Archive for May, 2011

triple vision

You know what’s really hard to do when you wear tri-focals? EVERYTHING! Well, almost everything, but the thing I mean here is . . . swatting bugs. Yep, you heard me right, bugs.

All of a sudden you hear a buzzing in your ear and you reach up to brush away what you know is a mosquito looking for a meal. Not content to just divert him (or her, actually), you want to crush its little body and be rid of it. You turn to look for it and you see something moving, but it happens to fall right in between the focal areas of your glasses, so when you reach out to grab it you’re off by several inches. Now you are trying to locate it again, and you wind up swinging your head up and down like a bobble-head doll trying to focus on it, but by this time it has either disappeared or settled down on the back of your neck with you being none the wiser.

Another thing – driving. If I hold my head in its natural position the line between the distance section of my glasses and the mid-distance section falls right in my line of site, so I have to hold my head down just slightly. That works, but it gets tiring and irritating after a while. Next time I get glasses, I think I’ll see about getting a second pair that are just bifocals for general use like driving. The only reason I have tri-focals is for computer use, and for that purpose, they help a lot. Have I ever said before that getting old is a bitch?

bank hack?

I’m working on a project I didn’t expect to need to do. I have an email address that I only use for financial matters. Any online banking, savings, 401K stuff, etc., is supplied with that address – no one else – no stores, casual contacts or otherwise. However, suddenly today I am receiving spam at that address. So one of two things has happened; either one of my financial organizations has had their customer email list hacked (or worse) or they have shared my address with a thoroughly unscrupulous or insecure “partner.”

In any event, today I have created a new email address for that purpose and I am going to all my online financial connections and changing my email address. I suppose the smart thing to do while doing that is to change my passwords, too. What a pain in the ass. Oh well, might as well get to it. One of the hazards of a computerized, on-line life.

Edited 7/4/11 – Further reflection on this incident makes me wonder if someone just took a gamble on what might be a valid email address at my domain. It was a common word that would have made sense to use for that kind of email, so maybe some spammer took a chance and one of the many variations they tried actually hit home. I haven’t received any further email at that address (I am monitoring it, even though I no longer use it) so I think that may be a possibility. Lesson learned? Don’t use common words for the first part of your email address.

a hole problem

Time to get up off my ass and do something today. I’ll see how that goes. The way it’s been going lately, it will fade quickly and I’ll wind up a couch chair potato by noon. I really have to stop being so negative about myself. It’s positive reinforcement for all my negativity. It’s just so damn hard to break the cycle -.the proverbial lifting yourself up by your bootstraps. How do you dig yourself out of the hole you have dug?

Funny, just asking myself that question I visualized the answer. If I have dug a hole in the ground and it is now too deep for me to just climb out, I need to build a stairway or a ramp to get out. I need to start digging sideways. Assuming I have enough food, water, energy and time left, I could do it. Dig into the side and create a step, then dig another one, eventually creating a staircase to the top, all the while throwing the waste back into the original hole.

Perhaps that idea has more application than just getting out of a hole in the ground. The question is, do I have enough energy and time left to dig myself out, or will I wind up just a skeleton at the bottom of the hole?

dream away

I had a dream this morning. Nothing earth shattering. Just kissed a woman that I was interested in – in the dream, that is. It was no one specific from real life. Not sure how my brain can make a person up from nothing, but it did. It was nice to kiss a woman that I felt romantic about. It’s been a long time. It appears that it’s going to be a long time yet. If ever again. Dreams can sure be a kick in the head. But not, it appears, as much as life can be.

crop rotation? whazzat?

When we were studying American history way back in grade school, we learned that crop rotation was an important concept in farming. It improves the structure and fertility of the soil and can help control weeds. It sure appeared logical to me at the time, but I guess I must have misunderstood something because it is obvious that farmers around here have no need to rotate their crops. Every year it is corn, corn, corn and more corn.

