Java Zen:Thinking Out Loud Tuesday, 2021.01.26
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that
they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that
among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure
these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers
from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it,
and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and
organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect
their safety and happiness.

		Declaration of Independence


What A Difference A Door Makes


I’ve wanted a new front door for 14 years. It was always on the plan…for next year. It closed. It locked…mostly. And there was always some other priority. Usually something cancer related. So it stayed. Today, that changed. Before…

And after (but still untrimmed and unpainted)…

For the first time ever, my front hall is filled with natural light in the evening. It makes it look and feel more like a home than it has in near 4 years. Maybe there is hope yet for this house of busted dreams.

[Edit History]


Fixed typos and grammar.


Mythological Facts In Dispute

I’m not a believer in astrology, in the sense that I find it at all useful for solving problems. But it is entertaining and kinda fun. Stumbled upon this entry in Wikipedia this morning, actually captures the essence:

It’s the “factual accuracy” that is disputed. I’ve been wanting to ask an astrologist what happened to the art when Pluto was downgraded? Or what about the other planets that were discovered in the galaxy. And arn’t they neglecting the influence of other large objects moving about in vacuums like astroids and Michael Moore?

I’m just askin’…


Doing The Jobs Illegal Aliens Won’t Do

Michelle Malkin asks: What was your worst job?

In high school, I did dock/janitor work for The Denver Dry company, which included cleaning the bathrooms. Having grown up with five sisters, there were no illusions on my part in regard what girls are capable of. Nonetheless, the lady’s bathroom chore was far and away the worse part of that job. “Powder my nose” masks all manner of…er…um…well…ah…gack…

But that job pales in comparison to the work I did in nursing homes for three years while working my way through college. There was much to that job which was rewarding and much that I’d rather not think about. Frankly, makes picking lettuce, mowing lawns, cleaning homes and working construction all look like a walk in the park. My take away lessons from that experience included a healthy respect, even at that age, for my elders, a good diet, exercise and retirement plans.

What made it possible to work these jobs was the belief they were stepping stones to better opportunities. I remember having a sense of the need to “pay my dues” in the trenches, as it were. Having worked these jobs lead to a much greater appreciation of the success I enjoyed later in life. Nearing 30 years later, I still remember those early jobs and the lessons I learned.


Repeat After Me…Them…Us…Them…Us

What happens to you if you are a religious zealot bent on making those whom you deem non-human? If you’re…well…just about anywhere in the Middle East, you’ll enjoy State support for you bent thinking. But in the land of democracy, freedom and liberty, you can be brought to justice and be held accountable for such twisted thoughts when they are acted upon:

The brokenhearted father of a Marine killed in Iraq won a long-shot legal fight today after a federal jury in Baltimore awarded him nearly $11 million in a verdict against members of a Kansas church who hoisted anti-gay placards at his son’s Westminster funeral.

The jury’s announcement 24 hours after deliberations first began was met with tears and hugs from the family and supporters of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, whose March 2006 funeral was protested by members of the Westboro Baptist Church with signs including “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

Snyder’s father, Albert, won on every count of his complaint, as well as $2.9 million for compensatory damages and $8 million for punitive damages.

Sweet. Although I know from a bit of experience that this does little to ease the pain for Lance Cpl. Snyder’s family. It’s also likely the fight isn’t not over.

H/T to LGF. More coverage by Hot Air and Michelle Malkin.


Being Physically Sick Is Better Than…

…watching daytime television.

I was sick for a few days last week. Bad cold. When ever bugs like that descend upon my person for a visit, my distinct preference is to be sick 100% and push through the fight toward wellness. It’s rare when I’ll take medication of any sort. And all the cold/flu fix-it-up potions and pills from the Super Drugs-R-Us Store do squat for 1) making me feel better and 2) shortening the illness. My immune system is faaaaaaaaar more capable of accomplishing the task of returning to health than any pharmaceutically manufactured cold remedy could ever be. Supporting my body’s natural abilities toward optimum health is where I put the effort. So it’s lots of sleep, soups, teas and generally sweating through it.

