Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Feed-In Tariff

So we develop the science of solar collection technology here in the USA, but let Japan, Germany, and China surpass us in research and production. Is all American business destined to ship their manufacturing to other countries where labor costs will (probably always) be lower than here in the States?

A few snips from a recent
Dan Rather Reports on HDNet.

Power from the People
Episode Number: 417 - Available on iTunes
Synopsis: Germany is moving quickly to develop alternative energy, allowing individual homes to sell excess power to electric companies. Also, Abu Dhabi goes green and an icon of the environmental movement, Denis Hayes.


RATHER (VOICE OVER)

FREIBURG (GERMANY) TODAY ACTUALLY PRODUCES MORE ELECTRICITY THAN IT CONSUMES – ALL FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES. THIS HAS HELPED REVIVE A REGION ONCE DEPENDENT ON ITS AGING FARMERS AND FORESTERS.

THE GROWTH IN ALTERNATIVE ENERGY HERE AND TOWNS ACROSS GERMANY IS A RESULT OF A GROUNDBREAKING POLICY, ADOPTED IN BERLIN THAT REQUIRES ELECTRIC COMPANIES TO BUY RENEWABLE ENERGY FROM ANY PROVIDER. THIS MEANS ANYONE WITH A SOLAR
PANEL CAN SELL THE ENERGY THEY PRODUCE AT A PROFIT. IT’S CALLED A FEED-IN TARIFF, AND THE IDEA CAME FROM GERMAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER HERMAN SCHEER…

THE FEED-IN TARIFF IS NOT FUNDED WITH ANY TAX DOLLARS. THE COSTS ARE DISTRIBUTED ACROSS ALL THE ELECTRICITY BILLS OF THE COUNTRY, AND THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD PAYS JUST UNDER TWO DOLLARS A MONTH TO SUPPORT THE PROGRAM.

SCHEER

And people accept that totally -it is popular. Because people accept that more than paying taxes. Because they know this additional money is given for green energy and for new jobs.

RATHER (VOICE OVER)

GERMANY SET OUT TO HAVE 14% OF ITS ENERGY GENERATED BY RENEWABLE SOURCES BY 2010. THEY ACHIEVED THEIR TARGET 3 YEARS EARLY.

DENIS HAYES, PRESIDENT, BULLITT FOUNDATION

"...we can run America today with the (alternative) technologies that we have in hand today, and the price would be 20 or 30 percent more for our energy, unless we invested a lot in efficiency, at which point the overall price would be less. There are some of us that would say, "That's a really good deal. If you can avoid global warming, (if) you can avoid the proliferation of nuclear weapons, (if) you can avoid acid rain drainage, (if) you can avoid oil spills, (if) you can avoid all of this stuff for a 20 percent increase? For heaven's sakes, do it."

I'd do it. I supposedly do it now. I pay a slightly higher energy rate to join the "100% wind-generated" program. I have to take their word for it.

The entire transcript is
here. If you read it, you will be reminded that, if we had followed Jimmy Carter's lead back in the late '70's and invested heavily in solar technologies, we would be well on the way to energy self-sufficiency by now. But Ronald Reagan allowed the oil companies to rule the roost, and delayed solar development in this country by 20-30 years. The oil majors won that round.


Florida is giving the feed-in tariff idea a shot here in the States. This idea could totally upend the oil majors. Kinda like single-payer could totally upend the health insurance companies.

We have so many answers in our hands, at our fingertips. What we don't have is bold and fearless leadership to get us to where we ought to be.

Well, actually, we had bold and fearless leadership under George W. Bush. It was just in a really bad direction. I think Obama comes from a different place. I sure hope so, but I can sense that the Magic 8-Ball is saying "future uncertain."

Michael Jackson "Earth Song"

I'd never seen this video or heard this tune by Michael Jackson before. I'm sorry to see him go.




Thanks, Pat.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Constantly changing

Alright, we're going to have some plumeria flowers soon. They seem to love this extreme heat we've been having. A heat index of 108 today, and it's getting suffocating, and absurd.


