Flu causing some Texas schools to close | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

It’s not the bird flue but it’s already causing havoc…Is this what we have to look forward to in the near future? That appears to be what the CDC was telling us when they published their recent “Guidelines“.

DALLAS — With flu widespread in Texas now, a handful of schools are reporting enough absences due to flu and other illnesses that they’ve decided to close.

Flu season in Texas generally runs from October to March, with February usually being the height of the season, said Emily Palmer, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of State Health Services. She said that flu has been considered widespread in Texas since the week ending Jan. 27.

Source: Flu causing some Texas schools to close | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Morning Light

You have to love a mid-winter morning that starts out with a temperature of 63 before the sun even starts to lighten the eastern horizon. I expect the sunrise will look pretty much like yesterday’s pictured below.

I see from my morning forecast that the Blue Ridge’s will be flirting with getting above freezing today. All you folks living on the mountains keep the fireplace going and stay warm.

I have been spending a bit of time over on the Grist site reading Tom Philpott’s take on the new Farm Bill. He makes some good points you might want to check out. This bill will affect every American who eats, so unless you’ve found a way to live without food you might want to get a piece of this conversation. I don’t know about you, but my confidence in Coin-gress doing the right thing when it comes to big money contributors is always slim. Go read Tom’s series and then follow the links…You might find yourself getting involved.

Check out this blog I just wandered across – eth•i•cu•re•an n. (also adj.) Someone who seeks out tasty things that are also sustainable, organic, local, and/or ethical — SOLE food, for short.

Time to hit the road for the day job…

Wednesday morning sunrise from my driveway…
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Morning Light

You have to love a mid-winter morning that starts out with a temperature of 63 before the sun even starts to lighten the eastern horizon. I expect the sunrise will look pretty much like yesterday’s pictured below.

I see from my morning forecast that the Blue Ridge’s will be flirting with getting above freezing today. All you folks living on the mountains keep the fireplace going and stay warm.

I have been spending a bit of time over on the Grist site reading Tom Philpott’s take on the new Farm Bill. He makes some good points you might want to check out. This bill will affect every American who eats, so unless you’ve found a way to live without food you might want to get a piece of this conversation. I don’t know about you, but my confidence in Coin-gress doing the right thing when it comes to big money contributors is always slim. Go read Tom’s series and then follow the links…You might find yourself getting involved.

Check out this blog I just wandered across – eth•i•cu•re•an n. (also adj.) Someone who seeks out tasty things that are also sustainable, organic, local, and/or ethical — SOLE food, for short.

Time to hit the road for the day job…

Wednesday morning sunrise from my driveway…
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Birthday Deer

Yesterday, being as it was my birthday (and gorgeous to boot), I played hooky (legitimately) and took myself out on a Photo Road Trip. This shot is one of the results. There is a rural subdivision located about 25 miles from home that is a wildlife sanctuary. The buildup of this subdivision has been underway for about 20 years or so and it’s still mostly open pasture with nice concrete roads wandering through it. Houses are still rare and far apart so the wildlife has the run of the place.

As I drove through yesterday there were at least five herds of twenty or more deer roaming around. This group was further away than most but offered the most picturesque setting.

All in all, as a road trip I was quite happy with the photo results. Of a bit over 100 shots I was happy enough with about 70 to add them to the mess I call my portfolio. I can see some time needed here to start putting these things in shape with keywords etc…I’ll post more over the next few days both here and on my Photo Blog.

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Monday Morning Muse

As I sit here with my first cup of coffee going through the mornings emails I see that winter is sticking around a bit this time in the Blue Ridges. I guess with Phil calling for an early spring Mother Nature decided to give us some winter to appreciate it. I can’t say winter is staying with us this past weekend, yesterday was nice and pleasant with sun and moderate temperatures. I think it probably went a little over 60 at some point during the day…As the day begins to lighten I see that the morning is starting out quite foggy. That should make for a fun ride into work this morning.

I see from Marie’s post that there is more snow in Valle Crucis. Floyd County is in the deep freeze also with Fred looking for a sign of spring…And looking for an encouraging word. Stop on by and say hi!

Time to run I’ll leave you with the following from last eve…

Last Nights Sunset

One of the original 13 oaks on our place here. We’ve added a few since we arrived a decade and a half ago…
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CDC Issues Guidelines For Battling Flu Pandemic – washingtonpost.com

We just went over this at work…I still think the lack of planning for travel restrictions shows a overly optimistic streak on the part of the CDC. If this goes pandemic the last place I would want to be is in the cabin of an airline with a few hundred unknown people from who knows where for an hour or three. And if it goes pandemic and still has the ability to be carried by birds… 

ATLANTA, Feb. 1 — States should be prepared to keep children out of school for three months, businesses should be prepared to operate with skeleton workforces, children should be prepared to play mostly with their siblings, and parents should be prepared to lose income as they skip work and cobble together rickety child-care arrangements.

That was the picture sketched Thursday by federal officials in a guidance for communities on how to fight pandemic influenza in the months before a vaccine becomes available — if one ever does.

The one thing I carried away from our session at work is it’s time for the entire country to have a hurricane kit. Canned foods, water, medicines and fuel to cook and stay warm for weeks should the economy go into slowdown mode. Think Katrina only nationwide.

Right now the government thinking appears to be that outbreaks will be regional and it will be business as usual in other parts of the country while the affected region is quarantined. All I have to say about that is lots of luck. They can’t keep millions of people from crossing the border and spreading out throughout the country now. What makes them think they will be able to do it under adverse conditions?

For me…I’ll make the rudimentary plans add some stock into my hurricane/camping gear. Pick up a few more cans of vegetables and canned meats (and I hate spam).  And then I’ll go on with my life. If this is coming, I can’t do anything to stop it and worrying about it will just make me crazy. This doesn’t mean I’ll ostrich up, I’ll follow they news and keep track of the latest “thinking” but I wont let it keep me from living life now…

Source: CDC Issues Guidelines For Battling Flu Pandemic – washingtonpost.com

Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

This just hit the wires…

Syndicated political columnist Molly Ivins died of breast cancer Wednesday evening at her home in Austin. She was 62 years old, and had much, much more to give this world. She remained cheerful despite Texas politics. She emphasized the more hilarious aspects of both state and national government, and consequently never had to write fiction. She said, “Good thing we’ve still got politics — finest form of free entertainment ever invented.”

As a Texan and a progressive/liberal the passing of Molly Ivins will be noted not in what is said but in what won’t be said in the final years of the Shrub’s residency in the White House. My one regret is that Molly cut Bush so much slack in the past five years that we will never get to read her cutting him to shreds. Not that the resident in chief would understand the venom that was beginning to show up in her columns…Molly you will be missed.

Source: AlterNet: Molly Ivins, 1944-2007

Asked once whether she saw herself as courageous for speaking out for progressive causes and against the tide of Republican leadership, Ivins said no. “I’ve always been surprised that sometimes people think that. I’m convinced that can you stand up and say what — whatever you think.

“What happens is that people are afraid to do it. And what happens when you do it, when you stand up and you say something that the majority doesn’t agree with or that everybody’s going to be shocked and outraged by, you stand up and say it, and you find out an incredible number of people agree with you.”

Lord, take that fear of speaking out away from me and let me try, I say, try to speak out in her memory.

Source: Molly Ivins, queen of liberal commentary, dies