Link Log from November 26-30

Links from the long holiday weekend, as many as possible…Categories: Animals, Books, Crafts, Food (Yum), Global Warming, Vaccinations, Women’s History.


Extremely cute cats…

…and foxes. (Did you know Robertson Davies once said that God created the cat so that humans might embrace the fox? That quote’s in The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks, a three-volume reprint that is, so far, my favorite of Davies’ books.)


Posted a few years ago, and recommended because it’s still a fun read…especially for those of us currently getting bleak November-type weather, who may want to read about Australia.


Something to think about if you’re going to Florida this winter…

Food (Yum)

A whole batch of guaranteed tasty vegan recipes…not all gluten-free or sugar-free, but most easily adapted.

Global Warming

Steve Milloy shared this link with the note that it smells like cronyism. I’ll add an apology…this NYTimes link worked, but displayed a truly obnoxious warning that they think they can afford to “stop supporting” my browser. It’s your job to keep your site reader-friendly, guys. If you don’t work with my browser and with a lot of browsers that are older and lower-memory than mine, go ahead and self-destruct by losing readers; see if we give a flip. Your writers can find better publishers.


John McDougall, M.D., on flu shots and more valuable vaccinations…

(Grandma Bonnie Peters agrees with him. She had a nasty case of flu in September, kept coughing until she’d transferred the cough to me–I don’t get flu when I keep a Good Healthy Distance from other people–and developed pneumonia and other complications, but she’s walking again, and looking for part-time jobs.)

Women’s History 

Fun facts and quizzes from Dan Lewis:


Here’s an easy writing challenge, if you have the time and inclination…

Confession Time : Did You Know This About Me?

Book Review: 50 Wooden Crafts to Make With Kids

A Fair Trade Book (?)
Author: Ellen J. Hobart and Eva Shaw
Date: 1994
Publisher: Crown / Random House
Length: 96 pages
Illustrations: drawings by Pam Posey
Quote: “The crafts described in this book are for children from five to twelve as well as their older helpers.”
Children from five to twelve will need a good deal of help with these projects; the book doesn’t include templates, and most projects involve drilling and nailing.
Some of the projects are real kid stuff; five-year-olds can sand and paint building blocks almost as fast as their older helper can saw them, and there’s a model tugboat made by nailing a small piece of wood (the top deck) onto a larger piece of wood (the hull). Alphabet and number blocks are counted as two separate projects; sets of blocks that spell out names or messages are counted as additional projects, to bring the project count up to fifty.
Other projects include checkers and tic-tac-toe sets, plant stakes, breakfast trays, and cutting boards. More challenging projects include paper towel holders, scratching posts for cats, window boxes, benches, and a nifty little stool for adults to step on and/or small children to sit on.
There’s a “holiday” section that tries to be inclusive, with a menorah as well as Christmas trees and ornaments. Relatively few holidays are included. There’s a wooden version of the turkey traced around a child’s hand, and a suggestion (no template) about painting flag designs on boards. After making the window box you’ll have the idea of how to make a recycling bin for Earth Day, and after making the simple sailboat you might be inspired to construct sailing ships for Columbus Day, but you’ll have to design them yourself. Maybe that’s the point. Most of the projects seem likely to be made for Mothers or Fathers Day.
This tersely written little book would also be useful for adults who weren’t taught woodworking as children and want to begin with relatively safe, simple, and small projects. In addition to boats, blocks, and stilts, there are also instructions for party games, bird feeders, the window box, the bench, napkin holds, bookends, racks, trays, trivets, paper towel holders, key racks, candlesticks, and pencil holders.
For the very young, there’s one project for which money will replace working closely with an adult. The gift necklace is made by stringing together small bits of wood cut in fancy shapes. Craft stores and department stores sell all kinds of pre-cut, pre-painted wooden beads just so “poor little rich kids” can make gift necklaces for everyone whose name they know.
For the other projects readers will have to shape the wood all by themselves, which means adults need to be involved. These projects can offer the whole family many hours of constructive, creative pleasure, and perhaps even profit. Only basic woodworking tools like a saw, drill, hammer, sandpaper, one of those big fat pencils carpenters use for marking wood, and lots of nails, paint, and glue, will be necessary. Schools might find student-made wooden toys and furniture easier to sell than the cheap chocolates made for fundraising drives, or secondhand junk sold at bazaars.
50 Wooden Crafts to Make with Kids is recommended to all families, art teachers, and leaders of after-school, summer school, Vacation Bible School, Scout, and similar programs. If you have access to some cheap wood, these projects can be a real bargain.
Google shows nothing for Ellen J. Hobart; what it shows for Eva Shaw suggests that several people are using that name, but, if you buy this book online here, I’ll write to the publisher to find out which one should receive 10% of the total payment for the book. As usual, you send $5 per copy + $5 per package to either address in the lower left-hand corner of the page, for a total of $10, from which (even if you order four copies at once and send me only $25) Shaw and/or Hobart and/or a charity of their choice will receive $1.
Book review cat:
blogjob cat

