Saturday, November 24, 2012

3671 Inability to think? Brain dead?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” 
--  Golda Meir --


Golda makes a common mistake in the quote above.  Not all Mid-eastern folks are Arabs, like the Persians of Iran, for example, and most are insulted if you call them Arabs when they're not.  It's a history/blood/tribal thing, like a Scotsman being annoyed if you call him an Welshman, or if you call either of them an Englishman.

Unless, of course, Golda really did specifically mean Arabs.  (The title of this post does not refer to Golda.)


Squiggy the Squirrel was back this morning, none the worst for his battles.


Garbage is collected here twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays.  The time of day is random, anywhere from 8 am to 6 pm.

I put out one small kitchen can sized bag, often only half full, so I don't have to store anything between pickups even if I miss one.  Daughter's family makes a lot more garbage, as is expected with more home cooking and many daily diaper changes.  She often has a full regular garbage can, but sometimes puts it out only once a week.

I flat-out don't understand what's going on in the house directly across the street. 

Every pickup their two or three large cans are overflowing.  There's two adults and two early-teen kids (whom I often don't see for days at a time, so I suspect there may be some kind of shared custody arrangement).  How on earth do they make that much garbage!?  I know they don't recycle, but still....

Daughter's cans are bungee'd to the side of their house, with bungees holding the lids down.  The folks across the street have their cans alongside the side fence, with no lids!  I have often seen, late at night, the tails of racoons, opossums, or skunks waving out of the top of the cans.  When the cans are full to overflowing, the scavangers pull the stuff off the top to examine, or just tip the cans over.

What bugs the hell out of me is that the people don't seem to care, and they don't learn.  They'll go out and gather up the garbage on their property, but they ignore what has blown or been strewn out onto the street.

I'm getting very tired of collecting their paper towels, cigarette packs, potato chip bags, paper cups, and every other type of debris from my curb and lawn.

Today it has reached a crisis.  I'm very annoyed and I don't know whether I should say something or not.  Nobody else in the neighborhood has said anything, so there must be a reason for their reticence.  I'm not sure I want to find out why.

Thursday was Thanksgiving.  They must have had 15 people in the house.  Thursday was garbage day, but of course it was skipped for the holiday.  Friday morning, they put three large grossly overflowing cans plus a big black garbage bag out at the curb - OUTSIDE their fence, of course.  There was no pickup.  When I went to bed, all that stuff was still at the curb, and I thought "Raccoons will feast tonight."

Sure enough, this morning one can had been tipped, several bags torn open, and garbage and trash was strewn in the street.  Later in the morning the woman was out there picking up trash from the part of their lawn outside the fence and stuffing it back into bags.  As usual, she did not pick up what had blown into the street.

Now here's what blows my mind:  there is no hope of a pickup until Monday, but she left the overflowing cans and the black bag sitting there!  So they'll be there tonight and Sunday night.  Does she think racoons take the weekend off?  What the hell is she thinking? IS she thinking?  How can anyone repeatedly clean up trash, and NOT figure out how to avoid it? Is she incapable of learning?

Photo taken through my living room window a few minutes ago, through a screen, and severely cropped:

I don't understand.

3670 HOTW - Sugar Ray Leonard

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Teach a child to be polite and courteous in the home and, when he grows up,
he'll never be able to merge his car onto a freeway.


We haven't had a Honey of the Week in a very long time.  Boxer Macho Comacho's shooting and death have been in the news for a few days, and that brought to mind the only boxer whose career I had followed.

Sugar Ray Leonard.
Isn't that just the cutest face you've ever seen?  I had a terrible crush on him in the '80s.  I suspect this photo is from his Olympic days, in his late teens.  He looks about 10 years old.

In his early thirties he had surgery for a detached retina, and so he decided to retire from the ring.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Then, the next year, he un-retired.  I yelled "No, no, don't mess up that pretty face!"  I really was upset about it.
I needn't have worried.  He was GOOD!  That pretty face rarely got touched.

He's now in his mid-50s, and he has aged well.  He's still pretty. 
He published his autobiography last year, in which he reveals for the first time that he had been sexually abused by an Olympic trainer, and the effect that keeping that secret had on his life.  The NY Times article on the book is here:

Now that he has told his story, he is involved in child abuse prevention activities.  This is a video of his speech at the October 29, 2012 child sexual abuse conference at Penn State:   Skip to 5:19 to skip the intro and see how pretty he is.