It seems it was just a few years ago that at least every third year a field was switched from corn to soybeans. That’s not much of a rotation compared to what we were taught way back in the day, but at least it was something. Now I think the farmers are just trying to ride the high corn prices and farm subsidies as hard as they can, while they can, and the land be damned. After all, once the soil is crap they can sell it off to developers, if the housing market ever comes back again. Or they can keep fertilizing and spraying herbicides and pesticides until the system breaks for good.

I guess I can’t blame a farmer for trying to take advantage of the system, but I sure as hell can blame our government for meddling in the marketplace. Then again, maybe I can blame the “farmer,” seeing as how the huge corporate farm companies are the ones that receive the greatest benefit. You can bet that the federal legislators get big bucks in donations from those “farmers,” which is why you are unlikely to see a change in the system any time soon. So not only do we taxpayers pay the farm subsidies, we also pay the higher prices that result from the government’s manipulation of the marketplace. It maybe be a winning system for the farmer, but we taxpayers are losing big time.

the race begins

In the last presidential election in the U.S., I was not impressed with the field of potential Republican candidates. That could be because I am not a Republican, but I knew I was not going to be voting Democrat, as neither Clinton nor Obama were suitable candidates in my book. Unfortunately, the Republican hopeful who came to the top was McCain, who was practically as much Democrat as Republican.

The Republican candidates for the 2012 election nomination have started to raise their hands, or in some cases have pulled their hands down. So far, I have not been impressed. The truth is, I don’t want a Republican candidate; I want a libertarian candidate. No, I didn’t spell that with a capital “L” because I don’t think the Libertarian Party can win a presidential election, though I would be more than willing to vote that way if it appeared in any way possible. What I want is a Republican candidate who would be a good Libertarian Party candidate.

I know that is extremely unlikely to happen. The truth is that the libertarian position is too conservative for the Democrats and too liberal for the Republicans. The best I can hope for is to get fleas by lying down with the Republican who comes out with the most libertarian views. That candidate might not be the ideal candidate, but when you are running against Obama, the bar isn’t set very high. Still, perhaps the American public is getting tired of being told how to spend their money and live their lives. A little pushback against the system is in order. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

more birds?

Another new bird today – a couple of white-crowned sparrows showed up under the finch feeder. I haven’t seen them here before and I think I would remember them if I had, since they have rather distinctive markings.

I put my hummingbird feeder out yesterday, so I’m hoping to see a few hummers stop by sometime. It might still be a bit cool, but you never know. I had one show up two years ago, but none last year. With a concerted effort to keep the feeder in good condition perhaps I’ll be able to pull a couple in this year. My mother used to have hummingbirds at her house, and more than just one or two. There were usually a half dozen or more hanging around her feeder. I should be so lucky.

bye bye bin laden

So, Osama bin Laden is dead. No loss to humankind, so why do I feel uneasy about the exuberant celebration over his death? Emotionally, I get it. He was a terrorist and responsible for much death and human suffering. In many ways justice would demand a more horrible death than he suffered. He was a thoroughly evil man who suffered the fate he deserved. And yet, I’m still troubled.

I guess I would prefer a more understated reaction, but that’s just me. I would like a grim smile, a quiet “thank goodness that’s finally over” and an immediate return to normality. More of a “matter of fact” response, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no bleeding heart simpleton who preaches respect for all life. Some life deserves no respect and bin Laden certainly fell into that category.

I am an advocate of immediate justice. If you break into my home or you threaten to initiate deadly force against me or my family (or anyone else for that matter) I would have no problem blowing a hole through your skull (or at least I assume I wouldn’t, having never been put into that situation) and I certainly have no problem when a fellow citizen does the same. Don’t do the crime if you don’t want to suffer the consequences. Maybe I just would have liked bin Laden to have suffered the consequences much closer to the event, but you have to take what you can get. At least we didn’t give up.

Maybe I just feel like we should be “better” than the terrorist who celebrated the deaths of his victims; that we have more class and substance than that mass murderer ever did. Again, that’s just me; to each his or her own. At least there is one less cockroach in this world.