Tuesday, January 17, 2017

January 17 Links

Oh I'm so chuffed...in addition to today's two rants I squeezed in some paid activity and finally squeaked back into the backlog of e-mails! I've not caught up yet, but I'm gaining on it at last! Categories: Animals, Appalachian Studies, Family, Food, Fun, History, Obamacare, Phenology, Politics, Television.


Cats get a separate post in honor of Tortie Tuesday...Last night I planned to post something in behalf of cats who've survived "declawing." Petfinder didn't show any of those unfortunate cats up for adoption, so today's cat post features long-haired white cats, which also have more than their share of special needs.


Appalachian Studies 

Oh, wow..."One Hundred Days in Appalachia." Are we about to be better represented to the rest of the nation, or worse, than ever before? First of all, do these people realize that Appalachia is one town?



Although Shaunti Feldhahn is talking about any kind of relationship whatsoever with the Kindness Challenge (you can practice appropriate forms of kindness toward other drivers on the highway), this link is especially for a man who, though generally regarded as sane in other ways, thought he could compete with my Significant Other while neck-deep in family relationships. (I mean the one who travels with that son who's so close to that stage of life that I didn't want to be a stepmother to, all these years. No teenaged boy needs a stepmother.) "I'm divorced, been divorced for years...I just spend all my time with my children and in-laws from this marriage in my past." No, brother-in-the-faith. You are estranged from your wife. You still belong to a family that includes her. Your task is not to replace her with someone who has no place in your family, but to reconnect to your wife and restore her rightful place in your family. Whether or not other women "like" you (as a neighbor, why not, you're well preserved and solvent and competent and all that) is irrelevant; nobody else can marry you, because what God has joined together no other woman can put asunder. There are deeply dysfunctional, irreparably broken marriage. Yours is not one of them. You just need to build a bridge. So you should take the Kindness Challenge and reach out to the woman who was, and still is, and always will be your wife.


Would you like to read more about this idea?

Food (Yum) 

Cheesecake-flavor M&Ms totally don't appeal to me. If they appeal to you, you probably want to enjoy them while you can. If so, here's a gluten-based, sugar-loaded, buttery and generally sinful cookie recipe:


Here's one about really natural food. Maple syrup can be made wherever a maple tree grows, but in many of the United States the sap rises before March...when we tapped a tree we used to drill during a long, warm January thaw like this one, then sit through the next freeze and collect the rest of our share of the sap during the February thaw. That's not the hard part. Even hauling 5-gallon buckets of maple sap (which is mostly water, and equally heavy) through the snowy wooded hills is not the hard part. The hard part is getting all that sweet-smelling steam out of the house. It has to boil for several days before a 5-gallon bucket of just slightly sweetish water turns into a thin, light syrup. (And when it starts to look remotely syrupy, it has to be watched closely because it now has a high enough sugar content to scorch.)

The payoff? Although other maple trees are traditionally considered to produce an inferior grade of syrup relative to the Sugar Maple, "inferior grade" in this case means more of a mapley flavor, less similar to white-sugar syrup. Not only can Southerners make our own maple syrup; some of us nowadays think ours tastes more interesting than the Vermont and Canada products.


The box elder is a wonderful tree...when young, it's likely to be dug up because it looks like poison ivy. If you don't panic and allow it to grow up, it will eventually produce satisfactory maple syrup. A native plant, it grows fast and stabilizes sloping soil as well. Mini-thickets of box elder sprouts can look like an infestation of poison ivy (and have been known to shoot up in the middle of one) before the young trees crowd each other out and the strongest start to look like real trees. After the second year they no longer look much like poison ivy...as the tree grows its leaves may branch out from having three forked-edged leaflets to having five or seven leaflets on each leaf stalk...but in the Blue Ridge Mountains poison ivy has evolved an astonishing resemblance to box elder sprouts.

By Agnieszka KwiecieĊ„ - Nova at pl.wikipedia - Transferred from pl.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=629554


What's a spoon counter and how do you add one to your blog?


Thanks to this graphic artist, Berrien Lucius / Mew, for the link, and for sharing these clever cartoons:



This post is not fun, particularly; it claims to be one of the last of the World War II memoirs. Cracked was a parody magazine. Cracked.com is a writing site that does not limit itself to comedy, and this post does not read like comedy or parody--although some of the memories the writer shares are bizarre.



A. Barton Hinkle summarizes the ongoing dispute about how to replace Obamacare. It doesn't sound good, because I don't see nearly enough about cutting out the useless fat--the insurance racket--and funding the actual costs of successful medical treatments only. (I think we-as-a-nation should consider defunding any unsuccessful treatments. Doctors should get a trade-off: if e.g. you-the-doctor fail to ask whether a patient like my father, who may look more something else than Irish but is Irish-American, has a common Irish gene that causes the patient to have a probably-fatal stroke within a day after any use of a full anesthetic, and the patient is therefore unable to pay the actual cost of the operation, you can't be sued (and the outraged relatives have to prove criminal negligence).



This pretty picture of blue sky worked reasonably well for this computer. Alabama logged an afternoon high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit...I'm not surprised. By now the thaw has inched its way up to Virginia and yesterday's afternoon high was 66, which felt balmy. And for most of the day it wasn't even raining...although today it's raining again. It's like the rain clouds are trying to make up for all the rain we didn't get in October. I think we've had one rain-free day in 2017.



Calling all wonks...Cabinet confirmation hearings in the Senate. Even while living in Washington I never sat through this kind of thing on live TV but I do think it's cool that you can.



I can't watch the video, but I read a summary on Grassfire (unfortunately without a permalink). This is so unbelievably tacky. Right. Plus this post if you agree: Steve Harvey is an excellent TV host. Repeat: Excellent. (Yona being a total SH fan, Steve Harvey is one of the few "new" TV people I've watched enough to evaluate...I would seriously compare him with Alex Trebek.)


Should this one have a hashtag? What about #ExcellentTallGuy ? (His height's as relevant as his color, right?)