Thursday, November 22, 2012
Sunday, January 09, 2011
I got this in the mail yesterday, and smelled a scam. I've recently ordered a lot of books on line, but knew they would be coming to me via the USPS or other carriers I've heard of.
I Googled the "delivery service" and, lo and behold, it is a scam. Apparently you call the number and they try to sell you a "free" vacation. The no-call list means these scammers can no longer call you (well, not legally), so they have to try and get you to call them. Beware, and, if you get one of these in the mail, just throw it out.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
My Christmas Tree and I, 2010
My tree made it into this year's Detroit Free Press, the Christmas Day edition. You can read the article (and see more photos) at this link.
Special thanks to Fuzz and Nick, who cut down the tree and helped me drag all the ornament boxes out of my attic and down the stairs, my neighbors Sonny, Jeff and Grant, who helped me set up the tree, and my parents, Nick and Sonia Petrusha, whithout whose help I would never have gotten the lights and ornaments onto the tree.
Dear Comment Spammers
The comments on this blog are moderated, which means all your efforts are wasted. Your ads for Russian software and penis enhancers will never see the light of day.
So don't bother. Really. Not worth your effort.
And Happy Holidays to all!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
It's been a buy few days, as I've been decorating the tree and getting ready for my party (this Saturday, all welcome). I finished the tree last night--snowflakes and tinsel, and getting it into just the right position (bad side to the wall, room to squeeze by to get ot the stairs.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
..........the tree. The last of the tinsel has been placed and ribbon birds placed. I will add details later. (Photo above is last year's tree; none this year yet.)
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Bailey's Irish Cream
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Lights. Lots and lots of lights.
Today was the day I had designated for hanging lights on the tree. I got up incredibly early--well, early for me on a weekend--and got going. My parents came over at ten, and the assembly line began.
My father checked the strings of lights to make sure they lit up, and did the shake test to look for short circuits and broken wires. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a string of lights onto the tree, and then having it go out....or worse, go off intermittently. He also replaced bad bulbs on the strings from my box of 500 or so spares. (I save bulbs when I throw out bad strings.)
My mom and I wrapped branches. The strings of lights, almost all of the 50s, were plugged in along the trunk, and then wound outwards along branches. There were up to six strings plugged in at each of the 12 outlets on the trunk:
The strings are green and, when wrapped properly, are not very visible. This is what the branches look like:
I got to climb the ladder--a nice ladder, mind you, with wide steps to stand comfortably on--but a ladder none-the-less, and get all those small branched at the top, and then stand and do the branches slightly lower down. My mother got to sit in a chair and wrap, a much better gig. Wrapping the small branches from a ladder takes forever, and little seems to get done. Here's my mom at work, deep inside the tree:
In the end, we didn't use as many strings of lights as in previous years, as this tree is a bit smaller than the one I had last year. Based on our primitive tabulation system, and counting the number of strings plugged in along the trunk, I estimate about 3500 small white lights.
I had to remove two strings, one a 50 that went out on me after I'd wrapped half of it, and then a string of 100. That string started acting up, with half of it going on and off when it was touched. This is why I no longer buy strings of 100--there are two separate circuits, and often one will go and the other still work. it's a waste, and It's twice as much work to remove.
So how does the tree look? Not too bad. Judge yourself:
I've shaken the spruce needles out of my hair, and picked them out of my sweat shirt, and am looking forward to a long, hot soak--after I make 32 batches of Bailey's.....................
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Knowledge vs. Ignorance
Maha of the Mahablog has a very good discussion of climate change deniers and why they are in denial. Have a look.
A constant in movies about WWII was war bonds--buying them was patriotic, and rallies were often headlined by Hollywood stars.
Senator Ben Nelson has watched too many old movies, I suspect. He has decided that we should reprise war bonds instead of raising taxes to pay for our many wars. He says:
"We need shared sacrifice and fiscal discipline in financing the war effort. I don't believe our first instinct should always be a rush to tax. The government has gone to great lengths to address the economic downturn, and adding new taxes right now could undermine those efforts. We need to work to reduce federal spending wherever possible and reduce the growth in spending to finance the important missions in Afghanistan and Iraq."
So one has to wonder, does Ben Nelson have any idea what-so-ever of how war bonds work? Does he think people buy them and just hang them on the wall? They are bonds, after all, meant to be redeemed at some point, with interest paid.
