Thursday, June 30, 2016

Reading, Reading

     I often have two books going at the same time, between the Kindle and physical books-with-pages.  Right now, they're Sir Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites and The Nightmare Stacks, the seventh (!) of Charles Stross's "Laundry Files" novels.

     This makes for some odd resonances; despite differences in tone, style* and setting, both are lurking on the edges of H. P. Lovecraft's universe, peering out at it from very familiar bastions: a hidebound (in fact, stuffy) University culture and stifling-yet-muddling-through bureaucracy as only the UK can truly achieve.†  While Sir Terry's world was slowly hauling itself into a modern age -- Century of the Fruitbat, after all, one must keep up -- and Stross's is teetering on the brink of cosmic annihilation, their characters face the challenges with similar determination and (occasionally reluctant) verve.

     --I highly recommend both books.  If Charlie Stross's politics/SF alignment bother you, you're missing out.  I read authors all across the Puppies mess (maybe not at the very farthest extremes) and my head ain't totally exploded yet.  Good fiction is good fiction and some dude voting (and being kinda unhappy just now) in the UK is no threat to domestic U.S.politics.
* Although I must admit that both of them have the same thing about asterisks that I do, or similar anyway.  Make of that what you will.  
† In the States, we create all manner of end-runs, work-around and clear-cuts when results are desperately needed; the Russians clamp down, empty the prisons of the clueful and pile up bodies until things work and the Germans throw ideas at the wall while going down in flames.  If you want to gather a skilled group of amateurs and invent, oh, RADAR or scientific cryptography, you need Her Majesty's Government and a tall stack of forms that have very little to do with the task at hand but must nevertheless be properly filled out.  I have no idea how the French cope with similar circumstances; they all clam up and pretend not to speak English when asked, which may in fact be a large part of their method.  Anyone with a freestanding 1000' tower over a hundred years old in their capital city is welcome to criticize this approach.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Early Day

     It's another Mom-meeting Wednesday, so there's only time to post that much this morning.  Hoping I won't run afoul of another driver who thinks herself Queen Of The Road. 

     (Did all that -- and then didn't make it, betrayed by my own innards.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hoosier Hash?

     It can't be that, it's got hot and sweet Italian sausage in it!  So I don't know what to call it.
     Sausage, mushrooms, rice, onion, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and well-drained canned petite diced tomatoes.  Served with a little hot sauce and ranch dressing.  It was tasty!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Morning

     Ah, yes, Monday.  Again. 

     Sunday was a pretty good day.  Tam and I drove down to Taste for breakfast with Uncle Jay, then I put in a very brief appearance at a baby shower for one of my nieces, held at Mom's retirement center.  Then a stop at the five and dime, a few loads of laundry (and a sort though and cleaning of a box of various bits -- drill and screwdriver -- for a standard brace) and a nice nap before bedtime. 

     And yet, still, there's no dodging Monday.  Darned thing sneaks right up and jumps out.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Refrigerator Pickles

     Here they are:

     The basic recipe is cucumbers, onions, sugar, vinegar and water.  This one has pickling spice, allspice, black pepper and some rosemary lavender, too.  Mostly white vinegar, a little raw apple cider vinegar.


     Off to see a different guy about another thing.  Back soon!  (And then a baby shower later.  Yikes!)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sweat Therapy

     Slept in.  Woke up and I was kinda sore and achy.  Made a nice breakfast -- nice by my standards, an omelette fortified with smashed-up Stoned Wheat crackers (no idea what they're on!) and filled with a little dice salami and chopped Kalamata olives (which you can now buy in little "snack packs").

     No longer hungry, but still sore, and the yard was, let us say, notably unmowed.  Time to get stuck in!  Hauled out the extension cord -- I mow with coal, burned several hundred miles away -- and the mower and gave the front a nice buzz, then followed with the string trimmer, blasting burdock and Creeping Charlie out of the joints in the sidewalk and attempting to civilize the edging.  That took about three bottles of water during: it's hot!  Followed that with the leaf vacuum, getting all the grass clippings and such from the walks.  It blows out great clouds of dust through the canvas collection bag, necessitating another bottle of water.

