Friday, January 31, 2014

Eureka Pension and Health Costs

I've wondered at least a few times here how much health and pension costs of the county and local cities are affecting the budgets. The Times- Standard reports I seem to have been at least party right in my concerns:

"A similar forecast was made in 2013, but Dillingham said they did not take into account some of the financial changes made during that time, such as a 2 percent raise for county employees, and increase in health insurance, retirement and workers compensation costs."

What about Eureka, though? I still wonder how much of the city's cash crunch (resulting in the Measure O tax increase) had to do with increases with employee pension and health costs. 

The answer might be at hand. I received notice from a fellow from the Humboldt Taxpayer's League that he contacted Eureka City Hall and got some of the figures regarding pension costs and such. He's supposed to bring them to the next meeting of the Taxpayer's League on February 12. It will be interesting to see what information he has.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Set the kids Free!

From New Zealand comes a study showing kids are better behaved on the playground and in the classroom when the playground rules are done away with.

"Principal Bruce McLachlan rid the school of playtime rules as part of a successful university experiment. 'We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over.'"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Almost A Half Inch

My rain gauge shows just a hair under a half inch of rain as I type this. We should easily get a half inch, although looking at doppler radar it's hard to say if we'll get much more. This is good, and this is the good kind of rain that soaks into the ground, rather than coming down all at once and running off into the gutters. 

Let's hope it continues, but we're still better off than many other places. The San Jose Mercury News reports 17 communities in the state could run out of water in a few months.

Upward Mobility

The New York Times reports on a recent study showing upward mobility- the ability of people to move from one income level to a higher one- has remained pretty much the same over the last 20 years.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Balko Lives!

I was getting a bit miffed with my favorite blogger, Radley Balko. Since he switched over to the Huffington Post his posts became more and more intermittent. His old Agitator blog prior to his switch was the one blog I'd keep if I could only have one. He just wasn't doing it anymore at the Post. His postings became weeks or even months apart- an intolerable situation.

Lo and behold, I'm reading an article at Reason magazine yesterday and it mentioned that he was at the Washington Post now. Sure enough, a quick Google took me to his new blog. How did I miss that? It seems like he's back to cranking out his stuff again with sometimes multiple posts a day. Active blogs are becoming harder and harder to find nowadays. I didn't want to see the best one go by the wayside. I'm stoked!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mysterious Boomer Blown Up?

I heard another one of those mysterious booms this morning. My clock said it went off around 1:41ish. Seemed to come from southeast of my house, as best I could tell. Some on the Lost Coast Outpost said they also heard it. 

I'm wondering if that's the sort of thing this guy in Washington was doing? He's driving around real early in the morning with a large firecracker that blows up in his jeep, taking off his hand. He seems to have had it in his hand and lit it. What else would he be doing at that hour of the morning with a large firecracker? Maybe these mysterious booms aren't just being heard in Eureka?

Megadrought? YIKES!

Very informative article in the San Jose Mercury News on California droughts past and present. Looks like our more recent ones pale in comparison to those from long ago. Scary to think that couldn't happen now, and nothing says it can't. 

 "We continue to run California as if the longest drought we are ever going to encounter is about seven years," said Scott Stine, a professor of geography and environmental studies at Cal State East Bay. "We're living in a dream world."

Some comfort can be found in the piece, with most saying our taps won't run dry. Water will just get more expensive. 

I don't think they gave enough thought to the effect of limited water supplies on the economy. People who uses large amounts of water for their living won't be able to just find something else to do. I would think the effects of a prolonged drought of decades or more would be catastrophic as far as the economy goes.

Addendum: Actually, re- reading the article, which was also published by the Times- Standard this morning, they do mention that a prolonged drought could have catastrophic economic consequences. Great minds think alike!
A writer in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat reminds us California has been a fairly dry place even before it became a state.

