Saturday, October 20, 2018

"And Will You Be Having A Virus With That...?"

     There's some kind of head cold making the rounds at work.  We've all been trying to be careful, lots of handwashing and disinfectant spray and all that.  But when I came home last night, I realized my throat was feeling a bit tender.

     Took an extra multivitamin and had a couple of cups of strong tea on the theory that it couldn't hurt.  Woke up this morning no worse than before, after a night of what I am assured is "not terribly bad snoring from the other end of the house."*

     So I guess we'll see.
______________________________________
* From time to time, it wakes me up.  And now I know what words without vowels sound like.

Friday, October 19, 2018

It's Cold Now

     And it's going to stay cold the rest of this month.  November is not notable for hot weather, so there it is.  No "Indian Summer" this year; temperatures went from eighties to fifties in the course of a day.

     The yard is littered with leaves and I am hoping Saturday afternoon, the yard will be dry enough to set the mower lower and see how much of the leaves I can mow up instead of raking.

     Possibly the roads will be dry enough I can ride my motor scooter a little; I have had very little time in the saddle this year and I miss it.  Between rain and road construction, this wasn't a favorable summer for riding.

     Of course, the gutters need cleared -- gutter screens would be an excellent idea.  Managed to clean them from a ladder instead of from the roof last time, a slightly slower but much safer method.  Maybe I'll try that Sunday.  It will be colder but the work is active enough to keep warm.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

And Now, Music

     You need something with good bass response and decent stereo separation to fully enjoy this.  It came on the radio on my drive home last night and I found it charmingly askew:

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cold Weather

     The good thing about cold weather: the cats really like me.

    The bad thing about cold weather: the cats still don't get along all that well.  They can be pretty chummy if they both want to nap, but Huck is very playful and Rannie isn't interested.  Sometimes he pesters her out of what is probably boredom.  And sometimes it happens in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Fungus Before The Cold

     It's turned cold here in Indianapolis; last week, it went from high-eighties to mid-fifties in a single day and it has stayed chilly.  Overnights have been flirting with frost and may have reached it last night.

     Before the sudden turn, the heat and moisture had allowed plenty of fungus to flourish in the yard, mostly puffballs and toadstools.  Over a week ago, coming back from taking the trash out, I saw a kind we hadn't had before:
     Shelf or bracket fungus.  Possibly "Artist's Conk," though I hope not, since that kind definitely does the tree no good.  This is on our oak tree -- "our" in this case including a neighbor, since the tree is right on the property line.  It does make for a nice early-Fall scene.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Ballot Access

     Indiana is unusual in having three political parties with non-petition ballot access.  The third party is the Libertarian Party of Indiana.

     It's not a sure thing.  The last I knew, a party needed to get two percent of the votes for their candidate for Secretary of State in order to get and keep non-petition access to ballots.  That means they don't have to go out and collect signatures for each of their candidates; instead, the smaller parties have normal nominating conventions.  (Reaching the ten percent threshold would require them to run in the primaries, but only the Republicans and Democrats have that -- so far.)

     What this means is if you want to see the LP remain on your ballots, if you want that third choice, it's important to vote for their candidate for Secretary of State.   If you don't want them on the ballot, vote for someone else for that office.  This year, there are only three choices, but if you favor some other minor party, and they run someone for that office, vote for that person.

     It's not especially obvious and Secretary of State is one of those obscure offices that most of us don't think about much, other than hoping whoever has the job is honest and competent.  But it's an office where your vote does more than just determine who will get the job.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Beef Stew

     Last night, tonight and probably for lunch next week:
     A pound of stew beef, a half-pound of steak tips, a hot Italian sausage squeezed out of the casing, carrots, celery, onion, orange bell pepper, a big potato, fresh mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, beef stock, pinto beans, parsley,  garlic, basil, marjoram and rosemary.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Rogues Gallery

Here are my ballot choices.  Note that several races have only one candidate.  I don't think that's a good sign.  Is there no Republican or Libertarian who considers him- or herself a good (and electable) alternative to State Representative Ed Delaney?  No one from the LP or GOP wants to try for the job of State Assessor or Washington Township Trustee?  Constable of the Small Claims Court?  (A thankless job.  We should probably be happy anyone's running for the office.)  Of course, I'll be voting to remove all the judges.  Nothing personal, I just think they shouldn't get too comfortable.

