Friday, February 28, 2014

The Sudetenland Has Alaways Been A Part Of Germany

     Only 21st-Century style, in which you don't quite admit you're invading.  So, is another European War in the offing?  Will the have the wit to stay out?  --Or is it "...toe-to-toe with the Russkis" time?

     Quick, Hollywood!  Time to dust off Red Dawn, reshuffle locations and warring forces and get it out before the recruitment drives begins!  Hooboy, rationing an' central control an' fun, fun, fun.  Or perhaps another work of fiction applies? Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia, haven't we?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gun News From Indiana's Legislature

     The original headline was a real zinger: "Indiana House Panel To Debate Banning Gun Buybacks" and it is still preserved in the URL

     Eventually someone realized the same bill clears up an odd glitch in the carry-permit exception for guns at schools and rewrote to reflect it. The law presently provides, other than for "school resource officers," that one may only have a firearm on school property if one "...possesses the firearm in a motor vehicle that is being operated by the person to transport another person to or from a school or a school function."  Got that?  If Mr. and Mrs. Spouse are picking up little Billy and Sue after the school play and Mrs. Spouse is driving, she'd also better be the only one carrying -- and if she spots Mrs. Neighbor, she can't park the car and lock up her sidearm in it to go have a chat, either.  (That shotgun the trunk is a no-no, too; you can probably argue "possession" but you still can't stop the car and get out, as you'd no longer be "operating."  The gun on Mr. Spouse's belt as he sits in the passenger seat trying to refrain from criticism, is, alas, inarguably in his possession.)

     The predictable commenters are arguing this in the predictable fashion.  Me, I just want them to make it uniform with the "guns in your car at work" law, which requires you to leave firearms locked in your vehicle. (Your employer is free to adopt less-restrictive policies but the operant theory is that your car is something of a rolling bit of real property and if keep your firearm inside it [and out of sight, 'cos ooo, ick, guns], everything is hunky-dory.)

     Will it happen?  Will gun buybacks get banned?  Will J. Random Collector no longer be able to buy a well-preserved sock-drawer Colt 1903 Hammerless for $20 more than the buyback goofs are offering?  Will Mrs. Spouse and Mrs. Neighbor ever stop talking with one another in the school parking lot?  Stay tuned for our next exciting episode of As The State Legislature Spins!  (Brought to by the old soft soap, for the old hard sell.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vertigo-Go A Go-Go

     Yeah.  Hit pretty hard today and all taking an Antivert pill did was make me sleepy.  Managed to find things to do (removing dead old wires) that mostly involved sitting on the floor because it's darned difficult to fall off the floor. 

     Having less and less fun.  If I had fewer obligations--  If wishes were horses, what a barbecue we'd have.

Dear Local TV News

     You're doing it wrong, Local TV News.  If it happened three days ago and ended happily, it's not still news today.

     Perhaps I should explain: news is, by definition, new.  There's all kinds of interesting things about the Spanish Civil War, a sort of dress-rehearsal for WW II foisted off on a nation in the process of working out its own fate the hard way -- but I don't expect you to be telling me about that, either.

     Monday, an expectant couple (well, he was expecting; she was plenty certain) were hurrying down the freeway to the hospital, having left home perhaps a bit later than they should have.  Overtaken by fire trucks, they fell in behind...and made good time to the jacknifed semi that had traffic at a standstill.

     Hubby asked a fireman for help, the firemen summoned an ambulance and, wonder of wonders, the young mother made it to the hospital in plenty of time; her baby was born nearly four and a half hours later.  Mom and child are doing fine.

     Heartwarming and cute the day it happened, with live images of the ambulance at the scene and speeding away.  Three days later?  Yawner, unless you happen to be a family member.

     News: it's new stuff.  Like the ads say, "Live, local and late-breaking."  Hey, aren't those your ads, Local TV News?

     Y'know, the newspaper was never much either, but at least I can use it to line the cat's litter box.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Ideograph For "Trouble"

     You've gotta laugh--

     Tam and I watched the current episode of Archer tonight, with a nice treat: a couple of Nathan's hot dogs each, almost as good as Hebrew National.  As a condiment (along with the usual -- jalapeno catchup* and brown deli mustard), I diced some green onion that needed used up, an a couple of radishes for me.  I like radishes and this batch had a little zing, so why not?

