That’s Different: Playa Edition

August was “a little damp,” in the way that Hurricane Harvey moved “a little slowly.” We got over eight inches in three weeks, the temps stayed in the 70s and 80s, and the Panhandle is still humid. Apparently this rainfall pattern agrees with the native grasses and Helianthus (aka sunflowers) because I discovered two weeks ago that there are a pot-load of native sunflowers in the section or so around the playa. And these things are thick, tens of yards thick, great sweeps of yellow and black all following the sun.

Where’s those come from?

A little thick, yes, why anything could hide…

Continue reading

“Self-Organized”

That’s what happened with the largest private airlift of relief supplies to date. https://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/Operation-Airdrop-Brings-Help-From-Above-229612-1.html

People with planes saw a need. A gent with trailers sent out word. From there it grew through volunteer labor. Not unlike the Cajun Navy and similar efforts. People forgot that they are supposed to sit and wait patiently for the government to come to assist those in need, or to assist them. Oops. Continue reading

The Cat Ate My Blog Post

Actually, I was too tired and distracted when I got home last night from working extra hours and watched some Teaching Company lectures instead of doing the blog.

Mea culpa.

And just to add, trying out several new-to-you abds exercises in a fit of wild enthusiasm is strongly recommended against. Ow. Ouch. Erk.

Hot Chili, Green Chili, Hatch Chili

Bienvenidos, Instapundit readers!

The whooshing roar of propane torches and the rattle of the roaster drum. Eye burning, mouth-watering smoke rising from parking lots, back-yards, and driveways in five states. New menu specials appear. Fall has arrived – it’s chili season!

I had what might be called one of the ultimate cultural appropriation foods this past weekend – a Hatch green chili bagel. Cheddar cheese (England) bagel (eastern Europe) with fresh-roasted Hatch green chilis (New Mexico) baked into and on top of it. Cleared my sinuses and I could feel my esophagus for about half an hour. Oh, they’re good! And only available for a few weeks every year. Continue reading

Shikari is Live!

Adventure, wild animals, lost civilizations! The story of a girl, her m-dog, her cousin, and their slightly odd uncle is now available on Kindle.

Rigi Bernardi and her cousin Tomás Prananda find ruins in the forest on Shikhari. The native species, the Staré, know nothing about the ruins, so Rigi and Tomás bring their uncle to see what he can tell them. In the process they start a chain of events that will change Shikhari forever.

Because the Staré have a secret, one that only Rigi and Tomás share. A story of a long-lost past, of fire from the sky, and the world turning inside out.

However, Rigi still must deal with a bullying brat in her classes, an overly helpful visitor from Home, and an older sister who thinks she knows just what Rigi needs to do and to wear.

Some things never change, but others? Thanks to Tomás, Rigi, the hunter Kor, and Uncle Eb, Shikhari may never be the same.

An old-school adventure inspired by Kipling, H. Rider Haggard, Peter Capstick, and others, Shikari is suitable for younger readers (ages 13 and up).

Just Price: An Old Question

Howdy, Instapunderati! Thanks for stopping by.

What is the “just price” for a good or service? That question has perplexed people ranging from poor farmers to Doctors of the Church, has led to riots and protests, and rose again with the rising prices of goods needed or desired in Texas and Florida. What is fair to charge for a necessity? And what is a necessity?

The last chapter of Of Merchant and Magic revisited the question. It has come up before, in the second chapter, when there was a dispute over the price of bread. What is bread for living (leb-bread) as compared to luxury breads (fruit and spice stuffed loaves)? “Bread’s bread,” the farmer complained, but as it turned out, the market separated plain bread-for-living from fancy treats. That scene, and the one in the last chapter, are based on actual debates from Hanseatic and English history, and other places as well. Continue reading

Housecat Update Sept. ’17

Athena T. Cat has been under the weather. A few weeks ago, I woke to find a miserable cat who had left blood-tinged puddles in various places around the house, along with stool. She already had a vet appointment scheduled for her annual shot and check up, and Dad and I worried that she might have a colon problem. It turns out she probably had a bladder stone.

Not long after she got back from the vet, she voided a great deal. And then kept leaking blood and urine. She spent the night in intensive bathroom, laying on the mat and looking pathetic. All of my readers who have passed stones are moping and wincing in sympathy, I’m sure. She went back to the vet the next day and, since white cells were found in her urine, got an antibiotic shot. Did the UTI lead to the stones, or was the UTI a byproduct of semi-blockage by stones? We don’t know and it’s a bit moot at this point.

She moped for a few more days, then perked up and all seemed well. We got her a new, stand-up water dish, which she seemed to like and make use of, and encouraged her to drink lots and lots. All seemed well.

Then she had another bout of hematuria.

She is now on bladder-stone reduction chow. Gigancat had similar problems, enough so that he was eventually, ahem, replumbed, his urinary tract shortened and straightened to allow for easier passage of anything. That worked and he had ten more years of being a pest before complications of diabetes got to him.

Bladder stones are rarer in cats than dogs, but are relatively common up here, just like kidney stones in humans.

The Occultation of the Past

So the latest folly in the history wars, at least as of 1100 CDT on Monday, comes to us from Camden, North Carolina. A piece of artwork done several years ago that depicts the presidents of the United States and the Confederate States of America was removed preemptively by school officials from a display in the high school. No one had complained yet, but just in case anyone decided to find the past offensive, the double portrait came down. History that might offend must be removed, expunged from the public eye, because of a momentary shift in the popular wind.

I disagree with Mark Steyn on some things, but not this one: https://www.steynonline.com/8060/the-totalitarianism-of-the-now

Short version: beware of anyone who wants to erase the past and start anew. They’re probably not going to succeed, and they’re not going to learn much, either. Continue reading