The following lists all of the public questions that will be on your ballot during the next election. Please note that this list of public questions is supplied and maintained by the Indiana Election Division and counties. If this information appears to be incorrect or incomplete, please contact the Indiana Election Division. A VOTER WHO IS NOT 18 IS NOT PERMITTED TO VOTE ON A PUBLIC QUESTION.
Category Title Question
Court of Appeals Judge Retention COURT OF APPEALS JUDICIAL RETENTION DISTRICT 2 "Shall Judge Robert R. (Bob) Altice, Jr. be retained in office?"
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT Shall Judge John Chavis be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT Shall Judge Alicia A. Gooden be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Grant W. Hawkins be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Heather Welch be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge John F. Hanley be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Jose Salinas be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Steven R. Eichholtz be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Amy M. Jones be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Clark Rogers be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Helen Marchal be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge James A. Joven be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Linda E. Brown be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Lisa F. Borges be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Mark D. Stoner be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge Sheila A. Carlisle be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE Shall Judge William (Bill) Nelson be retained in office?
Local Judge Retention MARION COUNTY SUPERIOR JUDGE Shall Judge Clayton Graham be retained in office?
Ratification of State Constitutional Amendment PUBLIC QUESTION #1 "Shall Article 10, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended to require the General Assembly to adopt balanced budgets for state government that do not exceed estimated revenues unless a supermajority of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the members of the Senate vote to suspend the requirement?"
Supreme Court Justice Retention SUPREME COURT JUSTICE Shall Justice Geoffrey G. Slaughter be retained in office?
UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM INDIANA JOE DONNELLY DEMOCRATIC
UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM INDIANA MIKE BRAUN REPUBLICAN
UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM INDIANA LUCY M. BRENTON LIBERTARIAN
SECRETARY OF STATE JIM HARPER DEMOCRATIC
SECRETARY OF STATE CONNIE LAWSON REPUBLICAN
SECRETARY OF STATE MARK W. RUTHERFORD LIBERTARIAN
AUDITOR OF STATE JOSELYN WHITTICKER DEMOCRATIC
AUDITOR OF STATE TERA KLUTZ REPUBLICAN
AUDITOR OF STATE JOHN SCHICK LIBERTARIAN
TREASURER OF STATE JOHN C. AGUILERA DEMOCRATIC
TREASURER OF STATE KELLY MITCHELL REPUBLICAN
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE, FIFTH DISTRICT DEE THORNTON DEMOCRATIC
UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE, FIFTH DISTRICT SUSAN W. BROOKS REPUBLICAN
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 086 EDWARD O. DELANEY DEMOCRATIC
PROSECUTING ATTORNEY OF MARION COUNTY, 19TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT TERRY R. CURRY DEMOCRATIC
PROSECUTING ATTORNEY OF MARION COUNTY, 19TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT BENJAMIN D. STRAHM REPUBLICAN
MARION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT CLERK MYLA A. ELDRIDGE DEMOCRATIC
MARION COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT CLERK KYLE LEFFEL REPUBLICAN
MARION COUNTY AUDITOR JULIE VOORHIES DEMOCRATIC
MARION COUNTY AUDITOR CAARN HEIR REPUBLICAN
MARION COUNTY RECORDER KATE SWEENEY BELL DEMOCRATIC
MARION COUNTY RECORDER PAUL ANNEE REPUBLICAN
MARION COUNTY SHERIFF KERRY JOSEPH FORESTAL DEMOCRATIC
MARION COUNTY SHERIFF BRIAN K. DURHAM REPUBLICAN
MARION COUNTY ASSESSOR JOSEPH P. O'CONNOR DEMOCRATIC
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE, MARION COUNTY FRANK T SHORT DEMOCRATIC
JUDGE OF THE MARION SMALL CLAIMS COURT, WASHINGTON TWP. STEVE G. POORE DEMOCRATIC
JUDGE OF THE MARION SMALL CLAIMS COURT, WASHINGTON TWP. MATTHEW DODSON REPUBLICAN
MARION INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 3 MICHELE LORBIESKI NON PARTISAN
MARION INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD, AT LARGE SUSAN J COLLINS NON PARTISAN
MARION INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 3 EVAN HAWKINS NON PARTISAN
MARION INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD, AT LARGE JOANNA ELIZABETH KRUMEL NON PARTISAN
MARION INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 3 MICHELE LORBIESKI NON PARTISAN
MARION INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 3 SHERRY LYNNE SHELTON NON PARTISAN
MARION INDIANAPOLIS PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD, AT LARGE MARY ANN SULLIVAN NON PARTISAN
CONSTABLE OF SMALL CLAIMS COURT, WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, MARION COUNTY STEVE MILLER DEMOCRATIC

Friday, October 12, 2018

Trick Question

     In the upcoming elections, there's a Public Question on the Indiana ballot:

     "Shall Article 10, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended to require the General Assembly to adopt balanced budgets for state government that do not exceed estimated revenues unless a supermajority of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the members of the Senate vote to suspend the requirement?"

     Hey, sounds pretty good, right?  Sure -- except Art. 10, Sect. 5 currently reads:

     "No law shall authorize any debt to be contracted, on behalf of the State, except in the following cases: to meet casual deficits in the revenue; to pay the interest on the State Debt; to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or, if hostilities be threatened, provide for the public defense."

     It just says No.  Unless there's fighting in the streets or it's a penny-ante loan, N O.  There's no supermajority-sure-borrow-money exception.

     We should keep it that way.  Vote NO on the Public Question. Our Legislature had that kind of power once, and bankrupted the state.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Who Would Vote For That Person?

     People tend to view the politics of others through the lens of their own views. If you think government is a wonderful boon, someone who thinks of it as a necessary evil seems terribly wicked, and someone who points out that most of our interactions actually happen without or even in spite of government guidance or control will strike you as naive or peculiar.

      And yet each of those thumbnails (and all the gradations of opinion in between between, not to mention more extreme views) approximates the outlook of someone who is satisfied that it represents reality. That's the world we live in. It might be fun to think of everyone with a different take from your own as ignorant or evil, but it's inaccurate at a level that will trip you up badly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

It's Robert A. Heinlein's Future...

     We're just remixing it.  Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos?  D. D. Harriman.  Nehemiah Scudder?  Take your pick; there are plenty of candidates.

     And wouldn't you rather live in Heinlein's future than William L. Shirer's past?

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Bipartisanship

     Indiana Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly and challenger Mike Braun agree on one thing: at last night's debate, they ignored Libertarian candidate Lucy Brenton.  She was making good points, but she might as well have not been in the room as Mr. Braun and Sen. Donnelly rehashed their campaign ads at one another.  Repeatedly asked by the moderator to stay on topic, they never strayed from their talking points.

     Remember Dems saying, "Listen to the women?"  Ms. Brenton might as well have been hollering down a well.  And while the GOP likes to claim they embody old-fashioned, chivalrous politeness, that didn't appear to apply to listening and responding to points made in a debate.  She said it best: "These two gentlemen are part of the problem," she remarked during the debate.

      I'm not impressed by either man.

      And I'm still voting for Lucy Brenton.

Another Week, Another Hurricane

     Didn't we -- and by "we," I mostly mean the southeastern U.S. -- already go through this just the week before last?

     Yes, we kind of did -- and now there's another one bearing down.  It's one right after another!  --Not exactly.  Florence blew in from the Atlantic in mid-September and now Michael has ducked by Cuba and is headed in from the Gulf towards north Florida.  In between them, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk and Leslie all whirled up and earned names.  Most of them never quite made hurricane status and the ones that did didn't hit the United States.  The dates are overlapping; the storms keep on brewing up.  It's not one thing after another, it's one thing on top of another.  The sea is vast and storm tracks are unpredictable. 

     Keep the areas on Hurricane Michael's path in your thoughts.  It could be ugly.

Monday, October 08, 2018

The Lasso Of...Truth?

     What doe s a "lie detector" detect?  Wired took a look at them and the answer is...maybe not a lot.

     I'd like to see a run-off between a polygraph and a good police detective.  People are pretty good lie detectors.  On the other hand, some people are extraordinarily good liars -- and the same coolness and "method acting" that lets such a person lie successfully to others would show nice, truthful responses on the machine.

     It's disappointing.  Who wouldn't like a reliable way to know when someone is lying?  And think of what it would do the political debates....  

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Blogiversary

     Today is the eleventh anniversary of this blog!  

Rain? Heat? Humidity?

     We usually have toadstools and puffballs here and there.  This year, there's shelf fungus growing on one of the trees, that's how hot and humid it is.  Photos to follow, as soon as I get them from the camera.

     That will be after lawnmowing.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

So Far Apart?

     Maybe.  And maybe not.  The politicians have certainly drawn up lines.  Regular people?  Perhaps not so much as it seems.

     An interesting take on our division from a writer at the Atlantic sheds, for once, more light than heat.

Friday, October 05, 2018

So...How About That Weather?

     Writing something about the Kavanaugh vote is tempting, but you know what?  It's essentially partisan.  Democrats are not going to vote to confirm him.  Republicans will.  A handful of politicians will dither, possibly sincerely, but most of the votes will have little if anything to do with the facts of his judicial or academic record.  As for the allegations concerning his behavior, to the extent that there are any hard facts to be found, they are filtered through partisan viewpoints, exacerbated by mutual rancor and Mr. Trump's inability to keep his mouth shut even when it would best serve him to do so.

