New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Mushrooms or The Veterans Administration medical care.

These are growing in my yard. In fact they are growing in everybodies yard.
I can't seem to find anything about them on the internet.
Even the old people I have talked to do not know
Even though there is a lot of farming going on at the local peasant level, in general, most people here know nothing about where they live and they think New Mexico is a foreign country. They seem only to be interested in dollar burgers, boiled craw fish and super-sizing. Pity. Food grows everywhere here.

I haven't been feeling well these last few day and I have been chalking it up to getting old but now it appears that I may have the flu. You would think that after all these years I would recognize the symptoms but not me. The word for it is "Dense" so I didn't recognize it for what it is until now. But, but I had a flu shot.  I guess they are not a sure thing.

Let me get on with the story before the drugs kick in.
I have what appears to be a Carcinoma on my nose that popped up in the last two months and started growing rapidly. It burst open and started to bleed and it will not heal so last week it was off to the VA clinic for a diagnosis. They took a picture and said "we'll be in touch".  They are very friendly. Sure enough two days later I received a call from the VA in the late great City of New Orleans with an appointment in about a month.  They were very friendly but that is not good enough. It is my understanding that these things having to do with the "C" word need to be dealt with immediately so I called my old Doc that I hadn't seen in four years. They were very friendly and got me right in. He said that since it was late in the day Friday that Monday they would call me and tell me when to visit the cutter to get my nose cut off.  If it gets too bad I'm going for the Michael Jackson nose.

I've been going to the VA now for over four years and I like them.  It's a friendly place. Did I mention they are very friendly. I feel at home there but the doctoring, other than pill pushing, is done in New Orleans.  I don't want to go there. They shoot people over there. A lot. They also invite you to get drunk and naked then arrest you for it or so I'm led to believe.

It turns out that my co-pay for my medicare insurance plan is the same for normal visits and cheaper for specialist. The insurance I have takes the medicare I pay and gives me more benefits. I go to the doc I want and they do it for 2/3's of what medicare does it for. They were taking 100 dollars or thereabouts from my social security for medicare and now they are taking $65. The list of benefits goes on and I will report them as time goes on "If I live".

When I started with the VA my prescription drugs were quite a savings for me.  It was enough that it was important but now dozens of drugstores will sell me the same thing for half what I pay the VA.  Thangs Change!
This is what I found this morning when it was time to see if this thing would start.  I cleaned it up but it still wouldn't start. Under the hood it appears it has been in a flood so I took SWMBO's (she who must be obeyed) car. This is after one week. I'll deal with this later.  I really hate cars but without one today the doctor visit would have been postponed indefinitely. I can ride my bike in the rain but not when lightning is striking the ground all around me. It makes me poop my pants.

The air in Louisiana smells mouldy everywhere now

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Old Fools Journal: To Choose To Be Ignorant is Stupid! or Do you know what you are putting into your mouth?

You are what you eat.

Is that too strong a title? Sorry I don't know how else to put it. I have buried my head in the sand for long enough I guess and the only penance I can do is admit my stupidity not to mention my lack of responsibility. Not only have I refused to pay attention to things but I have willfully covered up that I have any knowledge of those things.
It has been brought to my attention the the movie "Food Inc" is to play again on PBS. I saw it when it came out in 2008 and I thought I had properly ignored it but it has gnawed on me until I am sore. It's time to 'fess up I guess.

Here is a short little preview.

If that interest you then here is a link to the full movie on YouTube.

This Movie "Food Inc" is a real eye opener but let me warn you that if you are subject to painful paranoia don't watch it. If you easily fantasize about what "they" (insert "they of choice" here - Obama, tea party, nut jobs, religious nuts, young girls, old men, the poor, the rich, etc) are doing to you don't watch it as you will find many places to deviate into your fantasy.

While watching it this time I noted the things that have changed for me since I watched it in 2008. I find that groceries have become more expensive not because prices have gone up but because I buy locally all that I am able. Things like vegetables  nuts, meat (recent), fish or any seafood (BP has kind of put the evil eye on that) and fruit.  I don't buy bread made in Patagonia or Los Angeles as there is plenty made here.  Read the labels on the bread and you will be surprised how much of it uses diesel fuel to get to you.

I quit milk because of the growth hormones. My eggs come from local ground walking chickens and so does  my meat.

I know I'm not doing much but every little bit helps and as I practice what I preach perhaps I will get better.  I know I cannot get everything I need locally but I can at least do what I can.

Monsanto is a bad word here. Dow and Dupont went on that list during the Viet Nam business deal but I can't remember why.

