Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16 Links

This is not the first time I've gone online from someone's house, nor is it the first time I've gone to someone's house in order to cook a McDougall or Sinatra meal; it is the first time I've gone online while cooking a meal. As a result, for the first time in several weeks now, I was online when Congressman Griffith's newsletter came in--I've been so far behind the e-mail that, by starting on Tuesdays, I've been missing anything e-mailed on the Mondays! Chicken stir-fry with lots of broccoli, rice, big green salad, and links in the Categories: Animals, Books, Crafts, Economy, Education, Food, Good News, Obamacare, Politics, Travel, Weird.


The first animal image that came in today was a the famous Snoopy? In real life they're even cuter. Here, in honor of a real-life friend's beagle, are Petfinder beagles that some reader Out There may be able to take home.
Spanky - NEEDS FOSTER! almost everybody in Washington, is "really" from somewhere else, in this case North Carolina. He needs a new home and could either go to the city or stay in his own State:
Leggs from New York...originally from New Jersey, could relocate as far as Maryland, but she's a Yankee and won't be adopted by Southerners, Westerners, or Canadians! Don't even ask! Rrrrwoof! (Actually I think the ban on long-distance adoptions is there to screen out "applications" from spammers and scammers, with which Petfinder has been infested at times...)
Penelope from Atlanta:
Sometimes dogs can make themselves very useful...

From the cat side, a cute picture:

On the wild side, here's an adorable little skunk...Y'know, at the Cat Sanctuary, I've actually missed little Hepzibah, an Eastern spotted skunk. (She was a sweetheart, partly because everyone, even Pepe, who looked more than twice her size, had always shown her due respect.) When skunks approach humans' homes and the humans have not been encouraging them to do so, this is often an indication that the humans are sharing their territory with ground-nesting wasps or hornets. European hornets, a giant-sized invasive species that pack enough venom to knock you off your feet for days, are what lured Pepe and Hepzibah close to my home. The species is still invasive in my part of the world but where I saw a hornet, I would soon see (or smell) evidence of one of our strongly scented friends. No worries. European hornets were both Pepe's and Hepzibah's favorite things. I appreciated our skunks, and hope my not having seen Pepe for a few years indicates that he's moved on in search of more ground-nesting insects.

Some friends in town had also attracted a skunk, also called Pepe, although he was a Striped Skunk and much smaller than our Pepe--not much bigger than Hepzibah. They did not appreciate what their Pepe was trying to do for them by digging up their lawn, trapped him and had him hauled away to a nature park, and then had to live with a colony of yellowjacket wasps. Yellowjackets are a native species, hardly half as long or as wide as European hornets, but they are clannish and can make themselves very unpleasant if someone inadvertently walks on the ground above their nest. So of course a hypersensitive child did...Let's just say that their Pepe had done his very best to keep that child out of the hospital.


Thanks to the Vagabond Tabby for reminding us of these classics. (Have you read all of them? There's an adult-sized omnibus edition...everybody knows Peter Rabbit, probably almost by heart, but believe it or not I read Samuel Whiskers first. It was one of those old books left lying about in one of the houses my parents rented in their nomad phase. I hope the owner's kept it; it was in good condition and ought to be worth serious money by now!)


Links for knitters:


Why don't people just move to where the jobs are? One reason: there is no place where the jobs are, these days, at least not the jobs worth moving halfway around the world for. Granted that if you're willing to do low-status day labor--for which it helps, a lot, to be a writer, which allows you to think of jobs mowing lawns, washing cars, and bussing tables as ways to get paid to exercise and stay in touch with the young--you can usually find some sort of job anywhere; there's no excuse for being an able-bodied welfare cheat. Still, that very fact is an argument in favor of staying in a "poor county": If your chances of earning a good living as an experienced legal secretary, psychotherapist, or auto mechanic are low whether you're in Poor County or Rich City, you're going to stay in Poor County where the cost of living is low and you have a better chance of eating regularly on what you earn from four-hour odd jobs.

And I have to say I think this stability is a good thing for people...if not for those sectors of the economy that are based on reselling houses, wasting various commodities ("easier to buy new ones than to fit the ones we have into the truck"), selling fast food and prostitution to lonely nomads who don't regard a shanty or hotel room as "home," and trying to rehabilitate young people who've become complete misanthropes as a result of not having the opportunity to bond with friends and relatives. My parents' nomad phase lasted until I was ten years old. I had a solid sense of home, hated every single move, and could be tempted to support legislation requiring people to maintain one primary residence for as long as they want to maintain custody of any children born while they were there. (I said "could be tempted"...but I do think uprooting children is abusive, and rootless kids have much more in common with homeless kids than kids whose home may still have wallpaper, or even lack plumbing.)

Meanwhile...the fact that former competitors Ringling, Barnum, and Bailey had merged had already been our clue that the travelling live circus was fading out of U.S. culture. It's just so much easier on everyone involved, even the audience, to put the acts on a video...even though a part of me, even closely connected to the same part that was saying "I've already seen an elephant in a zoo, so can my brother have the circus ticket?" at age eight, still wonders whether this means some children will grow up without ever meeting a live elephant.

