Monday, December 28, 2009

Breathless -- a twofer Monday

I know, I sound like a one-man Dean Koontz fan club -- deal with it!
:-)

His new book [u]Breathless[/u] left me exactly that! At first from following the various plot and character turns, then from hurrying to find out what was going to happen to the wonderful characters Koontz invited to this party.

My daughter bought this for me for Christmas, and I finished it Saturday night, started it again Sunday, and enjoyed it immensely.

Great book! And a great scene where two of the main characters discuss a subject that interests me immensely -- d ... nevermind -- you'll have to read it for yourself!

Enjoy!

Soon!

How many seed catalogs have you received so far? Getting anxious yet?
Isent my first order in to Fedco Seeds, they've already cleared the check, and I expect to see the package in the mail soon!
I got all the usual things -- tomatoes, onions, cukes, squash, several varieties of peppers, plus a couple of different things -- husk tomatoes, ground cherries, and some new types of lettuce and greens. Still need to order celery and squash, sunflowers, etc etc etc -- oh yes, and etc!

Jackie Clay ( http://www.backwoodshome.com/advice/advice.html ) praises her "wall-o-water" plant protectors for allowing her to set her tomato plants out earlier than would normally be possible in her Minnesota garden, so I thought I'd try them this year. But I can't really afford them at $3 apiece, so I'm going to improvose with a circle of 2 liter water-filled soda bottles around each plant. They'll absorb heat during the day, and keep the plants warmer at night. They're supposed to protect them down to 15-20 degrees -- we'll see. But I'm only going to try a half dozen or so at first, and see how they do. Maybe more next year.

That's the best thing about gardening -- there's always Next Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Inside the Revolution

Just finished reading Joel C Rosenberg's "Inside the Revolution -- the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson, and Jesus Battle for Change in the Middle East"

Excellent book! Rosenberg covers the Jihadists, their origins and goals, then the Reformers, who are attempting to instill Jeffersonian Democracy in many countries now under theocratic dictatorships, and finishes with those trying to bring true Christianity into the region.

A Jewish Christian, Rosenberg is also well qualified through his experiences in working within the State Department, and as an assistant to Binyamin Netanyahu. He is an excellent writer, with several books making the best-seller list.

I recommend him.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No, Joe, he didn't lie ...

In a well-publicised speech before congress, President Obama was interrupted by a congressman who took exception to his comment that "No illegal immigrant would be covered by any proposed health care leglislation."

Well, in an effort to bring truth to that outrageous statement, Congressman Luis Gutierrez is introducing the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America's Security and Prosperity Act (CIR ASAP),” a bill that would bring 12 million people out of the shadows and into the full protection of the law.

Can you imagine the impact of adding 12 million people to our already over-stressed economy?

What, pray tell, is wrong with sending them back to the full protection of MEXICAN law??? Let them pull Mexico up out of the mire, rather than pull the USA down INTO the mire! I know, it's easier to pull things down than up, and we're sliding already, but we don't need to be accelerated by those who want instant gratification courtesy of OUR taxes and resources!

Please understand -- I do not hate anyone, and I do not consider anyone of lesser value before God. But I, along with many others, spent years of my life defending the values of this country -- indeed, some gave their lives for it -- and it is galling to see it being given to those who think they can simply come in and take what they want without working for it as we did.

And I find it extremely ironic that the folks who are claiming it is our "Christian Duty" to accommodate all these illegals are the same folks who are striving to take Christ out of the public arena all over this country -- especially at this time of the year!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Anastasia Rizikov


English grammar provides a list of words called superlatives, to describe things outstanding. As a writer I am familiar with these words, and have used many of them. But I am proposing that a new word be added to that list, because none of the originals are adequate to describe what I saw on December 6th in Binghamton, NY.

That word is, simply, “Anastasia.”

This afternoon a young pianist held an audience spellbound, as she played for us selections from Bach, Liszt, Gershwin, and Bryl. Then, with a superb string quartet directed by Maestro John Covelli, she played Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, Op. 21. The young lady’s name is Anastasia Rizikov, and she will be 11 years old this week.

I had an excellent seat, where I could see her hands, and her fascinating mastery over the keyboard. But I could also see her face, and there I saw her heart and soul, as she gave herself to the music she played. I saw the pain that comes with the long hours of practice – the hard work of bringing the masterworks of those composers to life again was displayed there, plain for all to witness. But overriding that work was her love for the music and what it represented. And she shared those precious things willingly, and in doing so, won the hearts of everyone in the audience. Anastasia, please accept my thanks for a wonderful performance, and please come back again soon!

To learn more about this treasure, do a Google search on her name, and prepare to be blown away!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Can't wait!

On Saturday I put up 6 quarts of sourkraut, using a technique I hadn't seen before. No crock, no weights, just shred the cabbage, pack it into sterilized jars, add (to each jar) 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp white vinegar, then fill with boiling water. Put lids on loosely (don't tighten the rings) and let them set for 10 days to ferment. Then remove and rinse the lids in hot water, re-cover, and seal in a hot water bath canner. Sounds yummy! And it was easy -- 3 heads of cabbage made 6 quarts of kraut. Can't wait to try it! :-)

Also found a great-looking recipe for German-style warm red cabbage slaw in the new Grit Magazine. Got a head of red cabbage to try that one, but not today -- gotta set up the Christmas tree!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Yippee!