Now for some locally made chili for lunch. Made in Bayou Blue by SWMBO (she who must be obeyed).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Old Fools Journal: The Galley or I need to get rid of a lot of stuff and clean up the rest

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other.Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.
~Katharine Hepburn

Kitchen, cook house, galley, mess, canteen are all names for the workshop the cook works in. This one is mine. Many a delious meal has been constructed here by others as well as myself. I can cook. I am not a chef but I can cook for one or twenty, I can make it taste good and I can do it everyday. Some of the others that have cooked here make me look like a grunting savage gnawing a bone
A clean galley is a pleasure. I finally cleaned and organized this part after months of "thinking about it". The hardest part was deciding what to remove.  So far I have only removed a Vita-mix and a small espresso machine that I haven't used in over five years. Removing the espresso machine was not easy but I expect to never use it again. Removing the hand tools however may prove impossible.
The first thing to go left months a ago when the blender in SWMBO's (she who must be obeyed) kitchen quit. I had a heavy duty romping stomping Vita-Mix I inherited from my parents hiding in a cabinet. It is huge (it is like having another person in the kitchen), it makes a noise like an outboard motor, it makes sparks when reversed and it will liquefy a concrete block. I have no idea when my parents bought it but I'm guessing at least 40 years ago. It is a magical thing that is sort of like a vacuum bottle. As a vacuum bottle keeps hot things hot and cold things cold this machine will make hot soup or ice cream. How do it know?
I have kneaded bread in it, made ice cream, made hot soup and turned things I didn't want to eat into juice. I have to admit I didn't move it far as it went into SWMBO's kitchen. I thought she would complain about it but she has actually used it. It freed up space I have not yet used.
While removing things for cleaning I found a tin of loose Earl Grey tea I didn't know I had. I've just finished a cup. How sweet it is.

There is a peculiar burning odor in the room, like explosives. the kitchen fills with smoke and the hot, sweet, ashy smell of scorched cookies. The war has begun.~Alison Lurie

Sounds like me cooking with my hot pan technique. My motto is "cooking over a low fire is for cowards and wimps". My favorite method is a cast iron skillet over a flame just below hot enough to melt the skillet.  I love the flame, the smoke and the flying sparks. The fire trucks, fire axes and all that water(?) not so much.  No curtains in the kitchen and no paper products near the stove when I cook.  If a pot holder is not charred then I have not used it yet.  SWMBO is appalled.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Be Thankful that You are not dependent on my ability to Concentrate.

Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed. ~C S Lewis
Now that congress has made itself a laughing stock around the world maybe they should heed these words. ~T Swaim

I was sitting in at my computer desk and it was pouring rain.  Let me emphasize pouring as there were no individual drops. The cloud ceiling was about 20 feet, lighting was striking all around and out my window (I'm surrounded by windows) what do I spy but a small boat rowing through the yard.  It had been stolen from one of my neighbors and was navigated by the fleas that live in the yard two of which were wearing scuba gear.
Then I woke up. Shaken, I checked my medication to see if I had double dosed. That was OK so I looked around to see if I had lucked on to something else I might not remember. Nothing there.

After pondering the idea that I was nuts I decided, as usual, that I was and it was time to do something really nuts, like go out. So I went to the village of Raceland bearing gifts for the poor and visiting my favorite thrift store's book section.  Books and being among books sooths my fevered brain. I selected seven, equaling about twenty pounds, paid my $2.95 and chatted for a while until the rain dropped to the mere drenching level then it was off to the the next village (Mathews) to buy a Vidalia onion for my bride. I also needed some magnesium to satisfy some insane desire to make white hot fire (maybe I should check my medication again).

While wandering around in the Chinaland outlet store observing the other fat people that were out in this weather I spied these good signs that utilty bikes are hitting the mainstream. I reported this phenomena back in May when I first saw some cheap bikes that were useful for something besides being toys.

I'm happy to say that those Huffy's had been sold and new stock brought in to replace them. I have seen them around town. Now these Chinese Schwinn's with the retro stamp steel racks are on display. For snobs that see these bikes as an abomination, lighten up. Most of those sold will not see a hundred miles in their lifetime and they will last that long. The tires will rot before they show wear meanwhile we have a new bike owner.

New Schwinn named bike. Not a real Schwinn as real Schwinn's were made in the USA

This single speed coaster brake Huffy has a handlebar bag, cup holder and a welded rear rack that extends for larger loads.

I kind of like this black one but I already have a real Schwinn besides I only ride step through frames.

