Archive - Jan 15, 2013


News of the day

Comments on recent news items:

•Internet activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide rather than face possible incarceration. Was the prosecution over-zealous? Probably. Are they to blame for his suicide? No. The only person to blame for a suicide is the person committing it. Yes, we should fight bullying, even by those with the full prosecutorial powers of the federal government. But in the end, we are all responsible for maintaining our existence on this earth. 

•President Obama's press conference yesterday was pitch perfect. Raising the debt limit is a formality required to pay bills already incurred by Congress. It is not negotiable. His stance is admirable and correct, and I hope he maintains it. 

•Frontline on PBS has a documentary which I hope to see soon. I details how prominent Republicans decided to oppose President Obama on everything he put forth, no matter what the good of the country–– even if that meant opposing measures they used to support. If it came from President Obama, they opposed it. That was their fundamentally treasonous position. They put the good of party ahead of the good of country. And they're still doing it!

•Gun nuts are looking pretty stupid as they attempt to defend the right of everybody to own assault weapons in the wake of recent gun violence. The extremism of the National Rifle Association and the craven capitulation of Congress to their wishes has never been more evident. Let's hope that we can at least go back to the common sense of the assault rifle ban. It is clear that people who get their undies in a bundle over this, such as the talk show host Alex Jones, are just plain unstable. 

Do you know that there was a time that the NRA strongly advocated stricter gun control laws? It was in the late-1960s when Black Panthers were defending their right to bear arms. That gives you an idea what the organization is all about. 

•For some reason, I think the tide has turned recently in the policy debate between belief and science, a debate which never should have happened. Science needs to win if we are to survive. People who deny basic scientific evidence in favor of silly religious dogmas should not be reputable. There is plenty of room in the more rational branches of religion to admit the most recent scientific evidence, yet we continue to see people denying climate change, denying evolution, opposing stem cell research, denying anything, generally speaking, that might result in them leading a less piggish lifestyle. Ironically, they see continuance of their piggish and consumptive lifestyles as their right as so-called Christians! Drill, baby, drill! Jesus demands it!



Relatively cold

The cold snap down here is killing stuff, namely citrus and other plants. The plants around the house here in Gold Canyon are looking awful. The frost doesn't leave the patio, which is on the north side, even in the late afternoon. The crust on the puddles around the golf course doesn't thaw during the day. 

It is all relative; Minnesotans would be gleeful at the prospect of hitting 50 degrees during the day back home. When I saw that number on my car thermometer today in Gold Canyon, however, I shivered. The girl running the till closest to the automatic door at the grocery store was freezing.

The sun still shines, however. And I can tell in the evening that the days are starting to get a little longer. 

The dogs who barked all weekend and inspired this past week's column welcomed home their owners about two hours after I completed the column. They have been well behaved since. I think I will go over and offer to take care of the dogs the next time the couple is gone. I would love to give them walks, especially if it kept them quiet. Better than throwing doggie treats over the fence every fifteen minutes. 

In other news, I talked with Aunt Olive on the phone this week. She absorbed another "punch to the brain" as she called it this week. Olive is under the perpetual impression that she had a stroke yesterday and that she fell recently. It is clear that the left side of her head feels strange, and it is only natural that she would attribute it to a recent event. 

Sister Tracie is tending to Olive while I am gone. They bought head phones with a microphone for visiting, which I think will be sufficient. They also looked to see if there is insurance on the hearing aid which was so quickly lost after it was purchased. I just worry that if Olive gets another hearing aid, she will get annoyed, throw it out and then forget she threw it out. 

One of her favorite nurses, who she calls Truman, has, according to Olive, "really laid down the law." She told me that several times before I left. Truman, she said, is really bringing order to the place. He's shaping everybody up and nobody dares differ with him. This has been a theme in our phone calls as well. Truman is laying down the law!

Well, my sister finally had a visit with Truman. His "laying down the law" consists of telling Olive that she's darn lucky she's over 100 years old, because if you're under 100 years old, you have to wash dishes. Knowing Truman, he says this with the utmost seriousness, and Olive has taken him seriously. She forgets the specifics, but remembers the general concept: Truman is cracking down. Those who are 99 years old and younger have to wash dishes!

It is also time for a haircut. This is a touchy deal, as Olive has systematically decided that everybody who cuts hair has developed a drinking problem. "It's so sad about Ella," she says of one of the ladies who cuts hair. "She's taken to liquor."

This must be news to Ella, who doesn't even know her name is Ella. 

So, best wishes to sister as she sets out to solve the haircut dilemma, which is usually only solved by a trip to Twin Valley.