Book Review: The Philippian Fragment

Author: Calvin Miller

Date: 1982

Publisher: InterVarsity

Length: 175 pages

Illustrations: drawings and decorations by Joe DeVelasco

Quote: “He loves all men and especially those who are of the household of faith. But his preaching is a persecution of the saints.”

Calvin Miller, an innovative minister best known for his poetic rendering of the New Testament as the Singer Trilogy, turned his hand to satire in a collection of epistles allegedly written by a second-century pastor in the church at Philippi.

According to the blurb on the jacket, the story “demonstrates conclusively that in church life the more things change, the more they remain the same.” A work of satirical fiction is not exactly historical proof. There was no such person as Marcus Sparkus, who had “written thirty-two scrolls now, with such titles as The Impossible Possibility, This Way to Success, The Zeal Deal, and the ever popular You Are Numerus Unus,” before being thrown to the lions—“It left the class unsettled.” Even in the 1980s that didn’t happen, although the careers of Jim Bakker, Bob Schuller, and Pat Robertson suggested that some Christians wished it would.

History also disappoints us by failing to mention Croonus Swoonus, who “is through crooning that he ‘found his thrill on Palatine Hill’…there were numerous rumors that his singing career was about over when he had the good fortune to be born again.” Little Richard, who was bouncing in and out of churches in the 1980s, was not unique in history, but neither did he have this precise parallel in second-century Philippi.

Then there’s Hezekiah the Abominable Monster of Bythinia: “He was at the business meeting in the congregation in Cenchrea where a brother was dismissed for his views on baptism…Hezekiah…became distraught…It put such a strain on his own need to be secure he began weeping and then, of course, chewing scrolls.” Indeed, “Some say the Ghoul of Galatia” (who “lurks outside empty churches on the dark of the moon and pounces on old elders”) “is a wolf who once wore sheep’s clothing until he saw the sheep devouring each other.”

Flippant, irreverent comedy? Or wise insights into the group dynamics that cause church and Bible study groups to fall apart, with a tendency to help students laugh off their quarrels and focus on what matters? Moreover, do the characters, in their own way, tend to glorify God?

Sister Phoebe, who can’t bring herself to vote on the question of whether Jesus might be expected to return before or after the Tribulation, despite “studying furiously,” leaves a “scroll study” to visit the lepers and spends the afternoon binding lesions. Brother Coriolanus forms a grudge against Eusebius when Eusebius fails to promote Coriolanus’s daughter; he recommends that Eusebius join an order of silent monks, and when Eusebius is put in prison he’s willing to inherit Eusebius’s good clothes right away, but when he finds himself in prison too Coriolanus “no longer speaks for God but is content to seek Him.” Eusebius himself fears that he “will embarrass God running and crying before the lions.” He won’t. This fictional Eusebius can only be imagined as a sort of distant relative to the real Saint Eusebius, but if he’d been real, his famous cousin would have no reason to feel ashamed of him.

