Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Scotland, Aye...






Hey, when your mom was a Cumings, you've got that Scottish blood just pouring through your veins...






And when you marry a guy whose grandma was a Campbell...






Your daughters are just chockful of Scot.




(The strange thing: The Campbell and Cumings clans didn't exactly like each other!)

Boogie Squatch

Old college roommate (and my matron of honor) Chris just sent me the nicest reminder:




  (Ummm...thanks, Chris. )

No doubt inspired by our Hairy Friend's role in (probably) keeping a little boy alive.

But I found this too, while saving the meme: Boogie Squatch! 
                                                                         





Or try the GIF yourself.  (I couldn't get it to loop.)

Frugal Hits & Misses: January Report

I don't normally total up food costs monthly, though I am careful (or so I thought) to buy what we need -- and get those items, as much as possible, on sale. On a whim mid-month, I totalled up December's grocery expenses -- hundreds more than I'd planned.
    A good-sized chunk of that included general and stocking gifts (including some very thoughtful ones from the Brick), as well as seafood for the Seven Fish Dishes (and a lobster dinner waiting in the freezer for Son #1, who had to miss Christmas Eve this past year). It also represented several six-packs of beer and a bottle of champagne. I think it included some gift cards, too. But to have it total up that way...no wonder our credit card bills seemed way out of line last month.
     Thankfully, this month's food costs went back down closer to the $50-or-less we spend per week, if I'm not artificially holding things down. All the same, I have no big plans to go hogwild with groceries and such for the next few months. 
     January brings a certain restlessness and irritability. It's easy to pick fights over little things, and even easier to get overwrought about news events. (I would say I'm not the only one, based on the recent brouhaha about drums and MAGA caps.) Do you struggle with this, too?

    I read a lot of books this month, and tried hard to remind myself not to spend. Not going out much to stores helps -- but staying off Amazon is even harder. The Brick is headed to NC to see his big brother in early February. I'll stay home, get work done, and take care of Charley and Ruby. I miss the Brick already.
     Meanwhile, we get a mini-blizzard every three days or so, with just enough time in between to shovel out the drifts, clean off the truck's windshield and take care of necessaries. This is a lot of precipitation for us in Colorado's flatlands -- usually it's pretty dry.

     Makes me wonder what February has in store.





FRUGAL HITS

*Food purchases were largely kept to a minimum -- mostly milk, butter and eggs. That included a free 8-lb bag of tater tots -- and another big bag each of fries and tater tots, about 55 cents/lb. These are great on winter nights, baked and sprinkled with cheese. I did get a package of chicken breasts (99 cents a pound), pork chops (1.02/lb) and whole chicken (83 cents a pound -- the latter two from Sam's Club). We won't be starving anytime soon.
     Safeway had a stock-up sale: 99-cent canned chili and soups, plus 39-cent canned beans of various sorts. I took advantage of that, as well as two half-priced yogurt packs, but didn't do any grocery shopping the last two weeks, until the very end of the month. Even that was minimal: milk and a dozen eggs. (I know: Big Spender.)






*Safeway must have gotten a wild hair. After weeks of nothing, it offered four freebies -- all at the same time. King Soopers, on the other hand, no longer has a fer-sure-and-fer-certain  Friday freebie. Darn. I also take advantage of both chains' Friday/Saturday (and occasionally Sunday) specials.

The Michigan apples in the crisper are nearly gone. (Caramel fruit dip, via Betty Crocker)

     Soopers did include a couple of free items on the coupons they send every other month or so. I used those for a free pizza and some chips. And when I redeemed those (the evening of the last day the coupon was good!), a huge display of ham was on sale. Honey-cured, spiral-cut ham for 49 cents a pound?!? I'll take that any day!  Speaking of hairs --

*Held off on a haircut...I wasn't going anywhere much. But now's the time -- and look into a new pair of glasses.

*Grouped errands and trips like crazy. Not only did this save gas, but time...and not having to deal with slippery roads. And the Brick came with me occasionally.

*Piano lessons started up again.  I hope to trade piano lessons for drum lessons in the next few months.

*Cheap tickets for a first-run movie (Green Book, which we both liked very much). We paid for the tickets; our friends paid for a Kentucky Fried Chicken lunch afterwards. (This should make perfect sense to anyone who saw the movie, That, or Italian food.)

*Two rolls of Christmas wrap - 90% off. It's neutral enough to use in winter, at least.




