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This Just In: Nation Half-Ready For Obamacare

18 Jun

According to The Christian Science Monitor[1], some fifty percent of all Americans have already made their adjustment to the Federal invasion of healthcare: they’re relying on prayer for healing.

Oh, all right, “consider the source;” I certainly don’t have any moral right to stand in the way of someone succumbing to appendicitis or rheumatic fever according to the light of the their own religion (or, for that matter, not succumbing; these things weren’t a hundred percent fatal before there were effective medical solutions and a postulated Thumb on the scales of fate couldn’t hurt). But despite the editorialist’s use of the statistic to fuel musings on the impiety of Government[2], I think it may be a little more something else: even now, if you get just a skosh into the paperwork and red tape that almost every interaction with Modern Medicine entails, you’re liable to prefer trying simpler solutions; with the Feds driving, it’ll only get worse.

Might as well pray. If nothing else, it’s a more dignified death than drugged up an’ stuffed fulla wires and tubes.

(I am NOT gonna debate the possible efficacy of prayer in healing in comments; start it up and you’ll be deleted without mercy. If it works, how it works, that is between you and your $DEITY; it’s not the point of this screed. I don’t consider it worthy of debate; not because I think it is trivial but because it is a question that, if answered, could easily be used to infringe on the individual freedom of religious belief: when you debate it, you are actually arguing for the right to “prove” your religion and go Convert The Heathen by main force. Do that on your own time, dammit; I am a heathen and I shoot back). _____________________________________________
1. And I guess we should all be grateful someone is monitoring it.
2. In my opinion, it’s not nearly impious enough; indeed, whenever any set of beliefs ceases to be questioned and becomes Received Wisdom, the Feds ought to be banned from involvement: lock ’em outta Hinduism an’ Global Warming, out of Scient010gy and Protestantism, out of Cold Fusion an’ UFOlogy, every last thing, no matter how obscure or widely believed, no matter how much or how little history it’s got, if it even smells like religion, Uncle Sam should have to set it down and move slowly away. –Yeah, dream on; we otta all get shiny unicorns to ride, too. Or at least a mule and some land. Don’t hold your breath.


>Scratch Lunch

9 Jun

>I found the ScratchTruck for lunch today. They had plenty food — nearly a week of operation has helped them fine-tune how much to carry. “Modern mobile comfort food,” their slogan sets the bar high–

[Drumroll, please]

–And they clear it easily! Quite a few items on the menu. (Click to embiggen.) I had the burger (good-tasting beef, flame-grilled, with Gorgonzola and bacon marmalade, on a nice Cibatta-esque bun), fries (skin on, twice-fried, excellent taste; not much salt and didn’t need it) and their outstanding watermelon-jalapeno lemonade. The latter is refreshing and not at all hot; the peppers are only singing harmony.
Just a A few photos will follow. I was hungry, so I didn’t snap many before digging in. Service was friendly and fast, especially for cooked-to-order food.

Scratch: food from a truck. First-rate food. Roberta X approved!

>Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of….Tree Swings?

6 Jun

Last Fall, the Painless Tree Surgeon (we call him “Jim”) left us a pair of ropes, installed on a substantial (though stubby) limb of the big old hackberry tree behind Roseholme Cottage. Over the Winter, I put together a swing seat; polyurethaned it in the last few weeks and installed it yesterday.

Those big, globby knots are actually a bowline-on-a-bight, with the free end sloppily hitched around it several times; I hate running out of rope.

More details to follow at Retrotechnologist.

>Gun Show This Weekend!

2 Jun

>The Indy 1500 Gun & Knife Show is back in town. I should’ve mentioned it sooner. Hoping to attend Friday and Sunday.

>Hello? Is The Caller There?

17 May

>Ever have one of those mornings? Can’t pull any of the threads together?

This one’s mine. So, hey, life gives you lint, make dust bunnies, right?

“Dust bunnies” is the word of the day: Turk Turon is rumored to be arriving tonight and Roseholme Cottage is in its usual state, looking something like a post-apocalyptic library. I’m tellin’ ya, if Civilization does go “Thud” all of a sudden? Tam and I will have plenty to read between fighting off the hordes and/or trying to contact other survivors via radio. And we’ll be able to knit warm, comfy sweaters from dust bunnies for the winter. Simulating any degree of organization is…a struggle.

