Thursday, January 27, 2011

What do you think about the address?

If you have a good internet connection, you can watch the video HERE.

If you want to only read the address, you can read it HERE

I hope all United Statesans will either read or watch it.

I did not have a good internet connection yesterday, some days are better than others here.  However, I really, really wanted to watch it rather than read it, so I pretty much spent all day getting it loaded and watched.

I found myself wishing he had shown some of that dynamic energy the last couple of State Of The Unions.  I was glad to hear some of what he wanted to do to move us forward from being mired in our past, but I felt like I was not really being leveled with as to the actual present state of the union.  For instance, he said the worst of the recession is over.  I can't see it.  I don't see how it can be over, when I have not seen our companies bringing our jobs back from overseas, or those same companies not paying proper taxes.  But he said it is over, so it is over, I guess.

I do not count Walmart hiring more part-time cashiers to ring up outsourced trash as bringing jobs back jobs.

He also, curiously enough, stated that we have clean air, clean water, and safe food.  He said we have them because of strong protective laws put into place by previous administrations.  My president, we do not have clean air, clean water, and safe food, because the wimpy laws put into place by previous administrations have been allowed to be completely trampled by corporations, by those previous administrations, AND by yours.

One thing I thought was wonderful was that even though our part in the wars is winding down (statements backed up by on-screen graphs) he was unwavering in restating our appreciation for the soldiers and families.  He flat out said they will have the benefits they have earned.  What a nice change from the ending of all our other wars, when the soldiers are no longer needed, they are no longer heeded. 

And the sour-puss faces of the high ranking military officers were just priceless when the Commander in Chief stated that people would no longer be prevented from serving the country they love, because of WHO they love.

This is not meant to be a blow by blow accounting.  Just an overall impression with some things that really stood out to me.  The president was as ever, intelligent, and used gentle humour to make many of his points, like how the high-speed train would be able to move people at times faster than flying, without the pat-downs.  Or like how we need to stop subsidizing the oil industry, it was doing just fine by itself.

All of the address was strongly yet calmly delivered, and most of it was backed up with photos, statistics, or graphs to illustrate what he was saying.  All through it he made repeated calls for us to pull together out of our factions to tackle the problems that face us.  I can only hope that we all will.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Off to listen to the State of the Union Address.

Taking a really long time to load....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is Cruelty still funny?

Empathy  Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives
Gerry and I interact with thousands of school children annually, and I think almost as many adults.  Gerry travels from place to place with his oxen at great expense to us, because that is his passion, to mix children with large animals.  I don't own the oxen, but I care for them when we are traveling together.  I also own horses, and in truth, the shar-peis are more mine than his.  We own chickens now, and a pig since last September.  We are delighted with the different personalities and affection our animals exhibit.  Honestly, I think they own us more that we own them.
But I digress, as usual.  What I started to say was we have noticed a truly disturbing trend in our dealings with the dear little school children (3rd grade through college).  They are getting mean.
Will he charge me if I hurt him?  Can I use the whip?  What happens if you use the whip on him?  Pull on his nose ring.  Will he kick me if I hit him?  How hard do you have to hit him so that it hurts? Variations of these questions now often take up the entire question and answer period.  Trust me, it is not a sometime thing, and it is on the increase.
Then there are the times that we deal with actual physical violence toward them, not just the interest in pulling the oxen's nose rings, I have seen them actually do it.  They duck past the ropes that are meant to keep public out of the resting areas, and swarm the resting animals. pull on nose ropes, poke fingers in eyes. hit my horses with sticks.  They have even hit the animals when they are working, dashing out of the crowd to strike a blow and disappear again.
And the adults, I hate to admit, are almost as bad, No, worse, when you take into account they really should know better.
Anyway, we note the increased interest in cruelty, and the decreased interest in considerating the feelings of others.  Every Spring is worse than the last Autumn.  Every Autumn is worse than the last Spring.
Why?  We are not even talking about people who get into a rage and strike out at an animal, child, or wife, or...
No, these people seem to have a fixation on harming just for the sake of causing harm, or do they even realize that nerve endings work the same in any being?  I don't know which is the scarier scenario.
Now, I know that wanting to harm, or not caring about harm, may seem a little far from my subject title today, but I think it is all connected.  Back in "the old days" boys would tie cans to a dog's tail, so it would be afraid and run.  All thought it was funny.  Or they would tie a bone with meat on it to incite other dogs to give chase, attack and kill the unfortunate pooch forced to provide the entertainment (all of you know that dogs amost have to give chase when something runs, right?) The humans found this shriekingly funny, something to take minds off of worries, stresses, boredoms, drudgeries.  Meanwhile, the dog is terrified, or torn to pieces after being terrified.
Consider the following story:
                                    Works For Me.....
A firefighter was working on the engine outside the Station, when he noticed
a little girl nearby in a little red wagon with little ladders hung off the sides and
a garden hose tightly coiled in the middle.