     After dinner was over and the dysfunctional-family spy spoof was over, there was radish left over.  Ah, thinks I, there's a treat -- I'll eat that on buttered toast with a nice cuppa tea, just a soon as I move my laundry from the washer to the dryer. 

     When I was a child, sliced-radish-on-buttered-white-bread sammiches (usually alongside a cup of soup) were a lunchtime treat I truly loved and I was thinking fondly of them as I slopped damp clothes from one appliance to another.

     Came back up to find Tam loading the dishwasher.  Poured my cup of tea as we chatted, made toast, turned to the stove-side counter where I'd left the cutting board with a little heap of radish bits: nothin'.  Gone.  Turned back to the sink and realized the (plastic) cutting board was soaking in suds.

     "Aw, dammit!  You threw out my radish!"  I was aghast.

     Tam was puzzled.  She'd been tidying up the kitchen, tossing out some pretty obvious garbage in the course of clearing away dinner fixings, and now there's cussing?

     One person's delight is another table scraps.

     All's well that ends well: even though I like 'em, the odds of me getting through an entire bag of radishes are as near zero as makes no never mind.  I had plenty left, so I sliced up another and had my comfort food just fine.
* Blogger, Firefox, what the hell?  WHAT. THE. HELL?  No.  It is not "catchup."  Definitely not.  Catsup, yes indeedy, your little red wiggly line and/or highlighted yellow rectangle notwithstanding; ketchup, damn' skippy, oh, and you'll accept that, willya?  Harrumph.

Historical Parallels

     Why is it that you can discuss Prohibition with someone and hear something like, "Oh, it was a terribly lawless period in this country; they tried to ban liquor and the murder rate went way up!"  --But somehow, when four people show up dead in a drug deal gone wrong, that's a "violence" problem -- or even, as the Mayor of Indianapolis seems to think, a gun problem (it would be so much better, Mister Mayor, if the killers had beaten their victims to death with ball-peen hammers?  Set them on fire?).

     Point out that an awful lot of murders are illegal-drug-related (and most of those are drug-trafficking-related) and it seems nobody wants to be reminded of Al Capone; you can't even get good data on it, though one DOJ flyer appears to imply as many as a third of all murders are directly related to drug trafficking.

     There were drug addicts and habitual users before we had drug laws, just as there were plenty of drunks before Prohibition.  Banning the production, sale and interstate transport of alcohol didn't stop them drinking -- but it did enrich and empower a criminal underclass.  It did produce an increase in the murder rate.

     You do the math.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, stoned truckdriver, etc.  Got news for you: they're stoned now.  And if they go seek help for it, they're admitting to criminal behavior.  Some incentive!

     If you want to stop the violence, stop incentivizing unlawful behavior.  Let the drug-dealers duke it out on billboards, in print ads and via lobbyists like legit drug companies and soda-pop makers.   The users are already using.

     (Want another example, a bit less historical, a bit less steeped in reruns of The Untouchables?  Okay -- cigarette smuggling.  Hike up them smoke-taxes and the addicts will stop smokin', right?  Um, no.)

Monday, February 24, 2014


     Is there a new polio analog?

Softly Comes The Censor

     Once again, The Most Tone-Deaf Administration In History* has shown how utter cluelessness can deliver a country up to its own worst nature, and with the very best of intentions--

     (And as long as your intentions are noble and good, nothing could possibly be wrong with results or go wrong on the way to them, right?)

     For most of us, the story starts in the Wall Street Journal, which published an opinion piece from FCC Commissioner(!) and Obama appointee (!) Ajit Pai.  The Commission generally serves quietly; it used to be a big deal to get even Newton Minow-esque growl from a serving FCC Commissioner.  Monow has said that the two words best remembered from his famous speech are "vast wasteland," but the two words he wishes would be remembered are "public interest."  Be careful what you wish for!  It appears that Minow-ism took root in the FCC's middle bureaucracy and has borne strange flower:

     Today's FCC, Commissioner Pai in the minority, has decided to ride Mr. Minow's wistful hope into the nation's newsrooms, starting with a "pilot project" in Columbia, South Carolina, in which "...the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run."

