Sunday, October 17, 2021

The ERJ Family no longer supports the Catholic Relief Services


It is with a heavy-heart that the ERJ family will stop donating to the Catholic Relief Services. Over the last fifteen years we contributed half of our "discretionary" tithe to them...perhaps $600 a year.

A nagging question had popped into my head "Who is funding the 'refugees/migrants' as they traveled from their home-countries to our southern boarder?"

It took just a few minutes to determine that the Catholic Relief Services has been complicit in flooding our cities and towns with economic refugees who have minimal intentions of assimilating.

From the CRS 2020 Annual Report. They coyly mask what they are doing with weasel-words

Catholic Relief Services Vice President Bill O'Keefe referring to President Trump's Stay-in-Mexico Executive Order
"By banning refugees and travel from Syria, Somalia, and Yemen, we are turning our backs on suffering people during their most difficult hours,” he (Bill O'Keefe) said.

My understanding of international protocols is that political refugees are required to stop in the first country where they are safe. How many countries did the the refugees from Yemen and Somalia and Syria fly over to get to Mexico or the US? How many of those countries were traditionally Muslim and where it would be easier for them to assimilate? 

2020 Financial Report. Approximately 65% of the Catholic Relief Services come as donations from the US Government, as in-kind donations (like commodities) and from "other" public entitities.

If you follow-the-money, it becomes apparent that the CRS mutated into an organization that whitewashes  the actions of the Deep State. It is about as "Catholic" as a coin-laundromat.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Another applesauce day

Today is another applesauce day. It will probably be our last BIG day for applesauce. I have forty quarts to show for my effort.

Mrs ERJ went to a seminar. Bella is up north and Kubota is somewhere other than home. So it is just me and the two dogs.

One of the little tricks I picked up this year is to use the turkey-fryer to expedite the last load of applesauce. As a steamer, it outruns the kettle in the house where I process the jars. Consequently, I have enough for an additional seven-to-twelve jars when I am done steaming the apples.

Since that kettle is running in parallel with the one in the house it trims about 90 minutes off the tired end of my day.

I don't know how people who work for a living manage to blog. It cuts into a man's day something awful.

Friday, October 15, 2021

What do Brandon and Joe Biden have in common?

Q: What do Brandon and Joe Biden have in common?

A: The answer to every problem is to turn left and mash on the gas pedal.

They both make lots of noise and go around in circles.

Then blame they everybody else when they lose.

They try to act like they are "regular folks" when they are multi-millionaires.

They both increase the consumption of alcohol.

And the entire spectacle is really all about putting money in the pockets of their sponsors. The fans are window-dressing.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Quote of the Week

"If talkin' was the same as working, he would have more done by 8:00 AM Monday than most men can do in a week."  David from Pikesville, Kentucky

I don't know why this tickles me so much. David was talking about a mutual friend. 

Seed Saving

I hate being a negative Nellie but this might be a good year to save a few seeds.

It doesn't need to be anything exotic. In fact, pedestrian is more likely to give you a crop than the unusual.

Beans, winter squash, melons and tomatoes. Seeds for greens are available dirt-cheap as "food plot" seeds right now.

Planting the seeds of hybrid plants, tomatoes for instance, will still produce edible fruit but they might not be uniform for size and shape.

Just a thought. It is easy to do now. It might be hard to find seeds in April.

More cellphone aggrevations

Mrs ERJ and I drove the half hour into Lansing to sort out the phone numbers.

My phone is now a paperweight. According to the button-pusher, Verizon no longer supports Samsung Galaxy 5 phones. The only way to reconnect Kubota's number to his phone involved inactivating the Samsung and now Verizon will not reactivate to the now-obsolete SIM.

This may be a blessing in disguise. I now intend to drop my number on the Verizon plan and switch to a simple, rugged flip-phone Trac-phone. Trac-phone is a pay-as-you-go carrier. I expect to save $70 a month.

One complication is that my number is the "plan holder" so I think I need to make ANOTHER trip to Lansing to sort it out.


