Thursday Morning – June 7, 20 O'Seven

What a difference a day makes…Yesterday morning I was in Medical Mode and not hurrying out the door, so I drew my first cup and glanced up at the “Weather Station”. The outside temperature was 68 and the humidity was lower than normal, just in the 80% vicinity, so I took my cup and myself out into the backyard to sit and enjoy (which is part of the reason for no post yesterday, I enjoyed it immensely). Today, I grabbed so garbage bags for the trip to the curb while the laptop loaded up. The minute I stepped out the door for the trek to the curb, I felt like I should be paying for a spa treatment. 6:00 am and the heat and the humidity were in your face. Once I was back in the kitchen for that first cup I read the truth…79 degrees and 89%. What a change.

Yesterday was still with a light layer of dew on the world. But the air was clean and clear, the mockingbird was singing loud and cheerful above my head, and the sun was bright on the trees in the yard and woods. The dew on the sunlit cypress tree gave it a kind of green jewel quality, but softened in a way.

I was reading US News this week and I see the secret is out as Boone makes the top 10 in budget retirement locations…I would say congratulation but I was hoping the secret would stay hidden (at least until we moved to the mountains). I was happy to see that one of our earlier retirement hopes was on the list also…Fredericksburg, Tx is where we go many years for our anniversary runaway from the kids weekend. It is also about as close to the Houston area as you can go and find what passes for mountains.

Garrison Keillor takes a long look at the state of the world in Salon and brings back this look of the future for thee…

You look at the Amish and you see the past but you might also be looking at the future. Our great-grandchildren, faced with facts their ancestors were able to ignore, might have to do without the internal-combustion engine and figure out how to live the subsistence life. Maybe someone will invent a car that runs on hydrogen, or horse manure, or maybe people will travel on beams of light like in old radio serials, but the realist in you thinks otherwise.

Source: Amish like me | Salon.com

Mr. Bush must have done Harvard Business School about like he has done everything else in his life…

The White House said it would hold firm against concrete long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a major priority for Merkel, the host of the Group of 8 meeting.

At some point in his college career they must have mentioned that in oder to set goals they have to be achievable and measurable. Setting goals without actual…well, you know…goals is like…cheating. Oh (slap my forehead) that’s right…We are talking about George W Bush aren’t we…
Source: U.S. rejects greenhouse gas initiative at G8 summit | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Time to run…catch you later.

Tuesday Coffee Muses

Looks like the same old game for the Bush administration. Give a big speech taking the oppositions side away from them, do some back office finagling to ensure what you just promised doesn’t happen, and then just assume no one will notice.

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space, just as the president tries to convince the world the U.S. is ready to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases.

Not only are they scaling back the numbers of satellites but they are pulling out the instrument packages that would have been used to study long range climate data. That’ll pretty much put an end to the inconvenience of having your own data used against you in the court of public opinion…or not.

Source: U.S. slashes global warming monitoring | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Tomorrows weather will be brought to you courtesy of the EU and our good buddies in the Bureau of French Climate Studies…Have a great day George, and all the rest of you also.

Monday Morning in Paradise

The humidity is down this morning, 83% with a temperature of 70 degrees out this morning. Not bad after some we have had. I glanced at the thermometer last evening after sundown and the temperature was still above 81 degrees. Evening cooling sure doesn’t kick in very early. The bits and dabs of rain we have had have been enough to allow the mosquito crop to start harvesting our blood this year. They aren’t bad enough yet to drive you in or even keep you beating yourself in masochistic pleasure from offering yourself up as a living bait.

I am not rushing today as I get to have the pleasure of meeting another group of our medical professionals today. A mid morning appointment of unknown duration. Life is interesting.

Everybody take a few minutes today and smell the flowers…Later

It's Sunday Morning

Rolling out of bed late on a Sunday morning always seems a bit decadent. I tend to get up and catch “Sunday Morning” on the TV. Then roll through a couple of the Sunday liars clubs before moving on to something useful for the rest of the day. Sometime today the grass needs mowing before it outstrips the mower.

