Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon and Labor Day

Everyone have a great blue moon today the next one won't be for awhile. Everybody have a great Labor day weekend and careful with the fire. Me? I have to work all weekend and what's worse I'm scheduled for returns today and tomorrow. Uggh! At least I am back in the garden on Sunday and Monday.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

All They Got Left

No I am not watching the GOP goings on in Tampa. I'm getting enough contamination from the Internet stuff I am reading. Exposure to this crap is soul searing and the crazy can become so common that it begins to seem normal. A very dangerous situation.

Besides I have no desire to see the "Lord of Lies" and his evil minion. If his minion's speech last night wasn't the be all end all of continuous lying then tonight's acceptance speech will be.

For a good idea of what Rmoney should say tonight I highly recommend Mr. Charles Pierce.

I'm Mitt Romney, bitches, and I'm all you got left.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Speaking of Wagons

I meant to mention this a few weeks ago but it slipped away. I tried a new vodka called Tito's. It's an American vodka made from corn and it is micro distilled in the only legal distillery in Texas. Austin to be exact. This is a very good vodka and it has won a lot of awards. It is an excellent value compared to the ultra vodkas and even though it is distilled from corn it is more reminiscent of a true Russian vodka than one of the ultra refined ones like Belvedere or Grey Goose which both are closer to pure methanol than good vodka. One of the reasons Tito's is so nice is that it is only distilled 6 times and retains some character from the grain. Most of the highly distilled vodka's (read expensive) are distilled many more times and have lost a lot of character and therefore resemble an industrial solvent rather than a  good spirit.

If you are a vodka drinker and especially if you drink it over ice with maybe a bit of lime like me then this booze is worth a try.

Falling Off The Wagon

I fell/jumped off the wagon this morning. Buttermilk biscuits with country ham, apple butter and blueberry jam and lots of Kerry Gold Irish butter. It's been months and months since I had a biscuit and I woke up with a bad case of "need a biscuit" this morning...It's over now and it will be months before I have another....though the four or five left over are going to need some serious banishing. The chipmunks like biscuits and pancakes so maybe that's a solution.

In The Dust Forever

The loss of Neil Armstrong is a great loss for mankind but his footprints in the dust on the moon will be there forever. Maybe some day another man or woman will be able to put their footprint in the dust beside his and replant the flag next to the marker left by Armstrong and Aldrin. That is, if we are lucky.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

They're Laughing At US

NYTimes Opinionator Blog

On matters of basic science and peer-reviewed knowledge, from evolution to climate change to elementary fiscal math, many Republicans in power cling to a level of ignorance that would get their ears boxed even in a medieval classroom. Congress incubates and insulates these knuckle-draggers.

Let’s take a quick tour of the crazies in the House. Their war on critical thinking explains a lot about why the United States is laughed at on the global stage, and why no real solutions to our problems emerge from that broken legislative body.

If you follow the link and read the post you will become mightily depressed so make sure there are no sharp objects within reach and have someone lock up all but one bottle of whiskey.

Sew, Reap, Rinse, Repeat

Nothing but sad stories about the dairy farmers in drought ridden Missouri. They’re praying for help from God, and begging for help from the government, but because of Republicans like Todd Akin in the house who are blocking the farm bill there is no relief in sight.

I feel for these farmers but you also have to admit that they continue to vote for dick heads like Todd Akin and this is what you get. You make your bed and all that.

Traitorous FAUX News

Traitorous is the only word that comes to mind. As you may know one of the SEALs that took out Osama Bin Laden has written a book about the raid. He wrote it under a pseudonym to protect his identity but Fox news learned his real name and outed him yesterday. And now, not surprisingly, web sites all over that are affiliated with Al Qaeda are threatening his life.

The Rethugs just can't stand it that the President managed to reel in OBL when their boy couldn't and Rmoney has even said that he wouldn't have tried to get him. This is just another yellow bellied attempt by the GOP via FAUX news to undermine a major Obama accomplishment.

Way to go Faux, you have endangered the life of a Navy SEAL and his family, an American hero. The rooster crows again.

Heads Via Hearts

I don’t often recommend books. I am going to do so now and tell everyone that publishes a blog or a twitter stream that they should read this book: Climate blogger( Joe Romm’s Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga.

This book is for anyone who cares about why science doesn’t get through to the public should read it. Abyone who wants to add some additional depth and power to their writing should read it. Anyone who wants to understand the rhetorical tricks that are used by the manipulators and how to defend against them should read it.

It's a treatise on the neglected art of rhetoric, the techniques utilized by Shakespeare, Lincoln, and the writers of the King James Bible.   As Romm points out in the book, modern neuroscience now confirms what the poets always knew about getting to people’s heads through their hearts.

As Joe mentions several times in the book, President Obama, while a very good speaker, has not fully utilized the tools of rhetoric in his speech and also not used these same tools to deflect and counter the rhetorical tricks coming from the other side.

It's not a long book but it is fascinating as Joe points out the various methods and how they have been used by some of the greatest speakers such as Winston Churchhill, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wretched Writers

It is time once again for the results of the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. My favorite of the bunch,  of course from the pun category is ....