I tend to vote thumbs up on The Philippian Fragment. It’s written for college students; it addresses the questions that cause unnecessary grief to college students; its snarky tone is likely to appeal to students, and I think it steers students in the right direction. In the end I think it uplifts Christ more than it rebukes Christians, although it does both.

Unfortunately, The Philippian Fragment no longer qualifies as a Fair Trade Book, but if you send $5 per copy + $5 per package to either address at the lower left-hand corner of the screen, you can add this book to a package that includes one or more Fair Trade Books and pay only the one $5 shipping charge.

 Book review cat returns from Morguefile, after taking Thanksgiving off…
blogjob cat

Book Review: Bushwhacked

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Bushwhacked

Author: Molly Ivins with Lou DuBose

Date: 2005

Publisher: Random House

Length: 305 pages of text, 40 pages of references and index

Quote: “There are countless subjects on which George W. Bush might have pleaded ignorance in 1990, but a failing oil business was not one of them.”

As a Texas columnist, Molly Ivins attracted national attention by writing like everybody’s favorite aunt: outspoken but not mean, a consistent Democrat but willing to commend or criticize people on both sides. She liked Ann Richards—there were obvious temperamental affinities. She ripped Bill Clinton for messing with Texas, and she ripped W Bush for letting him.

When W Bush campaigned for President, Ivins teamed up with Lou DuBose to write the warning biography Shrub. Though unchallenged on important facts, and unsympathetic to W’s campaign, Shrub failed to convince readers who were tired of Clinton tackiness that W was anything worse than rich, Republican, and blond. How pleasant it would have been if his administration were now remembered for nothing worse than that! Shrub didn’t warn us of the real danger of a W Bush administration. I have to admit that, although I had foreseen that W might become a “Walking Target,” I didn’t anticipate the terrorist attacks of 2001 either. Few if any people expected the people who hated W Bush to be quite as nasty as they were. I expected the assassination of W, the medical unfitness of Cheney, and another appointed president.

Anyway, when W was reelected, the two disappointed Democrats wrote this chronicle of the other problems with the Bush administration. Oddly enough their faultfinding ignores what most of us liked least about W’s terms: the war. They managed to find 305 pages of domestic disagreement with W Bush.

Partisan? Ivins was always partisan; even her Clinton-bashing book was titled You Got to Dance with Them That Brung Ya. Readers who want to get a complete set of the facts of any historical period need to read what’s written from all sides.

For instance, another example of Ivins’ and DuBose’s wit, which the publishers liked enough to put on the back jacket, was “Republicans win elections in the ‘red states’ in the center of the country, where cattle and chickens are produced and slaughtered…Republicans use the USDA to pay off their contributors in the red states. The result of that crude electoral calculus is laissez-faire food-safety policy whenever a Republican is in the White House. (If you must eat while the Republicans control the White House, both houses of Congress, and the judiciary, you might want to consider becoming a vegetarian about now.)”

I find this analysis of facts that are true, so far as they go, so clever that I could almost momentarily forget how big food-producing corporations buy Democrats, too. (See Jim Hightower, If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates.) One of the minor scandals of Bill Clinton’s years as governor of Arkansas was the cronyism that allowed Don Tyson to go on selling chicken, although the birds were cruelly treated and disease-ridden, their litter was dumped into inadequately filtered drinking water, and Tyson was once prosecuted for trucking out chickens that had had bricks of cocaine jammed up their back ends…while the chickens were still alive. (Don Tyson’s heirs identify as Christians, but complaints of fowl abuse continue to plague this company.) In Bushwhacked Ivins and DuBose can complain only that W Bush, due to cronyism, allowed Lonnie Pilgrim to go on selling meat from disease-ridden turkeys. For those who were aware of the sordid facts behind Tyson chicken, the Pilgrim’s Pride story brings the score to 1-3, advantage still with the Republican administration.

Actually, in the long and ugly history of corporations selling food you wouldn’t want your dog to eat if you knew the facts, both political parties have racked up lists of failures to enforce the rules much longer than this…but we still needed this book, because none of the Republicans who so gleefully exposed Bill Clinton’s failures had any interest in discussing the dangers of eating Pilgrim’s Pride turkey. The more you read about corporate food producers, the better vegan food will look to you.

