Friday, January 31, 2014

31 January 2014 Seeger’s hammer rings out despite Congress

Cassi Creek:  Up at 0500 today in order to be at Mountain Home VAH by 0800.  The fatal traffic accident that took place Monday was prominently centered in my plans.  Since I would be taking that road, and since the melt-freeze cycles are nearly perfect for formation of black ice on that stretch of TN 107, I wanted sufficient travel time to allow for careful driving in the pre-dawn darkness. 
          There were several patches of ice present on the road but being forewarned, I had no trouble.  Arrived at VA with time to find a good parking spot and then log in with Ophthalmology.  They promptly dilated my eyes.  I’ll let you imagine what driving home past large fields and hillsides still snow covered was like. 
          Took my hearing aids in for repair and requested a consult with audiology.  My hearing is still deteriorating. 
          A major fragment of Pete Seeger’s legacy can be found in the song, “If I had a hammer.”  The song still rings out powerfully, summoning memories of Civil Rights and Anti-war rallies and marches.  Seeger was always deeply involved, putting his body and his music into the cause.  Despite the best efforts of McCarthy and, later, the teavangelists, we will hear him where ever and whenever his memory is needed.  That’s a lot of places these days.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

30 January 2014 From the cellar

Cassi Creek:    I believe we broke the record for low temperatures last night.  We recorded a value of 0.0 °F.  The regional airport logged -6.0°F.  Both are much colder than I care to experience again. 
          The road is partially clear today but there is sufficient snow to provide melt-water black ice.  That concerns me, as I have to be at VA for a 0800 ophthalmology appointment.  Following that, I have to track down the audiometry repair people to get them to schedule an audiometry re-evaluation. 
          Currently, my hearing aids are non-functional and uncomfortable.  I need them replaced with something more comfortable.  My hearing continues to deteriorate.  This is going to be a long struggle. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

29 January 2014 nine mile skid

Cassi Creek.  My presence was required at VA this morning. 
          There was about 5 inches of newly-fallen snow when I took Loki outside.  The road was un-plowed and slick.  I allowed over an extra hour for the trip.  The main road was plowed and salted, resulting in large ribbons of slush on the sides of the road and in the center of the road. 
          About four miles into the drive, some idiot in a tractor trailer rig came barreling around a curve, taking his half of the road out of the center.  I could see the cloud of slush he was pulling along.  I flipped the wipers on, into full speed operation just as he tore past me.  The windshield was instantly covered in slush, which instantly froze to my windshield. 
          Of course, it was cold enough that the washer fluid was frozen and I was instantly reduced to seeing the road and traffic through smears on the windshield.   It didn't help matters that I was driving into the rising sun and into a black ice area where a fatality had occurred Monday morning.  It was a real relief to pull into VA and turn the Pathfinder off.  It is still covered with frozen slush. 
          Just before I left this morning I received reminder call, notifying me of an 0800 appointment Friday morning.  I’ve also got to take my hearing aids in to be worked on in the hope that they will re-evaluate the type of aid I need. 
          At least, the forecast for Friday predicts high temps above freezing, so I can find a car wash and clean the road salt and grime off the Pathfinder

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

28 January 2014   “So long, pal sure gets lonesome here
          Cassi Creek:  Pete Seeger died yesterday at age 94. 

          One of the earliest folk singers I came to hold in highest regard, he spent his life using music to make people happy, to help initiate social changes, and to point the way toward celebrating the commonality of humanity that is resident in song. 
          I don’t believe we’ll ever see his match. 
          The best way to remember Pete is by keeping his songs alive. So today, I’ve linked a few of my favorites.  (compilation of Australia program
The world is now a quieter, less caring, less concerned for others place.  He will be missed by millions who have heard his voice and joined theirs with his. 
I can only say, so long, Pete, it’s been good to know you.

Monday, January 27, 2014

27 January 2014 Coconuts are waiting for you

Play me first!

Cassi Creek:  I had to drive into Mountain Home to have blood studies drawn so that they will be available when I next see my primary care physician. 
          We had some rain early this morning.  The temperature was around 46 °F when I took Loki out at 0700.  That predicted a  sloppy drive but also predicted that the heavily-salted roads would not be icy.    
          I drove off in relative ignorance, making good speed until there were suddenly many red and blue lights flashing just ahead of my position.  The road was closed.  The two volunteer firefighters at the blockade told me that they had been told it was due to a tractor-trailer accident The section of road just ahead is always of concern; most people take it too fast.  It is curvy, over-shadowed by timber, and always suspect to me. 
          I had to reverse course, drive nearly all the way back home, and plot a different course on county roads that delayed my arrival at VA.  But it also allowed the majority of morning blood draw patients to be processed and sent upon their way. 
          After leaving VA I made two more stops in Johnson City.  Then I began my trip home.  At the TN 81-TN 107 junction, a flashing sign indicated road closure on TN107 with no truck traffic allowed.  I drove down 107 until flagged and told to detour over the river and onto county roads once again, 
          Coconuts were definitely lurking this morning.