Got the stitches out this morning! Sore, but feels better. Now for the rubber ball routine. This one is really going to need it, I think. Still can't grip anything well. Tried to split some kindling wood with my left hand, but that doesn't work too well either. This aging stuff really sucks!
My son-in-law moved the gas range into the new (remodeled) kichen this evening, and it really begins to come together! He'll put the other stove in the old kitchen tomorrow, while I try to get the old water heater drained so we can swap that as well. One thing breaks, everything breaks!
The doc says I can go back to work on 12/21. Guess that's good ...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recovering from surgery

Excuse the slow typing, had carpal tunnel surgery yesterday.

A friend wrote to ask how it came out -- figured I'd post it here to save time and duplication:

Got home too late to stack much wood, so just curled up in the fetal position (felt more like fecal position -- still does) and whimpered myself to sleep. Previous hand surgeries weren't too bad, but it seems that Medicare will not spring for scalpels any more. They opted for sharing a used cuisinart. Haven't seen one of those at a garage sale lately -- now I know why.

Anesthesia was a real treat! They had this cross-eyed midget with a big wooden mallet. That's why my knee is sore too (had to walk to the OR after a wheel fell off the old Giant shopping cart they were using for a gurney, and he got me just as I stumbled through the door). I asked if he had any ID, and he mumbled something about "Badges? We don' need no steenkeeng badges!"

Next thing I know, I'm sharing an IV tower with some manic depressive typewriter salesman in the recovery room, with the original Frau Bleucher offering me a cup of foofoo coffee, while two of the Andrews Sisters sang Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy, accompanied by the third sister on the same cuisinart the doc had used on my hand. Then I woke up and watched a video on roughage, while trying to remember what real coffee tasted like.

By this time Vern had fixed the wheel, so I got a ride back to the mustering-out area, got dressed, and waited for Dorie to find the car in all that construction. Had a nice chat with the nurse's aide who wheeled me out to the entrance, after we got done laughing over the sticking right front wheel on the wheelchair; watch for the scrape marks along the left side of the hallway next time you go in that way. Anyway, she's home for the holidays from welding school -- her minors are in parapsychology and raising champion tarantulas -- and she really likes her job! I just hope she gets over that rash before having to wear a helmet 8 hours a day.

Ooops! Gotta run to the john and figure out how to work this belt buckle one-handed before I wet myself again.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I like these guys!

And I love their message!
Folks at the store ask me why I wear a Christmas tie so early (I wear it in July sometimes) and I tell them that without Christmas nothing else means anything at all!

Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Disappointment!

The "hot" was not!
I opened a jar of the habanero pickled garlic, and, while it is delicious, it's not at all hot! So much for the hot peppers we sell at out store! I should have used a whole one in each jar, I guess. Maybe they'll increase in heat as they age.

---
Speaking of increasing the heat, we need to do that on our reps, to let them know that 70% of the American people do not want or appreciate that atrocious health care bill they forced on us the other night. Now for the senate! Call, write, let your senator know that his or her job is on the line!

And don't even get me started on the AARP! They claim to represent me, then they sell me down the river!
---

Dunno if I'll get time to get another posting in for a while, and when I do, I'll be typing slowly with one hand. Surgery is this Thursday, for carpal tunnel and trigger finger release on my right hand. Doc says 4-6 weeks before return to work, but I was back in 3 weeks last time. It hurt, but I made it. We'll see.
---

Had some fresh radishes and Swiss chard from my garden for dinner yesterday. Very tasty! Also the last of the garden for this year, I'm afraid, except for the winter squash, pole beans, taters, and garlic we have stored away. Already looking at seed catalogs for next year's garden -- gonna be a good year!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pickled whaaaat?

Is pickled garlic that unknown? I mentioned it at work and got a bunch of blank stares. I canned up about 5 pounds of it over the weekend -- two different recipes -- and can't wait till it's ready to try. It takes a couple of weeks to develop full flavor, so I hope I can wait.
The second batch may be a bit much, even for me. The recipe called for a hot pepper for each jar. I used habaneros, and put a half of a pepper in each jar, after cooking them with the garlic as directed. It was pretty intense in the kitchen! I can handle pickled habaneros, but just barely. This recipe used 8 cups of white vinegar, and nearly 3 cups of sugar, heated to boiling, then the garlic, sweet red peppers, and habaneros added and brought back to a boil for another 5 minutes. I also added a couple sprigs of thyme, as I like it with the garlic. We shall see. :-)

Dorie also made some cinnamon honey butter -- much cheaper than the ready-made variety available in the store -- that's great on toasted English muffins. She makes it as we need it, using a stick of butter, honey, and cinnamon. Couldn't be easier! Couldn't be better!!

Folks have been picking on me a little, about the "Christmas ties" I've been wearing to work. They don't remember that I wore them in July as well (when I wasn't wearing a company tee-shirt). I just tell them that without Christmas there's nothing else anyway, so I do Christmas any time of the year. A few people politely accede, but a surprising number are enthusiastic in their agreement! They know what I mean. One lady suggested that I should wear a "Great Pumpkin" tie in honor of Halloween. I told her that it wasn't the Great Pumpkin who died for me. She'd never thought of it that way, guessed she was stuck in the commercial part of the holiday traditions, and agreed that there was much more to it than that.