Bushwhacked is recommended to anyone interested in the history of the turn of the century. If not always complete or balanced, it’s eminently quotable. Ivins and DuBose really tried to make the boring Enron and Halliburton stories a good read, and probably came closer to doing so than any other writer ever did or ever will. They documented examples of pre-recession poverty, the shortcomings of the school system, and similar domestic problems for which Democrats tend to think there ought to be a simple solution involving federal funding.

I doubt that Bushwhacked contributed a great deal to the election of President Obama, but for those who want the history beyond the headline news of the first five years of this century, Bushwhacked is an informative source and an entertaining read.

Molly Ivins unfortunately no longer has any use for the dollar she’d get if any of her books, mentioned here or not, were still Fair Trade Books. However, if you send $5 per book + $5 per package to either address at the lower left-hand corner of the screen, you could squeeze at least one of Jim Hightower’s books, which are still Fair Trade Books, into the package along with Bushwhacked.

 Book review cat…again? Why not the chicken?

Book Review: Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving, Gentle Readers…

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Blessings

Author: Anna Quindlen

Author’s web site:

Date: 2002

Publisher: Ballantine / Random House

Length: 284 pages

Quote: “People love the idea of a place with a name.”

“Blessing” is a real family name, and it’s also the name of the fictional family who named the fictional estate where this story takes place after themselves.

In the first scene of Blessings, two irresponsible teenagers sneak out to the Blessing manor to abandon a newborn baby. Hoping their child will not be traced back to them, they slither away without guessing how the baby will bring the four people living at Blessings together.

The four people are Lydia Blessing, the last of the direct line; Nadine, the housekeeper; Jennifer, Nadine’s daughter who sometimes helps with the chores; and Skip, or Charles, the groundskeeper. At the beginning of the story none of them likes or trusts the others much. By the end they’ll be a family, and Nadine’s husband and Lydia’s daughter will be part of the family too.

Love is definitely the theme of this story….but it’s strictly family love. Although Skip has reasons to like two young women characters, Quindlen refuses to carry the plot far enough forward in time to show us Skip “in love.”

Keeping the focus on family love does not, however, keep Quindlen from throwing in a male homosexual couple. This gratuitous piece of political correctness is too carefully contrived to be plausible, and serves to call attention to how carefully the whole story has been cast for maximum political correctness. If Quindlen’s purpose were merely to write a romance or a comedy, a p.c. cast would do no harm. Since she’s also trying to show us that a young man like Skip can be a good father, keeping the rest of the novel ultra-p.c. costs her some credibility; I feel that instead of reading a fictionalized version of something Quindlen’s actually seen, I’m reading a fictional propaganda piece where all the major pressure groups are “represented”–except Republicans.

This is unfortunate. We may never have met a young single man who enjoys being a foster father as much as Skip, or a rich old lady who’s as partial to young working-class people as Lydia, but we would have liked to believe that Quindlen has. We have, as the publisher promised in the blurbs on the jacket, heard real people talk like these characters. We’d like it if real people behaved like them, too.

Nevertheless, Blessings is a nice, cheerful, family-type story that seems appropriate for a post that’s scheduled to appear on Thanksgiving Day. Anna Quindlen is a living writer, which makes this a Fair Trade Book; if you send $5 per copy + $5 per package to either address in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, Quindlen or a charity of her choice will receive $1 per copy of her book. (If you wanted four copies, you’d send me $25 and Quindlen or her charity would get $4.)

Pumpkin image courtesy of Taliesin at Morguefile:


Link Log for November 25-28

Although I’m scheduling some content to appear on Blogjob over the holidays, I don’t plan to be live online again this week, so here’s the final Link Log. Categories: Books, Food (Yuck), Phenology, Politics, Technology. (The Food links are yucky but they might help you save someone’s life.)


