Saturday, June 30, 2018

Yup... Sadly

This came via Cousin Betty...and I seem to prove it, more often than not.



Friday, June 29, 2018

Happy Fourth!

Take some time to relax this weekend...


The Franklin Expedition -- And Other Archeological Updates



I am a Franklin freak. 

There, I said it. The Brick finds it terribly amusing that I gobble up any new information about the Arctic expedition, led by Franklin back in the LATE 1840s. Am I nuts, to be so curious? No one survived, to tell us what really happened. But in recent years, both of the expedition's ships, the Terror and the Erebus, have been found. Underwater, of course.
     Bits and pieces of the men, their boats (which they dragged, poor guys) and various possessions, from prayerbooks to silk handkerchiefs, have been discovered. Two of the best books on the subject have been bedside reading for weeks now:

Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition by Own Beattie (be sure to get the latest edition, for update reasons)



Relics of the Franklin Expedition: Discovering Artifacts from the Doomed Artic Voyage of 1845 by Garth Walpole (one amazing book, for consolidating all the relics -- so far, at least -- theories and search expeditions)



I've also enjoyed David Woodman's Unraveling the Franklin Mystery: Inuit Testimony.  Inuit accounts are the direct reason why the Terror and Erebus shipwrecks, particularly the Terror, were ever found, in the first place.



If you're curious, too, this is a fascinating documentary about the Franklin Expedition.



I've told you about this before, when the HMS Terror was discovered. And here, for the AMC series, The Terror.  I read the novel the series was based on, though, and wasn't impressed. Too creepy, too many made-up speculative details --



Here's a post on the Erebus artifacts recovered from the shipwreck. More here, from a Canadian government site.

One of their latest finds?  

A Blue Willow dinner plate, very similar to the set I was given by Little Brother in high school! (We still eat on some of the remaining plates, every day. I love this stuff.) According to the site:

The dinner plates are made of whiteware, a material intended to imitate Chinese porcelain. Some are decorated with a pattern known as blue willow. It was the most common and affordable pattern in the 19th century. Several pieces have engraved markings on their back or notches on their foot-ring.


From the 'artifacts' section. Several plates were discovered, near the galley stove on the Erebus.


Get right in there with the divers, thanks to an underwater look at the Erebus (the Terror too, I think):


If you can also get a little nutty about this subject, there's the 'Remembering the Franklin Expedition' Facebook group, which I just joined. Thanks to them, I get updates on the latest Franklin news, including a new expedition to look for John Franklin's grave. (The novel has him just dumped down a hole in the ice, which I highly doubt. The leader of the expedition, treated in such a cavalier fashion? No way.)

     Even better, today (June 29) is the 205th anniversary of the launching of the HMS Terror! It was also one of the British ships out there shelling the heck out of an American fort, inspiring lawyer Francis Scott Key to write the Star-Spangled Banner. So, in its honor:




Other interesting developments in the world of archeology, collectors and history-lovers:

An engraved stone that may explain what happened to the Roanoke settlers -- or it may be a fake.

More horses (and other weird stuff) revealed at Pompeii. The Brick visited the museum there back when he was in the Navy, but has never actually been to the excavations. I would love to see these.

Ten weapon discoveries that changed how we look at ancient cultures, and:

Ten amazing images from ancient art.  (Thanks, Listverse, for both.)

An exhibit that explores new theories -- and shows new artifacts -- about the sinking of the HMS Titanic.

The auction results of a prominent collection of Custer artifactsGeorge Armstrong Custer, that is... controversial figure in the Little Bighorn battle. Including a sign that hung on his office door:

"I Am Busy Now"  (in capital lettering)

Yes, this guy. (Wikipedia)


Note to self: Based on the prices realized, you should have been scouting out Custer items, instead of fooling around so much with Bigfoot!



If you love history -- and both the Brick and I do -- this is a fascinating time to be alive. We are so fortunate to not only have the Internet and research to keep us posted...but new discoveries happen every year.

I love knowing that others have come before us -- and will after, as well.






Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Interleave Quilts

Want a clever strip-pieced quilt that looks more difficult than it really is? 

Lorrie Cranor's blog has this signature 'interleave' piece...plus a number of clever variations.





She also provides a basic tutorial on the 'interleave' technique, to get you started.

