Of Course it Will Freeze Now

That’s one consistent thing in the Texas Panhandle when it comes to weather. If you want a hard freeze in spring, order new plants. You don’t even have to stick them in the ground.

Yes, we’re doing the houseplant Hokie-Pokie around here again. “You bring the houseplants in/ You take the houseplants out/ You bring the houseplants in/ And you move them all about.” And re-shuffle the garage, and move garage stuff onto the porch, and make a tent for the plants you are hardening off to plant, and . . . Continue reading

Market Hysteria and the Extraordinary Madness of Crowds

I watched the financial markets on Monday and shook my head. Russia and Saudi are having a spat over oil prices. As a result of that, plus an new-to-the-population upper-respiratory virus, the markets went bonkers in a panic, dumping value. People who ought to know better were running around with their hair on fire, so to speak. Note, this is covered by the same media that got unhappy over the weekend when physicians pointed out that the influenzas A and B this year killed several thousand people, and the press didn’t go ape over that. (With apologies to primates everywhere.) Continue reading

Seasonal Preparations and COVID thoughts

So, it is getting into fire and tornado season. And there is this virus that has the news media running in circles because what they know about medicine* and population differences can be measured in pages, not volumes.

Preparing for fire season varies with your location and your sort of fire. Ours tend to be surprise, fast-moving range fires, ones you have to get away from unless you have made some very specific preparations for. Those involve landscaping, irrigation, roof-material, soffit-vents, and other things designed and installed well in advance. If you have to run, you grab people, pets, potions (medications and medical supplies), papers, and photos (if you have time). You release any livestock if you can’t load them quickly, and you don’t give the fire a head-start. So you need to have a go-bag already prepared, more or less. Continue reading

They are not Synonyms

Arrrgh. A textbook author hit my pedant button, hard enough that I snarled out loud. Fortunately, it was during my work period, so there were no witnesses.

Evangelical and fundamentalist are not synonyms. No, no, they are not, no, stop that, N. O. Evangelical Christians can follow the ideas put forth in The Fundamentals, but they don’t have to. And those who agree with the aforementioned ideas do not have to belong to the Protestant denominations frequently lumped as “Evangelical.” Continue reading

Between Safety and the Stars

When I go walking at night, interesting thoughts bubble to the surface, along with the occasional “Oh boy. What a mess.”

I was musing on over-bright headlights and safety lights (one of which has a short, and so it flashes for 30 seconds every time a car passes the house), light pollution, and the idea that if you turn on enough outdoor lights, it protects your home with an impenetrable force field that no thief can ever get through. You just buy this, or illuminate that, and you are safe forever. And the world is so dangerous that it is better to lose darkness and bleach the skies than to risk the slightest chance of, well, anything.

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The Center (of the Pipe) Cannot Hold

A re-post from a few years ago. The pipe problem has not gone away, and we shall not speak of the still on-going road work on I-40, because it is unspeakable.

It is said that civilization is in trouble when neither a man’s arguments nor his pipes can hold water. If that is true, than Amarillo is in a world of hurt, because we’ve been having water-line breaks left, right, and center since Dec 30 or so. Age, weather, and rising usage have taken their toll on the original 50+ year old pipe, with quite obvious results. Brown fountains should not appear at the end of the ally, nor rivers of muddy water gush through the gutter. When all is well, the water does not get cut off at 0300 while trucks with flashing lights trundle back and forth through the darkness. But the Panhandle has always been hard on pipes. Continue reading

Well, That Wasn’t Fun

Just before the end of Winter Break, I came down with a viral bronchitis. I don’t recommend that. I finally managed to shake it yesterday, after feeling like death on toast for most of the week, and not being able to sing anything longer than a quarter note (which makes rehearsing slow music . . . challenging.) The lack of energy got old, fast.

I know. I’m much better off than having the ‘flu (either flavor this year), or more serious complaints. I still detest being sick.

I managed to get to the gym and actually lift yesterday, but it was multi-set rounds with low reps. Bench-press, so that if something went south or I needed to cough, I could rack the weights fast. The crud managed to wait until I was doing cardio before it attacked.

At least I managed to get one short story for the next Familiars anthology written, part of “Familiar Sorrows” done, and the other short stories sketched out.