Maria Popova reviews an American classic, Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey:

This one is specifically for Catholics, but Protestants might want to check it out too–How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice by Kathryn Lopez. (The link that came in the e-mail may be for a newer edition than the Amazon link.)

Civil Rights 

Feds beware…the Hammonds have ever so much more potential popular appeal than David Koresh, Rodney King, or Randy Weaver. And the young seem much more restless than my generation were back then…maybe because the Welfare State hadn’t totally destroyed the economy, back then, so nearly all of us were focussed on doing our jobs!

Food (Yuck) 

As if you hadn’t already read enough reasons to avoid anything containing corn or rice, now that so many corn and rice products, even Success Brown Rice, contain enough “Roundup-Ready” (GMO) rice to make me feel sick and send some people to the hospital…

Are any farmers reading this? Y’might want to invest in another mule!

Is there a cure for the damage glyphosate has done? Jeffrey Smith has a hope…


Y’know…I think the whole idea of trying to measure global temperatures may be flawed. It’s just too weird to read that an El Nino (Spanish: lower-case, would mean “the little boy”; upper-case, means “weird weather”) year, in which my part of the world set records for cold winter weather, for heavy snow sticking on the ground for weeks and deep freezes and mass deaths-from-freezing of wildlife that normally survive our winters, followed by a very long and mellow spring and a very mild summer and a mild, slow autumn, was “the hottest on record.” Mercy, Maud, I want to shout, where were you? 1986 was a hot year. 1987 was a hot year. 2015 was a cool year…where I was. Even if the cheaper kind of mercury-based thermometers were literally blowing their tops if placed on sidewalks in Baghdad.

Steve Milloy shared this NYTimes link (you’re warned; sorry if it crashes your browser) as a joke, with the suggestion that certain “researchers” are planning to fabricate the weather reports that’ll make 2016 seem even hotter than 2015. Well…if you crunch honest numbers in certain ways, you get any kind of statistical results you want. That’s not exactly news. To the extent that El Nino is a weather pattern, it seems to be followed by a backlash some call La Nina…this web site will know that that’s true if we’re cooking on the sidewalks of Kingsport next summer, while Baghdadis parade around in long-sleeved shirts in July.

And La Nina may be approaching. Here it is the day before Thanksgiving, and although I have turned on the heater in the office room, I left it turned off when I headed out in the T-shirt-dress I’m wearing now. The ground froze last night and the night before, but thawed into squidginess in the afternoon sun–it’s squidgy outside by now, and not uncomfortable if you step outside without a coat and move briskly.


But the convoluted reasoning ascribed to the President here…

…makes him sound either less intelligent or more un-American than he is, which, I believe, is really trop fort. It is convoluted, and unlikely enough to remain hypothetical, but, for young Twits who haven’t been following the issue…ISIS is part of the general craziness in the Middle East, as was Al-Qaeda, as was the P.L.O. The craziness in the Middle East is caused by too many people wanting to own land that contains oil, even though it doesn’t contain enough water for all of them to live on or near it. Reducing the global demand for oil would (a) reduce these people’s desire to live in the same place and (b) reduce their ability to amass lethal weapons to fight over it. (See Bill Maher‘s When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden, although that was meant to be controversial entertainment too.) In theory, if we all wanted to get serious about using less petroleum, it would dampen all the craziness in the Middle East. Maybe even dampen the land and give people living there access to a decent quantity and quality of water. That is, of course, postulating that if you or I walk to the post office somebody else won’t drive to the post office, drive back, and then insist on offering us a lift to the post office, thereby doubling his petroleum consumption and offsetting our reduction of the same. Anyway, the President wasn’t saying that solar panels will stop bombs. They won’t. He knows that. All people our age know what he meant. He simply expected that youall had heard all of this explained over the past fifty years, too.

(Yes…for those who wonder…not only can people who Twitter be called Twits, with the capital T, but some controversial organizations and high-profile celebrities now demand that those following them on Twitter confirm that we’re Real Twits.)

