had planned to go tomorrow.  Not happening.

I've been shopping online, and have received several packages over the past few weeks.  I hear a thump on the porch, the doorbell  rings, I walk immediately to the front door, maybe 30 feet, open the door, and there's no one there.  Just a box or package next to the door.

I look up and down the street, and there's no truck, no delivery person.  Nothing.  It's getting eerie.

Last week WOOT! had a really good deal.  They had blackout drapes in a variety of lengths and colors for only $30ish a set.  They were described as two panels at 72" wide each panel by various standard lengths.  That would mean one set each would fit my breakfast SGDs, dining room windows, and the two front bedrooms upstairs (where the sun blasts in every morning, and the streetlight all night).  So I ordered a set for each of those four rooms.  Then, after I ordered, WOOT! noticed the description was incorrect, and the panels are each actually only 36" wide.

WOOT! promised to refund the credit card and accept return of the drapes for everyone who had ordered before the description was fixed.   So, since the middle of last week, I've been writing increasingly frustrated emails to WOOT!   Their first note said all I had to do was refuse delivery.  A later email said they would be sending prepaid return labels to everyone who needed one (that was last Thursday or Friday, I think).

On Friday, the doorbell rang, and there was the box, and no delivery guy in sight.

Note to WOOT! --- "box arrived, no opportunity to refuse delivery".
Response from WOOT! --- "simply refuse delivery".  
Note to WOOT! --- "no opportunity to refuse delivery, please send return label".  
Response from WOOT!: ---  "simply refuse delivery, or we will send a return label." 
Note to WOOT!: --- "Please send return label". 
Response from WOOT! --- "simply refuse delivery".

I don't understand.  The box has been sitting on my porch since Friday.  Am I supposed to call FedEx and have them come and get it?  Will FedEx consider that refusing delivery?  I guess I'll have to call FedEx and find out.  Is WOOT! going to send a label or not?  What's most frustrating is that the return address on the box is the fabric company, which happens to be just 14 miles from here.  I told WOOT! that I would be willing to return the box to the fabric company myself if it didn't screw up paperwork, but I got no response from WOOT! on that.  Well, I did get a response, but it said "simply refuse delivery".  I'm not kidding.  They're obviously not reading any communiques, just pushing the "refuse delivery" button.

I used to like WOOT!, but their customer service is the pits.

Friday, August 07, 2015

4088 Conversation with my heir apparent, #2

Friday, August 7, 2015

You either sink or swim or you don't.


The Nugget pooped in the potty at my house a few days ago.

She poops every day, and she poops a LOT!  I haven't seen grown men with her output.  I usually say something like "What on earth is your mommy feeding you?!", which usually gets me her breakfast and lunch menu for that day.  She does tend to be rather literal.

Well, anyway, the other day I expressed amazement, and I asked "Your belly is so little, and that poopy is so big, where on earth were you storing all that?"

She looked up with a huge smile, and said, "In my bagina!"

(Daughter later explained they had been learning the proper names for body parts.)

4087 For discussion --- Go!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Nostomania - An overwhelming desire to return home or to go back to familiar places.


The following video from CGP Grey, "Humans Need Not Apply", is 15 minutes long, but if you're interested in thinking about the future of society, it's worth watching.


Don't bother reading the comments on the video.  They're not worth your time.  Mostly a bunch of idiots rhapsodizing about never having to work again, fun fun fun.  Obviously they hadn't thought it through.

What do you think will happen?


Incidentally, CGP Grey has a number of interesting videos on a variety of subjects.  Sometime when you don't feel like reading in your down time, or if you're sick and looking for diversion, check him out:

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

4086 Incomplete diagnosis

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"Between friends there will always be disputes.
It is not in the disputes themselves that we know our true friends,
it is in the way we address them."


Over New Years 2012/2013 I was in the hospital with what was diagnosed as severe pneumonia, the "worst case the lung guy at the hospital had ever seen", to the point where they really didn't think I would live.  Organs were shutting down.  But within 12 hours on antibiotics I was already getting better.  The doctors were amazed.  (That post entry:

I think they didn't quite realize what I likely had!

