Saturday, April 18, 2015

Still Good

    Vanilla gelato with plenty of cinnamon on it is still one of the best treats I know of.

Friday, April 17, 2015

I'm Done

      I don't have anything to say to most folks.

     I'll write here occasionally for myself.

     I want to sleep more, exercise more, play with my radios more, read more (Hammett and Chandler are safely dead and didn't write SF) and spend some time coming to terms with my own mortality.  The clock is ticking. The candle burns.  It won't last forever and neither will I.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Comments Have Annoyed Me Too Much

     Comment thread to this post may be the last one you people get for awhile.  Make good use of it -- I'm looking for reasons to bring down the ban-hammer.

      Get this through your heads, people: I am NOT socially conservative.  We don't stock that at this free ice cream store; if you want to get some of that, it is available for free elsewhere, all over the 'Net.  I'm in favor of gay marriage and group marriage and any other legal contract consenting adults want to set up, and I'm in favor of businesses open to the general public being required to do business with all of the law abiding public.  If they don't care for that, they can become private clubs -- the very same dodge used the last time segregation was made illegal and just exactly the same kind of signal of skeeziness.

     I'm through arguing with Nazis, half-assed imitation Nazis in nice suits and their enablers in my own comment section.  From here on, I'll just delete their crap -- blogs are free, go get your own.

    The far Right can go get stuffed just like the far Left.  Both are really the same kind of yammerheads with slightly different trim packages.

"Mike Pence Must Go," Really?

     The signs are popping up in front yards around Indy.  I'll bet you can find them in many of the college towns, too.  Outside those areas?  Probably not.  He plays quite well in the hinterlands.

     The reasoning behind the signs seems to be that Governor Mike is, after all, openly Christian and socially conservative, and he didn't veto RFRA when it crossed his desk -- far from it! So off with his head -- or at least haul him out of office.

     I thought and continue to think the RFRA was legislative foolhardiness, applied to a "problem" that has never actually been a problem in this state, a problem that is really just the other side of PC-speak and "trigger warnings:" people think they have a right not to be squicked by the not-illegal actions of their fellow humans. (Hint: you don't.)

     But Mike Pence isn't to blame for introducing it.  That lies squarely with the State Legislature, where a power-besotted supermajority decided to do a little social engineering, egged on by a set of comfortably familiar lobbyists with a vocal following.

     I blame WW II, which gave us the old notion of "kings" in a new suit of clothing: it was a war of Great Leaders all 'round, Hitler and Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, Tojo (and his Emperor), Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung and a host of lesser leading lights, all taking the credit and blame, all villains and/or heroes-- And barely a word about the cheering masses; barely a word about the troops and the victims, barely a word about the pliant legislatures and bureaucracies that enabled them.  WW II would've fizzled like a wet firecracker if nobody'd shown up, if the tax-collectors stayed home, if the sewer workers had flooded cities with sludge--  No, hell no, in history class it's 90 percent Great Leaders, eight percent Great Generals, and three pages on the war crimes trials after, with a half-page each for RADAR, guided missiles and the atomic bomb.

     Call me an anarchist.  Call me a Wobblie.  Whatever -- but stop tellin' me "The King Must Die!" every time the crops fail or some addlepated law you don't like gets passed, and start diggin' into Your Elected Representatives, who are the ones who put this bilge forward and carefully nurse it out of committee, onto the floor, over to the other whirling cam in the bicameral, and only then onto The Executive's desk to be signed or vetoed.

     If you are looking askance at the laws they propose and pass -- from whatever angle -- you have in your hands a lever to fix that, and a much smaller mass to move than the Governor: your state-level Congressthings.  Vote at 'em like mad, but don't stop there -- send them mail!  Call them up!  If you've got the bucks and the 'leet schmoozing skills, offer to buy 'em dinner and bend their ear!  Most of 'em aren't holed up in a mansion on Meridian street, they're down here with the rest of us and you can lean on them.  You can even look up how they vote and cheer them or take them to task over it!  (No, I will not Google that for you; the future belongs to those with the wit to at least pour sand out of a search engine when their own ox is gored.)

     Mike Pence is what he is, a conservative, well-intentioned, loyal Party man who thought he saw a narrow gap to get through and got his tail caught trying it.  His career is probably dead-ended at Governor -- not over Wrongthink but because his handling of the after-effects was clueless and clumsy. The legislature is hiding behind him, holding him up and shouting "Boogity-boogity!"  But he's not the source of the RFRA mess.

     Dig in.  Do your homework.  Make 'em fight more -- it's the only way to get fewer foolish new laws.  Or at least fewer new laws, and I'd count that a win for everyone.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Holocaust Remembrance Day

     In Israel, it started this evening, if I understand what I heard on the radio today -- and the radio program was music by composers who either got out in time, survived or, in at least one instance, left their never-played scores with a student and were then killed one of the camps.

     Yeah, that's another one to add to the "Nazis suck" scorecard.  A little thing but a hologram of horror: here was this lovely music, really fine work, pouring out of my car radio and the guy who wrote it never heard it performed.  If his student hadn't kept showing it around after the war, it might never have been performed.  Beauty, nearly snuffed out because the political leadership disapproved of one of this composer's grandfathers.

     If ever you wondered why I dislike racists and authoritarians so very much, there's part of the reason.  And don't kid yourself that you're in the clear because of your ancestors; it wasn't just Jews, and the others weren't all gay or gypsies, either: the politically unpopular got one-way trips, too.  Once a nation starts down that path, each step into evil is easier than the one before.

