Monday, September 22, 2014

3979 Sniffle Update

Monday, September 22, 2014

Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug.

----------------------------------------------------

Friday was hot soft palate.
Saturday was stuffy nose.
Sunday the nose was a gusher with tremendous sneezes.
Today nose is dry, a little bit of burning in the back of the throat.  Some sneezing and a few coughs.

I'm not sure how to tell when or if it goes into my chest.  If it doesn't I'll be fine.  If it does I could be in trouble.
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

3978 I don't get it

Sunday, September 21, 2014

GUILT is about what you have done or not done. You did something wrong.
SHAME is about you as a person. You are something wrong.

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I am reading Harriette Simpson Arnow's Hunter's Horn.  It's about a hardscrabble mountain farm family in the early 1940s Kentucky.  There's lots of small things I don't understand, but one is driving me crazy.  The family is going into their second winter without meat.  This winter, at least, they do have plenty of corn, beans, and so on after having nearly starved the winter before, but due to various problems they will likely still have no meat until the next autumn.  The mother and horde of children miss it terribly.

They define meat as pork, mutton, beef, and chicken.  And that's pretty much it.

What's driving me nuts is why do they never think about rabbit, possum, or squirrel?  Plenty of them around, and they can trap them, they don't need to use up bullets.  What about fish?  

They train hounds to chase fox, and sneer at dogs who go after rabbits.  I dunno - if I were starving for meat I'd pure-D appreciate a dog who brought home a rabbit every few days.

When I was in high school in the mountains, many of my classmates ran trap lines every morning before school, and I have eaten rabbit, squirrel, possum, and raccoon (raccoon was not very good) when I visited classmates' homes.

I don't get it.  Every time some character in the book complains about no meat, I want to yell at them.
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3977 The good, the bad, and the sniffles.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Silence is golden, unless you have a puppy. Then silence is suspicious. Very, very suspicious.

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Two visits to the BMW dealership last week.  It should be fixed now.  It was the same code as last time, so they charged nothing to fix it.  They gave me a 300-series loaner while they reprogrammed the computer and tested it.  The300 ride is very smooth, amazing, but I still prefer my little sportster.  I like to feel the road and hear the motor.  It feels safer.

On Thursday, Daughter said there's some kind of virus going around, starts out like a head cold, and can go into pneumonia.  She wanted me to be sure to tell her if I got sick so she could "doctor me".  I guess she's worried that I might do like right after Sandy, when I got sicker and sicker and didn't say anything until I was on the verge of death (according to the ER doctor).

Friday my soft palate got hot.

Saturday my nose stuffed up.

Today it's not stuffed, it's running like mad.  I took a nasal decongestant, but it doesn't seem to have done anything.  I'm sneezing hard, a lot.  I don't seem to have a fever - but I'm not positive because all my digital thermometers are weirded out.  They are starting to lie.  I really really prefer the old mercury column (or alcohol) stick thermometers, those things stay accurate forever, but they're next to impossible to find any more.  Anyway, I rarely run a fever anyway, no matter what's going on.

Of course, I haven't seen Daughter since Thursday.  She's always out.  And I'm not going to call her for just sniffles.
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

3976 The past isn't there any more

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It takes a long time to gain trust, five seconds to lose it.

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For some reason this past summer I thought a lot about Gettyburg, Pa.  I had a strong urge to visit.  Nope, not as a tourist.  From summer of 1965 to summer 1967, a mere two years, I lived there.  I taught high school math.

Even though it was only two years, a lot happened.  They were the densest two years of my life, and they had a powerful influence on the next twenty or so years.  More happened in a month there than happened in whole years of the rest of my life.  Maybe it was my age.  Maybe it was the sudden freedom, being on my own.  I don't know.

I originally wanted to stay at a particular B&B in the middle of town.  [See http://www.brafferton.com/.  Check out the beautiful rooms!]  I selected a suite with a Jacuzzi and private entrance, and in July I made a reservation for the nights of September 9 and 10.  I figured that the tourist season would be winding down, so traffic would be less, especially on weekdays, but it would still be warm.

And then, on impulse, I mentioned to Daughter that I planned to go, and asked if she and the Nugget would like to join me.  I was thinking simply nice little vacation.  Daughter jumped to the utterly baseless conclusion that I was facing an emotional upheaval and was begging for her support, so she had to go.  Of course she didn't check that with me.  That's one of the things we fight about --- that she makes assumptions and then operates on them without checking with the other person, ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME!, and then she holds those assumptions against you.

I attempted to get Daughter and Nugget a room in the same B&B and discovered that they don't allow children under 10-years-old (or so, I forget), so I cancelled that reservation and booked two adjoining rooms at a Marriott outside town.  I was disappointed that the particular Marriott didn't have an in-room Jacuzzi and mentioned that to Daughter, so she did her own research and found another hotel that had something they called "family suites", that did have Jacuzzis.  Now from the photos on their website, the suite looked like two completely separate rooms with a shared bathroom between them.  So I called them, verified the Jacuzzi, made the reservation for a family suite WITH Jacuzzi (it was an unbelievable $160/night), and then cancelled the Marriott.

Sigh.

It was a 3.5 hour drive, which meant that Nugget would require a run-around break at some point.  Also, Daughter and I could not spend that much time in quarters that close without one of us (her!) having a meltdown bigger than the Nugget could throw, so we took separate cars.  Besides, that would allow us to do different explorations once there.

She left an hour before me, but we arrived within minutes of each other. 

I was very annoyed to find that the suite looked nothing like the photos implied.  It was a room with two queens with the bathroom by the entrance door, like any other cookie-cutter room, and then another room with a king bed opening off to the side of the queen room.  Yes, it had a door that could be closed, but one would have to go through the queen room to get to the bathroom.  Yuck.  AND, there was NO Jacuzzi.  I called the desk and asked if we could move to a family suite with a Jacuzzi, and was told no, there were no other rooms available.  I pointed out that I had specifically asked for the Jacuzzi, had moved from the Marriott on the assurance that I'd have one, and I was very unhappy.  They compensated me by reducing the room rate to $100/night.  Daughter was hyperventilating.  That was a warning I missed.


A few minutes later, as we passed the desk on the way out to find dinner, Daughter stopped at the desk and .... I don't know how to describe it ... she had an emotional  breakdown and said she couldn't stay in that room because there was no place she could be alone, there was no retreat, could she have another room for herself.  I was very embarrassed, and nodded to the clerk and told her to put it on my tab.  They gave Daughter another room, FREE.

After Daughter walked away, I told the clerk that this is NOT your problem to fix, it's our problem, my Daughter is nuts, so please put her room on my credit card, but they said no, it's ok.   I just wish Daughter had said something to me earlier.  We could have moved entirely to two adjoining rooms.  (I especially felt bad the next day, when I overheard one of their regular customers being turned away, because they were full, no rooms available.)  So I ended up with the family suite all by myself.  

[Embarrassed much?  Look like one of those city folks who walk in and start demanding all kinds of free stuff?]

