Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Movietone Newsreel and Other Stuff

Part of my morning routine is to look through the Google News Feed to see if (1) the world is still in “idiot” phase - yes, (2) make sure it hadn’t blown-up and my little rural part of the world didn’t mention it – not local high school sports so no mention, and (3) see if anything new and important (like aliens landing) had happened – nothing new no aliens from SXDF-NB1006-2.  However, I did see …….

Queen Elizabeth considered stripping Harry and Meghan of duke and duchess titles.
In early January, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they are stepping back as senior members of the royal family. The royals also revealed they plan on becoming "financially independent," which means they will no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant.  Prince Harry is worth $40 million, a sum he's accumulated from funds left in trust to him by his mother, Princess Diana, an inheritance from the Queen Mother (that reportedly included her jewels), and his former salary as a captain in the British Army.  Well, $40 million should be enough to live the life of the rich and not-so-famous but I wonder if he’ll be as happy as he hopes – remembering his Great-Grand Uncle, Edward VIII who stepped back.  He wasn’t happy with that decision after a while say historians.

When Chief Justice John Roberts issued an extraordinary admonishment of Democrats and Republicans on the first day of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, he not only reminded speakers to maintain decorum but used a seldom-uttered word -- pettifogging -- to make his point.  Merriam-Webster defines pettifogging as "worrying too much about details that are minor or not important."  You go Judge Roberts!  Good luck with keeping the pettifogging to a minimum.

Night of the Falling Iguanas: An Odd Forecast for South Florida.  And, boy doesn’t that sound like the start of (1) a 1950 horror movie or (2) a 1960 sultry semi-risqué movie.  However, The National Weather Service in Miami issued a warning for the region on Twitter on Tuesday, as well as a wind chill advisory for all of South Florida from Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.  “Don’t be surprised if you see iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s,” it cautioned.

And, finally

Oh goodie – here we go, a real life 2020 horror movie in the making - Ancient never before-seen viruses discovered locked up in Tibetan glacier.

Yesterday, my friend Donna and I stopped for lunch at The Bull Creek Café in Rosenberg.  If you’re ever looking for a place to eat – it’s nice; good food and good service.  I saw this sign on the outside wall – it made me laugh.

I belong to a couple of book services.  You fill out a list of desired catagories (Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy, etc.) and they send daily emails telling about books that are free or on sale.  I have a Kindle so they show me special buys from Amazon.  I’ve found some really good books via these services.  Like –

Maggie for Hire, a Maggie MacKay Magical Tracker Book 1 by Kate Danley.
My name is Maggie MacKay. When monsters show up in Los Angeles, my job is to haul 'em back to the dimension where they belong. It's a living. But I just got word my uncle has teamed up with the forces of darkness to ruin my life. And when I say that sucks, I'm not just referring to his squad of vampires. Everyone's gonna die if I don't find a magical object before the coming apocalypse. It is going to make the next family reunion a little awkward.

Murder One: A Colby Tate Mystery by Allen Kent
Rookie sheriff Colby Tate's first murder case draws the ex-Marine interpreter into the murky world of property disputes, family jealousy, hidden treasure, and an old woman smothered in her favorite easy chair.

Sector C by Phoenix Sullivan
A rise in stroke-like cases has CDC analyst Mike Shafer on alert. Veterinarian Donna Bailey, meanwhile, is dealing with an outbreak of her own. It looks like mad cow disease. But to be affecting so many species? Impossible. Whatever it is, it’s spreading. Fast. As state and federal agencies race to contain the growing threat, Mike and Donna’s searches for Patient Zero intersect at a big-game compound in a remote corner of North Dakota. There they find their answer buried in a secret thought extinct for 10,000 years.

Of course, things like this show up in my email too (category? Sci Fi).  I wonder, sometimes, what was the author thinking this this title?  Oh, and all the book covers show sultry, hunky, nearly naked guys.

Purchased by the Alien: A Sci-Fi Alien Romance
Savage Kiss
What a Wolf Desires
Bunny Hearts Bear

So this morning I had to drive to El Campo to see the skin doctor.  While driving there a little wrench icon popped up on my dashboard.