Growing up in a Catholic family we used words like "Grace" and "Bless" on a frequent basis.

I grew up with a sense of what the word "Bless" meant but did not have an operating definition until I asked a priest named Jake Folgio.

He offered this definition: To "bless" something is to set it aside for a special purpose.

I am still not entirely happy with the definition but I am all too prone to get tangled up in words and logical puzzles. But for now, that is the definition I am running with.

May every reader have many blessed moment in the next twenty-four hours.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Christianity and the Competently-armed Citizen

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone may say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.   -James 2:15-18 NAB

There are times and places where being a competently-armed greatly enhances the chances that evil people will allow you to "Go in peace..."

Might one of "the necessities of the body" also include the means to protect one's self and those who are under your protection?

Things are weird

Coronal Mass Ejections can play hob with data transmission.

The internet is running like poop today.

Kubota update

We gave Kubota two weeks to get his affairs in order and make his transition to whatever address he moves to. Things COULD be smoother.

I was able to get Kubota's phone activated by taking it to the Verizon store in Lansing but they bobbled the numbers. Kubota's phone now has my number and my phone is in-op. That is a major problem since Kubota is in the middle of a job search. The cosmos is clanging with bad harmonics.

Canning update

We got 39 pints of chicken canned. Two did not seal, probably because I cheated on headspace. One of them sealed on the second go-around. The other was the last batch and is now in the refrigerator.

Mrs ERJ suggested that I reinforce the shelving in the pantry. That is a nice problem to have.

My bad

I erroneously reported some Youtube footage as being from China and recorded August 2, 2021 when it was actually from the tsunami that struck Japan.

Please accept my apologies.

Hat-tip to "Unknown" commentor.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

What is the point of living frugally if money will soon be worthless?


I subscribe to the notion that we are creatures of our habits far more than we care to admit. Like an arrow, our future direction is directed in large part by what we drag along behind us.


I once was "witness" as a second member of management to the discipline of an employee who was responsible for inspecting product near the end-of-the-line.

His job had been given a new item to inspect. The item in question was a "back-up camera" and the connector was at an odd angle that resulted in a less-than-100% connection rate by production. He flat out said "I ain't gonna do it."

Two months later, a vehicle Jumbo had inspected was found to have that option not hooked up.

The issue was exacerbated by the fact the defective vehicle had been shipped to China and they insisted that it be shipped back to the factory for repair. Can we say "$10,000 in shipping costs"? I knew we could.

During the discipline interview, Jumbo admitted his life had turned to shit. His wife was divorcing him. He was having emotional issues. He knew he was supposed to check the back-up camera (put in reverse and see if an image shows up on the monitor) but for some reason, he just could not do it.

The reason I was there as a second member of management was that Jumbo was walking the plank. One more screw-up after this one and he would be fired.

The committeeman suggested that we adjourn the proceedings for a week. The committeeman then had a private meeting with Jumbo where he "suggested" that Jumbo put in his papers to retire.

Jumbo saw the wisdom in the committeeman's suggestion. One week later, Jumbo was no longer on the roster of active employees of the company.

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to fire a retired person but it is usually not pursued.


Jumbo had the self-awareness to realize that he had habits he could not shake. He realized that by spouting off his mouth he had painted himself into a corner.

He took the wiser path.


Spendthrifts are apt to mock me because I live below my means.

That strikes them as crazy.

I am content with my choices. If the economy goes into the toilet I am happy with cornbread, gravy, potatoes, oatmeal and eggs.

I suspect that what I see as a hiccup in my standard-of-living will be cataclysmic for the spendthrifts. No money for me is an inconvenience. No money for a spendthrift is a life-threatening event.

Your mileage will vary.

"Let's Go Brandon!" and pressure-canning chicken


This picture was sent to me by Gardencountry, a friend in Indiana 
As part of my job to clean out Mom's freezer I am uncovering bags of mystery meat of unknown age. Mostly I have been microwaving a couple of paddies and adding it to the morning dog food.