     Did all this in Bobbi's Tropical Uniform #1, which means shorts, dri-weave T-shirt, great tall, black pole-climber boots, big sunglasses and wide-brimmed, denim boonie hat.  (There may be photos later.  You should fear this.) The vitamin D is free, you see, but so is low-level high-speed debris.  It also meant I had a nice coating of dust on my limbs, so I put all my toys away, swept the ants Tam had nerve-gassed yesterday (oh, the carnage!  There were hundreds.  She's a cruel enemy to make, and yet the ants never learn) down the front steps (and away from the mint), and went inside to rinse the worst dust off, followed by Old Family Sun-Exposure Remedy: a wipe-down with a vinegar-dampened cloth.  Done soon after you get out of the sun, this will usually turn an incipient mild burn into a tan, possibly by fiddling with skin pH.

     Fiddled around on the internet a bit, then soaked in the tub and you know what?  I stopped aching somewhere about a quarter of the way through the mowing.  I feel almost human now!  ...Almost.

Be "The Best Of The Old West"

     Remember "Donner Party Chuckwagon Restaurants?"  Here's one fully-produced version of the ad!

     This one is from "Cowboy Blob" Bob Flyzik and crew.

     I'm going Creative Commons with this: you are free to make your own version, as long as I get writing credit.  If you modify the script, feel free to add your name to mine.  If you sell the work, you'll need to negotiate a fee with me.  (I'm not greedy but there's a principle here.) Basically, have fun with it and share.

Friday, June 24, 2016

"Brrrrrrexit, Stage Right!"

    (If you heard that in the voice of an old Hanna-Barbara cartoon character, I intended it.)

     Yep, the Brits voted "leave."  Surprised me; I figured it would go like the Scotland vote, a great deal of noise right down to the wire, followed by a return to the status quo ante.  Instead, the UK went even further ante and that part of the world is now back to a kind of peaceable version of post-Dunkirk, with the plucky Britons looking across the Channel to a continent united under a single banner.

     I'd like to have an actual opinion about this but you know what?  I really don't.  It's a regional matter and I don't live there; I can read pundits all day long and I still won't have the same visceral grasp of the matter that a rubbish-hauler in Brighton can muster before breakfast.  This is easy to forget; there's an entire news industry that runs on ignoring that fact.  If you're not in the thick of it, you don't really know what's going on, no matter how slow and careful the explanation.

     The UK has chosen.  The Pound dipped.  If you had your eye on something made in the UK, right now might be a good time to price it out.  Past that, time will tell, as it always does.  Good idea?  Bad idea?  We'll all know soon enough.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Word To The Wise -- And The Unwise

     You can drink your own damned bathwater all you like, but I'm not sipping.  When I'm Empress Of The World, the penalty for that will be you get drowned in it, however badly my executioners have to torture the metaphor to make it happen.  Or you.

     I spent a couple of hours of dangerously-high blood pressure today, helping resolve a mess created by someone else's steadfast refusal to indulge in reality-based thinking.  Wishing is so much simpler and neater, isn't it -- until it doesn't work, at which point no amount of fast-talking BS or deprecating underlings will fix it.

     Here we go over the cliff in the big bus, busy with rolls of silk and knitting needles, hoping to make a parachute before it hits bottom.  Does anyone else notice the flaw in this plan?

Busy This Morning

     Talking with some guys about a thing.

     Maybe blogging later.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


     For whatever it's worth: as far as I know, there is no "I wuz aimin' to do right" exception to state laws, and unless human life or limb was in immediate, visible danger, judges and juries are unlikely to give you much of a do-gooder discount.

     Please make a note of it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Script, D. P. Chuckwagon Foods, 15 30-Second Ad

SFX:  Horses neigh.

SFX: Wagon wheels creak, fades under and continues

MUSIC: OLD WEST THEME, up and under.

ANN'CR:  "At Donner Party Chuckwagon Restaurants, you're at the top of the menu!  Yes, when you go with Donner Party, your taste is the first thing we think of.  And our award-winning gravy, an assortment of delicious sides and free refills on all drinks."