     It appears to be motivated be the very best sort of intentions and all manner of clever research design [PDF] -- and utter deafness to history.  Y'see, the FCC is concerned that newspapers, radio, the Internet and those horrid ol' commercial TV stations -- the ones that make most of their income from the ads run during local newscasts -- might not be giving you what you want and need.  So they plan to "ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about 'the process by which stories are selected' and how often stations cover 'critical information needs,' along with 'perceived station bias' and 'perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.'"  That's Commissioner Pai again, who is as mystified as you or I how this could be done without any sort of chilling effect by the very same government body that approves TV station licenses and levies nice fat fines for saying bad words on the air or not having any way to relay Emergency Broadcast System messages.  Especially when they will be deciding just what news it is The People need, and then weighing news providers against that paradigm.

     Oh, and to add to the general air of snooping and snitching, the Feds plan on "interviewing" not merely ownership and management -- nope, they'll creep right into the tent newsroom and corner reporters and producers, just to make sure their bosses aren't making them cover up or ignore important news....  H'mmm, yeah, no motivation there to try'n dope out what the Feds wants and scurry around to have it done well before they show up, is there?

     Reading the report, I believe the wonks behind it really don't understand this; they honestly believe they will be as unobtrusive as wary little mice, a fly on the wall looking out for The Public Interest.

     See, when The Censor shows up, she'll have nothing so crude as a red grease-pencil or a razor blade.  She'll be wearing a nice business suit, not a brass-buttoned black uniform and shiny jackboots -- and she may well have no idea what she's really there to do.  It's the soft fascism of dim expectations.

     It's to be fought against.  Commissioner Pai knows that.  Good for him, but he's just one voice among the five Commissioners.  He'll be needing our help.
* But doesn't each one set new records for tone-deafness?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Later: Fooded

     So, you take down the teeny-weeny one-egg skillet, heat it, toss in a thin slice of salami, break an egg over it, break the yolk (or not, that's up to you), season to taste, and throw another thin slice of salami on top.  Cover, cook until half-done, flip, finish.

     Toast a slice of rye, cut in half, fill with salami-egg thing, eat.

     It's goooooood.  It's also blazin' quick, as the tiny one-egg skillet cooks 'em in a trice.

Must Post Something

     ...Or clowns will kill me.

     Well, if they're murder clowns.  And those are the very worst sort.

     Slept like a log, woke feeling decayed, broken and full of grubs.  All breakfast suggestions were spurned -- and probably deserved it but I've had a bowl and a half of cereal and a piece of rye bread toast and I am *hungry* dammit, so I think I will go feed myself.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Brownburg Hamfest/Indiana Historical Radio Society Meet

     ...Sorry, still no pix yet but perhaps later; the Brownsburg hamfest remains small-but-good (and I passed up a nice old Radio Shack desktop general-coverage receiver; maybe I should not have but I do kinda own a lot of radio receivers).  Picked up some interesting books, some hex-shank drills (a luxury!) and a super-duper-powerful magnetic hex bit holder.  Books from my favorite vendor, who had a custom-made full-auto Morse key set up.  Naturally I gave it a try, as it's not a real hamfest without occasional bursts of code.  My electronic-key sending is suboptimal, but still -- one must.

     Over in Lawrence, the IHRS meet had an exhibit of crystal sets and a busy swap/sell area; I bought some old radio magazines, a nice battery-operated 24-hour analog clock (secondary time reference for my basement ham shack -- a problem with using very old, AC-run clocks is I don't like to leave them plugged in and WWV is not always easily receivable) and....  Can't go to a swapmeet without buying something off-topic! A tiny X-acto plane was offered for $2.00, American, and of course I bought it. (They seem to get mixed reviews -- this is an older one, often a good sign.  Plus, a plane is a little skill-dependent and a lot sharpening-skill-dependent, so there's no way to know without using it.)

     It never rains but it pours: two interesting radio events not merely the same day but both running for only four or five hours.  I went high-tailing across the full width of Marion County and while it's not one of those state-sized Out West counties, we're not Georgia, either.  It's well more than a half-day's horseback ride across.


     Busy day.  More later, maybe pictures.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jane Froman

     Jane Froman?  Who's that?  --You might remember her as a singer from the 1930s through '50s.  You might not.  You might know she did a lot of USO work during World War Two.

