Wednesday, August 26, 2009

tobacco

I've been ignoring the garden since my lawnmower went on the fritz several weeks ago. I figured the garden would have to wait, since my yard was turning into a hay field. I can't speak for the rest of the country, but there aint no sign of drought here. More rain than I ever saw in August and I only watered the garden once this year.

Anyway... I fixed the mower and went on to fixing the garden, only to find the Turkish tobacco plants were already flowering. This is my first attempt at growing tobacco so each step is a learning process. I figured, if Al Gore can do it, I can do it.

Note the difference between the flowering Turkish tobacco and the Virginia bright to the left. I wasn't expecting such a radical difference.

One thing I learned is I could have doubled the amount of plants if I had planted them in rows instead of using square foot gardening methods. Oh well, I'm new at this. No one is an expert, at first.


Shortly after taking these pictures I broke off the flowers to force growth to the leaves. I don't know what to make of the Virginia bright. I mean, they look bright enough to me, but I was expecting a flower stalk by now. No bother... I'll harvest whether they flower or not.


I wonder if those leaves will make good cigars?

Monday, August 24, 2009

fool the guesser


Every county fair has a guesser. You give the guy some money and he guesses your weight, age, etc. If you fool the guesser you get a teddy bear or some such prize substantially lower in value to the amount of money you put up. It's a good racket and everyone goes away a winner.

I wonder how many of you can guess this woman's weight? Any takers? I'll bet a dollar and a fuzzy thing on the end of a stick you can't guess.

If I was the guesser I'd have to physically pick her up and maybe check her fat to muscle ratio using my index finger and thumb in a couple dozen places.

Seriously, according to the AMA, this girl is considered grossly overweight and should immediately be put on a vegan diet and force fed drugs to bring her to the desired Barbi height/weight ratio.

Well, as we all know, Barbi is plastic with an empty head and has caused a lot of damage to female self esteem for 50 years, resulting in neurosis on a massive scale.

Any takers on guessing her weight?

I'll give you a hint... she's 5'6"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

global health care

If you don't know how to fix something, all you need to do is study something similar that is working and try to duplicate it as best you can. As long as you have a model, you can reverse engineer and duplicate it with relative ease.

I'm no economist, thank God, but I think our present health care system is like an old Chevy you used for car pooling for the past 40 years without bothering to give it any maintenance. It worked fine back in '69 but now you have to pump up the tires, add a few quarts of oil, and jump start it every morning before you to get to the gas station for another tank of gas to get you to work. Your car pool buddies give you a couple dollars a week for gas, as they have done for decades, and stare blankly out the windows as this piece of crap smokes and sputters it's way through red lights and stop signs to your employment destination. You keep the windows down for this journey because the exhaust leaks through the floorboards. The carbon monoxide and heavy gasoline vapor from unburned fumes fills the cab, brings tears to your eyes, and deadens your senses at a time when you need to be your sharpest. This carbon monoxide/gasoline vapor bath lasts for an hour each morning and evening, draining your life force for two hours a day, five days a week, for your whole working life.

You're not the only car filled with people going to work. Each morning you notice the Germans in their Mercedes limousine blowing your doors off, going 90mph to the same place as you. It takes them about ten minutes each way with climate controlled comfort, an on-board espresso maker, and freshly ironed newspapers printed early that morning and delivered by courier to the limo just before departure.
The French workers get picked up in a Citroen Premier, the English get transport with their Jaguar XJ, and every other car pool has their national vehicle of choice.

Each year, the Mercedes undergoes a complete overhaul by certified Mercedes technicians, replacing and updating all parts that aren't up to their demanding standards. This complete overhaul takes exactly 24 days, usually in August. Periodic maintenance takes place every day, checking the fluids and all systems and lasts about an hour. The French have 30 days each year to perform their annual overhaul with unlimited periodic maintenance, whenever needed. The English have a mere 20 days a year to maintain their Jaguar XJ but periodic maintenance is consistent.
The 40 year old American Chevy has 12 days a year to perform this annual maintenance but the mechanics (as opposed to technicians) have just enough time to give it a general tune-up and change the oil at Quickie Lube before they outsource it to a gentleman from Pakistan for his taxi business.