Frugal Hits & Misses: June Report

What a June. 
     It wasn't as bad as April and May -- in fact, after the wedding, it calmed down a bit around here. But for the first few weeks, especially, life led us a merry chase. 
     Finances, thanks to wedding costs, have been interesting. We'd put money aside to cover them, but the Brick's kidney stone episodes, not to mention a crown and some bloodwork we both had to have, took those funds. We've been squeeeeezing to cover most of our regular costs, as a result. 
     We will make it. I feel certain of that. But it's meant putting some things off, and arranging to pay for others later.
     I also do not want to stuff the contents of freezer and pantry into the trailer. So the more we can eat up, the less we have to pack. (And the less money we need to spend.) Fits right along with the Pantry Challenge that usually runs every January. But it also means gritting my teeth and ignoring everything in the sale flyers but the true bargains.
     This report is a few days early...but I figured you could handle it.




FRUGAL HITS

*I made the kids' wedding cake myself -- ordered a topper from Etsy, plus rock crystals and food coloring gel from Amazon, plus borrowed cake pans. (Thank you, friend Laura!) The bad part: what began as a three-layer cake slid as we started up the canyon to the lodge. By the time we got to Allenspark, it had become a mound...and decorated the front of The Mama with frosting, to boot. I felt terrible about that.
     So I made it into a geode 'mountain,' instead, and added a nosegay of white roses. (I'd forgotten the topper at home, in the rush to get to the lodge.) It turned out surprisingly well, considering.

Other wedding savings:
   *Cloth napkins, cut by The Mama.
   *Made the food for the rehearsal dinner and reception ourselves (Christine, Son #1's mom, and yours truly).
   *Made the table arrangements, bouquets and bouttonieres...from garden plants! (More on this soon.)
   *Tulle used for the 'arch' and 'carpet' during the ceremony -- plus log chunks, hollowed out and planted with succulents. (The latter were also used on tables at the reception.)
   *Pretty much everyone helped -- particularly the parents (including the Brick and Christine, plus Steve, Son #1's dad, and his partner Gina); those in the wedding party and their partners; plus Brother and his family, who'd come from Michigan. (I was sooooo grateful.)
    More on this in a future post.


Daughter #2 and her proud father

Some recall items fixed on the truck...for free. I'm thankful the Brick keeps careful track of items like this.

We're back to watching a movie now and then free, as well as Fear the Walking Dead and our newest series: Grimm. (Yes, I know it's been going on for years. We just found it. Don't make fun.)
    Grimm is about a Portland, Oregon homicide detective, related to the Grimm Brothers (the fairytale collectors), who can 'see' evil monsters and villains when no one else can. Here's a delicious irony: according to IMDB, during a ComicCon, the producers were told that there are actual descendants of the Grimm Brothers living in the Portland area!




*The Brick fixed the TV. (A center section had darkened, due to defective LED lightstrips.)  Then he took the leftover LED strips, added a battery and switch, and attached them for lighting inside the trailer closets! See, I told you he was clever!

*A free sound receiver from Friend #1.  He gave us our previous one, which we'll pass on to one of the kids. Another friend set the Brick up with more equipment, which he can use to record music and pass tracks back and forth with the other guys. (Friend has a band that both guys play in.) 

*We made iced and regular coffee at home. A lot. Okay by me -- the Brick's coffee is far superior to the shops. Other than grocery stores (mostly wedding stuff), the bank and the library, I really didn't go much of anywhere this month.

*We were pretty careful on going out to eat. The few times we did, we used specials and giftcards. One big expense -- Father's Day -- Daughters #1 and #2 took care of. (Thanks, Dears.)
    Saw Black Panther at the discount cinema, along with friends. Wonderful costumes and fights, very dignified -- but I had a lot of unanswered questions. Why, for example, doesn't anyone notice that space-age planes keep zooming out of the so-called 'poor country's' airspace?? And even though outsiders -- including bad ones -- get in through the 'curtain,' they don't tell the rest of the world what's really there, behind the huts and grazing sheep??
     I'm confused.

*Two Amazon orders had some damage when they arrived -- and Amazon refunded the cost! (Thanks for being so understanding, Amazon.)