It drives the dogs wild as smell the meat and as I pour the juice and chunks of meat over their kibbles...and then as I rattle the kibbles in their bowls to distribute the meaty goodness.

Belladonna was getting ready for work this morning as I went through the new routine. As Herc, her dog, got all excited and dance-y I started cheering him on "Let's Go Brandon!!!"

Belladonna, a consumer of mainstream media did not understand the allusion. 

Pressure canning chicken today

The grocery store had a two-per-item limit.

No chicken thighs came in on the morning truck which was unfortunate because the store is running a special at $1.23/pound on them.

They also had stacks of bone-in chicken breasts that expired today and were priced to move. I took four packages and no alarms went off at the check-out.

I suspect the chicken processing plant is fiddling with their product mix in an attempt to minimize the impact of their labor shortage. What do you do when you don't have enough people to run the plant? You figure out some product with less labor content that you CAN run.

It was a breeze to cut the bones off the meat compared to filleting a 6" long bluegill. I found it worked best to cut alongside the keel and then work from back-to-front.

God willing, we will end up with 40 pints of pressure-canned chicken and six quarts of chicken stock. I had to use the bones for something....

Fine Art Tuesday


Ivan Shishkin born in Russia in 1832. He died in 1898.

Even in his lifetime, he was regarded as one of the masters of Russian painters.

To me, Shishkin's paintings are the visual equivalent of comfort-food...High-end, gourmet comfort-foods

Monday, October 11, 2021

Windbreaks (picture heavy)


I had a reader ask me about windbreaks. You can click on the image to embiggen.

So I took a bunch of pictures. Most of them are from the east and looking west. Our prevailing wind is from the west-southwest.

Windbreaks present a few challenges. One challenge involves keeping the bottom dense so the wind does not blow beneath the bulk of the branches.

Another challenge is producing ancillary benefits. The windbreak soaks up sunlight and water. We might as well attempt to get some kind of crop from it.

Mike Parker recommends that windbreaks be designed as wildlife corridors with a width of 20-to-25 paces. This is the low-point of my property and I planted willows to sequester any nutrients before they leave the property.

The windbreak has shorter species on the edges and taller, mast producing species in the middle to give it a hump-shape

Chestnut trees can play either position

Some species are there because I like how they look. The tall trees in the center of the frame are P. grandidentata X P. alba and are about 60 feet tall.

Black Locust tends to pop up everywhere.

I intend to prune the spruce trees up about 8'. I hope that the sun hitting the ground will recruit appropriate species.

My electric fences are curvy. A fence that is convex stays tight when the animals push it and requires few corner posts.

Mulberries, grape vines, crab apples, persimmons, chestnuts, sumac, blackberries and domestic apple seedlings thicken up the edges.

Taller species in the center include Black Locust, Swamp White Oak, Sawtooth Oak, Northern Red Oak, English Oak and Black Walnut.

LOTS of Illinois Everbearing Mulberry grafts. It has a very long period of fruiting.

Heuristic: The mythical "Fixed-Pie"

This heuristic is mentioned by Neale and Bazerman in a chapter on a textbook for Negotiating. The chapter was titled Heuristics and the Limits to Negotiation (1983)

It is obvious that if my piece of pie is bigger then yours must be smaller.

If my length of string is shorter, yours will be longer.

If the company keeps more profits than the pay of the employees must be lower, and so on for any single-variable system.

Untethered from reality

Untethered from reality, this kind of thinking can mutate into some strange places.

This simple view fosters simple thinking. It is not a big step to think that if the worker can hurt or "short" the company then it automatically gives him equal advantage. That is, by making the other party's piece of string shorter than theirs will automatically become longer.

Equipment can be damaged or parts fed into tools incorrectly to create "ass-time" at great expense to the company.

Scrap can be deliberately created to generate over-time to fix the scrap or run more production on over-time to backfill the shortfall.

Profit and work-rules are demanded that make the company unable to reinvest and remain competitive in the market.

Back to the "Fixed Pie" analogy

What if I like crust and you like filling? Is it possible that BOTH OF US COULD HAVE ALL OF THE PIE? I can have all the crust and you can have all the filling!

