Desert Cat's Paradise
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." - Proverbs 27:12.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
FOXNews.com - Court Rules Polygamist Sect Children Should Be Returned to ParentsComments
AUSTIN — In a crushing blow to the state's massive seizure of children from a polygamist sect's ranch, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that child welfare officials overstepped their authority and the children should go back to their parents.
Funny I didn't see *this* story featured on Google News until very late after it broke. "Automatically chosen stories" indeed.
On the story itself, this actually is somewhat unexpected to me. It gives me (false?) hope that justice and the rule of law can still prevail.
But the fact that this happened at all is still quite disturbing.
They come for you next...
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:49 PM | permalink
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
This was the main project last weekend--grubbing and forming up the pad for the mobile home.Comments
The "before" pic is here
A couple more views:
And the kitty that did the job:
More like a bucking bronco. My back was killing me. I definitely have a preference for the ASV rubber tracked version of the Bobcat that I rented last time. Besides being a bit more sure-footed, the dang thing would not have gotten stuck twice like the Bobcat did. As I've mentioned before, this soil becomes remarkably soft when it gets past a certain moisture content. And in order to compact it at all, I need a specific and very narrow range of moisture content percentage. What happened was a matter of overshooting in a couple of areas, and yup, I found them with the Bobcat. Sunk to the chassis in a fraction of a second each time. Frack! With a tracked vehicle I'm almost certain I could have pulled out.
Still to go before the mobile home comes on the lot is to finish taking down the ramada.
It was ugly (and is uglier now half disassembled), and I had been dithering for months whether to try to dress it up to look like a presentable utility building or take it down and hide it somewhere out of the way. Well, being in the path of the mobile home tipped the scales. I will reassemble it elsewhere--probably as a deck extension and outdoor kitchen area behind the mobile home. The idea being that canning, barbecuing, and heavy-duty cooking and baking of all sorts ought to be done outdoors in the warm months in this state. No reason to place more load on the already overloaded cooling systems.
"Below the fold" is a pic from a few weeks ago (for the squeamish it's an owie).
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:16 PM | permalink
Lifted whole from hereComments
Can A Christian Be A Libertarian?
Click "read the rest" to...well, read the rest.
That simple encounter, involving one of the most grace-oriented, non-legalistic pastors I have ever known, captures the essence of what Linda and I want to discuss today, the reconciliation of our Christian and libertarian principles. While the logic of this reconciliation is abundantly clear to us, we are motivated to share it with you by two separate but connected concepts prevalent in the world today.
Is this my view? Not quite, but it is a pretty decent take on why/how Christianity and libertarian politics can be compatible.
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:22 PM | permalink
Energy fears looming, new survivalists prepare - Yahoo! NewsComments
Cutting edge, baby. Cutting edge.
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:02 PM | permalink
With a new "made-for-TV" movie out now, let's not forget who really won, no matter how one counted it: History-Snatchers--Curmudgeonly & SkepticalComments
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:04 AM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:09 AM | permalink
Monday, May 26, 2008
L1ng weekend. Finally back.Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:13 PM | permalink
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Our safety officer was cleaning out her files today and came across this photo taken of me in my cubicle a few months ago:Comments
Labels: felicity and jocularity
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:22 PM | permalink
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Jury Convicts Officer of Lying in Fatal Raid - New York TimesComments
A jury convicted a police officer on Tuesday of lying to investigators after a botched drug raid that resulted in the death of a 92-year-old woman, but cleared him of two more-serious charges.Take heed, ye drug warriors.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:55 PM | permalink
An unusual thing has happened to me this week. I am not accustomed to this. I was, get this, turned down for not one, but two loans I have applied for so far. The nerve!Comments
The first one was struck down with a cryptic explanation of "inadequate collateral"--this for a loan collateralized by a mobile home that appraised 50% higher than the sale price. Uh huh. Go figure.
The second was a signature loan turned down for so far yet to be explained reasons. My credit score does *not* cause loans to be turned down. Have loan officers developed bad cases of hemorrhoids lately? Has God Himself set his face against me?
I have a couple more lenders lined up--waiting on one "prescreen" decision before approaching another. But the seller of the home we're trying to buy is highly anxious to close and may not want to wait forever. I do not want to lose out on this home because of the fantastic price. But if this problem does not resolve itself quite shortly I may have to let it go.