When we had lost electricity for so long after Hurricane Sandy, and then got hit with a Nor'easter which dropped temperatures below freezing.  With no power I had tried to keep warm by boiling water constantly on the gas stove, and by filling both bathtubs with hot water.  The house was filled with warm steam.

From an article about illness caused by cooling towers in NYC, "A type of severe pneumonia, Legionnaires' disease -- which was named after an outbreak during a 1976 meeting of the American Legion in Philadelphia -- is not spread from person to person but by breathing in mist with the organisms. Outbreaks usually occur in the summer."

"By breathing in mist with the organisms..."  What you want to bet I had Legionnaires?

Legionnaires usually develops within 10 days of exposure.  If it was Legionnaires, and if it was due to my breathing all that steam, I must have been fighting it off for a good six weeks before I couldn't fight it any more.  I do know that I was getting progressively weaker all through November and December.  I thought at the time it was just age and kidneys catching up with me, plus that I am very sensitive to molds, and with all the houses and mountains of household goods rotting away all around us from Sandy flooding, I thought that's what it was.

Interesting.  Maybe if not for the mold I could have eventually fought it off.

Even more interesting, the folks most at risk of death are older people, smokers, and those with weak immune systems (like from kidney problems or diabetes).  Boom, boom, and boomity-boom-boom.  

I must be in better shape than I thought.  

4085 A playdate for my cat?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The little boat floated gently across the still pond exactly like a bowling ball doesn't.


About three weeks ago I noticed that every late afternoon into the evening, Jasper was showing interest in a corner in the kitchen, the corner between the dishwasher and the stove.  There's a small stick vacuum cleaner leaning against the counter in front of the dishwasher, and a round library kick-stool in the corner.  And Jasper would crouch there, ears up, tail flicking, for an hour or two or three, until he'd lose interest.

About two weeks ago I found out what was attracting his interest.  It's a cricket, a small black cricket.  It's probably female, because it doesn't "sing".  It never strays from that corner of the kitchen, stays in a 4' by 4' square which extends to under the Nugget's play table.

Jasper watches it intensely, chases it and bats at it when it moves, stares at the stove, or stool, or dishwasher when it hides under one of them, and scrabbles after it when it dares to go as far as Nugget's table.

I'm surprised that it has stayed in that corner.  I'm surprised that Jasper hasn't caught it.  I'm surprised that it has lived this long.  I don't mind it as long as it stays in the kitchen.  In fact, I often feel guilty that poor Jasper doesn't get enough physical or mental exercise (older cats tend to lose interest in toys once they figure out how they work), so I'm grateful to the cricket.

If the cricket ever disappears, I think maybe I'll buy Jasper another cricket from a pet shop - they stock them for feeding lizards and stuff - if there's any way I can be assured of getting a female (quiet) one.  

Only problem is, how do I make it stay in the kitchen?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

4084 Why Trump?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Everything worth knowing leaves bruises.


Everyone I talk with wonders how Donald Trump is polling so high.  Most just shrug and say it must be because people love a spoiler, love comedy, want to see the explosions and radioactive fallout.

I was sort of thinking that too, until I looked into it a bit.

The transcript of Trump's announcement that he's running is at  It looks like he sent out a team of people to blue collar bars to ask people what they thought of the country, the world, and what needs fixing, and this speech is the result of that study.  He addresses all the concerns of the Republican conservative base.  He doesn't exactly cover the "hows", but he hit all the "whats" really hard.  No other candidate is doing that, not to that degree.

This doesn't mean that he really understands the concerns.  It just means his research team nailed it.  But the folks in those bars are cheering.

Secondly, and this may be the most important factor,
he's not a politician!
The American voters are sick and tired of politicians.  They'd love to get someone in there who will say enough is enough, and kick some tail.  They think Trump can do it.


Whoa, I just realized I should make sure no one thinks this is an endorsement!  Nope.  Just speculation on why he scores so high in polls.

Monday, August 03, 2015

4083 Dorian and the Dipshit

Monday, August 3, 2015

The first testicular guard, the "cup", was used in Hockey in 1874
and the first helmet was used in 1974.
That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.


