Saturday, October 29, 2011

3382 News Flash

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I guess I'm glad I didn't go upriver to the old house as I had tentatively planned before the tax crap hit the fan. This just in:

Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus, in consultation with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Central Hudson and New York State Gas & Electric, has declared a countywide State of Emergency for the County of Dutchess effective 7pm this evening (Saturday, October 29th).

County Executive Steinhaus said, “Law enforcement, public works and utility crews are all reporting treacherous weather conditions with downed limbs and power lines. To ensure public safety and allow crews to address hazards and restore power, a State of Emergency will be in effect from 7pm this evening (Saturday, 10/29).”

The State of Emergency declaration states: “all roadways in Dutchess are closed and traffic is prohibited except for: medical and health facility personnel, law enforcement and public safety personnel, first responders, utility, maintenance and public works personnel, snow removal sanding, salting and clearing operations personnel, facility operations persons deemed necessary for plant operations by their employers and public and government personnel involved in the emergency operations.”

The state of emergency is issued pursuant to Section 24 of New York State Executive Law. It is enforceable by local, county and state law enforcement agencies.

Leaves are still on the trees. Unfortunately, the trees are no longer standing. The last time this happened was about 1995ish, snow while the trees still had leaves. Jay and I lost 23 !!!! trees on our property - the old house. I guess I'll hear tomorrow (or whenever the power comes back up) from the Hairless Hunk how many trees I've lost this time. And how much cleanup will cost.

I hope none hit the house.


3381 Then

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Death is an alternate existence.


Man, I write next to nothing here for months, and today you can't shut me up. Must be the snow....

Why is it that every time I connect with someone from the past on, they immediately put my email address on their broadcast list and start sending me those stupid cutsy-poo memes that everybody has been sending everybody else for years? Then I finally get annoyed and ask them to remove me from their forward lists, and they get pissed and I never hear from them again.

Well, today I got a forward of the "Remember Back When" genre. Then, coincidentally, Becs wrote about how different playtime is for kids today as compared to Back When. I started to write a comment on Becs' post, then decided it would be too long, so, Becs, here's my comment.


When I was in the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades, we lived in Ottawa, Ontario. We kids used to go everywhere in the city on the city buses and trolleys. A nickle got you on, and you'd get a transfer when you got off that was good for several hours, which you could use on any other bus or trolley, where you'd get another transfer, and so on. You could go anywhere, all day, on that one nickle.

No cell phones. We left the house in the morning with our nickle, and our parents didn't know where in the whole city we were, until we showed up again at supper time. We had another nickle in our sock for the pay telephone, in case we got sick or something.

Actually, we often left the city. We'd take the bus across the river to French-speaking Hull, basically the "other half" of Ottawa, to go to French movies. If we took the ticket stub to school, we'd get 5 points credit in French class.

We'd go for bike rides, straight out into the countryside, passing signposts that said "Ottawa 20 miles" (it was still "miles" then, pre-conversion) behind us.

Or we'd go to the Parliament buildings in the middle of the city, and watch the mounties and pet their horses. There was a hotel near Parliament with an indoor pool, and no one ever questioned our right to use the changing rooms and swim there. I guess they just assumed our parents were guests or members.

The Rideau Canal snaked through the city. It froze in the winter, and we would skate the length of it (maybe 4 miles?) and back. No adults herding us, just lots of kids on the ice.

We were 10, 11, 12 years old, but younger kids were doing it, too. Here, now, kids can't walk the 1/2 block to their home from the school bus until they're over 12. If a pre-approved adult isn't waiting at the bus stop, the driver is not allowed to let the kid off.

Kids are learning that the whole world is depraved. "Back When", we were pretty much set loose on the world. And, hey, we survived! Along the way we learned about weird people, and good people, and dangerous things and safe things. Getting lost and finding our way back again.

We learned about making independent choices, and dealing with the consequences.