That pretty much set the tone.  I should have gone alone.

-----------------------------------------

The town has changed a lot.  It's surrounded by battlefield where nothing can be built, so the town has expanded by getting a lot more dense.  There was very little that I recognized.  Fifty years ago it was a sleepy little rural town that sort of woke up a little every summer when the tourists came, but there was little in the town itself that primarily catered to tourists.  Mostly, they just tolerated them.  In fact, there was just one chain hotel, a few small family-owned motels, and people who took in guests in the summer for some extra cash.  Now there are huge hotels all over the place.  Shops that primarily catered to the needs of townfolk and farmers now seem to be geared toward tourists, all antiques or artsy-fartsy.  

Actually, the middle of town is beautiful.  And then I remembered that last year was the 150th anniversary of the battle, so I'll bet all the sandblasting, restored and refurbished storefronts, fancy lampposts, and the huge planters everywhere were federally funded.

I found my old apartment building, the diner where I ate dinner almost every evening with six to eight students crammed into my booth with me, the location of the trailer I moved into after the fire at the apartment (that location, which used to be on the alley behind an apartment building, is now an extension of the hospital), and some other things.  But mostly I recognized very little.  

The past mostly isn't there any more, it's been papered over.

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Before anyone yells at me about the filth of hotel Jacuzzis, I have a way to handle that.   I pack a small bottle of Clorox.  Fill the tub up to the intakes, pour in half the bleach, run it for a few seconds, and then let it sit for about 15-20 minutes, run it again for a few seconds, then drain it.  If there was anything floating after after the second running (which I have seen only once in 30 Jacuzzis, The Man loves a Jacuzzi), just do the process again.  It is now safe.  Go out for dinner and by the time you return the bleach odor is gone.

---------------------------------------------

Another odd thing happened.  I had a memory of a section of road heading out of New Jersey into an unknown state, where the road crosses a bridge over a steep-sided river gorge, into a wonderland of small heavily wooded mountains piled one on another.  Beautiful.  It's been driving me crazy for the past few years because I didn't know where it was, couldn't remember where I might have been driving from or to, or even when.  I just wanted to find that piece of road again.

It got to be an obsession.  Several times over the past year I went to Google maps street view and followed almost every major road out of New Jersey in every direction, especially those that crossed a river near the state line.  No luck.

Going to Gettysburg, I let the GPS guide me.  And there it was!  It's Interstate 78 west, over the Delaware River.  I still have no idea when I might have taken that route in the past.  Maybe I dreamed of it. 

Returning, the GPS took me a different route, via the Pa turnpike, and the NJ turnpike.

Odd.  Like I was meant to find it.  Odder still, my memory was of heading west over the gorge. Had I returned by that route heading east, I might not have recognized it.
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Saturday, September 06, 2014

3975 Old Feminists Never Forget, and Never Forgive

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's next to impossible for a woman to convince men in the workplace that they treat female coworkers differently from their male colleagues.  They vehemently deny it.  Given examples, they always have reasons.  She doesn't have the experience.  She's not as technically astute.  She doesn't see the big picture.  She doesn't have the necessary leadership qualities.  Blah blah blah.

Men don't listen to women the same way they listen to men.  If a man objects to some statement, they will listen and consider what's said.  If a woman makes the same objection, they immediately assume that she just doesn't understand.

Men rarely interrupt a man speaking in a meeting.  Women are regularly interrupted, and no one notices or objects.  If she objects and finishes her thought, no one listens and she's described as loud and pushy.

Stuff like that.

Personally, I got tired of men talking to my chest.

Well, finally we have observations from people who have been on both sides.  Transsexuals!  They know exactly what it's like to be a man or woman in the workplace, and then to experience the treatment as the other sex.  And they are the same person with the same skills in both roles.  They pretty much say exactly what women have been saying for eons.

They say that as a woman, no matter which way their change went, they got/get no respect.

The New Republic article is at http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119239/transgender-people-can-explain-why-women-dont-advance-work.   I urge you to read it, and pass it around, especially to MEN!

(And then wait and see - those men will opine that it's the addition or subtraction of testosterone.  Apparently, testosterone makes one logical.)

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I am reminded of a conversation I had with an IBM manager once.  He asked if  I wanted to go into management.  I said "No, I'd rather stay technical."

 He asked what my goals would be (he was thinking stuff like fellowship and so on).  I replied, "I want to be listened to in meetings.  I want that when I say something, people stop and listen and actually think about what I just said.  I want people to want to hear what I have to say."

 He said, "Oh, so you want to be seen as a technical expert?"

I blinked twice and said, "I! AM! a! technical! expert!!  I want them to stop staring at my breasts and listen when I speak.  Apparently they ARE subliminally hearing me, because after my observation is ignored, passed off as trivial, not even worth discussion, the next week some other guy says EXACTLY the same thing I said, using the EXACT same words, and everyone thinks he's a genius.  Nobody remembers my having said exactly the same thing with exactly the same arguments the week before.  I'm getting tired of that.  I don't know how to get past it."

He didn't know what to say to that.  Especially since he had been in some of the same meetings, and had seen it happen.
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3974 Perspective

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ebola is the big health news right now.  But it's not the biggest killer.  Malaria killed 627,000 people in 2012 alone (World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/malaria/media/world_malaria_report_2013/en/), and that's after intense efforts to control it, it's supposedly down by 45%, and the fact that malaria is treatable.  But still, 627,000 people died of malaria in one year.  I find that number shocking.  Ebola has killed less than 1/600th the number in the 6 months of this outbreak.

So, I'm not sure why ebola gets all the press.  Maybe because ebola can travel to the US easier than malaria?  So that scares us more?

But ebola is a lot easier to avoid than malaria:
1. Don't eat bats or monkeys
2. Don't touch body fluids from strangers.
3. Don't touch body fluids from family members who have done 1. or 2.

You want to be scared for a more logical reason?  How easy would it be to dump some ebola virus into your local reservoir?
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Friday, September 05, 2014

3973 Highly annoyed

Friday, September 5, 2014

NOTE to everyone who has a blog I occasionally comment on, AND uses a Yahoo email id for comment notifications:  For some unknown reason when I comment on your blog I am getting "undelivered" messages from Yahoo, saying that the notification was not delivered.  As far as I can tell, Blogger sends you an email about the comment and changes the path to indicate that it came from me (or something like that) and Yahoo has decided not to honor "third party" emails.

This is complicated by the fact that I often comment on old posts, like a few days old, when maybe you no longer have any reason to revisit the post --- so you are unaware I have commented.  Sorry.  I'm really not ignoring people.  I can't do much about it except complain to Yahoo, and I'm not sure how to do that exactly. 

Oh well.

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Toward the end of July, Hal started throwing codes.  You know, the check engine light stuff.  Randomly. 

I took him to the dealership, and two weeks, a new sensor, and $450 later, he behaved again.

Exactly three weeks after that fix, last Friday, he started doing weird stuff again.  I had pulled into a WaWa, set the brake, turned him off, pulled the key, unfastened the seat belt, opened the door, and the siren went off.  For no reason whatsoever. 