     You might even know it nearly killed her:
     On her USO flight to Europe in February of 1943, her plane crashed in the Tagus River outside Portugal. One of the few passengers to survive, although severely injured, she was rescued by the co-pilot of the plane...
     She was back touring nearly as soon as she was up on crutches, despite having nearly lost her right leg; she had numerous operations on it and eventually recovered function after years of surgery and rehabilitation.  She never lost her voice and she never stopped singing.   Pictures from the war years show her on crutches, in a lace-up leg brace, in various war zones, smiling.

     Could she sing?  Well...  "The famous composer and producer, Billy Rose, when asked to name the top ten female singers, is reported to have replied, 'Jane Froman and nine others.'"  That's Wikipedia, but it does come with a cite.

     A lot of people talk; Jane Froman went and did. When bad fortune struck, she kept right on.  Remember that the next time you're feeling pessimistic about humanity.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


     Yes, I'm taking a break from oatmeal, as I had some stuff in the fridge that wanted used up.  Result?  A Manchego cheese, Poblano pepper, green onion, cherry tomato and radish omelet!  Pretty darned good; I smashed up a couple of the "Olive Oil and Cracked Peppercorn" variety of Triscuit with a little cold water to beat in with the eggs and give them some structure and could've doubled that -- the only salt in the whole thing is from those crackers and whatever sneaks in with the cheese.

     "Pictless without uselurs," you say?  Of course you do!
     But I think I know what you meant.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oh, Wow, The Echoes In Here...

     Some mornings, I am bereft of ideas. Like this morning.

     So you're going to get a collection of small whatevers.

     --It was 40 when I woke up.  Forty above, Fahrenheit.  After spending so much time in the deep freeze, it seems faintly ridiculous.  Outdoors can go above 32 degrees?  Rilly?  Yes.  Yes, it can. We hit 49 yesterday and while the temperature is presently in the pre-sunrise dip (down to 38, which still makes me feel giddy to think of), we could well break 50 today.  Thursday is expected to reach the upper 50s and then we'll get thunderstorms.  Back to the 20s next week, and more snow besides.  Welcome to the Midwest!  Welcome to Indiana! 

     --Yesterday, my lunch was something I bought thinking it silly and faintly pretentious, snobbed-up comfort food: a frozen dish, Truffle-Parmesan Mac & Cheese.  Might as well give it a try, though my expectations were low.  Surprise!  It smelled great, tasted good and had a nice texture.  I snuck in some protein by slicing a hardboiled egg into it.  (Yes, Internets, I have sunk to blogging lunch.)

     --I may -- may -- be able to coax my car, an aging Hyundai Accent known as the Hottest Needle of Inquiry,* down the alley to the garage tonight, after several days of parking along the street.  Hooray!  It wasn't so much snow depth on the alley, though that was increasingly a challenge: the frozen-hard ruts, hollows and false turns in the short driveway where I park had become impossible to navigate without getting stuck at least once every trip.

     --I have been watching the FX series The Americans, set during the Regan presidency and about (fictional) USSR spies -- "illegals," dropped in with fake backgrounds to live as ordinary citizens, mostly.  It is interestingly convoluted and morally murky, a high-stakes game of blindfolded chess played out in D. C. suburbia and the inner city.  So far (I'm nine or ten episodes in) it's very good, a cross between James Bond and a night-time soap opera.  I got Tam watching it and she's catching up; the episodes hold up well on second viewing.
      Suspending disbelief:
      1. Spies seem to require zero sleep.
      2. Their disguise skills are astounding, it's like they have a Hollywood-level makeup team-- oh.
      3. Speaking of Shakespeare (that disguise thing), the coincidence level is staggering
      4. Coincidence aside, the Soviet spies on this series must have the least-nosy neighbors in the history of the world.
      5.  Also, spies do not age like regular people.
     ...And despite all that, it's engrossing, at times edge-of-the-couch exciting.
* This is the third of three 2002 Accents I have owned, despite paying too much ($8K) for the first one and having to get the brakes redone frequently.  The Hot Needle of  Inquiry (#1, blue, $8K) was T-boned by an uninsured driver and totalled, no harm to me, insurance paid it off and put money in my pocket besides; The Even Hotter Needle of Inquiry (#2, red, $5K, sport package including a rear wing, Ghu alone knows what for) was hit at the left front by an insured motorist and totalled, no harm to me.  The Hottest Needle of Inquiry (#3, red) was bought for under $2K and is the only one with a manual transmission.  The synchronizer for second gear was shot, so I double-clutched it until I could get a rebuilt transmission put in.  It does not get good oil mileage. (The other two did.)  I'm thinking about a rebuilt engine and some body work.  It definitely needs new wheels and tires.  They are very, very basic cars but they just keep running.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I Was Saving This For Washington's Birthday

