Thursday, September 3, 2015


The promised hot weather has moved in and should stay till the middle of next week.  I picked a nice bunch of beans and tomatoes.  The beans are in the freezer and the tomatoes are in the dehydrator along with the strawberries.  They should be finished a bit later this morning.  I will water everything but that is all I really need to do.

An interesting article on a NY Federal Reserve study about the effect of student loan--essentially the expansion of credit for higher education--on tuition costs.  Evidently it surprised a lot of conservative economists who bought into the theory that credit doesn't increase the costs of the goods bought on credit.  I think that is a fair summary of the theory.  Turns out the theory is wrong.  But I noticed that no one mentioned the fact that student loans are guaranteed by the government and are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  That means that the loan provider is guaranteed repayment with interest no matter what, the colleges get paid no matter what and the borrower is on the hook no matter what.  The borrower bears all of the risk while the other parties bear none at all.  That might explain why colleges were able to grab $0.65 of every dollar loaned when the credit was expanded.  This is a system begging to be corrupted and it has been.

Helen at Margaret and Helen posted a concise piece about that idiot county clerk in Kentucky.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Another hot day expected so what ever I do in the gardens I need to get done early.  

A good reason not to vote for Carly Florin.   I guess she has been so busy hustling votes she hasn't heard that California has a problem with drought, or that the ground water and aquifers are being drained at a very fast rate, or that the rivers are running dry so there simply isn't much to allocate to anyone, or that the ground is subsiding at a furious pace because of how much water is being pumped and for much of that government can't do much.  Of course, one company making out like the bandit it is is Nestle which pays a pittance for the water it puts into the little plastic bottles which it sells to fools for a tidy profit.  The CEO says they would pump more water into more little plastic bottles it it only could.  Is that the ag business Carly thinks government has destroyed?

At first I thought Marie had posted a fictional piece until I read further down--and then did a Google search for details.  We just had a dramatic increase in prices of gas because of an "unscheduled maintenance" problem at the local refinery.  No shortage--just prices $0.90/gal higher than they were before or after.

I lived in Columbia, Missouri for about seven years.  I don't remember the time fondly and I find this piece at Addicting Info absolutely hilarious.  I love it when manipulators of the political process get shafted by their own manipulations.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Too hot to do anything outside.  I will collect the beans tomorrow and any tomatoes that are ripe to dry along with the strawberries we picked up today.  I am trying to find something Mom might like to do with green tomatoes but have struck out so far.  The next few days are also supposed to be quite warm in the high 80s and low 90s.  What ever gets done in the gardens will have to b done early.

Don't you just love self-righteous asses who think their religious views should be inflicted on others? If those views prevent her from doing her job as it is defined in law, she needs to find another job.  But that wouldn't satisfy her proselytizing soul.  I get so sick of idiots who think they have a private phone like to god.  All I can say is "NOT my god!!"

Walmart's big press release of six months ago that they were increasing the pay for their "associates" should have been placed in the "too good to be true" file.  A per-hour raise doesn't mean much if you don't have the hours.  Timing is ironic since this is generally the time of year they start bringing on new workers to cover the holidays.  I wonder if that tells us what they expect for the season.

Monday, August 31, 2015


Last day of August and a foggy beginning it is.  Less than a quarter-mile visibility.  The weather people also say that we should have hazy skies because of smoke drifting from the fires in the west and Canada.  I have tomatoes ready to bring in.  They will be dried for storage.  Some beans should be ready for picking tomorrow or perhaps Wednesday.

Been a productive morning.  Three trays of tomatoes and one each of sage, basil, and strawberry leaves drying now.  I need to go out and water the containers but the fog is now thickening again after lifting somewhat earlier this morning.

I have been watching this story unfold ever since Bruce Rauner was inaugurated.  It isn't quite a case of "can't" as of "won't."  The Repthuglican Rauner and his Comptroller insist that the state can't issue checks because no budget has been passed and signed.  Rauner has vetoed at least one budget sent to him claiming it wasn't "balanced," Repthuglican speak for didn't cut enough social programs for his liking.  He also insists on so-called reforms that would gut unions (especially public employee unions) and give perks to his business buddies.  Courts have disagreed with the governor at least where the Federal funds the state has received to pay the Federal part for a number of social programs and ordered the state to cut the checks. It is funny but under other governors the state continued to pay its bills whether it had a agreed upon and signed budget or not.  And the state isn't actually refusing to pay all lottery winners--just those whose winnings are over $21k and can't be redeemed locally.