When I came out of the WaWa and started him, he popped up the check engine light.  This is 6 pm on a Friday of a three-day holiday weekend.  Of course.  Can't do anything until Tuesday.

The Check engine light was yellow, not red, and the book says I can still drive, unless it turns red, then I have to stop immediately, so I drove (a little bit) during the weekend --- during which time the "service engine soon" light (which means that Hal thinks it's time for regular maintenance) came on as well as the check engine light.  By Tuesday the check engine light was off.  I called the dealership on Wednesday, and I have an appointment tomorrow.

I am completely and utterly pissed.  Especially since his warranty expired in early summer.  Funny how that happens.

Long time visitors to this blog may remember when Fred, the van, started doing much the same kinds of things, and one year, $9,000 in service, sensor replacements, and rental cars later, I gave up, bought Suzie the Suzuki, and Fred spent the next three years or so parked in the driveway, until an independent mechanic found a split in the rubber cover over the computer.  Fixing that fixed Fred.  It wasn't the sensors at all; it was the computer.  Everytime it was damp out, the computer threw random codes, made bad decisions, and stalled in the middle of intersections.

I HATE those sensor things.  Seems like they are supposed to warn you when things are wrong in the unit they're supposed to be sensing, but the fix IN EVERY CASE I have ever experienced is to simply replace the sensor.  There's something very stupid about that.

What makes all this worse is that I'm planning to go to Gettysburg next Tuesday.  This has  been in the works for two months.  And now I have an undependable car.  I am completely and utterly pissed.
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

3972 A consideration

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I guess I need to be very careful here, very clear that I'm  not attacking or defending anyone in particular.  It's just that I had a thought, and in all I've read and heard I've not heard that thought expressed by anyone else, and that surprised me.

Re:  Ferguson, Missouri.  Michael Brown.

Very soon after the shooting, TV stations in the area and online news outlets were showing a video from a store surveillance camera, from that day, where a large man identified as Michael Brown (supposedly) stole about $50 in merchandise from a shop, and then definitely physically roughed up a much smaller man, presumably the shop owner or clerk, who was objecting to the (possible) shoplifting. 

Many people vociferously objected to the showing of the video, claiming it was an obvious attempt to demonize Brown, because the cop had no idea that Brown was wanted for the shoplifting, therefore it had nothing whatsoever to do with the shooting.

My immediate thought was, no, it had everything to do with the shooting.  Ok, the cop didn't know Brown was wanted, but Brown did!  He lifted $50 worth of cigars, was seen doing it, had an altercation with the shopkeeper, and mere minutes later is stopped by the police.  Bam!

Does anyone believe that sequence of events had NO influence on Michael Brown's attitude toward and dealings with the not-in-on-the-story cop who stopped him? 
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3971 Thoughts

Saturday, August 30, 2014

You can live the entire rest of your life without breathing.  It's true.

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A woman's skirt should never be shorter than it is wide.

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Too many folks in this neighborhood have pit bulls, and too few know a damn thing about training.  Regardless, after thinking it over, I've decided that I just plain don't trust pit bulls, trained or not.  Never had to think about it before, but yeah, when it comes to pit bulls I do have a negative prejudice.  And I can explain it.

When any other breed of dog bites or attacks, he's saying that he is annoyed or afraid, and wants you to stop what you're doing or go away.  If you stop touching his painful hip, or if you indicate that you are conceding to his request to get off his property (or out of his life), or as soon as he's no longer afraid, he stops and backs off.  The dog wants to make a point, and once the point is made, he quits.

Not so with pit bulls.

Yeah, they can be wonderful loving family dogs, just like any other breed, and just like any other breed if he never feels a need to bite, he won't.  The difference is that when he does get riled up for whatever reason, he, unlike other dogs, is not trying to make a point after which he will stop, not going to administer a warning nip or a punishing bite --- no, when a pit bull starts, the only thought in his mind is KILL!  KILL!  KILL!  They don't stop until they do.

And that's why they scare me.  They have only two modes, on and off.

--------------------------------

I finally bought a bluetooth keyboard for my tablet.  Yeah, there's the onscreen keyboard, but it's a pain to use.  I finally know now why so many people ignore capitalization and punctuation in online comments.  The cost and frustration of doing it right when you don't have a keyboard with all the trimmings just isn't worth doing it right.  Now I know why so many have the attitude "Who cares?"
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3970 Spider crabs

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I've been sitting on this for a while.

It's spider crabs, a video from BBC Life - Creatures of the deep.  The crabs molt when they've grown too large for their shells, and since they are extremely vulnerable until the new shells harden, they gather and molt en masse. I mention that because some people who have viewed this video thought they were eating each other, and that at the end, it's dead bodies.  It's not.  It's discarded shells.

Anyway, I loved the music ("Comfy in Nautica") so much I bought the album: Person Pitch, from Panda Bear.  Don't try to watch this with the volume down.  It's just not the same.




  [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evd6NTD1wf4 ]

Sunday, July 27, 2014

3969 Bits

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I drove upriver Friday evening and returned today.  The Hairless Hunk had said I'd lost four trees in a recent windstorm.  You know, when he said "lost", I was thinking like previous tree losses, when the trees broke someway up the trunk.  Most of the trees at the country house are black locust, and they tend to be brittle.  I was not expecting major uprooting!  The kind with the roots in the air and a huge hole in the lawn.  Sigh.  I wish I had taken my camera (no, my phone isn't that smart, or maybe it is but I'm not).

The Hunk has a watchmacallit, you know, with a front loader scoop on one end, and a steam shovel-looking thingy on the other.  That, a chain saw, and a few hundred dollars will take care of it I guess.

I'm getting tired of losing trees up there.  In 18 years we've lost more than 35 trees to wind.  I guess that's a disadvantage of living on a ridge with a wonderful view.  The hunk has been transplanting young maples and oaks he finds hither and yon, and most of them have been doing well, so there's that.

Heh heh, another topic, the Hunk likes to trim tree branches high enough that people can walk under them without meeting branches. (I had a husband that used to do that, too.  Him, I divorced.)  I noticed yesterday that he'd trimmed my huge old mulberry tree so high that I'll never be able to pick berries. 

The Hunk also trims tree branches near the house that drop too low, too close to the house roof.  I laughed at him one time for that, pointing out that the branches above the ones he cut would simply drop down as they grow, because now without competition from lower branches they can go lower to get more sun.  It's a no-win situation.  You either have to remove almost all the branches on that side of the tree, or remove the tree.  He looked confused.  "They drop down?"

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I was listening to Sirius Classic radio on the drive up.  One show was The Great Gildersleeve.  Gildersleeve and a neighbor were shoveling coal into a basement when another neighbor came along and told Gildersleeve his face was dirty and he needed to wash it, adding, "I didn't know you could get that dirty on radio!"

I cracked up.

