Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Can We Keep Him Out?

Arlen Specter, the Senator from Pennsylvania, has announced that he is leaving the Republican Party and becoming a Democrat. He noted that some 200,000 of his fellow Pennsylvanians have become Democrats and, I guess, decided to follow along--so much for his claim to "maverick" status. Just following the crowd. But do Democrats really want him? Can we tell him that he can't join--that we don't want someone who doesn't support the Employee Free Choice Act--or are we stuck taking any politician with his finger in the wind?

Although it would be hard to distinguish him from any number of people who've been Democrats all their careers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Front Yard II

Some pictures of the front yard, which now needs only a few plants to complete it. We planted the newhires we bought at Berkeley Hort yesterday, and J reset some of the soaker hoses.

Erigeron with sunroses.

A view from the front door. This is the first time the New Zealand tea tree has produced more than two blossoms.

Roses with cistus.

A native penstemon, noted in Lester Rowntree's Hardy Californians: A Woman's Life With Native Plants. It's Penstemon spectabilis.

Roses, some in bud, some with aphids.

I Wasn't in Four States

J has always humored me, for which I am eternally grateful. One of these humorings required that he drive many miles out of his way so that I could go to Four Corners and place my extremities in four states at once. The record of the actual event is here. Now it turns out that the actual point at which the four states meet is 2 1/2 miles away from the monument. I wonder if I could get J to take me to the actual location, so that I could get a new picture.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Birthday

Today is my birthday. I'm 54. Yesterday the great J took me for my semi-annual shopping spree at Berkeley Hort. He also allowed me to wander Berkeley's Yuppie Mall, Fourth Street. Then he took me to dinner at the Chez Panisse Cafe (somewhat cheaper than the downstairs restaurant). J got more ideas for citrus salad and will soon be experimenting on me. Today I devote myself to the planting of the new hires and feeding the existing plants. And tonight J is grilling lamb chops for me. And as a special gift, there's some cooling fog here today.

I have an excuse for missing Bloom Day this month. We again suffered a nasty north wind that dried out the plants, the cats and the humans. The plants were forced to suffer it, but the cats and the humans retreated to the indoors. And I took a bunch of pictures later in the week, almost all of which were awful. I present here the few that weren't awful. I seem not to have learned that I need to get up really early and photograph before the sun rises--in that short period after it's light and before the sun beats down upon the yard. Of course, one good thing about a digital camera is that precious resources aren't wasted developing them. And deleting them is a matter of pointing and clicking.

I was appalled to find that President Obama intends to preclude prosecution of CIA operatives for their participation in perpetrating torture during the Bush2 years. While I don't think that the interrogators should be prosecuted instead of those who developed and condoned the "program", I also think that "just following orders" is not a good excuse. Um, Nuremberg.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Hate Hot Weather

And it's been really hot here. Yesterday it was 94. I turned on the air conditioning. The cats abandoned their sunbeams for the cool of the linoleum floor. Plants wilted. I wilted. It's supposed to be cooler tomorrow. I hope so, as J is taking me to Berkeley Hort and then an early dinner at the Chez Panisse cafe. Yesterday he washed all the windows.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


The garden has been ravaged over the last week or so, first by stiff north winds that sucked all the moisture from everything--soil, leaves, flowers, my skin. Then we had one nice day, and then rain. Rain is good, except that a lot of the formerly dessicated flowers are now soggy dessicated flowers. But yesterday evening, as I sat stupified in front of the TV, I heard J race out the front door. He returned a couple of minutes later, saying, "Rainbow." I roused myself from semi-slumber and headed out to see, yes, an actual rainbow. Not only a rainbow, but one with a secondary. J took a bunch of pictures, but didn't get the secondary at all. (We have a cheap camera, suitable for the quality of our pictures.)

And here's another view of the same rainbow.

This picture also shows a little corner of the yard that J and I planted, which is growing in quite nicely. We spent a couple of hours laying out the soaker hoses, which involved all sorts of equipment I didn't even know existed. But I will be able to water the entire right side of the front yard at one time with the system J has set up. Very cool. Of course, now that it's rained, I won't need to use it for a week.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This A Surprise?

Today's Sacramento Bee has a story on the benefits received by Warren Buffet, the dean of the capitalist class. Sure enough, he has made scads of money investing in the beneficiaries of the taxpayers largesse. Indeed it might be suggested that Berkshire Hathaway has been saved not by Buffet's investing acumen, but by the welfare provisions of the TARP.

But this shouldn't be is a surprise to anyone. The history of the United States is littered with bailouts of the rich at the expense of the rest of us. We can look back on Alexander Hamilton's refinancing of the national debt after the Revolutionary War, the government's assumption of the debts of the railroad magnates...to find that, more often than not, the welfare payments to the rich were many times what's been provided to all the single mothers with children in the history of the country.

And Buffet is no different than his predecessors at the public trough in proclaiming that what's good for him is good for the country. What's depressing is that we seem not to have learned to recognize it for the hogwash it is.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Emma's 7th Birthday

Happy Birthday, Emma. May your toy box always be full and sunbeams warming your spot on the bed.