Saturday, August 29, 2015


I left the dehydrator running overnight because I had three trays of tomatoes in it and they still had a considerable ways to go before they were dry.  I was prepared to continue the operation if need be but the tomatoes were all nicely finished when I turned off the machine about 5am this morning.  Since we now have rain the dehydrator will have a nice day off.  See if the weather drys up tomorrow before collecting anything more from the garden.  I saw a nice bowlful of beans developing.  They should be ready by Monday or Tuesday.

This is a problem for customers of HSBC in the UK but is a cautionary tale for us on this side of the pond.  How much do you trust your bank?  And what happens when trust is broken in a system that runs on trust?

For a good while now I have seen stories about the "ghost cities" in China.  Now add "zombie factories" into the mix.  But the description of how some of those factories have been kept on life support (restructuring loans, requiring only interest repayment, and giving new loans that have little likelihood of being repaid) reminds me of what the "Troika" has been doing to Greece.

So, they have a banking problem in the UK and one in Australia as well.  Coincidence?   Probably but it doesn't do much to bolster confidence in the banking system.

I saw this earlier this morning and had only one question:  if people are pulling cash out of stocks and bonds, where are they putting it?

Well, the news media has been beating the dead horse of the Katrina 10th anniversary.  I have ignored most of it as much as possible.  Like so much else in this country these days it has the feeling of propaganda, of a Potemkin village affair.  Evidently I am not the only one--and I have never been to New Orleans so I can only suspect that it is a plastic replica of what was once authentic.

Friday, August 28, 2015


Harvested enough tomatoes to fill two-thirds of my large wire strainer and almost as much of Gold Marie and Blauhilde beans.  I gave two of the Amish Gold and about half of the cherry tomatoes to one of our neighbors.  We had unseasonably cool temperatures and clouds all day yesterday.  No rain, though, so I need to water containers this morning.  Planning to harvest spearmint today and, perhaps, lavender.

I have been reading about the algal bloom on the west coast for a while now.  Anyone notice how the environment is "missing in action" in our political discourse?  I have.

For something like the last forty years I have noticed this fact and it makes me laugh every time Mothers' Day rolls around and the news media trot out the saccharine stories about how valuable mother's work is.  The hard truth is the unpaid work we do is not valued in this society.  It doesn't add to the GDP and economists rarely (if ever) take it into any account of economic activity.  I have always gardened when I could but beyond the inputs I purchase (tools, soil, seeds, plants, etc.) my gardening produces nothing of economic value, i.e. it doesn't add to the GDP.  Actually, it deducts from GDP in that I am not purchasing the items I grow from a commercial outlet (the supermarket.)  We rarely buy peppers because I grow them.  We don't buy many herbs because I grow them.  We will buy fewer sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and beans because I grow them.  I can't supply all our needs from my small space but we buy fewer and, therefore, contribute less to GDP.  Perhaps, we need better metrics by which to evaluate our economy.

It has been a busy day in the gardens.  Harvested some more tomatoes including a bunch of green ones which are now fried and either eaten or in the freezer.  I left four ripe slicers (Amish Gold) on the counter while the rest of the slicers and all of the cherry tomatoes are now in the dehydrator.  Also drying are several ripe and several green shishito peppers, oregano, chocolate mint and lavender.  The herbs will dry much faster than the tomatoes and peppers but I can remove those and grind them tomorrow morning and then add sweet basil and sage and perhaps something else to dry along with the tomatoes and peppers.  We find our freezer space very constrained and have pretty much reached capacity there so the choice is either dry some of the produce or get a pressure canner which is a pricey option.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


I didn't do much yesterday except work through the tomato jungle to harvest another bowlful of ripe tomatoes and water the gardens.  I didn't find anything worth linking to or talking about.

I don't know if I will find much today but this alone is worth a link.  I really, really hope that Trump is not the Repthuglican nominee--though I don't want to see any of the others with a realistic shot at the presidency.  It is a matter of degree.  Trump is at the bottom of the list along with Walker, Cruz, Perry, and Christie.  The rest of the clowns are only a slight bit better.  More human.  I will give him credit for underlining the hateful aspects of the Repthuglican party.  Unfortunately the electorate doesn't seem to recognize the ugliness of those attitudes.  How utterly inhuman and inhumane they are.