When I stumbled into the kitchen this morning to start the coffee maker the temperature was at 73 and the humidity was at 98%…Now the television is flashing a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the counties to the NE of here…Texas weather, wait around 15 minutes, they say, and it’ll change.

I am supposed to be heading out for this years Boyd~Cox reunion. With my voice acting up right now, I don’t want to add any additional strain to it, so I’ll be missing the family get together. We are down to two of the original family group left. My dad’s twin sister, Helen, who lives out of state and only makes it once a decade or so is 85. My Aunt Gertrude, who married into the family in 1929, is 97. Aunt Gertrude hasn’t missed a reunion in decades, that I know of. My dad was the youngest of 12, even Aunt Helen beat him into the world. He didn’t miss many of the family get togethers over the years, they were one of the highlights of the year for him. I’m sorry to miss the fun this year.

It’s not often that the Washington Post publishes a life celebration that grabs my interest in the morning and pulls me in to read the whole story…The following paragraph in the morning email did.

A couple of decades ago, a man driving from South Carolina to Pennsylvania broke down on the Beltway and managed to nurse his car to the Westbard Citgo service station in Bethesda. Carlos Bonds, the station owner, looked under the hood, then tossed the man a set of keys.

“Here’s my wife’s car,” he said. “Just bring it back in a week.”

Take a moment today and go celebrate a life well lived…

Source: He Repaired Cars and Restored Trust – washingtonpost.com

In twelve paragraphs of column Robert Kagen makes one statement that I can actually agree with. Sadly, he didn’t mean it the way I take it…

When people want to justify the unjustifiable and accept the unacceptable, they try all kinds of ways to make themselves feel better about their decision.

Most of what follows seems to me to be another neocon version of reality, and a realists version of Bush inspired acid dream. Highly appropriate I suppose for the 40th anniversary for the “Summer of Love”…The blurb at the end says Kagen is an adviser to the McCain Campaign. Could this explain part of the failure of the McCain run for the Presidency to actually take off this time around?

Source: Robert Kagan – The ‘Blame The Iraqis’ Gambit – washingtonpost.com

Y’all have a great Sunday…Catch you tomorrow…

Friday Morning Muse

For all who came by looking for these musings yesterday, I am sorry for the lack of focus. I find myself in a position of having other things on my mind at the moment. Right now I am still processing. I am sure I will figure this out shortly, until then I’ll try to at least put something out here so you will know I haven’t dropped completely of the edge of the earth.

I did notice yesterday that Kate over at Cider Press Hill is thinking of taking on a new challenge. I do not envy her if she does. Living in Texas we seem to have big commutes, not so much because we try but more because they just happen. The 50 gallons of gas per person per year part of the challenge…Not gonna happen here unless I give up the job and go to hanging around and growing all of my own food. I am going to mull this challenge over a while and try to formulate a plan(?) of attack…

Back to my regularly schedule weather muse…The temperature this morning is a rather mild 69 degrees and the humidity is in the soupy 95% range. Texas mornings are great for showers…oops, there goes my daily water allotment. Speaking of water I see this weeks US News has their cover story on the subject. I have to say the headline is grim but probably true…”Why You Should Worry About Water…How this diminishing resource will determine the future of where and how we live.” I haven’t read the article yet, and they are speaking to the choir here, but I’ll be checking it out this weekend.

It’s getting late so I better go check the morning’s emails…I’ll let you know if anything is interesting…

I always find Eugene Robinson’s columns interesting but the following paragraph from today’s just sings…

When I look at what the next president will have to deal with, I don’t see much that can be solved with just a winning smile, a firm handshake and a ton of resolve. I see conundrums, dilemmas, quandaries, impasses, gnarly thickets of fateful possibility with no obvious way out. Iraq is the obvious place he or she will have to start; I want a president smart enough to figure out how to minimize the damage. – Eugene Robinson

“Gnarly thickets of fateful possibility with no obvious way out.” Now isn’t that one of the most descriptive sentences of world conditions you have ever read? If you have a moment, go read the rest…But, after 8 years of dumbed down expectations I don’t hold out much hope for Eugene’s ideal President.