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It's usually a 2.5 hour drive between the two houses, about 135 miles, plus any potty breaks.  I left at about 11:30 this morning, figuring I'd avoid most of the "returning to the city" traffic and be home about 2-ish.  I got home at a little after 4.  Multiple multi-mile sections of 0-20 mph, with no apparent explanation.  So I guess I have reaffirmed that Sunday travel at any time of day is no good.

I don't understand.

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Coming home today, I got the "something horribly wrong" check engine light on Hal, the BMW.   Poor old Fred, the van, is having battery troubles.  And I'm supposed to meet the furnace man at the country house next Thursday, and I was going to call some A/C people for quotes Thursday and Friday.  Another sigh.  I hope BMW can take Hal tomorrow, I hope it's a quick fix, I hope I don't have to put 275 miles on a rental car.

Sometimes I hate the world.

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You know something?  No matter how many pieces of track you have for a train set, unless all you want to make is a plain circle or oval, you won't have enough of the right shapes and sizes to do what you want.  There will always be one critical piece missing.

Must be some kind of natural law.

Thomas and Friends' wooden track pieces are even reversible, track on both sides so the curved pieces can go either way, and it still doesn't help.

Sigh.

I'll probably go to bed early tonight.
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

3968 Wind

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I was so happy about the condition of the country house when I visited two weeks ago.  The microwave still had the correct time, so it hadn't even lost power all winter.

I couldn't go last week because Daughter, Hercules, and the Nugget had gone camping, and I was charged with taking care of the cats and watering the tomatoes.  I wouldn't have gone anyway, because the temperatures up there were in the high 80s low 90s, and it would have been simply too hot to do anything in the house.  Today and tomorrow are supposed to be low 80s, so I plan to drive up this afternoon, returning Saturday.

Next week I want to schedule visits from a few a/c companies.  I need to get that moving.

This morning I got an email from the Hairless Hunk.  There was a windstorm yesterday.  I lost four trees.  He said none hit the house, they all fell to the east, but ... damn!  Over the past 10 years I've lost at least a dozen mature trees to wind.   Price of living on a ridge, I guess.  (While Jay was alive, we had only one severe tree incident, but that time we lost 20 trees in one fell swoop.)

I hope none are crossing the driveway.  I can no longer walk up that drive.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

3967 I think it was made in China....


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Want a fun job, in a foreign country, a different culture?  There should be lots of jobs available writing for toy companies in China.

I bought the Nugget a train set (Thomas and Friends).  The following is from the online description.  Points 5 and 6 were particularly amusing.


5.suitable for: age 3-69 years old

6. children should be warning in adult care use. do not put toys, thrown each other. small parts do not eat, lest produce risk events.toys like found damaged, please be careful save or recycled. avoid fell into, exposure to the sun, damp.
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3966 They're after me?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I am not one of those people who stick a little finger out to catch the turn signal as I turn the steering wheel.  I mean, why bother, if you don't signal a turn until you are actually IN the turn?  I signal just before I slow down to make the turn, you know, like to let anyone behind me know what's coming up next.

Three times in the past two weeks I signaled a left turn, slowed down, started the turn, AND SOME IDIOT SCREAMED PAST ME ON THE LEFT!

This afternoon it was as I was turning into my own driveway.  This is a narrow residential dead-end.  I had signaled about four houses up. I pressed the button to open the garage door about that same time.  The speed limit is 25.  I had slowed down to make the tight turn into the driveway, had started the turn, and wham!  There was a car passing me.

Third time similar situation in just two weeks.  And every single time it was a huge SUV.  White one today.  End of last week it was a red one.

I left the car running after I pulled into the garage and checked the turn signals.  They're working.

I don't understand.
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Sunday, July 20, 2014

3965 Three examples of "Duh!"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Overheard a conversation across the street.  Apparently the neighbor has a "boa constructor".  I had an immediate mental image of an elf stringing feathers.

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I had mentioned that the fuel service for the country house reported that they were unable to make the spring oil delivery because the tank was still full of December's oil, which means the country house had NO HEAT all winter!  What with medical problems and a bad winter, I hadn't been to the house since last summer.

I freaked a little.  Only a little because the well pump had been turned off, so it's not like the house would have filled with water if a pipe had burst, and I had left several faucets open so the danger of bursting was low, but still I had no idea what damage could have occurred.  There were containers of liquids, you know, who knows what might have happened.  I didn't know what might be wrong with the furnace.  And I shuddered to think about the spiders and mice having taken over completely, and the yellow jackets.....

So I made an exploratory trip.  I worried all the way up the highways.

Nothing is wrong. The place looked great.  It even smelled good.  The lawn looks wonderful. The porch is not full of wasp nests.  There's no mouse poop in the kitchen and they didn't move into my bed or furniture.  Everything is exactly as I left it.  I didn't try turning the water on, so there's still a possibility of  leaking pipes somewhere, but I can check that later and handle it as needed.

There's not even anything wrong with the furnace.  I don't know why I did it, but apparently last summer I had turned the furnace off at the thermostat.  Duh.

I'm so happy.

--------------------------------------

You need to see this video.  It's so cute!  It's kind of blah at the beginning, but the end is perfect. You need to watch from the beginning to fully understand the effort the gray cat had put in.  Kitty treats are stored in the top drawer, and the kitties are determined to get them.  The sound doesn't need to be high, but you DO need to be able to hear the music.  (I swear the gray cat called the other an idiot.)


[http://youtu.be/H5SPc1Gn6N8]
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Friday, July 18, 2014

3964 Another fish attack!

Friday, July 18, 2014

I forgot to mention back in post 3960 - once I had figured out how to download stuff to my new tablet, I went out and got the Friskies cat fishing game.  You see cats playing with it all over YouTube.  The fish swim around on the screen, and the fascinated cats pat them to make them disappear.

Well, Jasper is one of the most timid cats in the world.  The first few times I put it on the floor, he ran.  "Eek! Strange thing!"  Finally he understood it wasn't going to attack him, and the next few times he cautiously watched from around the corner.  Finally he crept up to within two feet of it, and then the damn thing MEOWED!  I hadn't noticed there were meows in addition to bubbling and splashing sounds until then.

I'll have to give him time to forget, and maybe try again with the sound off.
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3963 Arrogance

Friday, July 18, 2014

The entire world, it seems, is up in arms over the plane shot down over the Ukraine.

In 1988, a friend, Daughter, and I were touring the canals of England in a narrowboat.  We flew a small US flag off the stern.  Pretty cool.

Then one evening the news was full of reports that the US had shot down an Iranian passenger plane in Iranian airspace.  No survivors.  Lots of children.  The story is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655 (do read it, it's short).  The United States has never admitted responsibility, nor apologized to Iran.  

Can't imagine why they hate us.

Anyway, we took the flag off the boat and pretended we were Canadian.
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3962 Another new toy

Friday, July 18, 2014

My floors always look filthy, because I hate vacuuming.  Mainly because when I bought vacuums for this house (one upstairs, one down) the only bagless vacuums I could find at a reasonable price with good reviews were uprights. That's all they had in stores --- uprights.  No canisters anywhere.   I'd never owned an upright before, and I quickly learned I passionately hate them.