For U.S. readers, here’s a post by Publius Huldah:


More about the “bugs” in the emerging technology of electric cars…(Apologies for the NYTimes link, but it behaved fairly well on this fairly old, fairly small laptop, so it’ll probably work for most readers. Sort of.)

Non-book-review cat, also from Morguefile:


Book Review: The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry

Title: The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry

Author: Joan Fisher

Date: 1962

Publisher: Hamlyn Publishing Group

ISBN: 0-600-31750-1

Length: 176 pages including index

Illustrations: charts, photos, diagrams

Quote: “The branch of creative needlecraft with which we are concerned is known…by…different names:  needlepoint, needlework tapestry, tapestry work, canvas work, canvas embroidery…”

Fisher goes on to define, explain, and give examples of several forms of this creative needlecraft, from simple bookmarks through pictures to hang on the wall, cushions, and handbags. Some projects mix embroidery stitches for textured effects; some could be worked in cross stitch or even in knitting, crochet, or weaving, although the final effect of translating a simple geometric motif from one craft to another may be a completely different product.

Historical examples from European museums appear in small black-and-white photos. More detailed pictures and instructions for reproducing some of these pieces have appeared in Piecework magazine, but this book does not attempt to help you copy the embroideries that were preserved in ancient castles and cathedrals.

If and when readers feel ready to embroider bedspreads, carpets, or draperies, however, they will find here several charted patterns that can be repeated or expanded to fill a large piece. Meanwhile, those who don’t want to commit to a big project will find instant gratification in embroidering belts and pincushions.

As books go out of print, the physical construction of the book becomes more important to readers. The difference between cheap and quality paper, pages sewn down to lie flat or glued together to spring back together, and good and poor binding, become obvious as a book ages. Wear and tear accelerate the aging process. When a library book contains charts for needlework, which means by definition that the book will spend a lot of time exposed to the air, it’s painfully easy to see which books become discolored, brittle, or mildewed first. Many books published in 1982 or even in 2002 look “older,” by now, than either of my two library copies of The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry. Checking the date of publication for this book surprised me because, although both copies had library processing, dog ears, and pencil marks, both copies still look, feel, and smell “new.” You might say that this was a well made book.

Some people using the name “Joan Fisher” are active in cyberspace. Some have died. If you order The Creative Art of Needlepoint Tapestry from this web site, using either address at the lower left-hand corner of the screen, I’ll write to the publisher in an effort to find out the status of the Joan Fisher who wrote this book. The price is $5 per copy + $5 per package, for a total cost of $10 if you buy only one copy of only this book; you could probably fit two copies of this book into one package, for a total price of $15. If the author is still living, $1 out of each $5 per copy will be sent to her or to a charity of her choice.

Book review cat:

blogjob cat

Link Log for November 24

Lots of food-related links today…everyone must be thinking of Thanksgiving dinners! Categories: Animals, Books, Crafts, Food (Yuck), Food (Yum), Fun Stuff, Reader Feedback, Technology, Writing.


Polar bear pictures…

Total cuteness overdose:


Another book review at Blogjob.

Here’s one I’ve not seen in the real world yet, but I’m looking forward to it…Feisty and Feminine, by Penny Nance. (Not an endorsement–I want to read it.)


At any age, actually: if you’re thinking about getting married, knit or crochet a wedding gown. If you’re still in love by the time it’s ready to wear, the marriage might stand a chance…

Food (Yuck) 

This unusual, unlikely scenario is the one the gene splicers seem to think reflects the real world…anyway, this painting will remind you of The Less Fortunate, for sure.

Here’s the dismal documentary of what the gene splicers are doing to the real world…

Food (Yum) 

How “Kung Pao Chicken” recipes have travelled around the world…(yes, the link says “General Tso’s Chicken,” but the article is about “Kung Pao Chicken”).

Yes, (some) authentic Asian food does use wheat flour; wheat thrives in colder climates than rice. These cookies aren’t gluten-free. (No problem if you want to serve them at a meal to which I’m invited. I’ll just eat the leftover cashews, thanks.)

