Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grandparent Talk


I am trying to delay doing work around the house...so...I grabbed these cards and turned to a question.

I really did not pay all that much attention to service stations when I was younger, so I had to do a little research about them. In the 50's I was only in the car to take trips to visit relatives.   There were service attendants that came out to the car and pumped your gas, cleaned your windshield front and back and headlights, tail lights, checked your oil, looked at your fan belt and radiator hoses and checked the tire pressure.There was no added fees for these services.   I am pretty sure you had to pay cash.  When I began driving in the early 70's I think they had all of the same services but you  could use a credit card.  The attendant brought out a clipboard for you to sign your credit slip on.  You never got out of the car, unless you wanted to use the restroom or to get a soda or something inside.  Most service stations had mechanics that worked on your car.  There were usually just 2  stations connected to the building.  I remember getting my oil changed and tires rotated, etc. at these stations.  I read where they gave things away at some stations, like free glasses and green stamps, but I don't have a memory of that.  Our grocery stores gave away green stamps towards catalog purchases.  The price of regular gas varied from 33 cents a gallon to 35 cents during the 60's.  I am pretty sure that most families only had one car.  A few families had 2 if they could afford it.  In the 70's when I was actually driving... the gas price was 36 cents a gallon.  Not much of an increase.  It seems today most families have at least 3 cars and maybe more.  High school kids usually have a car by junior year.  That was not the case when I was in high school.  I only knew of one girl who had a car.   When she picked us up we all had to chip in on the gas to ride around.  Having those service attendants was so nice!  I can not imagine we will ever see that again.
I can not believe how much gas has gone up lately.  It is around $3.80 a gallon now.  Yikes!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things are beginning to look better outside,,,,

 Today I decided to get the cover off of the pool by myself...because rain is in the forecast for the next few days, and because... about this time of the year...I just can't stand to look at the dirty pool cover anymore.  It was not an easy job to do solo...but.. I did have a choice.  My husband would have helped me on Sunday if the rain would have held off...but I guess I just got too impatient.  My back hurts...but it is done.  All we have to do is finish filling up the pool...which the rain will most likely do...and then start shocking it and vacuuming it.

I am still known as the "cat woman" here, because I have continued to
feed the kittens that showed up here last Thanksgiving and a few other strays.
  

 This is what we think is the Family.  
The mother is eating on the right hand corner of the photo, 
and the two kittens with their tails up 
and the Dad in the back.
 
About a month or so ago, I was out driving and saw a photo and number for a lost cat posted near a stop sign.  I circled around again and got the number of the owner, and called him.  The photo looked just like this cat.  When the man came over and showed me a close up photo of his cat...I knew it wasn't the same cat.  He was really disappointed but he stayed and chatted for awhile.  I told him about my dilemma with these cats and kittens and trying to find them homes.  He said that if you don't get them as soon as they are weened from the mothers they become feral and cannot be house cats.  He also told me about a friend of his who Traps, Neuters and Releases them.  This will be my next mission for these cats.  I am going to try to see if I can get some help with the Human Society with the traps and neuter process.


I sure hope they are good swimmers if they fall in the pool.  They are already curious.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I have thought about this for a long time.....

Of course it probably would never really be able to work this way....but I have pondered this idea myself for several years now.  I was surprised to see someone else actually write about it.  I may not have worded it the same way this person did, but still.. it does say something to give some thought to.  I really dislike talking politics, especially on the internet, but this article... I just could not resist sharing.  Living in America, the land of the free....I don't see this ever happening.  And I have to admit...if I had to take a test about government I may not pass the test.... but I sure would study for it.

