Saturday, August 18, 2012

3599 Killing frenzy starting, in 3, 2, 1...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

You can tell you've made God into your own image
when He hates the same people you do.


I'm going slightly crazy.  Somebody somewhere on the street behind is playing music (I think that's what it's supposed to be) and my kitchen has been filled with boompah boompah boom boom thump boompah boom  pause boompah thump thump, repeat, for over three hours now.  I can hear nothing but bass.  It's maddening.  I'm ready to kill someone.

Turning on my own noise doesn't help.  The boompah thump boom reverberates in my chest no matter what else I'm hearing, like when the bass drum passes you on the street during a parade.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

3598 Tarry tarry night...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock."
--  Will Rogers  --


Daughter and Hercules got their driveway sealed the other day.  (I got mine done, too.)  One hour until it dried enough to walk on, three hours until the cars could sit on it.  Not hot tar - it went on cold.  I frankly don't know what it was.

Nobody told the Nugget about not walking on it.  She came running across the lawn, and got five barefoot steps onto the fresh driveway before her Mommy caught her.  

Her feet were solid black.  I suggested they just let it dry, they could save on shoes....

It washed off with soap and water and a little sugar for scrubbing.

3597 Steampunk laptop

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dean Koontz, in The Face, paraphrased:
"When no one ever listens to you, really listens, you can begin to lose the ability
to tell whether or not you are really making sense when you talk."


Paul Klusman, of the "Engineer's Guide to Cats" YouTube videos, built a Steampunk laptop as a prop in one of his videos. It was a hit. (Not necessarily the video - the laptop.) So he made a video on how he made the steampunk laptop.


In case you missed the original guide to cats back when it went viral, here it is:


T.J. is a friend and coworker.  (No, they are not gay, and they don't live together.)  They both are strong advocates for adopting adult shelter cats.  I may have to make Paul a HOTW one of these days.


A Day in the Life of Joe Republican
by John Gray of Cincinnati, Ohio

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.  All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks on the government-provided sidewalk to subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.  Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state funded university.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the tax-payer funded roads.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.  The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."


Sure, Mr. Beck. Liberals are a cancer on the nation. Look at all that damage they've done.

Actually, a small correction.  Some of those laws protecting Joe were passed during Republican majorities, but that was in the first decades of the twentieth century, when Republicans were actually very liberal.  Mr. Gray should have railed against "conservatives", not "Republicans". 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

3596 Procrastination analysis

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Salada Tea tag line: The price is what you pay, the value is what you receive.


The country house.  Why am I not out of there yet?  It will be two years in October.

Reasons include:
  • The first winter, 2010-2011, was very bad.  Neighbors told me that we'd got more snow here at the city house than they'd seen in decades.  The country house also got a lot of snow, trees down, power outages.  Fred, the van, is no good in snow, and with a long uphill driveway there, I just didn't hazard trips.
  • In the spring my kidney attacked me.  Through the entire 2011 summer I had that stupid useless stent (they'd put it in the wrong place) that tore up my bladder if I so much as lifted more than a coffee cup, or walked, or drove, and I lost a lot of blood.  I had a lot of pain and no energy.
  • The loss of time during the winter, spring, and summer of the first year hurt me badly financially.  I had sold a lot of stock to buy the new house which reduced my income significantly.  The idea was to sell the old house to the Hairless Hunk's in-laws and then reinvest the proceeds, regaining income.  Instead, that house is now costing me almost $1,500 per month in taxes and utilities, on a reduced income, so that now it becomes difficult to hire pros for moving the big stuff and for repairs without dipping into investments, reducing my income even more.
  • I made some headway last fall.  Then there came a cloud.  I'm here because Daughter and Hercules live here.   The company Hercules works for made some demands on him in the fall that, with a new baby, he didn't want to fulfill.  But that company was looking iffy anyway.  They had been bought out, and the new owners were consolidating offices.  It started looking like one way or another they might have to move.  There's no way I would stay here if they moved.  I'd go back to the old house and sell this one.  So ... I stopped moving things down here.  Just in case.
  • In the late spring of this year, Hercules quit the old company and took another much more secure and satisfying job.  But I still haven't been motivated to get my tail in gear.  Money is still tight, but that isn't going to get better by waiting.  So, why not?
Suspicions, what I think might be going on in my head:
  • I really like the old house.  (I merely tolerate this house.) Here's a wonderful description of the three village(s) I lived near: Why would anyone want to leave that?  I had 1.35 acres surrounded by woods, on the top of a ridge.  From the back deck I could see miles of farmland and mountains.  It's beautiful countryside, and I'm so afraid if I sell it I'll never go back.  I don't want to lose it.
  • Hordes of people are convinced that the end of the world (by whatever means, from monster meteor to terrorism, to ... you name it) is due this December, or the religious folks are expecting the Rapture and/or the Second Coming, also December, anyway, whatever, I am also worried.  Not about the same thing as the end-of-life-as-we-know-it people, though.  I worry that some nutty group will decide, if the world doesn't end on schedule, that they have been anointed to make it happen.  And here I sit in hailing distance of NYC. If the shit hits the fan (or the uranium hits the breeze) this is not a good place to be.  The wrong people have guns here.
  • If any of the above means we can't stay here, the country house is ideal.  It has plenty of room for a real garden.  There's a well that can be tapped with a hand pump. The woods are full of rabbits and turkeys.  The right people have guns.  There's a fireplace with plenty of firewood available.  It's up a steep dead-end road so it's less attractive to marauders.  Plenty of room for Daughter, Hercules, and the Nugget.
I think the above is a large part of why I'm dragging my feet.  I just don't want to give up that house.

