Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday.

I don't know how much I will get done in the gardens because we may get rain today.  I pulled the tansy root ball yesterday and I was surprised by how extensive it was.  It was in one of the larger containers all by itself and was close to being pot-bound.  I would have had to remove it in the spring even if I decided to keep tansy in the gardens.  I decided to take it out now because I won't continue it.  I did get a good start on another seasonal chore--cleaning and organizing the little greenhouse.

Just saw the Al Jazeera story about the release of the Turkish hostages ISIL had been holding.  The reporters said that Turkey had not paid any ransom so the question is what was the "quid pro quo" ISIL got in return.  They speculate Turkey secretly promised not to take active part in any coalition against ISIL.  Our pundits have noted how reluctant Turkey has been to join the ant-ISIL efforts and attributed that reluctance to the threat to their hostages.  But I wonder if there isn't something more behind the position Turkey's government has taken.  I am reminded of a segment in a novel I recently read.  A merchant in a feudal society pondered aiding a young prince in a clandestine endeavor his monarch would not approve.  The merchant wanted increased influence and wealth for his family and ponders the risks involved and asked the question of what loyalties he owes to whom and to which generation.  The important point is underlined: to which generation.  Should he refuse and earn the gratitude of current rulers while earning the enmity of the generation to whom power will be passed? I wonder if Turkey's president isn't pondering the same question.  How he might answer it depends on whether he sees the U.S. as a strong, major power or declining power.  Does he act in accordance to U.S. wishes earning our gratitude or does he hedge his bets and not antagonize a group which might be a rising power in the region?  Given our actions and the results of those actions over the past fifty years, I think the question is very much up in the air.  Our successes since the end of WWII have been few, far between and highly qualified by how success is defined.

I may sound vindictive but I say "GOOD."  I would love to see the jerk get the 30 years maximum sentence without parole.  He is as bad as gang shooters who go out and spray a neighborhood with gunfire not caring who gets hurt.  Maybe worse.  You know you can't trust gangbangers but you trust that what you bought in our supermarkets won't kill you.

Interesting piece by David Brin that deserves a bit of mental chewing and digesting.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thursday.

Cool but sunny again today.  I plan to get some more of the gardens cleared and cleaned up.

Mom and I have wondered for some long time why we have so many low and no calorie foods and drink and yet so many of us are over weight.  I have read some historical studies which show that the twin "epidemics" of obesity and diabetes have increased in parallel with the use of artificial sweeteners and the growth of the fast food industry.  Also perplexing is why so many people (several in my own family) can go on rigorous diets and exercise programs as rigorous as their physical conditions permit but still not lose much, if any, weight.  Well, they depended mostly on the artificial sweeteners and foods that use such to reduce their calorie content.  This piece from Green Prophet gives a plausible reason.

I hadn't heard that the walnut crops have been hit hard in several major producing areas with the consequence of rapidly rising prices.  We'll be watching that here because I usually add walnut pieces to our cereal.  However the Independent (UK) says that unscrupulous food manufactures are secretly adding peanuts in place of walnuts endangering some of their allergic customers at risk.

Friday.

Should have another sunny day and a bit warmer.  I got a nice handful of strawberries out of the pots I cleared out yesterday which all went into some yogurt.  Also cut down the tansy and pulled the basil.  It feels a bit early but all those plants are looking spent.  I plan to get some more clean up done today.  It feels much too early but the cool weather has definitely arrived and the trees are turning.

I wish the unemployed got paid as well for sitting on their asses and doing nothing as the Congress Critters do.  That would do far more to boost our economy.  I guess anyone who gets elected to Congress (or the Senate) have their empathy and shame surgically removed.

I guess the key here is the definition of "moderate" and I guess the Obama administration defines moderate as "not-ISIL and anti-Assad."  Mom asked where they intend to find the money since none of those budget "hard-liners" were demanding "off-sets" as they did every time any extension of unemployment benefits or other such legislation came up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday.

Another busy day out and about planned.  We expect sunny but cool conditions today.  Yesterday was cool and wet.  But with our plans I won't have the time to do much more than look at what is going on outside.

Wednesday.

A third busy day planned.  Errands and shopping mainly.  But we should have sun which always improves my mood.

As always Tom Englehardt has an interesting post.  A perfect description of American Hubris.

I see someone else has noticed the discrepancy between Obama's assurances on Iraq ("no boots on the ground") and his military (it depends and will be decided "on a case by case basis").

I can agree with the sentiment when Sam Smith says that laws should be treated like prescription drugs--with considerable restraint and caution.  But our politicians, he writes, treat laws like candy eating them by the handful.  However, I would say that our politicians are treating prescription drugs just like candy now-a-days.  Medicines are consumed (and prescribed by our doctors) with all the enthusiasm of kids on Halloween eating their trick-or-treat loot.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Saturday.

One of the weather reports this morning said the low temperature we achieved overnight was the lowest in 120 or so years.  We are debating when we should ask the maintenance crew to help us put the storm windows in.  Those windows are too much for us to handle.  The report said our temperature got up to 62 yesterday, very cool for this time of year--but my thermometer on the patio only read 55.  If we get sun I will get some more of the gardens cleared.

"We're living in a third world country now."  Some of us.  Others of us are still in the consumer driven world where retailers are trying to reignite the spending orgy of the past.