The cucumber is getting off on the heat too. It just keeps growing and growing onto its impromptu trellis. Hey, don't forget to produce some cukes, pal!


The SFB2 has morphed already. Now we have four plant failures out of 15, so we cleared those out. The D'Alger and Plum Granny melons are REALLY loving the heat, and we're trying another odd trellis arrangement for them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who Are We?

Good question, Bob. Looks like Bob is another one of those impatient people who expected big things from Obama. Hey, Bob, it's only been five months. What do you want? Real progress or something?


Who Are We?
By BOB HERBERT

Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the early months of the Obama administration has been its unwillingness to end many of the mind-numbing abuses linked to the so-called war on terror and to establish a legal and moral framework designed to prevent those abuses from ever occurring again.

The president deserves credit for unequivocally banning torture and some of the other brutal interrogation techniques that spread like a plague in the Bush administration’s lawless response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (Democracy Now is suggesting that torture is still ongoing at Gitmo. Couldn't be, huh? Not with Obama in office.) But other policies that offend the conscience continue.

Americans should recoil as one against the idea of preventive detention, imprisoning people indefinitely, for years and perhaps for life, without charge and without giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their innocence.

And yet we’ve embraced it, asserting that there are people who are far too dangerous to even think about releasing but who cannot be put on trial because we have no real evidence that they have committed any crime, or because we’ve tortured them and therefore the evidence would not be admissible, or whatever. President Obama is O.K. with this (he calls it “prolonged detention”), but he wants to make sure it is carried out — here comes the oxymoron — fairly and nonabusively.

Proof of guilt? In 21st-century America, there is no longer any need for such annoyances.

Human rights? Ha-ha. That’s a good one.

Also distressing is the curtain of secrecy the Obama administration has kept drawn over shameful abuses that should be brought into the light of day. Back in April, the administration rightly released the “torture memos” detailing the gruesome interrogation techniques unleashed by the Bush crowd. But last month, Mr. Obama apparently tripped over his own instincts and reversed his initial decision to release photos of American soldiers engaged in the brutal abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We saw the profound effect of the disclosure of the photos from Abu Ghraib in 2004. Imagine if they had never been released. Now, in an affront to a society that is supposed to be intelligent and free, the Obama administration is trying to sit on photos that are just as important for Americans to see. The president’s argument for trying to block the court-ordered release of the photos is a demoralizing echo of the embarrassingly empty rhetoric of the Bush years:

“The most direct consequence of releasing them, I believe, would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.”

The Obama administration is also continuing the Bush administration’s abuse of the state-secrets privilege. Lawyers from the Obama Justice Department have argued, as did lawyers from the Bush administration before them, that a lawsuit involving extraordinary rendition and allegations of extreme torture should be dismissed outright because discussions of such matters in court would harm national security. (Transparency, anyone? Anyone?)

In other words, the victims, no matter how strong their case might be, no matter how badly they might have been abused, could never have their day in court. Jane Mayer, writing in the June 22 New Yorker, said of the rendition program, in which suspects were swept up by Americans and spirited off to foreign countries for imprisonment and interrogation: “As many as seven detainees were misidentified and abducted by mistake.”

The Bush and Obama view of the state-secrets privilege effectively bars any real examination of such egregious mistakes.

It was thought by many that a President Obama would put a stop to the madness, put an end to the Bush administration’s nightmarish approach to national security. But Mr. Obama has shown no inclination to bring even the worst offenders of the Bush years to account, and seems perfectly willing to move ahead in lockstep with the excessive secrecy and some of the most egregious activities of the Bush era.

The new president’s excessively cautious approach to the national security and civil liberties outrages of the Bush administration are unacceptable, and the organizations and individuals committed to fairness, justice and the rule of law — the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and many others — should intensify their efforts to get the new administration to do the right thing.

More than 500 of the detainees incarcerated at one time or another at Guantánamo Bay have been released, and, except for a handful, no charges were filed against them. The idea that everyone held at Guantánamo was a terrorist — the worst of the worst — was always absurd.

Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, noted that Mr. Obama had promised to bring both transparency and accountability to matters of national security. It’s the only way to get our moral compass back.