Lyrics to Killed By A Coconut :

He just had a stress test, and he was fine
His cholesterol level was down to 209.
He saved up his money, retired to the tropic sea
There he was resting contentedly underneath a tall palm tree

When he was... killed by a coconut
Killed by a coconut
Just when things were lookin' up...
He happened to be lookin' down.

Yeah, he was... killed by a coconut (and you could be)
Killed by a coconut (that's why you never should be)
Sittin' underneath a coconut tree
When the coconut come down.

After five years of beggin' and pleadin'
She finally said yes.
They slipped into his apartment,
She slipped out of her dress.
He lit up some incense, and unplugged the phone
And was just about to enter the twilight zone

When he was... killed by a coconut (oh, what a feeling)
Killed by a coconut (it came through the ceiling)
The people upstairs were havin' a luau
And one fell through the floor.
And you'll be killed by a coconut (if you ain't protected)
Killed by a coconut (they come unexpected)
So never be lyin' in bed at night with the one that you adore.

He got the promotion, he felt great.
He took everybody in the office out to celebrate.
He ordered up pina coladas all around,
And they made a toast, he drank it down and made a gasping sound.

And he was... killed by a coconut (a great big cold one)
Killed by a coconut (he swallowed a whole one)
The young bartender was just out of school
And put the whole damn coconut in

He was... killed by a coconut (it ain't no joke)
You could be killed by a coconut (gasp and choke)
So never be drinkin' in a bar at night
Surrounded by all of your friends

He came back from Vietnam without even a scar (guy was a hero)
Started drivin' them demolition derby cars
He joined the police force
Survived a shoot out or two (uh oh, I think I see what's comin')
Now he was heathily joggin' down the avenue

When he was...
Killed by a pineapple (they were out of coconuts)
Killed by a pineapple (felt just like a coconut)
The A&P truck hit a telephone pole and fruit went flyin' everywhere
So, if there's plans you got (big, big plans you got)
Just make sure you're not just not (just make sure you're not)
Joggin' down the road on a sunny afternoon
'Cause coconuts are lurkin' out there

And you'll be...
Killed by a coconut (what a way to die now)
Killed by a coconut (everybody cry now)
Fate has a way of makin' you pay for all wrongs you do
And all the plans you got (all the plans you got)
Ain't gonna mean a lot (ain't gonna mean a lot)
When you meet up with the coconut
That's out there waitin' for you

Yeah, the plans you got - will not mean a lot
When you take a shot - that don't feel so hot
And ready or not, you come to the spot
Your coconut's waitin' for you.
(Somewhere there's a tropical fruit with your name on it)

[ These

Sunday, January 26, 2014

26 January 2014 Continuity

Cassi Creek cold, cloudy > sunny, warmer, > dark colder

Saturday, January 25, 2014

25 January 2014 Good day to be…

Cassi Creek:  It is 1155.  Since 1000, we’ve had about an inch of snow.  There are no indications that the snow will stop in the near future.  Temperatures remain in the upper 20s.  Good day to be inside.
          The shootings in Columbia MD are apparently under control.  Three are reported dead.  There have been three shootings at universities since last Monday.  It has been a good day to be off campus.  The number of gunfire injuries and deaths keeps climbing while gun lobbyists prevent any meaningful legislation and regulation.  Good day to be off campus and away from malls and other gathering sites. 
          Steady stream of birds to Gloria’s feeders.  The male cardinals stand out vividly against the background of deciduous trees and the hemlocks and pines that grow further out from the house. 
          There is a very soft quiet nature to the world outdoors today.  There is very little traffic on Cassi Road at the moment.  All things considered, It’s a good day to be here. 
          Time to service the stove and relight the fire.

Friday, January 24, 2014

24 January 2014 Cold enough to freeze…

Cassi Creek:  We logged a low of 0.1°F this morning at 0809.  I well understand that many other people experienced lower temperatures than what we recorded.  We’re impressed with your endurance and your restraint from whining about those low temperatures. 
          It seems to me that my body has become less durable than it once was.  Simply venturing out into the cold to check the mail now requires some recovery time.  I see this deterioration taking place and I’m powerless to halt or reverse it.  The medications I’m taking for Parkinson’s are having some positive effect but they have some side effects that contribute to the dosage limitations inherent in these meds. 
          The compensation for Parkinson’s secondary to Agent Orange exposure is less than it should be.  This is not a disease that will stabilize, limiting progressive symptoms and effects. 

