Hale: Simple brick drives away night chills | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

In time for the frosty nights across the country Leon Hale writes this in this morning’s Houston Chronicle.

Warm toes

Sleeping with the feet on a hot brick is a familiar custom to me. It was based on the theory that if you keep your feet warm, you’ll stay warm all over.

I once thought that all families everywhere slept with hot bricks. But I remember having a high school buddy spending a winter night at our house, and he was puzzled to see my mother putting four bricks in the oven about an hour before bedtime.

Everybody in our family had his own brick and was responsible for wrapping it. We used remnants of old cotton blankets. You had to watch out that your brick didn’t overheat, or it would scorch the wrapping and stink up the house or even start a fire.

A brick properly heated and wrapped would often stay warm all night. Our custom was, when you got up in the morning you brought your brick to the kitchen and unwrapped it and stacked it by the stove with the others. And if it was still warm, you invited others to touch it to show that you had done a good wrapping job.

On frosty mornings we didn’t ask a person whether he slept well. We’d just ask, “Did your brick stay warm?” If he said yes, that meant he had slept well.

Now where can I find a good brick? Stay dry, stay warm, stay safe and we’ll catch you down the road.

Source: Hale: Simple brick drives away night chills | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Tuesday Coffee Muses

Good Morning, Pardon me while I pour my first cup of coffee…Ahhhh, that’s better.

I see from my morning email from the My-Cast Weather Center that the country’s climate model is turned upside down again this morning. The temperature here is 35 as I type this which is a few degrees above the forecasted low for last night. And there is Boone at 39 and Floyd at 43…Go figure. I could see this happening occasionally, but this winter it seems to have happened a lot. At least the forecasted wintry mix (that’s what they kept calling it) didn’t make it all the way to Houston last night.

Well emails read, checked the news and it’s time to roll…Ya’ll stay warm and dry today.

Bush: 'We're Going Forward' – washingtonpost.com

I think it’s time to give him the diploma…

“I began to think, well, if failure is not an option and we’ve got to succeed, how best to do so? And that’s how I came up with the plan I did,” Bush said.

Bush has earned his PhD in Government. I have never seen the BS piled higher or deeper than it in in this White House. My the lord have mercy on their souls…

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Bush said that although Iraq has descended into instability since the U.S. invasion in March 2003, the removal of Saddam Hussein nonetheless was worthwhile. Hussein’s remaining in power, he asserted, would have only led to a potential nuclear arms race between Iran and Iraq, which would have created even greater instability.

Exactly how many ways can he try to spin the reason for the American invasion of a sovereign country? He “decided” to take us to war and now he can’t “decide” how to win the war so he has “decided” to postpone the decision until the next Presidents term in office. And after getting the “Bi-partisan” Iraq Study Groups plan for how to end this thing, I think it’s time for the President and Mr. Cheney to stop saying that no one has offered up a viable alternative. Just because it doesn’t meet the President’s idea of “victory in Iraq”, whatever that may be, doesn’t mean it not a viable means to end a fiasco he created.

Source: Bush: ‘We’re Going Forward’ – washingtonpost.com

Before the storm…Sunday morning

Sorry for the lack of posts these past couple of weeks. With a rush of (as always) last minute projects at work, and trying to do a little maintenance here at home I’ve barely kept up with emails and rss feeds of my normal reading.

I’ve also restarted my genealogy research. If you really want to kill some quantity of hours on the internet start doing genealogy as a hobby. What with trying to understand the forces that drove families to pull up roots and move on down the trail over and over and trying to follow the historical stories in each locale in which you follow ancestors and kin into, your reading load seems to increase exponentially. Actually, most of what I’ve been doing is filling in data on the closer generations of my families. The data now available online is so much greater than it was even three years ago that you can find numerous sources of new data on practically everyone in your dataset.

Enough of that though, as you can see from the title of this post we are setting this morning before the storm. The temperature is in the 70’s and the wind is blowing strongly off the Gulf of Mexico just a few miles south of here. The humidity all day has been above 95%…eeck. Talk about summertime weather in the mountains. The thing that really struck me though was the number of Robin’s in the yard this morning. As I poured my first cup of coffee today and stood in the open door of the kitchen there were two at my feet on the steps, another 50 or so on the ground in the back yard and that many or more in the trees above my head. Talk about Hichcockian moments…It felt like it was straight out of “The Birds“. Before I had finished cup number two the Robin’s had been replaced by Blue Jays, the other large flock representative of the winter bird population here. Now at noon we are totally absent any birds in quantity.