Gluten-free people sometimes cook omelets instead of pancakes. What about egg-free people? Why not an egg-free pancake?

A pumpkin pancake?

Greek yogurt can have all the delicious add-ins full-fat ice cream has. Maybe cheaper, if your family eat a lot of ice cream and/or yogurt. If you really want watermelon fudge ripple with cashews, it can be done…

Non-food treats to inspire your inner creative chef…

Whatever you’re cooking for the next few weeks, the holidays are a good time to use up those coupons…

Fun Stuff

The mathematical madness behind Alice in Wonderland‘s Tea Party, that is.

Reader Feedback 

Someone Twittering as “Narcotics Anonymous” shares a link to the NA online newsletter at:

This was in response to:

Stupidity Is a Choice 

Actually I suspect the King of Sweden is calling on people to take efficient showers rather than filling a big old tub. However, I’m hypersensitive on this issue because I’ve known some Greens who became literally Sick Greens by imagining that bathing is the big waste of water in most of our lives. Truly, Gentle Readers, this is not the case. I’m a warm bath fiend. I believe in immersing at least the possibly contaminated parts of the body every single time you sit down on the toilet (Doing Number Three), and I’ve practiced this rule while living in a house where I’d shut off a drippy water line and was manually flushing the toilet with only about a quart of water each time, and the city water office got suspicious that the water bill had dropped so far below average. Leaks and inefficient flushing are what waste water (and money). We can all afford to smell fresh. (People who sit on the toilet and try to wipe themselves clean with dry tissue paper, no matter how many squares they use each time, smell disgusting if you have to sit next to them on a Metrobus on a warm afternoon…one Washington memory I’d just as soon never relive for the rest of my lifetime.)


Growing pains of electric car technology, shared by John1282:


Here’s a prod to those who, like me, have a Hub Pages account but haven’t used it…lately, or ever…

Book Review: Tales Too Ticklish to Tell

Title: Tales Too Ticklish to Tell

Author: Berke Breathed

Author’s current web site:

Date: 1988

Publisher: Little Brown & Company

ISBN: 0-316-10735-2

Length: 122 pages

Illustrations: cartoons

Quote: “The news is there is no news…it’s all old news. Today there was death, greed, hypocrisy and White House lies…nothing new there!”

This is another volume of the history of the fictional Bloom County, where middle school children and animals relate to the news in ways real children and animals probably never have done or will do. In Tales Too Ticklish to Tell we get the full story of what was going through the minds of Opus and Lola when they mutually cancelled their wedding at the altar, how Bill the Cat failed to defend himself against charges of wholesomeness and saw no alternative to becoming a televangelist, how Opus was run out of Bloom County after Bill preached about the evils of “penguin lust.” This is the first volume to contain the iconic full-color strips where the blonde “tonsil sucker” got to John’s brain, where Steve “shredded” Barbie with his imitation of Colonel Oliver North, and where warnings about the hazards of sniffing dandelions prompted Steve (followed by the animals) to get high on dandelion pollen.

In other sequences not available in the selective reprints, the regular characters in the cartoon strip go on strike and are replaced by adult human “management officials,” Oliver sees stars spelling out the message “Repent Oliver” (and observes that it’s difficult being an agnostic), Opus works as a garbage collector, and Cockleberry Cockroach challenges Milquetoast’s position as tap-dancing spokesman for the cockroach community.

Sequences that were anthologized include the one where Steve was kidnapped by Zygorthian raiders and “Gephardtized,” the one where the Zygorthians participated in a formal congressional investigation and charmed the population by looking like big-eyed puppies, and one of several where Opus worked at the Bloom County Beacon.

Tales Too Ticklish to Tell was a bestseller when new and is therefore easy to find online. You may find a better price from other online sellers; however, if you buy it here, it’s a Fair Trade Book. That means that, of the $5 per book + $5 per package you send to either address at the lower left-hand corner of the screen, Berkeley Breathed or a charity of his choice will receive $1. If you buy five copies (or one copy of each of the similar-sized original “Bloom County” paperback books), you send a total of $30 to either address, and Breathed or his charity will get $5. So, if you want these vintage books, buying them from this web site is a way to show respect and support for a living writer.