The original is here.

Stolen Election


Obamanomics *thud*

I, for one, feel betrayed by Obama. And I'm certainly not alone.

While he didn't really make many actual "promises" on the campaign trail (which should have been a red flag), he has backtracked from many of the things he did talk about: ending military tribunals, transparency (ha! as if!), protecting the Bush administration thugs, gay marriage, executive privilege, keeping many of the Wall Street banksters who were responsible for this economic mess, single-payer health care (he was for it as a Senator), the list is getting long.

I tell ya, the next time a candidate comes out of nowhere and is a smooth talker, just watch the hell out. We should have gone with a known quantity, with a decent track record, a la Hillary Clinton. I got sucked in by Obama's rhetoric like most. And that's about all it was. Rhetoric. Any Democrat could have beaten the Republican this time around what with all the crap that Bush dealt out. Obama saw his opportunity and went for it. And we all fell for it.

Nomi Prins gives the most thorough analysis of Obama's big Rx for economic regulation that I've seen so far, and it's lacking, in many respects. But I'm not really surprised. Disillusioned, yes. Surprised, no. Change we can believe in? Ha. What a bad joke.

Obamanomics: The Good, the Bad, the Weak

On bank regulation, the White House goes too far, and not far enough.
—By Nomi Prins

a few snips

Obama, alas, is no FDR. Roosevelt's New Deal reforms included the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which split complex financial institutions into commercial banks (for consumers) and investment banks (for speculators).

The administration's new 88-page white paper, titled "Financial Regulatory Reform: A New Foundation," focuses more on alterations than true reform.

Obama blames the financial crisis on a "culture of irresponsibility," but the absolute worst of his new proposals is to give the Fed more authority. That's like rewarding the king of this irresponsible culture, or at least its chief banker and liquidity provider, with a larger kingdom.

The biggest bank bailouts of all went to Citigroup, which grabbed $388 billion in public assistance, and Bank of America, which scored $220 billion—as much as AIG. And who was their regulator? The Fed.

Yet under Obama's plan, the Fed would be crowned as the supreme systemic-risk regulator, supervising the largest and most interconnected firms. This is plain wrong. It rewards an entity that neglected its regulatory obligations to begin with, that paid unprecedented sums to correct its mistakes, that never exercised its ability to contain the size of banks—blessing rather than questioning those that would become "too big to fail" (or to regulate)—and that shunned transparency. This is not the way to stabilize and provide necessary responsibility to the system.

Rather than regulate a complicated industry by creating more regulatory layers and giving more power to the Fed—which deserves its own stringent audit—a more lasting solution would be to restructure the banking industry itself. The smart move would be to divide banks once again into separate consumer and investment entities. This would make them far easier to regulate, and alleviate the need for government to play catch-up—and subsidize ever larger, more complex firms.

Yet as long as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (which repealed Glass-Steagall, and then some) remains intact, and as long as the Fed serves as marriage counselor and financier for the banks, then investment houses, commercial banks, S&Ls, and insurers can and will continue to merge operations. That fact alone renders it extremely difficult to monitor and control our banking system, or to achieve the stability Obama promises—and the rest of us seek.

You can read the whole article here. I'm washing my hands of this guy. If his Presidency turns out to be a raging success, I'll be surprised.

Nomi Prins, who knows a few things about Wall Street, has a website that can be found here.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tomato War Update

Who's getting the tomatoes?

Birds - 1

Caterpillars - 6
Blossom end rot - 20 (all Health Kick Hybrid)
Harvested - 30 (all Rutgers & Better Bush)
Still in contention - 50+ (all three bushes)

It looks like the Health Kick might lose most of its fruit to blossom end-rot. Damn shame. There are still a lot of new flowers on it, and supposedly blossom end-rot affects the "first" fruit from a plant but then subsides, but that ain't happ'nin on the Health Kick. So far.

It looks like flower production has now shut down on the Rutgers and Better Bush, but they still have a lot of fruit yet to turn. They have both produced some exceptional fruit, and if they disappeared overnight, they would still be big successes.