The storm mentioned above is supposed to hit us today and tonight with our high tomorrow just in the 40’s (41 actually). They are (and have been for three days or more) predicting winter mix precipitation on Monday night and Tuesday. For our part of the world that’s real rare. The number of snows I have seen here in the last half century can be counted on the fingers of both hands without using up all the digits. Sleet accumulations are just as rare. The  weather this year (as it seems everyone is mentioning) has been very strange. I have been watching the North Carolina weather around Boone for a number of years and last year I added Floyd County to my weather watch. I can’t think of a winter where the temperatures here have been upside down with the mountains as much as they have been this year. While we have had a very mild winter, the Blue Ridge Mountains have had a milder one. While there are a number of benefits to this weather pattern, taken as a whole it is highly disturbing.

Time to get back to the chores I was working on before I sat down here with a glass of water to rehydrate…Keep the home fires burning (after the front anyway).

Rice, a Uniter of the Divided – washingtonpost.com

Who would have thought that the competence of George W Bush’s first campaign slogan would be so in line with the rest of his administration. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he run as a compassionate conservative who would unite the two parties? Looks like it only took the compassionate conservative six long years to accomplish the goal he set. The trouble is they seem to be uniting against him.

Within minutes of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s arrival on Capitol Hill yesterday, it became apparent that the Bush administration had, after four divisive years, finally succeeded in uniting Congress on the war in Iraq.

Unfortunately for Rice, the lawmakers were unified in opposition to President Bush’s new policy.

And if anyone here or abroad can still listen to Condi spin the administrations actions and intentions and still walk away believing her about what is happening in the world…Well, I have a bridge leading to some oceanfront property in Sun City, AZ that I would love to unload at a great price.

Source: Rice, a Uniter of the Divided – washingtonpost.com

Independence from the Corporate Global Economy by Ethan Miller

Yes! magazine has their Winter 2007 Issue online. The first paragraph of the first article starts this way… 

Call it “globalization,” or the “free market,” or “capitalism.” Whatever its name, people across the United States and throughout the world are experiencing the devastating effects of an economy that places profit above all else.

I haven’t had the chance yet to read the issue, but, I will over the next few days. If you are interested in local economies, sustainable living or local energy go read the mag. If you like it try a trial issue…What have you got to lose?

Source: Independence from the Corporate Global Economy by Ethan Miller

Green Shopping Bags

Kate up at Cider Press Hill posted about these today…

My new shopping bags

My grocery store is trying out a new product. Last night when I approached the check out counter (I think I was the only shopper in the store at 10:30 PM), there was a display of reusable shopping bags. Like these:

I like the idea and the way Kate describes them they look like a very good deal.

Source: My New Shopping Bags


You know, it’s taken all these years for Molly to get mad, now that she is…She writes a hell of a great piece. I am only sorry she didn’t get mad 4 years ago.

The president of the United States does not have the sense God gave a duck — so it’s up to us. You and me, Bubba.
I don’t know why Bush is just standing there like a frozen rabbit, but it’s time we found out. The fact is WE have to do something about it. This country is being torn apart by an evil and unnecessary war, and it has to be stopped NOW.
This war is being prosecuted in our names, with our money, with our blood, against our will.

Go read the rest of the piece. Molly Ivins just proves that not every thing that comes out of Texas is …Just use your own term here.

Source: Molly Ivins – Creators.com – Creators Syndicate

Memphis Commercial Appeal – Green Thumb

 Now here’s a gardening ~ living concept to write home about. Slow Gardening from Slow Cooking, very Zen…

Leave it to Felder Rushing to come up with a concept that will get us thinking about our gardens in new ways.

Slow Gardening, which gets it cues from the Slow Food movement, is gardening according to your climate and with your own personal philosophy.

“It’s gardening in a way that has more people growing more stuff through more seasons while expending less energy and resources,” said Rushing…

From the article it seems this is a concept just starting to be fleshed out by Mr. Rushing. Keep an eye out for more on this in the future.

Source: Memphis Commercial Appeal – Green Thumb