*Used some vouchers for (almost free) plane tickets. I got these last year when I was 'bumped' on a trip. Thanks to a Southwest sale, and a lot of finagling, the Brick managed to stretch them into plane tickets for Cabo, a trip to Grand Rapids (for both of us - usually just one goes), and a single ticket to NC, with a little still leftover. What a guy!

*More two-dollar videos from the library's sale room -- one 3-for-$2 set, plus a tv series for $2...and a free book thrown in. (The tv series -- Copper -- was a real woofer, and got donated back to the library.)

*Started researching for the next book -- most of it by interlibrary loan and requests. It's been saving both  $$ and space.

*Half-priced Christmas candy, from several places. (Just realized this may also have padded the December food totals. Ouch.) Most of it will be Valentine's Day presents. (Also got several 2-for-$1 Valentine's cards at the dollar store, while I was at it.) Bought a few half-priced presents for next season, but not many -- we'll have to put these in storage until then.

*Sold a book and two videos on Amazon! That's always nice. Also sold some copies of Ghosts & Legends.



*Used part of a $25 Amazon giftcard (the Brick's Christmas gift) to buy a Colorado treasure book. When it arrived, he pointed out that he'd given me the same book years ago!  Aaarrrrrgghghghgh...it will go as a present to a friend, instead.
    I also bought two more books via Amazon at reasonable price, one on Amelia Earhart (one of my hobbies) and another Colorado treasure book. We hope to explore more on the latter when we move into the trailer this spring.

*The Brick earned an additional $25 giftcard, using Swagbucks. Still a great way to earn, doing the shopping and searches you normally would, anyways. (Go here for more.)

Used bonus cards from Outback and Red Robin -- and coupons, online and otherwise, for free stuff. This isn't always easy to do...I forget they're there until the expiration date is past. Then guilt sets in. (I'm guessing this is what the businesses are hoping you'll do, especially with the giftcards.)
    We also took advantage of  BOGO Red Robin specials, while also redeeming the bonus cards.

*Traded dog care with the neighbors. Dogsat for another neighbor.

'Nobody's trading me!'

*Bought a summertime dress for myself -- less than $10. I hope to use it Down South.

*Picked up some more teaching/speaking gigs. More appraisals, too. (Finished what I had.)

*Gave a talk for the local chapter of ASA (American Society of Appraisers). No fee  paid (darn) -- but free supper, at least.

*Ate at Culver's (with coupons) on our anniversary trip. Nice, considering how scary it was to get there. Free breakfast at the hotel each morning. Brought snacks; used coffee provided by hotel. (No groupons for Glenwood Hot Springs, darn it -- but the Brick had one for the hotel.)

*Put away stuff. Found other stuff I'd forgotten I had. These will come in handy for birthdays and other occasions throughout the year.





FRUGAL MISSES

*Paid for the Personal Property Conoisseurship Conference, mid-March in Santa Fe. 
     On the plus side, I'm required to take a certain amount of education credits, to keep my ASA accreditation fresh. As Daughter #2 pointed out, I would have been paying much more per credit, if I did this via other venues. Not only that, I'll be hearing from and meeting some of the best in the country for Southwestern art, as well as gallery and style experts (furniture, folk art, rugs, etc.), the IRS, etc.
     Another plus: location. This is close enough for us to attend via trailer -- which means the Brick and the dogs can go with. Saves on a hotel room, food...and I get to be with my family.
     The negative is kicking that money out en masse, when no jobs were in sight. (January is always a quiet time, for both the website and work, although some bookings did come in.) At least I got an earlybird plus ASA member discounts for registering now, and bonus points from using the credit card to pay.

*Bought a group of items on Ebay for resale separately...an experiment. We'll see what happens.

*Did the annual sales tax report for Brickworks. Next are income taxes -- oh joy.

*Used the rest of my Christmas present Amazon giftcard to replace an antique lamp part -- that fell off the table and broke.Because I knocked it over. So no more extra goodies from Amazon until I can earn my Swagbucks giftcard.(Sorry, Brick.)

*Splurged on a Christmas house snowglobe, at 70% off. No, I don't need it. Yes, I wanted it. I'm not sorry, either. 



On to February.

Charmers like Brandy at The Prudent Homemaker often blog their frugal accomplishments -- and help keep me on track. I'm grateful for them.
     For last year's January report, and the 2017 January report, click on them. For last month's report (December 2018), click here.




Monday, January 28, 2019

Not That This Ever Happens...

Joe Heller's cartoon ran on the Denver Post's editorial page on Sunday. I thought it fit.







Here's the direct link...and Joe Heller's page, if you want more of same.