Update: I received more info on the first rejected application. They apparently had a bucket of implausible excuses, according to the MH sales agent. He went down there personally to extract the "WTF" info for himself. One of them was that they couldn't understand why we would want to move from a $200k site built home to a $20k mobile home. He said, "why didn't you ask them?" Logical question, because we have a number of very good answers (which I won't get into now).
But the good news is that I've secured funding. The interest rate is comparable, although it is tied to the prime, which is relatively low now. I had to pay a fat broker's fee to line this up though. Probably worth it, because of the time factor with the seller and the sleep I was going to lose worrying and fussing over additional direct applications to lenders (not to mention the credit score hit I was going to take with too many credit history inquiries). Also the next *local* lender to try (another credit union) charges rates that start a couple interest points higher than the one I got. So even if the prime rate pushes the rate on this loan up a couple of points in the future, it won't be so different.
Still, Daisycat who is famous for her buyer's remorse is gnawing her liver over what I have wrought. We will be ok, once we clear out the main house and get a renter in there.
Update 2: Credit Where Credit Is Due
God did indeed set his face against that first loan, but not necessarily against me. Had we received that first loan, it would have been short of the amount we needed to complete the installation of the mobile home by about $7000. The balance would have come from our credit card. Today we learned that the credit card is scheduled to go up to 15.99% next month at the expiration of the introductory period, rather than the 8% we were expecting.
The loan that we were approved for today was sufficient to pay for the whole mobile home purchase and installation, *plus* the refinancing of the credit card debt at a rate just over half of what it was about to convert to.
I am in awe and reverential fear of his sovereign hand on our life, and his willingness to override my stubborn will for my best interest.
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:22 PM | permalink
Monday, May 19, 2008Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:51 PM | permalink
Announcement! Pretty Lady has "stooped" to making art prints of a selection of her works available for purchase.Comments
Go now. Peruse. Buy.
Stephanie Lee Jackson fine art prints at Imagekind.com
And many thanks to one jsinsatx for pestering her into making these available.
Labels: art appreciation
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:26 PM | permalink
busplunge: The Strange Effect of Celery On Underwear ElasticComments
I have not been purchasing celery lately, so I don't know what to make of this. But my recent experience is that underwear elastic is not what it used to be. The damn stuff is losing it's boinga boinga after only a few months of wear. And then it slides down and bunches uncomfortably. Or if I'm wearing something loose like overalls, they leave me completely bare-cheeked after a little while.
There was a time when a man could wear his underwear out. The elastic would be the last thing to fail, long long after the cotton had gone threadbare and holes exceeded the area of the remaining fabric. Only then, and only with much reluctance, was a man forced to discard his beloved briefs. Unless he had a woman in his life, in which case they would inexplicably disappear long before they were actually worn out.
I begin to wonder if women have taken over at Hanes...
Update: Then again, it could be sabotage by agents of the New World Order
Update 2: James Lileks has a lovely (and humorous) look at the celery effect.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:00 AM | permalink
Sunday, May 18, 2008
...in the blazing sun, and I'm beat.Comments
Next weekend I extend that to four.
More cows to swallow--keep chewing!
Speaking of cows...a hard object lesson about living in open range country--always keep your gate closed. Momcat was not happy about the bull that she found grazing in her garden from the gate I left open the night before.
I saw a rattlesnake on the property this afternoon for the first time. So much for my theory. The unsettling thing is that based on where he was heading away from when I saw him, I probably dislodged him from where he was resting while I was doing some work around my ramada. I wasn't looking for or thinking about poisonous snakes. Now I know to be aware. I'm already skittish enough about the black widow and recluse spiders. I have to be thinking about rattlers under bushes and boards and tarps and whatnot also.
Salt is your friend if you are working out in the heat. I was having muscle cramps this morning--too early to let it stop me for the day. I was discouraged because it is usually the harbinger of a difficult day in the heat. But today I decided to add a heavy dose of salt to some juice to see if that would help. In the past I've always figured I need potassium and calcium and whatnot to effectively recover my electrolyte levels, but the half-teaspoon of salt I took halted the cramps almost right away. Later I heavily salted the split-pea soup that Momcat made for lunch and I was able to keep on plugging right through the blistering heat of mid-afternoon. I probably drank a total of two gallons of water through the day, where usually at some point I can't stomach any more water even though I need it. With sufficient salt in my system it went right down, bottle after bottle. Now I know just how much salt it actually takes to be able to work in the heat.