     "Dumpster fire" is too kind a metaphor.

     The Senate will vote and move on to the next mess, the Press baying at their heels.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Superglued

     Yesterday, I pointed at a piece of equipment at work...and stuck a finger past the screen on an oversized "muffin fan" and into the blades.  Sliced across the tip of my left ring finger pretty good and it would not stop bleeding.

     So I had to go off to our company immediate-care provider, expecting stitches.  What I got instead was medical-grade superglue and a bandage for padding. 

     Off to see how it survives that shower now.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Late Night

     When the phone rings after ten p.m., it's probably not good news.  I had to go into work -- the North Campus -- late last night.  A power hit had managed to trip a breaker on a critical piece of equipment.  Going in, all I knew was that one of the important widgets had shut down and wasn't responding to remote-control restart. 

     It could have been any of several very bad things.  I'm glad it wasn't.  Sure hope this isn't a trend; in twenty-two years of power hits, that particular circuit breaker has not tripped -- and it was in one of seven identical high-power sub-widgets, three running and four spares.  It might be time to find out if the manufacturer's got any replacement breakers in stock.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Salmon Patties, Low Carb

     Salmon patties are a treat from my youth.  Mom added a generous dollop of Worcestershire sauce to the mix, which went well with the flavor of the salmon.  There are other good things in them, too: egg, vegetables (nearly always onions, at least), a little lemon or lime juice and seasonings, often a little Parmesan cheese--

     The problem is that one of the other major components is a generous amount of carbohydrates.  It was crushed saltines in Mom's version, Depression cooking at its finest; upscale versions use breadcrumbs.  Panko is said to work well.  Tasty...and not at all suited to a low-carb diet.

     Yesterday, nostalgia and idle curiosity had me web-searching "low-carb salmon patties" after the end of my work day and yes, there is such a thing.  In fact, there are lots of recipes.  The usual replacement for the carbs is smashed pork rinds!  It makes perfect sense.  Some sources suggest freezing them after smashing, to mute the flavor; others just throw them in.  Jalapeno or other hot peppers often replace or augment the Worcestershire or hot sauce and there are plenty of suggestions for sauces, many of them avocado-based.

     It looked good and I decided to try it.  Alas, our corner grocer had nothing so downscale as pork rinds.  The cracker aisle turned up some low-carb "cheese straws;" a quarter-cup would have 2.25 grams of carbs, and divided four ways between patties leaves just over a half-gram each.  They were made with Parmesan and aged cheddar, so there's that component as well.

     A mild Poblano pepper seemed like a safe bet, though hot Fresno and cherry peppers tempted me. Maybe next time. I did yield to the temptation of a dark red onion (and cried cutting it later, too).  And I forgot to get a lemon, lime or some concentrated juice.

     Back home, the cheese straws proved savory and nice.  Smashed a scant quarter cup of them, diced the veggies (chop them up fine. A generous tablespoon of onion and about as much of the pepper is sufficient; I may have doubled that) and added some black pepper, garlic powder, dried celery flakes, some Worcestershire, a dash of hot sauce, a little basil, and only then realized I had no tangy citrus.  But I do keep a little sumac on the shelf (it's nice on melon), and it very much has a lemony flavor; with a quick shake or two of that, a well-beaten egg and twelve ounces of well-drained canned salmon, it was ready to be mixed.  Stir it up well in a mixing bowl.  You want a fairly sticky mixture -- I fell just short of that this time.

     The patties were almost too wet to hold together. I could have drained the salmon better.  A full quarter-cup of crumbs and maybe even another egg would have helped.  With care, three of the four held up well enough to cook and turn intact..  I browned both sides (four minutes or more) in a little oil and served the patties with green salad.  Tam liked them and so did I.

     The pork rind version would be zero-carb.  This version was pretty low-carb.  Taste and mouthfeel were just as I remembered -- almost as good as Mom's. 

Monday, October 01, 2018

Chicago Exports

     There was gunplay at the Walmart in Hobart, Indiana last night.  Hobart would be a smallish town -- except it is embedded in the densely-packed cluster of cities and towns at the edge of Chicago.  It's far enough away that the shooting stands out from the background level of Greater Chicago's violence.

     The point I find of particular notability is not the shooting itself or the possible reasons for it, but the response: store employees had recently received active shooter training and acted on what they had learned, leading store patrons away from the danger.

     Violence happens; while some people decry the need for such training, it is one of the few things that definitely makes a difference.  Knowing what to do, even just thinking about what might happen before it happens, helps people make a better response to a terrible situation.

     There have been no fatalities reported from the shooting so far.