Maybe we'll go now

It's a sad statement that our Mexican friends to the south appear more progressive than we do when it comes to drug usage. You want to decrease violence associated with drugs? Allow cultivation and decriminalize it!!

You know, I'm still waiting for some "change I can believe in." So far, it seems a lot of cosmetics and little else. Hey, nef, can you give me some "hope" that I can hang my hat on?

Mexico will decriminalize some drug use
By TRACY WILKINSON Los Angeles Times
June 21, 2009, 10:50PM

MEXICO CITY — Could Mexican cities become Latin Amsterdams, flooded by drug users seeking penalty-free tokes and toots?

That is the fear, if somewhat overstated, of some Mexican officials, especially in northern border states that serve as a mecca for underage American drinkers.

The Mexican legislature has voted quietly to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of pot, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs, an effort that in the past has proved highly controversial.

There has been less protest this time around, in part because there hasn’t been much publicity.

Some critics have suggested that easing the punishment on drug possession sends the wrong message at a time when President Felipe Calderon is waging a bloody war on major narcotics traffickers. The battle between law enforcement authorities and drug suspects has claimed more than 11,000 lives in the past 2.5 years.

But it was Calderon himself who proposed the decriminalization legislation.

His reasoning: It makes sense to distinguish between small-time users and big-time dealers, while re-targeting major crime-fighting resources away from the former and toward the latter and their drug lord bosses.

“The important thing is ... that consumers are not treated as criminals,” said Rafael Ruiz Mena, secretary general of the National Institute of Penal Sciences. “It is a public health problem, not a penal problem.”

The legislation was approved at the height of a swine-flu outbreak in Mexico that dominated the world’s attention. Meeting at times behind closed doors — the better to prevent the spread of disease, officials said — the lower and upper houses of Congress passed the bill on the last days of April. It awaits Calderon’s signature.

The bill says users caught with small amounts — five grams of marijuana, 500 milligrams of cocaine — clearly intended for “personal and immediate use” will not be criminally prosecuted. They will be told of available clinics and encouraged to enter a rehabilitation program.

As many as 40 milligrams of methamphetamine, a synthetic and especially harmful drug, are permitted, as are as many as 50 milligrams of heroin.

In May of 2006, then-President Vicente Fox, from Calderon’s right-wing party, vetoed a similar bill Congress had approved and that he initially supported. He backed down only under pressure from Washington, D.C., where the Bush administration complained decriminalization for even small amounts could increase drug use.

Political implications

But with less than a month to go before critical mid-term elections in which his party is struggling to maintain control of Congress, Calderon cannot afford to be seen as bowing to the U.S., analysts say. Already under intense criticism for the drug-related violence terrifying parts of the country, Calderon needs to maintain good relations with Congress, where much of the opposition voted in favor of the decriminalization initiative. He can’t suddenly go back on his own bill.

And so, political observers say, he probably will sign it into law. Calderon’s office did not comment for this story.

So far, the U.S. government has not publicly objected to the bill. Michele Leonhart, acting director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, however, said in April that legalization of drugs “would be a failed law enforcement strategy for both the U.S. and Mexico.”

Mexican government officials stress they are not talking about legalization, but decriminalization. Until now, courts decided on a case-by-case basis whether and how to punish first-time offenders. And standard criteria for quantities hadn’t existed.

Mexico is woefully underequipped to handle a booming drug-abuse problem. Recently, domestic consumption has soared. A 2007 study by the government found the number of “addicts” doubled in the previous five years.

The original story is here. I clipped out the usual fearmongering.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Farnsworth Invention

The wife and I took in the rare play (for us) this weekend: a Saturday matinee performance of "The Farnsworth Invention" at the Alley Theater. Aaron Sorkin, award-winning writer and mushroom-head, wrote it.

