Saturday, August 14, 2010

3055 Of dogs, poop, and dirt.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Those that flee temptation generally leave a forwarding address...."


There's a local guy whose blog I read. I don't know him personally, just found him one day while searching for information on some local event. Anyway, he's starting to really bother me.

He, his wife, two medium-large dogs, and a passel of cats live in a wooded area near county-owned land that is forested and has a stream running through it. He helps heat the house in the winter by burning wood, which he mostly gathers on land he doesn't own. That doesn't bother me too much because he doesn't cut living trees, but gathers wind-downed wood. Still, it's not his wood, and left alone would go to nourishing young trees.

He does have two habits that do annoy me. (Well, he has many habits that annoy me, but these two affect others besides him, so they bug me more.)

He takes the dogs with him everywhere, off leash, to people's homes, to outdoor cafes, yard sales, everywhere, and seems to think everyone should be fine with that - which might be ok except that the dogs are not particularly well-behaved. They're "safe", in that they wouldn't so much as growl at anyone or other animals, and they don't usually wander far out of sight of him, but not everyone is relaxed around biggish dogs. Worse, they very well might piddle or poop on your carpet, and their owner thinks you should be fine with that and leaves it for you to clean up. I find his attitude very annoying.

Second, the county often dumps topsoil, gravel, or sand in areas around the stream for erosion control, flood control, and to make the little beach area more pleasant. Whenever this guy needs fill, he goes to those areas and takes what he wants. He seems to think it's there for his use. That royally pisses me off. Does he not care why the fill is there? Does he not care that we paid for it? It's not as free as he seems to think it is.


The above reminded me of an incident with Ex#2's mother. I've mentioned that she hated me and used every possible passive-aggressive way to demonstrate her feelings.

Ex#2 had to go "home" for every holiday, and I was not allowed to beg off. Sometimes we took my dog along. She was a medium-sized black Australian Kelpie, and very well behaved. Ex#2's mother had a small terrier.

One time when we were visiting and had brought the dog along, arriving that morning, dear MIL came to me in the evening all in a huff and accused my dog of having pooped behind the couch (which was at an angle across a corner). She had been watching television and smelled it, and tracked it down to behind the couch. She took me to the room and had me kneel on the couch, and look at the evidence.

Yep. There was poop in the corner behind the couch. BUT, the poop was covered with white fungus, which indicated that it had been there several days. And the space between the corners of the couch and the wall were much too small for my dog to have gotten through. Her dog could have gotten through easily. Third, my dog had been beside me all day, and neither of us had been in that room. I pointed that all out, and she furiously informed me that her little darling was much too good to have done it. Therefore it must have been my dog.

Ex#2 wouldn't stand up for me. He told me to just clean it up. I think that was the first hint of no future with him.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

3054 Weight experiment

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."
-- Voltaire --


Z - you win the Glucerna. I'll get back to you when I've located all of what's squirreled away.


When I started eating six times a day, and started losing weight, I was happy. When I continued to lose weight, I got worried, because it felt like I was eating constantly. I often had to force myself to eat the afternoon snack, because I wasn't hungry. I started to worry that maybe it wasn't the regimen at all - maybe I was sick and that's the real reason I was losing weight, and whatever was wrong just hadn't hit the pain centers yet.

So I experimented. I started allowing the fats I'd been avoiding. Like the frappuccino, the bagel with cream cheese, the potato chips. Mayonnaise. Very small quantities, but more than the once a week orgy I'm allowed.

I gained weight. Fast! I shot up 7 pounds in two weeks. (I also started the acid reflux thing again. I hadn't had that in months.)

A happy seven pounds. I guess it really is the diet. I've lost three of those seven over the past week, back on the rules.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

3053 Russia is burning, Pakistan is flooding

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Oh, my dear little librarian, you pile up enough tomorrows,
and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.
I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering."
-- Professor Hill, "The Music Man" --


Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been 86. She was one year older than I am now when she died of congestive heart failure. She seemed so old then. I feel so young now.


As the title says, Russia is suffering more than 900 scattered forest fires across over 300,000 acres that have burned entire villages, and Pakistan is is suffering flooding that has already affected 14 million people, killing more than 1,600.

This week's photo essays from (which include the links to last week's stories on the fires and floods):

3052 TMI, of the bubbly sort

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"If the Islamists laid down their arms, there would be peace in the Middle East. If Israel laid down its arms, soon there would be no Jews, Christians,
or any other 'infidels' left alive in the world."
-- (I forget where I got this, but it was a journalist very familiar with middle eastern politics.
I'm not sure what to think of it.) --


During the second meeting with the nutritionist, last March, after I had been on the low sugar low fat high fiber diet for a month and had already lost some weight, I mentioned to her that the only problem I had was flatulence. A LOT of it. She laughed and said it was probably the fiber, and it would probably get better as my body got used to it.

Well things did and didn't get better.

