9/29/11

Outraged Christians

Once again, Christians are outraged!

Yes! Outraged! Incensed! Worked up into a state of intense anger!

And here is why:

BBC drops BC/AD dating method

It's good to see that the world is doing so well that Christians can focus their 'outrage' on such vital issues of the day as is.

Perhaps next they should focus their outrage on ... oh ... the inoperative ovens of Walmart 1384? Clearly there is a Walmartian Plot to undermine communion services throughout the Valley, by denying Christians a biblically necessary staff of life?


Never mind this:

Iranian pastor stands firm in faith, faces execution

or this:

Muslim extremists in Nigeria kill two Christians

What next? Another boycott of Godless commercial enterprises whose clerks don't wish everyone "Merry Xmas?"

Contaminated melons

So yesterday FoxNews had The Contaminated Melons story on the front page of their website:

Death toll rises to 13

In the story, we find that the listeria is linked to a farm over in Holly, and that the melons were packed and shipped from the farm's processing point in Granada.

Further, we find that the melons themselves were not contaminated internally - in other words, the melons were and are good. According to the news report, the melons were contaminated externally by the handling, processing, and shipping mechanisms:

Matching strains of the disease were found on equipment and cantaloupe samples at Jensen Farms' packing facility in Granada, Colo.

You'll note that matching strains of the listeria were found on the equipment, and ON the cantaloupe samples. That is not the same thing at all as finding them INSIDE the cantaloupe samples.

So what does this tell us? Simply this: all that needed to be done for people not to get sick, was to wash the melons. Preferably with warm soapy water and a good rinse.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand this. You have a bit of produce, the melons in this case, that are grown outdoors, in fields frequented by all kinds of critters, from insects to various types of rodents, to higher order predators like coyotes and foxes, all which poop and pee in those fields. This doesn't even consider the birds of the air, which also tend to poop and pee in the outdoors. The fields may well have been fertilized with manure-based compost.

Then, the melons were shipped to a store, where they are further exposed to the vagaries of nature in the form of our now-famous urchin sneezing all over the produce, and wiping his snotty nose with his fingers, before reaching in and scarfing a few grapes or handling the melons or otherwise spreading his little microbial nasties to the rest of us.

Washing all produce in warm soapy water, or even with a mild bleach solution if you are serving to someone with a badly comprised immune system, such as someone undergoing chemotherapy, is simple common sense, and even more to the point, a personal responsibility. Or is the government supposed to oversee that, too?

Debbie Frederick said her mother knew something was wrong when her father, 87-year-old William Thomas Beach, collapsed at his home in Mustang, Okla. and couldn't get up. He died a few days later, on Sept. 1. The family later learned his death was linked to eating the cantaloupe and sued Jensen Farms.

The Frederick family has my sympathies, for all the good that will do them. They really do. Losing dad like that is a terrible thing.

But is it really the fault of Jensen Farms?

Of course, the Fredericks may have simply been following the exhortation that we saw in the survey run by the Tribune-Democrat.

In which case the Fredericks might be better off suing those who think we should 'buy local' even when the source of an unpleasant and potentially fatal disease is strongly and with justification suspected to be linked to a local product.

It's kind of like the mayor of Amity Island encouraging the local population to just go swimming anyway, so the tourists will come spend their money.

And there is more ... here is an article from the Pueblo Chieftain:

Cantaloupe illnesses and deaths expected to rise

 Sherri McGarry, a senior adviser in the FDA’s Office of Foods, said the agency is looking at the farm’s water supply and possible animal intrusions among other things in trying to figure out how the cantaloupes became contaminated. Listeria bacteria grow in moist, muddy conditions and are often carried by animals.

Yep. Wash yer stuff before you eat it.

The Mennonites are coming!

It's that time of the year again:

Rocky Mountain Mennonite Relief Sale

36th Annual Rocky Mountain Mennonite Relief Sale
October 14-15, 2011
Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds – Rocky Ford, Colorado

Free Admission and Parking

From last year's sale:

2010 - 35th Annual Sale
Location: Arkansas Valley Fair Grounds, Rocky Ford, CO
Coordinators: Richard and Linda Wyse
Friday Evening Program: Waking Sparrow
Loaf of Bread $1,700
General Auction $35,571
Quilt Auction $32,005
Top Quilt Sold for $2,100. Four other quilts sold for more than $1,000
Penny Power $3,237
Total Sale $134,570


This is one of the best, funnest, most interesting events of the year. You don't want to miss it!

9/27/11

Jersey Shore

Rumors abound that Chris Christie is about to make his move, tossing his hat in the Republican ring as a candidate. However, 'sources close to the governor insist that he has not changed his mind regarding a presidential bid.'

That's unfortunate, because compared to the current field of GOP candidates, Christie would be a clear winner.

If anyone needed convincing, the fact that he recently vetoed a $420,000 tax credit for 'Jersey Shore' should be proof enough that he has some substantial smarts:

New Jersey governor vetoes tax credit for Jersey Shore

Around the world on $69 million in welfare funds

Here's an interesting tidbit:

Vacationing with welfare money

Here is the LA Times article:

$69 million in California welfare money drawn out of state

9/26/11

The ovens of Walmart #1384

Our local Walmart's bakery oven(s) is/are still inop.