          As with other diseases and disorders, there is a growing clamor for the nationwide legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.  The opposition from corporate pharm, from religious wing nuts, and from other opposing groups is going to make what will probably take place, an uphill, drawn out battle occurring in bits and pieces rather than a nationwide decriminalization.  The Israelis claim to have considerable success using marijuana to treat Parkinson’s.  Until this nation boots itself into the 21st century, we’ll have only poorly designed and mostly poorly regarded studies to determine if the Israelis and many illegally treated Americans, are correct.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

23 January 2014 there and back again

Briefly, hike with Mike in 21°F temperature.  Wind chill hovering around 0°F.  Off to Greeneville to pick up meds and dinner.  Back to clean out stove and light a new fire for tonight. 
          Target number for tonight is 4°F.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

22 January 2014 Take me to Siberia in the coldest weather of the wintertime

Cassi Creek:  Today’s low, so far, 9.3 °F.  We acquired our snow in several doses yesterday.  We went to bed with perhaps 0.25 inches on the ground and woke up to 2.5 – 3.0 inches of fairly powdery snow. 
          There was no newspaper delivery this morning.  The bird feeders are receiving steady traffic.  The turkeys have been here and have moved to greener pastures (or less white pastures).  Some smallish beast left tracks on the back deck around dawn. 
          The combination of slick roads, bitter cold air temperatures, and brutal wind chill in the sub-zero range has resulted in many area schools being closed for the day. 
          While these conditions are far less dangerous and persistent than actual Siberian conditions, using Siberia for comparison calls common images held by many Americans into play.  A generation ago, I could have used lower Slobovia as a comparison.  However, the days of Dogpatch are no longer frequently written about.  That’s particularly amusing on this road. 

Capp drew Lower Slobovia to represent Russia.  Dogpatch USA was initially set in the Kentucky hills. 

There is still a great deal of animosity between the U.S. and Russia despite the Cold War having ended decades ago.  The terrorist threats aimed at disrupting the Sochi Winter Games is adding to the tension.  We seem to be unable to allow the Russians to provide the security normally tasked to the host country.   While Russian security forces are often far more vicious and brutal in nature than those of Western Europe and the U.S., there is no advantage to be found in demanding that Russia take a less prominent role and allow other nations to insert ant-terrorist forces onto Russian soil. 
          These recent polar air masses have brought about a huge temperature gap between low and high values.  Should this persist into the spring and summer the storms formed along frontal boundaries may well rival those of the 2011 season. 
This Day in Weather History
Did you know that...
A Chinook wind can have a dramatic effect on local weather. On this date in 1943, the temperature at Spearfish, S.D. rose from -4 degrees to 45 degrees in just two minutes due to a strong Chinook wind. This represented the most dramatic temperature rise in world weather records. Later that day, the temperature plunged from 54 degrees to -4 degrees in just 27 minutes.
The Sochi Winter Games begin in February.  The U.S. Department of State has issued warnings against travel to Russia.  Despite that, many Americans will travel to Sochi.  It may not be the wisest thing that they can do.  Our Navy has plans to insert two warships into the Black Sea to provide stand-by presence in case some act of terrorism occurs.  The Black Sea is a small body of water surrounded by several nations which dislike the U.S. Once in the Black Sea, the only exit is too narrow, too busy, and too difficult to defend. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

21 January 2014 Bits and pieces

Cassi Creek:  The temperature at 0600 was 49 °F.  At 1625, it has dropped down to 35 °F.  The predicted low for tonight is ca. 9 °F.  Snow was featured in the forecast.  We planned our morning accordingly.
          Gloria needed lab studies drawn before her routine primary care appointment.  We drove to Greeneville for that.  Once there we had breakfast out, a rare treat for us.  Further stops included Lowes, Food City, and Gas & Go. 
          Snow pellets began falling at 1130.  The afternoon has produced a few periods of moderate snowfall. 
          Time to light the wood stove and think about dinner.

Monday, January 20, 2014

20 January 2014 Brave the storm that’s coming

Cassi Creek:  Brave the storm, indeed.  It seems that another polar vortex is about to intrude into the warmer air mass that should be providing a more normal east coast weather pattern. 
          The prediction for our area is for snow, more snow, and cold temperatures equaling or exceeding the record lows set earlier this month.  I hope that the lows don’t drop to those levels but I must note that the local NWS office in Morristown does a spectacular job of predicting what will happen and when it will occur.  I trust the accuracy of their predictions. 
          We enjoyed the weekend.  We had dinner out with another couple whom we hope to become better acquainted.  They were excellent company at dinner and at the Contra dance that followed.   
          Dinner last night was green salad topped with lobster meat from our freezer.  We bought the lobster tails when we found them in a BOGO window.  Tonight’s dinner is, as yet, an unknown. 