The girl was wearing a firefighter’s helmet.

The wagon was being pulled by her dog and her cat.

The firefighter walked over to take a closer look.

'That sure is a nice fire truck,' the firefighter said with admiration.

'Thanks,' the girl replied.
The firefighter looked a little closer.  The girl had
tied the wagon to her dog's collar and to the cat's testicles.

'Little partner,' the firefighter said, 'I don't want to tell you how to run your

rig, but if you were to tie that rope around the cat's collar, I think you could go

The little girl replied thoughtfully, 'You're probably right, but

then I wouldn't have a siren.'

2 friends (separately) sent me the above forward today. It is meant to be funny, and I am sure my friends meant well, but it did not seem funny to me.  It struck me as an excuse to express cruelty rather than something truly humourous.  And we are all culpable, not just the ones who make up the joke, but also the ones who forward it, and me to, for posting it as an example.

Empathy   Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives

I'd just like us to stop and think for a moment.  If you found it funny, ask yourself why?  If you did not, will you be more aware of other influences in your world.  If you found it neither funny, nor unfunny, or just don't give a shit at all, well, Have A Nice Day!

You tell me, Is cruelty to another still funny?  Can there be any connection here in the type of story we decide to send as an email, or the type of story we choose to watch on TV, the type of joke we tell to the men or women at the office......and cruelty in people?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Don't pay people to remain poor...

Pay them to break the poverty cycle!!!


Let's write our congressional representatives about it, Representatives and Senators both.  I'm gonna.

Electric bill and ideas

I got the electric bill today and had a shock.  It had more than doubled!  And the usage had more than doubled, so it was not just the cost going up.  I was expecting a rise because of the Christmas visits, but not double.  In our defense I must point out that it was still less than half of the same month last year.  So I have gotten more diligent again with lights being turned off, using batch baking in the oven (baking bread right after baking crackers because the oven is still hot, just getting more alert in general.  Jake (we have Jake back for a few weeks, I had not mentioned that) and Gerry are being less diligent, but they are trying!

I forgot to mention that after Christmas we went to Hobby Lobby and bought clearance white christmas lights.  The LED ones.  I hung a strand in the back room for a night passage light to get us safely to the bathroom.  And I hung a strand above our cooking area which is dark.  It is bright enough to  cook by, but Gerry still turns on the other lights too.  Sigh.  But I don't, so that is a saving.  The LEDs use 6 watts and the CFLs use 28 watts each.  So big savings there.  When Jake saw them, he shook his head and said, "I like that."

As I said, Jake is back, buckling down hard studying for his GED test.  It is scheduled for February 3.  He'll pass, and he knows it, but our goal is for him to get an excellent score, because that will be the key to future opportunity.  I have found here that many people think the GED is a pass/fail thing, but it is not!

We have some chickens now (Thanks Lane!) and are getting eggs, lovely smooth brown eggs.  And the yolks are ORANGE, so gorgeous.  Lane also sold us a chicken tractor, but I am collecting ideas for a different one to build come Spring.

I think I am tired of the weather, and am going to make myself go for a hike today.  It will do me good.  I have been outside of course, but only briefly, to check on the chickens, hang laundry, etc.  But I need to be outside in the fresh frigidity for a while. Come to think of it, I have not even been off the FARM, at all (!) since New Year's Eve, when we went to Tom and Dreama's lovely party (Thanks for having us over, you are so dear)  I will take a basket in case I find something not encased in ice that is forageable.

Gerry got a new scanner for his laptop which will help immeasurably with research, once we figure it out that is.  Both of us are technologically challenged.  It is a tiny thing, looks almost like a pen, that we are supposed to be able to just run down a page of a book to scan it.  Anyone know what I am talking about?  Gerry was swearing at his computer last night, it was a tad unpleasant, LOL.
I have also decided I want to replace my broken coffeemaker with a percolator, which we can put on the woodstove, and not have to constantly buy filters for.  I'll have to order one, because I can't find them locally, and also new, because I have been completely unable to find a used one for the 2 years I have been looking.  Don't trust the ones on Ebay to not have holes or missing parts.  So we will limp along with the coffee maker for now.

Well, I am off to do something useful and productive.  What will you do today?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hey, give something a shot, here.

Pick a project and tell us what happened!