You can't get under stuff.

You can't see what it's about to suck up.

Using the attachments is awkward.  I've toppled the upright a few times.

You can't reach the ceiling/wall seam to get cobwebs.

The damn things are HEAVY and difficult to maneuver.  They maneuver like a rotary push mower on a deep lawn (remember those?).

Because I'm so short, the angle is steep and the entire weight of them hangs off my arm.  This is my biggest complaint.

I hate them.  A nice little canister sits in the middle of the room bothering nobody but the cat, while you clean all around it.  I flat out don't understand why anyone likes uprights.

So, I went online shopping, and I found the BISSELL Zing Bagless Canister Vacuum Cleaner at Lowes.  I have all bare floors and short nap oriental rugs, so I don't need a beater bar, just good strong suction.  This little thing weighs only a few pounds, I can carry it up while I'm doing the stairs, and the suction is enough to cause panic if you touch the wrong thing.  So far I LOVE it!  It has absolutely nothing I don't need and everything I do need.

Best of all, it's only $49.99.  (Actually, it was on sale when I bought it, so it was less than $40, I think.)

No, I'm not getting paid for this praise.  In fact, I'm hoping Lowes won't mind my use of their photo.
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3961 Most embarrassing moment, fish warning

Friday, July 18, 2014

A frequent challenge is to tell folks about your most embarrassing moment.

Yeah, I've had a few, but mostly I don't embarrass easily.  I shrug stuff off, especially if it's a momentary thing.  Like, who cares.  So until I a few years ago, I couldn't really think of one worth mentioning.

And then one day I went with a friend to a show in NYC.  She knew a lot of the dancers.  We drove downriver (from the country house), located the place, parked the car, and then went to a restaurant near the venue.  We had sushi.

Bad idea.

A little while later we were standing in front of the theater, and I had a burst of diarrhea.  No warning whatsoever.  It's not even like I felt like I had to release some gas or something.  There was just suddenly an awful feeling in my underwear.  Just bloop, and it was there.

In the ladies' room, I cleaned me up as best I could, washed up my panties and tossed them in the trash (I think, although in my panic I may have rolled them in paper towels and stuck them in my purse in case I had to show a doctor - it was the strangest, uh, output, I'd ever seen).  A little had got on the crotch of my slacks, so I washed that, too, and spent the rest of the evening with a wet crotch.  But the worst was, I'm sure, the smell.  My friend assured me it was ok, but I know that the smell of feces is strong and permeates.

I sat there in the audience sure I smelled like a dirty diaper, and tried not to get too close to anyone at the afterparty.  Driving home, my friend didn't open the car windows, so I don't know.

But that has to be the most embarrassing several hours of my entire life.  And it wasn't just about me.  I'm sure I must have embarrassed my friend, too, and that felt even worse.  After all, she brought me.

-------------------------------------

Here we are, several years later, and I've found out what happened.

There's a fish called escolar.  It's often sold in restaurants, listed on a menu as "white tuna".  Escolar is very oily, which makes it taste especially good, some people love it.  But most people suffer bouts of oily diarrhea (often described as "leakage") within an hour of eating it.  It is banned in several countries.
"Typically, "white tuna" refers to albacore, the stuff you find in cans of StarKist, Bumble Bee, or Chicken of the Sea branded tunas here in the United States. But according to a Boston Globe report from 2011 (recounted by ABC News as the Globe has a wonky paywall), there's a good chance -- a very good chance -- you're getting something else instead. Every single one of the 23 types of white tuna they tested turned out to be escolar, a cheaper alternative to tuna.

And the word "alternative" is used lightly -- because escolar is not really an acceptable one. Not only is escolar not tuna, it's probably not something you want to be eating a lot of. Escolar is often referred to as the "Ex-lax fish" because eating too much of it -- more than six ounces -- tends to afflict the feasting customer with a bad case of the runs. That's probably not the after-dinner experience you're after when you order the tuna.

From http://nowiknow.com/its-fishy/ by dan lewis.

It was the damn sushi, and the FDA says the restaurant should not have served it as tuna.  I doubt that I had more than six ounces, but maybe I'm just one of those hypersensitive folks.

For some horror stories, search for "escolar diarrhea".
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3960 New Toy

Friday, July 18, 2014

Last Sunday I ordered a Sony Xperia Z 10.1" 32GB Android Tablet from Woot.com.

I'd been thinking about buying something small for maybe a month, but the thought of actually walking into a store and asking for something was overwhelming, because I had no idea whatsoever what I want or need.  I don't have the words, the language, and I didn't want to be SOLD something that wouldn't be adequate, or would be overwhelming and cost more than I needed to pay.

Sigh.

And then Woot popped into my Feedly reader with the above.

I did some research.  You do have to be careful with woots.  Usually the stuff they offer is overstocks, or refurbished, or is on the way out replaced by the next generation, but the prices make a lot of it still a good deal.  I've bought all my televisions over the past few years from Woot, refurbished, and have had no problems.  And they will ship anything right to your door, no matter how large or how heavy, for a standard $5.

I read reviews of the Sony Xperia tablet on several different websites, and all of them had only highest praise.  (Well, some people complained about a slow data transfer rate, but it turns out the device has an option to optimize data for people who pay by the byte, and if you turn that off, then there's no problem.) Unusual for Woot, it's apparently a the latest model, brand new, not refurbished.  The price on Amazon is $599.  Woot was selling it for $379, a savings of 37%.

I bit, and bought.  I figure if I don't like it, I could resell it for that.

It arrived Wednesday evening (that's another thing about Woot --- they're fast).  I opened the box and started playing with it yesterday.  At first it was pure frustration.  There were no instructions, no "how to", nothing.  The startup guide said to go to the website for help.  Uh, how?  Then I figured out Chrome was on it.  The biggest problem was that it kept going to sleep EVERY TEN SECONDS!  Took me a while (and a trip to the help website using my laptop) to find out where the settings were, and I discovered the settings had it shutting itself off every ten seconds as a protection against it being accidentally turned on during shipping.  Gee, maybe that info should have been in the quick start guide, huh?  (Believe it or not, some of the negative reviews on Amazon are because of that very thing, "It keeps turning off!")

Little by little I've discovered how to use it.  My biggest problem at this point is that it's a touchscreen and a stylus won't work, and my fingernails are very long, so I kept "clicking" the wrong stuff, until I discovered how to enlarge the screen contents, and that puts more space between the "buttons".

Well, so far I think I might like it a lot.  I took it to bed with me last night and watched videos.  I might have to get a Netflicks (is that the right name?) subscription.


Friday, June 20, 2014

3959 Yellow?

Friday, June 20, 2014

I came across a quote from Pablo Picasso this morning:  "There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun."

And it occurred to me --- that's another thing that I don't understand.  The sun has never looked yellow to me (except when seen through a thick city smog).  The sun I see in the sky is white.

