. . . and sometimes . . . you just want to cry.

I read a newspaper or two just about every morning–even when I’m on vacation. If nothing else, they have puzzles. Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune has several: Sudoku, Isaac Asimov’s Super Quiz,  the New York Times Crossword Puzzle and A Daily Crossword puzzle. Also on the page is the Daily Bridge Club and an advice column by one Carolyn Hax–“Get away now from abusive fiancée”

The puzzles were all easy–after all, today is Monday. I don’t play Bridge. The advice column was, well, DUH! But then I noticed the picture in the upper left to the left of the Sudoku and above the advice article. It was called “Minnesota’s Waiting Child.” She’s Asian and looks to be the age of one of my many thousands of former students.

For those of you who know nothing about me, I taught junior high/middle school for forty years in southern California before retiring in 2012.

“Fourteen-year-old P_ H___ is a very adventurous young lady. She loves to sing and enjoys spending time with her family and attending summertime barbecues. She is very nurturing and has a calm demeanor. P_ H___ loves socializing and being around others. If she could take a dream vacation anywhere in the world, she would love to visit Tokyo.”

. . . and sometimes . . . you just want to cry.

“She is parenting a 3-month-old son, so we are looking for a family willing to parent P_ H___ while also teaching her the necessary skills to parent her son.”


Root Beam Float

Here I am on vacation again. I know some of you think this is a redundant statement as I have been retired some three years now, but it is not. There is something about being away from home that adds to the experience.

While reading today’s edition of the Grand Forks Herald, I came upon the following recipes:

White Wine Sangria:

  • 2 bottles of dry white wine
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of brandy
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 3 cups of assorted sliced fruit
  • Combine all ingredients in a clear glass serving pitcher. Stir gently and let ingredients sit for 8 to 24 hours. Serve chilled.
  • (Wine snobs, please, omit the brandy, agave nectar/honey and fruit.)

Root Beam Float:

  • 8 ounces of root beer
  • 1 ounce Jim Beam or bourbon of choice (here’s a chance to get rid of/use the bottle of Old Crow your great-aunt Matilda gave you twenty years ago)
  • 2-3 curls of zest from an orange
  • 1/2 cup vanilla bean ice cream
  • Combine the first three ingredients in a float glass. Stir gently to combine bourbon and root beer. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and serve.

Ah, well, time to take the wife shopping. will return in an hour or three. Will open a beer and resume reading one of my books–either Phoenix in Shadow by Ryk E. Spoor or Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume III by Sharon Lee.

Oh, yeah–here are Smoke and Mist, also on vacation. Smoke and Mist at HB North

Random Thoughts on a Friday Afternoon

Random Thoughts–well, sort of random.

The Confederate Flag has been in the news this past week as a result of the murders of nine people in Charleston, SC. On a website registered to the accused murderer he was seen with a “Confederate Battle Flag.”

During its short history, the CSA had several flags. Its first official flag–the “Stars and Bars” (right)–looked

Confederate Flag - 1861-1863
Confederate Flag – 1861-1863

a great deal like the “Stars and Stripes” and caused some confusion of the battlefield. It was changed in 1863 to incorporate the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia in the place of the blue field and stars with the remainder of the flag being white. Eventually a large vertical red bar was added on the right.

Confederate "Battle" Flag
Confederate “Battle” Flag

What many think of as the “Confederate Flag” was the square battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia or the rectangular Confederate Navy Jack and the battle flag of the Army of Tennessee (left).

Perhaps it is time to retire this (these) flags from official and commercial sanction. For many in this country these flags stir memories of slavery and murder that are better left to our past.

There are those who say that these flags represent their history and heritage. Perhaps, they do. They have a right to fly them. Perhaps, they do. But these flags also represent slavery, cruelty, discrimination and murder to many of us. Perhaps, we should consider their feelings.

When the option presents itself, how about choosing to be kind?

“Gay” Marriage

This week the United States Supreme Court in a majority decision–not a unanimous decision–legalized same-sex marriage throughout our country. You know what? It’s not the end of the world.

I grew up in a era when homosexuality was considered by my church and parents to be a sin–in may places it was (and still is) a crime.

I’ve had students who are homosexual; I’ve had neighbors who are homosexual; I’ve had colleagues who are homosexual. You know what? It doesn’t make a dime’s bit of difference.