Needless to say, you can show even more respect and support by buying Breathed’s new books, for the full new-book price, directly from his web site; if you like good-natured comedy and goofy-looking animal cartoons, this is encouraged.

blogjob cat

Link Log for November 23

Malware issues didn’t even leave much time to go through five days’ backed-up e-mail. Here’s what I found so far. Categories: Animals, Food (Yuck), Food (Yum), Phenology Links, Politics, Privacy, Travel, Writing.


The Institute for Responsible Technology comments on the news from Food Democracy Now, below:

“The Atlantic Salmon Federation has expressed grave concerns about how natural food supplies and fish ecosystems could be disrupted should these new, voracious super-sized salmon accidentally escape into the wild.”

More at .


Wayne Muller, here writing for a nondenominational site:

Food (Yuck) 

From Food Democracy Now:

“Yesterday, officials in the Obama Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shocked Americans by opting to approve GMO salmon for human consumption here in the United States, where 90% of the population favors GMO labeling. This deeply flawed and irresponsible approval is an outrage and means that the first genetically engineered animal will soon be on the shelf in grocery stores and restaurants across the country.

And because of current U.S. law, these newly approved GMO Frankenfish will appear on your plate without you knowing it due to a lack of mandatory GMO labeling laws here in the U.S..

Help stop Monsanto’s desperate plan to kill states’ rights to label GMOs! – Tell your Senators and the President: “I support GMO labeling!” Every voice counts!

Tragically, Obama’s approval of AqauBounty’s genetically engineered salmon was done using only the company’s own shoddy scientific studies, which were so poorly designed they wouldn’t pass a 5th grade science fair.

For two of the studies submitted, AquaBounty used sample sizes so small that they have no scientific credibility, with only 12 fish tested for one study, while another study on possible allergic reactions in humans involved only 6 fish! Despite this scant evidence, the FDA approved AqauBounty’s GMO salmon anyway. Seriously?

This is so irresponsible it should be illegal! Unfortunately, if everyday people like us don’t stand up, we will soon be forced to eat these untested GMO Frankenfish because there are no laws that require mandatory GMO labeling.

Now U.S. Senate is Poised to Kill GMO Labeling Once and For All

Even worse than this new approval is the fact that yesterday, Politico reported that your Senators are close to a deal on possibly selling us out on GMO labeling once and for all.

Right now Monsanto lobbyists are scrambling to get your Senators to support efforts to kill GMO labeling and preempt states’ rights so food companies can avoid mandatory GMO labeling.

Even more alarming is the fact that Politico reported that some Senators may even go so far as to attach a rider to the end-of-year budget bill to create a voluntary GMO labeling standard to stomp out the GMO labeling movement once and for all.”

Food (Yum) 

Ben & Jerry’s promises a selection of dairy-free, almond-based ice cream:

And here’s a treat for the carnivores…

Phenology Links 

In the Deep South, goldenrod is still blooming. Not where I am…Gate City finally saw a killing frost this morning. (When I went out to feed the cats, the thermometer was showing 18 degrees Fahrenheit. On Saturday we were still enjoying T-shirt weather; on Sunday we all put on overcoats and prepared for snow, and instead we got a real, though brief, freeze.)


Hillary Rodham Clinton’s latest expression of brain damage is too easy a target for Jonah Goldberg’s talent, but I chortled…


If you distrust any mechanical device that’s alleged to be “smart,” on principle…a principle with which this web site agrees…you might be interested in this site:


Hawaii with the McDougalls, anyone? (This temporary link is meant to stop working after the retreat fills up, so use it now if it interests you.)


Whether you’re interested in her mystery novels or not (Edisto Jinx and others), Hope Clark does an awesome job of sharing links of interest to writers in this newsletter. Today’s issue is enhanced with Buff Orpingtons…not my favorite breed, but I have warm fuzzy feelings about all pet chickens…

Non-book-review cat: