Thursday, June 21, 2018

You Say "Clown Circus" Like It's A Bad Thing

     The two complaints I see directed at the Trump Administration are that A) everyone involved is Pure Evil and B) they're incompetent.

     As for "evil," well, there's plenty of that; it's pretty hard to be POTUS without being at least mildly evil.  It can be (and usually is) argued that many of the wicked things Presidents do (and considered all by itself, an act like, say, destroying the power distribution and civil government of a region or country is, in fact, evil: innocent people will die from it, no matter how "surgical" the airstrikes) are done to stop or prevent even greater evils.  And Presidents routinely do just that, or at least just about all of them during my lifetime have done that --- even really nice Presidents, darlings of the media, have to wear the Commander-in-Chef hat.  So I'm going to posit the evil part, suggest it is inherent in government and add that a big government is more able to commit great evils than a small government.  YMMV, but it's difficult to find exceptions.

     Incompetence is another matter.  We have a government that was originally set up to be operated by amateurs.  Part-timers.  People who had other work, who took two or four or six -- or twenty -- years away to serve their country, to represent their state or district or shake hands with kings and try to keep the place from going off the rails, or to sit as judges.  The first generation of Federal officials included plenty of hardcore hobbyists, more than a few genuine idealists and lots of men with prior govenmental experience, but they were, nonetheless, amateurs, and we've had a good many in Congress and the White House since -- engineers, college professors, farmers, former military officers.  The country has survived them, survived the people they appointed, survived their sometimes less-than-wonderful Cabinet choices.  Incompetence may, in fact, be a virtue, in that people who aren't sure how it all works and are learning on the job have a lot less time and opportunity to get up to really big, complicated badness without being tripped up or found out in the process.  All first-term Presidents are new at the job; even second-term ones have only been at it for four years and after four more, they're out for good; they'll never do that work again.

     I'm not hugely impressed by Mr. Trump's Administration.  It think it tends to flounder.  It looks very ad-hoc to me.  But I don't think it is The End Of The Republic; among other reasons, it's thoroughly (if somewhat paranoiacally) watchdogged by the Press and the opposing party; the biggest risk there is missing substantive issues among wild confabulations of sky-falling speculation.

     Might as well enjoy the popcorn.

Oh, Lovely

     Went to put away the Aircast icewater ice pack system this morning (after having slept wearing it) and got off-balance with my feet wrong in the narrow space between the opened-out futon and media/storage area with a fat, insulated container of icewater in one hand and the knee-cuff in the other, took two quick half-steps to stave off a fall, and came down pretty hard on my right leg for the third one.  That's the leg with the bad knee.

     Sitting here typing with a big gel-type ice pack on that knee now, hoping to stave off anything worse.

     On the good side: having the first breakfast of more than buttered toast of this week.  I had medical appointments Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, which left only enough time to make coffee and not even really that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

And Here I Am, Hurrying Again

     I'd like to post something interesting and complicated; I'd like to catch up on my online correspondence.

     Instead, I need to catch the 7:00 a.m. shower express, and see if maybe I can get to physical therapy on time.  My knee kept me up half the night despite an ice pack; I have been too sleepy in the evening to set up the Aircast icewater-sleeve system for days now, so at bedtime, I put on a big gelpack, good for a couple of hours, and then nothing.

     Wah, wah.  Won't get any better unless I work at it, and sitting here at the keyboard won't do that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Up Early

     ...And off for more doctorin'.  Isn't this fun?  Not really.  But it beats what's in second place.

     Of course, work called, with what appears to have been a small problem, one I can shelve until later and which may even have cleared itself by the time I get a closer look.  Probably a power hit.*
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* In meetings at work during the run-up to Y2K, I made a number of suggestions about power conditioning and UPSes.  They were pretty routine and most of them were implemented before the year 2000.  In making them, I pointed out the power-distribution infrastructure was aging and there was a lot of construction around our two main sites, concluding, "we may be entering a time when commercial power is less reliable than we're used to."  There was much harrumphing at that crazy notion.  Now we're getting two or three glitches on the power every week, and ugly hits that take a fair amount of rebooting slam us a dozen times a year, despite a big UPS that carries the critical loads.  I'm not happy about being proved right. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

And It's Physical Therapy Again!

     My goodness, am I having fun yet? 

     Picked up some clothes for PT yesterday, much to the amusement of Tamara -- I was looking for opaque tights and she kept pointing me to some heavier spandex leggings on hangars.  Described what I was looking for and she sighed, "Oh, sure, they're right next to the leg warmers, in the 1980s."

     Not entirely true.  We eventually discovered even the big-box store has tights -- in your choice of black or black.  All right, then, black tights it is, just like I was a Theater student, though I was hoping for bright colors not found in Nature outside the Tropics. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

I Almost Didn't Post Anything Today

     It was a busy day, and dreadfully hot.

     I mowed the lawn in the morning -- leg brace and all -- and in the afternoon, Tam and I picked up prescriptions, shopped at the big-box store for exciting things like cat litter and bottled water, then hit the grocer where, to my very great delight, Tam snuck off and bought a couple of lovely big steaks.

     The grill has been needing cleaned out, reusuable charcoal separated from ash, and the steaks were a good excuse for it.  Hot (somewhere between 95 and 100°F) and a bit messy but the results were worth it, a nice clean, hot fire of lump hardwood charcoal that did the steaks justice.  I cooked sliced mushrooms in truffle butter in a little grill pan on the upper level, and the aromatic smoke made them a real treat, too.  Added a salad (mixed greens with grape tomatoes, radishes, carrots and red bell pepper), and there's supper.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Yeah, Not

     In a lousy mood this morning.  Maybe I'll be more entertaining later.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Bit Of A Blank

     It's Friday, and the work week is just about done -- and I have chores at home left to do from last weekend.  Miss Tamara is taking a nice handful of pills every morning, calcium supplements, OTC anti-inflammatories, a popular joint nostrum (Gluclosamine/Chondroitin*) and vitamins. My regimen is similar, plus exercises.

     We're getting better.   Far more slowly than we would prefer, but better.
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* Current medical research suggests that the combination at least does no harm.  Does it help?  They're not sure; different studies have produced different results.  MSM may be snake oil, though there haven't been as many studies, possibly reflecting doubt on the part of researchers.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Onward! Because It Beats What's In Second Place

     Roseholme Cottage is a changed place these days.  With Tamara out of action for most household tasks -- it's a revelation how many chores are two-handed, how many one-handed expedients involve not having one arm in a sling and just how often we move both shoulders even when only one arm is in motion -- I'm "it" for a lot of what gets done -- or doesn't.

     So through the week, the housekeeping gets pared to an even smaller minimum than in the past, and weekends I find myself looking forward to clearing out the fridge or freezer, or a healthy session of flattening cardboard boxes.  With any luck (this translates as "a faint hope at best"), this weekend will include clearing out some of the interesting items clogging the living room (my bedroom) to make space for a small nightstand-type table.  Oh, the excitement!

     In the midst of all this the short story I've been working on has not been getting much attention.  Tam's urging me to collect some of the more recent "Hidden Frontier" stories into some kind of publication and I am planning to do so sometime this year.  It is unlikely to be very soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Physical Therapy Again

     "Twice a week," the prescription says, so twice a week it is, along with daily exercises.  Too early to tell if it's going to help, though I do have hopes. 

     Turns out my graceful and/or decorous habits are Very Bad for the old knee -- sitting with knees together and legs crossed at the ankle, or one knee over the other?  That's right out.  Moving from a seated position to standing and keeping knees together?  Nope, not supposed to.  They'll have me chewing tobacco and driving a pickup truck* next.  Perhaps I shall learn to say "ain't" or even "pas du tout" and stop depilating.  ...On the other hand, no.
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* Too late, I already did back in the mid-1980s, a lovely Ford F150 with a stickshift that was like rowing a boat.  The biggest problem with owning a truck is that all your friends and family know you have one, and are only too happy to borrow your services to haul things.  On the other hand, you're a lot more popular....  At the same time, my Dad's "second car" was a snarling behemoth of a 1950s International panel van, with a nose like a school bus, an electric-blue paint job and a shag-carpeted interior.  He'd bought it from a young man whose enthusiasm had outstripped his ability to keep the ancient thing running.  Together, we made quite the caravan, and could move quite a lot at one go.  Driving the International was a different experience -- it had a "granny low" first gear, used only to get the thing rolling when fully loaded or to climb vertical walls, and woe betide you if you forgot to have it in second gear at a stoplight: that first upshift needed to be immediate and even so, acceleration was glacial.  Once you were at speed -- 55 mph, if you were brave enough -- a hand throttle eased long drives, enlivened by the need to adjust it for any hills or valleys.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What's Hoppin'?

     I had my taste buds set for something that I hadn't made for a long time: Hoppin' John.

     It turned out Tam had not had the stuff in so long, she'd forgotten what it was!

     At the most basic, it's a fairly dry stew of blackeyed peas and smoked pork, served over rice.  Typically, good strong ham, some onion and a pepper of some kind are cooked with the two-tone beans, and the flavor can be anything from mild to hot.  "Foodie" versions found on the web use thick bacon* and that's a nice variation, but I had something else in mind.

     A chorizo sausage, some cubed panchetta, and a small package of diced ham.  The ham was mostly there to add some more meat; with Tam doing low-carb, the blackeyed peas couldn't dominate.  Once the meat was mostly cooked (and the fat poured off), I added half a red onion and as it cooked down, diced Anaheim and yellow bell peppers.  As son as they were bright, I added the blackeyed peas and the (rinsed) ham and let the whole thing simmer for about ten minutes.

     Easy and quick.  Served with chopped raw green onion and (pickled -- fresh is better if you have it) diced hot red cherry pepper for toppers.  Tam skipped the rice and pronounced the stuff delicious.

     If you like it hotter, capicola could replace the ham.  Mind the salt -- you won't want to add more if you use canned blackeyed peas, and inexpensive ham should be rinsed to reduce its saltiness.
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* If you like umami-range flavors in your food, try blackeyed peas with straw mushrooms and bacon.  The first two ingredients are sold canned; just fry up the bacon, drain it, and crumble it into the beans and mushrooms.  It's wonderful!

Monday, June 11, 2018

PT

     Up early today, so I can go get physical therapy for my bad knee.  Am I looking forward to this?  I am not.

     But I hope it helps.