-----
Got notified today that I'm scheduled for November 12 for Carpal Tunnel surgery on my right wrist, along with trigger finger release surgery on my right forefinger. I wasn't going to have it done so soon after having the left one done,(last July) but it's been keeping me awake at night, so I've decided to bite the bullet and have it taken care of. Besides, I might better have it done before Pelosi, Reid, and BHO totally screw up health care in this country.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Please press four

I had heard the flack about a certain bank giving free ATM cards to illegal aliens back a year or so ago, but didn't think much about it until this morning.
I had to call their customer service for a debit card problem, and got the usual phone menus. You know -- "Press One for English" etc etc. All seemed pretty straightforward and common until I got to a sub-menu that rattled off a few more choices, including: "Press Four to send money to Mexico"

I kid you not!

At least the message was in English ...

But then again, If I pressed one for English at the beginning, why ask me later on if I want to send money to Mexico? Besides, I don't even know anyone in Mexico that would be asking me to send them money, so who the heck? There is a retired psychotherapist I went to school with, who moved down there after retirement, but he wouldn't be needing my help. I mean, the exchange rate still favors him, doesn't it? Gee -- I hope whoever it was is okay. Maybe NAFTA would help ...

Oh well, if it was all that critical they would have put it higher up on the menu -- maybe a two or three.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Have we let him go too far?

This is an alarming speech, whatever your position on the global warming debate.

More at http://www.globalclimatescam.com/?p=572




Saturday, October 17, 2009

Been Busy!

It's coooold here! Got the woodstove going, but it's not helping upstairs, where we have no heat at all. I've always enjoyed it, but the last few years it's been a bit much.

We've been putting up applesauce this past week, and finished up with 36 pints today. Still have a bushel of apples left, so I may make another batch of apple butter, with a new recipe I've been wanting to try. Dorie does most of the sauce, and I help turn the food mill and help her fill the jars, but she does most of the work on it. Now we've got (24) 3/4 quart, and (40) pint jars of good homemade applesauce on the shelves down cellar, along with tomatoes, peaches, beets, pickles, jellies, etc etc. A friend wants me to post a picture of it all here -- maybe I will, after I get it straightened out.

I saw a very interesting (and welcome) sight the night before last. I got home aroung 930, and pulled in the upper driveway to go around the barn, and saw a pair of gray foxes! We have red foxes all the time, but the grays have been really scarce, and I haven't seen one in probably 20 years. But there they were -- two really pretty ones. They froze for a few seconds in the headlights, long enough for me to get a good look at them. They appeared to be healthy enough, with nice thick coats and bright eyes. Looked fat and ready for winter.
I hope they stay out of sight of the hunters. I hunt, but there's no reason to shoot one of those beauties!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bamalympics! (a Monday extra)

Presenting – the ‘BHOlympics!

Our Commander-in-grie ... er .. chief has ignited games fever all around the world, and we ought to take advantage of it before the iron cools.

I know he has more important things to contemplate right now, so lets assume a full standing position for a while, and come up with a few suggestions – and appropriate venues – for a round of games that will put our sorry shambles of a country back on the international map.

We need to use every possible means to make these games as non-confrontational as possible, so that extremely sensitive persons need not fear. For example, those nations with a nasty capitalistic philosophy, or a disagreeable attitude toward global warming will be handicapped accordingly, and taxed where applicable, in order to enable less fortunate nations/states/cities/’hoods to compete on an even playing field.

Furthermore, insensitive words such as ‘accountability’, ‘morality’, ‘work’, ‘responsibility’, or ‘integrity’, along with any other words or expressions deemed politically unacceptable by a yet-to-be-appointed Games Czar,(Jimmy Carter is on the short list) must not be used. Nor will expressions of patriotism be acceptable, as we do not want to be seen as creating a hostile environment for those rogue nations who will be invited and encouraged to attend.

Additional rules and penalties will be inserted in the final draft of this proposal – after it is voted on and passed – as deemed necessary and advisable by said Games Czar, with advice and counsel from Rev Wright, E. Emmanuel, B. Ayers, et al.


As to format of the games, the “Yes We Can!” logo will be displayed prominently, supported on pillars constructed from the blocks of crushed and twisted metal which are the remains of the Cash for Clunkers program.

Instead of polluting the environment and wasting precious natural resources by lighting an extremely inefficient torch, a single Compact Flourescent Bulb, powered by solar panels during the day, and a bicycle-powered generator at night will be used to open the ceremonies. China has agreed to provide this light (and the bicycle and rider) in honor of their promise to look into alleged human rights violations “real soon now.”

Flags used in the processionals during the opening and closing ceremonies must all be the same size and color, in order to avoid discrimination and embarrassment.

Medals will be identical for all contestants, and the awards podium will be at one level for all. Again, this will foster harmony, and engender a spirit of unity overall. Instead of a national flag and anthem, a 12 meter by 15 meter picture of the games’ founder – Barack Hussein Obama – will be permanently displayed, and “We Are The World” or “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” will be played.

And to especially honor the games’ founder, extra points will be awarded in every event for those who devise a new way to apologize for his or her country.
[insert appropriate deity here] knows we all could stand to apologize more!