Charles Hugh Smith on the flaw in capitalism--it doesn't value what it can't put a price on.

Sunday.

Didn't get much in the way of sun yesterday so all I did was look out there window at the gardens.  Temperatures are still cooler than normal but should be a bit warmer than yesterday.

Monday.

We did get sun yesterday but I had no ambition at all--as you can probably tell.  I don't know what I will get written for the first half of this week because we have a busier schedule than usual.

This makes me very glad that I have never, do not, and will never live in Detroit.

If this Grist post is accurate the California bill to ban plastic bags has passed and is awaiting the governor's signature.  What I found interesting is the comment the author made that the only way a shift to paper bags would truly better than the plastic is if customers reuse the paper.  I wonder how many will do so.  Consider the conversation we have had several times at the stores that still have baggers.  Bagger: Paper or Plastic?  Me: Neither. Canvas.  Bagger: HUH!! as I had over my own canvas bags.  We do go to one store that gives paper bags and I keep the one we get and reuse it until the risk that it will break is unacceptable.  Then I put books I intend to give to the local library in it--so it serves one last time.

Gore Vidal has a very sensible take on the so-called "War on Terror."  I would add that WoT is also a fraud.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday

Cold and cloudy again--and the weather reporter says we won't get warm again soon.  Temperature at the moment is in the low 50s which the reports last night said is more normal for early November.  We are fixing chili today--also a month to a month-and-a-half earlier than we normally would.  I picked four nice little tomatoes and a pepper.

Some good news--Bloglines is back up.

So the General Assembly has voted for a resolution directing the UN to establish a mechanism to resolve sovereign debt crises, like Argentina's.  Will that make the mess more orderly?  I would guess not.

David Kaiser posts what President Obama should have said in his address concerning ISIL.  Kaiser is right on every point and, unfortunately, Obama said none of it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday.

Another day without Bloglines.  I found a list I made last time this happened and managed to get most of them on Bloglovin but I had a number of sites that I didn't list and don't remember the title off hand.  Damn but the whole mess is frustrating.

I need to make a space for the two scented geraniums inside.  We expect some very cool (in the mid to high 40s) overnight with day time temps in the high 50s and low 60s.  I will also have to bring in my attempts at taking and rooting cuttings.  If the gardens dry out I am looking at a couple of containers to clear.

An interesting essay on jobs from the Contrary Farmer.

I didn't watch Obama's speech last night.  I figured it was going to include wider air strikes and strikes into Syria.  Huffington Post has an account here.  I would say he was trying to "degrade and destroy" IS (or ISIL or ISIS) on the cheap but the missiles aren't cheap.  Nor is the equipment he wants to safe with the Kurds, Iraqi "army," and "moderate" rebels in Syria.  We won't be putting our own boots on the ground which is a good thing.  However, we will be relying on our "allies'" boots to handle the ground fighting.  I have all those words in quotes because the meanings are terribly slippery.  I don't think Iraq has an army in any meaningful definition of the term and as far as moderate rebels in Syria go one has to ask what we mean by that word.  All of the rebel groups in Syria have ties to IS and anything we share with them will, sooner or later, find its way into IS hands. All of our alleged allies have their own agendas and those agendas are often at odd with ours--that is if we have honestly defined our agenda, which I am not at all sure we have done.  It is a miserable mess into which we are about to dump more material and money to create more misery.  Sounds like a recipe for futility to me.

The news last night had an amusing and amazing picture from Calgary, Canada showing a yard full of frowning snowmen--at least a dozen about four feet high surrounded by additional snow.  You can find that picture (well down the page) and others here.  Our weather reporter said the snow storm was at least four weeks early.  The same system is supposed to be here late tonight and into tomorrow but with rain not snow.

Being neither a citizen nor a resident of Scotland the matter of Scottish Independence and the upcoming vote is something I can view placidly from a distance.  However, if I were either and I had money in any bank that published a threat to leave Scotland if the vote went for independence, I would be on my way to taking every penny out and moving it elsewhere--even if that were my mattress.  I dislike blackmail--intensely.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday.

Wet and, evidently, going to stay that way all day.  From the weather maps we have a large area of rain that will move in waves over the area.  I moved the little eucalyptus, which is still struggling along, into the little greenhouse last night.  It doesn't need to be drenched--again.  Everything else outside is strong enough to take it.  I noticed just yesterday that our average first frost date is only a bit more than a month away.  How fast the time goes.

I still cannot get onto Bloglines.  I have no idea what is going on with it--but I am much annoyed.  This is, I think, the fourth time this year that the site has been inaccessible.  I think it annoys me on two counts: I don't like it when a technology that is a large part of my life fails and I don't, really don't, like having my routine disrupted.  Oh, well--consider it an exercise in flexibility and adaptation.

Ah, Margaret and Helen are back with a conclusion I can support:  life is full of questions and pie is always the right answer.

I think it is a curious juxtaposition of stories on the news this morning that David Cameron visits Scotland to promise greater autonomy for Scotland if the Scots vote no on independence and Petro Poroschenko promises much greater autonomy for eastern Ukraine within a united Ukraine.  In each case they had rejected those measures a while back which fueled their respective oppositions.  There are times when politicians should look seriously at compromise but that seems to be a lost art among modern politicians--of any nationality.