Interesting Observations in Chanchung; Wordless Wednesday

In 2017, for all the wonders of technology in Chanchung, China, it is still a sleepy “developing” part of the Sleeping Giant.  Amazing tech in Jilin University!  And good ideas for hygiene to aid guys’ aim a little; it actually seems to help.  Clean, but distinctively non-Western style toilets.  But they still have a way to go for plumbing!  Note the lack of traps and unsealed drains which is why the men’s room kind of smelled, even with the better aim. 😉  Hoping no one lights up a cig in there, as methane gas is explosive and the main component of sewer gases!

Can’t Congress Find Anything MORE Stupid To Do????

2021-03-13 DST AgainWell, it’s that time of the year again.  After a year of pandemics and elections, it is time for the US Congress to address one of the stupidest laws they have ever enacted!  And this is noted with full awareness of the ACA (aka Obamacare – “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”Nancy Pelosi, March 9. 2010).  This presupposes the For The People Act that centralizes elections, disenfranchises states and degrades the integrity of the elections by “the people” it supposedly is FOR.  It assumes you know about the $1,900,000,000.00 ($1.9 trillion) Covid Relief Package that has less than $1,900,000.00 ($1.9 billion) for covid relief, less than 1/10th of the bill.

Even with these boondoggles, the stupidest law the U.S. Congress has ever passed was the Daylight Saving Time Act of 1918!  Because of confusion over when states would adopt DST, it was codified into uniform compliance by the Uniform Time Act of 1966 (unless states wanted to opt out, which Arizona, Hawaii and half of Indiana did).  Now Daylight Saving Time begins with “Spring Forward” at 2am on the second Sunday of March every year.  When 2am hits, we are supposed to move our clocks forward to 3am, skipping that hour.  Standard Time resumes with “Fall Back” at 2am on the first Sunday of November.  When 2am hits, we try to reverse the damage by moving the clocks backward to 1am, repeating the 1am hour over again.  Then we do it all again in the spring.

Now, let’s up the absurdity!  This year, again, a group of congresspeople and senators have proposed the Sunshine Protection Act which would make Daylight Saving Time PERMANENT, so that we do not have to change our clocks every other season.  After all, if the government does not protect the Sunshine, who will!?  A reasonable person might ask, WHYYYYY!?  If you are going to get up an hour earlier every day of the year, why not just leave the clocks alone and go with the Greenwich Meridian Time standard that the US adopted in November of 1883 and was standardized to the world in 1884?

Two stories to illustrate the asininity of this idea:2021-03-13 Capital Grille Lounge
One is the apocryphal tale of why DST was ever adopted. 
It seems some congressmen were concerned about getting reelected and felt they needed something to show their constituents that they were not just sitting around the Capitol lounge and gym smoking stogies, drinking martinis and getting tax-payer funded massages, even though that is exactly what they were doing
One suggested, “Why don’t we vote to give everyone an extra hour every day?  You know, to work longer and pay higher taxes, but we could say it was so they could spend more time with their families.” 
Everyone jumped on the bandwagon immediately exclaiming “Capital idea!” until a freshman congressman, who was unschooled in the finer arts of making laws, noted, “But that would wear out in about two weeks when people would be going to bed at sunup and rising at sundown.”
After some substantial grumbling about mouthy young upstarts needing to learn their place, one of the elder statesmen said, “Well we can just subtract the extra hour from the morning and that way everyone will get the extra hour without confusing the clock-makers who would have to make 25 hour clocks. Besides I don’t have that many voting clock-makers in my district.” 
The measure passed with full bi-partisan support and was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson, who was busy planning to catch the Spanish Flu when he attended the League of Nations meeting the next year, and could not get reelected for a third term if he had slowed down the earth’s rotation to actually give everyone an extra hour.