Steven Hawking’s latest pronouncement on The Afterlife has riled some folks. I’m not sure why — it’s right up there with the Pope’s opinions about particle physics: interesting but not Expert Opinion. (This is Fame Syndrome: just ‘cos someone is well-known for something, even if it is major cleverness, they’re still only qualified to make sweeping statements in a few areas — if even that many; anything else they comment on, it’s just another unwashed opinion. But their public tends to forget. In many cases, so does the Famous Person).

Scooter repair parts have begun to arrive. Two of the best sources have proven to be Pride of Cleveland and Javacycles; with Bajaj out of the motor scooter business, these (and other) former dealers, along with the former importer, still provide parts support. (Java is still selling Bajaj Scooters, even!) Highly recommended. I doubt I’ll have time to fix my scooter this week — planning on it for next week.

Y’know that “image enhancement” trick in crime shows, where grainy, low-rez security footage is “enhanced” into readability via Cheap Storytelling Shortcut Tricks? It’s mostly nonsense; video doesn’t work that way. You can only read things a little past the smallest-original-pixel level and doing that takes the human eye and human guesswork. –Except astronomers now have a version of this kind of enhancement that really works! “Lucky imaging” lets them back out atmospheric scattering and “stack the deck” to extract information buried below the noise. There are still pixel-size limits but it’s an interesting technique and has probably already come home to roost in ways we won’t soon be hearing about (other than in heavily-redacted responses to FOIA requests).

Those are only the loose ends I had time for. Y’all be good, now. No pogroms against the infidel without you followin’ WWE rules, okay? And no foreign objects; if it’s not U.S.-made, you can’t hit one another with it.

>Ow! (Scooter Battery, Continued)

8 May

>So today, with goggles and gloves and no little trepidation, I undertook filling up the new motorscooter battery.

I was interested to learn they ship with their very own bottle of acid and I didn’t spill more than few drops. Nearly panicked when, with about half the bottle poured in, it did not appear to be filling up, but it just takes awhile. Nonplussed that there’s maybe a third of a cup left over, along with instructions to take it to the local hazmat disposal center.

But I got it done. And after letting it sit and settle for over an hour, it was charging time, which the good ol’ trickle/float charger did, humming along tickety-boo.

Yeah. Tickety-freaking-boo. Tam and I were heading out to Big Giant Home Improvement (it’s 25′ ladder day! Hooray!) and, noticing the charger had flipped over from “charge” “storage,” I shut it down, disconnected the leads and used my explod-o-meter (cheap small analog VOM that one doesn’t mind if it gets exploded) to check. 13V, spot-on for a tiny meter. Knelt down for a closer look at the electrolyte level and OW!

There was a sudden, stabbing pain in the meat of my left shin at the outside front, next to the bone. One of the kawaii little test probes had come to rest pointy end up when I set the VOM down and I managed to come in for a landing on it with my shin — stabby, stabby!

Poked in right through my jeans. As soon as I figure out what it was (kinda easy, what with a test probe stuck in my leg and all), I yanked it out and took a look at the damage: just a puncture and a muscle ache.

So we went to Big Home Improvement and I limped around ’til it felt a bit better. Tam kept giggling, though: “You’re like a robot that only functions to unplug itself!” Yeah, sometimes.

>With Any Luck…

30 Apr

>…Or at least industriousness, by the time you read this, I will be on my way to a gathering of the Indiana Historical Radio Society, an organization to which I am unable to devote as much tame time as I’d like.

Someone over Tam’s way lauded the British Royal Family (IMO, the nation-state version of purse dogs and I’m much relieved to see they’ve decided to outcross back to wild stock again, as the breed had got a bit odd-looking in the previous generation) as the “custodians of living history.” And maybe they are; other than dragging an entire nation (and a goodly chunk of the rest of the world, at least the parts that speak some flavor of English some of the time) to a standstill every time they get married or crowned or have the poor timing to die, they’re a harmless enough affectation. (Not so much in the way of custodians, though — I doubt a one of them would know how to use a mop bucket, even after it bit them. Um, on second thought the Queen might; she seems sensible enough).

But you know who else is a “custodian of living history?” You are and places like Etsy and eBay are, too. Every time you turn that bedanged Colonial chestnut roaster or the hideous set of matched Art Deco splatchet forks into money by putting them in the hands of some yoik who thinks they are the greatest things evar, you have successfully custodialized some history. I should not be in the least surprised to learn that more of that sort of thing is going on now than has ever gone on before.

And you don’t even need blue blood to do it! (This is good — those horseshoe crabs take a lot of looking after.)