...had dinner with my aunt, uncle, and cousin--ham, baked potato, baked beans, salad, corn, with caramel pecan silk supreme pie for dessert. I was over there for about four hours, all told.
I did indeed ride the motorcycle, as planned. It looks as if today may be the last time I can ride it for a while, because they're predicting high temps in the thirties and some rain/snow/wintry mix on Monday and Tuesday.
Upon leaving their house I was tempted to ride out to Og's cave, but decided I was too tired and too chilly to do that. Besides, there's rain on the way; it's in the western half of Will County right now but it won't take long for it to get here--and behind that rain the air is much cooler than it is now. I don't relish the idea of riding home in a cold rain without waterproof clothing.
So here I am, safely ensconsed in the bunker, preparing to spend a winter night playing WoW and sneering at the morons lined up outside of stores in search of bargains.
* * *
Rapper buys expensive mushrooms, linked because the headline reads, "On Fungal Matters".
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Vox Day has an interesting post on linguistics. It's short but interesting:
Only in America does the word “frontier” mean freedom, open space and opportunity. In every other language, the word “frontier” means the opposite– border, boundary, and fear of the dangers that lurk in in the strange and the new.That's because there was such a long time where the frontier meant freedom and opportunity in this country. If you didn't like how city-fied a place was, you could pick up and head west and find open spaces with little (or no) government oversight and plenty of opportunity to do all kinds of things that could make you money.
Words mean things, and how a culture uses words (or redefines them to fit new ideas) allows an interesting insight into that culture's internal workings.
The other day I was thinking about how we call the basic biological unit the cell. A cell is a cage into which a criminal is locked, or else it's the extremely spartan work area of a monk--yet after the invention of the microscope, cell also came to mean the tiny bits that make up every living thing on the planet, just about. (And much later a "cel" was the basic unit of animation, but that's short for "cellophane" since acetate wasn't invented when animation was first being invented.)
I'm not interested enough in this stuff to want to be a linguist of any stripe, but it does get me to thinking about things.
* * *
An interesting AoSHQ post on media bias.
If You Want To Punk The Media... Call them up claiming to be a black activist, interested in hashing out whether the media has a bias against blacks. You'll find them courteous and apologetic and willing to kick the idea around, to see if it has any merit.Emphasis in original.
Now call them up claiming to be interested in a probe into whether they have an anti-conservative bias. They will be dismissive and rude.
See, no one's really offended to be accused of a flaw they don't have. They might be amused by the claim, or somewhat bothered, but it doesn't really get at them.
Accuse someone of a sin they do commit and suddenly all defensive machinery of the ego kicks in -- defensiveness, dismissiveness, derision.
Call a fat guy "Big Nose" and you'll just get an eye-roll. Call a fat guy "Fat Guy" and you'll get some angry words.
And totally true.
* * *
So, Jesse Jackson Junior has resigned. He's no longer my congresscritter. Hooray!
...I don't know who's going to run in the special election to replace him. My aunt and uncle had the news on and this story was covered, but as far as I could tell they only talked about Democrat politicians. WTF, are only Democrats allowed to run for the seat?
Oh, Jesse Jackson Jr. just won his re-election bid despite conducting it 1) under investigation and 2) under sedation and 3) under observation. So Chicago voters have that going for them.Don't blame me; I didn't vote for him. Unfortunately, enough dead people did that he won anyway.
Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin's blog also talks about it.
Yeah, another Democrat will take his place. It's the fucking south side of Chicago. Since Chicago is anus of the state, Jackson's former district is the bottom part where all the dingleberries tend to collect.
* * *
"Austerity" mainly means "higher taxes", which doesn't solve the "too much damned spending" problem that got us where we are now. Because if you raise taxes, the politicians just increase their spending to match.
The only way to fix the problem is to limit the amount they can spend, and to do that you must make it a hard-and-fast constitutional rule that the government can only spend what it takes in via taxation, that it cannot spend in deficit ad infinitum.
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Thomas Sowell on the stupidity of union babies and why it killed Hostess.
I like this:
The Twinkies bankruptcy is a classic example of costs created by labor unions that are not confined to paychecks.This is the kind of waste which the management wanted to cut; this is why the bakers' union babies went on strike. It's not about the 8% pay cut--though that was certainly a factor--but about all the stupid make-work rules.
The work rules imposed in union contracts required the company that makes Twinkies, which also makes Wonder Bread, to deliver these two products to stores in separate trucks. Moreover, truck drivers were not allowed to load either of these products into their trucks. And the people who did load Twinkies into trucks were not allowed to load Wonder Bread, and vice versa.