Though they were merely strangers on a train, as she looked North by Northwest though the rear window, Marnie knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the trouble with Harry was that he was a psycho – his left and right hand middle fingers (formerly extended in the birds position) were menacingly twisting a rope in the form of a noose; certain of her impending death as surely as she could dial M for Murder, she was overcome by intense vertigo. — Amy Torchinsky, Greensboro, NC
There is, as always, some good stuff there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another Definition of Insane

I haven't weighed in on the creep from Misery "legitimate rape" brouhaha but I would add that this brings us to another viable definition of insanity....If you have a vagina and vote Republican you are insane.

The thing is that while you may not have any concerns about rape or unwanted pregnancy and maybe you would never even consider an abortion for yourself...and that's fine. However, the GOP has now added a plank to their platform that would eliminate the option of an abortion even in the case of rape or incest and even to the possibility of sacrificing a woman's life rather than end a pregnancy. I personally believe that abortion should be a last resort but by the same token it is not my decision to make and not the government's either. It is a woman's choice and decision between her, her physician and possibly the father. No one else should have a say and it is woman who has the final say. End of discussion.

So, while you may not have a direct interest in whether abortion is a woman's choice or not there are millions of women who will be negatively affected if this extreme position taken by the GOP is enabled and you will be indirectly affected whether you like it or not because the GOP has just taken away a huge piece of your personal freedom and that's the freedom to determine what happens to your body and life.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Winter Vegetables

It's only the middle of August but it is time to be thinking about the winter veges. I got all my greenhouse growing boxes set up with new soil and planted with spinach, wild and not wild arugula and red kale. I'll get the broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts started in the next few days as well.  It's hard to get ready for winter when it is still in the upper 80's out but its time.

Off to work in a few and scheduled for the garden center so it shouldn't be too busy an afternoon and night. Just in case I am taking my Nexus 7 with a book (Language Intelligence) that I got off Amazon today. It is about the lost skill of rhetoric and how you can improve your communication by adopting some of the age old wisdom of proper rhetoric. I've just burned through the first couple of chapters but it looks worthwhile.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Unicorns Are Real

I know so because there are at least six references to them in the Bible. So there. If the Jesus botherers can justify their hate of gays, blacks, Muslims and anyone else that is not exactly like their image of what a Christian should be using selected scripture and if they can excuse their angst over such things as sex and  booze then it is perfectly acceptable to use scripture to prove the  existence of unicorns  .

h/t to here 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wasted Time

So jury duty is over. It all ended in a mistrial when one of the jury couldn't be convinced that there was not enough evidence to convict. We actually spent all day today trying to convince this one juror that there wasn't any evidence worthy of sending the 20 year girl defendant to prison for. The state just didn't have it all together. We failed as the woman was irrational and wanted a guilty  verdict. It took the rest of us jurors about an hour to conclude that the evidence wasn't there and the rest of the day was spent on the one holdout. So anyway, from a justice perspective it was a wasted three days for me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


So I got picked for a jury and I have to make another trip downtown to the courthouse again tomorrow and probably again Thursday. Criminal case of multiple ADW. Should only go for a couple of days but  the PTB's at HD weren't happy when I stopped in this evening to tell them I would miss my shifts tomorrow and Thursday. The only bright spot is that I don't have to report until 930a. It takes me about an hour and a half to get to the courthouse via  the train and a short walk so if I am out of here by 730a tomorrow I should be good. Today, in order to be there by 8a I got rolling by 530a and I was a bit early.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Worked all weekend but the weather was very nice and I was out in the garden center so overall not too bad. Been to the gym this morning and after a bit of guitar practice and a French lesson I will go out an mow the very long grass. I bought two Pimsleur language courses from Amazon. One to brush up on my French which is very degraded and Latin American Spanish so I may be able to understand a little of what so many of the customers speak at Home Depot. Also there is a large Hispanic population here in Roswell and it would be nice to at least say hello and whatever. I've only just started the French but I like the progress so far and I think the methodology of the Pimsleur course is the best I've come across.

On the down side I have a jury summons for tomorrow but I am on the standby list and will call tonight to find out if I actually have to appear. I really don't mind the usually wasted day sitting around the Fulton county courthouse but the early morning trip downtown to appear at 8a is a real PIA. I've got my Nexus 7 and Ipod all charged(yeah I know I can put the music on the Nexus but I just haven't gotten round to it.) so I will have plenty to keep me occupied. I don't remember if the courthouse has wireless but it sure would be nice.