I never ever ever wanted to be a landlord.  I cringe at the thought of someone messing up something that is mine.  But it may be that keeping the country house and renting it out, perhaps even to the Hunk's in-laws, is the only way to go.  It gives me back the income I need, keeps the house in case I ever want or need it, and gives me a good excuse to revisit the area.  Short of burning it down, or turning it into a meth lab, there's little that renters can do that can't be repaired.

Maybe I can be convinced to do that.  Or forced to.  I've got to get going, some direction.  THIS isn't working.

3595 Hoarding

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

“Politics is a pendulum whose swings between anarchy and tyranny
are fueled by perpetually rejuvenated illusions.”
--  Albert Einstein --


I just read an article on research in Hoarding Disorder.  I had watched a few episodes of the cable show, and I felt so bad for most of the hoarders.  I'd seen that they were very upset about things being thrown out, and I was myself a little upset because the people working at throwing things out didn't seem to understand the depth of the problem.  It's not just laziness, but I had no other explanation or suggestion except that logic had nothing to do with it, so using logic was not an answer.

I learned long ago that where emotional reactions or brain dysfunction is concerned, logic doesn't exist.

The article is "Inside the Hoarder’s Brain: A Unique Problem with Decision-Making", full article here.  An excerpt:
...the study found that people with hoarding disorder took much longer to make decisions about discarding their possessions and felt more sadness and anxiety about these choices than did the other participants. “One of the characteristics of hoarding is that people feel this sense of discomfort if they feel like they may be giving away something that they could use in future,” says Hollander, explaining that patients often become greatly distressed or even angry if they are pushed to give up apparently useless or excess possessions.
So, it’s not that hoarders are slobs or obsessive collectors. Rather, it’s that they have problems making the kinds of decisions about their stuff that others would consider reasonable.
Jay was absolutely a hoarder.  Kitchen garbage, things that would rot or attract bugs, went out, but nothing else that entered the house ever left.  I had to toss junk mail and empty cereal boxes when he wasn't looking.  If he bought a tube of super glue for some project, and it hardened in the tube after opening (as they all do), he would insist on keeping the tube anyway.  "It worked really well, so I want to keep the tube so I can buy the same stuff if I ever need something like that again."

That "something they could use in the future" really hit home.  I heard that over and over from Jay. Also, he had been diagnosed as an Aspie just before his final surgery, and Asperger's is related to autism (mentioned in the article).  Jay had difficulty with ALL decisions.

Also the "sadness and anxiety" part.  Jay actually hyperventilated when I threw out a huge box-load of UNOPENED  junk mail he had moved with him from Texas seven years before.  He got very upset and restless, and started hiding things in the den.

It all fits so well.

Me, I've got a lot of junk, way too much junk, but it doesn't qualify as hoarding.  It's the detritus of pity-me shopping sprees, especially in the four or five years after Jay died, trying to fill my empty life.  I've got to get rid of much of it.  It's not that I "think" it's valuable - it IS valuable, I know because I paid a small fortune for it.  It's not that I can't bear to get rid of it, it's that I want to get out of it close to what I put into it.  That's work, a lot of work, and I don't have time for it right now.  So, I'm not a hoarder - I am absolutely and frankly a lazy procrastinator.

(P.S. - the Asperger's link might explain why so many Mensan's homes are so terribly cluttered.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

3594 Things that made me sad today

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Have no respect for the authority of others,
for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
--  Bertrand Russell  --


So.  This morning I was watching "Sunday Morning", and they were doing a piece on a sculptor, and said that one of his very large pieces filled "the enormity of the Grande Palais" in Paris.