Yep. What, three weeks now?

It's OK. Sam's Boys down in Bentonville have the answer. They're shipping in overpriced glorified breadsticks, and a pallet or two of 'bake yer own' goods.

Does anyone really think that if the oven at one of those Big City super Walmarts went belly up, they wouldn't have that puppy fixed before you could say, "Buy American!"?

Next thing you know, the rumors will start that they ain't fixin' the oven because they're gonna close #1384.

While we're at it, here's another Walmart bakery horror story:

True Story: Walmart Cake

That one's an oldie but goodie, and it's as true today as it was when first posted.

We have a couple of our own local Walmart cake stories, too. I'm not sure if we have photos. Let me dig a bit and see.

OTOH, it could be worse:

Walmart bakery reopens after rodent problem

We haven't seen any rats, beavers, woodchucks, or prairie dogs in 1384. Not yet, anyway.

9/22/11

"This is a really crappy Walmart ..."

We were sitting around the dining room table, continuing our discussion over the sad state of affairs over at the local Walmart. Leece was baking challah, and we were snuffling the first loaf, over some of Dr. Sims' dark roast Haitian coffee, the Neg Mawon. DinkyDau Billy had been out for his morning ride and had smelled the challah baking. He had shown up on the back porch, his snoot quivering like the dog's. He was slathering a slice of hot bread with peanut butter and orange marmalade.

"I wish they'd get a new buyer, or change whatever it is they do in deciding what they're going to stock," Leece said, as she kneaded yet another loaf of the delicious bread.

"Yeah. Yeah. An' all this bread reminds me, they still ain't done nuthin' 'bout the holes in the Eye-talian bread," Billy agreed, "It's an Eye-talian pita bread is what it is."

Billy didn't like the way his sandwich makin's fell out of his sandwiches when he used Mr. Sam's Italian bread. I didn't blame him. Walmart's inability to fix this apparently insurmountable 'issue' is why we didn't buy their Italian bread these days.

"Well, they have Red Heart yarn," Leece went on, "but many, if not most, crocheters don't like that stuff they have; it's too harsh. I wouldn't use it to make a blanket, for example."

"You'd think, what with all the crafters and crocheters and knitters there are around here, and that being the only Walmart for at least fifty miles in any direction, they'd have some sense about what they stock, and how much of it they stock, doncher think?" I asked.

"Yeah, but you know, I think most of us have just decided we'll do better at JoAnn's or even Hobby Lobby, over in Pueblo, even though JoAnn's especially can be kind of pricey," Leece agreed, "it's just not worth saying anything, because ... what good does it do? Look at the bread thing. We sent that to them, what, more than three years ago? Did it do any good?"

"It's like urinating inta the wind," Billy opined, earning him a raised eyebrow from Leece.

"I like the little stands they set behind the checkouts," I added, "you know, where they stick the fried chickens and other eatables. The concept is good, but when's the last time you actually saw anything in them?"

"Yeah. Yeah. I wuz in there at lunchtime last week, and they was empty. And agin this evenin', they wuz all empty. They looked good at first, but it's like everythin' else in that store; it fizzles."

I looked out the back door and saw Tookie ride up, and park her little Trek against the fence. She banged the screen door as she came in, and immediately plopped her butt on the bench next to DinkyDau Billy, reached for the bread, and asked, "Where's the grape jelly?"

"Well, hello, Toots, it's good to see you, too, and how are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm good," she said, "though I might be in trouble at school."

"Why is that?" asked Leece.

"Some kid came up to me and asked me how I felt to be a nobody," she confided.

"Didja knock the kid on his ass?" Billy queried.

"Yep. Cold-cocked the little SOB right then and there," she revealed, earning yet another raised eyebrow from Leece, who said, "Well, Tookie, while I agree with what you did, that's not a very lady-like way of expressing it."

"It isn't very lady-like to knock a kid on his ass," I chimed in.

"Yes, well, 'lady-like' only goes so far," Leece observed.

"So what's up?" asked TootSweet.

"We're critiquing Walmart," I said.

"Oh, yeah. How about the chicken thing? The other day we were in there at noon, and there's no chickens - again - but it looked like a hunnert pounds were frying up. They told us they'd be ready in a half hour or so," Tookie shared.

"After church? I think the Baptists get out early so they can get all the chickens," Billy told us.

"I'm sure of that," Tookie agreed, "but if that happens on a regular basis, why not plan for it?"

"I remember when we were in line last week," Leece reminisced, "and there was this couple in front of us, not from around here. They were not happy shoppers."

"How do you know?" asked Tookie, snuffling a second slice of challah with cream cheese, pickles, and grape jelly.

"Because they said, 'This is a really crappy Walmart,'" Leece told us, "and that's not the first time I've heard those kinds of comments from passersthrough."

"Huh. Most days, the parking lot has more trash blowing around in it than you'll fine over at the Oakley Indian Mound," Billy agreed. Billy still hasn't figured out that it's 'OCLI', not 'Oakley', and that it's the county landfill, not an Indian mound.