Friday, November 23, 2012

3669 Frustration

Friday, November 23, 2012

They told me I was gullible... and I believed them.


I watched "Blazing Saddles" on TV last night.  Man, they bowdlerized the "Hell" out of it.  Also the "ass", the "rape", the "Mormon", and the "nigger" out of it.  Practically every tenth word, and every one of those words was necessary.  It wasn't the same at all.  Rape?  Duh?  The line was something like, "I rape and pillage and murder for fun", and it became "I .... and pillage and murder for fun".  Since when is rape a worse word than murder?

Oh, well.

I was disappointed because I didn't see one particular scene I remembered that I loved.  A bad guy pulls a gun on the hero, a few inches from his chest, and the hero calmly sticks his finger in the barrel.  The look of disbelief on the bad guy's face is priceless.  "Oh, $#!T ! Now what?!"

So I did some research today, and it turns out that scene is from a different movie.  Walter Brennan pulled a gun on James Garner in "Support Your Local Sheriff", and Garner sticks his finger in it.


My research led me to some forums in which people were arguing vociferously a) whether or not you could stick a finger in the barrel of anything smaller than a shotgun, and b) whether the buildup of compressed air thus created would really cause the gun to explode.

I was frustrated because they were so passionate about such a moot point.  It doesn't matter whether it would or not.  It only matters whether the shooter is absolutely *positive* it will not.

If a guy is pointing a gun at your chest from a foot away, you don't know for sure whether he's going to pull the trigger or not.  You lose nothing by sticking your finger in the barrel, either way.  He, on the literal other hand, now has a chance, a possibility, of losing his shootin' hand if he pulls the trigger. There's an element of surprise, and that can make all the difference.

So I wanted to ask those guys who insisted the gun would not explode - if you were going to shoot some guy, and he did that unexpectedly, would you pull the trigger without hesitation?

I am proud of myself for stomping my frustration and resisting the impulse to jump into the discussion.  I doubt they'd get my point anyway.

3668 Daily blessings

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed,
those who are cold and not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat
of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." 
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower --


I guess I've been pretty clear that I'm not big on holidays, partly because they are commercially perverted and exploited, but also because we as a society seem to have forgotten the true purpose and reason for those holidays.  Kinda like Sundays.  I get very annoyed by people who are all pious and holy on Sunday morning, and then forget it all for the next six and a half days, 'til it's time to be publicly pious and holy again.  I think the sentiments of Sunday, Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, and all that should be an every day thing.  Like, ONE day for being grateful for our bounty?  ONE day to get together with family?  Bull poopy.  We should be grateful every day.  Stop complaining on every other day of the year about what you don't have or want but can't get.  Every time you go to the grocery store, give thanks for what the earth gives us.

I had told The Man that I don't enjoy giving or receiving gifts on those days when they are expected (and in some cases demanded).  I prefer it to be a more natural spontaneous "I saw this and thought of you" type thing.  I never ever want a "gift" that someone felt they had to give me because the calendar said so.  He seemed very relieved by that.

A cynic could interpret that as that I want every day to be Valentine's Day.  Well, uh, yeah.

Hercules has yesterday and today off work.  Daughter didn't cook yesterday.  They decided to relax and enjoy life instead.  I think she had intended to do the turkey bit because she had invited me to dinner, but I turned her down.  She knows I don't like holiday fuss, but what I didn't tell her was that a) I dislike turkey, and b) I had a 2-hour shift washing pots at a Sandy shelter.

So anyway, she's cooking today and will bring me some leftovers.


So far I have still seen only two squirrels since the hurricane.  Normally one sees six or eight in the trees, and you can hear many more scolding cats and each other all day.

Sqiuggy came by yesterday morning for his peanuts.  I can put out only one at a time because he takes one at a time and disappears to bury it (I guess), so if the blue jay is around the jay steals the rest.  Yesterday I had thrown a peanut onto the driveway, and squirrel #2 ran up to investigate.

Squiggy had a fit!

He chased #2 in circles on the driveway, up onto the porch, around behind me so close their flailing tails brushed my ankles, through the railing and around the side of the house.

This morning #2 is digging around in George's front yard, carefully keeping his back to me.

