Sunday, July 31, 2011


As a young woman, Peon "distinguished" herself by reading books on obscure countries--Angola, Mozambique, Uganda, Namibia, and other countries most Americans couldn't find on a map. One of the countries she read up on was Libya. She believed that if our government was going to bomb a country, she should know something about it. (This resulted, in 1991, in the reading of a 700-page tome on Iraq, but that's another war.)

Anyway, her reading on the subject of Libya led her to the conclusion that it was unlikely that Col. Khadafy would be deposed anytime soon. While Peon hasn't updated her knowledge for, oh, about 20 years, it appears that things haven't changed there. Indeed Peon was distressed to discover that one of the rebel groups, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, is a retread from the battles of the 1980s. It has a lot of problems. It was formed as a front for the CIA. It devoted itself to knocking off various Libyan diplomats in assorted European capitals. It was incompetent. Indeed, so incompetent that the CIA shut it down in the early 1990s.

The group distinguished itself in two ways. First, it attempted an invasion of Libya. Now that shouldn't be too difficult. Look at the length of the Libyan border. But they got caught before they'd made it 10 feet inside Libya. Then they iced the cake, so to speak, by shooting, and seriously wounding, the 11-year-old son of Libya's then second-in-command, Abdul Salam Jalloud. On purpose, because they couldn't mount a campaign against an adult. Even the CIA couldn't countenance that, and shut the organization down. Now they're BAACK.

it should also be noted that the US hasn't updated it's other practices in the meantime. In 1986 the US bombed Khadafy's home, killing his 16-month-old daughter. This time NATO killed another of his children, as well as three of his grandchildren. Obama really does admire Reagan.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, M

I totally forgot your birthday, even though J had put it on the calendar. Please forgive me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's a Bunch of Hooey

I have often ranted on the subject of the credit reporting agencies' suggestion that you keep credit accounts that you don't use open, so as not to get your credit dinged. Not only do I not think it's a good idea to have loose credit lines hanging around, I find it offensive that we have to do something that, in a rationally-ordered world, would be just plain stupid.

Well, it turns out that we've been had. J and I are buying a new car and our credit has been checked. If closing down the accounts had any impact, it was marginal. Don't worry about it; shut down those unused accounts. I suspect that the reporting agencies charge by the account, so they want us all to do stupid stuff to enrich them.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy Bastille Day!

Historians have noted that, by the time the Bastille was destroyed, there were only a few prisoners left. But the storming of the Bastille is more important than simply trashing a nearly empty building. The Bastille symbolized the arbitrary power of the king, in the same way that the Star Chamber symbolized the arbitrary power of the English monarchy. And if you don't think that the United States has similar symbols, I would refer you to the Third Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits the billeting of soldiers in our homes except in time of war.

Why on Earth, you ask, would the Founding Fathers waste a whole Amendment on that? Let us turn back to the period prior to the Revolution. Soldiers were regularly quartered in people's homes. They came, they took over, they stayed more than the three days when fish and house guests begin to stink. Most often, they were pretty well-behaved, but every so often you'd get a group that raided the liquor, got drunk, used the furniture as firewood, killed the cow and cooked it up for supper, and then tried to do the daughter of the house. This, understandably, made people mad. More importantly, it symbolized the arbitrary power of the British government. See, the French didn't like that, the English didn't like it, and neither did we.

Just as a note, neither did the Cubans. When the Cuban Revolution was a scant few days old, the population of Havana went out and systematically knocked down every parking meter in the city. Why? Well, not a single centavo from any of those parking meters had ever made it into the government coffers. Not one. Not ever. A symbolic act, just like, uh, the Third Amendment.

And J reminded me that a holiday requires music.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Too Lazy to Look Up the Right Phone Number

Not me. Wells Fargo Bank. We had a message on our machine on Monday evening. Call Wells Fargo. Oops, I thought. Someone has gotten hold of my debit card and made a large withdrawal. I telephoned the number, whereupon I was informed that this was a debt collection call. Huh? We don't owe anyone any money. I waited on the line and was informed that they were trying to collect on our home equity line of credit. Uh, I don't own a home. No home, therefore no line of credit. It appears that the bank is so dumb that they attached our phone number to someone else's line of credit. And we've had our phone number for 10 years. The debt collector informed me that it might take a couple of days to get the number out of their system. A couple of days? What? How difficult is it to delete the phone number? I'm somewhat technically incompetent, but I can delete old phone numbers with a couple of key strokes.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We've Been Eating Our Peas for Years

When is Wall Street and the economic elite going to have to eat their peas?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Followers Have Disappeared

I have no idea what happened. I know that J wouldn't dare stop following me. The poor guy has no choice but to read whatever I write. He has promised to sign up as a follower again.

Update: My followers have magically reappeared, and I have a new one. I have no idea who he is, but he's welcome to read my musings on the scrubbing of the kitchen floor. Next: rewhitening the grout on the bathroom floor!

I have identified my new follower. He is welcome to read me and comment APPROPRIATELY.

On Hotel Housekeepers and Fitted Sheets

Rotator cuff injuries are nasty. I got my first one lifting a just-watered pot to a shelf over my head. I felt the pull, but didn't know what it meant. Several weeks of pain, disability and drugs--that's what it meant. Who gets rotator cuff injuries? Baseball pitchers, tennis players and women who garden. Yeah, I'm a member of one of the groups most likely to be injured.

But there's another victim group. Hotel housekeepers. And rotator cuff injuries most often happen when the housekeeper is making the bed. I know. How can that be? It's simple. Think about your mattress. Unless you're still doing a futon, and most people above the age of 35 aren't, your mattress is a bulky affair. It's not like old mattresses, which were thinner and, while heavy, not nearly so bulky. Now think about using a flat sheet on said mattress. You don't use a flat bottom sheet? Neither do I. Neither does anyone else I know. And why not? Because it's a lot easier to maneuver a fitted sheet onto the bulky mattress frame, that's why. And while you may not know it, it also helps to prevent shoulder injuries because you only have to lift the mattress at the corners.

But California hoteliers have launched a campaign against fitted sheets. They don't think that the shoulders of their housekeepers are worth protecting. To save the money required to switch to fitted sheets, they're willing to cause women permanent, debilitating injuries. Many of the injured will never be able to work again; hell, some of them won't be able to dress themselves again. (To see what I mean, try dressing yourself without lifting one of your arms.)

One reason for the hoteliers' intransigence is that they don't have to pay the cost of the injuries. Injured workers are dumped into the workers' compensation, and state and federal disability systems, so that the rest of us can pay these costs. Even those hotels with union staffs don't have to pay health care costs for workers who have lost their jobs as a result of injury. Maybe the state government should say, "okay, we won't do this, but you will pay every penny that the disabled women collect from the public coffers for the rest of their lives."