MUSIC: up briefly, then under.

ANN'CR:   "It's the best of the old West!  Slow-roasted goodness at Donner Party Chuckwagon Restaurants, where we want to"

SFX: Horses neigh.

MUSIC: THEME, up to end.


     Keep it down out there!  I'm making pancakes.  Swedish ones. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Remember Kelly Ayotte

     She seems to have forgotten you.  From today's gun-control voting:

     Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she will support a Democratic amendment to allow the government to ban the sale of guns to suspected terrorists, a reversal after voting against a similar version in December.
     Ayotte, who is in a tough re-election race in New Hampshire, says she will vote for the amendment sponsored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

     This slick move comes ten days after the filing deadline for her uncontested primary.  Granite-staters, have you at least got an LP candidate?  I know you have the phone number for her office; I'm sure her staff would love to hear from you.

Working The Early Shift Again

     Hoping to make some snappy remarks later.  On the other hand, I'm hoping to have breakfast later, too, and I'd only give 50/50 odds on that.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Software That Tieing A Pork Chop Around Would Not Help

     It's kind of sad and pitiful, the degree to which Adobe Acrobat updates keep popping up and asking me to download them.  Like a little lost a little lost incontinent dog that can't stop rolling in very dead things, and trying to drag them home, but still, it's not like it knows any better....

     I ditched Acrobat for Foxit years ago and I don't miss the ...e x t r e m e...s l o w n e s s... of Acrobat, nor the lovely way they started trying to sneak opt-out crapware into the update downloads.  For all I know Foxit could be sending copies of everything I open off to the Red Chinese or the Californian shadow-government of reptiloids (highly unlikely), but at least it does so while opening PDFs with speed and ease.  Good luck with the old-radio schematics and cat memes, you hideous things from another world and/or Beijing!

     Oh, look, there's Adobe Acrobat again, whining at the door and trying not to stink. Shoo!  Shoo!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Don't Be That Guy

     So, last weekend, a would-be terrorist* struck, committing an atrocity with a horrific victim count.  All decent people condemned the act -- and promptly retreated to their ideological bunkers.

     We've been lobbing writings at one another ever since.  We're not getting anywhere; our forting-up isn't even a response to one another as much as it is a response to the horror.  And meanwhile, the survivors, a very mixed lot of humanity, are relegated to the background, part of the omnipresent TV wallpaper.

     Let's not be that way.  Yeah, yeah, the gal over there wants to round up all the Muslims and ship 'em out; that guy over there wants to throw every gun into a volcano; and yeah, they will probably never agree.

     So let's find stuff more of us can agree on -- let's strive to treat others as we would like to be treated; let's judge others by their actions and not their regrettable wardrobe, hair-color or body-art choices, not who they vote for or who they date, not who their ancestors were or where they go to worship.  Let's not look at the tags but at the person.  Modern society relies on giving the other person the benefit of the doubt.  No, I'm not saying you ought to go out and hug strangers; some of them aren't going to take it well and a very few will use the opportunity to take your wallet.  --But most people won't; and more practically, most people, nearly all people, are perfectly fine to be around at arm's length.

     Take some time out to be kind, however quietly you do it.  Take some time to realize that even really annoying people with utterly addlepated opinions -- my heavens, how could anyone sincerely believe that? -- are, by and large, just people trying to do right as they see it, and if you disagree, you can get your own bumper stickers and resolve to vote right back at them on Election day, and not have to hate them up close and personal; they may be fine folks past your points of disagreement.  --Or maybe they're not; maybe the other guy is an asshole.  But an even an asshole who (as Jefferson wrote) "neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg," and can mind his or her own business is not a real problem.  You don't have to be great pals, you just ought to get along.

     Let us yell at one another on social media while remembering that it is ultimately a kind of game, and that change happens at the ballot box and in Congress, spurred by the letters you send to politicians and by the efforts of pressure-groups you support.  Some librarian from Duluth on Facebook is not The Enemy, they're just another citizen with another damfool opinion, worth as much as your own: one vote, one voice.