He seems to be under the impression that past wars were paid for with bonds alone; not so. Income taxes were raised to pay for wars time and again. Before WWII only about 10% of Americans paid income taxes; by 1944 nearly everyone did.
War bonds are just a way to involve civilians and to postpone payment on a war; they are not a way to avoid paying for it.
I will agree with Nelson's plan, on one condition--all funding for our wars come from bonds alone, and they be interest-free. Redeemable, say, in 20 years. No money from general funds to fund the wars.
Then we'll see how patriotic our war hawks really are, if they are willing to put their money where their quite commodious mouths are.
We've had a lovely fall this year, with fairly warm temperatures and minimal precipitation. I was able to get all of my outdoor decorating done without having to plow through piles of snow.
Either Blogger has gotten lax, or the spammers have gotten trickier. I've gotten several spam comments the last few days for old posts on a blog that hasn't been active, until today, for more than a year. That's why I have moderation, and why blogger features, IIRC, an "are you a human or a bot" test for posting.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Poking Around in the Attic
(Mind you, it's only hard work if you try and write reasoned, well argued posts with a dash of humor and appropriate artwork. Simple political ranting with numerous mentions of Hitler, Marx or Stalin require much less brainpower and energy, as does WRITING IN ALL CAPS!!!!!!!)
Mine lasted a bit longer than most.
Most of the hits, though, were friends visiting, or people looking for a good recipe for home-made Bailey's Irish Cream. I'd get the occasional person who found the blog by chance and commented (which often made my day), and even got linked to on two other blogs. But it was a lot of work for very little recognition.... Still, for quite some time, I toiled on.
I must confess that I got distracted this year. Aging parents with medical problems take a toll on one's time, as does trying to make a living and keep up with commitments (in my case, charity work).
And keeping current with the news, which changes ever so fast during an election year, is work. I could have blogged about the election, but I didn't really have a horse in the race.
It's not that I didn't care who was elected.
I cared deeply.
It's just that I'm a lefty, with strong opinions on single payer, civil liberties and the war, and the candidates who most strongly agreed with me dropped out early in the primary season. I liked both Hillary and Obama, but both are fairly centrist, and I didn't much care which one won. I was voting Democratic one way or another.
Don't get me wrong. I like Obama. And I hope he can unite this country and do wonderful things. It's just that my generation has a long history of being disappointed by politicians (more so if you follow Ukrainian politics), and we don't like to get our hopes up. It hurts too much when they're dashed to smithereens.
I worked to get him elected. I proselytized via e-mail and in person, did GOTV work and canvassing. I passed out lawn signs and bumper stickers in my neighborhood. And I even worked in Precinct 9 of West Bloomfield as an election inspector (poll worker) from 6 AM to 10 PM on election day to help keep the vote honest.
I was at our local Obama headquarters on election night after the polls had closed. The excitement there was enough to give anyone a contact high. We watched one state after another turn blue. I knew we had won when Pennsylvania was called for Obama. But there was still nothing like the thrill of hearing it announced at 11 PM, of seeing John McCain concede (graciously, for a change) and of watching a million people in Chicago greet their new president. It brought tears to my eyes and hope to my jaded heart.......
So I may tidy up here a bit and start adding some new posts, now that things are quieting down. My father is recovering well from his third open heart surgery (valve replacement at the age of 82--he's one tough patient!), the world has been righted a bit, and we've stepped away from the edge of the political abyss. I'm starting to feel as though I can stop and take a breath at last.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
Secret Terrorist Plot
Oddly enough, I suspect many right wingnuts really do believe much of this....including the McCain part. And I find it just a bit disconcerting that the next president of the United States may end up being younger that my kid brother! Still, better than having one who's older than dirt......and keeps [promising us more and better wars (remember "Bomb Iran"?)
((Note: Click on the cartoon to make it big enough to read)
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Penguins in the News!
In birding, we sometimes describe cormorants as looking like "flying penguins." I guess we'll have to find a new descriptor after this!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Pointillism is a style of painting in which small distinct points of primary colors create the impression of a wide selection of secondary and intermediate colors. One of the best known proponents of this style was Seurat.
Why do I bring this up? Fuzz and I spent a morning doing the aunt-niece bonding thing at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It was their first time of us had been there since the massive renovation and reorganization had been completed. We had a lovely time wandering the galleries and discovering interesting things while trying to locate other things.