The health care system is just like this car scenario. German vacation time is a guaranteed 24 days a year paid vacation, the English get 20 days paid leave, the French get a whopping 30 days guaranteed paid vacation a year, unlimited sick days, full child care, and social workers who come to help new parents adjust to the strains and challenges of child-rearing.

Americans get, on average, 12 vacation days a year. In most cases, they don't even get that unless they work full time for at least 90 days. Some places require one year working for your present company before you're entitled to a weeks vacation, if any at all.
If you go to Germany any time in August you won't find many Germans. Why? Because they're all on vacation in places like Thailand, India, The U.S., Italy, Spain, and anywhere else because they have a whole month paid vacation no matter how long you work for that particular company.

Where do Americans go for vacation?

The shore closest to their homes so they can drive out, get a tan, party at night, and drive back to their jobs, tired, hungover, and sunburned.

What does all this vacation talk have to do with health care? Isn't it obvious? You beat yourselves up at work to have a vacation that stresses you out because of time and money restraints, just to go back the the same old, same old for another year. If you're lucky, you might have sick time to take care of yourself. Take off too much time and you'll lose your job. No pay, no vacations, lots of unpaid bills, and no health insurance.

Depression due to prolonged stress and a diet of fast food is no way to go through life, but to many Americans, that's exactly what life is all about.

After all, how do you expect to become wealthy if you don't work long hours with three jobs shoveling shit in hell for minimum wage? That IS the American way. This is the land of opportunity where anyone can strike it rich and become a millionaire just by waking up early and putting your shoulder to the grindstone for eight hours a day with a half-hour lunch and 2 ten minute breaks so you can discuss stock options with your workmates.

Isn't that the American way to prosperity and happiness?
Or would you rather have health care like the rest of the free world?

OMG! What a crappy post!

I was in such a hurry to get this done I totally missed my own point and it makes me look like a Chevy hating, foreign car buying, supporter of Obama's putrid health care plan.

Let me clarify a few things.

1. I chose a 40 year old Chevy because it stretches the bounds of reality to expect anyone to believe that a Ford can last any more than 20 years. Chevy is the only American car that can put up with that kind of abuse.

2. I was ranting about vacations and how a month of vacations a year can keep you more healthy than the best health care on Earth. In fact, vacations are the ultimate health care. Just ask those old fossils in congress. Most are octogenarians who have a vacation that lasts 9 months out of the year and they still have an active sex life screwing the American public every day.

3. The present American economic system makes any kind of universal health care virtually impossible. Insurance companies are deeply embedded in the system and aren't going to give up anything. Expecting the government to pay medical expenses for non-working, indigent, useless eaters ultimately comes out of the pockets of working people who are already overburdened with higher taxes, higher insurance costs, higher costs for everything, shitty jobs with shitty pay, and no end in sight of this socialist downward spiral of Wall St. greed with the blessing of an ass-licking congress. Uncle Sam's only job is taking your money and giving it to someone else, less expenses. Every dime you get from Uncle Sam costs some other guy a dollar.

4. If you want a health care model that works, look to countries that have a good working model and see what they've done and what their people think about it.

5. If you're unwilling to completely gut your whole, broken, economic system for the good of mankind, then don't do anything.

6. Pay for your own health care and quit complaining. If you want a free ride learn English and get a job on Wall St.

7. I think Barry Obama and his health care plan sucks!

8. I drive my own car to work.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Once In A Lifetime



Time isn't holding us. Time isn't after us.
That's all i need to know.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

it's watermelon time

When I saw all those dead watermelon vines, all I could think was green watermelon. Sure, green watermelon has it's place but not in this house. So, I set it on the counter and thought about who to give it to.