"Balderdash!" you say. "Nobody likes crust that much."

What if I like thick crust pizza (pie) and you like thin crust with lots of topping? You get two-thirds of the toppings and I get two-thirds of the crust. We were able to create a solution where, in total, we both got 2/3rds (4/3 total) of the pie that was important to us.

We did it by negotiating until each party understood what was important to the other and by looking at additional dimensions, dimensions below the obvious.

In the real world

Suppose a contract is struck between a company and a Union. Suppose one part of the agreement is that the Company shall allow 10% of its employees vacation on any given day. 

But that poses a problem. In a group of 15 people is 10% one person or two people a day?

Suppose the contract anticipated that question and dictated that on 50% of the work days the company must approve 1 person/day and on the other 50% of the work days it must approve 2 people/day.

As the supervisor you have the option of:

  • Alternating weeks which is the most common way to implement it
  • Alternating days which is a pain to implement
  • Allowing two on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday which is what YOUR boss wants
  • Allowing two on Monday-Friday and one on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday which is what your people prefer EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE GETTING FEWER DAYS THAN THE CONTRACT SPECIFIES.

How did it play out?

I actually had 35 employees. I approved 4 on Mondays and Fridays and 3 on TWT. In appreciation the other employees did not "blow-off" those days in my department.

My boss got tired of calling me on Monday and Friday to rob me of my "extras" to support the other areas he was responsible for covering and hearing me tell him "I have four on vacation". He took over vacation policy.

I still had (at least) four people missing on Monday and Friday. They saw my boss's move as an attempt to inflict maximum pain on them. The perception was that we had a win-win situation worked out and my boss was seen as a control-freak. Game on!

I was informed by my people that if they wanted to take a Friday or Monday, they were going to take it and figure out how to cover it later*. Furthermore, they LOATHED leaving their area to cover areas that were "on their ass" for people.

*40% of the "sick" slips were signed by one "doctor" in one facility in Grand Ledge. I suspect the receptionist handed them out. I was never invested enough to determine if the person signing them was actually a doctor at that facility.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

What will an ounce of silver buy?

At the time of Jesus a Denarius was expected to contain 3.9 grams of silver.

Prices varied wildly over the Roman Empire. Everything was more expensive in Rome and less expensive in the areas that were net-producers of wheat and olive oil and wine. That is an economic reality if you expect the outlying areas to ship their goods to the center. They certainly will not incur shipping costs and the risk of loss at sea to command a lower price.

Also, different skill levels commanded different wages. An experience and trusted Centurion received more than the half-wit who carried water.

But for our first stake-in-the-ground, a weekly wage of one Denarius was expected to feed a family of four in Palestine. Other resources were acquired outside the cash economy. Food was foraged or traded for. Firewood was collected and so on.

One Troy Ounce is 31.1 grams so an ounce of silver in Palestine at the time of Jesus would feed a family of four for about eight weeks.

At this time in history humanity was starved for all forms of metal.


In 1880 a farm-hand could expect to receive a dollar-a-day during harvest season. The wages were lower in the former Confederacy and higher on the frontier where labor was in shorter supply. It is notable that harvest time is when labor is in shortest supply and in greatest demand. That is, it will be lower at other times of the year.

That dollar contained 0.77 ounces which was quite a step up from the wages of the time of Jesus. The discovery of the New World pumped a LOT of precious metals into the world economy.

Prices in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1880 were seven-cents for a pound of lard and 2.8 cents per pound of flour. The daily ration for the family-of-four was four pounds of flour and one pound of lard (or its equivalent if pork) for an outlay of 18.2 cents a day.

In 1880 a Troy Ounce of silver would feed the family of four in Indianapolis for about seven days.


While it is an oversimplification, you can go to Walmart and buy 20 pounds of white rice for $8.54 or 43.7 cents a pound.

Vegetable oil can be had for 80 cents a pound. The ration of four pounds of carbs and one pound of fats/oils would cost $2.55 and one ounce of silver would buy about ten days of rations for our hypothetical family of four.