     Don't be like the murderers and madmen of the world; be a citizen.  Be, when you can, a friend.
* The reality may be more complex; an abusive husband with anger issues, who had a profile up on a gay dating site, is not a great fit to the profile of the typical Islamic suicide-killer.  Nevertheless, a terror attack is how he wanted his murders to be known, having called up 911 and chosen team ISIS, and that's what I'm going with.  Even if we understood his motives, his actions would be unforgivable.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Not This Morning

     No big spiel today.  It's time for the regular "Mom Meeting," the first since a nitwit sideswiped my car.

     I am pleased to report that yesterday evening, Tam and I succeeded in clearing the bathtub/shower drain.  I removed a rattlesnake-sized hair clog after we disassembled the drainpipe, along with the broken-off end of an inexpensive clog-removing tool which was the cause of the blockage.  Yes, they work great until they don't.  I cleaned up my tiny Shop-Vac, too, which has been needing attention for quite some time.  So far, so good.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"More Guns Won't Stop This" --A Rant

     Three days after and simplistic memes abound.  Everyone has retreated to their established positions and they're lobbing the same old slogans back and forth.

     49 people -- 49 Americans -- are still dead.  There is no way to make it not have happened.  "More guns won't stop this," I'm told, and yet it took police, with guns, to stop it, in part by adding a 50th body to the count, killing the shooter himself.

     There are something over 8 million AR-15 type rifles in the United States and they're not going away.  Tam tells me the killer used a different rifle, which uses the same magazines and has all the controls in the same place; functionally the same gun and split hairs don't bring back the dead any more than lit candles.  Remember the so-called assault weapons ban?  It didn't ban all weapons of this sort, only a jumble of cosmetic features.  Slam it back in place over this incident: the killer buys a slightly different version and the body count remains the same.

     I'm supposed, according to the media, according to some of my friends, to feel not simply sad, but guilty.  After all they point out, I own an AR-15; I own firearms; I don't think we ought to collect 'em all and melt them down.  In fact, I think something different: I think we can't.  It's not physically possible.
     Let's waive the entire Bill of Rights for a few seconds and say we set out to round up all the guns.  The easy place to start is with everyone who has a 4473 (that's the Federal background check when you buy a gun from a dealer) currently in the system.  You shut down NICS, grab all the data in their possession (by law, not more than the last 90 days), and start to go door-to-door.  Very roughly, 90 days of NICS checks is about 3.9 million transactions -- some will have been denied, some will be for more than one gun, but expect something over three million doors to knock on.  Even if the public cooperate, it's going to take a lot of police to knock on that many doors in a timely manner, police who already have plenty else to do.
     In the real world, the Bill of Rights remains in force; forget the Second Amendment, what about the Fourth?
     You can call for the public to turn in their guns; Australia tried that, paying for self-loading rifles and pump shotguns turned over for destruction, and achieved a compliance rate of 20 percent.  80% of those guns are still out there.
     Guns in America are not going away.  The people least likely to turn their guns over are the most difficult to find and the most dangerous: criminals and extremists.  Who wouldn't like to disarm all the criminals, all the people with horrible violence simmering away in their pressure-cooker heads?  There are already laws, after all -- felons and people convicted of domestic abuse aren't even supposed to be in the same room with a firearm.  And yet they are not dissuaded.  One more law, however harsh, still won't stop them.

     "More guns won't stop this?"  Neither will fewer guns.  In 1927, a man in Bath, Michigan killed 38 schoolchildren, six adults and never fired a shot at a person. If the killer in Orlando had waited until a large crowd left the bar and mowed them down with an SUV, would SUV owners be told to feel ashamed?  Would Presidential candidates bemoan that General Motors and Jeep couldn't be sued for the crime?  If he had chained the doors shut and set the bar on fire, would there be calls for bans on padlocks and gas cans?

     Killers kill.  "Make it didn't happen" is among the most poignant of sentiments -- and both sides of the debate are guilty of it; armed patrons at the bar are unlikely to have made much of a difference in the crowding and confusion -- but it is futile.  It did happen.  People are vulnerable; violence is rare and hence unexpected.  The advantage is always the aggressor's.

