Monday, April 28, 2014

28 April 2014 Hear the wind blow

Cassi Creek:  three years ago we were sitting here in the heat and humidity, happy that we had been fortunate to be missed by the tornadoes that ripped a path just to our north.  We could hear them but could not see them in the thunder storm that spawned and directed them. 
          The NWS Severe Storms Prediction center publishes convection forecasts that indicate the degree of risk and the location of risk for severe storms.  Most of the time we are lucky to be on the outside edge of the more serious storms.  Today, tornado watch 110 has us right in the middle of the box. 
          The high temperature today has been around 87°F.  The muggy, oppressive feeling that we associate with tornadic storms has been evident.  We’re about to see the first wave of storms roll in. 

          The forecast also calls for high winds, hail, and heavy rains producing flash flooding.  Spring is definitely here. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

24 April 2014 Up the long ladders and down the steep slopes!

Cassi Creek:  Warm, dry, and lacking in Sherpas

Hillary must be spinning about now.  Once upon a time, climbers actually carried some of their own gear, found and forced their own routes, and regarded Sherpas as climbing partners rather than beasts of burden and delivery services. 

There are plenty more minimum wage workers where the last batch came from. 

25 April 2014  Still down the steep slopes 

When will we ever learn?  over-sized implants do not increase intelligence or protect from idiocy

Hike with Mike began as walk in the rain.  The day promises to be wet and windy.  Need to have the Pathfinder lubed and oiled.  Also need new wipers.  The driver’s side wiper is horribly ineffective, leaving an obscured visual field. 
          The rain let up about ¼ of the way through the hike.  Instead of drizzle, I spent the morning listening to drivel about it being illegal for the U.S. government to own land.  I guess those “all powerful states” just popped into existence, fully formed, bordered, and populated after the various land purchases and annexations. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

22 April 2014 The annual eastern nation hunt

This cartoon stands by itself.

Hike with Mike this morning was touched with a bit of rain.  1st drops hit about half way down valley.  The rest of the hike was more or less rainy.  The dog seemed not to mind it.  It’s been raining as small cells slide by, dropping small amounts of rain.  The forecast called for rain.  It has been here. 
          Need to get a new battery for the riding mower.  That’s on tap for this afternoon. 


Monday, April 21, 2014

21 April 2014 Shorten it up in back and trim the sides

Cassi Creek:  Spring is fully engaged in this region.  Pollen coats most surfaces and fills the air.  Allergies are causing discomfort for many residents.  You can hear the sniffing every where you go.
          The riding mower needs a new battery in order to be used.  I’ll get that this week.  The walk behind mower is functional.  The string trimmer, now 5 years old, has steadfastly refused to start.  I’ve fed it fresh gasoline/oil, cleaned its spark plug, and exercised its recoil starter dutifully.  The trimmer, a heavy-duty model purchased to attack Japanese knotweed, has sneered at me for the better part of a week. 
          Yesterday I bought two gallons of new gasoline and prepped yet another fuel mix for the trimmer’s two-cycle motor.  Pulling the starter cord until both shoulders were non-functional, left me annoyed and hurting.  I left the trimmer outside last night, thinking that I would take it in for service today or tomorrow. 
          Google searches and phone calls led to the sad realization that the dealers for that brand have quit the area.  There is one dealer listed at a close enough proximity to consider using.  They were not answering their phone. 
          There are several back yard small engine shops in the vicinity.  None of them are factory stores.  That means that any and all parts will have to be ordered when and if someone gets around to it.  The local repair companies have not been particularly awe inspiring.  The last parts I ordered from a warrantee shop took 3 weeks to arrive.  Compounding that delay, they were not the correct parts. 