Also, now is the time my thoughts turn to gardening and the longing only will intensify over the next 2-3 months.  I LOVE reading anything gardening, and when it promises to be FRUGAL gardening as well, cool!

Also, I found a TERRIFIC site a few days ago, and promptly got lost.  I recently came up for air and want to share with you.  Lots and lots of knowledge being spread around, helpful links posted, and they stay off of politics and religion and often seem to agree to disagree on whether DIY is best, or Support a good Product is best.

Hope your January is going well, be good to yourselves.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why we should care about Christian Environmentalism

Sharon Astyk wrote a fantastic offering several days ago, on the importance of Christian Environmentalism

Everyone should read it, whether Christian or not, Socially aware or not, Steward of Creation...or not.

We all have vision of a future, and we can all benefit by dialoging about our visions.  One trouble with us as a species is that when we only listen to those with whom we already agree (or think we should agree, even if secretly we don't)  then we start to develop a language of our own, that others don't understand.  And we don't know that others don't understand! Because everyone we hang out with, whether we hang at church, or political rallies, or on certain forums on the internet; well, they all speak and understand the same language we do.

Do yourself a favour, do your children a favour.  Give it a read with an open heart.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Direction, still Responsible Living

Gerry and I are nice people, really we are.  The proof of this I can offer is: (follow me here)

1. We live in the midst of Tea Party Land, and people know what we think.  I for one am unshy of saying my views.

2. Many, Many of the Tea Party people who would think of themselves as friends of ours, still think we like them, when we don't..  They think we will turn off our brains & espouse their hate-filled views. (we won't)

3.  Many, many of these people STILL like US.  They think we are a bit intense, and more than a little goofy, but they like us.

Only truly nice and likeable people can carry this off.

I despair, honestly I do.

Here is the clear, unvarnished truth of how Gerry and I see the Tea Party.  Once And For All.... The Tea Party is an insane tail that is wagging the dog (rest of my country)  I hate it, and what it stands for.  I hate the fact that this is what the rest of the civilized world thinks of when it thinks of the United States.  YOU DO NOT REPRESENT ME!!!!  YOU DO NOT REPRESENT ANY PART OF SANITY.  YOU ARE HATEFUL, INSANE, SELFISH, IRRATIONAL ASSHOLES.  You don't love the constitution.  I have yet to meet ONE of you who has even read the damn thing.  You say you want freedom?  HAH!  You only want the freedom to do whatever the hell you damn well please, and to hell with anyone else's rights.  The freedom to stay ignorant, say and do what you want and the freedom from responsibility for the consequences.  I hate everything you stand for.  STOP CALLING YOURSELF REAL AMERICANS, you have not earned that right.

You don't get to speak for me because you can't even think.

I think I am pissed.

And ashamed of my country's conservatives (one of which I was until recently).

And Pissed.

Let the Tea Party cut out the hate/fearmongering. Let the next thing out of your mouth be a legitimate PLAN to get your "arms around mental health" I want a REAL PLAN for health care. I want a REAL PLAN for the economy. I want a REAL PLAN for shutting down tax money hemorhaging by corporations. I want a REAL PLAN for stopping the destruction of the only planet we have to exist upon. I want a REAL PLAN in place to guarantee civil right to all citizens, ALL of us, not just the ones who look like you.
Until you Tea Party bullies come up with the REAL PLAN, I want you to shut up and let the people who are trying to make changes, do so

Did I mention Pissed?

About the title.  I have been thinking deeply about whether I was on the right tack with my blog.  I want to make a difference in the world, but will I?  How can I best do so?  What will reach people?  Will I reach people?  What is our innermost passion to share?  How best is it shared?

Should it be encouraging people to get out of debt?  Recognition that we are destroying the only life sustainging planet we know about? Fighting to let people know animals really do have the God Given (if there is a god, can't prove it by the actions of humans) right to not be tortured? 

That one is a biggie for Gerry and I, by the way.

Should we be beating our heads against a wall to get people to think of the future rather than the next 5 minutes?  Can I hope to get people to think of the next 5 minutes rather than some futuristic nonhappening science fiction Rapture?

Do we throw ourselves into a full scale fight to make people understand the dangers of companies like Monsanto, or to share my outrage that under Bush my government acquired patent co ownership of the botanical suicide gene.  How many posts will it take to explain what that even means for our whole PLANET?! 

I recently legally bought a gun.  Should we drop everything to start the drive for people to understand that the "Right to Bear Arms" means we MUST be responsible for the arms we own and bear? 