Friday, January 24, 2014


I noticed this morning I hadn't received any Facebook updates from District Attorney candidate Allan Dollison in a day or so. I went and checked my Friend list and he seems to have de- friended me. How can this be? Was it something I wrote???

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fred's Water Idea

I see the Times- Standard followed up this morning on my look at our water supply. Ruth Lake is at 55% capacity right now.

I've been thinking lately how much water ends up each morning on lawns and grass around here. Sometimes it's just sopping wet. If you could soak all that up I wonder if it might amount to a fair amount of water. But how would you collect it? It would be impossible to try an mop it up.

It struck me this morning there might be a way around that: take the water out of the air first using a huge dehumidifier. 

Back in the late 70s I bought a dehumidifier from Sears because the little shack I had in Cutten was so cold and damp. Not only did it warm up the house, it really sucked a lot of water out of the air. 

I was amazed when I first turned it on how quickly the water reservoir filled up. It held maybe three gallons and I emptied it every couple of hours it seemed, at first. As the air dried out I emptied it less and less until it would take days to fill, but that was in a relatively finite source of water- the inside of my small house.

When the Matteoli's house flooded years ago they had a carpet guy come in to help clean up. He brought three or four commercial dehumidifiers in to dry things out. The reservoirs on those held at least five gallons of water if not more. Took days, but it dried everything out. 

What if you had even bigger dehumidifiers? Something you set outside that would suck the water out of our cold, damp air around here non- stop? I wonder how much water that would amount to?

Ok. Maybe not enough to water crops or even the home garden but I bet it would be a fair amount here in northern Humboldt. Maybe even enough for the average home's use per day? I don't know, but it would be interesting to try. Problem is, it probably wouldn't work at all in the drier places like Sacramento or Sonoma County that really need the water.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Those Other Guys

More fun stuff from the Punk Rock Libertarians

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How's Ruth Lake Doing?

With all the depressing news lately about lakes and reservoirs way below their capacity, and communities beginning to consider water restrictions, I wondered about our very own Ruth Lake? The Mad River comes from Ruth Lake and that's where most of us get our water from.

I did a quick search yesterday and couldn't find anything about Ruth Lake's current water level. I found a page for a Ruth Lake Community Services District, or some such. I sent them an e-mail asking about water levels. I've yet to receive a reply.

This morning I got to thinking about it again and realized the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District should probably know something as they supply much of the area's water from Ruth Lake via their pumps at Blue Lake. I gave them a call.

The guy I spoke with, John F...(?), told me they actually run or own the Ruth Lake reservoir and all the water infrastructure. He said he wasn't sure of the current level as they're still analyzing the figures, but at their meeting last month it was something like 60 to 65% of capacity. In other words, we're much better off at this point than some of the others that are at 20% or below.

He also pointed out that, unlike some other reservoirs, Ruth is dependent on rainfall rather than snow runoff and that it fills quite quickly with a couple good rains. At this point, though, things aren't looking good in that regard so we'll have to wait and see. He also mentioned they're planning on updating their web site and including lake levels and some other info in the future.

So, we're not close to mandatory water restrictions yet. Good news for us compared to many other areas but, if we don't get enough rain before June, I might well be looking for another job.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Obamacare: Done

Earlier last week I tried calling Anthem/ Blue Cross yet again, hoping to find out what happened to the online payment I'd made for my Obamacare premium. My bank account still showed it as having not been paid. I got the same message as last time: They were unable to respond at that time and to call back later. 

At least they'd changed their menu message and included asking if I was calling in regards an online payment problem. It might have been the next day I saw an article in some newspaper saying all kinds of people were having problems with online payments with Anthem/ Blue Cross, but it didn't have any suggestions on what to do. At least I knew I wasn't alone.

Lo and behold, a couple days ago I get a letter from Anthem/ Blue Cross in the mail. It says something along the line of, You can now make payments online...They also included an envelope and payment stub should I decide to just mail them a check. I decided to try the online method again.