Here's the official blurb:


In 1929, two ambitious visionaries race against each other to introduce to the world a revolutionary new device called “television.” By the fall of 1921, an Idaho farm boy Philo T. Farnsworth had drawn a diagram of an “image dissector tube” for a prototype electronic television system. As he seeks to develop a functioning machine, Farnsworth is swept into an epic struggle with David Sarnoff, an enterprising media mogul who foresees the lucrative potential of this powerful cultural and scientific invention. Only one man will unlock the key to the greatest innovation of the 20th century and rule the airwaves. Drawn to the story about the race to create an operable television and the competition for the patent right to control the future of this technology, Aaron Sorkin describes his play as “an optimistic story about the spirit of exploration” in a National Public Radio interview. Recommended for mature audiences. Strong Language.

An optimistic story? Yeah, with big corporations screwing the little guy and perverting the airwaves with crap, I guess you can call that optimistic, if you're a corporation. It was very entertaining. I'd never heard of Farnsworth until I saw this play on the schedule. Another victim of big media. Now, Aaron, did they really say "fuck" that much back in the '20's? Really?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Today's Harvest

Ah, a nice haul this morning from the two tomato bushes that are producing, the Better Bush and Rutgers. Still no Health Kick Hybrid fruit turning red yet. Soon enough.

Yes, yes, the picture below is rather blue because yours truly forgot to change the setting to "Day Light" before snapping the pic. D'oh!!


Still, we get to eat the tomatoes, and you don't! Uhh, we may actually need to start giving some away.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Best tomatoes ever

Ohmigosh, the tomatoes! The taste of this Rutgers and Better Bush fruit is phenomenal, and it lingers and lingers in your mouth. We haven't bought a tomato since May.

They are well-protected from the wildlife by a simple 14' x 14' bird netting. We did lose part of one tomato to a bird recently. It had developed close to the netting and was just calling...beckoning to the birds. But just one. The caterpillars are another story.

These are the best tomatoes we've ever eaten. And these are all beFORE the heirloom seeds even went in the ground.

So far, in the Tomato War on my roof, the score is:


Birds - 1


Caterpillars - 5


Blossom end rot - 10 (all Health Kick Hybrid, a roma-type)


Harvested - 20 (all Rutgers & Better Bush)


Still in contention - 50+ (all three bushes)

We've had a steady supply for a few weeks now. Still have not gotten to that "I've got so many I don't know what to do" stage. Sorry, friends!


In the SFB2, all of the melons in the recently-planted SFB2 are growing like mad, especially the D'Alger. This shot was from Day 17 - yesterday - and today it looks twice this big. It will soon outgrow this box.


On Day 1, we planted 15 different plants.
We planted 31 seeds across 15 pots.
All the seeds are from Baker Creek.
As of today, 13 pots are producing.
13 out of 15 = a germination rate of 87%.

The two misfires (feverfew and Acorn squash) contained 6 seeds out of the 31 sown, which is almost 20% of the total seeds put in the ground. 20%, even though it was really only 2 out of 15 that didn't germinate.

So, 13% of the seeds failed.
And 20% of the seeds failed.

I'll go with 87% germination rate, mm'kay?

And of course, man does not live by food alone.

The eyes need food too.



Hey, could we have some rain down here, please?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Wild cats!

Noooooooo!! We found another CATerpillar on our tomato plants! But we didn't find it before it chewed through ten or so fruits. Wifey found it. She seems to have a real talent for spotting worms. She married me, after all.


It looks like a "yellow-striped Army worm." Hmm. He looks big and scary, but for some perspective, compare it to a human finger.


Talk about a voracious appetite! This is actually the second one of these mo-fo worms we've found. Not sure if the Bt is working or not. Saw somewhere that, if you don't catch the worms in the first half of their lifespan, the Bt won't affect them. What an intelligent design that is!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

So much for transparency

During the recent Presidential campaign, Obama went on and on about the need for transparent government and how, if elected, he'd make that happen. Was it just a pack of lies? Did we just fall all over ourselves in awe of an eloquent politician after the bumbling Bush?

From TPM: (psst! it's a link)
It's looking more and more like Barack Obama's pledge to usher in a new era of openness in government may well go unfulfilled.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Domestic Terrorism

It's time we called it what it is: domestic terrorism. But since they're AMERICANS, they won't be thrown into a hole and tortured. At least not in this country. Apparently.