I've been busy getting the property ready for a second mobile home--this one for Daisycat and I. Big honker it is--16x80, and the path I need to clear reflects this. I met with the mover yesterday, and the ramada that was on the property when I bought it is in the way. So today I got to work taking it down. I also need to get a Bobcat down there again to do some leveling work. My neighbor was supposed to come over and pull some stumps for me with his backhoe, but if he doesn't "get around to it", I will need to dig out stumps with the Bobcat too.
A few more weeks of cool weather would have been nice...
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:28 PM | permalink
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Pragmatism in politics is self-defeating in the long run. It is a euphemism for the slow sacrifice of one's principles. The constant substitution of 'electable' moderates for principled conservatives is what repeatedly kills the Republican Party and prevents it from ever realizing even a small part of its platform when it is in power.'
No other explanation makes sense.
Yeah, keep on jumping in that fire of "pragmatism" and "moderatism" where you're doomed to smoke and ash, following after that elusive siren song of "electability". The fry-pan is HOT, no doubt. But the fry-pan is where the COOKIN' is happening! Stick to your conservative principles if you expect to make anything worthwhile.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:48 AM | permalink
Tuesday, May 13, 2008Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:05 PM | permalink
McCain, Huckabee and the Evangelicals - HUMAN EVENTSComments
One experienced, credible activist in Christian politics who would not let his name be used told me Huckabee in personal conversation with him embraced the concept that an Obama presidency might be what the American people deserve. That fits what has largely been a fringe position among evangelicals that the pain of an Obama presidency is in keeping with the Bible's prophecy.Fringe, they say. Indeed I've kept this one under my hat. But as long as someone has the balls to say it...
*Look* at this!
Update 2: Ok, I realize I was not quite clear. *If* we are at that point in the Great Scheme of Things that certain authors that I follow believe that we may be, *then* Barack Hussein Obama would be the logical best fit for President of the United States as we careen over the cliff into the abyss. *Not* because he, personally, fits anywhere in prophecy, but because it seems to me that he would most enthusiastically embrace the Alliance of Civilizations agenda, which is the agenda of the second "beast from the earth" and the "false prophet" of Revelation. He is also the most likely to effect a disastrous military disengagement from the middle east, which is necessary for the forces of the Beast to assert their primacy in that sphere. Furthermore his political and economic inexperience and naivete and the naivete of his fervent supporters (combined with probable filibuster-proof Democrat majorities) is likely to result in a number of false steps that will initiate the thundering collapse of this house of cards we call our economic system. Again this would fit because the US does not appear to play a role in the final drama in the Middle East, though there is some evidence tying this country strongly to the Harlot. If we have suffered a severe collapse and are crippled from taking any action outside our borders, then the final drama goes on without us.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:03 PM | permalink
Monday, May 12, 2008
Why? Why? Because it was dissected, analyzed, critiqued...looking for reasons to take offense, convinced there must be some reason to take offense.
I forgot. I was stupid. I forgot and let down my guard. When will I learn? Will I ever learn? Never never never never never never give any expression of undying genuine affection, or it is certain to be shot dead before sundown--dead as a dog in the hot sun, bloated and full of flies.
If you lift leg and piss in the sugar bowl, it is hard to find sympathy when you complain of a sugar shortage.
"Oh please please leave your heart out where I can scratch it. It makes such a lovely scratching post."
Anyone want a...um, "slightly used" heart? I'm sorry. I'll try to get the heel marks off it, patch the scratches and holes from the darts the best I can...
Hurts. You think that is a figure of speech mostly. But it is physical. Asprin doesn't help, but alcohol takes the edge off. The sun is hot on my neck, and my throat is parched. There's gravel in my throat--hard nodules pressing on my larnyx, and there's rocks around my heart--sharp edged stones that dig in when I move.
I've been alone for twenty years, and I'm still alone. Sometimes I forget that, because there is a person living in my house, sharing my space, my time. It is easy to forget because sometimes it seems like it could be real. On the outside it looks real and all the motions are there. But it's only when I forget, in a moment of blissful abandon I open that little door that I can't remember why it's closed...that I remember. And then it's too late. A cold, biting wind blows in, ice crystals sting against exposed flesh, and winter's chill blackens the eternal spring garden in the deep inner place.