*We saved whenever possible on food for the reception. We ate as much of the leftover fruits and veggies as we could, before they started to 'go.' (We also forgot that some things were there, too late to preserve them.) Knowing you paid less for melon, greens, etc. doesn't make it any easier to throw the spoiled items away.

      Other food savings: $1/lb for burger. (I got 10 pounds.) Five pounds of mozzarella cheese for $8. Five 8 oz pkg of shredded cheddar for $5. (We eat a LOT of cheese.) I got rainchecks for what wasn't in stock right then on some other specials, then filled them just before the wedding.

*Went back to using leftovers more effectively. We had to -- the groceries for the wedding had to go somewhere. Still had spoilage -- I really miss having the chickens, in this regard. (We gave some hamburger buns and greens to our friends with rabbits.)  I did use many of the leftovers for two meals with friends -- what they don't know won't hurt them!

*Bought chicken breast (boneless, skinless) for 99 cents/lb - thanks to Zaycon. (Update:  Oh oh, just heard that Zaycon suspended business, as of June 25th. Since you have to pay for these orders ahead of time, I am headed to the credit card company next to dispute the charge. You'd better too, if you're also a Zaycon customer. Update to the update: 6/1 charge disputed; money's back in my account. Thank you, credit card company.)



*Sold two books on Amazon. Bought a few books (50 cents/kids, one $3 book for me) and a handful of videos ($2 each) from the library's used bookroom for our nieces and nephews.

*The Brick VOTED.  I hope you did, too, in your local primary.  (I am sad to say that I am a bad girl. In the rush and flurry of the month, I set aside my ballot for 'safekeeping.' When the time came to use it, it was nowhere to be found. Shame on me.)

*Did a new batch of appraisals and appraisal reports. Caught up on older ones, as well. (Whew.)

*Found several clothing items I'd forgotten about...which will be extra helpful this summer. One of the benefits of cleaning out your closet!

*Used a $10 coupon for plants at Home Depot. Ended up using them at the wedding (atmosphere, and flowers). The trimmed plants look bare now, but should leaf out nicely. (The kids planted them in their home garden.)


Coleus - one of the stars for decorating, including wedding bouquets! (pinterest)


FRUGAL MISSES


*Sent or gave out a pile of high school graduation cards, gift cards, cash and presents. We've had at least ten people, relatives and close friends, graduate this year. Why so many, I have no idea.

*We had to pay for a huge batch of blood tests connected with a recent physical. Aargh. I have another doctor's appt coming up, but managed to postpone it for a month. Plus, I asked that only the most essential bloodwork be done for the next appointment.  (I've had some minor health issues...even the minor stuff costs now.) 
     We also had yet another fight with the insurance company, who yet again told the doctor's office we had no insurance. This would be almost funny, if it didn't happen so often.
     For some weird reason, we are having the same struggle with our Sam's Club membership. In spite of the card (and the receipt, which we keep having to show to 'prove' we paid for it), the computer system thinks our membership is expired. We've been to Sam's at least four times, because of wedding items -- and every single time, we're told it's 'fixed.'

*Something munched on the strawberry plants (which were doing terrific up to that point - sigh). I also had to buy more plants to fill our planters front and back, and decorate the deck, as well. (Got some bargains, though.)



*The truck had a fuel leak.  Thankfully, the Brick was able to fix it. We spent extra for gas this month, as well, due to picking up wedding items, guests coming and going, and the two-hour drive (and back) to the wedding venue.

*Spent a bunch for the wedding reception,  and other connected events, including haircuts, clothes, shoes, decorations, food, etc etc. Even saving every way we could, we still needed to borrow money, plus cash in some savings bonds, to pay the credit cards in full. I am not happy about this, but it sure beats paying the outrageous interest the credit cards would exact. (And we'll pay it back quickly, once we sell the Outback.)
     How DO you do this, Faithful Readers who carry a balance??

*Bought nylons for the wedding -- the first in years -- and promptly got a run in one pair. Went barelegged, instead,  like everyone else in the wedding party. (Well, not Son or his groomsmen.)
     Why did we wear nylons, ages ago?? I forget.