 I also don't think I mentioned that I upgraded my phone from the HTC Inspire to the new HTC One X. I was seriously considering the new Samsung Galaxy III S but after comparing specs and actually holding and playing with both the HTC user interface (Sense) won out. They both have the same Snapdragon Quad processor and Android version(Ice Cream Sandwich) and a lot of the same features such as NFC and Bluetooth etc. I also like the construction and appearance of the HTC over the Samsung. So far I am more than happy with the choice ( and yes I also know I can put the music on the phone as well). It didn't hurt that the list on the phone is in the $500 range but AT&T was offering it for $99 with a contract.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cyprus Memory

I came home tonight and Madam was watching PBS and they were begging. We actually have two PBS stations here in Atlanta and they were both at it. On one was the DoWap reunion and on the other was a Beatles tribute by a group called the Fab Four. The tribute band is very good and they are even English. They did a set of Sgt. Peppers stuff and it reminded me of the little caretaker that took care of the embassy boat house in Kyrenia when I was stationed in Cyprus so many years ago. He was a wizened  little Greek man, squinted from too much sun and slightly hobbled from too much hard work but he took good care of us young idiots at the boathouse while we caroused around, drank too much and spent way too much time trying to pick up the European chicks on holiday. He kept the ski boats gassed up and the sail boats in shape, ran to get us kebabs and cases of beer and wine with just a wink and a few shillings. The most fascinating thing was his love of the Sgt. Peppers album and even though he spoke very little English he knew the words to all the songs and would sing along at the top of his voice whenever we would put on the music and he would make the music a condition for doing our bidding. If we wanted him to do a kebab and wine run he would insist that Sgt. Peppers be played when he returned. I can still see that little old Greek man completely enthralled by the music and giving himself totally to the sound. He didn't understand the words but he understood the emotion and meaning and it resonated in his soul. It was a joy to see someone so pleasured.

There...this memory is now permanent in the great intertubes.

So It's "Granny Starver" Ryan

Charles Pierce says it better than most anyone.

Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them. He wants to eliminate them because he doesn't believe they are a legitimate function of government. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live. This now is an argument not over what kind of political commonwealth we will have, but rather whether or not we will have one at all, because Paul Ryan does not believe in the most primary institution of that commonwealth: our government. The first three words of the Preamble to the Constitution make a lie out of every speech he's ever given. He looks at the country and sees its government as something alien that is holding down the individual entrepreneurial genius of 200 million people, and not as their creation, and the vehicle through which that genius can be channelled for the general welfare.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Downside

The downside of losing a lot of weight is the wardrobe. I took advantage of the no sales tax holiday here in Georgia today but it was still a major hit to the budget. Two suits, 3 pairs of Levis, assorted shirts and a few casual trousers. Madam made me go through my closets and the net was pretty much a disaster. No suits fit, no pants fit, no sport coats fit, nothing fit. Mens's Warehouse did fine on the one get the second for $100 plus the suits were on sale. Kohls's did good on the Levis and I saved a bunch with Madam's 30% coupon and the Levis were on offer for 20$ off. Regardless,  I figure the 50 pounds  I've managed to lose(or redistribute) have cost me a couple of grand so far.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Smells Like Fall

The second batch of apple butter from the Hembree trees is cooking away in the slow cooker and the house smells of apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove and in the background is the sorghum used to sweeten it. My, my is it nice.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

New Toy

I got tired of trying to actually play my old cheap Dean guitar so I traded it in for a new PRS SE Singlecut. I got the black. It is last years model but  I got a great deal at half the normal retail. I can already tell the difference in my playing. Worlds better action and an absolutely stellar tone. I'm happy.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

It's Simple

The purpose of today's GOP is move money from the 99% to the 1%. The rest of the cultural stuff such as abortion, contraception, birtherism, gay bashing, same sex marriage, all of it is just red meat to feed the rubes. They don't care anything about the 99% except as worker bees on their plantations. IF they can keep the rubes scared and hungry then the rubes won't be worried about anything but their own skins and empty stomachs and not how they are being screwed at every turn.

Hot Stuff

Just finished running a bunch of assorted peppers through the food grinder. Habanero, jalapeno, serrano, cajun belle, cayenne  and others. Enough to make a gallon of pepper pulp. A cup of sugar, half a cup of kosher salt and 4 cups of white vinegar are the rest of the ingredients. Now I will let it sit at room temperature for a couple of days, bring it to a boil and then pack and process in pint jars. No matter how careful you are the "mist" from the peppers(esp the habanero) gets in the air and you cough and sneeze and you can feel the slow burn on your skin for hours.

This stuff is hot, hot, hot but it will just the thing this winter with some slow cooked beans.

Now there is the issue of the two bushels of apples we picked yesterday from the Hembree farm trees. Carmen and Kelly are too busy to do anything with them so I guess it is applesauce time. Still have plenty of apple butter from last year and the year before so applesauce is the plan. Got to work this PM and tomorrow so unless Madam gets fired up it will all have to wait until Wednesday.

Friday, August 03, 2012

About Time

Out of the clear blue I got a call from an aerospace company here in Atlanta wondering if I was still looking for a job and that I was referred by someone as being possibly interesting in an opening. I interviewed today and it went well. The issue will be the commute to College Park (35 miles straight through Atlanta and south of the airport a bit. A brutal commute. If they offer me enough money to come out of my "semi retirement" the commute will be the sticking point as I am not sure that losing, at minimum, two hours of my day sitting in Atlanta traffic is even something I want to consider.

We'll see. It turns out it was the EVP of Operations at my old company that gave them my name and I have already sent him a thank you. 100's of resumes sent, every job site in the world and I finally get an interview because of a referral. Networks are very good things.