Slam the door against the wind, shutter the windows, shut the outer gate with a clang, and run, run for the hills, climb to that rocky precipice far far above the treeline, far above all reach, where there is nothing between the harsh white light of the sun and the exposed entrails of my sorry soul. Let them sear in that unforgiving light, 'til they dry hard, then crack and slowly become dust that dissipates in the wind, leaving, finally, dry white bones behind.
But will I do that? No, because I am a coward. I will likely lay in this murky ditch, in the heat and flies a while longer, until maggots begin to eat at my entrails and at my cheek lying here against the muck, and eventually, disfigured and swollen, I will rise again and lurch homeward, to find there a person sharing my space, my time...
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:56 AM | permalink
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Amid Talk of the End and Boos From the Crowd, Clinton Carries On - New York TimesComments
This is the Hillary Clinton I know and expect to see. All that weepy woman stuff early in the campaign was a sham. She is balls-tough and always has been. And she is stronger under attack.
If it weren't for, you know, her positions on the actual *issues*, I might be inclined to think she'd make an ok president.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:23 AM | permalink
Wednesday, May 07, 2008Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:10 PM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:12 PM | permalink
Why to NOT take your concealed carry certification course from a police officer:Comments
The Associated Press: Students claim police chief who shot himself was careless
The police chief who shot himself in the ankle was waving a loaded pistol and being careless, according to two students who were attending his class to qualify for a concealed-weapons permit. "We were told the gun is the chief's personal sidearm, but it looked to me like he didn't know anything about the gun," Lewis Walker said.Find someone else who is QUALIFIED to teach you (ask around at your local gun stores and ranges) and avoid arrogant show-offs.
Fu-huuc! What is it about police officers? These are the people who are universally *entrusted* with firearms in our society, and the numbers of them that are lousy shots and careless with firearms is legion! (And that doesn't even begin to address their attitude issues.)
This is another reason to avoid shooting with anyone who doesn't have a proper respect for firearm safety. Sure you can critique my "clique" if you want, but I'll be giving you and your firearms a wide berth.
Oh and by the way, what kind of firearm was it? Why it was...a GLOCK 40! Glock--the gun without a real safety.
Update: Something else to note in that article? How quickly the rest of the police force covers for this incompetence, and attempts to marginalize the two who reported the story.
Hey, guns are for killing people right? Why minimize this truth by handling them safely? They should be going off all the time, leaving poc-marks in walls, singeing the hair off the ears of bystanders and killing enough innocents so that people *never forget* what they're really for. Gun *safety*?? Feh! That's for pussies who can't handle a little blood and gore in their lives.
Negligent discharge is a way of life dude. Get it?
Update 2: INCOMING!!
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:05 PM | permalink
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Democratic and Republican healthcare plans offer clear choices - Los Angeles TimesComments
If John McCain becomes president, Americans would be steered toward buying individual health insurance policies, and job-related coverage eventually could decline. If Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton wins, more people would get their insurance from the government -- with many workers offered the equivalent of Medicare and employers facing new coverage mandates.
Less government meddling, more individual choices? Me likey likey!
He would give everyone a tax credit of up to $5,000 for families and $2,500 for individuals. Those who earn too little to owe any taxes would still get the credit.
A tax credit is a *credit* in lieu of taxes that would otherwise be paid anyway. That's a big incentive right there to purchase coverage. Funnel the money to your own healthcare instead of paying it to the government? Yeah. That's a no-brainer.
Critics claim it is not enough for a luxury plan, but would only provide barebones coverage. Right. Nothing stopping anyone from chipping in a bit more of their *own* cash to cover their *own* healthcare, is there? And for the working poor, that "barebones" coverage is coverage they do not now currently have. Chicken soup is not caviar, but it satisfies the hungry soul nonetheless.
I don't care much at all for the "mandates" and "tighter regulation" talk of the Clinton and Obama plans. That, to me, is a sure recipe for poor performance (think: Medicare behemoth) and the need to constantly tinker and meddle and manage, and keeps the door wide open to government interference in people's personal health choices, including what we choose to eat and drink. And besides the "drug warriors" few groups piss me off more than the food nazis.
I am with Pretty Lady on the attractiveness of Health Savings Plans. If McCain gets in, it would certainly seem reasonable that people could spend their tax credit on a basic catastrophic health insurance policy and deposit the balance (plus their own tax-deductible contributions) in an HSA.
