an international weekly ezine of news, commentary and general interest
Sunday, June 22, 2014
MY SECRET SHAME
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Well, this is a little disconcerting. In Another Blow, G.M. Recalls 3 Million More Defective Cars And unfortunately for me, the spate of headlines like this has flicked the light switch on my Closet of Secret Shame. Gentle readers, please don’t hate me. I have owed several Chevrolets.
The best of them was an Impala that was built back before someone figured out that if you make something that lasts for a long time, you won’t sell as many. Once the concept of planned obsolescence metastasized throughout the economy, recalls have been more the norm than the exception and GM, Toyota and others are not alone in these regards.
I still gravitate to stuff that lasts. Recycling is one way that concept manifests itself in the House That Northstar Built. We’re probably putting a dent in the Tupperware industry but so much of what food comes in makes perfectly good containers for other stuff. What we don’t use, we wash and put out in the blue bin ~ which the City of Seattle empties once a week ~ so it can be used again in another incarnation.
I’m the same way with rainwater and my own private garden. You wouldn’t think water would be in short supply in Seattle and it’s not, this spring. But I was raised in a place where droughts were chronic so to me, it’s just not natural to watch rain falling and not into at least a bucket to wash sox in.
We also don’t use the clothes dryer as much as most households. On good weather days, we have a place out back to hang the wash. When it’s raining, there’s a place in the laundry room to do that. You can wash a load the night before and by the time you get home from work the next afternoon, it’s ready to wear or stow away.
Yesterday, thanks to Super Glue, I resurrected two pair of shoes that would have cost me nearly $75.00 to replace. We have sugar cans for things like that so when one is full but the money isn’t needed, it gets spent on something else. My friend Anna is visiting next month so instead of shoes, this money is going into a picnic on Lake Washington, renting a canoe and going out for Mexican food after.
I’m looking for another vintage car to restore. I have this dream of a copper 1964 Ford Mustang rag top with a mid-sized six in it. I’m not real high on fossil fuels but until electrics can compete in aggressive traffic, I’m stuck with the best one I can find. Like many of my friends in Seattle, car ownership does not mean the vehicle is in constant use. Metro is still a cheaper and more relaxing way to get around the city. And any errand within a mile of the house, like grocery shopping with knapsacks, is a good excuse for a nice walk.
I’m also saving up for a Nissan Leaf and 3,000 miles or so of extension cord. I promised Anna a Travels With Mishka trip across Canada next summer and the True North doesn’t quite yet have charging stations from Vancouver to Halifax.
Thanks for the ear, gang. Have a great week, eh?
Here’s headline news for sure. It looks like the International Space Station is getting its first coffee making machine.
I thought this was absolutely priceless. Hillary delightfully surprised by Glee star visitor at her book signing. Mutual admiration since revealed.
Those Seeking Asylum In Australia Have An Interesting Choice And It Is An Option They Have Had For Over A Decade Now. Paying Asylum Seekers To Return Home ‘Standard Practice’
AUSTRALIA & OCEANA
Egyptian-Canadian Journalist Tells Cairo Judge TV Network Is Not To Blame For Turmoil In Egypt, Iraq
WAR ON TERROR
This is certainly something of which to be proud. Stanley Park Named Best Park In The World By TripAdvisor (With Photos)
This, however, is not. Rats Ride Green Wave Into Vancouver’s Downtown Core
Felina: Samuel, this is a new photograph on our mantle.
Sam: Yep, it came in this morning’s post, Lass.
Felina: He looks very distinguished. Is the other one his daughter?
Felina: She looks intelligent despite the mane to her waist. She is his assistant, then?
Sam: In a manner of speaking, yep. I’m gettin’ hungry for some salmon eggs on a fern. Want some with me?
Felina: She is his mate, is she not, Samuel Alexander?
Sam: Well, since you asked.
Felina: And this distinguished but elderly cougar is perhaps related to you? I thought I have met or have been told about all of your very ‘interesting’ family.
Sam: I sort of left him out until the time was right.
Felina: I see.
Sam: Because I knew how you’d react.
Felina: So you decided to surprise me, thinking perhaps that my attitude would be mitigated by ambush?