If Hostess could fire half their loading dock workers and implement a loading dock policy which makes an iota of sense the guys on the loading dock would have had to work for eight hours, instead of spending most of their shifts standing around drinking coffee.
Also, the thing with the trucks--if they could actually transport Twinkies and bread on the same truck--
...but no, the union babies didn't like that idea. And now they're all unemployed, so they don't have to work at all.
They got what they wanted, but it's a shame they had to take so many other non-union jobs with them.
* * *
So I went to all that trouble to clean the house, and I won't be having guests tonight.
Well, it needed cleaning, anyway, so WTF--and I'm so tired right now that it even kind of makes this a win-win situation: the house is clean and I don't have to entertain.
I don't know what my brother and sister-in-law intended to do, but as they were still at her brother's house around 5:30 PM and they both have to work tomorrow, they decided not to come down here after all. I cleaned the bunker in case they intended to come here.
Still: Lemonzen is coming here for her regular Sunday visit, and I'll be cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for her...though I'm cooking only a turkey breast rather than an entire turkey. Let's not be silly: a 12-pound bird for two people? No. The breast alone is huge (and has one of those popper dealies in it) so I don't expect there to be a dearth of food.
And as I told her this evening, to her amusement, "I'm going to brine that bitch." It ought to be quite flavorful, especially when it comes to making the gravy.
I believe I will dig out a container of chicken broth and use Mom's recipe for the mashed potatos. I'm definitely using the ricer to mash 'em, as the texture is amazingly smooth when you go to all that trouble rather than using a regular potato masher. (Also? Chicken broth instead of water for the gravy--Mom's legacy lives on!)
If I'm feeling really plucky tomorrow, I'll bake a pan of apple crisp. If not, there's still a caramel pecan silk supreme pie in the fridge. Heh.
...all told, I'm hoping Sunday's dinner will be a success. In the past two years (almost) I've learned that I'm actually a much better cook than I'd ever imagined before Mom died.
* * *
Last night I had a dream about IttyBit.
She walked past me, and I followed her out to the back yard, where I buried her. She sat next to her grave. I asked her why she'd led me there--was there something wrong with the grave?--and she closed her eyes at me, the way cats do when they trust you. I realized that no, rather than anything being wrong, she approved of the place I'd buried her.
I don't know if she was telling me she was about to move on to whatever's next, or if she was just there to tell me she was happy. Guess I'll find out; what I do know is that I haven't seen her ghost around here lately.
She was appearing in the corner of my vision a lot in the first week or two after she died, and there was one night in early November that she was pretty blatantly present, where I actually saw her run out from behind the bed the way she had so often in life. I was talking to Lemonzen on the phone when it happened, and the lights in the room were on, but I clearly saw her dash out from behind the bed, past the desk chair; she vanished when she got into direct light but I know what I saw, and it wasn't a trick of the light.
I've had pets die before, and cats are the ones who always hang around afterwards. I don't know why; it might be that there are some kind of weird spiritual pests which the ghost cats hunt. But hang around they do, in a way dogs do not; and I have never, never, ever been frightened by seeing a ghost cat even though the thought of seeing a human ghost scares the fertilizer out of me.
But the dream might have been IttyBit telling me, "Okay, I'm done here and have to go." And maybe it was something else.
* * *
...which reminds me of something else.
Sometime last September--I think it was then--I stayed over at Lemonzen's place. I woke up with her in the morning from a dream about Mom.
In the dream I was in some kind of underground concrete structure. There were several levels to the thing and I was on one of the middle ones. Mom was with me, as was someone else I don't know in real life. The structure was kind of like a building with a huge open atrium in the center, so we could walk all around the circumference, but there were no stairs up or down.
Anyway, Mom and the other person climbed onto the railing, and started to drift upward. I knew that Mom had to go; I told her, "I don't want you to go, but I know you have to."
Her reply was a warm, gentle smile; she didn't say anything but the smile spoke volumes: You're going to be fine, now; you no longer need me here and I have things I have to go do. As she drifted upward I put my hand around her ankle, just to touch her one last time; then I deliberately let her go. "Goodbye, Mom. I love you," I said, in tears.
When I woke up, I was surprised that I wasn't crying. The sun was shining through the slats of the vertical blinds, it was pleasantly warm, amazingly peaceful; and Lemonzen was laying next to me in bed, asleep.
And I realized what Mom had been saying in the dream: Here is someone I can entrust you to.
Og had a dream something like this one. And as I said in my comment, it's not the result of neurons randomly firing in your sleep. This universe is a big and complicated place, and anyone who tells you he knows everything about how it works isn't even a flimflam man; he's just deluded by his own ego.