Should we abandon that passion to stand up for orphans, who desperately need homes whilst pro-lifers blithely continue to procreate rather than go through the expense and bother of adoptiing the very children they have condemned to the purgatory of State and Foster Care?  Because I'll tell you.  So far as I am concerned, no one better tell me they are "pro-lifers" if they don't want to get tackled for birthing more children than they have adopted.  I'm ready to spit nails on that one.  They want to tell me that adoption of older abused children is a valid option?  They better be adopting as many as they are birthing, or they are  "...full of sound and fury, signifying NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!"

Have I mentioned I am pissed?  Don't want that to be missed.

Deep breath.

The result of all this soul searching was, that we can't give up ANY of our passions, and so Connecting the Dots will continue to be a call, NOT to arms, but to THOUGHT.  We can only count on 1 world, live responsibly.  We can only count on 1 life, live responsibly.  NONE of us have rights unless we ALL have rights.  The right to food; water; air; freedom from torture, slaughter, and slavery.  These are rights of ALL earthdwellers, and can only be secured by thought and determination.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit!

Good Morning all!  Sorry to be so long in posting.  Really did mean to post this yesterday, but wouldn't you know, our internet was out until I was too tired to be on the computer...  Still, I should have found a way to post last week, sometime.

About the Title, when I was young I "learned" that it was good luck to say "Rabbit, Rabbit" the first thing in the morning on the first day of the month.  If you forgot and said something else before you said Rabbit Rabbit, then the next day you could still claim your luck by saying "Tibbar, Tibbar" first thing out of your mouth on the second day of the month (Tibbar is Rabbit backwards).  If you forgot the second day, then you were just, well, out of luck.  You had to wait for the next month.

Over time, I came up with all kinds of interesting strictures over this superstition for myself.  The first thing I came up with was if I could not remember if I said Rabbit Rabbit first thing, then I should not say Tibbar, Tibbar, because that would actually bring me bad luck.  The second thing was that if I could remember to say Rabbit, Rabbit first thing on the first day of the YEAR (Jan 1) then I would have super-duper luck that year. Of course, since I was trying to stay awake until past midnight, I had to figure out if I had to say Rabbit, Rabbit before I said "Happy New Year", or if I could say Rabbit, Rabbit after I went to sleep and then woke.  By the way, that was the rule I settled for, because the other way was socially embarrassing!  So morning  meant after-I-wake, not after-midnight.

Lest you are thinking that I spent WAY too much time thinking about a nonsense superstition, and then also making up even more strictures about it, I would offer the fact that I have spent the vast (outer-space type of vast) majority of my months having neither good nor bad luck, just ordinary luck, because I could not be bothered to remember to do one or the other.  Also, my mind never turns off, and some of the things it works on ARE nonsense.  But it won't shut off, and I can't be solving the world's problems ALL the time! LOL.

You are now on tenter hooks, I know, wondering if I remembered to say "Rabbit, Rabbit" in time yesterday.  I DID!!  I'll let you know about the super-duper luck thing next year.

Turning to a more serious subject, I bought something new from China on our once a month shopping trip.  I am not sorry I bought it as it will help us attain our goals of energy self sufficiency.  But I AM sorry that I could only find it from China.  It was a few boxes of on clearance LED Christmas lights, bright white colour.  I have them strung up in areas we need light.  LED lightbulbs still have not reached a reasonable price, but until they do, the Christmas light strings will do nicely.  I am looking at a string of them now draped over my cooking area, which is dark.  1 string is enough to cook with!  I have a string still bundled up but plugged in, and it is bright enough to read by if I want to. Sometimes, you just gotta love clearance, no?

By the way, they were made in China, but who do you think the company is?  Good old american company, GE.  Way to outsource, GE!   May your stockholders choke on your dividends.

And speaking further of China, and weird United Statesan decisions concerning China, How about this?  We are planning to export our coal to China!  I am slightly incensed, and completely flummoxed by this.  Is ANYONE thinking?  In what way can this POSSIBLY be good?!?!  And Australia wants to do it as well?!?!

Please understand me.  I am not anti-China.  I am not anti-Japan.  I have tremendous respect for those 2 powerhouses.  But it is the type of respect I feel watching a monster tornado sweeping toward me.  It is not a good feeling.   PLEASE, PLEASE WAKE UP UNITED STATES.  Stop watching FoxNews on your giant flat screen sleep inducing TV.  And you, Australia! Wakey, Wakey!  With your drought problems, you have MORE to lose than we do.

I see now, that I really have not been the only one believing a silly mantra can affect a future.  Others have been mantra-ing too.

My silly mantra was "Rabbit, Rabbit" 

The other silly mantra has been "Profit, "Profit!"

Profit is not all, my friends, really!