Got to their web site where it asked me my account identification number. I saw some ID number on the letter they sent me so used that. Nope, it said it was invalid. I went to my Savers mailbox and found the verification e-mail I received when I'd first made my online payment. It had an ID number so I used that. It seemed to work, but after I continued on with the process and thought I'd completed it I got a message, Online Payments Not Available

Oh, well. I just went ahead, wrote out a check and mailed it to them. The very next day, despite my check certainly not having arrived at its destination, I received a card from Anthem/ Blue Cross showing all my insurance info and saying it was effective January 1. 

I guess that's it, two days short of a month since I tried to make the first online payment. I'll still be checking to see how long it takes my check to clear.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

California Losing Porn Industry

The Los Angeles Daily News reports on a growing stream of porn producers and actors heading to Los Vegas to do their thing. Porn film license applications in Los Angeles dropped from 480 in 2012 to just 24 in the first 9 months of 2013. This, after Los Angeles County voters passed a law requiring condoms be worn during production of pornographic movies. 

Good to see the porn industry off to greener pastures as California gets what it deserves.
In related news, Fidelity lists California as the worst of all states to retire to. No surprise there, but I was surprised to see Oregon come in at third worst.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dollison's Announcement

The Times- Standard reports on District Attorney hopeful, Allan Dollison's campaign kick off at the Veteran's Hall in Eureka this Saturday. I'm not surprised at the military references in the story- the guy doing Dollison's introduction claiming to be a former Navy Seal. 

I did find it rather strange that the story had more info about the guy doing the introduction than was told about Dollison. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

S.F. Proposes Street Tree Tax

The San Francisco Chronicle reports San Francisco city supervisors are proposing a parcel tax to pay for maintenance for street trees. Some street trees are currently maintained by the city. Property owners have been expected to maintain others, as is the case with Eureka's program. 

Now The City is planning to transfer responsibility of other trees to property owners bringing howls of protest. I'm guessing this property tax is supposed to be a compromise of sorts, with the tree maintenance being done by the city but paid for by all property owners, whether they have street trees or not?

This should be no surprise and we'll likely be seeing the same thing happening in Eureka with its street tree program. This sort of thing cost money and property owners are no more likely to maintain street trees in front of their house than they are other trees on their property. 

They rarely do it at all and we'll see more and more cries for the city to take charge of them after property owners get tired of being bothered about it. Never mind the cost to the city to clean up the debris dropped from trees throughout the year.

I actually have no problem with a big city that might be otherwise devoid of trees having a tree planting program. It's silly for a city like Eureka- with plenty of naturally growing trees- to create problems by planting them. What these street trees are already costing us pales in comparison to what it will cost everybody in the future.
Related: You might recall the letter in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat last year where the writer complained of the city neglecting its trees and asking for more funding. It will likely be no different here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A French Time Capsule

I wish there were more pictures of the things in this apartment abandoned by a rich lady from France in 1942. She fled to the south during WW2 and never returned. She did continue to pay the rent, though, so the apartment remained just as it was when she left it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Time's Political Quiz

Yet another political quiz. This one by Time magazine, tells you how much of a liberal or conservative you are by asking just 12 questions. Those questions may surprise you, the first one asking whether you prefer cats to dogs. I scored 17% conservative and 83% liberal.

Great Editorial on Pension Reform Initiative

Paul Gullixson wrote a surprisingly well reasoned commentary in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat yesterday looking at a pension reform initiative championed by San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed. The Pension Reform Act has been cleared for circulation by the Secretary of State's office, although it's unclear whether the Mayor will try to have it on this year's, or the November 2016 ballot.
Which reminds me the Eureka City Council recently voted to put an extension for Measure O on the ballot this November. Measure O, you might recall, was the .5 percent sales tax increase passed in 2010. The reason given for it was non- specific shortfalls in the city's budget.

I've wondered here before how big a bite out of Eureka's general fund the public safety pension and health care costs take. Cities and counties across the state are having their budgets eaten away by, among other things, increasing pension and health care costs. Can Eureka be any different?