          This morning, I decided to visit futility once more.  After ten or twelve pulls, the engine coughed, caught, and then died.  More pulls > more coughs > more engine noise > shutdown.  And finally, the engine caught and continued to growl, sputter, and work.  I trimmed a bit of green stuff and stopped the engine.  Tomorrow I will undertake the necessary trimming.   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

17 April 2014 Sounds like Ukraine

Cassi Creek: 

There is evil in the world today that should have died.  Anti-Semitism still flourishes in Eastern Europe.  Jews have been told to separate their selves from the non-Jewish populace, to register their property, and to prepare for deportation. 
          The murders in Kansas demonstrate how little the Holocaust actually caused change in behavior, learning, and action. 

The history of one Shtetl  - it is estimated that 10,000 Jews were killed at this single location.

I ought to tell…
(Memoirs of the Former Prisoner of the Polonnoye Jewish ghetto)
By Maria Moiseyevna Tribun
Translated by Irina Kaplan and Evelyn Mintzer
The mass “pogroms” and the shootings of the Jews took place during the first week of September 1941. The Jews were hunted down, loaded on trucks, taken to the woods by a railway station and shot. Small children were simply thrown alive into a ditch. The Jews, before they were killed, were stripped naked; gold teeth were removed from their mouths. German soldiers carried out these executions with their local accomplices called “politsai”.
In October-November all the Jews of Polonnoye, Poninka, Novolabun, Bereznya, Vorobievka and Kotelyanka that were still alive, were summoned into a ghetto located in the barracks of a granite quarry on Berezovskaya Street. My infant son, my parents, my brother and sister and myself were among these Jews. We lived in the barracks, slept on the concrete floor and on the shared bunks; there was no heat, the food was sparse. There were over 1,000 people. Some local residents who lived nearby, and our friends from the city and the townships, took pity of us and tried to help as much as they could by bringing potatoes, beets and bread so we wouldn’t starve to death. This existence lasted for months. Some Jews were swollen from starvation. Nobody could leave the ghetto; on the way to work we were guarded by “politsai”. All ghetto inhabitants were ordered to wear a special symbol on their clothes: yellow circles in the front and back, plus white armbands with the Star of David. Those, who were found guilty of even the smallest misdeed, were subjected to corporal punishments, or even shot to death. All ghetto inhabitants were supposed to be present when the corporal punishments were administered. Often we were forced to go to the Jewish Cemetery and destroy the gravestones on the graves of our own loved ones.
Once a stone fell on one young woman’s foot and smashed her toes. She made an attempt to step aside so she could wash her wound and apply a bandage. A guard accused the girl of escaping, and while her father and others watched in horror, the guard shot the girl.
There were plagues like typhus, because the ghetto was overcrowded, and nutritious food was not available.
On June 25, 1942, the ghetto was surrounded by the fascist executioners, who arrived from the city of Shepetovka. The executioners selected from our midst 15 young men and women who would be sent to the Shepetovka ghetto. The rest of the women, old people and children were shot to death.
Among those victims were my parents, my brother and my infant son. By that time I managed to escape from the ghetto and made it to the village of Kotelyanka. There the family of Radion Yanyuk, whom I knew from before, hid me and my sister Evgeniya, who had escaped from the Shepetovka ghetto. Radion and his wife Yevdokiya did all they could to save my sister and me from death.
They subjected themselves to a great risk. If we were found, not only us, but Radion and Yevdokiya too, would be severely punished.
Now I bow before those brave people. They hid me until the village was liberated by the Soviet Army troops in January of 1944.
My sister Evgeniya by the end of 1943 joined a guerrilla detachment”

Greater numbers of Jews were killed in the ravine Babi Yar.  These images are not for the weak stomached.  But if we let the current crop of Jew haters spread their particular brand of evil, there will be more killings like these.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

15 April 2014 Snow for Pesach

Cassi Creek:  Just one plague, snow, would have brought the Egyptians to their knees.  There was no need for all the metaphysical energy expended to bring about the historic plagues.  Just a good snow, lasting a day or three would have been enough.
          Today, we are watching rain change to snow while falling onto the brilliant redbuds, dogwoods, and rapidly greening trees and grasses.  Gloria’s lilac bush, planted the first year we were here, provided a multitude of flowers this year.  We’re hoping that they survive the cold snap and winds that are descending upon us. 
          Short ribs braised with mushrooms will be dinner tonight. 