And, next it, a message stating “Oil Life: 15%”  Cool – car knows more than I do about oil - life? really?

I stopped on the way home and got the oil changed.

Guess that’s all I know today.

22 Jan 2020

Monday, January 20, 2020

Storytelling –

            the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment . . . . .

The Peddler of Swaffham

Once upon a time, a peddler called John Chapman lived in Swaffham, Norfolk.  Now this peddler had a dream that if he went to London Bridge, he would hear news greatly to his advantage.  Only when the dream was repeated the next night and the next, did he act on it, and packing his bag, he and his dog walked to London.

He found his way to London Bridge early one morning and stood there waiting for the promised news.  The hours passed, and eventually a shopkeeper who had been watching him just standing there gave in to his curiosity and walked across and asked if he needed help.

The peddler told him of his dream, and the shopkeeper laughed, saying that if he had believed in dreams he would be in a place called Swaffham, where ever that was, digging up gold under the apple tree of a man called Chapman, but that he didn't believe in dreams and that the peddler should go back home and carry on with his life.

The peddler thanked the man for his advice, and made his way back home.

Upon reaching home, the peddler dug under his apple tree and found a small pot filled with gold coins.  He put the coins away and cleaned the pot, finding a strange inscription.  As he couldn't understand the inscription, he put the pot on his stall and life carried on.

A few weeks later a wandering monk passed the stall and spotted the inscription on the pot.  He asked the peddler if he knew what it said, and when the peddler said no, the monk translated it for him...

'Under me doth lie, another richer far than I'

When the monk had gone, the peddler quickly dug under the apple tree again, much deeper this time, and eventually found a much larger pot again filled with gold.

Soon after, the inhabitants of Swaffham decided to rebuild the church, and were very surprised to find the peddler offering to pay for the north aisle and the tower.

Favorite Folk Tales from Around the World
Edited by Jane Yolen
Truth or Tale?
The Facts

From 1435 to 1474, the rector of St Peter and St Paul, Swaffham, compiled the 'Swaffham Black Book' which is an inventory of all the work done on the church.  The Black Book (still in the Swaffham Church library), lists all those who gave money to the church.  It shows that John Chapman, a local person and church warden, paid for the new north aisle and also gave money to the fund for the church spire in 1462, when the church was rebuilt on the site of an earlier one. He also made many other generous gifts.  Still today, on the ends of the front pew in the north aisle of the church there is a carving of a man with a pack on his back.

20 Jan 2020

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Here there be Dragons!

Today is

Appreciate A Dragon Day

Dragons have existing in the mythology of cultures from all over the world; cultures that, during early days, had no interaction with one another.  Dragons inspire us and fill us with fear at the same time.  Historically, western dragons have always been depicted as fearsome creatures to either overcome or have a kinship with, while eastern dragons were typically equated with the royalty and heavenly forces. 

In the book “The Flight of Dragons” by Peter Dickinson, he hypothesizes that the chief obstacle to admitting the past existence of dragons is the difficulty of powered flight by so large an organism.  He offers a very believable argument.

He speculates dragons had within their abdomen a dirigible-like structure in which hydrochloric acid would dissolve large amounts of excess bone, releasing massive amounts of hydrogen that, once aloft, would support the body above the ground. The dragon's wings are traced to "modifications of the ribcage" (an anatomical evolutionary path shared by the genus Draco), and the expulsion of fire from the throat, as a means of removal of excess gas. The absence of fossil evidence is traced again to the internal acids, which (in Dickinson's view) would dissolve the bones soon after death.

Works for me!

Some Dragons do exist.

Some of my favorite books are the Pern books.

 Anne McCaffrey.
May you fly with the dragons you so loved.

I want one of those little ones!

16 Jan 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

am faoilleach

This is January.  (Yiyue, Januar, Januari, Gennaio, Ianuarius, Ocak)  January is, in the Northern Hemisphere, considered the second month of WINTER and the COLDEST month of the year.  Temperatures in my part of Texas generally range from 20° to 40°F. 