Suggested Games:

A preliminary list of games is in place, but additional suggestions will be considered, based on their adherence to the established rules. The list follows:

1) Visually Challenged leading the Visually Challenged. – persons with extreme tunnel vision (or with blinders to simulate tunnel vision) will attempt to negotiate a straight line route from dumpster to mansion, symbolizing the promised fulfillment of unrealized hopes, dreams, and promises made to millions during the Great Campaign of 2008. To lend more reality to the symbolism, able-bodied people who have, and are already demonstrating that they can carry their own loads will be dragged onto the course and forced to pick up and carry bodily all contestants to the finish line (and to wherever else they demand to be carried).
2) The great resource-waster demolition event, where contestants will use sledgehammers to crush and destroy any vehicles or appliances that escaped the Cash for Clunkers program. A second phase will award extra points to those who can wrest enough cash from those who have it only because they earned it, and use it to smother the emissions from the smokestacks of factories in this country where those despised “M*de in Am*r*ca” items are still being manufactured. (Asterisks used here to avoid offending sensitive persons.)
3) Race to the Provider – Formerly illegal immigrants, now made citizens by executive order, will race against the elderly to see who can get to the doctor’s office and pharmacy first. In deference to age and disability, there will be 3 and 5 minute head-starts for those in wheelchairs and on crutches. Points will be deducted for tripping anyone with a cane. *** The latter is still open to interpretation as to whether it means “tripping someone by use of a cane”, or “tripping someone who is using a cane.” This case is expected to come up before our Supreme Court during our leader’s third term.
4) The “Cross the River and Over the Fence” race, in which contestants will make a dash across a simulated Rio Grande, climb over a simulated fence (which may or may not be in place at any given time or place) and lose themselves in the vast, free-for-all paradise which is Am*r*ca. (Again – asterisks used to avoid offence) Additional points will be awarded for previous deportees, those carrying AK-47s, and those who make it straight to an Emergency Room or Maternity Ward.
5) The “Throw Money at it Until it Goes Away” event, in which unlimited stacks of money will be procured at government printing houses, and piled on top of other moneys that are slowly sinking into giant sink holes on Wall Street, and Washington DC, as well as various state capitols (mainly blue states) and left-leaning non-profit organizations around the world. Extra points are awarded here, for anyone who can manage to throw a compatriot under the bus while doing so.
6) Finally, the Accelerated Vote race, in which points are awarded based on the speed with which one casts a vote in the affirmative for any of the administration’s proposals. Points will be awarded in several categories, with the most points going to those who vote “Yea” for anything connected with health care reform. Extra points are awarded for those who show the most enthusiasm!



And remember – 1000 extra points will be awarded in every event to anyone who can score while making someone – especially GW Bush, Ronald Reagan, or Hilary Clinton – in a previous administration look extremely bad.

We are sure that there are more games that could be added to this proposal. Feel free to do so.


(c) howard tuckey
October, 2009

Fall chores

Well, I got the garlic planted yesterday afternoon -- 250+ sets, mostly hardneck. May put more in this week, if it stays dry. I do want to put up a few jars of pickled (with hot peppers) garlic, and that takes a lot more.

My fall radishes are coming along nicely, but the broccoli didn't come to the party -- not a sprout! I was never much of a fan for direct seeding broccoli anyway.

I got 24 half-pints of apple butter canned on Saturday, but it's not a thick as I like it -- should have cooked it down another few hours or so. Good flavour though.

Today I need to cut some more firewood. Our stove is 16" wide, and the stack of seasoned red oak is mostly cut to 18-19" so it doesn't fit. No way I'm complaining, though -- the stove was given to me, as was the load of firewood. It really warms the house nicely on these chilly evenings. We do have a larger stove, that my son-in-law is going to refurbish with new gasket, paint, etc. It takes 18-20" wood, and should hold a fire overnight. Also has a flat top, good for a kettle on top to keep the stew hot.

Sun's up, and things are starting to dry off, so I'm outta here!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Putting food by

I know -- that's the title of a very good book on canning and preserving written decades ago, by Janet Greene, et al, and still in print, apparently. If you're into that sort of thing, you'd do well to obtain a copy!

But it's also what Dorie and I have been up to in the past couple of weeks. Taters in the callar, basil in the freezer, and from the pressure and water bath canners, beets, pickles, tomatoes, hot chili sauce, grape jelly, and now, apple butter. More to come!

We've always preferred canning to freezing for fruits and veggies, but lately we've been adding meats, soups, and lots of other things to the "summer in a jar" pantry shelves. Most of these things require a pressure canner -- which Dorie just does not like to do -- to be done safely. So I bought a large (23 quart) one a couple of years ago, and I do the pressure canning, and she does most of the rest.

Our aim is to get clear of the freezer -- an energy waster -- and get into nearly 100% canned food for stocking up. No wait time for thawing that way, and no worry about power failures costing us a fortune in beef, pork, chicken, etc. And much lower electric bills to boot!

We have a dehydrator as well, and will be doing some dried foods -- veggies and fruits, and even jerky and fish -- to fall back on. Wild mushrooms are excellent when reconstituted from their dried form, and so are commercial ones. Why pay a fortune for store-bought dried ones, when we can do it ourselves for much less?

Gotta run back down stairs and clean the stove -- the apples boiled over when I wasn't paying attention. Stove's a mess, but it'll clean, and it just adds to the fun!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What a week!

Lots of fodder for writing this week!

Our main water heater pooped out, leaking all over the cellar floor. No harm to the floor, but it's a $750+ water heater -- not including installation. I can install it myself, but that first part is what's stopping the show right now. May switch to a tankless water heater, been reading up on those.

Then we discovered the right upper ball joint on my Ranger pickup needs replacing. Another $200. But it gets better. While we had it up on the lift, the mechanic (a good friend of mine) pointed out the fact that the frame is rotting away, and probably won't make it another year. O joy!

Then the next night a tire went flat on our van, and we ended up buying a new set of tires for the front.

Then my wife had to have an MRI to determine whether or not the brain tumor she had removed two years ago is returning. Won't find that out for a week or so.

And it's turned cold!