Sunday, April 13, 2014

13 April 2014 Also in yesterday’s mail

Cassi Creek:  Thursday brought the newest PWS hardware in my chain of tools.  Friday brought the fun and frustration that ensued when I took down the old hardware and software so that I could install the new hardware.  The new software had to be downloaded and installed.  There were no users guides provided for the software.  It wasn’t operational until mid Saturday.  The  problem, the major problem at least, stems from my intent to keep uploading data to Weather Underground. 
          In other directions, Gloria and I now possess lifetime restricted fishing/hunting licenses.  As in Oz, we received these by virtue of our current age, our residence in TN, and our ability to pay $11.00 each for the license.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

10 April 2014 Weather station rev 4

Cassi Creek :  the latest pws hardware arrived today.  The challenge, now, is to bring it into operation while selecting the best possible location that allows a line of sight wireless data collection.
          I’ve uploaded data to Weather Underground for the last five years.  This hardware is intended to upload to “acu-write.”  Supposedly, there is a work around that will allow me to continue as before. 
          I’m hoping that I can utilize the current station’s mounting pole as a means of attaching and mounting the new hardware.  The aluminum upright that holds the current hardware has developed a decided bend in the middle.  I may be able to remove a bit of that. 
          Gloria is happily planting flowers and vegetables in the new beds that border the pool and other areas that were developed by the landscapers.
          Tomorrow I’ll begin bringing up the new station.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

9 April 2014 Blow away

Cassi Creek:         The high winds predicted for Sun-Mon of this week arrived about 6 hours later than expected.  We clocked sustained winds of 15 MPH and gust to 25.  Fortunately, we sustained no wind damage. 
          However, yesterday’s trip into Johnson City, and today’s as well, required serious attention to the winds coming over the divide and pouring out of canyons across the East-West highways.
          Had two old fillings replaced today.  The procedure was done quickly and I was home 2.5 hours after leaving this morning.
          Fried/sautéed apples and pecan crusted pork chops for dinner

Saturday, April 5, 2014

5 April 2014 From the banks of the Volga

Cassi Creek:  I noticed this morning that the Japanese knotweed has resumed it’s  annual surge upward and outward.  This is a truly noxious weed, nearly impossible to obliterate.  Over the years I’ve used chemical agents, fire, uprooting, and invective.  Only repeated attacks with a string trimmer seem to have any lasting effect.  Even that is, at best, temporary.  The weed emerges from being pulped within 48 hours or so 
          It is like trying to remove bamboo from property.  I’d like to talk to the idiot that imported this.  Only kudzu is more noxious in this region of the U.S.
          I’ve been following a thread on medical lab humor.  That led to the nature of medical humor in general.  “Black”
          That led to a search for this little gem I’ve known for years and years.  The added graphics really go well with the lyric.  This is not for the faint of heart or easily offended.

The Birthday Dirge

AKA "The Mongolian Birthday Chant" and "The SCA Birthday Song" 
Tune of : "Volga Boatmen"

Death and gloom and black despair
People dying everywhere

                Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)

Death, destruction, and despair
People dying everywhere.

Now you are the age you are
Your demise cannot be far

Fear and gloom and darkness but
No one found out YOU KNOW WHAT

May the candles on your cake
Burn like cities in your wake

You're a period cook, it's true
Ask the beetles in the stew

Burn the Castle and storm the keep
Kill the Women but SAVE THE SHEEP!

Now your jail-bait days are done
Let's go out and have some fun!

May your deeds with sheep and yaks
Equal those with sword and axe

You must marry very soon
Baby's due the next full moon

Your servants steal, your wife's untrue
Your children plot to murder you

Were I sitting in your shoes
I'd go out and sing the blues

They stole your gold, your sword, your house
They stole your sheep, but not your spouse

Tho' you're turning 29
Age to you is like fine wine

So you're 29 again
Don't tell lies to your good friend

Now you've lived another year
Age to you is like stale beer

So another year has passed
Don't look now they're gaining fast!