Every once in a while I decide I have to read a classic I'd been avoiding.  I don't know why, I guess maybe I think it would be some kind of shame if I die without having read The House of the Seven Gables or something.  (I mention that particular book because I've started it at least five times, and I simply cannot get past the first two dozen pages.  It's mental anesthesia to me.  Brain death.)

So, a few days ago I came across a reference to Dorian Gray.  No one ever references "...Seven Gables", but people often mention Dorian's picture, and it happened to be one of those free downloads to my Kindle, and it's not so very long, so,....

I'd gotten only about 1/3 the way in when I realized I passionately hate Lord Henry.  I didn't want to read another observation from him.  He is the most supercilious asshole I've ever "met".  He judges everything and everyone, finds everything wanting even though he claims not to judge, purposely says exactly the opposite of what he thinks people expect him to say for no other reason than to disconcert people, claims to live only for beauty, but then sets out to destroy beauty wherever he finds it.  He is fascinated by the beauty and visible innocence of the young Dorian, so he sets out to debauch him, while claiming to adore him and teach him to live life fully.  I hate hate hate everything about Lord Henry.

Yeah, I know, this is supposed to be a philosophical novel, and ok, I could understand the philosophical aspects were they not espoused by one as odious as Lord Henry.  Wikipedia describes Lord Henry as an aesthete, a hedonist.  You know, he could have been a hedonistic aesthete without being an odious ... asshole.  Sorry, but that's the best I can do.  It fits.

So then Dorian develops an interest in precious and semi-precious stones, and we are treated to a bazillion pages of descriptions of stones.  Why?  In the pre-internet stone age, is Wilde trying to impress the reader with his knowledge?  That's the only reason I can think of for that.  If we were supposed to apply that to Dorian's state of mind, it could have been done much more directly and more interestingly.  We finally slog through all that, and Dorian discovers textiles and embroidery, and we get a bazillion pages of ....

I'm now no long reading, but just scanning pages.  I'm 65% of the way through and I'm determined to finish,

... although I don't have the faintest idea why.

4082 Is that really what you think? You know you could be wrong?

Monday, August 3, 2015

"If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error."
--John Kenneth Galbraith--

I've been trying to ignore all the internet comment on the  Bill Cosby allegations, because mostly it's younger folks saying "These women didn't report it when it happened, therefore it can't be true."  They have no idea what it was like then.  In some states as late as the '70s a woman had to have a minimum of two MALE (not female) eyewitnesses to even bring charges, or she had to be so badly beaten she could barely see or walk.  Otherwise no one would believe her.  Then if she actually managed to make it to court, her reputation was raped again by the courts.  So reading the ignorant comments royally pisses me off.

But I m reading some articles, especially those with substance.  One article quoted from the court documented testimony of Cosby himself, wherein he details his "seduction" techniques.  He said, quoting from the deposition, on the question of consent, "I think I'm a pretty decent reader of people and their emotions in these romantic sexual things."

At that point I said to myself, "Yep.  He did it.  He did it all.  No longer any question in my mind whatsoever."

Sexual predators (wolves) are very good at identifying and selecting the lambs among us: the women who are low in assertiveness, who are eager to please, who are cowed by authority, who are afraid of male power, who are impressed by success, who are unlikely to cause trouble.    They scent blood, they know who they can attack.

Secondly, in sexual matters, I am very well aware that men thinking with the wrong end always think that women want whatever they want them to want.  In my dating days I got so sick and tired of fighting off men who informed me that "You want it.  You know you want it", no matter how loudly and angrily and definitely I said no, stop, go away.  Hands up, Ladies --- how many times have you heard "You want it, you know you want it"?

The line I heard more times than I can count, from different men in different areas, in exactly the same words, which made me wonder whether it was born in male minds, was "You can't walk around looking like that and not want it all the time!"

Huh?  I've always dressed rather modestly.  But even a mother Hubbard can't hide a big bust.  I guess that's what they meant?

So, yeah, Mr. Cosby.  I'll bet you believed you were a "pretty decent reader of people and their emotions".  Too bad it was all coming out of your own mind and applied to others, without bothering to actually ask.