What is unsaid

This assumes a family unit where one person works in the cash/work economy and one other works in the non-cash economy for the extras.

This model goes into the ditch if every input to feed, cloth and house the family must come from the cash economy.

Many GIs brought home stories of women collecting "greens" in Post WWII Europe to supplement the foods shipped over by the Marshal Plan. In Asia, acorns were collected and processed into pudding-bars. Hunger is a great motivator.

Those Catholics and their Saints


Our Lady of the 12 Gauge Shotgun shells.

The Lady prefers low-brass Rio or Peters hulls.

St Joseph, Patron Saint of the 20 Gauge.

Many miraculous conversions and much fervent prayer has been attributed to these two saints especially among sinners who chose a life-of-crime before their conversion.

These two statues can be seen at St Mary Catholic Church of Charlotte, Michigan.

The provenance of the two statues is a bit of a mystery but the patterning on them suggest Spanish origins or perhaps from the eastern reaches of Catholic Europe.

Craven Imposters

I used to work in an automotive factory where the bodies were welded together from sheet-metal parts. Sometimes I visited stamping plants where it seemed like every press in the plant was running and the floor shook like a drum.

Those places were LOUD!

One thing I noticed is that the people who worked there were very adept at body language. I never got interrupted, for instance, when I was pressed for time and walking across the shop. They could tell by the slight differences in my gait and facial expression that it was not a good time to stop me.

That leads me to one of my "tricks" when reviewing videos. Turn off the sound and WATCH the body language. Words lie. It is much harder to lie with body language.

Kamala Harris Puff-Piece

What I found most interesting was Harris's postures.

Most of the time she was in the fetal position which is very puzzling. Here she is, ostensibly the second most powerful person in America, in front of a friendly audience of five hand-selected sixth graders being lobbed pre-selected, soft-ball questions. The video crew is trying to make her look good and she still curls up like a pill-bug poked with a broom-straw.

Isn't that the origin of her "creepy" vibe? Her core body language radiates "I hate and fear people" while her words are a NPC subroutine running on the graphics card.

The crib notes that Putin, Xi, Mode and everybody else will be working from are that this person is EASILY bullied. 

But that is not the scariest part

How does a person get to be fifty and still have this character trait?

From one perspective it is because they cherished and nurtured and guarded the pain of every perceived slight and indignity. Perhaps they think of it as the source of their power much like Samson's hair.

They have lists and hold grudges.

Don't fear the Hero-king

You can negotiate with the Hero-king. You can find common ground and fight common enemies.

Fear the craven imposter

The coward will stab you in the back out of fear that you might turn against them. 

As a story-teller I wonder at the motives and competence of the people in the smoke-filled rooms who put her in the VP position. A VP position, I might add that is VERY likely to be a gateway to the POTUS position.

Was it stark, lunatic incompetence or was it something more malign.

Did they pick her because they see her as the perfect tool to crush those who they envy or do not offer adequate homage at the alter of the New Utopia?

Do they think that she is on a leash? So thought the industrialists and generals who put Hitler into power, another craven imposter.

If Harris's personality is "craven imposter" and if she is deeply humiliated on the international stage, I can only imagine what actions she will unleash domestically to vent her rage.

In the end, the motives don't matter. Harris is in the VP slot.

I would love to be wrong about all of this.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Squirrel hunting tricks


Have any of you squirrel hunters ever used a rubber snake to distract squirrels up in trees?

The old geezer said to tie some monofiliment to its head and then toss it out a ways or to drop it and then walk on another sixty feet or so.

Then, sit down and let things settle. Then start twitching the snake. The squirrels go nuts on Squirrel Facebook and you get to pot one or two of them.

BS or real? What say you guys and gals?

Another applesauce day

Today is an applesauce day.

I have been given to understand that honeybees can "see" sugar. Sugar reflects a certain frequency of infrared that bees can see and we cannot. That implies that adding some sugar to the cider and putting it in  sunny spot would make it even more attractive.