Sigh.  The reporter obviously does not know what "enormity" means.  The Parisians should be very insulted.


I no longer watch late night or daytime talk shows.  It seems like all the guests have something to sell, or need exposure, and that's the only reason they're there, not because they have anything interesting to say. 

I have faithfully watched "Sunday Morning" since the early Charles Kuralt days.  The show used to be about "down home" kind of stories.  Ordinary people who did interesting or marvelous things, odd places and things off the beaten path, stuff like that.  There's an old joke, "My home town is so small Charles Kuralt has been here twice." 

Now it seems to be all about - surprise! - people who have something to sell or people who need exposure.  It has gradually become a 90-minute celebrity ad. It's very subtle, but watch next week and you'll see what I mean.

I may stop watching "Sunday Morning".  (I suspect I already have.  I used to settle in front of the TV with my tea or coffee.  Now I turn the TV on, but I'm not watching.  Listening, at most.  After the enormity of today's grammar gaffe, I don't even want to listen any more.)

When "People" magazine started, it was also about ordinary people in ordinary lives, who did or were interesting in some way.  Then it quickly changed.  It's now a celebrity advertising rag.

Why am I thinking about the worship of Mammon, and of bread and circuses?


What's with the Veronica Lake hair on young women?  You know, where they part it far over on the left side, so the right side falls in their faces, and they are constantly brushing it out of their eyes?  I'm seeing it everywhere.  Man, that's almost as stupid as those stilt-like shoes.

Women who worked so hard in the '70s to earn respect look on with despair. 

Why would any woman want to look like she can't even control her own hair (toss, toss, flick, toss - sexy? Only if you don't mind looking like a ditz.  I guess it's ok if you're a sexy ditz?  Do you really want a man who prefers sexy over brains?)?  Ok, the hair thing isn't a big thing itself, but it's indicative of an attitude.

What woman purposely wants to make her feet look and sound like hooves, and hobble herself?  Is binding feet next?

Why do young women want to look like they are incapable of making sound sensible decisions?  

It's a huge topic, the backslide.  I'm too sad about it to get into it.  They don't know what it used to be like, and they seem to be headed right back.  On purpose.

3593 The Physician, the novel

Sunday, August 12, 2012

“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”
--  Voltaire  --


The book has been absorbing.  I highly recommend it.   It has sent me to the internet many times for history, geography, Persian words, names of plants, pharmacopeia, anatomy, social customs, and more.  Man, life was hard in the eleventh century.  Author Noah Gordon's research was admirable.

There were a few things that left me wondering.  In the first few pages Gordon  describes a healthy child who we are told is 18 months old, but seems from his description to be more like 6 months old at most.  I think this may have been an error.  I suspect that a few pages later he decided that the mother of the child should die in childbirth, so he changed the infant's age from 6 months to 18 to fit the timing, without changing the description.

At another point Gordon seems to realize that there's a sticky problem, so he solves it with a convenient horse bite.  I found it very difficult to accept that bite.  I couldn't imagine how it could have happened, and when Rob mentioned it to a friend, I couldn't imagine the friend not asking how.  Like, the child would have to have been lying naked in a manger or something.  (Huh?  Perhaps in this case appropriate.)  Also, it's impossible that no one had noticed the suspicious "scar" prior to that point in the story, and, having noticed, impossible that they would not have asked about it.

Later in the book there is a footrace in Persia.  The race is so long and in such heat that few runners finish, so the winner of the handsome prize is he who is last moving.  The Shah has also offered a further huge prize to whomever can continue to run a bit further after finishing the first race to a total of 126 Roman miles, completed within 12 hours.  One of the characters accepts the Shah's challenge and wins the prize.

I wondered how far 126 Roman miles was in English miles.  I hit the internet again.  According to several sources, a Roman mile was equivalent to approximately 1,620 modern yards.  Multiply, divide, and 126 Roman miles is 116 modern miles.  Wow.  But it gets more unbelievable.  To run 116 miles in 12 hours (let alone less) requires an average speed of 9.7 mph.  That's an average of  a hair over 6 minutes per mile, sustained for 12 hours!  In intense heat.

Sorry.  I don't buy it.

The author's notes at the end, dated May 3, 2012, describe his research and mention that there's a movie in the works.

I don't know whether this is good or bad.  A movie?  Impossible!  A PBS mini-series, maybe.  But if the movie is less than 6 hours long (I'd like to say 10), it just won't do the book justice.  I am disgusted that people will watch a 90-minute Hollywood synopsis, and then think they know the book.