          I need to bring some more firewood up onto the rear deck.  Tonight won’t be too bad, however the bottom is going to fall out of the thermometer before the week is over.  We’ll need the wood stove, and that means carrying wood from out to in.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

19 January 2014 Morality, war, and the Middle East

Cassi Creek:  Yesterday’s local newspaper, which arrived today for some reason, contains a weekly column penned by Dennis Prager.  Prager, a willing shill for any right wing idiocy, makes the claim that withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan is immoral. 
          Praeger cites the inter sect war now being waged in an effort to eliminate one sect of Muslims by another set of Muslims.  The Sunni/Shia conflict has been taking place since the death of Mohammad.  The United States is neither responsible for it, nor capable of stopping it.  We could deploy our entire military to Iraq to “re-stabilize” the country’s political status with no hope of success.  Even if we were able to stop the internecine fighting, conflicts between tribes and clans would be the follow-on. 
          Afghanistan is much the same.  It has never been that stabile a country.  The British Empire, Soviet Union, and now the United States, have sacrificed troops and equipment in efforts to control conflicts in Afghanistan.  Billions of Pounds Sterling, Rubles, and Dollars have been poured into the rat hole that is Kabul.  Those same moneys have, for the most part, been shifted into Swiss accounts as insurance for the continued longevity of the “elected” national and tribal leaders who will be all to happy to leave their nation behind when the Taliban resume their quest for control of the failing state. 
          The immorality, Mr. Praeger, lies in the continued use of U.S. troops and money to prop up corrupt regimes that trade in repressive methods of government.  We need not sacrifice any more of our troops in a war against ideology and/or religion.  If Mr. Prager is so eager to maintain a military presence in this or any other region of the world, he is welcome to don the nation’s uniform and take up the role of foot soldier. 
          There is little chance of that happening.  Mr. Prager declined to fight for South Vietnam &/or the U.S. military’s mission when he had the opportunity.  He became just another Chicken Hawk, squawking his willingness to send other men and women out to fight and die while he declined to serve.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

18 January 2014 More idiocy from the Right vs. Poor

Cassi Creek:  Woke up to about 1.5 – 2 inches of rather dry snow.  Since it is forecast to remain below freezing today, this may pose some travel problems. 
          I need to scrape off the deck and steps, and then bring in more wood for the stove.  Naturally, the amount I thought would be adequate for today and tomorrow will prove to be too little by noon.
          The landline is working.  Our neighbor’s up valley was not as of nightfall yesterday.  Another of those unexplained events that leave people ready to commit acts of violence at corporate offices. 
          The GOP/teavangelists have proposed yet another attack on the poor.  Now they want photo IDs to be shown when using food stamps.  No photo, no food.  They support the rip off artists and corporate con games that led us to the economic disaster of 2008.  But they have not one bit of concern for the millions of people whose jobs, homes, and savings, vanished into offshore accounts for the ultra wealthy. 
          I try to avoid comparison that seems to mirror the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Third Reich.  But, damn!  It isn’t that much of a reach to see the impoverished punished and humiliated just because they are impoverished.  Watch for “P” armbands coming to food stores, clinics, and schools near you.

Friday, January 17, 2014

17 January 2014 Hello, Central! What’s the matter with your line?

Cassi Creek:  We have been without landline service since some time yesterday.  About 0.3 mile down valley a support cable has been broken allowing the telephone line to sag. I noticed this late last year. 
          Yesterday, when we returned from Greeneville the phone line crossing the road seemed to be much closer to the ground.  Gloria discovered that we had no phone service about 1500-1530.  We were able to use a cell phone to report the loss of service.  We also knew that an up valley neighbor had no landline service.  We tried to convey this information to Century Link.  Since they require 5 or more accounts to notify them of service problems before considering that loss to be an “outage,” we could only generate a work ticket for them to send out a service tech by 1600 today. 
          Made the morning hike with Mike and found a Century Link tech and truck about 0.3-0.4 miles down valley.  When I asked if he planned to check our complaint, he indicated that there were several complaints up stream.  We pointed him toward the sagging line, which, BTW, had somehow had been fitted with several pulleys and had been pulled up and tied off around a nearby tree.  Those pulleys were not on the line yesterday afternoon.  If the phone company had pulled them up, they would have acknowledged an outage when we called with our service outage. 
          Century Link is one of the worst phone companies I have ever had to deal with. 
          As of 1200 we still have no landline service.  We’ll insist on a refund for lost services. 
Then there is the cable bill, containing packages of bundled programming that we neither want nor watch.  I have no desire to support religious programming, sports franchise programming, shopping channels, etc. I’d be happy to make my selections and pay for only what we watch. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