Meanwhile, we gotta keep on trucking! We started cooking down 1/2 bushel of grapes on Tuesday, and when I got home Wednesday my wife had 72 half-pint jars of grape jelly cooling on the table! Applesauce and apple butter next!

Busy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Taters and Cabbage and Beets, Oh My!

Today we drove out to the place where we've been getting our potatoes for the past several years, to get some freshly dug red potatoes and some Yukon Golds. The gentleman was having some trouble with the digger, but finally got it running, and we ended up with a bushel of red, 3&3/4 bushels of Yukon Gold, and a half bushel of beets. The taters looked fine, but it was a struggle finding enough decent-sized beets to fill a half-bushel. We didn't get any cabbage -- I only put it up there to make the title work. :-)

We'll use most of them, give some away, and still have some to plant in the garden for fresh new potatoes and green beans in early summer. Yum! Already planning next year's garden, and will start planting garlic within the next month or so. Will probably plant 400 sets this fall. We like it roasted, pickled, and in lots of dishes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kelsey

Please watch -- and tell others

Friday, September 11, 2009

Today

Woke up thinking about the date, where I was on That Day, thinking about all the people who died or lost loved ones on 9/11/2001.
Today is my day off, so I've had time to think about it. It's still depressing, but I don't want to let depression rule. That would be a partial victory for the mindless fools who earned themselves an instant trip to hell that morning.
So I pray for the families of the victims -- those left behind to weep and mourn.

Then I go about my own chores, and try to do the things that are right.

I got some mowing and raking done before it started raining, and some gardening as well. Planted a fall crop of radishes, and some broccoli. here should be time, but if there's not, there's always next year.

There has to be a next year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On second thought

On rethinking what he said, he did put one over on us, or tried to, anyway.

Remember Lewis' outburst when BHO said that not one dime would go to illegal immigrants?

I don't believe Our Prez lied, technically. But consider the fact that he, with the manic left, wants to grant blanket amnesty to said illegals, bringing how many millions of them suddenly into LEGAL status.

That dime is gonna get a lot thinner!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama's speech tonight

Well, I must say I was impressed, but not convinced. I'm still skeptical that he can pull it off.

There's so much rancor on both sides that I think we've seen almost irreparable harm done to this country.

One thing we can say for certain -- he's a great speaker, and definitely a politician. I don't much like his brand of politics, but I can appreciate how well he does what he does.

As for me, I'm very seriously thinking of changing my registration from Republican to Libertarian. The last few years' excursion further into big government has made me distrust both the GOP and the Dems.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Swine Flu scaring you?

Dunno whether the administration is genning this issue up to boost support for nationalized health care or not, but it is a scary and interesting topic. And there is and has been conflicting information provided by all the media about it, and it's getting more and more difficult to understand what's going on.

Strangely enough, there's very little to connect Swine Flu with pigs except for the name. It's really better named H1N1. So pigs, in some cases, have been getting a bad rap.

Here's a recent article that's making some waves. Among other things it says that perhaps those born before 1957 don't have to worry so much about it personally -- but what about our kids and grandkids?

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=108604

There are some interesting statements in there, some about Thimerisol -- used as a preservative in the vaccine -- and its effects, depending on the age of the person treated with it.

I plan to discuss this thoroughly with my doctor before getting the vaccine, and I suggest that everyone else does the same.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Slobs?

Why is it that people just don't care any more?

Yesterday evening my wife and I were picking up a few things in Sam's Club. It was a little more crowded than usual, because BU students had just hit town, and were picking up their stuff for the new semester.

We encountered a group of students who were making the usual guys-away-from-home noises, and saw one of them finish the hotdog he was eating, and casually toss the wrapper on the floor. They continued on down the aisle, and I just stood there getting angrier by the minute. This is MY world too, and I'll be dipped if I'm gonna put up with some slob dumping his garbage anywhere he pleases in it!

So I bent over and picked up the wrapper -- carefully avoiding the side with the ketchup and relish smears, and looked up at my wife. She just rolled her eyes at me, knowing what was coming next. I went down to where the guys were joking about something else, said "Excuse me," and reached out to the guy who had tossed it. He instinctively reached out his hand to see what I was holding out to him, and I stuffed the wrapper -- nasty side down -- into his hand, and said "Maybe you just toss your garbage on the floor where you come from, but we don't do it here. There's a wastebasket right over there -- use it!"

The looks on their faces were priceless! He just said "Yes sir, sorry," and went over to the wastebasket at the end of the aisle.

Dunno if I made any difference, and maybe I'll get my lights punched out some day for doing something like that, but I don't care -- I'll do it every time! Like I said -- MY world!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Katydids

We just cleaned out my mother's things -- she passed away over a year ago. Among her papers I found a poem I had written as a Mothers Day present, when I was in 4th grade. As I have nothing else to offer on this rainy Sunday night, I'll post it here. I wish I could write as well now! :-)

The Katydids
by Jimmy Tuckey, 4th grade (my middle name)

Sometimes I keep
From going to sleep
To hear the katydids “cheep-cheep!”
And think they say
Their prayers that way;
But katydids don’t have to pray!

I listen when
They cheep again;
And so I think they’re singing then!
But no, I’m wrong,
The sound’s too long
And all alike to be a song!

(To my mother on Mother’s Day)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just say "Thank You!"

A friend just sent me this - I'd seen it before, but now I'll post it so you can see it too:

Have you ever wished you could say thank you to those who have put it all on the line to protect our freedoms, but you just don't know what to say? Here's how!

