Saturday, May 09, 2009

Finger Bowl?

When were you last offered a finger bowl?

Vote "Yes" or "No"

"Warriors are sacred and deeply holy."

Vote with a simple "yes" or "no" in "comments."

You may amplify or explain your vote, but your comment will be deleted if you haven't voted 'yes' or 'no.'

Friday, May 08, 2009


Never a democracy.
Attempted a republic.
Moving to oligarchy.

East Saint Louis

Toad low.

Offsets in My Life

I feel I have been hurt by the application of offsets to my retirement benefits.

My SS benefits have been reduced by the application of an offset.

Is there an offset in your life?

Single Payer Health Insurance

What is "single payer health insurance?" What's good about it?
What's it for? What's not so good about it? Why might it be important to consider it now? Who can begin to explain it to us? Who will give us some useful information about it?

A Teacher Wrote

Recently a wiser, older teacher wrote a bit like this:

People often make decisions based on what they perceive to be fact and not on what is fact. (How do you evaluate the quality of a perception?)

Some of us have received an email that we were thankful to get because of the great information and insight it gave, only to later find out that all or part of it was not factual.

There are those who find it prudent to reserve judgment until the facts are in. (How do you evaluate the veracity of information?) They try to avoid assuming that what they think ought to be true is true.

In times of unease and stress we may tend to to conclude faster than is prudent. It is not always easy to think things through and to reason clearly. However, we may find that we make life more scary than it need be by acting too quickly or by jumping to conclusions.

I am trying to give myself time to develop a clear and accurate mindset. I am remembering to take the time to take the time.

5, 2, 7, Breathing

Certain breathing exercises seem to be good for me. I practice them occasionally. After a practice I usually feel good as well as being a bit more awake and alert.

Some are a bit more complicated or difficult than the following, but some are even simpler and easier:
Inhale for a count of 5.
Hold for a count of 2.
Exhale for a count of 7.
Repeat, say, twelve times.

What Could Be Worse

Revolutions are mostly revolting because, while their participants mostly agree on the revolt, they nearly never give enough thought to what will replace that which they will overthrow.

At Camp Thunderbird

The yellow flowers on the greasewood (larrea tridentata) are being replaced by the usual pussy willow like fuzzys. Haven't seen any of the ant-like insects which look so amazingly like the 'fuzzys.'

But speaking of amazing, I was reminded today of a happening I experienced on the desert sometime about the fourth grade in grammar school. I was a well experience lizard and bug hunter and had caught and kept snakes. However, one day upon turning over a rock I was truly surprised by finding there a creature from outer space. It looked a bit like a lizard, but I knew the creature was unearthly because sunlight passed through its body! and in the place where earthly creatures had claws or talons it had suction cups; suction cups! What good luck for a fourth grade boy.

Well today while cleaning out my woodshed I encountered five more of the creatures. They were of two different kinds. The larger ones were identical to those I had first discovered. The others were smaller and of a darker color. Now I know them as species of earth geckos. Still interesting even if not as alien as I first thought.

All of this reminds of of an experience I had with an eye when I was only a four year old.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

"Love in the Time of Cholera"

With "Love in the Time of Cholera," a book of life, death, and love I may be beginning to mention so books I feel are well worth mentioning. "Love ...." might be called a book of manners as well as a good snapshot of Colombian coastal culture of the time. It is a cultured exploration of many of the faces of love. Spanish-English translations are usually well done these days and Edith Grosman has done a particularly good job in this case. has it available for between one cent and a medium price of about $9.
I'm just noting that while my mind is much on the author of this book, I have neglected to mention his name; it's Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Barnes & Noble have this Garcia Marquez work available for between 2 and 12 dollars. $2 seems a cheap price to pay to learn of 'Latin love.'
Borders has it for $15 and their reviewers love it. has it for between 3 and 10 dollars and over 400 of their reviewers still love it. Most of those reviewers have also had the pleasure of reading "One Hundred Years of Solitude."


How do we see our unity?
What is the nature of the justice we want to establish among us?
Are we still interested in establishing it?
What are we willing to do about our general welfare?
Of what does that welfare consist?
How interested are we in seeing that our laws are carried out?
Are they our laws?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Grass Valley Philosopher

Josiah Royce (remember Royce Hall) was born in grass Valley in 1855. In his early youth I imagine him walking the foothills there and thinking his first thoughts of history and philisophy.

He studied at Berkeley and Johns Hopkins, and taught at Harvard.

He was befriended and mentored by William James.

Could be worth checking out.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Excuses For Not Walking

Walking improves my health. I have seen walking prove to be good for my body tone and my general sense of well-being. It has brought down my weight and trimmed my waist. A walking and jogging program I carried out not only reduced my blood pressure, but also brought and end to some frightening angina I had bee experiencing!

Still I am now finding effective excuses for not walking: lack of an interesting place to walk nearby; some nerve damage effecting the feeling in my feet unpleasantly; some recurring hip pain; and some knee pain on steep grades.

I really do not know why I am so resistant to taking care of myself that I do not walk. I do swim occasionally and use a stationary bike more often, but not enough.

I have little hope that this confession will help.

I have thought that I could get much need physical activity by more regularly doing productive physical work.

I haven't given up.

Around Camp Thunderbird

The neighbor's dogs have been using my woodshed as a killing ground for rabbits. They have had the good grace to eat parts of the rabbits or are taking them home. Most often the heads are gone;so,they may be taking them home as trophies. I may use this activity as motivation to clean out the woodshed and to perhaps tear it down. I have started by painting a large sign with the word "Free" to put out by the road in an attempt to recycle the wood.

I was looking across the the road just before sun-up this morning and saw a largish mammal that I didn't recognize. Neither it's shape or the way it moved seemed reminiscent of the local for. I could of been of the cat family but didn't move or act like the feral cat I've seen around and it seemed a bit too big to be that rather large feral cat. A mystery.

The large handsome desert iguanas are still around. I see their trails and burrows often, but seldom see them. Most often when I do they are moving quickly away from me. Not easy to get a good look at them these days, but do from time to time.

A large number of broad, black beetles showed up a few weeks back. Now they have become speckled with a green of a little plant that attracts them!

'My' cacti continues blossom. Now the pinks and reds dominate and the yellows are seldom seen. One blooms a wonderful bright orange.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Just Who Are We?

A once well know quote among us was, "Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it." 'Us' implies a 'we,' doesn't it? 'Everyone' refers to 'every one of us,' doesn't it? 'No one' refers to 'no one of us,' doesn't it?

When I say, "We now seem to be taking some responsibility for the weather as we begin to take some responsibility for our climate." Who do you suppose the 'we' refers to? Who makes up a we? How do individuals become a we? Why might one care?

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