     When we react blindly, unrealistically, we contribute nothing to solving the problem.  For every ten thousand opinionators on the Internet, there was less -- far less -- than .01 of a pair of hands trying to control the bleeding of a wounded person in Orlando Saturday night.  No vigil, no change in the availability of guns either way can change that.

     You want to do something?  Give blood.  That stuff makes an actual, measurable difference.  Contribute to organizations that help people directly rather than lobbying for one more law, or even one less.  Learn first aid.  Try to be aware of the potential for violence and how you might react.  Statistically, you'll never see any; the blood and money you donate will do more good.

     Memes don't fix things.  Laws don't fix things.  Actions do.

     You know what I want?  I want herd immunity; I want anyone contemplating violence to others to stop and think, "My prospective victims are going to fuck me up," and decide not to strike.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Orlando Horror And My Two Cents

     The gun didn't do it -- the gun was only a tool. The religion didn't do it -- the religion, or that particular slant on it, was only a spark. The man did it, and it would be just as heinous a crime if he was an atheist or a Hindu or a Quaker; it would be just as dreadful if he did it from simple hate, from envy or twisted love. It would be just as tragic if he was clean off his nut or coldly sane.

      Yeah, it looks almost certainly to be ISIS, maybe an amateur fanboy with "sudden jihadi syndrome," and that's currently near the top of the dangerous-people charts -- but a guy with a brain tumor climbed a bell tower with a rifle and tried to kill as many; a weirdo with a bomb during the Atlanta Olympics tried to kill members of the same general group. There are a lot of people in our world and even though only a tiny fraction of them ever turn unpredictably murderous, if you have billions of people, the number of dangerous ones increases in proportion.  If you can hold your nose and follow the news, you have no doubt seen something about the Hoosier arrested in Santa Monica en route to the LA Pride parade with a few rifles and what appears to be the components for some sort of explosive or incendiary device; at this writing, there is no evidence he is anything other a garden-variety, non-Islamic haterboy.  Our world is not a simple chessboard. 

      Killers are out there.  You can't stop them in advance. Lock up all the "radical Muslims" (who decides?) and a racist or a crazy or someone out to make a political point will strike next. You can only stop such killers in the act or after the fact. The sooner you grasp what's going on when things get deadly, the sooner you can do something about it.

     Lots of people in Orlando Did Something. They helped others escape. They rendered first aid. They -- some of them -- got out of the way, and that's no small feat when seconds before, you were dancing and laughing in a crowded club.

      Societal outliers are disproportionately targets.  Oh, it's still largely safe to be an out and proud  Athabascan Buddhist lesbian (etc), and I'm not talking about the checker at Piggly Wiggly making rude remarks; but if you're not snuggled under the center of all the standard-distribution demographic curves, your odds of having a dull life are lower.  Withal, the United States is supposed to be a place where it's safe to be non-violently different and don't kid yourself -- an attack on even a minority you personally find repugnant is an attack on American values.

      Whoever you are, whatever you are, the world you live in is mostly safe, but it's not absolutely safe. What'll you do if things go sideways? Have you thought about it? Maybe it's time you did.  Maybe it's time you forgot about Walter Mitty and took a long, cold look in the mirror.  What would you do? How aware will you be?  What skills can you bring to bear in the moment, under pressure?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Early, Early

     Yep, the old early shift again.  Still not a fan; swing shifts aren't getting any easier.  At least I spent my short Saturday on good, honest labor, mowing the front and back yards in 90-degree heat, and that led to getting at least a bit of sleep.

     (I asked my boss about the present schedule and what might happen in the future, as retirements and departures continue.  He didn't hold out hope for improvement.  One of the two techs I share this rotation with will be retiring; the other one and I aren't looking forward to that day.)

     Too often on these early days, I eat too much and move too little.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Oh, Poor You! (Breakfast Treat #2)

     Poor you -- you're not here, so you can't have any of this:

     Eggs poached in tomato sauce with meat.  In this case, the Italo-Mexican Germanic version of Eggs Pomodoro, with Ro-Tel tomatoes, salsa, Kalamata olives, and knockwurst. Can't we all just get along?