The second story is a true one about a secretary I once knew in an office in which I worked.  Spring was on the horizon and we were discussing the coming change of the clocks.  I noted that, “If it is really so important to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening, why can’t we just start and quit work an hour earlier?” 
The secretary looked aghast!  “Oh, C.A., I have to get up at 6am to get here by 8 as it is.  I could never get up at 5am.”
The befuddlement in my brain was difficult to speak through, but I finally managed to say, “But you ARE getting up at 5am; you’re just calling it 6am for the summer!”

I would like to suggest an alternative proposal that we set our clocks BACK five hours!  That way we could all sleep in until noon and miss the rush hour traffic going to work, right?  This proposal makes the same sense as “permanentizing” DST year-round.

2021-03-13 Congressional GymAnd so the idiocy we call Daylight Saving Time (and that many people mispronounce as Daylight SavingS Time) may not be going away any time soon.  In fact, if our brilliant congresspeople have anything to say about it, DST might not go away ever!  Just think of how much we will protect the sunshine and the time we will save THAT WAY!  Now I wonder what they will do while smoking stogies, sipping martinis and getting massages.

History of Daylight Saving Time

Intermezzo: Ode to Dr. Seuss on Dr. Seuss Day

I am certainly not the brilliant versifier that Dr. Seuss was, but here is my small and feeble attempt to pay homage to a man now being canceled for his crimes against the “woke.”

2021-03-02 Ode to Dr, Seuss

It must be a very very sad day
When people say that you cannot say
The very kind things in your mind today.
It must be a very sad sad day.

Poems so innocent and sweet
Intended for people to use to greet
Each other whenever their faces meet,
Instead are accused of a terrible deed.

Using words one should not teach
To children as they are beyond their reach
To understand what old folks preach
That some words should not be in your speech.

Maybe Babar boosts the Taliban.
Should Jack and Jill from our schools be banned?
Mother Goose may be a madam
And Father Christmas too much a man.

I guess the woke will get their say
To shut down any other way
Than what they allow in your essay,
But I say it is a sad sad day.

Cancel Culture in the USACancel Culture in the USA

The Frozen Chosen

Year of the Ox

I have several blogs in the works on our political situation here in the US, as well as some on theology and one about why Father would appoint a godless Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Hitler or some presidents to lead nations, but those can wait a week or two.

Frozen in Kentucky, we are getting our share of the polar vortex that “proves” global warming. 🙄  The bottom line, like William Goldman said early in his illustrious career, “Nobody knows anything.” 

So Tuesday evening, February 9, we went to bed with moderate winter temperatures and woke to a frozen wonderland, pictured below.  With temps staying below freezing now for four days and no sign of getting above it before Thursday, February 18 (and just barely, then!), the ice is still on our sidewalks, although salt trucks have pretty much cleared the main roads.  A few of us have worked up the nerve to clear our walks, but most are still under the glacier that has gripped the central US this week.

Before heading out on Wednesday for our 1-2 mile walk, Anita found our “hand-warmers” and I wish I could load the video associated to the third pic.  It’s really ‘cool’ how the white sodium acetate reacts in the aqueous solution when you click the metal disk which allows the supersaturated NaCH3COO to crystallize in the water.  You can see the chemical reaction at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m25n9179ym4.  (Just for the record, I do not have any affiliate links from which I get remuneration.  Any referrals I provide in my blogs are just because I like the products.)

2021-02-13 SpeedJust to give you an idea of how cold it was and how frozen it felt, hardly anyone was moving about on Wednesday as schools and everything shut down in Lexington.  I know we’re wimps compared to friends in Canada and Norway, but no one knows how to drive 25mph here unless the weather forces them to do so.

So out we went, with warm hands and hearts into the wasteland of arctic air that had seeped into Kentucky.  We used our hiking sticks to keep our feet steady, but even then, Anita felt too unsure of her footing, so I returned her to home and wandered Copperfield alone.  But not for long!   Even with hand-warmers, taking my glove off every few minutes to take a picture made me decide to head home pretty quickly as well.

Baby, it’s cold outside!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MFJ7ie_yGU.  (Red Skelton’s section is hilarious!! 😂)

I always wondered why someone thought Valentine’s Day ❤️ should come in the coldest month of the year!