First the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-choice extremist. Now the murder of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum by a white supremacist.

These are two horrifying acts of right wing domestic terrorism in as many weeks. No wonder the Department of Homeland Security issued a report last month labeling "rightwing extremism" the "most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States."

And, as we all know, these acts of terrorism were carried out with guns. Scott Roeder, who's being held for the murder of Dr. Tiller, has a history of mental illness and threatened violence against abortion providers a week before he allegedly shot Dr. Tiller. James W. von Brunn, who allegedly killed a security guard at the Holocaust Museum, has his own white supremacy website and is a convicted felon (he stormed the Federal Reserve Bank in 1981).

Why is it so easy for domestic terrorists to get hold of guns?

Here's one way to make it harder. The Brady Bill requires criminal background checks before the purchasing of guns. But there's a tremendous loophole for gun shows and similar events — a loophole that criminals know only too well how to exploit.

Currently, there's a bill in Congress to close this loophole — H.R. 2234, "To require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions occurring at gun shows." We need this law to reduce future attacks like those on Dr. Tiller and at the Holocaust Museum, but it won't go anywhere without significant support in Congress — and right now it has only seven sponsors.

Click here to tell your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 2234. We need swift action to keep criminals from getting more guns.

Thank you for working to build a safer world.

Kate Stayman-London, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

I wonder if we should put Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and FOX News, etc. into this category of domestic terrorists? They may not commit the acts, but they are inciting people to violence.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Celebrate growing older

Time for another one of those somewhat sappy, somewhat poignant, funny, sad, but mostly true lists of thoughts to live by. This one was sent to me by my father, and I must say, I prefer to get these kinds of emails from him over the hard-rightwingnut bullshit that he usually send.

Often, the authenticity of these things is questionable, but it really doesn't matter that much. Are the sentiments "true" for you or not? There have been many times when I am reminded of that comment often attibuted to Bette Davis that I used to laugh at, but no longer: "Growing old is not for sissies." In many ways, it's a real pain.

While I am usually agnostic but occasionally atheist, I won't censor the "God" comments. To each their own...

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written."My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12 It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40 If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Square Foot Box #2

On May 31, wifey and I dropped a number of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds into 15 containers and established our second Square Foot Box. We're calling it SFB2. We've taken some of the basic tenets of Square Foot Gardening and gone from there. As with SFB1 (that we planted on 3/8/09), we used only one seed per container. SFB1 had a 95% germination rate, and that was using a hodge-podge of seeds gathered over the years. Not bad.

We dish the dirt. Lots of it.


The difference between SFB1 and SFB2 is that, this time, for SFB2, ALL of the seeds are from only one vendor: Baker Creek.

Four of the 15 containers are outside of the box, but close to it. Yes, we are thinking, and planting, outside the box. I like having the 4' by 4' box to serve as a general sense of order out of the chaos. It's a way of grouping things together, and even if the containers that we use to start get scattered, it helps to have a general pattern to follow. That, and the box works very well to anchor down bird netting we have draped over SFB1 to protect our precious tomatoes from the predatory birds.

This time, for SFB2, unlike SFB1, we mixed a portion of compost in with the potting soil at planting time. And we also mixed some tomato food directly into the soil for the three new tomato plants.

SFB2 ready to launch.


We have sown (not in the order you see them above)...

1) Cinnamon Basil
2) Lemon Basil
3) Feverfew
4) Teddy Bear Sunflower
5) He Shi Bunching Onion
6) New Zealand Spinach
7) Golden Zucchini Squash
8) Table Gold Acorn Squash
9) Isis Candy Cherry Tomato
10) Green Sausage Tomato
11) Dr. Carolyn Tomato
12) Sweet Passion Melon
13) Plum Granny Melon
14) D'Alger Melon
15) Katanya Watermelon

We have been wildly successful with the tomato crop this year grown in SFB1. They have been coming in like gangbusters on the Better Bush and Rutgers plants...


...and the Health Kick Hybrid, planted after SFB1, but moved under the netting with the other two tomato plants, has about 40 roma-style fruits developing.