Friday, August 14, 2009

On the Health Care Scare

Let me be real clear right up front -- I oppose this socialist agenda with all my being. I think it is an abomination, contrary to the principles on which our country was founded, and if put into legislation and practice it will ruin the best health care industry in the world.

Having said that, I take issue with the hateful rhetoric spewing from both sides of the issue.

I hear my favorite pundits -- Hannity, Beck. Limbaugh, and Savage, as well as many other lesser known folks, parroting the same scary statements -- purported to be actual quotes from the bill. I'm a writer, and I've gotten so I think I can tell when something sounds way too real to be real, and is actually hyperbole, conjecture, and in some cases, outright fabrication.

So I downloaded the current version of the House bill -- it's accessible at http://edlabor.house.gov/documents/111/pdf/publications/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf -- all 1018 pages of it.

It's a pdf file, so there are excellent search tools to enable one to find anyting in the text. I used them. Guess what? Most of the "exact quotes" being tossed around as scare bombs are simply not there. I did several searches, using different pieces of the quotes in different order, to see if I could piece together something that would equate to those purported quotes, and again came up empty.

Yes, the infamous page 16 (and following) does contain wording that exposes, yet hides the fact that we will be figuratively forced into the single-payer plan eventually, but even that is being stated incorrectly by many on the Right. Yes, there are many dangers in this bill, and yes we need to be alarmed to the point that we take action against it.

My problem is that we are being pushed into using the same tactics as our perceived opponents, and it will turn and bite us if we do not stop. According to the Bible, we do not fight evil with evil, lies with lies, or terror with terror. We are trying to fight the leftwing nihilists with the same tactics they have used all along, and it's the wrong thing to do. In the first place, they are much better at it than we are, and in the second, it is contrary to our own stated stand on the truths on which this great nation was founded.

We need to stop passing on those emails that have no basis in fact, and instead, read the blasted thing. Become informed, maintain our collective (dare I used that word?) cool, and stand up to be counted instead of hiding behind a curtain of screaming, uninformed denial. We cannot win by using their tactics! They will simply smile, point to every instance of inaccurate quoting, and dismiss us as an ineffective gaggle of ignorant right-wing kooks, which it appears we're working hard at becoming.

There are still some in Congress that are unsure about this bill. They have apparently not read it for themselves, but are waiting for us to tell them what we think. When their colleagues point out to them the misstatements coming from uninformed emailers, they will assume that we're wrong, they're right, and there goes the vote! Instead, ASK them to explain certain provisions in the bill. They cannot. Our only hope is that they will then actually read it, and become as alarmed as we are, and will kill this abomination before it's hatched.

Remember how we all got up in arms about Situational Ethics? All of us agreed that it is wrong. THE END DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS! -- think about it.
thanks for reading -- comments are welcome.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On Aging

Been Busy!
Here's a poem that I just got published in the paper, in honor of my 50th highschool class reunion:

On Aging
(c) 2008, 2009 Howard Tuckey

I used to have a six-pack, now it's morphed into a keg.
I got a sag in my Depends, they’re sliding down my leg
It seems my fav'rite word is Huh? -- my hearing went kaput,
And limping is my normal gait, with bunions on each foot.

I’m dropping stuff more often now, arthritis in my hands,
It does no good to watch it fall; can’t bend to where it lands.
My PT makes my muscles hurt, a not too pleasant burn,
My knees they creak, my hips they groan, with every twist and turn.

But even with the aches and pains I still have lots of fun.
That is, I think I do, sometimes -- my memory is gone.
If memory still serves at all, it usually works too late
I think of things from childhood, can’t remember today’s date

I set things to remind me, then I can't recall just where;
I once misplaced my wife, and left her grouchy as a bear.
The TV shut my cable off, forgot to pay the bill,
And half the time I can’t remember if I took that pill.

Folks chuckle some behind my back, I often see them smile,
But I'm not really bothered; I make new friends all the while!
So all in all it ain’t so bad, no matter all the jokes,
But just this once please humor me, just who are all you folks?

cheers!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Before you go -- thank you!

I won't normally post whole emails here, but this one was special --

At the store where I work I've always tried to take special notice of old-timers wearing military insignia, especially from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I've personally known a few, who followed Patton across Europe, drove ambulances in Italy, landed on Omaha Beach, endured the Coral Sea Battle, fought up Porkchop Hill, or survived the horror that was Vietnam, and in their memory I've tried to say "Thank you" to those I still see at the store. Sometimes it's the wife or mother wearing a T-shirt saying "I have a son in the Marines" or something similar. I've seen several old guys moved to tears at being thanked, and even some folks in the line behind them stop and don't quite know what to say, and sometimes they commend me for "being thoughtful." But I'm not doing it for me.