Convalescing as I was, I tuned into broadcast television for the first time in over 18 months. I don’t have cable and except for the occasional nature show on PBS, the only thing showing on my television set was fed in through the DVD player. (Netflix is your friend!) Watching for about an hour had me feeling worse than before, and not just because of the cold. Flipping through the channels (all 10 or so of the regular broadcast channels) revealed nothing but crap. The sinking feeling I got, the feeling that had me feeling generally worse than before tuning in, was that people, lots of them, are actually watching this junk and most likely enjoying it. And as far as the news…the phrase “sound bite” suggests a generous portion of information when compared to what is actually delivered. That’s what passes for reporting? Being fed such nano-news nuggets leaves viewers with the feeling they are “informed?”

Broadcast television will continue to be excluded from my diet. And I won’t even have to work at it.

I found repair after a few moments with the elegant splendor of nature. The tulips survived the snow…


…and the apple blossoms are on the verge of exploding.

Apple Blossoms

Alas, I will miss this treasured proclaimation of Spring this year as work will have me on the road this coming week. Hey, do you suppose hotel television is better in that margarine sort of way? I’ll explore and report back.


The Passing of Cathy Seipp

This is a great loss.

Cathy was one of the few bloggers I followed consistently. I admired her writing style, enjoyed her humor, and delighted in the way she could both nudge the reader into thinking about things differently as well as deliver the proverbial slap shot to wake the reader up.

Her latest battle with lung cancer paralleled Janet’s final struggle and so I had a pretty good idea what was coming. Doesn’t make this loss any easier by any measure. Blessings to Cathy, her family and friends. As with Janet, I find solace in knowing she is no longer suffering. She shall continue to be a treasured source of inspiration for writing, for living.

Peace be the journey.

More on Pajamas Media.

[Edit History]


Official obituary in the LA Times is here. More on Hot Air and Little Green Footballs.


And Michelle Malkin.


Beneath Snow…

…is the ground. And beneath the ground, are the crocus.


Or so it was until this morning. There were robins in the trees on Friday. Spring is approaching.


Rocky Mountain High

Spent most of the day in Breckenridge (Colorado) visiting my brother and nephew who are visiting from New York for a ski trip in the glorious Rocky Mountains. This is the view from I-70 about the Genesee exit.

Rocky Mountains

Simply breathtaking.


2007 – Let’s Light This Candle

For the past two years I’ve had my own private Festival of Lights on the eve’s of Christmas and the New Year. That makes it a tradition. And it’s one of my own making. Building a new life, it turns out, rests on paying attention to the little things and building from there. Here are a few pictures from last night’s festival. In all, there were 68 candles this year. There were more last year, but this year I hadn’t bothered to find lamp oil for the oil candles. The music for the hours leading up to midnight: Eva Cassidy and Keola Beamer.

Table Center Piece

The tree is lit by magical Festival of Lights fairies. Either that or electricity, I can never remember which.


Music and candlelight. Together, they make something much more than just the parts.


Even the bearded lady shows well in candlelight. About as well as she does in bright sunlight.


The wine was a bottle of a favorite I’d been holding for a while – Turnbull Merlot, 2003. It was excellent.

Turnbull Merlot

All set, the evening was spent thinking, remembering, planning and writing. I’m ready for 2007.


Colorado Winter

A second sizable blast of winter arrived today and Jasmine was wearing the storm’s vanguard late yesterday afternoon. Being a Scottish breed, she is built for cold weather.


So far, the chimes still sing, but the drift is building. There is less wind this go around.

Chimes VI

And for Buddha, nothing special…

Winter Buddha V

This is how I remember the winters of my youth – lots of snow and cold.


Crap For Tots

NBC affiliate AZ Central had a news bit about an apparent down-and-out mom complaining about the quality of the toys her children received from the Toys for Tots program The piece was rather condescending, perhaps even a bit mean spirited, in my opinion. Actually, it was down right snarky.