If they love each other, they can now get married and have (be) a family. All they want is to exercise the same rights and responsibilities as the “straight” community–they don’t want to convert you.

Get over it–spread Peace and Love not Hate.

Affordable Care Act–Obamacare

The Supreme Court also ruled this week on the ACA and the necessity of state health exchanges. This was, and still seems to be a deeply dividing issue. Compare the editorial and op-ed comments in the Orange County Register (anti) and the Los Angeles Times (pro).

Gee, now people in all of the US can get “affordable” medical care, subsidized if necessary. Those states which refused to set up health exchanges in order to keep people from getting this care are out of luck.

Bummer, huh?

The Supreme Court decided to go with the intent and spirit of the law rather than the “state health exchanges” wording. Good decision. Of course, Congress should go back and change the wording of the law. Who knows what might happen if a Republican president (with a Republican congress) comes along and appoints more justices opposed to the majority decision. Another case and this time a reversal of the decision.

After all, we are not governed by laws but by people.


9:32 pm on a Friday. Do you know where your glass of wine is?

Yes, it’s on the table beside me–almost empty, but that won’t be its state for long.

Friday, May 28, 2015

The cats woke me up about 5:30 am this morning and I got up to lay on the couch so they would follow me and not wake my wife. Woke up again about 7:30 am and fed the cats. My wife got up and I fixed her tea, breakfast and got her medicine. I put out the trash bins, a day late because of Memorial Day, brought in the newspapers and fixed my coffee.

I then read through both papers (LA Times and OC Register) from back to front–entertainment (comics), business, sports, local and then the front news section. By then it was time for more coffee and tea. Read a couple of chapters of my current book and then did the puzzles from both papers.

Then it was time to read my email (play on the internet), pay a couple of bills and read a couple more chapters from my book.

Breakfast time: scrambled eggs, vitamins and vegetable juice. Read a couple of chapters from the book, made my wife some more tea and went shopping for cat food–and a toy (received with great enthusiasm).

Read some more, fixed more tea, drank some wine, turned on the Dodgers, made dinner–bought Paddington for Charlie. (She loved it–nice to hear gales of laughter.)

I retired to the bedroom to read, accompanied by the cats while Charlie watched her movie.

Movie over she went out to the patio to smoke, play on her IPad and watch a crime series on Netflix. I sat down to watch the Dodgers and Angels and finish my book–which I did (dirty word, dirty word, dirty word). Now, I’ll have to find another one tomorrow.

I’m done with this and done with this glass of wine. Time to put the computer away, find another glass of wine and watch the last half inning of the Angel game.

Angels win; they beat Detroit Two – Zip.

Wash by Smoke
Wash by Smoke


Newspapers – A Love-Hate Relationship – 2

Newspapers – The Orange County Register

This is the second in a, hopefully, short series of posts having to do with the spotty delivery of my “morning” newspaper (OC Register – not the LA Times, which is “always” on time).

  • Sunday, November 9 – in the wet gutter at the foot of our driveway and delivered sometime between 11.03 am and 12.12 pm
  • Monday, November 10 – delivered by 6 am (a second copy was on my driveway by 6.40 am—I assume that the delivery person passed by my house after I picked up the first copy and thought s/he’d missed it earlier)
  • Tuesday, November 11 – Saturday, November 15 – all papers delivered between 8 am and 12 noon
  • Sunday, November 16 – NO paper delivered
  • Monday, November 17 (today) – no paper delivered, as yet (9.21 am – I just went outside to check)

I do wish the Register would get its act together.

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I received a reply from Sandy Banks, LA Times columnist, on my comments about her article on marijuana. (I emailed them to her.)

Her reply: “Thank you, Joe.  You raise an important issue.  Colorado has seen a big increase in the percentage of DUI drivers who are under the influence of marijuana, not alcohol.”

I do believe, however, that she missed the following point: “But making a socially acceptable, mind-altering drug legally available on a widespread basis is, in my opinion really, really stupid. Kids in junior high already have access to alcohol and tobacco through friends, acquaintances and family members who can legally purchase them. And we now want to add marijuana to the list?”

It is nice to know that the people whose articles you read in the newspaper read your replies and comments.
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The weather here in Southern California is beautiful. High 60s to low 70s at the beach with sunny skies. I’ve got a salad and chocolate milk to take to the beach for lunch later. The cats are sleeping: Smoke in a south-facing window soaking in the warm sunlight and Mist on their sofa-blanket across the room from me.