@JimGeraghty from the +National Review (hey, Google + worked!) recommended this one of the many tributes to R&B&B as being "nuanced" and fair. I agree. I'll add two zoo/circus memories from the early 1970s:

1. Favorite memory: when the elephant breathed on, sniffed, and kissed my hand.

2. Unfavorite memory: when the creepy-looking guy encouraging kids to pile into the howdah yelled, "If the elephant breaks down, we get a new one!" I knew it was a joke because the howdah would not have held enough kids to break an elephant's back. I also had a feeling that it told us something about that young man's relationship with the elephants, and without even focussing my eyes on his face I was instantly on the elephants' side.

Fwiw, my prediction is that in the long term the demise of live elephant acts will mean less respect, protection, and territory for wild elephants...but that will be Indians' and Africans' problem.


What I just don't "get" about these things, or maybe I do, is the full extent of the backlash that's going on. I mean, when I was in middle school, no school employee would have smiled and joked about school being the place to learn to spell "tomorrow" if somebody had written "tammarow" in a public place. (Well, maybe a bus driver or janitor, but certainly no one who had a desk job inside the school building.) No school employee would have let that kind of thing slip past--especially in front of other people. They really did say things like "What is the matter with you?" and "That's a third grade mistake. What are you doing in grade five?" and "You can spend the next week's lunch and recess breaks inside, writing 't-o-m-o-r-r-o-w' 500 times." The ones who wanted credit for being witty said things like "A good spanking would raise your intelligence quotient." The ones who wanted credit for running a tight ship would reach out, grab the child who'd written "tammarow" with one hand, and hit him or her with--actually, it'd be an object held in the other hand; teachers didn't touch kids' nasty little backsides. All teachers were issued, and most of them prominently displayed, a selection of objects generally classified as paddles--usually ends of boards, about half an inch by two or three inches by approximately one foot long. Most teachers used these objects, more often to punish violence or vandalism than just to correct mistakes, but if kids didn't seem to take corrections seriously enough teachers would hit them. So now this school employee is being fired, not because her whole job description seems dubious or because the county was of two minds about hiring her in the first place--which would make sense--but because she corrected a kid's spelling, gently, without direct insults or physical assault, in public? ????? Is it possible that the people who demand that children be talked to as if they were foreign dignitaries, these days, are just going through one big emotional reaction to the way we were educated?

Food (Yum) 

Well, if you can use wheat, sugar, dairy products, and alcohol, this would be yummy. French Toast has just about all the ingredients some people have to avoid, yet for others it's actually nutritious...

Good News 

Some readers won't like her politics or her writing style, but...any report that begins with "24 years after being diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, this person is..." goes into the category of Good News. (Well, maybe if the person were acting out total ingratitude toward Life/God/whatever, the story might move into the category of Weird News...) Kristi Nelson hasn't reconsidered her outdated political opinions but she is still alive. Cheers!


I'm not sure exactly how this relates to the item linked under "Outrage" last week. Not being in Illinois, I may never figure that out. I'm sure there's a link somewhere.


Popvox explains how Obamacare moved into the Undead's going down, but it can't just quietly fade into the vile dust whence it sprung, unwept, unhonored, and unsung. (This temporary link goes to one of their weekly "week in Congress" reports. Scroll down for the details of the Obamacare status report.)

Jerry Bowyer has an alternative...Fasting is not for everyone (and if you can do a total fast without going into a coma, you may be on the borderline but you're not diabetic), but it serves some people well. A more mindful diet, either in the sense of restricting specific foods or in the sense of just eating smaller amounts of better food, works for people for whom fasting does not work. The point here is not whether you go Atkins, vegan, Paleo, Pritikin, McDougall, or much easier Sinatra, or some other diet plan, or just become mindful of taking care of your health generally; the point is that health care is something we do for ourselves in order to avoid depending on any kind of medical care. I'm not saying that we should all rely on fasting, or garlic or macrobiotics or whatever, to solve all medical problems. I am saying that a lot of people who stay active and healthy into their seventies, even eighties, are people who pay attention to what their bodies are telling them and see a doctor for an annual check-up--or less often.

President-elect Trump promises to make things worse:


Parting shot at President Obama...oh, I believe that President-elect Trump won't take Obama's mistakes as precedents, especially after the post linked above! He will drain the swamps! Republicans will do positively better, as distinct from merely less bad, jobs than Democrats! And Christopher Reeve can use that cape just like a pollution-free airplane, too! LOL and jk.

Frankly, when anybody tries to sell me an insurance gambling scheme as a solution for anything, un-auntly thoughts do come to mind. I want to lay the U.S. Constitution on that person. My main copy of the Constitution was printed in a high school history book, which is fairly solid, but for the insurance gambling racket I wouldn't mind getting an extra copy printed on a two-by-four plank...but seriously, this is still the United States and the office of any elected official does deserve some respect. (Maybe what we need are provisions making it easier to get some elected officials out of those offices. Any answer to any question about medical care that involves more payment to the gamblers who've fouled up what used to be a good system, e.g., could be considered to authorize placing the official astride that plank and hauling him out of town.)


Have any readers besides +Beth Ann Chiles visited Iowa? I never have...

Would you rather go to Florida? Are you sure? Would a virtual trip with Dave Barry be enough?

Europe? I probably never will...

(This one's in Spain; the blogger wrote just a caption on a photo, and it's a good photo, and, despite being on Niume, it behaved perfectly for the computer. I think Niume has seen the error of its ways. Huzza!)

(And this one's in Italy; sort of grainy due to digital imaging, but it does show a cool design for a fountain.)


Have you ever wondered how weird phone calls can become? Great-Aunt Chatty McReminisce is only the tip of the iceberg.