I haven't seen Squiggy since the chase.  I guess he won the argument, but I wonder if there was a price.

3667 Bits

Friday, November23, 2012

Not everyone who flies first class is first class.





If you need to take something to a Christmas buffet, this is pretty and edible.   Take two, one for each end.  (I have seen this done with a candle taper instead of a carrot, and you light the candle, but I wondered how safe that might be if it gets unbalanced.  Like if Joe eats all the pineapple first.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

3666 Squiggy Squirrel

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous."
--  Shana Alexander  --


That first squirrel to reappear after the hurricane?  I've been feeding him peanuts in the shell, early mornings.  I don't know if he's hungry, friendly, brave, or stupid, but he'll now come within two feet of me and sit up and beg. I don't know if I want him to actually touch me, like sit on my knee or something. If I ever run out of peanuts, that could get very annoying.

I've named him Squiggy, like Laverne and Shirley's Squiggy.

It fits.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

3665 Civics triage

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.


Post #3663 was the civics test. I was impressed with everyone's scores. We're all above average. I sorta expected that, actually.  But I wonder - those questions that you answered correctly, did you actually know the answer?  Or did you figure it out?

Too often when people take multiple choice tests, they read the question, realize that they don't know the answer, and then they just pick a random answer without thinking further about it.  Actually, the question usually has clues you can use to immediately eliminate one or more of the choices, and then weigh the remaining possibilities.

A good example is the question about the main issue in the 1858 Douglas/Lincoln debates.  I didn't have the faintest idea.  (If this were an essay question, I'd have to go for humor and hope the instructor was easy.)  The choices offered included whether free African Americans were citizens, the morality of slavery, whether slavery would be allowed in new territories, or whether states have a right to leave the union.

Ok.  My approach:  The use of the phrase "African Americans" is odd.  If it were a topic of the time, it would have been "freed slaves".  This looks like it was just pulled out of the air to round out the choices.  Eliminate it.  The "morality" question is philosophical, and unlikely to be meaty enough for a debate, let alone the main issue.  Eliminate it.  The right to secession wasn't even an issue until long after the election.  Eliminate it.  That leaves "territories", which was a big deal at the time, and a safe issue.  And the correct answer.

Another was the question about what is "expressly prohibited" by The Bill of Rights.  Offerings were prayer in public school; discrimination based on race, sex, or religion; the ownership of guns by private individuals; establishing an official religion for the United States; and the president's vetoing a line item in a spending bill.

Now, there are lots of things prohibited in the Bill of Rights, including the quartering of soldiers in private homes, unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and so on.  So this looks like an elimination exercise, complicated by the fact that there are lots more prohibitions in subsequent amendments (the Bill of Rights refers only to the original ten, but most people don't draw a line between the tenth and the subsequent, so it's hard to limit it).

Well, we can eliminate sexual discrimination right off - it was another 150 years before women got the vote and then another 50 years after that before women were considered real people.  Anyone with half a brain knows about the gun thing.  So there's two down.  Prayer in schools was a Supreme Court decision after I graduated from high school, based on the first amendment, but not specifically addressed in the first amendment - and it's a battle still being fought, therefore it's not "expressly forbidden".  That leaves the official religion thing and the line-item veto.  If there is anything about the line-item veto, it would be in the body of the Constitution where the functions and responsibilities of the branches are defined, not in the Bill of Rights, so we are left with official religion as the likeliest answer, which is the correct answer. 

You can do that kind of triage with almost all of the questions.

Are there any you'd like me to examine?


I missed two questions:  the one about Roosevelt and the Supreme Court, and the Puritan one.  I didn't know the President could appoint additional justices until he got the votes he wanted.  I eliminated that as a possibility because it seems like if they really could, a lot of Presidents would have done that by now (um, abortion?).  But I didn't like any of the other choices, either, so I blew that one off.

The Puritan one, well, I'd like to argue that one with the writers of the test.  Stressed the sinfulness of all humanity?  Baloney!  My grandmother's church was one of the last Puritan churches.  They imported their ministers from Wales.  I was christened Puritan.  Yes, there was a belief in original sin, but they also stressed that it was possible to live without sin by rejecting temptation.  That dour caricature is a baloney stereotype, even for the colonial Puritans.

I scored 31 of 33, 93.94%.