16 January 2014 Read the label It’s there for a reason

Cassi Creek:
The search for sugar substitutes is an endless road for those people rendered unable to consume sugar because of disease or metabolic defect. 
          Stops along that road are plentiful but not necessarily safe for all who may visit.
          Saccharine is an old substitute that leaves behind a bitter aftertaste.  Cyclamates were discovered to cause malignancies in mice when they were fed high doses.
          Aspartame, the widely used in everything product that hides in plain sight, is for me, and many others, capable of instant incapacitation.  The slightest contact with this nasty little compound brings on an instant headache that lasts for hours.  PKU deficiency is much more common than once believed.  Aspartame is also known to cause behavioral changes in adolescents.  We let them self-medicate with gallons of aspartame and caffeine, and then diagnose them as having attention deficit disorders.  Take away their aspartame/caffeine daily overdose and they become better able to focus.
          There are other alternative compounds in use to fill in for sugar.  Among the more problematic are the alcohol sugars.  Lycasin is the primary sweetener in the Haribo sugar-free gummy bears.  This warning about side effects should be observed.  Haribo provides this warning on the package: Safety Warning: Consumption of some sugar-free candies may cause stomach discomfort and/or a laxative effect. Individual tolerance will vary. If this is the first time you’ve tried these candies, we recommend beginning with one-fourth of a serving size or less.” 
Further warnings include- From Wikipedia: Lycasin is a trade name given by Roquette for hydrogenated glucose syrup (hydrolysed starch).[1] One of the major components of Lycasin is maltitol, derived from the hydrogenation of maltose. Depending on the dextrose equivalent (DE) of the syrup used in the hydrolysis, a variety of products can be made, with the name "lycasin" normally being reserved for lycasin 80/55 (80 referring to the dry content and 55 to the dextrose equivalent). The other grades (e.g. 75/60 and 80/33) are referred to as Polysorb.[2]
Lycasin's known side effects in adults include bloating, intestinal gurgling or rumbling (borborygmi), and flatulence. Some cases of severe intestinal distress have resulted from consuming excessive quantities of foods containing Lycasin. One well-known product containing Lycasin are the Sugarless Haribo Gummy Candies [3]. Prolonged or acute diarrhea may be a sign of Lycasin poisoning and individuals should seek immediate medical help if they experience these symptoms.”

The end result of overdosing on lycasin can be dangerous as well as painful and embarrassing.  The reviews for this product on tell a tale of pain and acute GI distress of monumental nature.  Although I have had such explosive diarrhea secondary to anti-malarial drugs , and the odd intestinal bacterial and protozoan infection or infestation; and recall all too clearly the fear that my GI tract was going to hang me, I find it impossible to avoid finding these reviews overwhelmingly funny.  Humor, after all, is mostly about some form of pain or distress happening to other people. 
          Even more amusing is the list of serial consumers who chose to ignore the warnings of those who had gone before.  Read the reviews, but put away all beverages and foodstuffs before doing so.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

15 January 2014 Can’t walk you out in the morning dew

Cassi Creek:  since the earthquake and reactor disaster at Fukushima, there has been a steady stream of agencies, groups, and organizations predicting that the radiation release taking place on the Japanese coast will destroy all life on earth.  It is a true disaster.  However, going grocery shopping with a Geiger counter is not yet indicated. 

          During the Cold War there was widespread open air and underground nuclear weapons testing taking place with seemingly no regard for the populations that lived down wind of the fall out patterns created by the prevailing winds.  The airborne particles of cobalt, cesium, and other metals that competed with calcium for uptake by plants made cow’s milk a rather unhealthy component of meals. 
          About the time it became politically incorrect to detonate nuclear warheads in the open atmosphere, Bonnie Dobson penned a plaintive little song about the risk of fall out on humankind.  “Walk me out in the morning dew” had substance but far less impact than it should have had. 
          Along came The Grateful Dead, who took Dobson’s song and ran it through the Garcia-Lesh treatment, making it a thunderous anthem. 
          I’ve often seen on-line discussions in which younger Dead Heads wanted to know what the song was about.  For Boomers, particularly we older Boomers, it’s always been all too clear.  We grew up with “Duck and Cover” Conelrad, fallout shelters in municipal office buildings, and the images of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Bikini Atoll.  We recall the days when SAC bombers loaded with nuclear bombs flew around the clock on airborne alert. 
          The Gen-X and Millenials have never experienced that dark dance with invisible death.  Fukushima is their first real exposure to the genie that lurks in the blue glow of a reactor core.   They have a right to be worried.  Just how worried they should be remains to be seen.
          The link below is an impressive and frightening piece of discovery and art.  I was fairly well informed about nuclear weaponry.  I lived much of my life within 30 minutes of our nuclear missiles.  However, while I knew that tests were still taking place here and in other nations, I had no idea that we had exploded so many of these devices.  Watch the whole piece of work.  Dr. Strangelove is waiting.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

14 January 2014 “I’ve got other deals to make”

          Seems to me that any health care solution that allows health insurance companies to write any part of the legislation is, by definition, a deal with the devil. 
          Politics invites such deals by its very nature.  Combine a lust for power with greed, and far too many of us will cave in when offered an opportunity to sell a vote  in exchange for campaign funding when needed for re-election.  Others will sell votes to advance ideology.  There are very few politicians today who have not made such deals.  There are very few who will not make such deals again.