     But in honor of Monday's muddled mess known as "President's Day" while really only meaning to include two of them, this item:

     Ah, George. And to think you only got the dollar bill.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Here We Go Again

     The snow is supposed to start around one this afternoon, accumulating up to 4 inches, followed by an inch or two of ice.  That's if we're middling lucky; shift the storm track a few miles one way and our luck impoves to six inches of snow; shift it the other way and we get a king-sized ice storm.

     Roll them dice -- even if you win, you're still stuck in the game.

     Meanwhile, our existing snow and ice is hard at work:
        Ladder-line doesn't like this.  The kiloWatt hams have a fix for it....

     On the other side of the house, this big fella was over 6' 6" at mid-afternoon.

     And back to the South side, the full problem is revealed.  Yes, the gutters have frozen solid and overflowed. (In the foreground, runner-up to the Great Big Icicle contest.)

     The meteorologists claim we'll see fifty degrees before this week ends.    I'm not looking forward to a too-rapid thaw.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dueling Statstics?

     The newspaper (and their tame TV weatherguy) says "fourth-snowiest winter."

     The top-rated TV weather team (and Tam) was saying "second-snowiest season," and last night's snow may've moved this season into first place.

     Whichever, both agree it's the state's fourth-snowiest year, using some summer-splitting version of "year." There is a whole lot of snow out there and I am giving serious thought to simply avoiding it for as long as I can.

This Just In

    It's snowing again.  Coming down pretty good.  Cars and sidewalks are well-covered.  So far, this Winter is the fourth-snowiest in the state's history.  We may not beat that record but I'm not sure I'd bet against it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sickles Of Ice

     Tam's three-foot icicle from yesterday?  It's a four-footer now:

     The north side of Roseholme Cottage is particularly afflicted.
     Sunday, I may have to shovel the roof.

A Thirteen-Letter Word That Means "Liar."


     Yesterday morning, they were telling us to expect, "A dusting of snow,  Possibly an inch -- two, if we're especially unlucky but don't plan on it."

     Four to five inches later of sticky, wet snowfall later--  I spent much of yesterday afternoon sweeping snow out of large satellite dishes and on occasion helping to shovel the sidewalks -- and then shoveled walks again after a slip-sliding, 20-to-30 mph drive home.

     What else should we expect from a trade with its roots in reading auguries from balls of fire flashing across the sky and falling to the ground?  It's a wonder they don't dance about wearing odd body-jewelery, fall to the ground in an ecstatic trance and deliver forecasts in iambic pentameter.

     Or do they?  Could the claims of "computer models" and sophisticated imaging technology be no more than a ruse, a cover?

     Either way, they lie.  It might be nicer if they'd have the grace to do so with a bit of theatrics.

Brilliant, Holmes, Brilliant

     I have just watched The Sign Of Three, the second episode of the third series (UK)/season (U.S.) of BBC's Sherlock.

     Stunning.  Starting from The Sign Of The Four, the television updating borrows character names, circumstances (generally), bits of business and a few themes -- Watson's marriage, Sherlock showing a slightly more-human side -- and weaves them, by flashback and Holmes' inner visualization, into a compelling story.

     I'd found the first episode of this go-round a little flat; it's not easy to retell the detective's return from supposed death in an especially new way, what with the "surprise" being well over a hundred years old and not a real surprise even then.  But it was a solid piece of work and with Cumberbatch as Holmes and Martin Freeman as Watson, what's not to like?  The Sign Of Three marked a return to the best this version of the iconic characters has to offer.