We were recently offered the option of a HSA plan as an alternative to the PPO insurance plan we also currently have at my place of employ. After evaluating the options, I decided to go with the HSA. Partly because on *principle* I have always believed that insurance (of any sort) was supposed to cover disasters only, and that normal expenses should come out of pocket. But also I could see that after I had accumulated a safe cushion in my account, there were a number of solid benefits, including more choices in how I spend money on healthcare (I love my sovereignty, thank you) and a fatter bottom line if I shop for care judiciously and make valid cost-benefit decisions rather than just taking whatever the "plan" would cover. And even if I *didn't*, for that matter. In 90% of all cases, plan participants come out ahead with the HSA versus the PPO, once all the deductibles, copays and co-insurance is tallied up.
*Any* plan that places more of the decision-making for health care in the hands of the people needing health care is a good thing. I hate anything that fosters a dependency mindset--to me it is debilitating. And dependency on government robs you of your dignity and puts your fate in the hands of the power brokers instead of your own hands.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:54 AM | permalink
Monday, May 05, 2008
Lookee what showed up on my doorstep today:Comments
Fourteen quart capacity!
This is not an el-cheapo model with disintegrable gaskets, but a top quality metal-to-metal sealing, weight-regulated canner.
Time (as Groo would say) to start mulching.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:49 PM | permalink
Now I can look forward to sitting in my cubicle for a few days to recover...Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:56 AM | permalink
Sunday, May 04, 2008
...on the Cat Farm.Comments
What was bare sticks last time I was out there is now a riot of lush green foliage.
And we're mostly past the annual wildflower show and into the cactus flower season.
My pondside garden doesn't look as good as hoped, mostly due to a month of neglect.
Weeds have obscured many of the spring bulbs I planted, and sadly I had neither time nor energy to address the problem.
Because no sooner is the paint dry on one project than another is breathing hard down my neck. Daisycat picked out a mobile home she likes, and we close on the purchase later this week (provided the financing comes through). Which means I need to get out into the hot sun and clear a place to put it and arrange for someone to grub out the stumps, dig trenches for utilities, etc., etc. Deja vu all over again.
Here is the home of our new home, with stumps painted red for easy identification.
Labels: San Pedro homestead
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:06 PM | permalink
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Rachel Lucas--Blog Archive--We need a "REAL WOMAN" Manifesto.Comments
Oh there are days when I wish Rachel was 'available'. There is a "real woman" for you.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:17 PM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:29 PM | permalink
Friday, May 02, 2008
I painted the rental house garage today.Comments
I've been hit by a mack truck.
I'm an office worker. I am not accustomed to moving around this much. Today I was up and down a ladder a thousand times, taping the windows and doorknobs, then painting with my airless sprayer.
I both love and hate that thing. It is great when you have a large area to paint and you can get everything out of the way, and everything else taped off. Then you spend more time prepping to paint than you do actually painting. But it is only practical for big jobs, because it takes that much time again to clean the thing and get it ready to put back in storage. So it takes a judgement decision to determine if the time saved painting is made up for by the time required to prep and clean afterwards.
The garage definitely won out in favor of the sprayer. And twelve hours later, I drag my aching ass through the late dusk, shed my clothes and head in to take a shower. I see this when I look in the mirror:
I really thought being outdoors there wouldn't be so much paint mist to contend with. I was wrong. There was a bit of a breeze at times, and apparently a whole lot more paint got in my face than I thought. And no, those aren't my regular glasses. Those are an ancient pair I usually use when shooting. I wasn't going to chance my new pair to get paint-coated.
So I hopped in the shower and scrubbed my tired body and soaped up my face thoroughly and scrubbed it..."clean". Or so I thought.
This is what I saw when I exited the shower:
That is *not* an improvement!
Eventually I got it off with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton pad.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:18 PM | permalink
Thursday, May 01, 2008
As an engineer with cats, this...is screamingly hilarious! (in particular, starting at 2:50 and 5:05)Comments
I am still at work (late evening) and desperately trying to control the coughing fits and streaming tears I am experiencing. Bad venue to view this one...
I am dying here...
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:37 PM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:06 PM | permalink
I've got the limes covered.
(Yes, that is a potted plant in my cubicle at work...)
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:02 PM | permalink
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