The clouds of yellowjackets are almost tolerable since I started putting out a couple of quart (.95l) jars with about an inch (2.54e+8 Angstroms) of cider in  the bottoms. I also add a drop of dish detergent. Between the YJ's scent markers and the sweet smell of the cider they rush in and drown.

I have not gotten stung in the past three weeks. I am calm and relaxed and take cares to not squish them. If they land in an awkward place like under my arm, I stop moving until they leave. Panic is bad. 

I got a late start today. I ran across a guy with a flat tire. Between this-and-that we got him on his way but it did spin some time off the clock.

Hell hath no fury like a woman wronged

Kyrsten Sinema is not returning Joe Biden's phone calls.

As a reminder, Sinema is a Democrat and a Senator from Arizona.

Since even Putin returns calls from the President of the United States, that implies one of two things.

Either Sinema is throwing shade on Biden being the legitimate POTUS (as a Democrat from Arizona she might know something) or she is implying that he is a sock-puppet for some policy wonks who have become too full of themselves.


Friday, October 8, 2021

It is the squash, honest...

Mrs ERJ was vaccuming our tiny patch of carpet and she noticed I was watching.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" she asked.

"Like what?" I responded.

"Like THAT!" she said.

"Probably because of the squash. You know it has a lot of Vitamin A in it" I said. "It does amazing things for my eyesight."

I am surprised the price of silver is not higher


A time-progression of the Weimar Republic Mark exchange rate vs. two currencies backed by "hard" assets. The Mark wandered around 60 Marks to the dollar from 1920 until June of 1921. Then over the course of the next 12 months it shed 90% of its purchasing power.  By January 1923 (six months) it had lost 99% of its 1920 value. By June 1923 the purchasing power was 10% of the January purchasing power.


There is a school-of-thought that contends that the idea of "Adolescent" is a social construct that did not exist in any meaningful way until the middle of the Industrial Revolution.

That school-of-thought contends that the origin of "Adolescence" was not due to new information about biology or neuroscience but because increasing population and improvements in production technology resulted in a surplus of workers. Labor embraced the idea of "Adolescence" as a way to protect the jobs of heads-of-family.

Stunted development

The downside of Adolescence is that it stunts growth.

The current fad is to claim Adolescence lasts until the age 26. Again, economic factors are in play. Those claims are strongest in places where the price of housing is highest: Places like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York, Chicago.

Growth that is denied healthy outlets will find unhealthy ones.

Group Dynamics

I believe that they human brain is extremely plastic. The same human who is a warm family man and an elder in his church can be a stone-cold killer in the Mafia.

We respond to cues in the environment in powerful and unpredictable ways. Those cues and the patterning can easily steam-roller our "conscious" desires.

Every group will have a designated jester and hero and king and judge and caretaker-of-souls. If one of them moves on, then somebody in the group will step forward just like a trout moving into a prime feeding station when the alpha trout is caught.

This dynamic pretty much kills any possibility of an organic Utopia. Somebody is going to be a prick-of-misery. Guaranteed. Somebody will love pranks. Somebody will be a drill-instructor and so on.

The best way to modify behavior is to change the environment.

Drunks: Don't go into bars.

Angry people: Avoid the stimuli that pisses you off.

Thrill seekers: Sell the crotch-rocket.

A toxic personality can change when tossed into a different environment. The whiner and malingerer can become productive and cheerful with a job change (I have seen this happen).

Killing "Adolescence" (the concept, not the wee-sprouts)

Recall the contention that Just-in-Time inventory is a powerful problem solving tool because it removes inventory that cloaks the cause-and-effects that lead to problems and waste.

...the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire

What is "Adolescence" other than a coddling of young humans and "saving" or "rescuing" them from the consequences of stupid choices? Even the least intellectually gifted child does not put his hand on the burner of the stove more than once in spite of what the Gods of the Copybook Headings claim.

What a cruel thing to do, to subject them to fifteen years of operant conditioning that reinforces all the WRONG ways to do "adult". Is it a surprise that so many young adults commit suicide? Is it a surprise that so many of them are screwed up?