On the subject of consent, men claim to be confused as to what it means, when do you have to get a verbal yes, when can a no mean yes, whatever it is that their testosterone-fueled minds can't quite grasp.  A woman has written an excellent illustration of exactly what consent or lack thereof means, that even the densest should understand: 
It's short and amusing.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

4081 Conversation with my heir apparent

Sunday, August 1, 2015

Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
--Cree Prophecy--


Bombing down the highway in the BMW convertible, top down, wind in our hair, sun on our faces.  We pull into my driveway and stop, and then there's a 4-year-old voice from the toddler seat in the back:



When you die...


Can I have this car?

Yeah. You can have all my jewelry, too.

OK.  But don't die until I can reach the pedals.

Friday, July 31, 2015

4080 I don't know what to say

Friday, July 31, 2015

"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
--George Orwell--


I wrote a while ago about the guy who wants to do away with spelling altogether, who advocates that everyone should spell words phonetically exactly the way they pronounce them, with no such thing as correct spelling.  I see that leading to massive failures in written communication and the demise of reading.  That post is here: 

Well just a few minutes ago I came across this gem:  a woman wrote that such-and-such a possibility is "the best casonario."

I had several reactions in rapid succession, well, pretty much all at the same time.
  1. I understood exactly what she meant.
  2. I laughed.
  3. I was horrified that this is where education is heading.
  4. I was horrified that although she knew what she wanted to convey, she didn't know what words she was saying, she was just reproducing the sounds.
  5.  I was grateful that she could at least pronounce it correctly.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

4079 Thrifty, not stingy or miserly, though.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Henry Louis Mencken, on Shakespeare: "After all, all he did was
string together a lot of old, well-known quotations."


I know I'm thrifty.  Daughter rolls her eyes when I wash and reuse zip-lock bags.  (That, by the way, is not just thrift, it's also environmental consciousness.)

I didn't really realize how downright cheap I am until my bath this morning.

Yesterday I decided to take a shower in the front bathroom (the shower in my bathroom is broken and I wanted to wash my hair).  That room is set up for the Nugget, so there's baby shampoo, baby wash, and her washcloths and towels, so I gathered up some supplies from the bathroom I usually use.  I was digging around in my soap stash in the cabinet for extra soap and shampoo.  I buy stuff like Dove, Cashmere Bouquet, Casswell-Massey florals, but I never get to use them because Daughter is always giving me gifts of handmade craft soaps, and fragrant oil soaps from India, which I use because she'd be disappointed if she didn't see them out and smell them on me, and she thinks I love them.

I grabbed a Cashmere Bouquet to take to the other bathroom, and had a very happy luxurious-smelling creamy-lathered shower.

So, this morning, bath in my usual bathroom.  The soap dish contained an oatmeal-infused block of craft soap Daughter had given me more than a year ago, and an unidentified French-milled scentless blue oval.  I groaned and used the craft soap, and for the thousandth time thought about throwing it away and opening a Dove.  I wish that stuff would hurry up and get used up, but it lasts forever!  

Yeah, I simply cannot throw out a bar of soap until it's so small it falls apart.

Yeah, I am cheap!  I just can't do it.

I guess.

After my bath I had a wonderful idea.  I'm going to let those bars dry thoroughly, then wrap them in Saran, put them in the stash, and break out a Dove, or a Casswell-Massey.  After I'm dead, Daughter will merrily throw them out, so I don't have to feel guilty.

Oh, and sometime soon I'm going to have to tell her that I don't like "fancy" soaps, so please stop buying them for me.  That might take a lot more courage than I have.


The phrase "until it's so small it falls apart" reminded me of something that was a general practice when I was young.  Everyone, everyone I knew, anyway, used up every bit of a bar of soap in one of two ways:
  • You'd put the worn-down slivers in a jar, and when the jar was 2/3 full you'd pour in boiling water to cover the bits of soap, and they'd melt down and make a liquid soap you could use as a body wash, or to wash lingerie, or your hair, or anything else.  For some unknown reason it stayed nice for ages, no mold, no sour.
  • Or, you'd knit or crochet or sew a small flat bag, put the chips in it, and use it as an already-soapy washcloth, until the chips were used up, then you'd refill it.
Maybe this was all left over from the days before commercial soaps, when you had to make your own, and it wasn't easy to make it or cheap to buy it, so the habit of soap-thrift got passed down grandmother to granddaughter

Good theory, but it doesn't explain the zip-lock bags, or washing and reusing aluminum foil, or using both sides of every sheet of paper and making shopping lists on the backs of envelopes bills came in.