And if you're not a friend on my Facebook page:

Stephan Pastis interviews Permanently Offended Man. 

Prepare to be offended.





Sunday, January 27, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: Back to Work?

The government shutdown is over -- for a while, at least. 


from Urban Outfiiters...via Pinterest

I would love to say that President Trump came out of this whole affair with a gold star -- but I can't see it. I can't see Nancy Pelosi winning one..or Congress, in general. Congressional leaders are not looking too good, either.
     Is this the best we can hope for, from the people who are supposed to represent us? 



via Pinterest

Ah well. Elsewhere in this big, wide world:

"Six vintage pieces I seriously regret getting rid of. " (From Emily Henderson)

The college student who plans to retire by 30 -- and may just succeed. You can pick up some useful tips from how he's doing it.

The New York Times reporter who was 'researching' people's experiences with Christian schools, using the interesting tweet title, '#Exposing Christian Schools. Wonder if he was pro or con?

Thirteen people who faked their own deaths. (From Reader's Digest -- just a warning: it loads verrryyy slowly.)

Did you know that the State of the Union address is 'very unimportant' for us Americans? Nancy Pelosi says so...should we believe her?

Ten peaceful photographs -- with anything-but-calm backstories.  (From Listverse)


The very odd story of a rowdy English family visiting New Zealand -- and allegedly trashing everything and every place they go. Their actions have been so bad that New Zealand actually deported four of them after a week. Update: But they haven't left yet. (The deportation notice gives them 28 days.) And now apparently they're behaving themselves...isn't it amazing what being videoed and photographed will do!
    Further update: They're back in the UK. No doubt Brits everywhere are thrilled about that.

A collection of Indian motorcycle, bicycles and related memorabilia auctions sells for more than $500,000. Only one or two people knew of the Phoenix junkyard owner's collection, kept in a locked shed.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

More updates on the Covington Affair.  If you can stomach reading more about this.

Bear in mind that Sandmann has offered no apology...but neither has Phillips.

Five things about Nathan Phillips, the Native American drummer...and a very interesting statement from the Powers That Be at Covington School.

Yes, folks, he has a criminal record. Not to mention several interesting items on his much-ballyhooed military service.  A thoroughly nice guy, all around. But then, you always figure that something interesting will turn up, with further digging.

Like the Covington blackface incident.  Except the black player pictured front and center in the photo in question says "it was never about race," just school spirit.
    Apparently the "it's not rape if you like it" slur, also trotted out to also discredit the students, was made by a kid standing nearby that wasn't even part of the Covington group. (You can almost hear the media outlets saying, "Darn...")

    Plus  Phillips' interview on the Today Show, the day after Sandmann's aired:


And the latest on his plans to meet with the Covington students -- no way. He wants a MUCH bigger audience than just a bunch of kids: 




The Pope, according to Phillips, should be the one moderating the discussion. I'm sure His Holiness would be happy to oblige.

Why am I not surprised... this is a golden opportunity to promote his cause(s). He needs to take advantage of it -- quick -- before some other news item bumps him out of the public eye. Like the budget. Or Wall-building.

Meanwhile, Nick Sandmann's family has hired a lawyer.  A very prominent libel attorney who's defended a number of famous causes. Can you spell "B-A-C-K-P-E-D-A-L?"

Not to mention a rush to delete tweets...quick. My favorite: Kathy Griffin, who apparently can't tell the difference between a three-point hand symbol in basketball, and Nazi salutes. Thanks to readers labeling her as "the stupidest person on the planet," she can tell now.
     Shamefaced confession: I didn't know, either. Then again, I don't watch a lot of basketball, and I didn't jump to weird conclusions. The Brick's dad used to say, "'Assume' makes an ass out of 'you' and 'me.'"

    A more comprehensive look at the tweet issue is here -- read it if you don't have time to trudge through all the links.

Is Twitter helping with this? Apparently not. Which is also interesting. Apparently, insulting, violent threats are not the problem. It's who you make them about that counts -- the more vehement, the better. Violence is okay, expressed toward the proper 'group.'

What a mess.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

How to avoid buyers' remorse when purchasing a luxury vehicle. I still wouldn't do it -- loved my Jeep Cherokee too much -- but there are some good points here.  (From Financial Samurai)

50 best moneysaving tips for 2019Although I'm not so sure about making my own 'toilet paper' from old t-shirts...ewww.  (From Making Sense of Cents)

Keep checking prices even after you book your trip(From Money Beagle)

Nature is terrifying. A BUNCH of weird nature photos...including a fox popsicle.  (From Pawsome)



How your financial family tree affects what you do today.  (From Get Rich Slowly)

Does William Shatner have a son, besides his three daughters? This man claims so...and would like to keep the 'Peter Shatner' name he gave himself. (I dunno. A simple DNA test would get the questions over with -- something Shatner, so far, at least, has refused to do. Which makes me wonder.)

