Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Living in the Old Farmer's Almanac in August 2013

Happy Lughnasadh!

Farmer's Calendar

Imagine coming home with bags of salad greens and mushrooms, sacks of delicious nuts, and baskets of berries and not having to pay a cent for them! Many people do just that by foraging, gathering wild edibles in fields, forests, and lawns.

If you'd like to try this, be certain that you identify each plant before eating it: Many have look-alikes that could prove deadly. Be especially careful with mushrooms and berries. Studying illustrated field guides is a good first step in learning about native plants, both those that are safe to eat and those best avoided. Also, check with garden clubs and your state Forest Service to see if your groups in your area that go on foraging outings; their expertise could prove to be invaluable.

Collect your bounty in areas that are pesticide- and chemical-free. Gather no more than 10 percent of the plants from a given site and cut greens and mushrooms instead of uprooting them; this way, there'll be a crop there for years to come. If you'd like to explore private property, be sure to talk to the owner first.

Foraging is a great way to learn about plants while getting healthy exercise, and it is also an ecologically sound process. The foods you gather don't have to be processed or shipped, which saves fuel and resources. Get ready to go wild!

SKY WATCH ☆ Bright Jupiter sits to the left of the waning crescent Moon, with orange Mercury just below at a respectable magnitude -0.3, 40 minutes before sunrise on the 3rd. Jupiter, Mars and Mercury stand in a row, low in the east in growing morning twilight, with the crescent Moon to their right on the 4th. Venus, still quite low in the west after sunset, hovers above the Moon on the 9th. Much higher on the 12th, the Moon is to the lower right of Saturn at nightfall. The Moon will set before midnight on the 11th and 12th and will not spoil the great Perseid meteor shower. Weather permitting, these will be the year's best "shooting stars". Neptune, in Aquarius at magnitude 7.8, requires a small telescope to be seen at its opposition, on the 26th.



Monday, 29 July 2013

People Magazine - 29 July 2013 - Drugs, Religion and a Rising Actress

Well, every issue is just chock full of... stuff. From the reviews, the famous people, the losers and the rich, there is seemingly something for everyone. Some issues naturally offer more than others, and this one certainly has an interesting mix of subjects.

I'll go through it in order, which always begins with the mailbag. This may offer something of interest, and sometimes not. Almost always the main topics bring varying responses: some are favourable to the topic, others not. This issue is definitely atypical in that each topic had the same responses; three people wrote in about Matthew Perry and applauded him for getting through rehabilitation and turning his house into a "sober living facility". This is a euphemism for a wealthy, huge half-way house for a small number of men. I found the house to be beautiful, but strange that he'd want to do this. (I hate sharing my house with Luis' father - imagine how I'd feel about sharing it with strangers!)

The next two letters were supportive and struck by the article "Shamed into Suicide" about a teenage girl who committed suicide after students tortured her for being sexually assaulted at a party. I don't understand how this happens in this day and age that other students torture the victim of a crime on every social networking media and the perpetrators get away with it. Unreal. Let all of the students be hanged for this and their behaviour.

It comes from person experience that I say this.

After that were two letters applauding Melissa McCarthy for being a great actress who is regarded, as one put it, as being "regarded for her body of work, instead of her body". What a great phrase. And Melissa is a delightful actress and person. However, People was guilty of overindulging in writing about her figure, too. Sheesh.

Some wrote in a letter on the pictorial article of Joan Rivers and commented that she's wondered was how Joan looked before all those surgeries, and wrote that she was pretty before and after. Yikes. This woman couldn't have been looking at the correct photos. Neither she nor her daughter, who has also had a plethora of plastic surgeries, are attractive. And they weren't prior to those surgeries. BBBBRRR-R-R-R-R-R!