Thursday, October 7, 2021

A turning of the page

It became time to tell Kubota that he needed to find another place to live. We gave him two weeks to make the transition. The arrangement was "not working out".

The news, while not a surprise, was not well received. Much drama. Much bruising resulted.

Everybody is in lick-our-wounds mode. Kubota's current whereabouts is unknown. He will let us know when he is ready to have us know. Until then, we have to trust in God's goodness and Kubota's sense of self-preservation.

Those of you who are the praying types, pray that Kubota's guardian angel be well supplied with caffeine and a quick, guiding hand.

What if those nose-swabs were a ploy to collect samples of everybody's DNA

In light of leaks of the FBI's increasing use of geofence and key-word warrants, would anybody be surprised if the nose-swab, Covid-19 tests had been a plan to collect, blue-print and store everybody's DNA?

PCR is the "gold standard" for determining if a patient is Covid-positive. It is also the base technology for creating enough genetic material to perform microsatellite analysis which is then used to determine pedigree and uniquely ID an individual. 

Data takes on a life of its own. I assume the labs are required to keep the raw data of their tests for litigation purposes. It would only take a technician a New York minute to download huge chunks of it on to a thumbdrive and then market it on the dark-web.

Or the government could force the labs to "share" that information in return for any future reimbursements by the government.

Just saying, the potential for abuse and over-reach from the stupid nose-swabs is huge.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Blogging will be light for the next week

 Crunch time on getting the homestead buttoned down for winter.

A man has to know his limits


I always got a big chuckle out of magazines like Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening.

They were chock-full of articles about growing nettles for fiber, roosters for fly-tying hackles or farkleberries for fun and profit.

What they never, ever said was that MANAGEMENT is the limiting factor on any homestead. Somebody has to feed and water livestock. Somebody has to collect the eggs and check to ensure they are closed-up snug for the night.

Somebody has to control weeds almost daily.

Somebody has to patrol fences and clear ditches.

Traditional farm families had a hierarchy. Grandparents and children had regular jobs that were within their capability. 

It is not apparent to us from our vantage point, but a key part of making the traditional small-holding succeed was to delegate to the next generation as soon as possible...or even they could grow into it. 

For instance, an Amish farm might have 20 different "enterprises" on forty acres. Far more than any mortal human can manage. But the upside is that it trained the next generation and those 20 enterprises ensured that money came in every week-of-the-year. From asparagus-to-lettuce-to-strawberries-to-snap peas-to-cucumbers-to-tomatoes-to-sweetcorn-to-melons-to....Christmas wreaths woven from grapevines with dairy cows and goats contributing for nine months of the year.

Today's stupid task was to take the rototiller out to the pasture and grind down the ridges left by the tractor two winters ago. The Captain had just died. Sprite was overwhelmed. We kept his/her cattle over here while Sprite sorted things out.

I moved hay over from Sprite's and fed the cattle over here. While I gained the advantage of the nutrients and seed in the hay the tractor beat the snot out of my pasture. Today I fixed a little bit of that.


This afternoon is predicted to have a wee bit of sunshine. I might be able to get in some mowing.

Or maybe I will not.


I still have apples that need picking.


One of my sisters-in-law expressed a desire to pick pears and chestnuts at the deer lease.

We struck out on chestnuts. They were done and the deer had mopped them up.

We did well on pears. We got a few that might be Gorham and she got about 20 pounds of a variety that keyed out as Sheldon.

I think a few scion of the "Gorham" might follow me home later this year. I find myself gravitating toward later ripening fruit. They have longer picking windows, there are fewer yellowjackets to contend with and the weather is more pleasant for canning or it is cool enough that they can be simply stored in the garage for a few weeks.

This "Gorham" came in a bundle of unlabeled trees from the now-defunct Bear Creek Nursery. The fruit is slightly larger than medium size. The skin is astringent but the flesh melting and "buttery". Good flavor. Tree is of modest size. Ripens last week of September and is edible as-ripened on the tree. Many European pears turn to sawdust and mush on the tree and must be cold-stored for a week and then "ripened" at room temperature. What a pain!