          We woke up to rain.  Currently, 1241, it is partly cloudy with brief periods of sunlight accompanied by a cool wind.  We log an outdoor temperature of 47°F.  There is a likelihood of snow tonight and tomorrow.

Monday, January 13, 2014

13 January 2014 Froze 10 feet ‘neath the ground part 2

Cassi Creek:  In an apparent window which is to contain neither wind nor rain, resumed hike with Mike. 
          We were worried about damage to our water lines and filters during the record low temperatures that occurred last week.  There has been no apparent damage that we know of to our water supply.  A combination of running the water at a low velocity, heating the filter valves and lines with incandescent bulbs controlled thermostatically, and the 18 inches of dirt and gravel that insulate the inlet line to the house, seems to have provided sufficient protection.   We are about 0.1 mile and $20,000 distant from the county water terminus.  The previous owner had a chance to hook into county water at a much lower rate when water services in the valley were expanded.  He chose not to take advantage of the opportunity.  We’ve grumbled about that every time we’ve had to deal with problems in well maintenance and replacement. 
          Today, I discovered that at least four homes down valley (including Mike’s) had their water lines freeze.  Mike had to replace a pressure reduction valve and clean up quite a lot of water.  I don’t know how much damage the other homes experienced.  From what I’ve noticed, there are many water lines not buried very deeply.  Often, when the water line from the main county source is directed from the home tap to the cross-creek user, the feed pipe is not even buried or insulated.  No wonder the water lines froze and burst.   Mike has to bring his water over the creek to get it into his home.  His water line is very well insulated.  Even with that care and attention to detail, he was inconvenienced and not very happy about the loss of evidence. 
          Today, we are looking for a backup smoke detector that we received, as a replacement for on that doesn’t work correctly.  I’d like to install it today but neither of us can recall where we misplaced it.  We’ll just have to wait for it to show up.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

12 January 2014 Doctor said, “Give ‘em jug band music”

Cassi Creek:  We logged 1.75 inches of rain in about 3.5 hours yesterday morning.  The high winds forecast for our neighborhood did not materialize here.  They were evident in North Carolina.  I’ll take the rain over the wind most any day.
          Was pleased to see John B. Sebastian on the tube this morning.  He appeared in a “Sunday Morning” piece about Martin guitars.  He’s always been one of my favorite singer/songwriters.  I like his easy-going style and his fluid use of language.  I guess, the last time I saw him perform live was in 197o or 71. 

          It is apparent that we Boomers are aging.  My face in the mirror reminds me of that every morning and evening.  But the change in appearance from the image I’ve carried around of a young Sebastian was brutally trampled by the face and voice I encountered this morning.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

11 January 2014 Watching the creek flow by

Cassi Creek:  Cassi Creek was clear, flowing at moderate velocity in a creek bed with a visible bottom.  About 0730 this morning, a line of wind and thunderstorms rolled in.  At 1118, we’ve logged 1.55 inches of rain and the creek is now muddy, high, loud, and fast.  The snow pack up valley has most probably melted and added volume to the rain-produced run-off that is now filling the creek bed.
          At this point, the predicted winds have not reached dangerous velocities in this valley.  Local weather stations are exhibiting only light winds.  This is good. 
          The gutter repairs are completed.  Now I need to track the initial installer down and suggest that he repay us for the money we had to lay out to finish and repair his work.  That is going to be fun.

Friday, January 10, 2014

10 January 2014 No Name City

Cassi Creek:  Maple Swamp Road and Cassi Road could well double for No Name City. 
          Beginning yesterday afternoon, I’ve been experiencing flashes of footage from “Paint Your Wagon.”  I’m particularly afflicted by the burial scene in the opening moments when gold is discovered in the grave of a settler being buried after a wagon crash.  Lee Marvin was perfect in the role of a besotted misfit gold miner.  Clint Eastwood played a great “partner”  Along with “The Great Escape,” “The Frisco Kid”, and “The Sand Pebbles, “ this is one of the top movies in my short list.  It’s the only musical in my short list, highly irregular as neither Marvin nor Eastwood can do more than croak along with the music. Then, neither could have most historic miners and settlers.
          Quick run into town this afternoon to pick up some weekend necessities.  Left at 1300, back by 1500.  Temperature is approaching 60° F this afternoon.  The forecast is for rain and high winds.  I can do without the winds and the rains for a while.  Brought in more firewood.  We’re burning through it this winter like never before.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

9 January 2014 A name by any other name is still a name

Cassi Creek:  Something different today.  I ran across this Slate document dealing with Ashkenazic surnames.  It is a bit lengthy but quite interesting, at least to me. 
          Waiting for the roofing and gutter company to repair and finish what the previous gutter company did poorly or left completely undone.  The 2nd crew called to say they were coming today.  There is still snow on the roof and I made them aware of that.  We were hoping to have them reseal all the vent flashing.  Obviously not an option today. 