Yet not a word about that from local media or the city council. About the only thing I recall hearing was the city buying bonds to make payments on their pension obligations. Not a good sign, but the city says it's a good deal. I'll take their word for it....for now.

I'm becoming more convinced pension and health care funding is a big part of the problem if only because everyone seems to be ignoring the issue. Probably because nobody wants to get on the bad side of the police and fire folks.

A few days ago I sent an e-mail to someone with the Humboldt Taxpayer's League I thought might have been in position to have some information on the matter. I asked if he knew how much of the reason for Measure O was public pension payments. I've yet to receive a reply. I suppose the e-mail could have been lost, but I can't help wonder if the person in question didn't want to ruffle any feathers so ignored the question.

At this point I'll be voting NO, or not at all, on the extension of Eureka's Measure O if only because I feel by passing the measure we'll once again be sweeping the question of employee pension and health care costs under the rug.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Redwood Family Practice Goes Electronic

The latest thing with medical providers seems to be switching everything to computers. They use another word for it which escapes me right now. UCSF was the first one I saw go through the transition. Now they have it up and running through their page.

They post all your lab results there for your perusal. Even when the wife gets blood work done here at Eureka Internal Medicine they share the results with UCSF via DSL and within an hour or two of getting a blood test we get an e-mail from UCSF saying her records have been updated. Then you can go see your lab results.

Kinda neat, although I'm not sure how much real use it is to patients. The layman often doesn't know what the results mean and the doctor goes through it with you in the office, anyway.

UCSF does have an application up that I originally thought was for making appointments. After asking at UCSF about it, though, I came to find out it just notified them you wanted an appointment and they were supposed to call you on the phone to set it up. I tried it, anyway, just to see if it worked. They never called.

So I went to see Doctor Ladika at Redwood Family Practice in Eureka on Friday. Not long ago they switched to electronic records, just as UCSF did. The doctor comes in and sits at the computer typing while talking to you. Good thing about is it only takes a click on the computer to send in a prescription request or check past records. Probably better than shuffling through papers.  The bad part remains to be seen.

When I got home I found an e-mail in my Inbox advising me of their own Patient Portal page. They never mentioned it while I was there.

They supplied a link to the page as well as a password so I went and logged in. They have a page where you can see a history of past appointments as well as a reminder of your next one. In your personal information you pick your pharmacy of choice from a long statewide list of pharmacies. I presume that interacts with the doctor's computer so she knows where to send medication requests.

So I chose Rite Aid pharmacy on Harris in Eureka, then used their Contact form to see if it worked. I just sent an e-mail saying "This is just a test to see if this works".

In probably less than half an hour I received a phone call from them. The guy on the other end was the go- to guy for the web page. He told me he got the test message but wanted to know what else I did as he also got some notice I'd changed my personal info. It was new to him, too. I told him it was just me choosing my pharmacy. He was trying to figure out how it worked, too.

We had a fun chat as he was trying to figure out what meant what. I did mention that I didn't see any way to make appointments. He said that was kinda intentional because it might cause more problems than it solved, having people make appointments online. No biggie to me. It takes a minute or so to make or change an appointment by phone with Redwood Family Practice. Not so with UCSF.

He told me he sent me an e-mail to confirm he got my test. I went back and didn't see it at first. Then I found it and went to reply to him saying I got his confirmation. I noticed there's no Reply option in the e-mail system. I started a new message telling him in might be nice to have a Reply function. Otherwise you have to start a new message.

Overall, kinda neat and fun, although I don't know how much practical value there is in these E systems. I did tell the guy at Redwood Family, as I told the folks at UCSF, there's going to be hell to pay if the system breaks down because of power problems or a supervirus. They seem comforted that everything is backed up. Not so, myself.