Hallowe'en. I don't want to hand out sugar, the state won't allow fruit (unless very expensively individually wrapped) and last year's kids didn't seem too thrilled with bags of salty corn or potato carbs. This year I ordered small bottles of bubble stuff. The supplier called yesterday (the order was placed over a week ago) and has promised that they will arrive by 3 pm Monday. They're being shipped UPS from a warehouse in northern NJ, so, maybe.

I don't know what I'll do if they don't arrive on time.


Go to and search for Halloween apples razor. There's only one documented nutcase. The rest seem to be hoaxes, or kids being "funny".

People overreact to everything, and I think it's because they've been "guilted" into feeling responsible if anything goes wrong.

That, plus the fear of lawsuits.

And the fear of not being politically correct. (Which, by the way, leads to a whole new topic: "Politically Correct" is gradually going from being a social thing to being a real political thing. People are being arrested for insulting the government or government employees. Death threats or real death are dealt for being "unpatriotic".)


Really, truly, watch the video in the previous post.

...What if some stupid kid drinks the bubble stuff and gets diarrhea, and the parents sue me? See how it works, where it goes? In the current American climate, it could happen....

3380 Would you believe?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The deepest despair is full of secret satisfactions.
-- Albert Speer, Spandau Diaries --


Remember the quote above when you read "train wreck" blogs. Partly as it applies to the writer, partly as it applies to the reader.


Would you believe it's 34 degrees F, and it's snowing, and it's sticking?


Would you believe there are actually women who never touch their own breasts, and who act disgusted when you suggest that they do, to, like, check for lumps and stuff? Like you've asked them to do something "dirty". Really. There are women who have never seen themselves naked in a mirror.

I cannot imagine being so disconnected from and disgusted by one's own body. But they really do exist, right here in River City.


Would you believe that I know a man (well, actually two men, although I haven't seen one of them in a decade or more) who is disgusted by everything his body produces. Even sweat. He's embarrassed to be seen with beads of sweat on his brow, let alone allowing anyone to actually touch his sweat. He showers at least twice a day, more often if he can manage it.


The following video is Terence McKenna. Mr. McKenna died in 2000 of a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a particularly nasty type of brain tumor. During his life, he, like Timothy Leary, was a proponent of psychedelic drugs as a means of opening the mind to other dimensions.

I do happen to believe that there's a lot more going on than we can normally perceive, that there is another dimension to reality, and that if you are open to it, you can catch glimpses, but I don't agree that magic mushrooms is the key to that opening. Rather, I believe that psychedelics just turn one's mind around into itself. A fractal mobius strip mirror.

Be that as it may, I do agree with Mr. McKenna's take on relativism and political correctness:


3379 Tax Shock

Saturday, October 29, 2011

One does not reject, dislike, or avoid pleasure itself because it is pleasure,
but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter
consequences that are extremely painful.
-- Section 1.10.32 of "de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum", written by Cicero in 45 BC --


I don't pretend to understand the green quote above, but for some reason it intrigues me.


Latest hitch in my gitalong: The township has suddenly become aware that there's a house on my lot, and has raised the assessment. I get quarterly coupons to pay the real estate taxes, and I have dutifully paid them, to the tune of almost $3,000 so far for the first three quarters of 2001. That sounded about right to me, so it never occurred to me that there might be a problem.

My house upriver is technically larger than this house, walk-out basement, 2.5 car garage, deck and huge windows across the back, on 1.3 acres, on a ridge with a fantastic 20-mile view. This house is smaller, on a tiny lot (probably about 1/4 acre, over half of which I can't use because of a township easement), no basement, tiny 1 car garage. The taxes upriver are a bit over $5K per year, so a bit less than $4K here seemed a bit high, but reasonable enough.

Surprise! That was just for the land. Now that they've figured out there's a house (in addition to the mail box they'd been sending the coupons to, don't know what they thought the box was attached to), they've sent me a bill for the back taxes for 2011. By 11/10 I have to come up with an additional $5,198.75!