Happy Birthday Norma Jean…

Well, it’s time to head to work…Catch ya later…

It's another Wednesday Morning in Paradise…

Or, Once again around the circle of the week.

Todays weather promises to be brutal. Yesterday evening at sundown the thermometer was still registering 80. This morning before sunup it’s already at 70. That wouldn’t be so bad but I see the humidity is at 97%…It’s gonna be a scorcher out today.

My commute yesterday turned very long…And there was no traffic. Over the last week the kittens we have living with us till they get up to bye bye size have taken to sleeping on top of my bag (computer, planner, etc). Yesterday before I left, I checked the bag glanced inside and zipped it up as I moved it out the door. Drove to work, grabbed my stuff and went in. As I went to sign in at the front desk I heard a meow…Sure enough, one of the pesky kittens had burrowed down deep in my bag and gone to sleep. So it was back out to the car, back to the house with one little white kitten riding the whole way home on my shoulder…Then back to work, an hour late…You really gotta love life’s little games…

Oh well, I got a passel of emails…

Looking at the daily forecast I really do have a bit of a worry. This year has been very strange for the Blue Ridge. I understand mid 80’s down here in SE Texas on the Gulf of Mexico in May but it should not be getting that warm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia this early in the year. I remember our first family vacation to Valle Crucis, it was August and we left 100 degrees plus down here for the mid 80’s in the valley. All of the workers at the Mast were miserable, according to them it just didn’t ever get that hot in Valle Crucis. We smiled at that and enjoyed the cool (to us). That was just about 5 years ago and here the temperatures are already that high in May (and they have been that warm a lot this year).

I would say this is going to be the straw that breaks a lot of ecological camels backs. After years of watching different species decline, warmer than normal weather is going to start pushing a number of species back north…even on the higher elevations.

I see that Dana Milbank has the same problem that the rest of the Media seems to have with Al Gore. They just can’t take it that he isn’t running. So what do they do? Well it looks like Mr. Milbank puts him in his place for being smart. Again and again and again he puts him in his place. Then Mr. Milbank puts the hog farmers of Iowa in their place…

Imagine the Iowa hog farmer cracking open “Assault on Reason,” and meeting Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter Lippmann, Johannes Gutenberg, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Jefferson and Marshall McLuhan — all before finishing the introduction.

I guess Mr. Milbank doesn’t think Iowa farmers have read any history. Talk about Media snobbishness.

He spoke of Adam Smith and Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill, only briefly mixing up his patriots: “James Madison wrote — no, Thomas Paine, I’m sorry.” He gave a brief history of the printing press’s spread through Northern Europe. He used social science phrases such as “the collective process” and the “marketplace of ideas” and the “exchange of goods and services” and “guided by the role of reason.” And he threw in a New Age feel when he discussed the Internet: “It is simply that we have to conjure the full importance that it has in our lives in ways that go beyond what we can see and hear with our senses.”

You know, I have listened to Al Gore, I have listened to Bill Clinton, I have listened to George H. W. Bush, and I have listened to George W Bush…Only one of those men has ever had me wanting to throw things through the TV because he didn’t make any sense, and it wasn’t Al Gore. Why do some people have so much trouble with feeling put upon by a person with a brain who actually uses it? Story after story after story comes out of the Media that plays upon the “superiority” they feel oozes from Al Gore. What is that all about?

Well hell, go read it for yourself if ya want…Washington Post – Dana Milbank

The clock on the wall says it’s time to run…catch ya later…

Tuesday – Back to work…

Yesterday was a great day to sit inside and watch the rains come down. After days of watching the rains miss us here in northeastern Brazoria County, they came down with a vengeance yesterday afternoon. We still have water standing in all of the low spots around the yard though the ditches have drained…The weather prognosticators are predicting more for today. At least all the rain keeps the temperatures down. Or it does till the sun comes back out to stay, then its just like living in a sauna.