My body did finally adjust, and an ordinary day would be fine, no problem. But things fell apart badly, and loudly, and odoriferously, when I went to the movies and when I spent time with The Man, both especially bad times for it to happen.

I'd be climbing out of The Man's bed in the middle of the night and running the water in the bathroom to cover the sonic booms (and I'm the one whose bottom whispers, remember?), and as soon as I went back to bed, I'd have to do it again. Fighting against release during, um, "athletic pursuits" was very distracting, to say the least.

In the movie theater I'd sit somewhere distant from others, and try desperately to let it go slowly and quietly, which left me with cramps, or I'd be running for the bathroom again. And in the little arts theater I go to, the door to the restrooms is at the front of the theater, right next to the screen, so everyone would see me going there three or four times an hour.

Wanna know how bad it was? My nether cheeks actually burned from it. I got a kind of diaper rash from it, even when the ammunition was "dry air". A few rare times it wasn't dry, if you know what I mean.

I couldn't figure out why. And why only at those times.

I finally figured it out when I bought a bag of "sugarless" chocolate candies. The ingredients listed one of the several sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol. They are sweeteners that are not treated as sugar in the intestines, are essentially indigestible. And cause gas! I figured it out because the time-connection between eating one of those candies and blowing the cat away was immediate and obvious.

Backtracking, I figured the other connection out. I'm supposed to eat something every 2.5 waking hours. When visiting The Man, I'd take Glucerna shakes or bars, because they were more convenient than packing nuts and berries and cottage cheese, and they were convenient for consumption during the drive south. When I go to the movies, I'd take Glucerna bars because the show times rarely lined up with my snack/meal times, or I'd drink a shake earlier because I'd be in a hurry. And Glucerna supposedly fits my new diet.

The Glucerna labels don't mention any sugar alcohols, but legally they don't have to. Surprise. The difference between Glucerna and the sugar-free chocolate was how long it took to trigger the volcano, and how long it lasted. If the shakes or bars did not include chocolate, the eruption was delayed. That's how the connection between Glucerna and the problem escaped detection.

Back to that last visit with the nutritionist - as I was going out the door, she said, "Watch out for sugar alcohols." I didn't know what she meant, and didn't ask. I should have,


Anyone interested in a few cans of Glucerna? Boxes of snack bars? I've got some, free to first responder....

3051 HOTW - Gene Wilder

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 --


After you've seen some of my other choices for Honey of the Week, this will seem like a very odd choice. I tend to respond best to dark hair (or no head hair) and dark eyes, but this guy has sandy hair and blue eyes. And it's unlikely anyone would consider him handsome, or sexy, or dignified, or suave. And the body? Eh. But for some reason I have always gotten that wonderful "tickle in the tummy" from him. I adore him. I want to rock him to sleep (the enthusiastic way). I admit I don't understand my own reaction.

I guess I have eclectic taste in men.

The Gene Wilder of a decade or two ago.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

3050 Teaching, Honey, suicidal caterpillars

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Education is what survives when what has been learned
has been forgotten."
-- B. F. Skinner --


The above quote is so true! When I taught, I used to tell the kids, especially the general math classes when we covered "word problems", that I am only superficially teaching them math, that I am actually teaching them how to think, how to approach a problem, how to determine what is important to the solution and what is extraneous, and how to apply known facts and logic toward the solution, and that this will serve them well throughout their lives, with all types of problems, including romantic, political, and social problems. Believe it or not, the kids liked that explanation, stopped complaining, and applied themselves.

I also reinforced it by giving points for good or creative thinking, especially in geometry proofs, even if they arrived at an incorrect solution.


News flash! My new house has electricity! This is a photo of the electric company cherry-picker trucks outside the house on a recent evening, photo taken by SIL Hercules:
Still no driveway, lawn, or porch railing, though.


Last Wednesday I did a "Honey of the week" post. I'm going to try to do one every Wednesday. I've set up six more already, as drafts, to be published on coming Wednesdays, but I'm running into trouble finding more.

I enjoy other people's hunk-posts, but they tend to frequently select guys from static photos, like print ads, especially of the men's underwear model variety. Eye candy. They're ok to look at, very pretty, but don't really "do anything" for me, if you know what I mean.

I guess my sexual response isn't stimulated by a nice face or body. I need to see a man move. I need to see how he uses his eyes. I need to hear his voice. I need to see his reactions to situations, get some idea of how his mind works. I need to know how he carries himself. Some combination of all that will make my tummy tickle.

So my selections will be different from the usual.

I decided to call mine "Honeys" rather than "Hunks", because as will become obvious by my choices over the next few weeks, the guys who elicit a sexual response from me are not necessarily pretty. They're allover sexy - to me, anyway.

Heh. Wait 'til you see tomorrow's Honey. You'll see what I mean. Maybe I'm weird.


Don't believe everything you read on the internet - or in field guides, either.

When researching Jimson weed (Datura stramonium), several respected sources informed me that no animal or insect is known to eat Jimson weed, it's that poisonous.