This Email just came in this morning, and it underscored my feelings about these heroes. Now that I can see again, I'm sending it on. I think we all need it, especially now. -- friar tuck
------------------------
"Subject: Fw: Before You Go Please read to the end and then click on the website -- this is wonderful! ----------The elderly parking lot attendant wasn't in a good mood! Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a Delray Beach , Fla. , eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event. He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. "I took two bullets for this country and look what I'm doing," he said bitterly. At first, Bierstock didn't know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, "Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you." Then the old soldier began to cry. "That really got to me," Bierstock says. Cut to today. Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach - a member of Bierstock's band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band - have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful "Before You Go" does more than salute those who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die. "If we had lost that particular war, our whole way of life would have been shot," says Bierstock, who plays harmonica. "The WW II soldiers are now dying at the rate of about 2,000 every day. I thought we needed to thank them." The song is striking a chord. Within four days of Bierstock placing it on the Web, the song and accompanying photo essay have bounced around nine countries, producing tears and heartfelt thanks from veterans, their sons and daughters and grandchildren. "It made me cry," wrote one veteran's son. Another sent an e-mail saying that only after his father consumed several glasses of wine would he discuss " the unspeakable horrors" he and other soldiers had witnessed in places such as Anzio , Iwo Jima, Bataan and Omaha Beach . "I can never thank them enough," the son wrote. "Thank you for thinking about them." Bierstock and Melnick thought about shipping it off to a professional singer, maybe a Lee Greenwood type, but because time was running out for so many veterans, they decided it was best to release it quickly, for free, on the Web. They've sent the song to Sen. John McCain and others in Washington . Already they have been invited to perform it in Houston for a Veterans Day tribute - this after just a few days on the Web. They hope every veteran in America gets a chance to hear it. GOD BLESS every EVERY veteran.... and THANK you to those of you veterans who may receive this !http://www.beforeyougo.us/play_byg "

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Super Stacy!

That is what her friends call this charming 11-year-old, for whom the word "prodigy" was apparently coined. I met Anastasia Rizikov about 18 months ago at a concert in Binghamton, NY, and she captivated me with her smile, her charm, and her amazing talent. I was able to chat with her only for a few moments, but it felt like I was chatting with one of my own granddaughters!

And now I've just learned that she is again scheduled for a concert here, and I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing her again.

If you appreciate great talent and great music, by all means check her website:
http://www.anastasiarizikov.ca/ and especially the Videos page.

And if you're anywhere near Binghamton this November, do come to see her in person -- it's an unforgettable experience!

Monday, July 27, 2009

An order of wings

This happened not long ago



"Can I help you, sir?"

"Yes, please. I'm here to pick up an order of wings for Mrs Clark."

"Takeout?"

"Ummm, yes... they were supposed to be ready at 7:10"

"Well, it's ten minutes after seven now."

"Ummm, yes it is."

"How many, five dozen? ten dozen?"

"I have no idea -- she just asked me to stop and pick up the order"

"Did you call it in already?"

"Mrs Clark called it in earlier this afternoon."

"I don't see it here, let me check with the kitchen." (he ducks out through the kitchen door while the line behind me grows in length and shortens in patience )
(he sticks his head back around the door)

“Sir? How many wings did you say?"

"I didn't. Mrs Clark called the order in this afternoon, and was told that they'd be ready at seven ten. I don’t know how many." (the muttering behind me grows in intensity)

"Do you know who told her that?"

"No - please, do you have an order of wings ready? I have to get them to a wedding rehearsal in about 20 minutes."

"Just a minute, sir, we're che.."

"Excuse me sir, I'm the manager. Can I help you?"

(sighs of relief from behind me)

"Yes, I..."

"Is this for a wedding rehearsal? Ten dozen wings?"

(I begin to hear a roaring sound)

"Yes! That sounds like the order!"

"And you're Mr Clark?"

"No, I'm picking up the order for Mrs Clark. She was told 7:10."

(crowd getting restless again -- one family leaves)

"Yes sir, I just wanted to make sure I didn't give the order to the wrong person, and then when you came in you'd be ticked off because your wings were gone, and it would be my fault if I didn't check." (I realize the roaring sound is coming from inside my head.


I've heard this sound before)

"I understand, and thank you for being concerned."

"No problem, sir. We just want to be sure."

(dark mutterings intensify -- as does the roaring)

"Thanks again. So the wings are ready?"

"They will be in a few minutes, sir, nice and fresh." (manager ducks back into the kitchen, cashier steps back to his post)

"They will be?” I call out to the swinging door. “I'm supposed to have them at the church in (I look at my watch) twelve minutes, and it's 18 miles from here!

"Can I help whoever is next? Sir, can you wait over there?" (someone steps on my foot -- I turn to confront whoever it is, but it turns out to be an elderly lady with a cane. I hold my ground, but there's still that roaring sound. I wonder if anyone else can hear it)

"No, if I wait over there I'll block their view of the menu board. He said it'll only be a minute. Can I pay for them now, to save time?"

(Amateur ventriloquist halfway down the line mutters some obscenity, ending with “get lost!"

Everyone ignores him except the kid in front of him, who repeats every word, and gets his mouth slapped by the older woman he's with)
(the manager comes bustling out)

"Here's your order, sir! Did you want sauce with these? And blue cheese dressing?

Your wife didn't specify, so I threw them in."
(the kid is still screaming)

"She's not my wi… nevermind -- yes, thanks! How much do I owe you?"

"Oh, Kyle will ring you up as soon as..." (Kyle is busy, actually using a pocket calculator to figure the change due from two fives for a $6.55 order. So far he’s gotten
to $5.00 + $5.00, and I don’t want to wait another five minutes -- the roaring in my ears gets much louder)

"How much will this be? I am not waiting for Kyle -- there's
another register right here!"

"But sir, I can't do that, this register is out of service!" (The crowd begins to show more interest -- is it sympathy? -- for me, I hope)

"Look -- your menu board says that 10 dozen wings is $64.89. Here's 65 bucks (I stick it into his shirt pocket) I really don't care where you stick the change – that would be eleven cents, Kyle -- I'm outta here!"

"But,, but!"