As for the magnesium I found some. Back many years ago (54) I was an apprentice  printer at the El Paso Times. That was back in the olden times when printers actually set type. Our page forms that were the size of a newspaper page were made of magnesium. Shaving off a litte pile and lighting it was frowned upon but we did it anyway. I wonder if Benjamin Franklin did that when he was a printer.
This is a modern flint and steel. It has a steel wheel operated by the thumb lever that rotates against a flint making sparks much like a cigarette lighter. The flints are the kind you put in a Zippo lighter. I've been using this one to light my propane stoves for over 35 years.
This is a block of magnesium.  The shiny part at the bottom is where I took some shavings.
The shavings are piled on the bottom of a wet paper plate.
Nice huh?  Now maybe I'll find something constructive to do.
On the other hand maybe I'll read some more.  I read until I was nearly blind last night but I seem to have recovered.  Some of these I have read before but a good book I will read over after a little time has passed in order to visit with friends I made when I read it first. I am rereading Michener's epic novels simply because there is nothing else like them and I can get completely lost in them.  This is the first time for "Poland" I think.
Although I have seen the movie "The Wizard of Oz" too many times to count I have never read the book. I think it's about time.  The movie came out in my birth year.
"The Watch" has a bicycle on the cover and the first page captured me. "Thoreau" is something I'll read a little of from time to time for inspiration.
"Dragonworld"? What can I say? I love dragons. Good ones, bad ones, fat ones and green ones I love them all and want to be a Dragonrider.  Besides this book is chock full of fantastic line drawings of little people, air ships, boats, wise old talking trees and dragons. What could be wrong with that?
Carl Sagan's "Contact" is a masterpiece and I want to go there again.  "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" I read when I was young then again when I was in my forties. Entirely different meanings the second time. I read them again in my sixties and found yet again that the book had changed. I expect it to be different this time around as well. Maybe it's me that changes and not the book. In any event it is magic.

When I first heard of the "Tea Party" being a grammer school graduate I immediately thought of the "Boston Tea Party" which was done by a bunch of white men that tried to pin it on Native Americans. It turns out they meant the "Mad Hatters Tea Party". ~ T Swaim

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Old Fools Journal: I Guess the Rain is NOT Over.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.  -Helen Keller

A visit to the Veterans Administration Triage today turned into this
I came here from the desert for this and I am not complaining.
I wish I could direct some of this to my friends in the real drought but I guess we get what we get.
Shade also grows out of the ground here you don't have to build it.
Only yesterday we had these. There are two in this photo. One is very light above the mocking bird.  Sorry about the power lines but they are the scourge of the white man.
That mockingbird is a real hard ass. Attacks cats. Big ones.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Hitchhiker

Fill your mind with compassion
                                - Buddhist Quotes & Sayings

I had a hitchhiker today. One with a nice green complexion, sexy eyes and very young.

Photos taken with a cheap phone camera

I was going along minding my own business exercising my horseless carriage and I felt the tickling on my leg. Ever since the unfortunate event involving the scorpion when I was younger I have made it a habit to look before scratching or swatting.

I'm not actually driving nekked here. Look closely and you can see I have on flip flops.
This young lady (had to be a girl, look at those eyes) watched me intently with patience.  I refrained from scratching until I came upon a church yard with abundant bushes that looked like a paradise of bugs for these carnivorous creatures.

It was a nice encounter.

Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds 
                                                             - Buddhist Quotes & Sayings

Monday, July 18, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Quack, Quack. That's duck for rain.

What we think, we become.

I went off to the store to get a few things thinking that since it had been raining for a week and since I was tired of it then it was over. Not!
I love those folding baskets.

After I was loaded I noticed a little water in the parking lot and the solid down pour that was occurring.
It didn't look too bad so I set off. I hadn't gone 20 feet until I met the deluge.
I had looked up but it didn't look that bad. It poured until I was riding through ankle deep water on the roadway. My wheels and fenders turned into a pump moving many gallons of water.
It is still raining today starting at about five AM.  Everything that leaks is leaking.  Fortunately some things leak out as fast as leak in. Living on a boat for all those years has conditioned me to accept it beside I don't melt.

It's a cool 75 degrees in sprinkles as I write this and I have just had nearly a half pound of SWMBO's (she who must be obeyed) homemade macaroni and cheese for lunch.  It's the real thing.  When I have it leftover for lunch like today I have to bring it into the bus to fix it.  You see I like it fried in a hot skillet until the room is smoked up  and the bottom is black. That causes a lot of one sided conversation in the house sprinkled with snide smart aleck remarks and swearing. I then mix it, add cayenne and parmesan cheese only this time I skipped the cayenne as she had added an adequate amount. I am sufficiently full now, my cave is sufficiently smokey and with the resonating Celtic drums in the background I am nearly ready for a nap.  This is as civilized as I want to be.

Why you may ask would I be so foolish as to go out in inclement weather. A very good reason I would answer. We were about to be out of  toilet paper.  We take it for granted until it's gone. When I stocked my boat for a Pacific passage I was once asked why I had so much T.P.  I ask that person in exchange which they would rather have a thousand miles at sea, a stack of twenty dollar bills or toilet paper.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Old Fools Journal: misc,

This is a Serrano chili and it is the most perfect chili I have ever grown. It is flawless, however, I have not seen inside it yet.  I have used several of the green ones already and they are hot. In salsa they tone down and their flavor is good. I have Serrano and Jalapeno that are coming along very well.The Chili Verde (sometimes called Anaheim) didn't make it but I'll try again next year. I do love them.