Is your side hustle idea a good one?  How to find out.  (From One Hundred Dollars A Month)

A meteorite struck during the  moon during its wolf/blood/eclipse!  You'll want to read this part first...

Oscar nominations for 2019: biggest snubs and surprises. Personally, I think A Quiet Place should have had more of a showing than the ironic nomination for 'sound editing.' This was one amazing movie. Ditto for Green Book, which got more respect. Here's the full list of Oscar nominations.

Five bold political predictions for 2019. Let's see if he's right!

Douglas McArthur's son -- what happened to him? The answer is surprising.



Have a good week.


From  gardengreen.icu... via Pinterest

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Did Bigfoot Rescue A Little Boy?

Casey Hathaway is safe, thank God.

The three-year-old was lost for days in the woods near his grandmother's home, in cold and rainy weather that hampered the search.

Finally, he was found, still in the woods. He was scratched up, cold and wet, but okay. The little guy spent a day in a hospital bed, eating Cheetos, chicken nuggets and watching Paw Parol.




So how did he survive?

According to his aunt, Breanna Hathaway, on Facebook:

"He said he hung out with a bear for two days," she wrote. "God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is (a) good God. Miracles do happen."

And she's right.

Casey told the same story to his rescuers. "He didn't say how he was able to survive and all that," Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said. "He did say he had a friend in the woods that was a bear that was with him."


A bear?!?

They hibernate this time of year. And bears aren't exactly known for their hospitality to little kids. This expert says the kid must have imagined the whole thing, since this isn't typical ursine behavior.

Could it have been someone else known to be big, brown and hairy? 
Ask the kid if that 'bear' spent a lot of time walking around on two legs...those creatures are known to express curiosity about children. Could the Big Guy have shown more than that, in this case?

Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) is known to frequent North Carolina...but no reports have been posted for Craven County on the BFRO website (Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization). Plenty of other reports are on the list, though none close to that county. (In a particularly odd twist, Onslow County, where the Brick grew up, has one of the largest group of sightings in the state. The Brick, BTW, is skeptical about the existence of the Big Guy.)

I'd love to hear the rest of the story. So would BF researchers elsewhere around the country.

Meanwhile...



Read more here: https://www.islandpacket.com/news/nation-world/national/article225090590.html#storylink=cpy



Well, There You Go...

Guess what -- it's even available on Amazon!






If we're talking needlepoint instead, Rosey Grier would agree.



You'll find his work in Celebrity Needlepoint. Rosey's Needlepoint for Men is harder to find -- but copies are still out there.






Now, if I could get the Brick to try patchwork...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Friends

This one's for you, Dears -- because you would do this.




Or "thassa nice purse," a la Trading Places...



Charles Dickens 'Lost Portrait' Rediscovered

One of Dickens' portraits has been found again --scratched up and faded a bit, but intact. Although its existence has been known for ages -- it was copied as a frontispiece for one of Dickens' novels -- no one knew where this little miniature had disappeared to.






Turns out it was jumbled in with misc. trinkets at a South African garage sale. Go figure.

The curators at the Dickens Museum in London are understandably thrilled. (Here's their blogpost on the subject.)

So is Philip Mould, the dealer/auctioneer who authenticated it, had it restored, and now owns the portrait.



The Dickens Museum people want to buy it. Bad.

The miniature portrait was painted in 1843, during the time Dickens was penning A Christmas Carol.



But how did it get to South Africa? According to Philip Mould:

...research undertaken by Philip Mould & Company strongly suggests that it arrived via one of two sons of George Henry Lewes (partner to George Eliot), both of whom emigrated to South Africa in the 1860s. Both Gillies and Dickens were close to the Lewes family and Gillies' adopted daughter was married to another of Lewes' sons. The portrait was found at a general sale in a tray containing a number of antiques and everyday objects, including an old recorder, a brass dish and a metal lobster. Suspecting the portrait might be of note, its purchaser contacted Philip Mould & Company.

I love the part about the lobster. So would Dickens, whose writing desk always had figurines of a man with puppies pouring out of his pockets...and two frogs fencing together. He valued them so much that he had them shipped to his next location. He even said he couldn't write without them sitting there.