Sam: It was more like I was hoping and praying you wouldn’t totally lose that calm, cool, collected poise which makes you such an outstanding Canadian and also a role model for your gender and your species.
Felina: You worked on that for awhile too, didn’t you?
Sam: Yep, I did.
Felina: I was just not prepared to discover that I have a salacious relative by marriage.
Sam: Not everybody can be a solicitor or a saint, Felina.
Felina: Which, precisely, is he?
Sam: My Uncle Mishka for a long time was the Protector of his part of the forest, where he comes from. He was mated to someone I believe he loved almost as much as I love you. An avalanche sent her Home and for many years, he shared his cave with her memory.
Felina: Ah, I see. But sometimes, memories are not enough.
Sam: No, Felina, sometimes they are not.
Felina: She does not look that young, actually. And he does not look so old after all.
Sam: I expect they meet somewhere in the middle.
Felina: When are they coming to visit?
Sam: Whenever you tell them it’s cool. You are, after all, the keeper of the cave.
Felina: I think I would very much like to meet them. So I will send forth the word.
Sam: With drums, flags and flourishes of trumpets.
Felina: Our woods shall resound with my regal invitation.
Sam: The Queen has spoken.
Felina: She has indeed.
Sam: Cool and most excellent. And on that note, then, Felina?
Felina: On that note, Gentle Readers, until next week, then, may the wind be always at your back and may the Creator keep you forever safe in the palm of Her paw.
I love it when a corporation goes totally cool. Starbucks to Provide Free College Education to Thousands of Workers
Now THIS is what I expect from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Finest kind, guys. Five Children Rescued, More Than 150 People Arrested In Nationwide Child-Porn Sting
We loved reading about this. Clintons honoured by Wildlife Conservation Society
Let no one wonder why some of us say, “Never again.” A Retiree, 89, Is Held in Deaths at Auschwitz
If I mess up big time and end up going to the Bad Place, I hope it’s not the same part of it these people are headed for. V.A. Punished Critics on Staff, Doctors Assert
These folks are on a roll, a downhill roll. In Another Blow, G.M. Recalls 3 Million More Defective Cars
EXPLORATION, HISTORY, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
It’s not like we didn’t expect this, right? (Think HAL, Space Odyssey 2001) As Robotics Advances, Worries of Killer Robots Rise
Considering the rough time these little dudes and dude-ettes have had in this century, this is an idea whose time has definitely come. US Sets Up Honey Bee Task Force
This is a definite break in one tradition while establishing a new one which should sound the century. Nice going, chopper guys. Harley-Davidson Tests Electric Bike
The Earth Observatory’s mission is to share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about climate and the environment that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and climate models.
THE GREEN AGENDA
I really enjoyed this one and sent it to family and friends when I found it. Here are Five Signs That You Are Going To Make It.
This is one of those stories that makes me wonder if there is not a lemming in the human wood pile. Humans Addicted To Sunlight, Despite Cancer Risk
What Does It Mean to Be American? ~ Feel free to highlight a story or observation that clarifies what being American means to you in the comments section of this article.
BEST OF THE NET
It is an America gone mad from the addiction to war and desperate for resources beyond her own borders. A military dictatorship controls the country and life is grim. The Republic is fighting for its very survival and for decades, especially with Latin America.
This is the world of the United States Coast Guard cutter Testament, a cybernetic patrol boat, and her six-person crew. Her mission, and those of her sister craft, is simple.
Quench the rebellion and stop the flow of Americans seeking refuge in Canada. Kill when expedient. Deliver the survivors to the BellinghamRe-EducationCenter.
A simple operational order and one which has served America well. Until Testament
Feature Magazine Articles
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
We thought this was definitely cool, considering its proximity to the House of Northstar. Beekeepers are breeding a race of super bees at the Seattle airport
This reminded us of a bad 1950s science fiction film. Giant bullfrogs have invaded British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province.
It’s hard not to like this guy when he does stuff like this. Obama doubles global marine reserves
YOU GUYS THINK I MAKE THIS STUFF UP
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Thank you very much. Until next week, then, take care, stay well and Godspeed. Rusty