     Time well spent -- especially considering I watched it via Kindle, flat on my back in bed, having awoken at 3:30 this morning and given up on an easy return to slumber.

     (Is this fellow the "historical" Sherlock Holmes?  No.  He's who he might've been had he been born 30 years ago or written here and now by some time-displaced A. Conan Doyle.  It's hardly canon but it comes astonishingly close, which is a lot of the fun.  You can watch and enjoy these program[me]s without knowing the original stories but you'll get a lot more out of them if you have.)

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Password Is "Parody"

      It's another two-into-one Underground poster.

     Happy Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Short Road To The Dumps

     ...Short road back out, too.

     I think I figured something out.  I had a couple of bouts of really dark, dark depression recently, one lasting for several days.  I didn't know why and I remembered having similar troubles about this time last year.

     Cabin fever?  Seasonal affective depression?

     Oh, two more items: each  period of depression was preceded by several hours of happiness.   Annnnd-- this time of year, I have access to really, really good cookies covered in rich, dark chocolate.

     My self-control around those good cookies...not what it should be.  Each time I got the blues, I'd eaten more of 'em than I should've the day before.  Not quite half a box over a few hours.  That's way too much.

     Back when the docs were working on my migraines/facial pain thing, they tried a class of drugs that mess with serotonin levels.  (Antidepressants: they've been known to work on otherwise-intractable pain in some cases.  Draw your own conclusions).  I was very sensitive to them and they had unsettling effects.  Dark chocolate, enough of it, is thought to increase serotonin levels in the brain* and if you use that stuff up quicker than you make it, you can get a nasty little serotonin crash: you run plumb outta the stuff.

     I have moderated my dark chocolate cookie intake.  I feel about two hundred percent better.  Correlation isn't causation, but....
* Exactly what goes on with serotonin in the brain isn't well understood; for some reason, people aren't lining up to get their gray matter plumbed into a chemical analysis set-up.  Research on SSRI drugs and related matters is pretty empirical; they feed drugs to volunteers and use indirect means to figure out their effects.

Those Darned Hippies Will Ruin Everything

   1920s London Tube advert.  Change just one word and...

     Well.  That ain't right.

     (The original large word was, simply, "Seeing."  Seen here.)

     And the password is, "Parody."

Sick Day

     Vertigo's back!  --Along with back pain and Sinus Blockage, which (oddly enough) is not a name for a Cold War interrogation technique.

     Still, it beats what's in second place.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

-4 Degrees Fahrenheit

     It's four below out there.  Four below.

     It's worse out in the hinterlands -- Kokomo is in the negative teens.  I shan't be surprised if they abandon it, leaving "BRRATOAN" carved into a tree near the center of town.  Homeless shelters in towns in the wooded, hilly regions of southern Indiana report a small but steady influx of "unusually tall and hairy men," with "extremely large, furry feet and no shoes," who speak only in monosyllables, smell dreadful and are very shy.

     YMMV.  Me, I am somewhat less happy than a body-shop owner in Atlanta, Georgia watching an ice storm -- which is what they're getting while we're getting the Big Freeze.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Remember Heat?

     ...If H. P. Lovecraft had made posters for the Tube.

     (It's below zero in Indy.  Again.  IT'S DRIVING ME MAD.  MAD.  MAAAAAD.)

Experi. Mental.

     It works.  Need a real one. (Also, totally great name for a publishing house.)

Sunday, February 09, 2014


     It's like those "Intel inside" warning labels, right?

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Confession Time

     Friends (both of you) readers and random fools, I have lied to you for years.  See, when I started blogging I was just past the end of a long-term relationship.  After fourteen years, I got dumped, and under terms that made it clear I'd been played for at least half of that time, providing food and shelter and 500 channels of TV while being cheated on.  Somebody else got the romantic candlelight dinners while I did my (admittedly inept) job of homemaking.

     I wanted those years back.  So I took them.  I listed my age as "40."  That was a lie.  I was 50 then.  I'll be 56 this Spring.*  I should not have done it but it was a more-or-less white lie and back then, I could pull it off.  A hard-used 40 or a lucky 50, there's not much difference.  Time marches on, alas, and any more, there's a big difference in the morning waking up and there's a big difference when I come home after work.  I'm worn out.  I'm creaky. It's the slow start of the Big Downhill.