Here’s the Slate document.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

8 January 2014 Once in a while you can get shown the light

Cassi Creek:  If the CME is large enough we may get to see some lower latitude aurora between midnight tonight and dawn tomorrow. 
I’ve seen lower latitude displays a few times in Colorado and Missouri.  The displays were mostly red in color.  It looked as if there was a huge wild fire surrounding  my location.  Amazing!  I’d really like to see the aurora at high latitudes.

From EarthSky News:
The sun produced its first X-flare of 2014 on January 7. Now space weather experts are saying we might get auroras at lower latitudes than usual on January 9. The prediction is for January 9 at midday UTC. Translate to your time zone here. Those in North America should look outside on the morning of January 9, between midnight and dawn.

STORMY SPACE WEATHER: Giant sunspot AR1944 is directly facing Earth and crackling with solar flares. Yesterday, Jan. 7th, an X1-class explosion in the sunspot's magnetic canopy hurled a CME in our direction. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Jan. 9th when the cloud is expected to arrive. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of polar geomagnetic storms.Aurora alerts: text, voice.
The X1-flare that hurled the CME toward Earth also accelerated a swarm of high-energy protons in our direction. Effects of the proton fusillade are visible in this Jan. 7th coronagraph movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO):”

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

7 January 2014 The winter was so hard and cold froze ten feet ‘neath the ground

Cassi Creek:  We recorded a low of -3°F last night.  I think that is the lowest temperature I’ve logged here.  It is certainly as low as I care to see.  The wind chill bounced up and down with the wind velocity.  Minus 20°F at one measurement.  That is sufficiently cold to get my attention. 
          The “Mad Bomber” hats we bought a couple years ago and have seldom used have been worn on every outside trip since yesterday (Monday) morning.  I find myself wishing I had bought them in leather rather than in nylon.  By Saturday, the chilly winds should be moving back into northern latitudes and we’ll be watching for thunderstorms. 
          We’re not in danger of developing a perma-frost layer in the near future.  The depth and dimension of this polar vortex event is going to fuel the fires for the climate change deniers.  The inability to separate weather from climate will send them out like missionaries to spew pseudo-science, misinformation, and full-fledged lies across talk radio and internet sites where the climate change deniers congregate in order reinforce their lack of understanding.  Going to be a busy winter for the climatologists and meteorologists.  Going to be a hard winter listening to Mike tell me each morning when we walk, how global warming is not happening.
          After a week’s worth of his misinformation and my preference to avoid trying to refute his Fox News and other right-winger sources, I may wish for the Dire Wolf to join him for a card game or two.

Monday, January 6, 2014

6 January 2014    !0 degrees and getting colder
Cassi Creek:  “Ten degrees and getting colder” refers to Boulder Dam and the difficulties of being a road musician, trying to survive both the professional and physical demands of life on the road. 
          Today, 10°F would seem like a heat wave to millions of us who reside, at least temporarily, under a large dome of Polar air that has temperatures registering in the sub-zero ranges.
          It was snowing lightly when I woke up at 0630.  It had been raining periodically, driven by gusty winds of about 25 mph when I turned off my light.  It has been snowing constantly since then.  Currently,1152, it is mixed fine, dry small flakes and larger flakes that make it easier to see that snow still fills the air. 
          Gloria’s bird feeders are mobbed.  There are no squirrels present this morning.  The turkey flock has just arrived.  I scraped the snow off steps and decks, hoping reduce the amount of snow tracked in during necessary excursion for wood, mail, etc.  I probably removed an inch of powdery snow, but the first snow had apparently produced the common frozen under layer that is hard to remove.  That effort was fruitless.  All that depth has been replaced.  Loki is demanding to be let out to chase the turkeys.  On another day, less dangerous for the wildlife, I’d let her out.  Today, the turkeys need to feed without expending energy in flight.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

5 January 2014 Three dog nights insights

Cassi Creel:  Currently (1217) overcast and 47°F.  This will give way to rain followed by freezing precipitation in some form (s).  The polar air moving in our direction will be here by midnight and this small region will join the majority of the CONUS in a meteorological deep freeze. 
          There has been and will continue to be many school closings due to the cold.  It is easy to see that most children lack the clothing for such extreme cold.  If one watches the kids getting onto and off school buses, there will be far too many who are wearing only light shirts, long shorts, and sandals or flip-flops.  They are following some fashion dictate that demands such clothing.  Parents seem to lack either the concern for the well-being of their offspring, or the authority to cause them to dress warmly.  Cost is not the major marker; these inappropriate clothes are fully as expensive as warmer clothing, if one excludes footwear. 
          The old rumors and tales about touching metal surfaces with one’s tongue will doubtlessly be tested by someone who simply has to find out for him/her self whether or not it is true.  There will likely be some who are pressured into become a temporary flagpole ornament by older, larger, and others willing to use the bodies of their classmates for personal and group amusement. 
          If three dogs are required for comfort and warmth tonight, the most comfortable disposition is probably (from one side of the bed) dog-human-dog-human – dog.  Solo sleepers may use any other combination that works for them.  As a matter of esthetics, the dogs’ heads should be at the same orientation as that of the humans. 
          If possible, get local counts on tongue and pole incidents for our future use.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

4 January 2014 We’re having a heat wave

Cassi Creek: at 1026, the temperature has increased from 13 °F to 23 °F.  We see forecast temps at 43 °F as the high for the day.  That could melt most of the ice currently on the decks and stairs.  However, the drips from the roof will leave some black ice patches, which will require caution to avoid. 
          The predictions for the coming week are grim and will likely become record lows for much of the CONUS.  We are in the queue for extreme low temperatures and wind chill.  If we log the predicted lows, it will be too cold to do the morning hike with Mike for a couple of days.  We’ve scrubbed most of last week for various reason including snow and wind chill. 
          Hauled more wood from the rack to the rear deck.  The oak is incredibly dense and heavy, hard to ignite.  We’ve found that starting it with some larger softwood pieces helps. 
          The looming storm system is going to be brutal here.  We worry about wind and the trees on our property.  In spite of that concern, we are much better off than the people in the more northern states.  Good luck to all in what is beginning to look like a Fimbul Winter. 

          Of course, this winter will feed the misinformation pool for those who choose not to believe that climate change is occurring on a global scale.  The concept of global heat balancing is somehow beyond them.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

3 January 2014 Scrape, scatter, and roll

Cassi Creek:  The winter storm brushed us rather than dumping inches of snow onto us.  We received only a thin coat of ice and a thin layer of granular snow atop the ice. 
          I scraped off the top layer this morning, and then broadcast de-icer pellets over the steps and the back deck.  The sun is playing tag with clouds so the decks fall under shadows as the clouds move overhead.  The temperature is not going to reach above freezing today.  We’ll see how much melting takes place. 
          The gutter/roofing company owner we hired to complete and repair the last company’s sloppy and larcenous work called to say that he was going to delay our work until warmer and safer conditions moved into the region.  I certainly understand that.  Working on a metal roof with icy patches is not my idea of something I would care to do.  It is a non-emergency repair.  I’m pleased he called.  Not a common practice with too many of the local workers.

          Little else of any import today.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2 January 2014 Slip Sliding Again

Winter Storm Warning!  Freezing Rain Warning!
          We’re apparently in an area of the nation that is forecast to receive lesser amounts of snowfall than the major cities of the upper Midwest and the northeast.  That doesn’t remove the weather risk here, just thins it out a bit and throws in another component.  Freezing rain has been falling off and on since about 0630.  The accumulation on the decks and stairs is sufficient to require caution to avoid falling.   There is more build up on the front steps than on the back.  I’m at loss for the explanation that provides a valid reason for that phenomenon. 
          We’re having a kitchen cabinet repaired today.  It is pulling away from the wall at the ceiling.  The potential for catastrophic separation demands repair.  Like too many things in this house, we discover installation errors when they become suddenly evident.  These are things that should have shown up during the home inspection we had performed before closing.  
          The freezing rain shifted to rain that has been mostly steady since about 1000.  As the temperature drops it is forecast to change to snow -1-8 inches total.  Winds are expected to increase to 15-25 mph gusting to 40 MPH.  Wind chill will be in the -10 -+ 5 range.  
          We bought Loki a coat to keep her somewhat more dry and warm on days like this.  She seemed to like it, realized it meant going outside.  Time to get the stove cleaned and start warming up the office. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

1 January 2014 Another year another chance

Cassi Creek:  Cold, partly cloudy, and not supposed to rain today.  The forecast for tomorrow is rain>snow.  Not at all surprising this winter. 

          The GOP’s continued thrust will be to destroy the social safety nets in an attempt to roll the workplace conditions back to the Dickensian days.  Homeless people, freezing to death, is not a rumor or an ad campaign.  It happens all too frequently.  What is most upsetting is the GOP/teavangelists’ refusal to consider caring for the homeless, unemployed, poorly fed, poorly educated members of a rapidly increasing populace; while simultaneously demanding that unwanted pregnancies be treated as punishment inflicted upon  American women who are denied ready and reasonable access to birth control education and medications. 
          It is as if they are insistent upon breeding a population of slaves who will be used and discarded. 

          Also undercutting the nation is the our auto-espionage taking place in government and corporate data mining programs.  What information isn’t stolen from us by these entities will most likely be posted of our own volition. 

Happy 2014 to us all.