When I was little, the teachers yelled at me because I made the sun white in my pictures.  They wanted me to paint it yellow and I didn't know why.  Kinda like when the other kids laughed at me because I made far away mountains blue-gray.  "Ha!  She thinks trees are blue!"  I'd point out the windows to the distant mountains, which were definitely blue, and they still didn't see it.

I don't get it.  Why does everyone always show the sun as yellow?  Does everyone else always see it as yellow?  Is it shown as yellow because that's what it's "supposed" to be?

Is it any wonder I grew up thinking there was something definitely wrong with me?

I don't understand.
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

3958 Urgent! Please carefully consider this and join in the effort.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

This is Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. 
There's a movement afoot for an amendment setting congressional term limits - specifically 12 years.  There's no way on earth members of Congress will agree to do away with their own lucrative power trip.  It has to be started in the state legislatures, and there will likely be resistance there, too, since they might be afraid of the same happening to them, if it hasn't already.

[I believe there are currently 15 states with term limits.  In two other states, term limits had been passed, then were rescinded by subsequent legislatures (not surprising -- I'm just surprised there weren't more) and one was overturned by the courts.  If you are interested, here's a list of states and their term limit status: http://www.ncsl.org/research/about-state-legislatures/chart-of-term-limits-states.aspx.]

So, people are trying to generate a popular petition movement.  "WE want it, and we want it now!"  You sign the petition and it will be presented to the legislature of your state.  Here's the text of the proposed amendment,  http://www.termlimitsforuscongress.com/e-petition.html, and the online petition itself.  "Signing" consists of filling it out and sending it in online.

I don't have to argue why this is a good idea.  The chances of it passing anywhere in our lifetimes is slim.  But we must make our desires known or the chances are zero.

I urge you to "sign".  Pass the links on to everyone you know.  It does require your personal information, like name, address, email address, but even I have no fear.  I'm even making a donation.

Forward it to everyone you know.  But, SIGN ONLY ONE petition, otherwise your petition might be thrown out.

The petition is at


--------------------------

Almost forgot - there's a main Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TermLimitsforUSCongress, and some have been set up for particular states - just search in Facebook for "term limits for us congress" and your state name.

3957 Midnight Serenade,

Thursday, June 12, 2014

There's a bird out back who sings all night, or at least until 3 am, which is the latest I've been awake to hear him.

The song is beautiful, so clear and ringing.  You can listen for an hour and not hear the same run twice, so I think it's a mockingbird.

I got the idea to record him on video a few nights ago even if we can't see anything, but since then there's been rain or wind or both, so even though he's still singing, I don't think it would record well.  The first clear quiet night, I'll try, and then we will have a guest appearance on the blog.

I can't help but wonder --- when does he sleep?

--------------------------------

Feedly has been down all day yesterday, up for a short time last night and down again today.  That's where I get the feeds for all the sites I follow, so I am in addiction withdrawal.

Some nasty group has launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS - that's when attackers use hijacked systems or robots to overload a site with traffic so nobody else can use it), and are holding it for ransom.

Several sites and services have been hit with DDoS attacks lately and are fighting back rather than pay the ransom.  If you do pay the ransom, they will never stop.  You can fight against viruses that take over systems and use them as robots to launch an attack, that's the old way to launch a DDoS, but now there are actually servers you can rent to do the job, and if DDoS ever becomes profitable, you may as well take the internet out to the back forty and shoot it.

How does the ransom get paid, anyway?  Do you fill a file with bitcoins and leave it in the cloud somewhere?

Law enforcement is working on it.  This is probably the worst vulnerability of the internet, the easiest and surest way to take ANY sites down, and the least preventable. 
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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

3956 Yeah. Go Jon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Do love me some Jon Stewart.  A 5 minute clip that felt much too short:
https://screen.yahoo.com/the-daily-show/operation-deserter-storm-home-where-040000233.html

Do these people have any idea how nasty they sound?  Nasty, stupid, small-town gossiping self-serving rabble-rousers, and then they wonder why people are killing each other?

Facts? We don't need no freakin' facts!  You just listen up here to what I want you to think!

Aren't these the people who are supposed to be examples to us of how to deal with each other?  Is it any wonder social media is a snake pit?
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3955 Hair

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I took this photo back in late May.  I don't think I posted it here yet.

Growing it out again.  It took a long time because it was so short on top, but I kept trimming the bottom and and growing the top through all those painful yuck periods, and it's finally getting there.

I hated my hair short.  I got it cut because some influential people told me I'd look better with it short.  I hate hate hated it short.  I've had longish hair all my life, and I just don't feel like me with it short.  Even bangs.  I don't like bangs on me.  When it gets long enough on the sides I'll probably usually tie it back, but at least I know it's ME!  Never short again, no matter how "mature" I get.

I think people were trying to make me look more sophisticated.  Surprise -- I make no pretension to sophistication, ever.  Get used to it. 
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3954 What it's like being married to a programmer

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dear, could you go to the store for me?
Yeah, okay.  What do you need?
A loaf of bread.  Oh, and if they have brown eggs, get a dozen.

A half hour later, he returns with a dozen loaves of bread.
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Sunday, June 08, 2014

3953 Anyone else confused?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I'm confused.

The kid walked off the base.  Most military folks consider him a deserter.  Therefore they are furious that five prisoners were released to get him back, ESPECIALLY since so many good men were killed attempting to search for him and bring him back when he first walked away.  That's what they keep throwing out, anyway.

Now, let me get this straight:  Military folks think getting him back is NOT worth the release of five prisoners, but getting him back WAS worth the deaths of multiple fellow soldiers.

Huh?

I don't understand.

People keep describing the released prisoners as "dangerous terrorists".  Note that they have been rotting in Gitmo precisely because we don't have enough evidence against those five to go to trial and win.  In other words, because we can't prove them guilty in a trial, we declared them guilty without a trial?  Convenient.  And scary.  Imagine if your local cops and prosecutor could do that.

People are continuing the "dangerous" descriptor without ever having looked at how and why they ended up in Gitmo.  Salon.com has a story on them, "The worst Bowe Bergdahl trutherism, debunked - John McCain says released Gitmo prisoners are historically dangerous. Records tell a different story".   For the important part, scan down to point number 3.

If these guys are now "dangerous terrorists", we MADE them so!  And I wouldn't blame them a bit.

As I am writing this, one of those Sunday morning political talk shows is on TV in the background, and some pompous fathead just equated the five prisoners to five Nazi generals.

Sometimes I hate people.
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Saturday, June 07, 2014

3952 Research, Relax

Saturday, June 7, 2014

I read some more stuff about optical migraines and TIAs.  Of course, I can't find the precise websites now, but here's a synopsis.

Optic migraine and classic migraine come from the same cause, which "they think" is likely constriction of blood vessels in the brain.  Up to several days before a migraine, you can get hints that it's coming, usually a feeling of tenseness, or depression, or nausea, or constipation ... buncha stuff.

For the past two weeks I've had a feeling of impending doom, and I didn't go to the country house on Thursday as planned because I didn't feel right in my belly.

Next you get the aura.  Various kinds.  An optical migraine is the enlarging jagged flashing in the visual field.