     These days, I'm cranky.  My hearing is starting to go (can't pick voices out of the noise) and my patience is done gone.  You get what you get.  If you don't like that, there's plenty more elsewhere.
* This is something of a mystery to me, as I could have sworn I was 29 or 30 just last week and in my best moods and condition, I still feel that age.  Ooooo, the universal tragederification of it all.

Another Morning, Another Inch Of Snow

     Is it the beginning of Stockholm Syndrome if I admit to being happy it's only an inch of snow?  Temperature is way down in the single digits, leaving me wondering how well our big-city heat island has done at keeping yesterday's roads covered in wet slush from freezing in long, rutted, ugly skating rinks.

     Still, the cold has ensured the snowfall wil stay light and fluffy until we have time to sweep it off.  "An ill wind..." as they say, and with below-zero wind chills, it's got to be somewhere between frostbitten and bilious.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Make It Stop, Make It Stop, Make It Stop

     It hasn't stopped, though we are now down to a delightful mix of freezing mist and very light snow.  Officially, there's something between seven and eight inches of snow on the ground already and the TV stations have people scattered all over, some with live mobile video, to tell the rest of us to stay off the roads.  (This is semi-unfair, as the most far-away teams were in place before the snow started; still, a reporter telling me, with on-the-go Action News pictures, "We're fishtailing down I-12345 at 65 mph in our 4WD.  Never ever try this!  You should stay home and lock the doors, 'cos it is deadly dangerous on these roads!" is annoying -- who died and made you Matthew Henson, pal?)

     It looks like the street in front of Roseholme Cottage has been plowed down to smooth snow over yesterdays lingering ice.  Undoubtedly an improvement, despite how futile it looks.

     And I'll be out there with a shovel shortly.  Oh, the fun we have!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Soapsuds Mystery Update

     The guys who suggested maybe we had the wrong laundry soap?  Yep -- it's HE, which I guess isn't referring to the brisance, and our washer is more black powder era tech.  This is not a happy mix.

     I'm washing Carhartt dungarees with Woolite right now.  What?  It's the only other option!

     Dammit, I still miss Lux flakes (with Color Freshener).

Might As Well Shake The Old Sleighbells

     --To cover up the sound of me yelling.  Five inches of snow on the ground (and the roads) and more falling quicker than thought.

Yes, There's More Snow Tonight!

     How much snow?  Possibly four inches -- or as many as ten.    Maybe even over a layer of ice.  And it'll start just in time for rush hour!

     I'm giving serious thought to packing a blanket and my spare jammies; there's a shower hidden away on a second-floor back hallway at work and I already have a toothbrush in my valise.  There aren't any really great places to sleep but one advantage to what I do for a living is one gets to know where the quieter corners are and has keys to several of them.

     It's not just me, is it?  This really is a middling-sucky winter, isn't it?

Monday, February 03, 2014

Washing Machine Of Doom! Er, Doom-ish -- Okay, "Slightly Annoying."

     I don't know what's going on exactly, some combination of soap-soaked washcloths, a routine change in the way our water company processes water and/or detergent buildup in the machine, but I have a load of towels and washcloths in the machine now on the sixth or seventh cycle without added soap, two of which have included a couple of cups of vinegar, and so far, there are soapsuds left after the last spin -- curiously persistent ones, at that.

     First World Problems, ey?

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Rant Mode: ON

     I've just about had it with people in general.  Especially partisans, which is pretty much everybody.  And double especially with the guys on one side or another who set out to "explain" why the dammnable types on the other side are brain-bent, immature, illogical, intolerant and incapable of reason.

     ...Though I admit to thinking they're all right: we develop our damfool notions first, and come up with "reasons" for them in hindsight.  From Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Rick Santorum, not a one of them has an internally-consistent philosophy or set of positions on the supposed issues, and as for any connection they might have to reality, forget it.

     There's politics and then there's the stuff we do to get through each day -- and to be able to look ourselves in the mirror afterwards -- and they don't have nearly as close a connection as we think, or at least not 'til Congress raises taxes or debases the currency or both, which as near as I can tell is their actual job no matter which party is prescribing the warpaint patterns or Ritual Grunts.  And even when that happens, we run to our old familiar lares and penates, we check our well-worn shibboleths and fetishes and read the same decaying chicken innards to determine the significance of it all--  And it ain't even crap.