The Copperfield Clubhouse Pool was cool, as were the trees and bushes around it!

Cars were pretty much unmoved.  Some were creative about preventing the ice from locking down their wipers, except for Charles who had no intentions of driving, but was called on a mission of mercy to a friend in the hospital.

Smaller trees seemed to do better than big birches around the neighborhood.  The birches were not as bowed as they were in 2003, but still arched under the weight.  Basketball, being the local primary religion in Lexington, one of the “idols” had to stand unattended since it was too slick for the supplicants to participate in “worshiping at the altar.” 😇

Back at home after perambulating the neighborhood, our friend across the street was as surprised as Anita and me that the USPS actually could drive around for mail delivery today!  I guess their slogan, “Neither rain nor sleet, . . . etc” really works!  Well, we’ll scrape some ice off the sidewalk and garage and go have a hot cup of Chili Chocolate from Peoria, Illinois!  Thanx, Sean and Mikki!

Final note, for Valentines Day/Chinese New Year, we ordered out at the Palomar Malone’s for some steak and lobster mac & cheese!  That was after checking the web for traffic cams to make sure the drive was navigable.  And here’s an icy panorama to finish off.  Happy Year of the OX! San Nin Faai Lok! https://www.oprahmag.com/life/a35394134/year-of-the-ox-prediction/

 

 

Pumpkin Pie From Scratch (Well, except the crust)

Well, the election confusion cycles on as Biden selects cabinet posts that may never be filled, as Trump pursues a Sisyphean task of trying to convince legislatures and courts that the election was incurably flawed.  We will wait to see how this all pans out by January 20 . . . if neither of the very old white guys dies from old age before then!  (“In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.”  Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War)

The coronavirus continues to attack people who attend church services, but seems to give protesters and leftist celebrators a pass.  My wife and I both tested negative for the virus, but also negative for the antibody, meaning we could still get infected if we are not vigilant.  Approaching the “high-risk” age group, we are inclined to take the virus more seriously than some younger friends who have been infected and quickly recovered; even gained their sense of smell back in a couple days.

So I decided to take a day off for Thanxgiving, celebrating with my bride of 31 years.  She cooked up my favorite lamb, God’s own best choice for delicious meat since Noah came off the ark!  This time, it was shank with rice and spinach, with pumpkin pie for dessert.  But the Pumpkin Pie was my creation!   Ingredients to preassemble:

  • 15-16 ounces pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup of dark brown sugar (a 1/2 cup tastes good, too)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I prefer to go light here, also – 1tsp)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) Evaporated Milk
  • 3 medium to extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

IMG_1Ignoring the online advice to use only “pie pumpkins” or “sugar pumpkins” I used the big Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin we had drawn on for Halloween.  “Unspoiler” alert: it works fine and is not significantly stringy if you clean out the fibrous seed network adequately.  This was unquestionably the most labor intensive and hardest part of doing a pumpkin pie!  I separated the seeds from the mush and saved them to roast later.

IMG_4  IMG_7  IMG_10

IMG_17A BIG mistake was cutting the pumpkin into small (1″ to 2″) squares for cooking.  If I ever do this again, I would cut the huge Jack-o-Lantern into eighths or 16ths at the smallest for stove top boiling, because the separating of the meat from the rind took a lot of time and tedium with soooo many small pieces.

IMG_24Covering the pieces with water, I could only fit in 1/2 of the pumpkin in our largest pot.  A better way may be to quarter the pumpkin and bake it in the oven.  In either case, you just have to get the meat soft so it will separate from the rind; about 5 minutes of boiling.  Let it cool and then spoon off the meat from the rind.  LOTs of little pieces to work with, LOTs of pumpkin squares to chill; my mother always called this one photo “cook’s privilege:’ to sample the goods in process.  Cooked pumpkin, just as it is, is delicious!