Talking Head One at the end of the piece accentuates: “Toys for Tots say they gave out 28,000 gifts in Flagstaff this year and only received…twocomplaints….I don’t know what to say about that one.”

Talking Head Two: Yeah.

I know what to say. Two complaints for 28,000 toys doesn’t mean what the Talking Head thinks. That doesn’t translate to near pure satisfaction among the recipients. I would say it is likely that the parents who suffered the humiliation of having made the decision to partake of charity, such as the Toys for Tots program, at this time of year particularly, would more than likely not compound that humiliation by complaining about what they received. I would venture there were others similarly disappointed as was “Jessie” in the news bite. It’s just that they didn’t speak up.

Where did they find “Jessie?” Did she come forward or did the news channel seek her out? Either way, I’d agree with Jessie. What she got was crap while the hand offering the gift was promising something better. The attitude of the well paid Talking Heads, as well as the prevailing sentiment in a thread on the news bit over at Hot Air, is that she’ll take her gruel and damn well better like it.

Wow. She’s returning the toys and going to buy her own. So, why didn’t she buy her own in the first place?

This says more about the Toys for Tots program than it does about Jessie. Is their program so shoddy that a down-and-out mom would rather scrape to find her own presents than accept the junk dispensed by Toys for Tots? To their credit, Toys for Tots will exchange gifts if a parent chooses. But again, what parent would choose to endure the same humilation twice? Perhaps they think all the toys are of such quality and an exchange would be meaningless. We’re not told by the Talking Head how many of the 28,000 gifts were exchanged.

My take on listening to Jessie is not that she’s complaining for herself but for her children. Working on the assumption that her children would receive something worth about $10 (still a paltry sum in today’s market), she likely didn’t shop for gifts. Now, at the 11th hour, she has to deal with the disappointment of her children. Speaking from experience, some free “gifts”, like free advice, do more harm than good.

I don’t know how the Toys for Tots program works exactly, but it seems to be a bit of a roll of the dice on what you get. Will it be age or even gender appropriate? What prevents the parents from knowing what is in the package? It would likely make for better matches between gift and child.

And what of the donor? If the value if the gift is supposed to be around $10, what the hell were they thinking by tossing $1 gifts in the donation bin? And why did the Toys for Tots volunteers event bother wrapping them when they could plainly see the value was a paltry 97¢? May the donor receive 97¢ worth of coal this Christmas.


Free To Sing Again…

Chimes V


End Of The Storm, End Of The Day

The storm appears to have passed. There are patches of blue sky…

Blue Sky

…the sun shines on the frozen wind chimes, lighting a promise they will sing again…

Chimes IV

…and still, is Buddha…

Winter Buddha IV

Such is Colorado.

Snowed In

And loving it. The wind chime chimes no more…

Chimes III

    Somewhere within these drifts rests the silent wind chime…

    Roof Drifts

    The view from the front door…

    Front Door View

    That drift hanging over the eve has crashed down several times during the night with a deep thud. Such noises, like Summer thunder, get Jasmine’s attention and she barks to alert the house. This also means that the snow just outside the garage has been well packed by both the wind and the falling drift from the roof. The final link in all this is that I have to chisel my way out when clearing the driveway. Sure enough. The ruler is showing 37.5 inches of hard packed snow.


    And still, is Buddha…

    Winter Buddha III


The Day Fades On A Fierce Storm

The snow continues to blanket my humble home…

Chimes II

…while the wind improvises a symphony with the wind chimes (click image to see video)…

Winter Wind Chimes

…and still, is Buddha…

Winter Buddha II

Inside is warm…

Dinner on the Hearth

Yes, that’s my fine dinnerware you see there (Thanksgiving leftovers, yum!) The beer, an excellent home brew we called “Ode to Oscar Stout” in honor of Little Big Man himself, has been featured on this blog before.

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