I was really lucky to have made the decision to start my brisket on the smoker on Sunday. By the time the kids arrived yesterday afternoon, the barbecue was done to a turn. Nothing like a long slow cooking to make a briskets dissolve in your mouth with just the right amount of smoke flavoring. So even though the weather didn’t cooperate, the traditional start of summer barbecue came off fine…

Well I am running late and I spent some time this morning catching up with some of the folks on my blogroll so I have to hit the road…Later.

Friday Morning Muse – minus coffee

It looks like I’ll be away from cyberspace for the next day or so playing with the medical professionals. Sitting here this morning without the morning coffee (or much of anything else), I’ve run through my email and checked in on some blog buddies and now I gotta run…Catch y’all tomorrow…

Thursday Morning Coffee Muse

As I wander into the kitchen each morning to pour that first cup I glance above the coffee maker to the weather station and check the outside conditions. At 6am this morning the outside temperature was already at 73 and the humidity was at 92%. By my definition summer has arrived. Given those conditions outside, even with the ac running in this old house the humidity almost never falls into the 50% range. Which I find surprising because in my reading somewhere in the last week I remember reading that a pleasant humidity was in the 40%-50% range. I remember thinking at the time that the person writing that must be from the west somewhere, because I don’t ever recall a reading like that here.

Oh well, emails are calling…

You have to love the Texas Legislature, the Houston Chronicle is reporting today that the “Senate OKs bill for school Bible classes”. You have to wonder what they are thinking, this is the state that keeps fighting the courts on school prayer, so now we want to teach the Bible. Or, are they planning a comparative religion course. For some reason I can’t see the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita on the shelves and being taught in a Texas schoolroom, though I wish a class of that nature was taught when I was in high school. Picture if you can, the track coach who gets assigned the new class of Bible Study 101…

AUSTIN — The Senate easily passed and sent to the governor a bill Wednesday to teach Bible classes to high school students, but lawmakers immediately disagreed on whether the measure would make the courses mandatory.

Legislative leaders differed on whether school districts may offer the religion studies course, or whether they are obligated to do so if 15 or more students sign up for it. Both “may” and “shall” show up in different sections of the House bill that the Senate passed 28-2 without changing.

I see now why we will be missing the wit of Molly Ivins, only she could see the humor of this kind of “Lawmaking”. I guess the real problem I have with this issue is that every quote and even the headline of the article call it “Bible class” not religion class. It seems to me it is starting off biased toward Christianity, not a great way to teach religious equality or separation. Even with a requirement for a curriculum and a “textbook” and not the Bible to teach the course, I see too much of a chance for local schools to do another end run around the constitutional separation of church and state.

Source: Senate OKs bill for school Bible classes | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Living creatures are nourished by food, and food is nourished by rain; rain itself is the water of life, which comes from selfless worship and service. – Bhagavad Gita

You really have to give the Texas Legislature credit for creative taxation. Just when you thought there couldn’t be another sin to tax…They found one.

AUSTIN — Strip clubs would have to peel off $5 per customer for a new state sex assault prevention fund under legislation approved by the state Senate Wednesday.

The measure, pushed through the House earlier by Rep. Ellen Cohen, would require the clubs to take a daily count of patrons and pay the state $5 for each one. Those records would be subject to audits from the state comptroller.

I guess what floored me about this was the estimated revenue they expect to collect…

The fee is expected to raise $87 million over the next biennium — $25 million of which would go toward a sex assault prevention fund. The rest would go to the Texas health opportunity pool, which is used to provide assistance to low-income people.

A sinner here a sinner there, pretty soon it adds up to real money. Which sinner out there is going to stand up and say “don’t tax my perversion”?

Source: Law adds $5 strip-club fee to prevent sex attacks | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

I see Charles Manson it still kicking at 72. The newspaper is reporting a 11th denial of parole. I once sat and talked with a man who had the same intensity about him that came through the news photos of Manson. Needless to say, the man I spoke with scared the s–t out of me. I found myself staying aware of where he was in the room at all times. I thought at the time he could be another of the family of Manson and I really did not want to find out if I was right. I haven’t recalled that night in 30 plus years.

Time to take the youngest to her last day of school for this session…see y’all down the road.