Worth every penny -- and more.  (From Tracey Lynn's Facebook post)

*Paid the second half property tax payment. On time. Renewed the truck license, which expired in April -- and neither the Brick nor I noticed. (Never got the renewal postcard, apparently.) Colorado has a $25 penalty fee for paying late -- ironically, it costs about $30/monthly for the license. The clerk gave the Brick a license tag covering one month ahead from what it should have been. Five bucks saved!
    We continue to make our trailer loan payment midmonth, instead of waiting until the end. I can already see it's saving us on interest. Thrifty Mom in Boise taught me this simple trick, for which I am forever grateful.

*Had to throw out the last few packages of frozen peaches -- for some weird reason, the entire freezer compartment in the trailer smelled of frozen onions I'd also put in there. (Had to throw them out, too. Darn it.) Let me tell you, from experience -- a peach-and-onion smoothie is not that tasty.

*Ordered two snorkel masks for the Brick's Father's Day present. One was fine; the other, missing a small part. I'd gotten them on sale early -- and that early date meant, when he opened them, that they were past Amazon's 'return' date. Eergh. Hopefully he can rig something up so we can use both, anyways.

The new flowers in front and back look wonderful. Our terrific heat calms down now and then, and we even get (gasp) rain. You know -- that wet stuff that the rest of the country indulges in regularly. (We just don't get it much, here in Colorado.)
      Life goes on, hopefully in more serene fashion.  But we're packing up and working on the house -- so probably not.

Here's last year's June report, for comparison purposes.  And May's this year, if you're  curious.
      Wilkommen, Sommer.



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

You've Got Work To Do!



In my case, it's a little farm girl, scruffy and fierce. She enjoys pointing out the boneheaded things I've managed to do, where I grew up (not much money -- she especially points that out), tasks that still need to be taken care of around here... and right now, a house full of STUFF that needs to go (or be put away). 

But if I tell her to leave me alone, she does. She then goes in the corner and pouts -- until my next moment of uncertainty. 

If you don't have a similar 'negative committee' (even if it's just one), you're not being honest with yourself. They're what keep you true to what's right. 
      Just don't believe them all the time.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Making Progress!

It feels so nice to be able to say that. 

Appraisals are almost completely caught up. House is still a mess, but gradually getting picked up, too. It helps that we haven't been going anywhere much. 
    The weather jumps from hot and muggy to chilly and muggy...at least for Colorado. We plan to take off this week for a day at Princeton Hot Springs -- otherwise, it will just be more of same. We won't go anywhere for the Fourth; too many tourists here. We hate standing in line. (Something, I was surprised to note, that my Aussie friends didn't mind doing at all.) 



Meanwhile:

A $25 giftcard...just for filling out a 10-min health insurance survey? (The only caveat -- it can't be through an employer.) I did it -- you can, too.

Tim Conways's elephant story. Rude alert -- but this is one of the funniest outtakes ever from the Carol Burnett Show.



The little boy who gave his parents a $132,000 bill -- because they couldn't be bothered to watch him in an art gallery area in Kansas City. The brat. Ahhh, but do I mean the kid...or the parent?



Popular home dec trends that are quietly disappearing.  (From Apartment Therapy)

Ways to save -- when you have small children. And when you don't.

"Dirty is the new clean." Blame Mr. Money Mustache -- don't jump on me! (But I sort of agree with him.)

Another house story gem from Thistlewood Farms; this one's on blue and white dishes.  I started out prepared to categorize this blogger as 'just another Emily Henderson,' but she's not. Be sure to read this.

The oldest Munchkin from The Wizard of Oz died last week -- he was 98.

Free large drink at AMC theaters -- when you download the Coke app. (Thanks, Moneysaving Mom)

Travel packing tips from women who travel for work. All the time.  (From The Cut)




Five famous people who (generally) got away with huge lies.

Flourless peanut butter cookies. These are far better than you would think.  (From Thrifty Mom in Boise)

50 free state quilt blocks.  Courtesy of the American Quilter's Society.

Ever heard of a hailstorm killing fish? It happens...

The street piano in Columbia, MO, painted with a famous burr oak .  (Daughter #1 enjoys playing on a street piano in Denver, which made me notice this sort of thing.)

Thirteen celebrities who stopped (or outlasted) their school-aged bullies:



Fifteen here, too.  (There's some overlap.) Christian Bale's comment comes through loud and clear:

   "If you can face the bullying at school and come through it stronger, that is a lesson for life."

(Lisa Vanderwerff and Mary Hall, are you listening? You taught me that lesson.)