The migraine starts from the constriction of blood vessels.  With me it's all aura, no pain.  The flashing is not in my eyes - it's in my brain.

This is followed by the next phase, when the blood vessels release and dilate, which can cause other symptoms and a throbbing headache.  Those "other" symptoms are interesting.  They can include physical weakness, difficulty speaking, difficulty understanding language, memory problems, and so on.

That can look exactly like a TIA (mini-stroke)!

The whole thing, for an optical migraine, shouldn't take more than an hour or two, with no lasting deficits.  My episode was less than an hour altogether, and the scary garbled speech and blanking on names was maybe a half hour tops.  No headache after.

Then after it's all over, you feel wonderful, light and healthy.

And I did, no remaining impending doom of the previous two weeks, I felt fantastic, energetic, EVEN THOUGH I was afraid I'd just maybe had a bit of a stroke.

So, my conclusion is that if you experience the symptoms of a stroke or TIA but have NOT experienced any kind of migraine in conjunction, then take an aspirin and go to the ER immediately.

If you experience the symptoms with or after a migraine, classic or optic, then see your doctor and get checked out, because who knows.   Maybe it was coincidence.  Maybe not, especially if strokes run in your bloodlines.

=============================

I am not aware of experiencing any garbled speech or memory problems after any other ocular migraine I've had, but then again, for most of them, I was alone.  I very well might not have noticed, not having done anything to expose or test it.   Reading once the jagged flashes were gone didn't seem to be a problem.
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Friday, June 06, 2014

3951 Migraine

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just for the record, I just started an optic (or ocular) migraine about a minute ago.  It's spreading, and soon I won't be able to see anything.  No pain, no danger, this is just so I can look up a record of how often I have them. (I'm glad I'm not driving.)

--------------------------------

I looked up the past ocular migraines:
1996
02/25/06
12/05/06
05/12/07
07/20/07
11/11/10
10/13/11
06/06/14

--------------------------------

The above was about 12/30 pm today.  When it started I was reading an article about WWII American soldiers in England, and the article mentioned Hyde Park, in England.  That sounded familiar, like there's a Hyde Park in New York state, but I couldn't remember where.  I tried to bring up Google maps to look it up, but I couldn't remember how to get to a website.  I was very frustrated, but finally figured it out.  Hyde Park, NY, is the next town south of Rhinebeck, which is south of the country house.  I know it well.  Have to drive through it to get to Poughkeepie.  I was very confused.  How could I not remember where Hyde Park is?  Within a few minutes the ocular migraine had spread to most of my field of vision and I was unable to read the laptop screen, so I gave up and went upstairs to take a bath.

I was soaking in the tub trying to read a book (the visual disturbance had pretty much dissipated by then), and I came across a reference to Franklin Roosevelt.  I couldn't remember who he was.  Then I couldn't remember my daughter's name.  I could remember the Nugget's first name, but not her middle or last name.  I panicked.  I worked very hard, and was able to come up with some names that sounded right.  I tried to say them out loud, and what came out was garbled.  I knew what I wanted to say, I could make the right sounds in my head, but what came out of my mouth was a mess.

Finally I said them right.  I ran through some other names, like Piper's, the Hairless Hunk, The Man.  It was very difficult to remember them, especially their last names, and even when I thought I had them I wasn't sure it was right.  Over the period of maybe 15 minutes it got better.  I could remember names and I could say them out loud.  Within 20 minutes I was not only 100% ok, but I even feel good, better than I have in the past two weeks..

So, maybe this was a TIA (a.k.a. mini-stroke).  Perhaps a tiny blood clot that dissolved quickly.  Or maybe a blood vessel spasm (I've had those in my legs).  I called the doctor I have been assigned by my new insurance, but his Friday hours are 8 to noon.  I refuse to go to the ER.

My history regarding names is poor.  I've had problems remembering names all my life.  One time when Daughter was in high school I called the office to tell them I would be picking her up early for an appointment - and I couldn't remember her name!  I had to hang up and look her name up.  Not being able to remember names is for me normal.  Sometimes I completely blank out.  What was not normal was not being able to speak. 

Whatever it was, it was over quickly, but I guess I should have some tests.  Bleck.  I'll call the doctor Monday.  I am not happy about that.

I didn't want to, but I went over to Daughter's house about 4:45 and told her what had happened, and that for the next two days or so I will call her every two (waking) hours, and if I don't she should check on me.  Naturally, she freaked out.  So she insisted that I accompany her and the Nugget to the grocery store.

I didn't keel over dead or say anything weird, so she seems to have relaxed a bit.

Jeeze!  Am I ever going to get up to the country house?  This is getting ridiculous.
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Thursday, June 05, 2014

3950 Dead AOL id comes back to life!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I have Jay's old email id on AOL.  I haven't used it in something like eight years, because we went through a period where on every AOL update I lost all my saved mail.  I don't even remember the password.  Back when I set up my Gmail account, I set AOL to forward all email to Gmail.  Over the years I've been getting fewer and fewer bits of email forwarded from AOL, mostly ads from cruise lines.  AOL, for all its faults, does a fairly good job of filtering out spam.

Suddenly I'm getting loads of crap forwarded from AOL, all unsolicited spam ads.  It all seems to be coming through some kind of bulk mailer called "iBuilder".

Where the heck did they get that email address?  How do I stop it?

(I may have shot myself in the foot.  It's possible that something somewhere, like a local store I was shopping in, insisted that I give them an email address, and I shrugged and gave them the AOL id without even thinking about it.)

----------------------------------------

Bonus rant:
Alexander Fleming DID NOT "discover" penicillin.   He merely named it and gave it a medical stamp of approval, and made it possible to make money on it.  People had been strapping moldy bread to injuries for centuries before he came along.
.

3949 Turtle

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This snapping turtle was in my back yard yesterday.


Other turtles in other years have tried to lay eggs in my yard, but had been unable to dig more than an inch or two into the solid clay.  This lady was perhaps a little smarter.  She made four attempts right up next to the foundation.  The dirt (I refuse to call it soil) is likely to be a little looser there, having been backfilled and not having been packed by heavy equipment running over it.  Still, she dug four holes.  She didn't bother to refill the first three shallow holes so I assume there are no eggs there.  She did fill the fourth (right next to the air conditioner units), so maybe she got deep enough to actually lay eggs there.

This snapper is pretty small, about the size of a standard dinner plate.  Previous visitors have been almost turkey platter sized, and covered with moss.  They come up from the little stream/ditch at the end of my yard, that feeds into the lake just down the road.
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3848 Poison of the Vipers

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The following is a comment on an article on from whom Malia Obama will be learning to drive.   The comments on almost all articles of any type concerning the Obamas are vicious.  I've never seen so much vitriol.  This particular commenter says what I am thinking better than I ever could.

The article in question:
http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/whos-teaching-first-daughter-malia-obama-drive-171528363--abc-news-politics.html?vp=1


The comment (emphasis mine):
Yowza  •  
Two points here:

1. Since at least the days of the Kennedy administration, pretty much anything the First Family does has been a media topic either when it happens or when the media otherwise learn about it.