Grand Rapids, Michigan (CNN) -- Should ignorant people be allowed to vote?
A provocative question for sure; however, I'm not bringing it up for shock value, but rather to give us all pause.
If I were to ask you to ingest an unknown medicine from someone who knew nothing about the medical field, you probably wouldn't do it. And I doubt many of us would feel comfortable as a shareholder in a company that asked people who knew nothing about business to hire its next CEO?
Yet we all know someone who gleefully admits they know nothing about politics, doesn't have time to find out what the current issues are or even know how the government works, but goes out and votes. Want to know why it seems Washington is run by a bunch of idiots? Blame this hiccup in our political system for starters. What's a solution? Weed out some of the ignorant by making people who want to vote first pass a test modeled on the one given to those who want to become citizens.
Test your American civics knowledge
In an effort to win over ignorant voters, political campaigns are no longer targeting the movable middle as much as the easily misled. Instead of intelligent debates about important topics such as health care reform and cash-strapped states, we have an exchange of easy to remember catchphrases such as "Obamacare" and "War on Unions" -- all in the race to pander to people who can't explain what Congress does.
Or have a firm grasp of how tax dollars are spent.
Quiz: Test your civics knowledge
In a recent CNN poll, more than a third of the people questioned wanted to see cuts in military spending, which is a good debate to have. The problem is the poll also revealed most Americans think the military takes up 30 percent of the budget when in reality it's 19 percent. If we don't know how much money is being spent, how can we intelligently say it's too much? And what to make of the 20 percent of folks polled who believe public broadcasting represents 10 percent of the budget, when it's more like a 10th of 1 percent?
I'm not suggesting someone needs to be a Rhodes scholar to vote.
But voters should at least be able to name the three branches of government. Voters should understand what a "trade deficit" is and how laws are made.
Before getting all bent out of shape by my assertion that you or someone you love is ignorant, please know I am not referring to the dictionary's first definition of the word, which typically means an uneducated or unsophisticated person. I am operating with the second usage, defined as a lack of knowledge in a specific area.
No one is omniscient; we're all ignorant about something.
I know close to nothing about the inner workings of my car, and so I come to my mechanic, ignorant -- but not stupid. As this relates to voting, if people don't know much about current government and politics, they too are ignorant, not necessarily stupid. The difference is that naively paying too much for repairs on a car is not nearly as damaging to foreign policy as a bunch of ignorant voters hitting the polls.
Am I advocating for some sort of elitism?
You betcha.
One of the more counterproductive byproducts of having our political system hijacked by campaigns obsessed with ignorant voters is that the word "elite" has been saddled with terrible PR. True, one boilerplate definition essentially means "rich snobs" but another -- and the one more central to my point -- means the best or most skilled in a group. We don't seem to have a problem understanding the importance of having elite athletes on our favorite sports team, but some of us have been trained to have a gag reflex at the very mention of the country's elite thinkers running the country.
The Founding Fathers were not a bunch of average Joes with gripes about England; they were elite thinkers and philosophers. James Madison attended what is now Princeton. John Hancock went to Harvard. Thomas Jefferson enrolled at the College of William and Mary when he was 16. Today it seems the more education a candidate has, the harder he or she has to work to distance him or herself from it.
So how do we weed out ignorant voters without harking back to the days of poll taxes and Jim Crow? I would start by making the U.S. Naturalization Test -- given to immigrants who want to become citizens -- part of the voter registration process.
If knowing the number of years a senator is elected to serve is required of anyone who wants to become a U.S. citizen, is it too much to expect that information to be common knowledge for those of us who already are? This has nothing to do with who a person is or how they may vote but everything to do with a person voting as an informed citizen, not a sound bite regurgitator. Having a grasp of current events would be ideal, but if we could at least raise the required investment to engage in the political system, perhaps the tone of the rhetoric surrounding it can be elevated as well.
We wouldn't issue a driver's license to someone unable to pass the written test, knowing the potential damage that person could do behind the wheel. Why do we look at voting differently?
While the Constitution lists the reasons why a citizen cannot be denied the right to vote, it does not explicitly say it is a federal right. This is why felon disenfranchisement and mental competency laws, as they pertain to voting, vary from state to state.
I'm not suggesting we kick people out of the political process, only that we require them to have an agreed upon understanding of what that process is. If people are too busy to read up on the government, the Department of Homeland Security is not going to escort them out of the country -- or take away away their citizenship. At any point in which ignorant voters are fed up with being on the outside looking in, they can go to the post office, pick up a brochure with all of the questions and answers in it, and study free of charge.
Sounds harsh?
It is.
But at this crucial juncture with at least two wars, a budding energy crisis, a growing trade deficit, etc., do we really have the luxury of hand-holding? There simply needs to be more required of us as responsible voters than being born 18 years ago. Perhaps if we weed out the ignorant voters, politicians will no longer feel the need to dumb down the conversation in hopes of getting their attention.
And then if we're really lucky, maybe the ignorant politicians will go away as well.
At least one can dream.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of LZ Granderson.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Strange Alien

This is a very beautiful flower I planted today, but I started playing around in picasa  and made it look weird.  Can you guess what it is anyway?


First good photo of the wisteria bloom.



I also planted an Asian Lily and did some weird things in picasa with it.  I have been having lots of problems with blogger loading photos for the past few weeks.  Very annoying.  We worked out in the yard all day today.  Very tiring..... but it is nice to get outside!

Clifford 1994 to 2009

Clifford   1994 to 2009
The Best Dog Ever