In the meantime, I needed bread for tomorrow so I made a few loaves of onion/rosemary bread. Not to sound too egotistical, my bread is the best, and packing a loaf of this food of the gods with ham, salami, cucumbers, and mayo is a gastronomical slice of heaven that would make Escoffier cry with joy with a single bite.

The bread was excellent but I kept eye balling that pitiful excuse for a watermelon on my counter. I figured if it was going to go, I may as well take a peek inside.

Let me tell ya, this scarlet morsel tastes just as wonderful as it looks.

As I was taking hits from a chunk of bread and then a watermelon slice it dawned on me...
The best things in life are the simple ones, where we don't expect much but are wondrously overjoyed when a harsh exterior holds something so sweet and delicious.


Just like some people we know.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

extreme stunt landing

I thought this was interesting.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium by Jon Rawlinson

weeding the garden

If you have anything to do with gardening, you can relate to the never ending weeding that it requires. Given the chance, weeds will over populate the garden and subdue anything you really want to grow. Left unchecked, this crabgrass, myrtle, and lambs quarters will entrench themselves into every corner of the garden until all that's left is noxious weeds that even the bugs won't eat. Say bye bye to your tomatoes and rhubarb and hello to poison ivy.

Your life is just like a garden. Given the space, you can grow and flourish and produce enough to feed a small army. As your arms reach to the cosmos in a balanced symphony of photosynthesis and Earth nutrients, you can't help but evolve to a state of total spiritual perfection.

And then the weeds set in...

By weeds, I mean the parasitic detritus in your life. Those useless eaters who feed off your soul like fleas feed on a dog. You can pull them out but leave their head under your skin and they come back with a vengeance. It's like an old, psychotic girl friend who "accidentally" leaves her hairbrush or ear rings as a reason to come back because she just hasn't sucked enough of your life force and, just like Dracula's daughter, she needs to feed from time to time. You might think an old girl friend won't be that bad but think again... She's not an EX- girl friend for nothing. There was a major reason why you got rid of her in the past, and just like a weed, the genetic structure doesn't change. It doesn't matter how much time passes... a toxic plant like poison ivy will never become a blueberry bush. If she was psychotic then, and you know she wasn't undergoing therapy, the chances are really good she's psychotic now and she's hungrier than ever.

One look in my garden and I immediately saw the connection between dead-weight people and weeds. They both suck you dry. They both use vital nutrients needed for your survival. They both over-stay their welcome. They both increase entropy. Look at what happens to your pepper plants if left untended. First the weeds creep in, followed closely by insect life and vermin, feeding off all the hard work you put into maintaining this little plot of land. The weeds could represent the unemployed drifters you allowed into your space. The next time they come around they bring some insects, i.e., felons, low-life's, reprobates, and degenerates, who feed off the contents of your refrigerator, pantry, and liquor supply like potato bugs on an eggplant. If left untended, the vermin show up with a squad car because one of the insects rolled over on you to keep from going to the bug house. And the financial loss is nothing compared to the spiritual stifling.

The first thing to do to prevent this infestation is to identify the weeds from the productive plants. It's pretty easy to spot, sometimes. The productive plants produce SOMETHING. The weeds just multiply and get in the way and wait for the bugs and vermin.

The second thing to do is get rid of them! Go through your life, as you would through a garden, and yank these parasites up by the roots and discard them to the compost heap.

Make a list of rules.
1. No sleepovers unless the host taps you on the shoulder.
2. Bring something besides yourselves.
3. Bring your own tobacco. There's a store 2 miles down the road. Walk if you have to.
4. Bring a vehicle to take you home.
5. If the booze runs out it's your fault. Get some more or do without.

These rules can be added to when situations present themselves but think twice about deleting any.


Just because you like honey is no reason to stick your head in the bees nest.