(If you're thinking, 'Ooh, George Lewes and George Eliot, those names sound familiar...' Yes, it's George Eliot, the female novelist who wrote Silas Marner and Mill on the Floss. Her work, though not as popular now, was used to torture generations of American schoolchildren during English class. Dickens was one of the few who guessed that 'he' was really a 'she.' He soon became friends with Mary Ann -- her real name -- and her partner George Lewes. Who was already married to someone else.)

For those, like yours truly, who admire Charley and his amazing novels, this is a poignant connection with the young novelist. He was in his mid-thirties when this portrait was painted, just starting to gain recognition. He was trying desperately to write another bestseller, while dealing with his own debts and those of his father.** He had a houseful of kids, a growing reputation...and his last novel had largely been a failure.

Would he succeed? Or would he go bankrupt and fade into obscurity, like so many others he had known? I don't think even he knew what would happen at that point.

But he kept on.



Another portrait of Dickens, older and a little worn-down.


**as well as other begging-letter writers. Dickens dealt with them -- and probably let off some steam about his dad, in the process --  in this very funny article.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Updates: Covington vs Native Americans

By now, if you haven't been living under a rock (or if you have), you've heard about the fuss expressed over last weekend's drumming incident between Nathan Phillips, his friends, and a group of Covington High School students - represented supposedly by a 'smirking' student, Nick Sandmann. (If you need a refresher, click here.)

Now that it's had time to percolate, there are all sorts of videos on Youtube about it, including interviews with both Phillips and Sandmann. Take your pick.


This is Sandmann's interview...he says he wasn't smirking.



and an interview with Phillips -- he says Sandmann was. (I couldn't find the longer version)



Phillips says he won't meet with the students because "they stole his narrative." 
(And thunder?)



Oops, now he's willing, after all. Did he realize his initial refusal made him look bad...
Or are the Covington students setting him up, to steal his narrative again?

This all gets very confusing.

More updates, as of today (1/23):

Nathan Phillips, along with about 60 others, celebrated his drumming confrontation with Covington Catholic school students on Saturday by marching to the nearest basilica that day and trying to interrupt the 5:15 mass... on the grounds that the Church put the boys up to their 'cruel, unfeeling' behavior.
     I wonder why this incident wasn't filmed and shared, or even mentioned much?

    More on Phillips here, from a years-old article.
    More here too, from his recent interview with CNN.

     In spite of his service as a Marine veteran -- but not in Vietnam, nor a "Ranger" -- Phillips did describe himself as one while speaking in the interviews. Actually, he's a Vietnam ERA vet -- something the Brick understands well, since he is, too. (The Brick served six years in the Navy during the Vietnam war, but was never stationed in or near Vietnam.) More here on Phillips' Marine experience.

Phillips is no stranger to demonstrations.  He has been photographed and quoted protesting at different ones in various places -- and lived in a tepee in downtown Washington D.C. with his wife and young children for years, as a protest. (Read the above articles about him. Why he was there, and what exactly he was doing, is also fuzzy. Sadly, his wife died of cancer -- no word on the kids who, based on the article, must be in their early teens by now.)

    Now Phillips says, because Sandmann (the 'smirking' student) didn't apologize, he should be expelled. (Oops, recent reports suggest he may be backtracking on that idea.) Has Phillips apologized for his part in this mess? Naaah. In spite of his expressed offer to meet with the students, he turned down a dinner with them, too. Oops, update -- now he's willing. For a meeting, that is. Oops, further update: no, he's not.)

      And a lawyer is getting in the picture, threatening to sue if he believes people's comments are libelous. (Some certainly are...on both sides. The lawyer's giving people 48 hours to delete before he takes action --will those comments be retracted? We'll see.)

Bunny trail: Do I believe that every one of these teenage boys responded with innocence and faith to the insults being hurled at them -- and no one yelled back?  Of course not. They're kids -- and teenaged kids can be brats. Did they respond to the drumming in a feisty, jumping-around way? The video shows that happened. But was it a deliberate insult, or a "we're going to drown you out" response to adults (yes, ADULTS, Gentle Readers) yelling insults, and in their faces?

     Ever been to a high school pep rally or basketball game? Opposing sides will do much the same rowdy thing to each other. Is it rude? Yep. Enthusiastic? That, too. It's called school spirit when you do it there.

     Let's put it this way. What would you have done? Would you have lost your temper and done something stupid, in this situation?
     Hopefully not. But...who knows.