Oh, Poor Me! (Breakfast Treat #1)

     Oh, alas and alack!  I'm out of powdered coffee creamer and the corner store only had high-test real cream, which is too rich and which I never manage to use up before it turns and has to be put down from a safe distance lest it kill us all.

     So all I have to lighten my coffee this morning is...vanilla ice cream!  The good kind, with real milk, sugar and cream in it.

     Oh, the horror, the awful privation, etc., etc., hahahah!  

Friday, June 10, 2016

An Embarrassment Of Itches

     Politics: from the Greek "poly," meaning many, plus "tick," a small biting insect that leaves an irritating welt and can carry several unpleasant diseases.
      There are so many things to write about this morning and all of them simply annoying, from whatever cow-pie Mr. Trump has produced and then stepped or sat in (to wild catcalls from the old-guard media) all the way to poor, poor Elizabeth Warren, stuck like Buriden's ass between the hay bales of philosophical unity with Senator Sanders and gender solidarity with Secretary Clinton.  When, oh when will be the precise moment for her to slip the knife between Bernie's ribs and jump to Hilary's side -- and why should we care any more about it than the Trumpening du jour of the day?  They're just a couple of the many scenes in the Punch and Judy show of Election 2016 (insert stirring theme music here) and we're the ones who keep getting hit with a stick. 

     So much to write about and yet they all boil down to that one absolute: no matter who wins, we lose, and in the meantime, the obnoxious chatter and pantomime beatings go on and on.

     Come November, will it really feel all that good when it stops?

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Oh, New York Times, You're So Funny

     Remember when newspapers tended to root for the plucky underdog?  Just like the paperboy who tossed the paper right on your porch from his bicycle, or the milkman who brought cow squeezings right to the front porch, it's a thing of the past, one with the dodo, dial telephones and Congressionally-declared wars:

    Hillary Clinton Made History, but Bernie Sanders Stubbornly Ignored It

     That's how the headline reads.  No matter which of them held the most delegate votes, history would have been made; the closest the United States has ever had to a Jewish Presidential candidate until this election was Barry Goldwater.  This also ignores the reality of party primaries: Candidates can win 'em and still not get the nod at the convention.  When you vote in a primary, you're only offering guidance to that party's convention delegates from your state; they can change their minds and their votes.

     (Read the article if you must; it's a pretty standard example of what passes for political reporting at the nation's newspaper-of-record and they spelled most of the words correctly.  Even C students have to work somewhere, after all.)

     Once upon a time, there were a series of classes taught in High School lumped under the heading of "Civics," in which such matters were explained.  It appears this is no longer the case; voters don't grasp what primaries are, Presidential candidates don't understand the powers and limitations of the office they're running for, and the New York Times has forgotten that nominating conventions are not simple confirmation celebrations.

     --Oh, look, here comes Caesar, on triumphal parade in all his finery....

     Bemoan the candidates all you like.  There's plenty to weep over in the "choices" offered for high office in this election season.  That doesn't worry me nearly so much as the loss of a grasp of the functioning of the actual system, now buried under the weight of dammed-fool notions that overwhelm both the Constitutionally-defined and painfully-evolved structure and traditions of American government and politics, replacing it with a kind of moronic elected monarchy in which Presidents are the source of all virtue or all evil and rule by fiat, a nitwit's paradise in which the deliberations of a legislative body are dismissed as "obstructionism" and the composition of the highest court in the land is just another partisan football.

      Horrific candidates are just a symptom.  The disease is an ignorant, short-sighted, malleable electorate, fed on the most inane pap by way of news and hungry for cheap thrills.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

I Slept Smugly Last Night

     Cradled in the roar of a box fan propped in the window, blessed oblivion.  Blessed smug oblivion -- just filled with homeownerly virtue:

     Got home yesterday evening, broke out the long garden hose, found the spray nozzle, hooked it up and cleaned the condensing unit for the air-conditioning. Then I changed the filter in the furnace/air handler, drained and put away the hose, dug out the box fan and set up in my bedroom window, because we're having a short run of nice, cool weather.