When you are ready to cook the pies, simply puree the pumpkin.  I separated the puree into 15oz ‘lots’ for pies, and for freezing.  (The puree is good in the fridge for seven days, and in the freezer for four months.)  This is where I recognized there was very little stringiness to the Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin.  The cooked meat blended up very easily with an old hand mixer.  Then I assembled every thing I needed for the first pie.

Add the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves to a one-quart saucepan, whisk to combine and stirring CONSTANTLY, cook over high heat for four minutes, or until the mixture kind of boils for about one minute.  STIR CONSTANTLY!!

Finally add the evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla extract and whisk together.

Pour your mixture into the pie crust (Okay, I cheated and bought preformed crusts, because I have never baked a crust before!)  Fill the pie as full as you wish, as it will not shrink significantly baking, nor does it boil over like berries.  Since I had some extra filling left over, I put some into silicone muffin cups and baked along with the pie.  Set your thermostat for 350F and bake for about 35 minutes, in case your oven is inaccurate so you can check it before it overbakes.  If it is precise, you can set your timer for 45 minutes (40-50 minutes is recommended by most recipes; the center should barely jiggle when touched).

The first came out SOOOO good, I got adventuresome and did two at once to save baking time, and to give to friends.  Once I got done making the puree, the rest was a piece of cake . . . or pie in this circumstance.  YUMMmmmm.

Next time, I’m going to try a praline pecan topping or alternate flavoring to the vanilla extract: peppermint pumpkin, anyone?  Or maybe almond or macadamia nut?  Hmm, I wonder what lychee pumpkin would taste like? 😉

The End of Time Will Have to Wait Until I Get Organized

I really need to clean out my basement.  My dearest friend noted to me upon a recent lament of the trouble I have getting started on this project, “C.A., you’ve been telling me you are going to do that for ten years.  It’ll keep for another ten.”  And so it goes.  I find one excuse after another for not starting; my back aches today; I have a blog to write; I have to fertilize the lawn and I will be too tired after that; there’s going to be a comet tonight; now I will be working for the Census for a couple months; that last one should be good until September!

2020-07-18 ReadingAnother project is to organize my library, or as it currently is called, my stacks of books.  Since I could not find a book I was looking for now I have new excuse for not cleaning my basement – I have to find this book, and I may as well get the library organized in order to do so.

Today was going to begin a few blogs on end times, what theologians call “eschatology,” and what the rest of us call, “what in blazes is going to happen!?”  But then I went looking for a friend’s book, Zechariah by Dr. Ronald Gifford, and could not find it!  (Don’t you just love theologians’ sense of whimsy when they name their books!? 😉 )  This is the same friend who is suspicious of my ability to organize my basement.  (Okay, to be fair, the full title of Ron’s book is Zechariah: A Gift of Vision.)

The Gold Mine by Dr. James Christie is what inspired my desire to blog on end times.  In a recent email to Jim, I asked for information on how to get more copies of his self-published book:  “I just finished reading The Gold Mine again and plan to blog on some of its concepts in coming months.  However, I wanted to provide readers with a link to purchase the book, and the only one I could find on Amazon wants $920.99 for the one copy of the first edition available.  Any possibility of buying some copies from you for a little less?  There are about 10 people to whom I would like to give copies on my dime, but not at $921/copy!  No lie, that’s how it was listed, but they must have sold that copy to someone who thought it was about how to get rich.  How ironic. 😂

Well, The Gold Mine is not available in print, but you can download the pdf of the book here, which Dr. Christie has made available on the tag line, “the more readers, the better.” He simply believes that these ideas need to be noticed, and he told me he has updated some revisions in chapters four and five.

And I am reading Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg which is also about end times, and even though it was written in 2006 and updated in 2008, it still reads like newspaper headlines with what may happen very soon.  If you are not into his novels you can skip the first two chapters and start “Connecting the Dots” in chapter three.  Rosenberg’s analyses in his blogs are always insightful and captivating to read.  (The novels are reeeally good!)