* * * * * * 
   Update: Yep, some crass teenaged boys were included in the group. The eight-second video on this link proves it. Yelling at girls -- shame on them! Way to be thoughtless jerks. 
* * * * * * 

    The whole affair is just plain freaky. .. and thanks to social media, blowing up into a huge brouhaha. Could it have been handled differently? Absolutely.

Another bunny trail:  Apparently the new 'in' word to describe Native Americans is "indigenous." But what exactly does that mean? I've seen that word used to denigrate other cultures as backward and not so smart. These people are intelligent, media-savvy...and don't hesitate to use those skills to promote their cause.

I continue to watch with fascination at all the posturing and comments, including the celebrities who really don't have a clue what's going on, but enjoy running their mouths off, just the same. (Like Kathy Griffin. Sigh.)
    I need to get back to work. 

More updates on the Monday Stuff post next week -- there are bound to be some.




What to Wear When You're Shoveling

We got a quickie blizzard -- enough to keep us both home.
(Actually, it was kind of nice.)

How do I know it was a blizzard? Because, based on our Texan neighbors:




Watching them is our 'thermometer.' The hoodies may come out, but they don't wear long pants unless it's close to zero outside!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Driving Up In the Mountains

...Okay, what it's like during a blizzard up in the mountains! 

In the spirit of what we just went through a few weeks ago, here's Chris Jones and the Night Drivers doing 'Wolf Creek Pass.'

(which, by the way, is one of Colorado's scariest passes when it's snow-covered and icy. Kinda fun, though, when it's dry -- and your brakes are working.)


Enjoy.








Sunday, January 20, 2019

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: The Shutdown -- And Food

Happy MLK Day, by the way. 
     * * * * * *

Is this really our world at present?


If I didn't know better, I'd guess that some of the shenanigans being currently unveiled were from much younger people. (I.e., kindergartners.) Arguments, insults, tantrums and silliness...is this really our political system? Here are my current favorites, from last week:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and company, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHUTDOWN, plan to quietly leave on an Afghanistan trip. (To do what? Oh right, 'visit the troops.' Turns out she's been there a number of times.) Their luxury Air Force jet is cancelled by President Trump -- as a moneysaving measure, he says. (She and the rest of the delegation can still use commercial travel -- just not the government jet.) 

     I'd be a monkey's uncle if I didn't think this was partly a slapback at Pelosi's claim that Trump shouldn't do a State of the Union speech -- because the shutdown can't guarantee adequate security. After all, he can bully on the playground just as much as she can.
     She responded in true kindergartner fashion by alleging that he canceled the jet almost to let terrorists know how the delegation would be traveling. (So they could get 'em, wink wink. Which is ridiculous.)
     By the way, the delegation decided not to go. Could it be that increasingly-stretched furloughed government employees, not to mention the rest of the country, wouldn't quiiiite understand why they were jetting off, when they should be staying to work things out? 

The good senator's use of the Gulfstream jet, though okayed legally, has been anything but frugal: more than two million dollars in a two-year period. (You who don't believe that -- look at the facts.) This, from an enormously wealthy woman who has not only flown on the government's dime many times -- but can't seem to stay in D.C. long enough to get things done. (When this whole mess started, she was vacationing at a luxury Hawaii resort.)
     Was she in town this weekend? Uhhh... nope. (She had to fly commercial, poor girl. How much do you wanna bet it wasn't coach?)

    Granted, President Trump has not helped matters by responding with insults to many received (and perceived) insults. I've never seen the bombastic approach work yet. (Mr. President, STOP TWEETING.)

But he hasn't left Washington. 

And he paid out of his own pocket for the fast-food repast the Clemson Tigers enjoyed during their recent visit. (That generosity has been quietly downplayed, too.)

It's time to resolve this. As the Brick is fond of saying, 'Fish or cut bait, people.'



Okay (panting in frustration)....must calm down.

This week's 'stuff' includes a fair amount of recipes, for some strange reason. It's not like I'm cooking more -- because I'm not. Oh, for a housekeeper to bring me afternoon tea and crumpets, then cook supper, as well as vacuum. I'll even clean toilets for her/him...
     On to life, such as it is. (Yes, I've posted this on Sunday -- we all need a laugh or something before the weekend ends.)


London Fog latte. If you like Earl Grey tea, you'll love this.  (From One Hundred Dollars A Month)

President Trump's favorite foods.

