Thursday, June 8, 2017

Why I Hate Government

Evil everywhere
Yeah, really I'm no different than anybody else. Except I seem to be the one idealistically bashing my head against the wall trying to make things better.

Last night we watched an episode of The West Wing in which the usual crises appeared and circumstances were such that there was no good way out or to solve the bigger problems of evil.

I have a difficult work assignment in personnel law, an area of the practice that I've been trying to get out of for a good 20 years now but can't seem to do so because there is no one else to do it and I have the experience and I'm stuck. I can't resolve the problems of right and wrong any more than an attorney in the practice of domestic relations (at least I have that to be grateful for, but personnel law is second only to divorce on the civil side for horrible situations - thank heavens I don't deal with too much criminal!!)

And then there's fired FBI Director Comey's testimony coming up this morning. Today will not be the end of the most disgustingly corrupt and morally evil man to inhabit the White House since maybe Warren G. Harding. Or what I'm afraid of is that trump is actually the worst ever. The Republican Congress still controls. They will not likely turn on trump as long as they think they can squeeze through things to help the wealthy or those who think they are or want to be wealthy (like a lot of Americans) to the disadvantage of the poor and especially disfavored minorities. There is some overlap there in the electorate. Kansas is starting to figure that one out. But it takes a lot of thought and some bad things happening for most people to get it.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Last Wagon

Nobody died. Nobody ate anybody. But we did have an adventure on the Donner-Reed Party's route along the Hastings Cutoff.
The Last Wagon by Lynn Fausset
We went with some great public servants from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). When I saw the notice of this trip on BLM's Facebook page, I immediately thought of my old friend from all the way back to grade school who is now teaching Law Enforcement at Great Basin College, Elko, Nevada. And he has a four-wheel drive.

In the old days, we did our exploring on bikes and in the woods. Sometimes our moms would meet at the grocery store and each would say, "I thought they were at your house!" while we were miles away from either. We found a lot of cool places but the golden hoard of some lost mine or buried treasure always eluded us. We did learn that the reward is in the adventure itself. That is the life lesson. So we took on another adventure yesterday on National Trails Day. 

The best part was to spend some good time together in one of those friendships that picks up after 40 years without skipping a beat. His wife came along and the night before our adventure, she and my wife found a connection in quilting and got along great. My buddy and I talked a lot about the old days but more so about who we are now and the mutual respect we have for each other. Friendship.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Latest Revelations on Jared Kushner

Would you buy a used car from these guys?
The latest news reporting on trump scandals is that first-son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may have attempted to set up secret, back-channel communications with Russian officials during the transition. This is reported independently by the Washington Post and Reuters who claim sources (i.e., leaks) from within US Intelligence Agencies.

This immediately tells us that trump's war with US national security interests is not over and they are fighting back. The leaks are troubling, not as much as leaks but what they appear to reveal.

First, they reveal that US security agencies do not trust trump and his family. Whether the underlying facts are true or not, there are powerful elements of the US government who are undermining trump. Some of these disclosures may be technically illegal. However, all federal employees, political or career, sign an oath that their highest duty is to the Constitution of the United States. It is not to the President or any party or political view. It is to the Constitutional Union of these United States. (If you need a Hollywood explanation, try the scene in Clear and Present Danger in which James Earl Jones playing he CIA Director (the voice of Darth Vader) tells Harrison Ford, playing  government agent, Jack Ryan (not Han Solo) that his highest duty is to the Constitution, not to the President. Now, it's still very troubling that this appears to be a silent coup of the security forces by leaks to the press and likely formal and appropriate revelations to Congressional Committees and the new Special Counsel. This is really big time.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Brown's Iris Gardens, Kirkland, Washington

Family History can get real strange. I planted irises this Spring. It kept reminding me of a relative/friend of my Mom's that I remember from growing up on Finn Hill. We were far away from family, but mom found one, a descendant of Daniel & Peninah Cotten Wood and she shared some copies of Wood Family history that I still have.

Her name was Alta Brown. And remembering that she and her husband ran Brown's Iris Gardens, a rather beautiful place up there when Finn Hill was not all houses, I thought I would try to find her on Family Search to see how we were actually related. It was a frustrating search as I ultimately found that her name was Hazel Alta McCarty Brown (1909-2003), so she was very contemporary with my grandparents.

I remembered that they sold irises. The internet informed me that they hybridized irises. Her husband, Rex, registered 93 varieties. Alta registered a whopping 267 varieties!

A few of the varieties developed at Brown's Iris Gardens

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

trump and the Яussians


At Yalta, trump would have said, "Do you want more than Eastern Europe? Sure, take Western as well! I know who my buddies are!"

trump would have resolved the Cuban Missle Crisis by saying, "Forget Cuba, I've got some great golf courses in Florida and NJ where you can park your missiles!"

Monday, May 15, 2017

A New Quest for the Welsh, Frond Finial

The roofers finished this morning. It's now lunch-time and I'm at home. The new roof looks great!

BEFORE
AFTER
MORE AFTER
We really like the color as it is close to Welsh slate with a slight greenish tone.

Here's what we were going for:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dreams Found and Lost


The joke yesterday was that I was getting my wife a new roof for mothers' day. She'll still get her regular flowers--in the garden. The Saturday before is time for the family tradition of buying and placing bedding plants in front of the house as we are solidly in May and almost past the freeze threat in the shadow of the everlasting hills. With global warming and all, we're pretty safe. However, there are no longer any children at home to help me plant annuals which is just fine as gardening is one of my new passions (note the lilac hedge above, lower right, coming in just fine!).

Waking up too early this morning due to other stresses, the thought came to me that the number-one, cliché responsibility of a good provider is "to put a roof over your head." As we're getting quality shingles with a "life-time" of 30-50 years, they will last me out and I have fulfilled my obligation here.

Sol Hurok is credited with:
"The sky's the limit if you have a roof over your head." 
We are getting a slate-colored asphalt shingle "a cool gray with a beautiful green undertone--exactly like real slate." Green is my wife's favorite color and slate matches with our Welsh homestead. (Our house, like nearly every home in Britain, has a name, "Tŷ Fychan" or "Vaughan House.")