Like many of us, fuzz had studied pointillism in school. Art teachers, having a bit of a masochistic streak, enjoy assigning the creation of a pointillist painting o their student–hours and hours of making small colored dots on a large piece of paper. I hated it. But I do like Seurat's paintings, and located one for Fuzz.
And I snapped this photo of in front of the painting:
Since it was dark in the galleries, and since flash photography is not allowed, I at an ISO 0f 1600, resulting in a very grainy photo. And, oddly enough, it ended up looking like a pointillist photo of a pointillist painting.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Regrets, I've had a few
The odometer of death took another major turn today, as the US recorded the 4000th fatality in Iraq. 4000.
Remember "they will greet us as liberators"? Or "it will take a few weeks, or perhaps a month"? Or the risk to the USA, the WMDs and potential mushroom clouds?
That was five years ago. We still haven't located those WMDs, and we're still over there.
Those who initiated the war have no regrets. Bush thinks it was a grand adventure. Cheney (he of the five draft deferments) points out that all the servicemen who died were volunteers. Mind you, many joined up to fight those who attacked us on 9-11, but got sent to Iraq instead. From and interview with ABC news:
Notice that Cheney never answers the second question. But really, war is a glorious pursuit as long as you're not the one having ot do the fighting and the dying.
"I want to start with the milestone today of 4,000 dead in Iraq. Americans. And just what effect do you think it has on the country?" asked ABC News' White House correspondent, Martha Raddatz, who traveled with the vice president on a nine-day overseas trip to Iraq and other countries in the Middle East.
"It obviously brings home I think for a lot of people the cost that's involved in the global war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan," Cheney said in the interview, conducted in Turkey. "It places a special burden obviously on the families, and we recognize, I think it's a reminder of the extent to which we are blessed with families who've sacrificed as they have."
"The president carries the biggest burden, obviously," Cheney said. "He's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans, but we are fortunate to have a group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us."
Raddatz noted that some soldiers, Air Force members, and Marines have been on multiple deployments and have been sent back to Iraq because of the stop-loss policy, and involuntary extension of a service member's enlistment contract. The Army alone says 58,000 US soldiers have been redeployed to war because of the stop-loss policy.
"When you talk about an all-volunteer force, some of these soldiers, airmen, Marines have been on two, three, four, some of them more than that, deployments," Raddatz said. "Do you think when they volunteered they had any idea that there would be so many deployments or stop-loss? Some of those who want to get out can't because of stop-loss?"
"A lot of men and women sign up because sometimes they will see developments," Cheney said. "For example, 9/11 stimulated a lot of folks to volunteer for the military because they wanted to be involved in defending the country."
P.S. As for how many Iraqis have dies, no one in this administration seems to care about that. After all, they dies free, and that's what matters. We don't count the Iraqi dead, probably because we are afraid of what the numbers might be (over 1,000,000 according to some epidemiological estimates).
ADDENDUM: Blogwhoring is the process of leaving a link to your blog in the comments of another blog (in order to increase traffic to your own blog). It is generally considered poor nettiquette, but tolerated. And I don't mind it, unless the blog you are linking to DOES NOT ALLOW comments. In that case, fuggedaboutit. Goose, gander, sauce, etc.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
....and may all your Easters be white!
Some holiday confusion here in Michigan, as there is quite a bit of snow on the ground at the moment–more than we had at Christmas, actually. And, anyway, it's not really Easter for some of us–those of the ancient eastern rite won't be celebrating until April 27th, by which time, I can only assume, the snow will have melted.
Below is a shot of some of my snowflake pysanky, which seem appropriate today. I haven't made many "regular" pysanky yet this year, so these will have to do for now. Expect those photos in late April or early May. And, if you need an Easter fix of pysanky, you can always visit my website.
Today is the day a huge rabbit brings chocolate eggs to children in countries with germanic heritage. Why?
Friday, March 21, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
New Mandry Video
A lovely song about the tragedy of Ukraine under Soviet domination - the many dead, both famous and not.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
It seems just yesterday I was writing the Thanksgiving post, and now it's February and Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter. Or is it four? I'm never sure, but it's cold and gray here in Michigan, and chances are good that it will stay this way until sometime in April.
I'm leaving today for India, to spend a month in Vellore. I'll be working and visiting with friends, and enjoying my friend Jiji's wonderful cooking. I love southern Indian food. I will try to blog while I'm there–I've added a link to an India blog in my blogroll on the right. Check it from time to time.