I'm thrifty.

Monday, July 27, 2015

4078 Righty tighty

Monday, July 27, 2015

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times 
the same good things for the first time.
--Friedrich Nietzsche--
I have never understood the popularity of "Righty tighty, lefty loosey."  It makes no sense to me.
I often look at the direction of the screw cuts (or whatever those things are called) on screws, bolts, nuts, lightbulbs, everything, before attempting to screw them in.  Loosening and tightening if I can't see the cuts is not as easy.  When I used to express confusion about which way to turn things, other people (Daughter in particular, she's downright nasty about it) roll their eyes and say "righty tighty, lefty loosey", like it solves the whole problem.

It doesn't.

Imagine yourself looking at a bolt sticking up vertically out of a machine, with a nut on it.  You pick up a wrench, fit it to the bolt and now you tighten it.  Righty tighty, right?  Which direction does your hand move?  Your hand moves to the left.  The wrench handle moves to the left, all the way down the wrench to the center of the bolt.  The far TIP of the wrench moves right.  The nut itself moves clockwise, technically neither left nor right, or both left and right.

Now stick that bolt down out of the ceiling.  In that position, which way does your hand move, or the wrench?  Which way is right or left?  The only thing that always moves the same way is the nut.  It always moves clockwise.

How do the hands on a clock move?  Left or right?

See the confusion?  
That old "Righty tighty, lefty loosey" saw is not helpful, and can actually be confusing to a lot of people. It's popular because it's catchy.  People seem to prefer catchy to clear.  
I propose that we change it to "Clockwise tight, counterclockwise loose."  Not as catchy, but it no longer depends on your orientation and it always works.  It's clear.

Next time you tighten or loosen something, ask yourself if you are really thinking in terms of left and right, even as you're repeating the saw in your head, or if you are actually thinking  about a clock face.

I'm willing to bet you're thinking about a clock.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

4077 Something else to worry about

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Interesting fact: A day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus.


An 18-year-old college student has posted a video on YouTube that has had by now a few million views.  It shows a quadcopter-drone with a mounted semi-automatic pistol, that fires at targets.

I'm not surprised.  Mounting guns on drones is not new.  What's new is that this is the small drone that anyone can buy and fly.

You thought cameras on drones were a possible threat?

If you haven't heard of it yet, go to and search for "drone gun".  (I'm not including a link because any iterations I link might be taken down.)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

4076 HOTW - Omar Sharif

Saturday, July 25, 2015

You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your
informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant."
--Harlan Ellison--


I just discovered that Omar Sharif died about 2 weeks ago.  He deserves a Honey of the Week honor, although to tell you the truth, I never felt the kind of tummy-tickle that most of my HOTWs gave me.  I really liked the way he did make me feel, but I think at the same time I was a bit in awe of him.  He was an amazingly accomplished man.

I happen to own the thobe he wore in the night camp scene in the movie "Hidalgo".  It thrills me just to know that it had touched his body.

4075 Weight and remembrance.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"By a curious confusion, many modern critics have passed from the proposition
that a masterpiece may be unpopular
to the other proposition that unless it is unpopular
it cannot be a masterpiece."
-- G. K. Chesterton --


I'm now at 150 lbs, and have been for quite a while.  That may not seem like all that terribly much, but remember that I am about 4'9" tall.  On a regular-sized woman, that might be equivalent to over 180 lbs.  Being pre-diabetic (and I might be fooling myself there with the "pre") this is bad.

I've been trying to lose weight for a few months now, watching calories, but I guess I'm not trying all that hard because I haven't increased my activity level one iota.  So, I weigh me about once a week, or every two weeks, and I'm frustrated to see exactly 150 lbs every time.  The needle is so steady that for a while I wondered if the scale was broken.

What's weird is that a few things that were too tight a month ago are fine now, so either I'm losing inches if not pounds, or I'm just more accepting of the lumps.  I dunno.

The Man would think I look great now.  He prefers well-padded women.  He didn't say anything, but I know he was distressed when I dropped to 125ish back in 2009ish.  