Glove included for size reference

Then, today while I was filling the water tanks for the calves I noticed a bunch of chestnuts under some of my trees. Unlike the trees out at the lease, these fell in their husks and no sane deer wanted to deal with them.

So...S-i-L got her chestnuts.

Biden's recent visit to Michigan (We've lost that luvin' feelin'. Woe! Woe! Woe!)


The camera-man caught a woman who looks much like a younger Hillary Clinton protesting the PPOTUS at the seven-tp-twelve second mark.

Both videos have about a one-minute runtime.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021


As a general rule, I try to follow the commandment to "Not bear false witness"

That means to avoid gossip, to not present as "true" what I have not verified as true and to not tell lies.

That presents a dilemma when I stumble across something of interest that I have little means of verifying.


The etymology (origin) of the name "Bethlehem" is the blending of the noun "Beth" or "House" and the verb לחם (laham). Laham is an interesting word because it can be interpreted as the verb "to make war" or "to eat".

Christians like to say that laham translates to "bread" which dovetails very nicely with Christ's "I am the bread of life..." but that may be a bit of a stretch. "to eat" is a verb and "bread" is a noun.

I am not a linguist. This is beyond my ability to sort out.

Human nature

It is human nature to bend things to fit the way we wish the universe was put together.

It would be oh-so-convenient if Christ came to justify harmony at any cost. That could be a misreading of the Gospel. At one point Jesus is quoted as saying "I have come to set the world on fire and I wish it was already burning."

We should consider and pray about the possibility that Jesus was born in a town known as "The House of War" rather than "The House of Compromise, Concessions and Chamberlain's 'Peace in our Time'."

While we are told to not judge, we are also told to exercise discernment.



Q: Why does it take six months to replace a bridge on a two-lane, paved road?

A: Because there is no incentive for the winner of the bid to do it any faster.

It used to take US stamping plants the better part of a week to change over the dies on a major stamping line. Because of the slow change-over, the "economically viable run" measured in the tens-of-thousands of hoods or fenders or roofs.

Then the Harbour group started documenting how quickly the Japanese companies could change over a line.

It now takes all of a minute to change the presses. The ram (the part that comes down) lowers the punch onto their respective dies. Pins are pulled hydraulically. The die/punch sets are pushed out of position by the new sets that are sitting on roller tables and exactly the right height. The new set rolls in. The old sets roll onto another set of tables on the other side of the press-line. Hydraulics shoot pins to lock punches and dies and the press starts cycling.


Just throwing some numbers on the table. AAA estimates it costs about 82 cents a mile to drive 10k per year. The IRS allowance is 56 cents. Splitting the difference is 69 cents a mile.

Let's assume a typical detour is additional three miles. That is $2070 per thousand vehicles.

Now assume that the detour adds seven minutes of time. Further assume that every vehicle is single occupancy and the time is valued at the current Federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. That is an additional 84 cents per driver or $840 per thousand.

This ignores secondary effects like incremental traffic congestion along detours and the impact it has on those drivers.

This math would be greatly enhanced with real data but a cost-to-society of $3000/thousand vehicles is defensible. If that cost savings were split between "society" and the contractors replacing/repairing the bridge, then the contractor would receive a bonus of $1500/per day on a bridge that saw 1000 vehicles per day.

I know I have readers with a wealth of experience. If it were a priority, is there any reason why it would take more than seven calendar-days to replace a bridge...assuming the steel and concrete and workers and equipment showed up when needed? Would they even break a sweat?

Fine Art Tuesday


Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl born 1860 in Timișoara. Timișoara is now in Romania but was considered part of Hungary when Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl born.

Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl died in 1933.

Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl found a profitable niche painting scenes from ancient mythology. Many of his existing paintings are murky scenes depicting the River Styx and the afterlife. The themes have not aged well.

Most of what he painted does not appeal to me but I respect a man who does what he must to pay his bills.

One must wonder if he would be more popular today if he had painted more outside of his chosen niche.