Locals In SRPD Freed Story

Local commentator John Chiv and former newsman Dave Silverbrand are at least two of the Eurekans mentioned in this Santa Rosa Press- Democrat story on Reverend Eric Freed. John Chiv is in the feature photo.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Electricity Bill Increase Sought

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a new plan being considered by the California Public Utilities Commission to change the way electricity is billed. Under the proposal, charges for electrical use will be higher during times there's a big load being drawn from the grid and supposedly lower when it isn't.

Interestingly, those who use lower amounts of electricity under the new plan will likely see their bills rise. Those using higher amounts will pay less. In addition, either a fixed monthly fee would or minimum bill level would be added to ensure The System, as one environmental lobbyist put it, would save money.

He's not concerned about the people who use electricity, just The System.

And keep in mind that AB32, that greenhouse gas law passed by the legislature, hasn't fully kicked in yet. Even proponents of that law admitted the bill might raise energy bills by up to a third.

In typical California style, I'm sure we'll see this blamed on the greedy corporations. One commentator to the story has already blamed PG&E for the plan. Never mind that it was brought about by regulators and at least some environmental groups.

Bad news for all, but no surprise for California. We can only hope cooler heads prevail.

Us Vs. Them?

As much as I hate Facebook so much of the time, I do find a lot of fun stuff getting fed to me from other people and groups. This one came from the Students for Liberty Facebook group, or something along that line.

Friday, January 10, 2014

White vs. Dark Chicken

A letter to the editor of the Sacramento Bee led me to this earlier article on the benefits of dark meat- in this case, dark chicken meat. Good point, and nice to read as I'm one who is not very fond of chicken breasts. Hopefully the letter writer is right and the pendulum will swing back for dark meat as it has in the old margarine vs. butter battle.

The bottom line, though, is life's too short to eat things you don't like, so eat what you want!
  • Go easy on the spaghetti because spaghetti is the kind of trash food that makes poor people fat. This advice was replaced by:
  • Eat lots of spaghetti because spaghetti contains complex carbohydrates, which was replaced by:
  • Don’t eat spaghetti because spaghetti is nothing more than empty calories, which was replaced by:
  • Eat lots of spaghetti because spaghetti is part of a Mediterranean diet, and Mediterranean people live to very old ages.
  • A glass of wine with dinner is good for the nerves, which was replaced by:
  • A single sip of alcohol leaves whole mountainsides of clear-cut brain cells in its wake, so never drink anything alcoholic, which was replaced by:
  • In spite of scarfing down unplucked songbirds, and sheep pancreases, and things even the Chinese won’t eat, French people drink lots of red wine, and they live longer than you do, so drink red wine, but not because you enjoy it, which was replaced by:
  • It’s not the alcohol that makes the French live a long time, it’s the grapes their wine is made out of. So drink grape juice, instead, which was replaced by:
  • It’s not the grapes, it’s the alcohol. Alcohol clears your arteries. Skip the red wine, chug down the hard stuff, and you can live as long as a Frenchman without the sulfites.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away, which was replaced by:
  • Modern-day factory farmed apples come coated with Alar. Alar is the most potent cancer-causing agent in our food supply, so don’t even think about touching an apple unless you are wearing a hazmat suit, which was replaced by:
  • Alar is nothing more than an apple growth-regulating hormone and doesn’t have anything to do with people, so go on, eat apples.
  • - See more at:

  • Go easy on the spaghetti because spaghetti is the kind of trash food that makes poor people fat. This advice was replaced by:
  • Eat lots of spaghetti because spaghetti contains complex carbohydrates, which was replaced by:
  • Don’t eat spaghetti because spaghetti is nothing more than empty calories, which was replaced by:
  • Eat lots of spaghetti because spaghetti is part of a Mediterranean diet, and Mediterranean people live to very old ages.
  • A glass of wine with dinner is good for the nerves, which was replaced by:
  • A single sip of alcohol leaves whole mountainsides of clear-cut brain cells in its wake, so never drink anything alcoholic, which was replaced by:
  • In spite of scarfing down unplucked songbirds, and sheep pancreases, and things even the Chinese won’t eat, French people drink lots of red wine, and they live longer than you do, so drink red wine, but not because you enjoy it, which was replaced by:
  • It’s not the alcohol that makes the French live a long time, it’s the grapes their wine is made out of. So drink grape juice, instead, which was replaced by:
  • It’s not the grapes, it’s the alcohol. Alcohol clears your arteries. Skip the red wine, chug down the hard stuff, and you can live as long as a Frenchman without the sulfites.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away, which was replaced by:
  • Modern-day factory farmed apples come coated with Alar. Alar is the most potent cancer-causing agent in our food supply, so don’t even think about touching an apple unless you are wearing a hazmat suit, which was replaced by:
  • Alar is nothing more than an apple growth-regulating hormone and doesn’t have anything to do with people, so go on, eat apples.
  • - See more at:

    Thursday, January 09, 2014

    Another Moving Map

    Here's a map compiled by United Van Lines showing where they've been moving people to and from. Top three places people are moving to are Oregon, South and North Carolina. Top three people are moving from: New Jersey, Illinois and New York.

    Wednesday, January 08, 2014

    Arnie Klein's My Word

    Humboldt County District Attorney candidate, Arnie Klein, has a My Word column in the Times- Standard this morning. At first glance I didn't realize who wrote it and expected it to say something along the line of we shouldn't be bothering the homeless at all (I'm ambivalent on at least some homeless issues).

    It turned out not to be that so much but instead suggesting the recent prosecution of a homeless fellow for illegal camping that cost the county $13,000 might have been handled better. He even offered alternatives:

     "There were many different options that could have been explored, such as homeless court, a diversionary program, or penal code 849, which basically states “deemed not arrested and released.'' In other words, he could been held in jail over night and released in the morning. If the prosecutorial authorities felt that this homeless man had to be prosecuted, they could have filed the case as an infraction, which would have resulted in a court trial that did not necessitate the presence of a jury and a defense attorney."

    Well written. While I'm sure there might be another side to the story, it's pertinent to the position he's seeking and nicely done!

    No, that's not an endorsement of Mr. Klein by me. Just an observation.

    Tuesday, January 07, 2014

    Obamacare: Still Waiting

    December 21 was when I went to the Anthem/ Blue Cross web site, filled out my debit card info, and supposedly made my first premium payment for health insurance I signed up for under Obamacare. I even received a confirmation e-mail.

    Problem is, the payment still hasn't shown up in my bank account and I never received any confirmation in the regular mail confirming it. I've tried three or four times since then to call Anthem/Blue Cross, each time giving up after being put on hold for who knows how long.

    I just tried calling again and they didn't even bother putting me on hold. The message just said they were unable to connect me with a representative right then and to call back. They did say they'd extended the deadline for premium payment to January 15. Do I just wait, or do I try the online payment thing again?

    Monday, January 06, 2014

    A Look At The District Attorney Race

    We have a district attorney race coming up this year. Here's Matt Owen's brief synopsis of the race.Three out of the four candidates have web pages up now. I can't find one for Maggie Flemming. If anyone knows of one, send me the link.

    I was just advised by Richard Marks of Elan Firpo's campaign web page. Interesting that she had another career before going to law school.

    Arnie Klein's web site is here. At first glance he's running with a strong record in criminal prosecution.

    Allan Dollison's web site is here. No surprise there's no mention yet of any legal background or accomplishments. He just brags about his military service.

    As for how I'll vote in this race, too early to say, but I guarantee you I won't be voting for Allan Dollison. Don't get me started on him.

    Sunday, January 05, 2014

    Eureka Christians Against Marijuana?

    I'm not sure if this Craigslist ad is a joke or not. Even if it is serious, is it also be true that "There were more marijuana related arrests and convictions than anytime in the history of Eureka!".