I had no luck with bell peppers I'm sorry to say but I didn't really try hard.I want to grow bells with Serrano to see if they will cross pollinate and make the bells hot. I have heard that they will.

Grandma's grapes.  We didn't get much this year and what we did get was shared with the birds. They watch them closely. There were more, this is just an example.  We don't know what they are.  They are nothing like last years crop.  Last year they were mostly seeds inside but delicious. This year there are no seeds and they are super sweet. They are also gone.
While riding to the store I stopped to get a picture of our pedestrian and bike path. Notice how the vehicles hug the center line. They tend to do that when a camera is aimed at them otherwise not so much.
This is not a local truck as locals give you no slack.
Notice that the gentleman walking ahead of me is giving the traffic lane a wide birth. Obviously he knows how things go here.
The tree trimmers were out.  A couple of non-English speaking guys (Mexicans) with saws.  They were so spooked by the old guy with the camera that they left.  They returned a few days later and this time they brought a supervisor/interpreter with them.
There is plenty of work if you have a green card, work cheap, long hours and can pass a pee test (one time). This is a 'right to work' state which means they have the right to fire you if you won't work 16 hour days for minimum wage. Plenty of people with green cards takes care of that.
We had a bike rack traffic jam at the local grocery store. Not much of a rack. I keep crossing tracks with this bicycle and trailer. I haven't met the guy yet but I see him around a lot. That's my trusty steed on the right.

Now here is a little kitty porn  to undate you on the kittens that were forcibly early weaned.
They are still confined to a box in the house at night as they are resisting any kind of house training but I'm betting that SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) wins.  They have learned the meaning of no and pay special attention to the flyswatter.
Never mind the upturned chairs, they like it that way along with anything else they can turn over.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Even Here In Shitsville We Have Sunsets or If I Have This Why Should I Worry.

Why do I have the impression that the Republicans want to eliminate the old unmoneyed (poor) people and the Democrats do not care? ~Tom Swaim

It was far more beautiful than this.

The sky is not political.

My trash is obscured. There is only beauty.

Then there is the finale.  You don't have to believe in god to believe in this.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Darwin

If we are going to teach creation science as an alternative to evolution, then we should also teach the stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction.”Judith Hayes

Creation of Adam ~Michelangelo

I often make jokes about "The Darwin Award" and I have read much about the man Darwin himself.  Historically I think he was most significant and I have marveled at how he had the courage to see the world more as it is and less as religious leaders would like you to believe it is. I have just watched a movie that rounded up what I had read (studied) before but this movie added a new element that I had not thought much about and that element is how tortured he must have been. He was not the only one that believed in evolution but he was the one who documented it. He went against all his prior teachings, popular beliefs and most of all his wife's beliefs.  He was married to his first cousin with which he had ten children and they were very much in love and lust. He had to go against her beliefs to publish his work and she had to go against her own beliefs to inable him as he would not do it without her and that proves to me a love story that bears telling.  The work nearly killed him. His pain was greatly magnified when his oldest daughter, who was following in his footsteps, passed. He was aware that breeding that close in a family was a double edged sword and could improve the breed or make it worse.  When his daughter died I am sure he blamed his union with his wife but their bond was so very strong and they endured. The turmoil had to have been extremely painful.

What brought these thoughts on was a movie called "Creation" that I have just watched.  It moved me deeply and yes I cried. I am not only an Old fool but a wimpy oldfool too.

I don't usually do book or movie reports but this one aroused enough emotions inside this old bag of watery guts to cause pain.
Creation the movie

There are many that think this subject is just old stuff long settled and forgotten.  I think it is not as I believe that there are many that would burn you at the stake, stone you to death or hack off your head for these thoughts if they thought they could get away with it. Many would do that even if they knew they couldn't get away with it. We are far from being civilized.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Old Fools Journal: Declaration of Independence Day

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I take this document seriously but I know that most people don't.  The part about "all men" is ignored and not believed by most Americans. "All" does not designate all white men, all american men, all christian men or all any kind of men. It just says all men.  I believe they meant men to mean humans. Not just those with a penis.

The constitution which is the Law of the Land was written to protect those rights for all men. It has been subverted to the protection of all white males within the United States who are heterosexual, christian, have many possessions (money) and/or know somebody.

The dictionary says all means
The whole number of (used in referring to individuals or particulars, taken collectively): as in all students.

That is pretty clear but I find few that believe it or practice it.  Especially the government which is us.

Happy fire cracker day. That and a day to wave flags is what it has become.  The concept that we do not need a king is lost.

By the way "a king" is included in "all men".