Low-carb pizza crust.  But you have to REALLY like cheese. (From Vickie's Kitchen & Garden)

Very cool backstories on famous movie plot twists(From Listverse)
Going deeper in 2019 -- particularly using up those craft supplies!  (From Living Richly in Retirement)

Ten legendary treasures that are still waiting to be found. So it continues... (From Listverse)

What it's like to celebrate Christmas with little kids in tow. And if you're not laughing, you've never had kids.  (From the Frugalwoods)

Carol Channing died last week. She was 97. Whenever I think of her, I also think of this:



What people tend to say, just before they die.  One researcher's findings suggest:
"...military men had the “relatively highest number of requests, directions, or admonitions,” while philosophers (who included mathematicians and educators) had the most “questions, answers, and exclamations.” The religious and royalty used the most words to express contentment or discontentment, while the artists and scientists used the fewest."
     Hmmm.

Eighty ways to make money on the side in 2019.  (From Making Sense of Cents)

Tony Mendez, the man behind the Argo rescue, died recently. I just read his book, and watched the movie again -- a thoughtful, surprisingly modest take on the whole situation.

Have you seen the video where the Native American vet, drumming and chanting, confronts a group of rude American boys, some wearing red Trump hats? Pathetic, right...how could they be so mean?


     Well, according to Nick Sandmann, the 'rudest' front-and-center boy, the reality of the situation was nothing like that. Other videos, taken at the same time but longer both in time and perspective, back him up. (Here's his written statement, which is admittedly difficult to read. This recap is easier.)
     Other videos show the students are the ones being abused verbally, with one especially targeted.
     Nathan Phillips, the chanting drummer, on the other hand, says he's been targeted before, and this was just more of same. He felt so threatened that he was thinking of finishing his song on the Lincoln Memorial steps, instead.
     Did Phillips push his way into the crowd, and drum 'mere centimeters' from the kid's face, deliberately trying to provoke him? Or did the students get everything they were asking for? (One also wonders if some of the fuss wouldn't have been there, if many of the students weren't wearing Trump ball caps. Not that the media would do that...a friend this morning pointed out that those caps looked brand new. Did someone pass them out at the Capitol?)
     UPDATE:  What -- more people actually saying that the students weren't rascist, after all?!? Including (gasp) journalists?!?  (Actually, I applaud their courage. It takes guts to admit you might not have had the full story when you first reacted.)
     And Mr. Phillips' past is not exactly squeaky-clean, either. Turns out, just two days later, he's now actively fundraising to help compensate the horrible way he was treated by the boys. (I'm just sayin.') FURTHER UPDATEHis claim to be 'Marine Recon Ranger' in Vietnam is also now being questioned. Turns out that he was in the Marines 1972- 76...but the Marines pulled out of Vietnam before he even enlisted. Go figure. UPDATE TO THE UPDATEPhillips now says that he was trying to peaceably defuse two groups screaming at each other: black protesters (who are heard yelling on the longer video) and the Catholic high school kids. He now wants to meet with the kids to discuss racial harmony.

     So who's telling the truth? You decide. Obviously the "don't jump to conclusions quickly" rule applies here. Big-time.
     Amazing what different videos -- and viewpoints -- can produce.

Ten people who were sure they saw a mermaid. Including Captain John Smith, Pocahantas' buddy. (From Listverse)

Minnehaha Falls' Ice Cave




Here's another view of this waterfall near Minneapolis, MN.

A former CNN Journalist of the Year resigns -- turns out he's been faking stories for years. (More here on specifics.) Oops.

McDonald's just lost the right to a very important trademark lawsuit -- it no longer can argue it alone can use the 'Big Mac' moniker.

Moments when it all went wrong -- a photographic gallery.

Rembrandt's secret ingredient for giving his work a realistic appearance -- turns out it's being used to set bright colors in car painting.

53 rare (and unusual) old photos.

More unusual vintage photos -- this time of people and pets.

30 well-known landmarks with odd secrets.  (From Cracked) More weird stuff here, including DIA's looming blue stallion. ("Welcome to Denver -- bwahahahaah!")

Tiramisu, Olive-Garden-style.  Sara Felton, old friend from Quilter's Newsletter, this is for you. (From Taste of Home)





The strange beauty secrets some of the world's most beautiful women have relied on. And no, it's not blood... (From Listverse) 

Top baby names for 2018. And they're not what you'd think, either.

First Lady fashion -- from the past six decades.

Tuna melt tostadas -- fast!  (From The Weary Chef)




Why lefthanded people are just all-around great.  I read this to the Brick, and he laughed! (Yes, I am a leftie, one of the very few in my extended family.)