Two other texts on end times are worth mentioning here before I start organizing my library: Approaching Hoofbeats by Billy Graham and The Apocalypse by Joseph A. Seiss.  Graham’s text is basically an extension of his mission of evangelism but he provided some easy reading and narrative that informs the reader of possible understanding of part of the book of Revelation.  Siess on the other hand is for intense study with careful theological analysis of the last book of the New Testament, not light reading by any stretch.  Though my link is to a free pdf of his lectures, you can order a hardcover from Amazon for $948.00 (??Really, does anyone believe this price?)

Well, while you check out these books, I’ll start organizing my library.  I just hope I can get this done and the basement cleaned out before it won’t matter any more.  And who knew that pdf actually stands for Portable Document Format?  Not me, until today.

Intermezzo: Haircuts in the Time of the Wuhan Virus!

Last weekend I blogged about patience during this unusual time.  I decline to call it “difficult” because it has been reasonably sane here in Lexington, at least in our neck of the woods.  I have actually enjoyed the quieter time without so many places to go or things to do.  Of course, I have missed our Boomers’ Lunch Bunch once a month and pot luck Sunday night Gatherings.  Having just closed my construction company in December last year, I am kind of enjoying retirement and the virus seemed to put about everyone on the same page for a few weeks, quietly figuring out how to adjust to the “new normal.”

However, I have seriously missed Tiffany, my barber at Great Clips.  Last year I finally found a hair-dresser who tied the apron tight enough around my neck and also cut my hair to look as good as it could!  I usually let my hair grow about four to six weeks between cuts, so I was getting pretty bushy a week ago.  Anita offered to trim me and I guessed the only damage she could do would “heal” in a week or two, not that anyone would see me outside of Zoom or Skype for another couple months.

But her first time out with the trimmers and scissors proved to be pretty good!  Had to ham it for a couple of the pics, but she never pulled uncut hair nor took off any of my skin.  Made me look as good as she could, given what she had to start with!  So all’s well that ends well.  Maybe she can take up cosmetology after retiring! 😉

And as I noted in the last blog, I have gained about 10 pounds (4.5kg) so I need to increase the “outs” if I am going to keep eating ice cream or cheesecake after supper!  So I decided to edge the sidewalk in front of our house without a machine!  Hot work, but over two days with just a couple hours at it, I have depleted half of my gain. 🙂

IMG_0396  IMG_0404 IMG_0410

Intermezzo: A Corona-Virus Version of the Bible ;-)

2020-04-21 Corona Virus Version of the Bible

Well, a couple of months of self-quarantining can affect anyone’s brain, but for some of the editors at The Salty Cee (https://saltycee.com/news/translators-work-furiously-on-new-corona-virus-version-cvv-of-the-bible/), methinks it has gone on too long!  Working on the Corona-Virus Version of the Bible either commits sacrilege or heals with hilarious humor.  For a hearty belly-laugh, enjoy the first draft of Proverbs 31:10-31.

“Who can find a virtuous infection-free wife?
For her worth is far above toilet paper.
Her hand-sanitized husband safely trusts her; so he will never get the virus.
She empties the grocery store shelves all the days of the pandemic.
She seeks paper products, and willingly works with essential oils to bring her homemade hand sanitizer recipe to the merchant ships while maintaining social distancing protocols.
She ships her food from Amazon to avoid any added social contact.
She also rises while it is yet night to keep tabs on the COVID-19 infection statistics in various states and countries.
And provides food for her household because all the restaurants are closed.
And fires her maidservants since, who knows, they might be carriers!
She considers stock in Scott Paper Company and buys it.
From her profits she increases her homemade hand-sanitizer production quotas to meet demand.
She perceives that her essential oils and alcohol content are both good.
She girds herself with a stylish N95 mask.
And her internet connection does not go out by night.
She puts her hand to the spindle to make cloth in case paper products do end up running out.
She extends her hand to wipe horizontal surfaces that are in need of daily doses of disinfecting.
She is not afraid of visitors to her household, for all her household is also clothed with N95 masks . . . but turns them all away anyway, just to be extra safe.
Her husband is known in the news for selling toilet paper on the black market as he sits among the preppers of the land.
Paranoia and precaution are her clothing; she shall rejoice when the time of COVID-19 has come and gone.
She opens her mouth with wisdom for how to prepare for catastrophes and on her tongue is the fine print within the governor’s “shelter-at-home” laws.
She watches over the driveway of her household to shoo away any and all visitors.
And does not wash her hands with idleness but with THREE Happy Birthday recitations.
Her children rise up and call her blessed and corona-free.
Her husband also, and he praises her: “Many preppers have done well, but you excel them all.
CNN is deceitful and Trump is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD and COVID-19, she shall be praised.”