     I have the HVAC tech scheduled Friday nevertheless; we're due for temperatures in the 90s by the weekend and it appears the air conditioning is low on working fluid.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

It Must Be Official, MSNBC Hath Spake

     MSNBC is calling the Democrat nomination for Secretary Clinton, in advance of actual results from California, based on some combination of delegate counts, polling and wishing-will-make-it-so.  Even if I wasn't skeptical of her and her party, being the Comcast Candidate would be a pretty big negative. (Ms. Clinton touts herself as historic, "the first major-party woman candidate for high office."  Tam doubts this.)

     The contrast between Hillary Clinton's media-driven inevitability and the enthusiasm shown for Senator Sanders by her party's younger and less Establishment members has been instructive -- and reminds me of the gap between Mr. Trump's supporters and the businessmen-as-usual GOP.  (Though the Republicans do, at least, have Tea Party types camped out in the space between, as the poet wrote, "the Queen's person and The Queen," or, less poetically, trying to bridge betwixt two-fisted nativist populism and the Skull & Bones set.)

     If I ran a "major party" -- or even gave two cents about either one -- I'd be looking up from the tea leaves with cold chills down my back.  One party's leadership has utterly lost its king-making mojo and the other seems to be just barely hanging on to it thanks to a persistent personality. The vox pop. may be deeply ignorant, but it knows what it doesn't like -- and aversion is generally stronger than admiration. 

     Expect a lot of voting against this go-round.  Expect campaigns based on being the anti-opponent ("Vote for me!  I'm not that horrible person they are running!"); expect a lot of fear-mongering from the Left and Right, and few if any rosy visions of the sort Bernie Sanders or Ronald Reagan once shared.  Statesmanship isn't so much dead as barbecued and on a platter in the center of the table with an apple in its mouth.

     The good news is, the (as-yet un-nominated) candidates and not some random sample of the subject population are the contestants in the 2016 Hunger (for power) Games!  The bad news?  They can't both lose.

     The odds are never in our favor.

Monday, June 06, 2016


     Yesterday was not as productive as I had hoped.  I did plant some more stonecrop out front, and repotted a hydrangea -- I had given the latter to Mom from Mother's Day and it was not doing well in the original container and medium, so she regifted it back to me and we'll see if more room, better dirt and direct sunlight will help.  It appeared to be trying when I moved it.

     Tam and I ran by the big home improvement store and the five-and-dime (that's $5.10, these days!) for various household items, then had a quick early supper or late lunch at the Broad Ripple Brewpub, which I had forgotten was one of the few places where they still make coleslaw worth eating.  I had that and a "Scotch Egg Burger," which is okay (hamburger and sausage, dipped in egg wash and bread crumbs in the manner of a Scotch Egg).  I don't know if it was the weather, the food or what, but once we were back home, I laid down and fell asleep for several hours.

     I've been having a lot of allergy-type sinus congestion of late and that probably contributed.

     The only other thing I managed to get done was to clean out the inside of the wooden box for my Yankee #106 "Radio Tools" with mineral spirits.  Progress!  

Sunday, June 05, 2016



     Yeah, that's all for right now.  Lawn work was rained out yesterday.  The Data Viking was gonna visit for the 1500 today but his lawn work was rained out, too.

     You'd never guess what I am going to try doing between rainshowers today....

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Lazy Saturday

     Tam and Shootin' Buddy are off to the gun show (the Indy 1500 Gun Show, that is).  I worked half a day yesterday and did a quick walk-through of the show after.  Lots of pretty things, including several sub-$600 Browning Hi-Powers (much want!  My ex had one, the pretty-pretty Capitan model, delightful for target shooting)  but nothing I actually need.

     Well, almost nothing.  I couldn't pass up a Mercury-head "Neutron Irradiated Dime" from the Museum of Atomic Energy (AEC), though it made a Geiger counter tick for only about twenty minutes, decades ago (paid about par, too -- see eBay).  A little patch warning that I suffer from a STUPIDITY ALLERGY seemed like a good idea, as did a couple of small stickers proclaiming:
     Words to...not live by, really, but to keep in mind.  Sometimes (not often, but sometimes) it can be an appropriate response.