Can't say I'll miss the campaign much–I'm getting tired of it already, and there's nine months to go. It's going to be a very long year.........
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Today is the day that we Americans celebrate the beginning of the long genocide of our original native population. We also give thanks to the applicable deity for what we have (for many, it's much less than last year and barely enough to get by). Mostly, we just eat a lot of turkey, watch football (some) and gather with family.
Happy Thanksgiving/Turkey Day!
And who can forget this perennial favorite:
According the folks at the Dove Dental Center (from whose site I cribbed this text):
A dental abscess can cause pain in the face (usually from an upper tooth), or pain in the area of the lower jaw (mandible) - (usually from a lower tooth), due to a build up of pressure from an infection which is emanating from the pulp chamber of the tooth, causing pressure along tissue planes. The pain can be quite severe. You should seek advice from a dentist urgently to get the abscess drained. It may be possible to drain the pus through the tooth itself so the tooth can be saved (root canal treatment). If not, the tooth will need to be extracted to prevent the abscess from recurring.There is nothing quite like the pain of a tooth abscess--it is constant, throbbing, and eventually involves the entire head. Sleep is impossible without serious narcotics (Vicodin is my palliative of choice). It is the worst pain I have ever experienced, not having gone through childbirth nor passed any kidney stones.
Luckily, although I don't have dental insurance, I do have money, so I could afford to get my tooth treated and avoid death. The pain is better, although not completely gone, but I still don't have much of an appetite and a do have a fold drainage in my mouth (from the opening left in my tooth). I am mid-root canal, awaiting subsidence of infection and inflammation in my tissues before the tooth can be closed up again.
My dentist had closed the tooth with a soft plug after initially draining it; this caused a second night of excruciating pain and heavy narcotic use before he pulled the plug out. I am now recovering, and hope to return to blogging and other normal activities soon.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Armistice Day was meant to commemorate the end of WWI, the war to end all wars. (That didn't work out, did it?) The war officially ended on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
In the US, it has been transformed into an all-purpose "honor the veterans" affair. If only our government did more than pay them lip service this one day a year.
I'm back...almost. It's November, gray, cloudy and cold, and I'm working away at the dining room table. I'm trying to finish up my NEJM CME (it was due November 1, but I've gotten an extension). Once I finish, I hope to have more time to blog and do other things I enjoy.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
After splashing out on really good candy (Reese's cups, Kit-Kats, Almond Joy and Gummi body parts), I was disappointed to have only THREE trick-or-treaters come by my house. They told me I had the best stuff, but still....
I tried. I put the lights on, and I sat near the door just in case anyone came by. But I haven't been home for Halloween in so long that no one is used to stopping by. Most kids bypassed my street completely, as the houses were mostly dark, their occupants having departed for warmer climes.
Not that it was cold. Global warming has meant a very warm October, and the leaves on the trees have barely begun to turn, much less fall. I miss autumn--I don't think we're having one this year. We will segue from late summer to early winter without our usual wonderful autumnal interlude.
Monday, September 03, 2007
I'm off for a five week stay in Ukraine. I'm going to be busy–I have family to visit, and lots of work to do for UCARE. We will be interviewing our scholarship students, buying goods, and visiting nine different orphanages to distribute the goods.
I'll be back in October.
It's not what most people would consider a vacation.........
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Recipe for Disaster
Inaction has its consequences. From Attytood:
WASHINGTON -- President Bush yesterday proposed deep cuts to federal health care, education, and transportation programs, searching for new money in the federal budget to pay for increasingly costly defense programs and the war in Iraq.
-- Boston Globe, Feb. 6, 2007.
WASHINGTON - The White House said Thursday that an inspection two years ago found structural deficiencies in the highway bridge that buckled during evening rush hour in Minneapolis.
White House press secretary Tony Snow said the Interstate 35W span rated 50 on a scale of 120 for structural stability.
"This doesn't mean there was a risk of failure, but if an inspection report identifies deficiencies, the state is responsible for taking corrective actions," he said. The bridge was 40 years old.
-- AP, Aug. 2, 2007.
Recipe for disaster: Find a problem. Ignore it (for over two years).
A 2005 federal study found that the bridge was "structurally deficient."