Daylight Wasting Time

Two stories, the first is apocryphal about how Daylight Saving Time came into existence.

Daylight Wasting timeDon’t let anyone fool you about stories of Ben Franklin and treaties between the EU and US over how this absurdity we call Daylight Saving Time began!

Congressmen and Senators were spending lots of time with their constituents . . . until someone noticed they were spending LOTS of time with their constituents.  So most of them went back to D.C. so the voters would think they were doing something.  Having picked up some chicken tenders, wings, and pretzels to go from Hamilton’s Bar and Grill, they were sitting around the Upper Senate Park and one of them noted, “Well, we really oughta do something, pass a law or at least have a discussion so the folks back home will think we had a reason to come back here.”

After a lengthy heated discussion on whether this year’s salary raise should be bigger or smaller than next year’s, one of them suggested it was getting late and he did not like to walk in D.C. after dark.  Which made a light bulb turn on over one of the congressperson’s heads!  “Hey, why don’t we give everyone in the US an extra hour of daylight in the summer!?  That would show we really cared about the dum-dums . . . I mean ‘voters’ back home.”

The bill was about to pass unanimously when an aide from a high school diplomacy program pointed out that 1), they did not have power over the sun; and 2) without that power, if they lengthened each day by an hour, it would not take long before people were going to work in the middle of the night, and that would not settle well with the dum-d . . . uh, voters.

So one of the senators in the park suggested they could solve this very easily by just removing an hour at the front of each day that they “lengthened.”  They all cheered at this “solution” and voted to move the clocks forward every spring at some arbitrary time, which after lengthy negotiations with Europe and much of the rest of the world’s politicians, was decided to do it on a Saturday in March.

However, with March Madness coming in the US, they decided they could mess up church schedules with less acrimony than disturbing the basketball and school schedules, so they all opted for the Sunday morning after the first Saturday in March before the NCAA tournament began.

Another high school student working as an aide pointed out to the other students there, that it would be much easier to just ask everyone to get up an hour earlier, but he was quickly hushed by the others who wanted to go out for a party that night.

And THAT‘s how Daylight Wasting . . . I mean, Saving Time was born in the halls of the ponderous panderers.

The second story is true with only the names changed to protect the guilty.

Working in an office in the early 1990s a discussion about Daylight Saving Time came up as we were preparing for the abrupt and uncomfortable change in the spring clocks.  A former high school student, Perceptival, with more than an ounce of sense said, “If it is really THAT important to come to work an hour earlier, why can’t we just do that without messing with the clock?”  To which one his colleagues, Ludicrious, said (and I am not making this up!), “Oh, heavens! I have to get up at 5:30 to get here at 8am!  I could NEVER get up at 4:30!”   The former high school student pointed out, “But that is exactly what you ARE doing.  You’re just calling it 5:30.”  At which point the discussion ended because everyone wanted to go to the last party they could before moving their clocks forward an hour.  Apparently, most of them could not stay up late enough after the spring time change for it to get dark. Emo1 

Just a thought

“I thought I’d think a simple thought,
a thought whose thinking of I ought
to think of thoroughly, through and through,
a thought whose thinking I should do.

But when I sought a thought to think
my searching could not find a thing.
So I thought I’d wait and see
what thoughtful thought might come to me.

Now I’ve thought for quite some time . . .
I must be hard for thoughts to find.”
c.a.post, ©1984