     Take the current tempest-in-a-toilet-bowl over, of all the damn things, the use of binary gender tropes in SF and fantasy.  Some nitwit wrote an essay about how she or he (or whatever) wants to never again pick up an SF or fantasy novel and find in it characters who are nothin' but girly-women and big ol' boy men, and who lust for nothing but their binary opposite.  Nope, sayeth the pundit, that rubbish has got to go.  (Possibly he, she, etc. did not have parents, or was injured riding a bicycle to their wedding, but I speculate.) I am pretty sure the person who penned that bit is not the Editor-Emperor and High Admiral of genre fiction, but a great hubbub and furor has nonetheless ensued.   This has now grown, in a lumpy, cancerous fashion, assigned "conservative" and "liberal" sides, with very little actual relation to the fictional sex lives or butchness/femmeness of an author's characters.  (Heinlein seems to have got stuck on the conservative side, which must have Johann/Joanne Smith, Friday and Andy Libby Long well-puzzled) and one author who has taken up cudgels (or possibly a windmill-lance -- the landscape of the debate makes Bob Clampett's Wackyland look dull) on the conservative side has a character in his body of work who is a classic overachieving gay male closet case.   Meantimes, we can find a few on the other side who have got yarns fulla 1950s-model families....

     It's bullshit.  At every level and in every way, from prescribing how writers should cast their works to nattering away at one another about it, it is a complete waste of time.  Writers whittle characters for their roles; Genly Ai and Bedap are who they are for a reason, same as Ham Brooks and Monk Mayfair chase skirts and Bron Helstrom doesn't. Likewise cultures; I found Whileaway staggeringly conservative in mores and behaviors while the world of Venus Equilateral was not so much so. YMMV.*  Readers vote with their dollars and in an increasingly "flat" playing field for writers, what publishers will buy means less and less when writers can bypass them and get the stuff to readers directly.  (Sometimes this results in writers finding traditional publishers after the fact -- witness Marko Kloos, Larry Correia and probably Hugh Howey.)  Buy the stuff you like; buy it new if you can, buy copies to give as gifts.  Don't buy what you don't like, and if you're buying books for train-wreck amusement, buy them used. 

     Most of the noise comes from SF fan-types.  Fen.  Lemme 'splain you: fendom as a whole is a mind-destroying hive of scum and villainy, as pure and perfect an example of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds as can be found.  (Individually or in small groups, they're as fine a bunch of folks as anyone, mind you; it's just the swarm that's toxic).  When they thunder by, no patch of praire-dog holes can stop 'em.  And I'm kinda glad to see them kept busy -- but dammit, there's writers wading in, which means they are not writing new and interesting fiction, and that ticks me off.  Plus, this is friendly fire.  Or fragging.

     And all that mess?  It's a microcosm of the larger world.  Which is why I'm about done with people in general and partisans in particular.  Me, I'm not conservative, I'm not liberal; I don't want to police your vocabulary or your bedroom and I darned sure don't want any form of Authority doing so against your will unless you're a killer or a kidnapper, or otherwise engaged in force or fraud.  Is that a highly rational, logically arrived at stance?  Oh hell no.  It's the one I like best, is all.

     Same as the crazy crap you believe, whether you admit it or not.  Which you probably won't.  And I'm about done with that, too.
* Go wild sortin' those references out.  Or not.

Well, Stud My Tires And Call Me "Spike"

     It's been raining off and on all day today.  The sidewalk between the back door and garage here at Roseholme Cottage is under water, two inches deep in spots.  Tonight, the temperature will dip blow freezing -- and stay that way through at least February tenth!

     What makes this so very interesting is the streets are about like that sidewalk.  Ten days of street-skating?  Goodness, what fun we are going to be having.  Oh, what fun indeed.


It's A Nice Day To Sleep In

     Snow turned to rain early this morning, with freezing rain waiting in the wings, muttering, "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."  Yes, it's gonna be A Day. 

     On the bright side, it's not ten below.  That got old even before it arrived and put me too much in mind of Leiber's A Pail Of Air.  Let us not go there -- it is a chilly place.