(as I go through the door I hear the ventriloquist mutter again, "Shaddup, (mumbled obscenity)!" and I don't think he's talking to me, but it's probably a good thing that I’m carrying the box of takeout wings with both hands)



(yes, it really happened)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Rain

That was interesting! We have operable roof windows in our house, with one in the room where my computer desk is located. It's on the west side of the house, and catches the prevailing wind.
I had the window open about eight inches, and the breeze was comfortable. Then the storm hit!
We were in the front yard when it started to rain and blow, with some amazing displays of lightning and thunder. By the time I got upstairs the hail was coming in throgh that window, reaching clear across the room ind into the hallway beyond. There was 1/4 inch of water on the plastic pad under my chair, and the chair was (is still) soaked. The beds in the room were soaked, and the carpet as well, in the minute it took me to get up here and close the window.
We've had some downpours here, but that was one of the worst I've seen in quite some time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

There's gotta be a story in this one

A couple of years ago an elderly man (now deceased) gave me some old papers and books, and I found some interesting things in them. In one box of old papers and pictures there was a photograph of a pretty young lady, dating back to the 1890s. On the back of it is written: "Virgie M___, Sydney's old sweetie who sent those little knots of red, blue, yellow etc while he was in Colorado."

A day or so later I was sorting through yet another box and found an envelope postmarked July 1893, with postmarks from Terry, Montana and Greeley, Colorado. In it I found some small pieces of paper, each with a small knot of tatting attached, each knot in a different color. Each piece also carries a verse, as follows:

"If of me you love to think, send me back this knot of pink."

"If to me you would like to write, send me back this bow of white."

"If who sent these you wished you knew, send your Honey this knot of blue."

"If you are another girl's fellow, Oh! send me back this bow of yellow."

"If with me you would love to be seen, Return to me this bow of green."

"If to me you would like to be wed, In haste please send me this knot of red."

and last but not least, a paper with a lilac-colored bow on it:

"If with me you wish to elope, Send me back this heliotrope."

It was sheer luck that I was able to find both parts of this, and I have them together now, sitting here on my desk. I'm waiting for my muse to put together a story around them!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

on health care and stimulus

Rush Limbaugh posed a reasonable question this morning. At least I thought it sounded reasonable.

At this point you might tune to another channel just because I mentioned the source of the question, but I think that to suppress an idea merely because of its source would be intellectually dishonest, and I’d hate to think that anyone reading my blog would do so with an intellectually dishonest mindset.

Anyway, he referred to the vast amounts spent on “stimulous,” which we’re hearing – even from the Democrats – has done little to stimulate anything besides the salivary glands of porkiticians and lobbyists. He then cites the numbers of uninsured (~ 45M people) used by the administration to justify the health care panic they’ve raised. Then he calculates the total cost of providing each of those folks with a private health care policy for one year to be somewhere between $29M and $100M.

He then poses his question: “Why, if the health care issue is the most important legislation before us this year, did [BHO] spend billions on bailouts of financial institutions (in the guise of economic stimulus) and on pork barrel projects such as the John Murtha Airport, (and why don't we know where it all was spent) instead of spending a small percentage of the total stimulus package to directly aid those suffering the most from this crisis?

My own question/suggestion : Perhaps he did so because he’s not as concerned with the plight of the uninsured as he is with his real agenda -- the destruction of the hated (capitalist) insurance industry?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The kids I went to school with

Just got home from a 50th high school class reunion planning committee meeting. 50th! F_I_F_T_Yth! Oh my. Those sweet old folks (whoever they were) even remembered my name! The hugs ain't quite the same, but they're still fun. Can't wait for the reunion in two weeks from Friday. Hope it doesn't slip my mind.

that's all for tonight!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A possible Solution?

Someone (in another backwater of this galaxy), in a discussion on the question of homosexualty, posed a further question as part of a possible logical progression:

"The planet is overcrowded.
The last thing this species needs right now is another population explosion.
So, is evolution working its magic
[in the form of an increase in a non-productive homosexual population] to protect the longevity of the species?"

I pondered that possibility, and a little light came on:
It occurred to me that the discussion had taken a geo-centric tone, and had thus become PAROCHIAL. My friend's comments about overcrowding, and the idea that a seeming increase numbers of a non-reproducing segment of this planet's population (homosexuals), had been naturally initiated (by whatever Darwinian deity we might choose) as an evolutionary process instigated in order to preserve the planet/species, raised an "aha!" flag for me. Yes, I know that last sentence is rather over-long, but it works for me, so deal with it.

Why?

All discussion up to now has hinged on the assumption that this planet is the center of everything, when in reality, Earth “is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy.”
See
http://tinyurl.com/2gmnt7 for more on that.

Is it possible that in our bent to rationalize/normalize non-productive sexual behavior we earthlings are thwarting a much older plan? Were we, perhaps, intended to be the main source for populating the rest of the galaxy? If so, that non-productive element is standing in the way of progress, and should be transported to Bartledan, where they would likely be more at home.
I may be wrong in this, (God knows I've been wrong before) but perhaps we're going about this population thing all wrong. Perhaps we're meant to force ourselves out of the nest in this manner!

Ever onward!
Don't Panic!
and don't forget your towel!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tremulous Tyro!

I claim to be a writer, so it was inevitable that I start one of these bloggy thingies sooner or later. It's an interesting endeavour -- beginning with the not inconsiderable question of a name for the foolish thing. The first several names I tried were sure-fire. Nobody would be using names like "The Screaming Carrot" or "Somnambulance," or even "Sundry Greens." Right!! Lots of hits on those, and on several others I tried, before remembering Fintlewoodlewix.

Anyway, here 'tis, and dunno how often I'll get back here to post, but I'll give it a shot.