Judging by the number of flowers we see on the Health Kick, we could get upwards of 100 fruits from those two plants sharing one container.

We've also had our share of failures. Witness the carrot fiasco...



...but we're beginning to feel like real urban farmers. We're starting to get cocky and think that we can grow anything on the roof. How absurd! Did I mention the carrots? I will be amazed if we can produce some (any?) of these melons, and the Katanya watermelon. This is our first try with melons, and our first tries don't...uh...turn out so great. I think we'll need to let them roam a bit.

As of today, 6/6/09, 11 of the 15 new plantings have sprouted. I'll bet the rest will sprout soon. We didn't set up a dripper system this time on the new kids in the box. Just relying on the sprinkler coming on at noon, and hand-misting the children each morning before work. We could still set up the drippers if we feel like we need more consistent watering.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rastafarian?

Some day this nation will finally pull its collective head out of its ass about marijuana. But I think I will dead for a long, long time before that happens. Found the story below via the Universal Life Church website.

Thou Shall Not Use Religion in Defense


A medicinal marijuana farmer in Lake County, California was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on Monday, May 18th. Charles “Eddy” Lepp, who is 56 years old, was arrested in 2004 with 32,000 marijuana plants growing on his property.

Lepp was operating within the parameters of California State Law (not Federal Law), and is a practicing member of the Rastafarian Church, using marijuana in accordance with his religious beliefs. The U.S. District Judge presiding over the trial, Justice Marilyn Hall Patel, rejected Lepp's argument for religious freedom.

[Justice Patel] didn't think the defendant had been candid with the court because he didn't display a depth of knowledge about Rastafarianism.

"I was in the Rastafarian church since 1998," Lepp said.

"I'm talking now," Patel answered.

(Law.com)
We take strong objection to the dismissal of Lepp's religious defense. There is no clause in the First Amendment that gives the government the authority revoke Lepp's religious freedom simply because of doubt in authenticity of his religious beliefs. It is not possible for the government to read the mind of a defendant in order ascertain their religious sincerity. So long as an individual’s religious practices are inflicting no harm, where is the crime?

Patel gave Lepp until July 6 to report to prison and said she would reconsider the sentence if Congress changed the law, which requires a 10-year term for growing at least 1,000 marijuana plants.

(SFC)
Admitting that the punishment for Lepp’s crime is “excessive,” Justice Patel explained that she is bound by Federal sentencing guidelines.

-Law.com
-San Francisco Chronicle

Obama in Eqypt

Maybe it's not true, but there seems to be a relative media blackout of Obama's speech in Egypt. Gee, the media couldn't have an interest in fomenting discord and war, could it? Naaah!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

KO WTF?!

Keith Olberman has borrowed my tagline! Hey! What the....! More power to ya, Keith! He does it a helluva lot better than I do. Hell, I hardly do it at all! Speaking of which...where are my writers?!

First, let's slap around Texas and that IDIOT of a Governor, Rick Perry. Geez, has it become the LAW that Texas must elect a total doofus for Governor?



Del Castillo free concert

Wow.

The good people at Discovery Green Park in Houston could not have picked a better evening for an outdoor concert. I don't know how they scored Del Castillo for a free concert, but, damn.




Most years, Houston in June, outdoors, can be intolerable. Today, a front blew in (in June!) lowering the humidity a LOT, and with clear weather and temps in the 80's, it was just nuthin' but fine.

The Mrs. and I took in an excellent dinner at The Grove, a restaurant on the southern side of Discovery Green Park, at a table along the windows, with a fine view of the park. A little wine....some great food....is it wrong to feel so good?


After dinner, we wandered over to the concert area and the hill was only half full. I've no doubt that most people were not even aware that this awesome band was playing (for FREE!) downtown this evening. Our good fortune.

We parked our folding chairs and enjoyed the music and the crowd. Dogs and children everywhere, but not being obnoxious. The near-full moon began rising behind George R. Brown. Just an awesome day....


and here's just the tiniest snippet of the show....I was just using my Canon digital camera. Not exactly high fidelity nor definition...you could say this video does not do the band justice. Duh.

Marijuana legalization

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