"A structurally deficient bridge might be one not adequate for the traffic it takes, but not necessarily dangerous," Burnett (former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board) said. "But a lot of structurally deficient bridges are dangerous."
Burnett said he believed it would be the state's responsibility to check on the bridge in light of those reports. But he conceded that there could be a federal role and an issue of whether fed standards are adequate.
-- Scripps News, Aug. 2, 2007.
We were warned about New Orleans–we knew the levees wouldn't hold. But funding for their repair was cut, and the money diverted to Iraq.
We were warned about our bridges, and our crumbling infrastructure. But there is no money to pay for the repairs–it has all been diverted to Iraq, and to fund huge tax cuts for the richest of the rich.
Then again, what did you people expect, when you continue to vote for a party that doesn't believe in government, and is hell bent on PROVING that government doesn't work?
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Five Down, Two To Go
A recent world-wide survey has come up with a list of the NEW Seven Wonders of the World. The old list of wonders was centered around the eastern Mediterranean Sea, and consisted of
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Temple of Artemis
Statue of Zeus at Olympia
Mausoleum of Maussollos
Colossus of Rhodes
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Of the old wonders, only the pyramids of Giza still remain. I had a chance to see (and crawl through) them back in 1990.
A new list of wonders, spanning the globe, was announced 7-7-07. Of the new seven wonders, I have visited the five:
Saturday, July 07, 2007
It's summer, and the livin' is NOT easy. I've got a lot going on. I'm helping write a (non-political) book, trying to organize my photos, preparing for my September UCARE trip to Ukraine, working in the yard, going out of town, updating my web site, trying to do my ABOG recertification, and hanging out with family.
Busy, busy, busy.
I'll still send the occasional e-mail, but will be taking it a bit easy blog-wise.
Read the blogs in my blogroll (right) to keep informed.
See you later!
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Bush the Merciful
I've been a wee bit upset with the commutation of traitor Libby's sentence by Dear Leader, and a mild upset of this sort often leads to incoherent ranting. I found a blog post on BeggarsCanBeChoosers that says it all so well:
Bush Wasn't Known For Mercy Before Libby CaseSee, if everyone were rich, white Republican and male, we COULD have equal justice for all!
By MARC McDONALD
George W. Bush has shown us a side we never knew he had in extending mercy to former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Bush spared Libby from a 2 1/2-year prison term, calling his sentence "excessive."
Perhaps Bush is following the advice of Jesus, who once said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." After all, Bush once declared that Jesus was his favorite philosopher.
The fact is, if you look at Bush's political career, you'll find a man who has never cared much for mercy. Indeed, you find a cold, callous person who never blinked as people were sentenced to harsh prison terms and given the death penalty under his watch.
Take the case of Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman to be executed in Texas since the Civil War. Serving as Texas governor at the time, Bush ignored an international outcry for granting clemency for Tucker, who'd become a born-again Christian while in prison (and who, the prison warden testified, had become a model prisoner who had been reformed). Bush ignored all pleas for mercy from everyone from Pope John Paul II to the United Nations to the World Council of Churches.
Indeed, according to an account by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, Bush showed shocking callousness in the case. Carlson described how, during an interview, Bush smirked and pursed his lips and said "Please don't kill me," as he mocked Tucker's pleas for clemency.
In fact, Bush was never a man known for mercy in death penalty cases. In his five years as governor, Texas executed 152 prisoners, by far the highest total for any state and more than any other governor in modern American history.
A number of commentators argued that Bush routinely failed to give serious consideration to clemency requests in death penalty cases. Among these critics was Sister Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun and leading advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.
As CommonDreams.org pointed out Bush presided over a death penalty cases that was noted for "notorious examples of unfairness," noting cases in which lawyers were under the influence of cocaine during the trial, drunk, or even asleep.
CommonDreams.org quotes a report by The Chicago Tribune on the 152 death cases that occurred in Texas while Bush was governor:
In one-third of those cases, the report showed, the lawyer who represented the death penalty defendant at trial or on appeal had been or was later disbarred or otherwise sanctioned. In 40 cases the lawyers presented no evidence at all or only one witness at the sentencing phase of the trial.
Of course, there's a big difference between the vast majority of defendants in these death penalty cases and Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Most of those executed in Texas were poor people from destitute backgrounds. Many were minorities.
By contrast, Libby is more like Bush himself: male, white, wealthy and from a prosperous, pampered, silver-spoon background.