     You don't have to like politics, but you've gotta keep an eye on it.  No matter who you are. 


     Filed my taxes.    Remember, "Taxes are the price we pay for an unsuccessful Whiskey Rebellion."

     [mic drop]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Seven-League Days?

     Between one thing and another -- my one-in-three rotation on the early-early shift Sunday and Monday, plus needing to be awake until Monday afternoon to sign for a UPS delivery Tam wasn't going to be home to receive -- Monday started about 10:15 p.m. Sunday night, when I woke up early, and ran right through to about 5:30 p.m. Monday, when I finally laid down and was promptly enfolded in the giant, fuzzy grip of sleep.  (A bicycle trip shortly before three p.m. had convinced me I might not be operating at 100%: arrived at the store only to discover I'd forgotten the key to the bike lock, and to realize that I didn't have enough energy left to make another trip and operating a motor vehicle was out of the question.  Just as well: the parcel, which had failed to arrive in the promised time span, showed up about five minutes after I was back in the house.  Fate?  Freight!*)

     Typically, I end the two early days with an afternoon nap and a kind of short extra "day" Monday evening.  This time, I slept nearly straight through to 5:00 a.m., eleven and a half hours with only the shortest of necessity breaks around 11 p.m..  I'd love to tell you I awoke refreshed.  --Nope.  I could crawl right back under the covers and sleep until mid-afternoon, and I happily would, too.  There is, however, much to accomplish today, and therefore no sleep for even the Chaotic Good.

     I volunteered to work two such shifts in a row in order to have a Friday off for the big Dayton Hamvention.  Possibly not my cleverest plan but it's the only one that'll work.
* If you liked that, such a deal I have for you!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Not From A Novel

     "...the first stage will execute a controlled reentry through Earth’s atmosphere, targeting touchdown on an autonomous spaceport drone ship approximately nine minutes after launch."

     Yes, SpaceX has another ISS supply mission Tuesday -- and another first-stage recovery attempt.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

An Ordinary Day, With Sunshine

     Spring.  It may not be joking this time.  Saturday, I rode my "Broad Ripple Utility Vehicle" bike to the grocer's and came home with both baskets just about full.  Ran some more errands, visited my Mom -- doing better than she's been in months -- returned home and realized I'd forgotten to buy eggs.

     It was a nice warm day, beautiful blue sky overhead.  I got out the Ordinary, aired up the tires, and after a quick jog up and down the alley to make sure I still knew how to get on and off it, zoomed off the the store.  Other than the neighbor's dog, whose sense of outrage at passing bicycles is proportional to the size of the largest wheel, it was an uneventful trip, just sun and birds singing, grass seemer to become greener every minute and birds proclaiming, "we're here, we're here."

     I hadn't realized how much I'd missed it.

     Today, perhaps a Full Roseholme breakfast (small steak, egg, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes) and more bicycling.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Arguing On The Internet

     I try not to.  I don't always succeed.

     See, it generally doesn't actually do anything.  Oh, in the rare cases in which there's a large and interested audience of Undecideds, it is possible that a well-crafted set of points and verifiable examples may sway minds and/or hearts, but in most cases the onlookers take it as one of those Sergio Aragon├ęs cartoons in the margins of Mad magazine, or at best an episode of Spy vs. Spy.

     I will ask for cites -- claiming "X" without supporting evidence is plain lazy on This Here Innerweb -- and where the law is already clear, I'll call folks on wishful thinking.  But most arguments boil down to a matter of politics or taste (or both) and debate often turns on stupidly fine points. (Would there be fewer shootings if there were no guns?  Yes.  Would there be less violence?  Doubtful at best.  So which outcome did you want? -- And who "wins" depends on the answer to that last question.  Either way, when the online debate is over and the principals are sitting back and sipping coffee, nothing in the real world will have changed.)

     If you've got a friend who holds some opinion you think is plain wrong, ask yourself what matters more, the friendship or trying to get in there and take a wrench to the contents of their skull?  Ask yourself, is this person doing harm to others on the basis of their opinion, or is it just another of the damfool notions wandering around loose in people's thoughts?  Ask yourself, "When did I enlist in the Thought Police?"  'Cos you probably didn't. And you've probably got damfool notions of your own.  I sure do.

     I'd rather have friends than an echo chamber.  Sometimes we just have to disagree and go on.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bicycling, Dinner, Hooray!

     It must be Spring.  Not just the storms -- last evening, the weather was warm and, for awhile, not storming.  After feeding the cats, there was just daylight enough left to bicycle to Yat's for a delicious plate of their Cajun/Creole food.  It's enough of a ride to whet the appetite, and maybe work off a calorie or two.  I  had a plate of black beans and sausage and some kind of chicken wonderfulness, served (as usual) over good rice, with a length of good French bread, buttered and toasted, on the side.   Washed it down with a can of pomegranate/orange juice. 

     Nice ride, nice weather, great food.  Yes, this is one reason Spring is such a treasure after the Winter.

Thursday, April 09, 2015


     We had stormy weather here yesterday and the meteorologists are promising more of the same today.  Even before windy, wet weather came along, the trees around Roseholme Cottage were stepping into Spring, the first buds barely visible, shaking off the deadwood--

     Literally.  I need to get a better angle on it but this Y-shaped branch stands nearly a yard high and is quite firmly embedded in the ground, several degrees off vertical.  I noticed it this past weekend.  It's come crashing down from the huge hackberry tree behind the house, missing my ham antenna, the fence and the roof by a few feet.

     Looks like the tree had more than enough Winter, too.