    Friday, January 03, 2014

    Finally Another Win

    Some of you older visitors might remember one of my hobbies is entering sweepstakes and drawings. I have won some good prizes over the years but not in recent memory until yesterday. Lo and behold a surprise win, if only because I entered it once a few days ago, then forgot about it.

    I've been watching the nightly Kiem TV News lately. They often mention an opinion poll on their web site regarding some news item. I wanted to participate in the poll but we usually have to computer turned off by that time. A few days ago I remembered it during the day and went to their site to see if the poll might still be up. I didn't find it, but I did find an Angelo's Ad with some news trivia quiz. 

    I went ahead and answered the question(s). I don't remember what the questions were. Then in my e-mail yesterday I got notice I was one of the winners and had won a free lunch buffet and Angelo's Pizza Parlor. I was kinda stoked, even though I wonder if everybody that entered didn't also win. Normally those low value coupon prizes don't get me going but I've become a born again fan of Angelo's over the last year or so and I will take advantage of the free buffet lunch.
    Speaking of Angelo's, I'm hesitant to give them this plug, but I will. The reason being I don't want it to screw up our pizza delivery when all of you order on the same night. We don't have pizza delivered often. Can't afford it. Starting about a year or so ago we started ordering pizza from Angelo's, if only to support a long existing business. 

    The delivery guy told us a while back that they offer two pizzas for the price of one on Tuesdays. They can be the same kind, or two different types. We kept that in mind and took advantage of it last time we ordered. I was very happy with the deal.

    The wife doesn't like, or can't really handle, greasy or spicy pizzas anymore because of side effects from her bone marrow transplant. That leaves me eating the rather drab pizzas she prefers. Either that, or we could order half the pizza my kind and half hers. That just doesn't seem to work well so we usually just buy a large drab pizza, with few toppings.

    We tried our first Two on Tuesday pizzas a month or so ago. We ordered one (2) medium pizzas. She ordered her usual (boring, imo) White Knight- not sure what's on that one. I thought about it for a while and then went whole hog, making mine a combination pizza. 

    I haven't had a real combo pizza in years. I was in seventh heaven and stuffed my face, eating nearly the whole thing. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed a good, spicy, loaded pizza. That Two on Tuesday deal is the perfect thing when you have two different tastes to deal with. We will be ordering that way again.

    Thursday, January 02, 2014

    Identify This Bird Nest

    I found this nest in a yard on Pine Hill the other day, apparently blown out of a big spruce tree by the wind. I'm wondering what bird made it? At first I thought maybe a hummingbird but I think it's too large for a hummer. My short online search for bird nest guides only found hard copies for sale. 

    It's shown next to a nickel for comparison. The hole in the middle is maybe an inch and a half across and an inch deep. Outside diameter is maybe three inches across, two and a half inches deep. Any guesses as to what kind of bird made this nest?

    The Freed Murder

    I expected the murder of Reverend Eric Freed to be mentioned in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat. I didn't expect to see it on the CNN web site.

    I found out the name a bit earlier than some. I'd read the first mention of it on both the Times- Standard and Lost Coast Outpost Facebook feeds. After the wife came home from shopping I mentioned there had been some violent crime at St. Bernards Church with maybe someone killed. It was then she told me who it was. She'd already heard it from her mother who, along with the rest of the family, are Catholic church goers.

    I was stunned. I couldn't figure out why at first. I'm not the least bit religious and it's not like we don't hear fairly often of people being violently killed. Then I realized that nearly all the violent deaths we hear of involve people who are criminals or mentally ill. It almost seems like it should be no surprise when you hear of those kind of killings. 

    With this one, though, it was as if your nice next door neighbor who seemed totally ok suddenly ended up brutally murdered, for no apparent reason.

    Wednesday, January 01, 2014

    Sullum's 2013 Bouncing Buck Awards

    Jacob Sullum lists some of the better known examples of passing- the- buck from last year. I wish he'd come up with some more examples. I'm sure he could have.