An interesting place to compare political statements with facts. And they don't focus on one side of the spectrum, or the other.  (Thanks so much, Politifacts)

A new website I've started reading! Circus Stella travels with show dogs -- and a fascinating couple who are frugal, yet fun. You might enjoy it, too.

Life After Money's Shed of the Year.  All recycled materials, built bit by bit! Video's here:




And here the author of Life After Money speaks. Yes, she can be a little forthright, but she's been living on a limited income quite successfully for many years. That's to be admired.




Have a great week.


By the way, that Irish photo the other day? BLARNEY tower, near the castle of the same name

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Can You Help Someone This Weekend?



Online Sales Tax, Here We Come

Brace yourself.

If you do any ordering online, the odds are very, very good that from now on, you'll be paying sales tax -- whether the company is in your home state or not.

The Supreme Court just ruled that states can collect sales tax from online orders generated in their location. (Interestingly enough, this started with a South Dakota case. How many online customers from this plains state are ordering, versus, say, New York?)

States aren't required to do this. Five states don't charge sales tax now: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. (Alaska and Montana do allow local towns to charge their own tax.) Ironically, this article praises Colorado for having the lowest state sales tax (2.9%) -- but our total in the Castle Rock area is closer to 9.5%, thanks to local add-ons. (The stinkers.)

 But I never heard of a state government that didn't sprint to the fiscal feed trough when it had the go-ahead to do so.


Big online companies like Amazon, Ebay and Wayfair are squealing, too. They've been getting away with lax sales tax charges for ages...and picking up a lot of orders because of it.

So have we as customers, quite frankly.

So... will this cost you more in the long run? Yes -- but it's really more fair, particularly to small companies with a retail presence who've been forced to charge sales tax all along to their walk-in customers. For companies without a storefront, whose sales are largely from the internet, it's going to be a pain -- each state charges differently. (This includes Brickworks, my company. Oh boy.)

I wonder if there will eventually be some kind of national agreement between the states on a sales tax percentage...but so far, it hasn't happened.

For more on how this is going to affect you, go here.


guess why I'm using this photo? (Hint: it's Irish.)




Koko Is Gone

The gorilla who showed her skills in understanding language is dead. She was 46 -- and almost made it to her 47th birthday, on the Fourth of July.



Koko used objects and sign language -- more than a thousand signs -- to express herself. She learned to understand more than 2,000 English words...and play the recorder.

In the process, she made many friends and admirers, including Robin Williams.



Sleep well, Koko. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Always Read Instructions

This teacher's instruction sheet is a winner. 


Would you have read all the way through, at first?   (I didn't...)\


(From Trend-Chaser.com)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I Don't Understand This, Either!

Suddenly It's Just Awful that families who are entering the U.S. illegally (note that word, folks) have been separated and put into separate holding facilities.
     Including older children who may have been sent separately in the first place, on purpose, figuring they could slip in when their adult parents could not.  (See further comments on this in a bit.)

Like you, I've heard all sorts of brouhaha from every celebrity on the planet, saying how terrible this is. One even had the temerity to announce that Barron Trump, poor kid, should be 'ripped from his mother's arms' and thrown into a cage of pedophiles.  (To his credit, Peter Fonda did apologize for being such a jerk. But he never should have said it in the first place.)

Even ex-President Obama got into mode, with a long Facebook post on World Refugee Day. Same subject -- how cruel to have families broken apart, we can use our votes to change things (hint, vote Democratic next time!)...and so on. What a noble gesture, right?

Except there's a problem. 

This policy didn't start with Trump -- it began in 2014, during President Obama's administration.

Families were put in detention centers while awaiting trial...in the same 'cages' and under the same conditions that Mr. Obama and others are decrying now. (This was particularly the case for young migrants who came separately. Thousands of them.)

Trump's 'zero tolerance' policy, separating children from adults, has been going on since April 19. Why has it suddenly exploded into such a brouhaha? Is this a camouflage to keep our attention turned away from something else that's going on?

I know, I know. Way too suspicious for my own good. What about the recent North Korea summit meetings, that seem to have gone well? (God forbid that anyone admits anything the Trump administration did was effective.)

Perhaps the United Nations' frantic stance on Israel?

Hmmm.