This is likely the least interesting portion of the issue, so moving right along, we get to Star Tracks, their little picture section where the paparazzi get images of the hapless rich and/or famous. The first image is of Princes William and Harry in their polo uniforms. I like the Windsors and feel for them, too. They are the royal family of England, which undoubtedly has its perks, but at the same time, they did not ask to be born to this and the lack of privacy or respect for these people and the insanity they have to put up with is just awful. Harry is a bit of an over-the-top bachelor. So what? He's young and has buckets of money - I have to say anyone in that situation experiences this kind of period. William is more circumspect and quiet, not one to be outrageously open, and that works for him. But I like them both. Everyone likes Princess Kate, but when they were on vacation and she had the opportunity to sunbathe nude, she couldn't manage to do in private what all the rest of us do.

There is a picture of Miley Cyrus, who is another fine example of what happens to child stars the second they turn 18 - puts me in mind of Britney Spears, who turned into a hooker and a complete moron the moment she turned 18. First it was dressing in non-existant clothes, which was disappointing to the many, many mothers who were delighted that their daughters would emulate her when she was a conservative teen but then became the worst example to follow. Then she was married and had the two boys, and not that this is a bringer of wisdom, but driving with her child in her lap and no seat belt? Will Miley Cyrus be worse? I have to think she will, as Britney was a bad woman years ago. I am putting Ms. Cyrus in the 27 Club, which gives me just over six years before the time is up.

I meant to write more, but it went into the Drafts folder an here it has ben until November of 2014. Sorry, folks!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

People Magazine, 20 June 2011 - Folly or Fodder?

Some weeks of People Magazine provide fodder, some don't. This week's - dated ahead for the 20th for reasons passing understanding - has fodder. Let's see what fun things there are to comment upon:

In the Mailbag section, many people wrote in and denounced Arnold Schwarzenegger for his affair with the housemaid. The overwhelming majority condemned Arnold's behaviour and elevated Maria Shriver to a goddess-like stature. Realistically, marriages fail because there were issues on both sides. Women love to denounce unfaithful men, but never seem to think that the root cause may be due to the lack of sexual contact in their marriage. Men are not wired the same as we are. I tend to think that straying husbands stray because they are still sexually active but many women cease to have an interest as time marches on. Where I do feel Arnold failed was the housekeeper. Good gods above, this is the homeliest woman on the face of the earth! Couldn't he have at least picked a supermodel?

The former Duchess of York, Fergie, has a reality show coming out on 12 June - oh, tonight - to assuage her guilt in trying to wrangle money out of the Royal Family. She's really a criminal who is out free when she shouldn't be. I don't care how much she attempts to assuage her guilt, this is just another ploy for money. It happens to be legal, just ridiculous. I eschew reality shows anyway, but this really takes the cake. If you are smart, you won't watch this. That is too much like supporting her. She is pitiable, but not that pitiable.

Something called Toddlers & Tiaras is airing (again) on 15 June. A friend of mine told me about this show. This is a show dedicated to the insane parents who pimp their kids out to pageants in search of income without having to hold down a normal job. I find this practice repugnant. However, my friend did say it was entertaining to see these spoiled parents with their rotten kids fighting and whining and whatever else. I may have to watch one episode to see that. I should not be admitting this here. Although I watched Supernanny for the same reason. After watching some of the monsters that were on this show, I know why certain species eat their young.

There is a major article about President Obama and how parenting has changed now that they are in the White House. I can imagine it is very different. Now they have two very prominent and present parents. I chuckled when I read that the girls still have their chores to do. Immediately I'm thinking of the chores I had to do: take out the garbage, get the laundry from the next apartment building's basement, etc. I'm sure it is safe to say those are not the right chores! No, they have to make their beds, do their homework and take care of the dog. (I'm not sold that taking care of the dog is much of a challenge and homework is a requirement, not a chore. Those are just my feelings.)

I do like the warm & fuzzy feelings that President Obama has where his family is concerned. But I'm still positive he has this one shot to do whatever it is he wishes to accomplish. (I'm just delighted he did NOT accomplish anything on his wish list for unions. He has that gods-awful health care bill as a legacy - YIKES.) Because it seems incredibly unlikely he will see a second term.

However, if Sarah Palin gets anywhere close to the White House, I'm moving to another country!