So, experts, explain this:
That's a tomato hornworm, larva of the five-spotted sphinx moth (a.k.a. hawk moth), a major pest of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and tobacco, all of which, by the way, are related to Jimson weed. It has already eaten two full leaves down to stubs, and is making major headway on the third. So much for no insects known to eat it.

The white things on it are the cocoons of larvae of the braconid wasp. The wasp lays its eggs under the caterpillar's skin. The eggs hatch inside the caterpillar, and the wasp larvae feed on the caterpillar's innards! Ick! When they get big enough, they cut holes in the caterpillar's skin, emerge, and spin cocoons to pupate in for about five days (I seem to remember five as the number), and then they emerge from the cocoons as adult wasps. Then the caterpillar dies.

The dead caterpillar husk is called a "mummy" because it's dried up and empty.

What I don't understand is why the caterpillar lives that long! I mean, when the wasp larvae emerge, all the damage has been done, and the caterpillar hasn't got much left inside. I wonder if it's aware it's been eaten up inside! How does it even live long enough for the wasps to emerge from its body, let alone five more days?

Maybe this caterpillar is eating the Jimson weed in an attempt to commit suicide.

Monday, August 09, 2010

3049 Hate - pure, simple, unthinking

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it's just an illusion,
that people are going to bring their own stuff into it."
-- David Sedaris --


Perhaps someone could explain why the big difference between the first three reactions, and the last three reactions?

I'm afraid maybe I do understand why, and it thoroughly pisses me off.

Note that in the lower left corner, the three complaints could have been applied to the Bush actions, but they weren't. Why not?

[From Pundit Kitchen,]

3048 Madness in a weed

Monday, August 9, 2010

Short story - "She lies. He lies. They lay."


Becs has identified the strange plant in the previous post as Datura, jimson weed (a.k.a. loco weed (not the same as locoweed), Jamestown weed, devil's weed, mad seed), in a comment. She nailed it.

According to the Peterson field guide, "All parts of this plant are extremely poisonous." There are no animals or insects that eat it. It causes overheating, raised blood pressure, visual problems that can last for weeks, delirium, and a bunch of other bad stuff. There is no antidote. It is fatal if you don't know exactly what you're doing with it.

Wow. The Hairless Hunk doesn't want me to move away, but I didn't think he'd poison me to stop me! Actually, he did mention that his son gets a rash if he touches it. He has a passel of little kids, so I'll alert him to destroy the plants in his yard, and not by burning - the smoke is also hallucinogenic, and not in a good way. Even sniffing the scent of the flowers can cause mild symptoms --- which might help to explain some odd reactions the other evening, when the first blossoms opened.

I think I'll keep my plants, they're safe from munching, but I'll be careful about not touching or sniffing, and I'll snip the flower heads before they set seeds.


It's been a rough year.
The economy is so bad that I got a predeclined credit card in the mail. If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you have to call them and ask if they mean you or them.

McDonald's is selling the "1/4 ouncer". I ordered a burger and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

CEO's are now playing miniature golf. Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM. Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting. The Mafia is laying off judges. BP Oil laid off 25 congressmen. Parents in Beverly Hills and Malibu are firing their nannies and learning their children's names. A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

Congress looked into the Bernard Madoff scandal. Oh Great!! The guy who made $50 billion disappear was investigated by the people who made $1.5 trillion disappear !

Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.
You know things are bad when I'm thinking about selling clothes from my closet instead of buying more. I've been living on my (tiny, because I retired early) monthly retirement check, the monthly SS widow's stipend (slightly higher than the retirement check), and quarterly interest and dividends from investments. But I've been selling off investments to buy the car and the NJ house, and ACK!, that means lowered interest and dividends, at least until I can sell this house.

I'm feeling it. Not in the same way as some others, but yeah. The balance on my credit cards is scary.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

3047 Strange Plant, Familiar Bug

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Love longs for union.


The Hunk gave me some plants that were growing in his yard, to plant in my huge pots. He said they'd get large, and they had pretty blossoms.

I've looked in all my plant books, including the Audubon field guide to North American wildflowers, and the Peterson guide to edible wild plants, which details almost all wild plant groups, noting which are edible, inedible, or poisonous. There's nothing even remotely like these plants in any of my books. Not even a family they might belong to.

So. Anyone know what these might be? The flowers open in the afternoon and have a pleasant delicate scent. The leaves absolutely stink, really bad, and leave the smell on your hands if you touch them.

The big plant in the front, and another at the far end toward the left. The blossoms have a long trumpet. The Hunk says they form large seed pods. (Notice also the flamingos hiding off to the top right.)

I also found an insect on my garage door that I haven't seen in years:

It's a Walking Stick! At first I thought he was missing a pair of legs, but his hind pair are straight back along the end of his body. I guess he thinks it makes him look more like a stick. He's about five or six inches long, head to end of tail (not including legs).