I guess I'm going to have to start walking, or something.


This brings up the topic of what happened to The Man?  Nothing drastic, really.  We enjoyed each other thoroughly during the time, but neither of us was looking for anything permanent or intense, and although the physical and mental intimacy was wonderful there wasn't a lot of emotional intimacy.  That was an unspoken but understood agreement. There were a lot of topics we carefully avoided.

So there came a time when things in my life (the kidney stuff especially, and pneumonia) were causing me to withdraw and I was not willing to share the reasons with him, which created a wedge, and then he had some serious physical/medical and professional (and resulting financial and severe emotional) reversals that he was not willing to discuss with me (it being unmanly, and not a part of our relationship, and he certainly did not want my help), so he withdrew also, and then some personality differences came into play that made rapprochement difficult, and we kind of drifted apart.  

We both hate the telephone, and I don't text (won't!), so now there are the occasional holiday and birthday emails, and that's about it.  I know better than to ask questions, and he doesn't, so even those emails are terse.

I'm ok with it.  If I ever had the opportunity to fall into bed with him again, would I?   You bet your sweet patooty!  That's an experience not to be missed!  But on the other hand, I'm not sure I'd want to start that whole thing up again.  I'm absolutely glad we had what we did have.  He opened a new world to me, and taught me things about myself I'd never known or appreciated before, and I'm glad I experienced that. 

I'm not looking for another man.  Just not the least bit interested.  Plus, I doubt that anyone else could live up to his example.  If he's the last of my sex life, it's a bang-up ending, and I'm fine with that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

4074 Vet visit

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them."
--Pierre Beaumarchais--


The vet-in-the-van came today, for Daughter's extremely old lady cat, the one who never leaves the master bedroom, and snarls and spits at everyone.  Vet says hairballs (probably).  Schmeck is the tiniest adult cat I've ever seen.  She's a gazillion years old, so who knows what might be going on.  Daughter also made an appointment for my Jasper, to get the cyst in his neck drained again.

Jasper is very good for the vet, almost like he's in shock or something, and when the visit is over he is very happy to go into the carrier for the long trip from the street back to our front door --- but initially getting him into the carrier to get him out to the van at the curb is a different matter.  I have multiple puncture wounds and scratches on my right shoulder and my upper back.  He was determined to climb up and over me to get away from the carrier.  I should be grateful it's only scratches - at least he didn't bite.

It looks like we'll have to get that cyst drained every three to four months.

Monday, July 20, 2015

4073 I guess it sucks there?

Monday, July 20, 2015

"All human beings should try to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why."

-- James Thurber --


I have little weather widgets on the side of my screen, one for the city house and one for the country house.  Right now it's 90 F at the city house ("feels like 93"), 10 mph wind, 46% humidity (it feels like more), and sunny.  At the country house, it's 91 F, with an air quality alert - which is strange, as the air quality there is usually excellent except when there's pollen.  The wind speed is "-9999 mph".

What?  Does that mean it sucks?

Oh.  It just updated.  Now it says 5 mph.  



I didn't use my old printer for months, and the jets clogged up.  No amount of cleaning fixed it, so a few months ago (February?) I gave up and bought a new printer.  My main criteria for choice was size.  When everything else is getting smaller and smaller, I don't understand why simple printer/copier/fax units keep getting bigger and bigger.

It sat still in the box since February, because I remembered the pain of installation of the last one.  I did something wrong with the last one, and the flippin' thing went offline after every print or copy job and wouldn't come back online no matter what I did, until I completely re-IPLed the laptop.  Also, it wouldn't scan to the computer, claimed the computer wasn't connected even though it was a USB connection.  Annoying, inconvenient, and frustrating, and the main reason it was so seldom used.  So I kept putting off attempting to install this one.

But now I have something that must be printed directly from a screen, and can't be offloaded or emailed, so I was forced to bite the bullet.

It took a half-hour, it was very simple, I was not forced to choose between options that I didn't understand, and it's connected through the house WIFI (which it did itself, I didn't even have to tell it the password), and it has its own email address, so when I'm at the country house using the notebook and want to print something, I can email the file to the printer.  Nifty.  It was SO much easier than the last time.