Historically, the First Family has always been the closest thing we have to royalty here in the States, so the ready comparison/analogy is the continuous media attention likewise accorded the royal family in the U.K.. And the American people sui generis have also come to expect that our Presidents and First Ladies will make themselves available to the media, and will make public appearances at events and/or on news programs, on essentially a daily basis, even when they are otherwise on vacation.

And even though neither you nor I may have voted for this particular president, or any given one or more of his predecessors, in each and every instance the majority of those casting ballots in the pertinent presidential election did so.

2. As someone who was an officer of my high school civics club, and who was an officer of my college's Young Republicans club, and an officer in my collegiate state's Young Republican organization, and a delegate to 2 Young Republican national conventions, I've been an active follower of both federal elections and administrations for almost 55 years now.

And as a First Family, the Kennedys were derided, and/or despised and/or mocked by many, and especially Republicans until the very day of his assassination, and likewise the Johnsons during both of his administrations, as were in turn the Nixons during both of his administrations (mostly by Democrats, but also later by many Republicans after the Watergate scandal), the Fords not so much (though Jerry was often ridiculed for his mental and physical 'ineptness', but with Carter the derision and despise bloomed anew once again, particularly about the Iran hostage situation and the botched first Special Forces attempted rescue. Reagan mostly got a pass though he was nevertheless criticized openly and frequently for the corruption in both his administrations and seriously called out for his "secret war" in Nicaragua...and George H.W. was likewise mostly given a pass, though he was nevertheless criticized heavily for the undue influence the military-industrial complex exerted on his administration...and for failing to take down Hussein after his invasion of Kuwait. And presumably pretty much everyone knows about all the Clinton 'situations' (Whitewater, Lewinsky and the ultimately failed attempt to impeach him),and of course W. and his administrations were pretty vigorously criticized by the Demos for a variety of things, after an early temporary "pass" after 9/11.

However, in my experience and opinion, none of the attacks and criticisms leveled at any of those past presidents and/or their administrations have ever been even remotely anywhere near as highly vitriolic and toxic, or as continuous, or as all-pervasive/encompassing as those that have been directed against Obama and his administrations...and no other First Lady in/over the last 50+ years been as openly, overtly and frequently attacked/criticized as Michelle Obama has been over the last 5+ years...even Hilary while she was First Lady...and I'm not sure that Michelle hasn't been subject to more direct attacks/criticisms than all of last 8 previous First Ladies combined.

Maybe I'm just "old school" and a bit old-fashioned, but where and the way I was brought up it was pretty much expected/accepted that a woman would stand by, and stand up for, her man...it was also always a given that you didn't attack or criticize her for doing so, nor were you supposed to openly insult or slur another man's wife no matter how much you disliked or despised either her or her husband...not only was it otherwise socially unacceptable to do so, but it was regarded as both being fundamentally uncouth/boorish and a matter of dishonor
---------------------------------------

Amen.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

3847 I have dents in my forehead

Thursday, May 22, 2014

An online comment (I think it was on some article having to do with tornado victims):  "It is a tragic fact of life in these United States recently that we rush to judgment and bitterly, caustically denounce others with little or no real information. It's part of the negative social mood under which our nation now struggles. Hopefully, some day we will be able to move forward to better relations with our fellows. Don't expect I'll live long enough to see it on the internet, but I'll do my part where I am."

This guy GETS it!  It's been bothering me for so long, the way people JUST KNOW what's in other people's hearts and minds.  The negativity is so overwhelming and discouraging.

I blame Republicans.

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I get impatient when people say that Christopher Columbus "proved the Earth is round".  Um, no, he didn't.  That was his theory, but all he proved is that there is more land to the west of Europe.

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A CNN reporter tweeted that Thailand is now under marital law.   Not to be outdone, the caption on Getty images from the scene declare that Thailand is under Marshall law.

These are professionals.  I fear for our country.
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Sunday, April 27, 2014

3846 It's easier to just repeat


Sunday, April 27, 2013

It's easier to just repeat what someone else tells you than to listen, learn, and draw your own conclusions.

That's happening right now to the NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who's accused of racism after being heard on tape telling his girlfriend not to bring any of her black friends to his games.   He and she were arguing, and she taped the argument without his knowlege.  Now everybody is down on him, including Magic Johnson, whom Sterling had mentioned by name.  It's blowing up into a huge storm, players on the Clippers are making sort of veiled threats about letting their playing show how they feel, and even the NBA is planning to "investigate", which we know means he's already declared guilty in the media.

I don't think a single person who's yelling racism actually listened to the whole tape, or if they did I doubt they listened to the actual meaning rather than just pulling out individual words (and no, the n-word is not used once).  They are using sentences and words out of context!
They're repeating what they were told was said.
That royally pisses me off!

Isn't potentially ruining someone's life worth at least checking it out yourself?



Where I'm coming from in my understanding:
My maternal grandmother was born in the nineteenth century.  She was a product of her time.  She was not simply racist - she was xenophobic.  You know, like "Those people are not like us".  She would have had a stroke if I dated someone of another race, OR a white guy whose surname ended in a vowel other than "e".  Or an Irishman.  Or a Jew ("they murdered our Lord, you know").  I'm not kidding. Absolutely.

So if I were dating someone of a different race, you can be damn sure I would hide that fact from her and everyone else in the family of her generation.  I just wouldn't want to hear anything they have to say.  And I would ask the rest of my family and friends not to mention it either. Let's not inflame anyone.

So, now, would that make ME racist?  Or am I simply avoiding having to deal with HER racism (which makes me a coward, but that's different)?

So, Sterling and the girlfriend.  She is very young, beautiful, exotic.  He's old and ugly (personal opinion - REALLY old and REALLY ugly!).  It's possible that a lot of his friends are either jealous and wouldn't be unhappy if he were hurt by her, or see her as a gold digger and want to protect him from her, or some combination, but they are unlikely to be benevolent toward the relationship.

Oh, by the way, she is of mixed race, including at least Black and Hispanic.

 He complains pretty explicitly on the tape that he's tired of his friends and people he has to deal with calling him or emailing him all the time to inform him that she's posing for photos with Black guys and posting the photos online.  In the argument, he is telling her that he doesn't care who she's friends with (he never says anything that can be construed as racist, he even expresses admiration for Magic Johnson, the most recent guy she'd been photographed with) --- but he asks her to please please be a little less public about it, more discreet.  He's tired of people poking at him about what she's up to now.  He just doesn't want to deal with it.

It sounds to me like he has a bunch of racist friends, and like me with my grandmother, he just wants them off his back.  He is forced to deal with these people.  So "do what you want, but cool it with the publicity, and for God's sake don't bring Black guys to my games."  Let's not inflame anyone, ok?

Folks without the patience to listen to the damn tape picked up on the "don't bring them to my games", and pounced on it without questioning what he meant and why.

And they are thoroughly pissing me off.
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