So you've aged another year
Now you know that Death is near.

Long ago your hair turned grey
Now it's falling out, they say

Black Death has just struck your town
You yourself feel quite run-down

It's your birthday never fear
You'll be dead this time next year

We brought linen, white as cloud
Now we'll sit and sew your shroud!

See the wrinkles on your face
Like the pattern of fine lace

So far death you have bypassed
Don't look back it's gaining fast

Indigestion's what you get
From the enemies that you 'et

I'm a leper, can't you see
Get your birthday kiss from me.

Burn, then rape by firelight
Add -romance- to life tonight.

Pay attention, you must learn
First you pillage, THEN you burn.

Children dying far and near
They say that cancer's caused by beer.

Children dying everywhere
Women crying in despair.

Typhoid, plague and polio
Coffins lined up in a row.

Long ago your hair turned gray
Now it's falling out, they say.

Birthdays come but once a year
Marking time as Death draws near.

May the children in the street
Be your barbecuing meat.

We, your friends will never tell
That your body has gone to hell.

At your age most folks go blind
You've kept your sight, but lost your mind.

While you eat your birthday stew
We will loot the town for you

We love children, yes we do
Boiled or baked or in a stew.

When you've reached this age you know
That the mind is first to go.

If there be verses we have missed
You can add them to the list.

I pray you pass your verse along
And thus improve our merry song.

Friday, April 4, 2014

4 April 2014 Wade in the water

Cassi Creek:
          The new water heater was installed today.  None too soon.  As the plumber tried to remove the old one part of it crumbled, releasing water onto the closet floor. We are quite fortunate that the old unit hadn’t picked a different time to die. 
          The new unit is installed, properly adjusted, and much more accessible than the 13 year old hulk that is no longer a threat. 
          The predicted thunderstorms have arrived and more may be on the way.  Not a great night to attend Music on the Square.  So we will probably stay in. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

3 April 2014 Before there was Jello

Cassi Creek: 
There is a lot of grief in today’s news.  The SCOTUS has just lifted any cap on political contributions by individuals. That, tied to the fiction that corporations are human and individuals, pretty much does away with our democratic republic.  Just a matter of time.   

The news out of Fort Hood is disturbing.  The 2nd amendment fanatics are already trumpeting, “If they’d been armed…”  The military has long known that people who have immediate access to firearms will often turn to them as means of settling scores, real or imagined.  Troops are issued weapons but those weapons are secured and locked away until there is an operational need for them. 
          The increasing incidence of PTSD and other mental disorders affecting our troops and veterans is going to lead to a higher incidence of gun violence on and off post.
          We have to find mechanisms to improve mental health care for our armed forces and to limit access to firearms by mentally unstable individuals.

          In an effort to offset the heavy and unwelcome items mentioned above, I offer a bit of historical comedy by one of our best comedians, actors, and social commentators.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 2014 Tell you where the four winds dwell


Cassi Creek:  Today is warm, partly cloudy, and another step closer to the point of no return, when global climate change proves that we are not going to like the effects of rising sea levels, oceanic warming and current shifts, and widespread drought with crop failures.
          The number, intensity, and frequency of severe storms is expected to increase worldwide.  We are already logging an increase in tornadic storms occurring in locations that have rarely, if ever, seen them. 
          California’s current drought is going to demonstrate that overpopulation will generate demands on the sources of water available that will not support combined demands for industry, agriculture, and drinking.  We’ve allowed ourselves to forget that the western half of North America is technically a desert.  Irrigation farming on desert lands is depleting the aquifers of much of the Mississippi Valley. 

          The GOP/teavangelists continue to trumpet their disbelief that climate change, driven partially by human presence on the planet, is taking place.  Their refusal to acknowledge science-based conclusions that contest with their religious indoctrination is not only making us look ridiculous in the eyes of the developed nations, it is pushing us into global disaster at a dangerous rate.