     There were many fascinating old revolvers and so many beautifully-engraved firearms that I was tempted to skirt the prohibition on photographs.  Not this time -- I really should apply for a Press exemption.  But oh, the shame if people thought I was a newspaper reporter or some other flavor of lamestream press....

Friday, June 03, 2016

Musical Interlude

     Spanky (Elaine) McFarlane and Our Gang, from way back in the wayback:
     Years ago -- in a different century -- I worked with a guy who'd put together his own edit of this.  There are two versions of the song on the original LP, many tracks apart.  When you put them together, one after the other, it's even better.  Um, good luck with that; it worked fine with mono audiotape and razor blades, with an angled cut to help it blend.

Thursday, June 02, 2016


     My car -- yes, the MM RX CCC -- got hit yesterday morning, returning from the Mom meeting.  Oh, it wasn't much, a low speed. low relative speed hit approaching a roundabout on a 4-lane road: I was in the right-hand lane, the other driver was in the left one, and suddenly realized she needed to be in my lane.  Alas, she apparently did not notice my SUV-sized vehicle.  She drifted over and tapped my ride behind the left rear wheel, creasing the sheet metal, scraping off a little side light and uglying the side of the rear bumper.  Her Jeep Compass came off much the worse, losing the outer light housing on the right front, with well-creased sheet metal behind it.

     She insisted on calling the police and I didn't object.  Things took a turn for the surly after an officer was on the scene and the Compass driver was unable to produce any insurance information or registration for the car, which turned out to belong to "a friend." Her driver's license was out-of-state.  And of course, in her telling, I "came out of nowhere."  Um-hm.  Along a busy 40 mph 4-lane street in a town well known for strict and humorless enforcement of speed limits, approaching a roundabout with a recommended speed of 15 mph (which most drivers take at 20 to 25).  Nope.

     It was one of those mornings.  Inevitably, if I get hit, I get hit by someone with no insurance and little prospect of repaying.   I filed a claim with my insurance (no choice -- in Indiana, you have to carry uninsured motorist coverage and any accident reported to the police requires filing a fresh Proof of Insurance form) but this may be under the deductible.

     So far, the car still runs and so do I.  Woke up early this morning with a bad calf cramp.  Stress?  Maybe.

     PS: Antis, I was armed to the teeth.  And very ticked off, too.  Somehow, my gun did not so much as put in an appearance.  Gawrsh, who would'a thunk?  --Oh, that's right, most normal people are happy to let the police and their insurance carrier "go on the warpath" instead. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Posted In Advance

     I'll let the Googles post this for me at my selected time, because if all goes per plan, I'm off to the regular Wednesday morning Mom meeting with a sizzling agenda.

     It seems the retirement center never ordered replacement pads for that dreadfully uncomfortable neck-immobilizer collar, and when my sister got one of Mom's M.D's to write a prescription for them, she found the pharmacy needed cash -- because per Medicare and Mom's insurance, this was something that was supposed to have been handled through the nursing home.

     They had not, and in initial contact expressed mild surprise at their own omission-- Yet this is something totally obvious on a patient who gets an at least three-times-a-week check for bedsores and similar issues.  Once again, paint-by-numbers healthcare, performed by the cheapest supposedly-qualified help. 

     My sister is out a reasonable chunk of change, an amount that would have bought a couple of months of very nice lunches.  My Mom's been putting up with yeechy padding on her neck stabilizer.  My brother and I are seeing red.

     And this is a place that gets good-to-excellent ratings from the State and the various consumer-reviewed websites.  Imagine how bad the really bad ones must be.

     I need to include the Hemlock Society in my personal retirement planning -- I haven't got three kids and a dozen grandkids to at least try to nursemaid the nurses and I'd just as soon not be tormented by incompetent dullards in my dotage.  The way we treat the infirm elderly is a crime.  When my time comes, play me out with Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 instead, please.  Please.