Navajo tacos -- easy and a nice change from regular tacos.  (From Diary of a Stay At Home Mom)





Update:  After I initially posted this, I read that Sen. Joni Ernst has introduced a bill to keep members of Congress IN TOWN until important things (like the national budget) are resolved -- or at the least, require them to appear in session twice daily. 
     It's being called the 'No Budget, No Recess' Act -- or the 'Pelosi Rule.' 

“Hardworking Iowans, and Americans across the country are sick and tired of government shutdowns, continuing resolutions and massive omnibus spending bills,” the Iowa senator said in a statement last Thursday, the day that she unveiled her bill to the public.

“This dysfunctional cycle is not the way our government was designed to function or should function. If we fail to pass a budget and spending bills, we should stay in town and work together until we get the job done.”

What a concept! 
                   Have a great week.


I know... don't have a cow about all this gov'ment stuff.



Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Difference Between (Some) Boys and Girls




My one thought: where's the ashtray on the guys' balcony? (Okay, the girls, too.)

Snowing like crazy here in the Denver, CO area -- big wet messy flakes, going sideways.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Gold!

     I've been amazed at how many stories of gold discoveries have popped up in recent years -- some by using a metal detector, some from researching locations...and some from sheer dumb luck, being in the right place at the right time. 





Nine amazing treasures found in recent years.

Gold bars, marked with a Jesuit symbol, found in Arizona -- 82 of them.

Gold bars found by a bunch of guys riding ATVS in Utah. Here's the story, in shortened form, told by one of their friends. Spelling and syntax are his.

3-5 guys from Davis County, Utah, were riding there ATVs in the Unitas above Kamas heading out of a rain Storm spring of 2010. One of them spy's something shinning yellow in the muddy tire tracks on the trail. They find not one but three GOLD BARS. They are described as 1 inch by 5 or 6 inch's long and have Spanish marking on them. Most like Spanish gold bullion bars made hundreds of years ao... Exciting and Cool find right?

But here is the rest of the story.
   ...one of the finders showed employees pictures of there amazing finds. The story was confirmed and then the employee said but they bragged it up so much and showed the bars around so much that soon after finding the bars the Forest Service investigated and charged them with basically looting the antiquities of the National Forest under the Antiquities Act. They have confiscated the Bars (I would like to know where they are and what will happen to them) and are prosecuting the finders.

     (In other words, keep your mouth shut next time -- if there is one. I'm reading a book by W.C. Jameson, on finding treasure, that would argue these bars are legally the finders. On the other hand, as he points out, once the treasure should be returned...it often 'disappears.' He cites the case of a rancher who won back the 30 gold bars he'd discovered -- except they were suddenly 'missing,' so couldn't be returned. Go figure.)





An airport cleaner finds $325,000 worth of gold bars in the trash -- and can keep them, according to authorities. Not so the next guy...

An Arizona man finds treasure while out in the desert hiking -- but won't tell anyone where it is, since the government has already announced it's taking the find away from him. (The bars were marked as U.S. Military.)

A half-pound gold bar is found, using a Garrett metal detector:




A gold bar found in the mud during construction in Mexico City -- thought to be some of the gold lost during Cortez's conquest.

A gold bar is found by a 16-year-old while swimming in a German lake. (May be Nazi gold-- or maybe not.)






A worker busted for high-grading -- his takeout method is *ahem* unusual.

A tank is purchased via Ebay. (I know -- who buys a TANK on Ebay nowadays??) When the fuel tank is cleaned in 2017, out pops three gold bars. (They're thought to have been hidden by Iraqui soldiers on the run.)

A man finds millions of dollars of gold -- in his own house. Fortunately, he inherited it from the owner, a family member. So it looks like the gold stays as his. Or did other family members demand their share?






More than three TONS of gold bars accidentally dumped at the Yakutsk airport in Siberia...when a Russian cargo plane's back hatch flew open. The report says "most" of the bars were recovered. I wonder how many weren't?

Millions of dollars of gold coins -- found in shallow water just off the Florida coast. The coins are said to be from the 1715 Fleet shipwreck, and were found on the 300th anniversary of the wreck.

If you're enjoying these, you'll like this video, as well: 10 awesome metal detector finds.







There are still plenty of lost gold treasure stories to follow up on -- like this Civil War era tale from Pennsylvania.  Or the caches thought to have been buried all over the San Francisco area by an absent-minded miner. 

If you open the door, who knows what you'll find when you step through...





Another Mom Moment That Fits

Which may have led to this: Did I ever do that to our girlies? Naahhhh....