There are a few pages to the newly-wed royal couple and them attending this or that function - mostly fawning over Princess Kate's clothing. And I will freely admit there is a lot to be said for her taste in nice outfits, well-chosen dresses, and those pill-box-gone-wrong weird "hats" that are worn by British women. At least she isn't wearing the really over-the-top ones. (That wretched headdress that Princess Beatrice wore the the wedding was beyond hideous. It was completely horrifying! Who'd look at that and said, "Yes! This is perfect for my cousin's wedding!") Most of the odd headgear, called fascinators, looked okay, if not nice. The doughnut on crack that Beatrice wore was... in a word, awful.

I skipped the article about the disheartened woman (girl?) from one of the too frequent bachelor and/or bachelorette shows that litter the television waves. I could care less about how she was jilted by this or that guy, or whatever her problem is. Come to think of it, I could care less about any of them. Finding romance is not always easy for people, but this sort of regulated humiliation can't possibly be the answer.

The Olsen twins are sill "fashionistas", which is a fancy way of saying they have atrocious taste in clothing. And they look so... haunted. I don't know if they put dark make-up all over their eyes to give them that I-just-finished-taking-downers look or what, but it is effective. They either look they are still working on their chemical debauchery from the previous night, or they are trying - and failing - to get that Gothic look down.

And who else's ugly mug should I have the horror to see but Snooki, the mental midget of the Western world. Apparently the United States can't embarrass us enough just by airing this odious show here, but they take them places to makes asses of themselves on a global level. And here's Snooki. "The highways and byways of Italy are a little safer, at least this week. Italian police took away the International drivers license of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, 23, after she hit a police escort to on My 30 and injured two officers. Snooki, who is in Italy filming Jersey Shore, can have it reinstated after 15 days."

I want to howl, "No, arrest this crazy bitch! She hit TWO police officers!" I want to howl with rage every time New Jersey is defamed by her or these little shits in this show. Come to think of it, there are quite a few bad shows that have "New Jersey" in them. There's a housewives one - good gods above, who cares? Who cares about spoiled people in this or any other state? (And worse - the one who is in debt for something ridiculous like $10 million is practically a neighbour. They live in Towaco, a tiny portion of Montville. I hope I'm on the ambulance that has to go to their house when Montville can't get a crew out...) I don't know the other bad shows but I'm sure I'll just be that much more incensed if I know.

It's bad enough that one of our colleges invited Snooki to speak there for $32,000 - now I understand that a lot of alumni have stopped donating. Good. That is the least they deserve when they paid a Nobel Peace Prize winner only $31,000. Snooki hasn't 1,000th of the brain power... oh, what am I saying? She would need to actually possess a brain to have that little bit. Needless to say, she doesn't. I predict her fame will leave as quickly as it found her and she'll just be another idiot lush that had no idea how to handle it. What? Too harsh? History repeats all the time. I'm just pointing out the obvious.

Reality shows... bbbbr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r.

(Side note: This has absolutely nothing to do with People; I'm playing a DVD, and the cat, Sorcha, is completely bamboozled by the door that opens - on its own, it appears - and she stands there and paws at it when it goes in to the player. I love that. She doesn't use her claws, which is a good thing. It's just really funny the way she reacts to it whenever the slot opens and closes.)

My hero, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, died at age 83 on 3 June 2011. I realise a lot of people did not like what he did, but you know me - the more people buck at the crazy rules of society, the more I support them. I certainly cannot get behind the government's dictating a person's right to live or die - especially if this is based on a religious decision, which is why we have separation of church and state. I can't agree with that - having church involved in state matters - shiver.

In the world of unfair opinions, I am sure that John Edwards is guilty of whatever it is he says he didn't do. This is solely based upon the fact that he is a politician and therefor a cheat and liar. Is that unfair? Of course it is, and grossly so. However, where is it written that life is fair? And why shouldn't there be a percentage of people who just don't buy into anything stated by politicians? Or did I miss one that was totally honest, totally without greed? What are the odds?

(Little tip: the odds are incredibly low...)

And that concludes the fun provided by People Magazine for this week. Fodder or folly? You decide...