At any rate, the outcry has worked. Today, President Trump signed papers reversing the separation part of the 'no tolerance' policy, after bipartisan pressure to do so. "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," the president said.

[Update: Poor Mrs. Trump. She stops by one of the centers to try and encourage -- so what does the media do, but focus on her silly jacket.  Sure, it's trendy...that's why she wore it. President Trump tweeted that it really was a message to the media...but I don't believe that. Just a slipup, an incredibly foolish fashion choice -- and a strong reminder that when you're in the public eye, people notice everything.]


Back to the subject at hand.

I don't like seeing families separated, either, if those children really were little kids. That's heartless. This article mentions more than 2,300 children being separated...but then says 'more than 100' were under four years old. Awful....glad that's not happening anymore. 

But what about the other 2,200+ kids? How old, really, were they? (No doubt there were some slightly older, but the photos show a lot of older teenagers.) See the Border Patrol's statement on this subject, suggesting that some of these kids are showing up because they've largely been 'immune from prosecution.'  In other words, they can slip through and go on to foster care in the U.S. Paid for, of course, by us -- the U.S. taxpayers.

Double hmmmm.

So now we're back to the Obama plan: holding families jointly while they're waiting for trial. (In other words, they're still being prosecuted for attempting to enter the States illegally. Same as other presidents' administrations have been doing for ages.)

And when they're deported, the kids and the adults get sent back. Together.

Let's see ex-President Obama, and his raft of celebrities, blame Trump for that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Yet Even More Things I Don't Understand

Gentle Readers, you know how much I enjoy a good story. Some are stranger than others, though. Here's the latest installment in You Know What. 
      Enjoy.




Anna Sorokin -- or, as we know her better, Anna Delvey -- turns down a plea deal of 3-9 years in prison, because she wanted a 1-3 year deal, instead. Now she gets to go to trial, with a max of 15 years as a possibility. 

     “I see no remorse,” Justice Diane Kiesel told Anna Sorokin, 27, who sauntered into court wearing black-rimmed glasses, a makeshift white headband and a prison-issue sweatsuit.
“She seems more concerned about who is going to play her in the movie than what she’s done to the people she allegedly took advantage of,” said Kiesel in Manhattan Supreme Court... calling the defense lawyer’s request for one to three years “a mere slap on the wrist for a crime this serious.”

Other grifters abound, so much so that one writer calls this "The Summer of Scam," even though the plots go way back to 2015 and before. Like William Baekeland, who said he was an heir to the Bakelite inventor's fortune, and weasled more than $800,000, ostensibly to arrange exotic luxury trips for people. (He wasn't...and he didn't.)

The Fyre Festival promoter comes in for a bow, too. He even managed to scam more people for fake tickets while he was out on bail for the original mess.  (He says it wasn't his fault -- his girlfriend and an employee did the dirty deed.)

Or another interesting entrepreneur -- Elizabeth Holmes, the college student who built a blood testing company, Theranos, into a huge success. (Only it didn't do what it said.) Now she and her co-founder have been indicted for fraud.


In both Holmes' and Delvey's cases: I did not realize, until I'd been researching quite a bit, how often both women resorted to an innocent wide-eyed pose in photos. We saw a similar big starey-eyed look from someone in our circle...whenever, it turned out, she was lying to us.


See what I mean?  Anna Delvey, via a fascinating article in thecut.com

The glamour model who says she was brainwashed by ISIS...via Facebook. "I liked the attention," she explained." That ranks right up there with 'Dr. Love,' the 20-year-old who ran his own medical clinic...and just got sentenced to a year in prison for it.  Turns out he was actually up to more shenanigans, including trying to buy a Jaguar.  Using an elderly relative's credit, which he'd already rifled the day before for two IPads and a cellphone. (His attorney praised his "entrepreneurial spirit." Go figure. His grandpa said at least he had "good intentions.")

Why does the Daily Mail, a British paper, use the phrases "jaw-dropping" and "flaunts cleavage" so often in its celebrity posts?   Doesn't anyone on staff ever use a thesaurus? (Here's an online one , in case you need it.)
     Yes, I read these celebrity doings. So spank me. How else would I know about important details like 'Superman' Dean Cain being sworn in as a police officer, and Sheryl Crowe loving leather jackets? Not to mention nine hundred bazillion details about the Kardashians. (Okay, I could do without those.)

