So. Why Build a French Drain/ Nobody Asked

Ten years ago, I looked at half of the front yard of our newly purchased house and had an idea. A garden wall. Sit, talk, watch the stars. Plant some flowers too, though I am not a flower person. Over the years I had developed an extreme dislike for the pebbles covering the area. I hate pebbles. (No disrespect to Fred. Or was it Barney? I could never get that resolved).

Digging Stuff
Laying out the wall was easy. Digging the trench for drainage around the wall was dictated by the location of the wall. I discovered that the drainage should be behind the wall, not in front of it. A major tidbit of knowledge. If left to my own devices, I am pretty sure I would have dug the trench in front of the wall. Live and google and learn, right?

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Banana Pecan Bread

Soups Ahoy

Making bread at home is quite a novel idea for today’s busy women. I personally do not like the idea of kneading dough by hand. Thanks to bread machines and quick bread recipes, this daunting task is not as intimidating as it used to be. After making different versions of quick bread, I especially like making banana bread. I like the wholesome, sweet flavor. As it turned out, simple ingredients

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A Call From New Jersey

Couple of days ago I got a call from New Jersey. At least, the caller ID said “New Jersey”. This was the most exciting call I have received in some time. Usually my calls are from “Anonymous”, or “Unknown Caller”, or “Invalid Number”, or “Customer Service”, or “ID Blocked”, or even sometimes “1″. These callers are different from the “New Jersey” caller of course. I don’t know any of the others, so I never even bother to pick up the phone. I do know New Jersey. I have no idea why New Jersey would be calling me. I did not answer the call. Thought maybe they would leave a message. Still, I am honored to have received the call and can not for the life of me figure out Continue reading “A Call From New Jersey”

Boots in Democracy

In the February 22 edition of online Washington Post, former Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, who served under President Nixon, makes some fairly strong arguments for not bringing back a national military draft.  All the arguments Mr. Laird makes for not bringing back the military draft are valid. Our current military is heads above the conscripted military of the 1960s and 1970s (the period with which I am familiar). He rightly points out (reminiscent of an account examining the books) that the men and women of today’s military are better educated, better motivated and much more proficient in their jobs. So, why would anyone argue for a return to the draft? As he says, “the exceptional effectiveness and motivation may be an invitation to overuse and even abuse such resources.” Precisely. But the “pro” argument is even less tenuous than “possible abuse”. In a democracy, the military does not exist for the sake of the military, it exists to serve the democracy. Every citizen should be prepared to put aside their life-project and render service. It is an obligation, not an option. If a conscripted military degrades military effectiveness, larger problems are at work than the availability of a sub-standard citizen pool. As the World War II military demonstrated, a healthy democracy can quickly rise to its own defense. Going on a “conquest binge” is an entirely different matter.

Grit Your Teeth And Take a Pill

Restraint—severe, jaw-clenching restraint—in criticizing the  medical-industrial complex is probably justified based on  the effectiveness of public medicine in substantially extending average lifespans and in drastically reducing the desultory effects of communicable diseases.  Well, the logic chains imposing the restraint are turning to smoke.  First, we hear that this year’s flu shot is effective at a rate of 9% for people 65 years and older. Overall the effective rate is 56%:  So much of medicine and effective communicable disease defense.  But what really gets the restraint on criticism smoking re such vignettes as Steven Brill’s February 20, 2013 TIME magazine article, BITTER PILL: WHY MEDICAL BILLS ARE KILLING US.

Who pays $1.49 for an acetaminophen (Tylenol) pill that cost $1.49 for a bottle of 100s? A better question is why would anyone even consider the possibility of paying $1.49 for a acetaminophen pill? You do, by fiscal proxy, since you pay money into Medicare or you pay for health insurance.

Apparently if you examine a hospital bill, you will see itemized costs for everything from the cost of drawing your blood to blowing your nose. The upshot of all this detail is that you learn you are paying for everything done in a hospital except breathing. So, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act takes a step into getting everyone into the medical-industrial complex. It is, hopefully, the first step of a two-step journey that results in putting constraints on the medical-industrial complex open-greed gold fields.