Since January marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one, ancient Romans saw it as the bridge or doorway between the past and the future.  Therefore, they called this month after the ancient god Janus, the double-headed god of doors, beginnings, endings, and transitions.

The Anglo-Saxons of ancient Britian called this first month, Wulfmonath, or the month of wolves, to mark the time of the year when cold and starving wolves would scavenge towns and villages for food.

Charles the Great, better known as Charlemagne, designated January as Wintarmanoth, meaning winter or cold month.

January is National Soup Month (you eat soup when it’s cold, right?), National Staying Healthy Month (cold – illness – staying healthy), and National Hobby Month (too cold to go outside).

Today is Wednesday, January 15. 

Today is National Bagel Day.  What could be better than a nice hot bagel with your morning coffee.

Bagels have a long and highly documented history that travels from the Jewish families of Poland in the 1600s to ready-to-pop-into-your-toaster today.  And, unlike many things created nearly five-hundred years ago, bagels are remarkably unchanged.  Toppings may have evolved over time but a bagel is a constant.

Today, January 15,
at my house,
the air conditioning came on.

Now, while I’m not a fan of 20-degree temperatures, I worry that summer will start on February 1. 


15 Jan 2020

Monday, January 13, 2020

Home Again, Home

No – I didn’t fall off the edge of the world.  Didn’t go hitchhiking through the galaxy.  Didn’t forget how to turn on my computer. 

A few days after Christmas, I came down with the PLAGUE (or more likely walking pneumonia).  And I spent 5 days either sleeping or laying on the sofa reading.  Not feeling sick enough to go to a doctor and not feeling well enough to move.  Ugh.

Then, the last week in Washington, we did have a chance to get out and about.  So, here goes a short travelogue full of interesting, pretty, weird stuff . . . .

Winter in this part of WA means fog, mist, drizzle, overcast skies, chilly days, drizzle, mist, drippy rain and so forth.  It’s not really cold – temps stayed in the mid-40’s; down to high-30’s.  (Similar to here, when we actually have winter which we are not having this year.) 
Surprisingly there are hummers that hang around through the winter.  This guy and his girlfriend visited the feeders every morning.

In a past life, my brother was a bio-medical engineer.  In this current time --- he is an artist.

His medium is wood and he makes beautiful things; furniture, cabinets, boxes, and these collector items –

Nothing is made from a “kit”.  He starts with wood from the local wood store and handcrafts every part. 

 One morning we went to a Bee Club meeting (he has hives all around his property). 

Preservation Beekeeping Council -Our mission is to preserve and support the natural behavior of wild honeybees through practices that allow our bees their “bee-ness.” As bee shepherds, keepers, and stewards, we ask ourselves, “What do bees want?” and we endeavor to give them that. We encourage and celebrate swarming, natural comb building, smaller hives, and minimal intrusion. We welcome those who keep bees, who maintain pollinator gardens, and all who love bees.

It was interesting and one of the things I saw was this –

Any guesses?  It’s Propolis – a sort of bee glue - a resinous mixture that honey bees make to seal up any unwanted open spaces in the hive.  Interesting.  Did you know ? bee propolis has been used medicinally by humans since ancient times.  Its benefits include it having antimicrobial, antioxidative, anti-ulcer and anti-tumor properties.  Ya just never know what you’re likely to learn.

As we left the meeting, we saw a display of handcrafted quilt blocks.  I liked this one best.

Outstanding in its Field
Audrey Prothero

The Portland Bead Society had a display of The 2019 Margaret Scovil Bead Challenge pieces.  The goal is to create a piece based on the theme “Change” The piece must be composed of at least 50% beads, and must be wearable. 

 Janis L. VanWyhe
Ridgefield, WA
The Monarch

One day we went to the Pendleton wool mill.  There we saw raw wool

spun into thread

then woven

into fabric

Pretty interesting.

We went down to the Columbia River.  The 2nd largest river in North America, it starts in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, then flows northwest and then south into Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.  This is a River, let me tell you.  Makes our little Colorado here look a bit puny.

And then, Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jump.

13 Jan 2020