The passenger who forced EVERYONE on a Spirit flight to get off... because she refused to.  She was late, but ran past an employee and got on, anyways. She announced that she never used swear words...right after she reeled off a bunch. And, my favorite, showed her lack of bias by racially insulting other passengers as they got off. Because of her.
     Oh yes, and taped it all. (Conveniently stopping just before she, according to the police, kicked the arresting officer in the groin. She says he beat on her, instead.)
      Whoo boy.

A South Korean bitcoin exchange announces that (oops) $32 million of its bitcoins have just plain disappeared over the past few days. But that's ok -- the company will make it up out of 'its own funds.' Sure, it will.



Threw away more salad greens from the wedding than I'd care to admit

 Harvey Weinstein has pled not guilty. What did you expect? (No doubt Oprah will be a no-show as a character witness, in spite of all his hopes.) 

Chicken bullies.  There you go.


...or eat frog's legs. We have a friend, Ben Madrid, who thinks this way.



A caller phones into the Art Bell radio show... a very frantic caller. If he's right -- and Bell certainly thought he was credible -- it has some very scary implications for the government, Area 51 and aliens in general. Listen to the tape, and see what you think.


The Brick once worked at Buckley Air Force Base, known as the location of the 'golf balls' to locals. One man who also worked there alleged that 'we' were communicating with aliens regularly. (From Mars, I believe.) I asked the Brick if he'd seen anything like that. 'You have GOT to be kidding,' he said.


Why not just put a fried egg applique around the kid's head?




And if you're still not satisfied, there's always:

Good 'ol Kathy Griffin, still as obnoxious as ever. Makes you feel proud, don't it?

And if you're into current events, this one ranks right up there, too.

For more of same, go here. And here.  And here. Here too.  And this one, as well.  It never ends.


Thanks for Pinterest for most of the weird photos and memes...

Monday, June 18, 2018

Yikes!


Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Tunnel Vision

    One of the benefits of writing my book this year was bumping into a great book about the tunnels underneath our cities. The Tunnels Under Our Feet covers a wide range of Colorado spots, including several where I was prowling, as well. I'm looking forward to Tracy Beach's second book-in-progress on the subject. 
     Remarkable.



Meanwhile:

A report on this year's Mile High Mystery Conference, held in May. (Wish I could have been there.)



How a chihuahua broke open a scandal for Native American I.D. cards. 

"What's the biggest scam you've ever seen?" A Quora question with fascinating answers. I'd still nominate the IRS phone call scam -- I've lost count of the times I've been threatened with arrest and worse via phone call. (Btw, the IRS does NOT call you. They send mail, instead.)

Jerry Lewis was a dedicated gun collector! And said to be one of the fastest draws in Hollywood...go figure. His collection is now up for grabs, apparently.

Summer doldrums - how he's dealing with them.  (From Tight-Fisted Miser)

One of the best comeback lines ever -- from Sarah Paulson, about the decades-age difference between herself and partner Holland Taylor:

“If anyone wants to spend any time thinking I’m strange for loving the most spectacular person on the planet, then that’s their problem."

The 30 MILLION DOLLAR ewer. Yow. (It is interesting...but 30 million?? Obviously, at least one appraiser thought so.)

A Banksy painting, taken from a Toronto art exhibit. See if you recognize the thief.

Tiny house, big views. A tour of a Washington state summer retreat.  (From Dwell)



Artifacts stolen from the Chugach Indian tribe in Florida are finally returned -- more than a century later.

30 movie performances that were Plan B.  Or C...or just plain desperation moves. You'll be surprised at some of these...others, not so much.  (From Cracked)

What happens when you don't slow down for a toll plaza? This guy shows it...and it ain't pretty. (Everybody survived, thankfully.)

The three-legged stool: keeping your investments inflation and depression-proof.  (From Coach Carson)

Restaurant-style pasta with three cheese sauce. Oooh.  (From Penniless Parenting)

Kourtney Kardashian's 'detox water.'  Hey, why not...

Six ways to pay off debt -- and keep from falling back into it again. A classic from yours truly. Plus:

15 very cool glowstick hacks -- including a way to recharge them.  (From How Does She)

Fifteen ways to make popsicles!   This might come in handy, considering how hot it's been lately.