The total tax bill for this house is almost $8,000 per year! Holy Crap! I was not expecting this. Gonna have to have a talk with the assessor, I think.

Friday, October 28, 2011

3378 Bits

October 28, 2011

Next to great joy, no state of mind is so frolicsome as great distress.
-- Henry James, A Most Extraordinary Case --



Sigh. I've seen this suggestion (left) many times before, elsewhere. I always wonder if the person is serious, if people are really this stupid, or if it's just a lame joke.

On the other hand, I've heard people say it, in all seriousness, regarding the deer crossing on route 199 west of Milan.


I hate my latest hair trim. It goes straight across the forehead and makes me look a lot like Linda Hunt, especially as my face gets thinner. Don't get me wrong - I adore her - but I'm used to a different me in the mirror .

What's worse is that she and I are about the same height. The first time someone asks me for an autograph....


The folks diagonally to the right across the street (the fire chief) have moved. I twice saw a large rental truck in the driveway, but I never saw them putting anything in it.

They also took the storage shed that used to be at the end of the driveway. I had suspected that the shed contained the source of that mechanical tree frog sound that had slowly been driving me crazy, either that or some kind of pump on the next street over. I haven't heard the sound since they moved, so I'm hoping that was it.

I am sleeping a bit better since they left.

Now I'm curious. What was making the sound? Maybe a freezer? Is it reasonable that a freezer would run at night in the winter when the temperature is well below freezing, but not during the day?

Now that the sound is gone, the curiosity is taking over the crazy-making duties.


I got a cute birthday card from the Nugget. She had addressed the envelope herself (but they had to take the pen away from her when she started eating it). The card (one corner had been chewed) wished me a happy fourth birthday. I wondered about that for a moment, but the inside said that Gramma was so wise and knew so much she must obviously be old.

To six months, four is old.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

3377 A fashion education

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What bothers me about God is that he hates arrogance so much,
but doesn't seem to mind cruelty.
-- Paraphrased from Elaine May and Mike Nichols (actress and director) --


I've been coming across references to"hipsters"and "hipster fashion". In my own head, with no evidence to guide me, I decided it had to be kind of like a 30s-movie relaxed preppie sort of thing, where one could wear what one liked without regard to what's "in".

I googled some images. Man, was I wrong!

It's more like a cross between grunge and hippie, but hippie that has discovered polyester and lycra, and has no sense of flow or beauty.


(Yeah, they wear neck scarves in June, but they HAVE to because they have NO BODY FAT to keep them warm!)


3376 An adult response

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One parent can support ten children, but ten children cannot support one parent.
-- Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz --


"After 10 hours of negotiation, Europe may be on the way to solving their debt crisis. So that’s another way Europe is nothing like us. The negotiating. And the solving." (From

Sunday, October 23, 2011

3375 Sleep, ribs, headache

Sunday, October 23, 2011

One who considers himself a victim of circumstance
is more often a prisoner of his own decisions.


This is a note for my own memory. Ignore.

Sleep - bad for several weeks. Disturbed by brain running in high gear. Fall asleep easily, but wake multiple times with cascading thoughts.

Headache - across lower back of head and neck. Often wake at very early hour and can't get back to sleep. One aspirin helps. Disappears when I'm upright. Neck creaks for a while when I move it after I get up. Headaches are very rare for me, so this is a worry.

Ribs - they hurt. Low, high, front, back, pain moves around. Definitely the ribs, not inside. About two or three weeks now. Also right hip, for about a month or more, moves around front, back, side, high, low.

Reasons? Heat blows on bed, on head, during night. Closed the vents completely last night, did sleep a little better. Still same bone pain, but headache less this morning. That mechanical tree frog sound from across the street disturbs me, causes tension in my neck. If things don't improve, try sleeping in a back bedroom. Can't hear it there. Bone pain - wondering if the kidney-protecting calcium reduction is causing it. I'm going to ignore doctor recommendations and add the magnesium back in. Maybe ribs hurt from leaning over the play yard sides?