Lasagna-stuffed chicken. Perfect for a high-protein, low-pasta diet. (From the Stay At Home Chef)





Where will you pay the most (or least) in retirement taxes?  States you'll want to know about.

Stupid thief fails.  These would almost be funny, if they weren't robbing people and businesses...and sometimes getting away with it, no doubt.



Breaking the 'rules' -- in some very creative ways.

$2.5 mil value in WWII cash -- found under the floorboards of an old tailor's shop Winston Churchill used to patronize!

A Big Mac Salad? Yummm. (From Successful Homemakers)





Ten cases of liberal hypocrisy.  Hey, send me 10 conservative cases, and I'll include them, too!  (From Listverse)
     My personal favorite: Michael Moore, who, during their divorce, made a huge stink over his wife's quilt collection.  For specifics, go here if you're curious. (She used to go to the same Crazy quilting conferences I was teaching at, though I never personally met her.)

Have a great week.





Saturday, June 16, 2018

Me. Today.








(Too bad I have some deadlines to finish up... but I can dream, can't I...)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Free Speech - with Respect

     Well, Gentle Readers...

Yesterday, I posted a bunch of updates on stories I've been mentioning to you.

Deadbeat sons.

Body cam revelations.

People wearing uniforms -- and not.

Dogfights!  (Charley and Ruby do get into it on occasion.)

Stuff like that.

But the biggest bunch of comments, by far, was on the Colorado baker whose decision not to make a wedding cake was upheld by the Supreme Court.  

I haven't been accused of being a paranoid bigot yet, for supporting this guy's decision -- but it's come close.

All memes from Pinterest, by the way


HERE'S THE STRUGGLE.

We live, thank God, in a free country. One where we are allowed to express our opinions and beliefs without fear of arrest or reprisal. We are allowed to worship as Christians, Jews and Muslims -- even Druids -- without the worry that someone will appear in mid-service to drag us off to the slammer, just for going to church.

That's happening now, in other countries. Today. People are dying because they refuse to renounce their faith. Christians have been especially targeted for this...not that American Christians have noticed that much. After all, we don't have to worry about it.






Freedom. The freedom to speak openly. Live openly.

That means that a well-respected actor can shoot his mouth off ABOUT THE PRESIDENT...in a very public place...and still not get arrested when he leaves for the night.

Yep, good for you, Robert DeNiro. Way to publicly act like a jerk. Go ahead and disagree with Trump -- plenty of people do. Couldn't you do it with more class?

(Actually, President Trump could have handled his response to this boorishness with a little more tact, too. Goes both ways.)





That's the blessing -- and curse -- of free speech. As long as it isn't threatening people, you can say what you want. But you're also held responsible for what you say -- esepecially when your actions back those words up.

Tough to handle. 

It means that people in our good 'ol U.S. of A. are allowed to make statements designed to incense and horrify -- and do it openly. I feel this way whenever a white supremacist group sets up shop on the Denver capitol steps for a sunny day of hatemongering.

Not everyone is going to agree with whatever you think -- no matter what it is, or how much you think they should.  (As the Brick sarcastically puts it to the naysayers: "It's only free speech when  I'm the one saying it.")

And you're going to have to live with that.





HERE'S THE KEY: 

Can you listen to what others say, disagree with them...and still show respect?

No insults. Temper tantrums. Curse words. Giving them the finger. Stomping out. Gutting them out on social media...particularly with statements you know aren't true. Filing complaints -- or lawsuits -- because you didn't get what YOU personally wanted. 

Romans 12: 17-18 puts it in a very interesting way:

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Carefully consider what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone.

 Do I do it all the time? Nope -- wish I did. But I try. And we certainly tried to teach our girlies to live it. (Sadly, both the Brick and I got plenty of doses of prejudice, growing up -- but we were fortunate to both have parents who generally refused to act that way.)

AND A CAVEAT:

You can say it. But you'll also be held responsible for whatever you say. 

So please, make it respectful. That's half the battle. The other half: choosing your words carefully, and living by them.

Let's go back to the case of Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker. 

Would I have made the wedding cake for the same-sex couple? 

Yes. I have friends I care about who are gay. Cousins, too. Would I have made cakes for them? Sure.

       But I will also defend his right to be able to say, with respect, "no."