As we sat there contemplating, the timer bell went off, and Leece pulled out another couple of loaves of challah. It was a fine fall day.

Note: The Neg Mawon is actually quite good. Dr. Sims has it up at his office, by the hospital.

9/21/11

Obama embraces Ritterian Economics: America, the land of the fee




New government fees pepper Obama's deficit reduction 'plan'

Yep. The Obamessiah is taking a page or maybe even a couple of chapters or more from Bill Ritter's playbook.

Fees. Not taxes, but fees. He wants to start charging 'fees' for services. That way, you see, he can avoid the 'T' word.

How well did that work for Bill 'Taxorado' Ritter? Not very.

If you don't understand how this works, our very own H.R. 'Mac' McCune and Mark Sarlo can explain it, given their attempt to convince city council to jump on the Ritter bandwagon back during the Tamarask Hills golf course dustup:

McCune 'surcharge' for Tamarisk Hills




Shoppin' local ... Walmart #1384

We parked our bikes outside The Holy Land Quickee's, noticing that DinkyDau Billy's LiteSpeed Niota was propped against the building. That wasn't surprising, considering that this was Billy's favorite place to piggyback onto a wireless connection for his theological research while slurping a diet Dr. Pepper or a crappaccino.

What was surprising was the look of disgruntlement on Billy's weather-beaten chops.

"Hi Billy! Wie Gehts?" Leece cheerfully asked.

"I'm disgruntled, that's how it's going," he replied, somewhat testily.

"How so?" I asked, mentally prepared for any number of 'issues.'

"Ya know how I love French bread? The stuff that they have at Merka's Favrit Place ta Shop?" he asked.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, we do," Leece replied. DinkyDau Billy's love of Walmart's French bread was no secret. We were kind of fond of it, too.

"They ain't had none for almost three weeks now," he whined, somewhat bitterly.

"Yeah, their oven has been belly up," I replied, "for almost three weeks, yep, you're right on that one."

"What's that all about?" Billy asked, "They coulda had a whole new one shipped in from China by now."

"I suspect it's because this Walmart is at the distant end of the company's customer satisfaction continuum," Leece said.

"Huh?" Billy seemed dumbfounded, though it seemed pretty clear to me.

"C'mon, Billy. Walmart's not going to get all excited about what a bunch of hicks from the sticks think about their customer service. It isn't like there's someplace else for us to shop these days. We're a captive customer base."

"Yeah. Yeah. Hey. Hey. I heard some people in there the other day. They was from Texas. They were really disappointed in our Walmart, and made no attempt to hide it, either," he agreed.

"The difference between our Walmart and even the one in Pueblo is like night and day," Leece noted, "and if you visit the ones up in the Springs, or Castle Rock, or Denver, you can really see what third-worlders corporate Walmart thinks we are."

"Re-stocking is slow, and there's times the stuff just ain't on the shelfs," Billy complained, "and they just drop items off with no apparent rhyme or reason."

"The bathrooms in our Walmart are usually filthy, too," I said, thinking of the dried puddle of pee in front of the urinals in the mens' room, and the greyish floors that used to be white, and the empty soap dispensers.

"How 'bout them lines, too, right at 5? How many times ya gone in there for a quick shoparound for something for dinner, and wound up in a line that went back behind the greeting cards rack?" Billy went on.

"I kinda like their global outlook, though," I added, "you gotta love those watery and fairly tasteless 'hechoed in Mejico' tomatoes and bell peppers."

"Well, the cashiers are almost always friendly," Leece observed, "despite all the rest of it."

"That's true," Billy agreed, " and so's the deli crew, and it ain't their fault weeze so obviously inconsequential as customers. That's a corporate attitude."

"Of course, if we as customers put up with it, without comment, we have to bear a good part of the blame for it, don't you think?" asked Leece.

"Indeed," said Billy, "and that's probably part of that 'axsentyouate the positive' nonsense, where if you say anything about something being screwed up, you must hate The Smile Hi City. It's all part of the same mindset."

"Do you think they'll get the oven fixed in the next month or so?" Leece asked.

"Dunno. Did you see the French baguettes at $2.18 each? If people will pay that much for a glorified breadstick, why should they bother? Keep on shipping 'em in from somewhere else."

"I'm thinking I'll just start baking bread again," Leece said, "and they can keep theirs."

Leece is an accomplished breadmaker. I liked that idea. So did DinkyDau Billy, who could be counted on to start showing up on Sunday mornings to mooch once she started baking again.

"You know you're a Walmart shopper, when cheap is more important than quality," mused Leece.

We all sat there, contemplating once again The Whichness of What, and The Thisness of That.

Note: We tried submitting this as a complaint via the Walmart.com website's Customer Feedback form. But, when we click the submit button, it rejects. Why? Walmart is apparently unaware there is a Walmart in this area, either by zip code or by city and state.

That explains a lot, doesn't it? No wonder they can't get an oven. They have no idea where to send it.

9/14/11

Contaminated melons

The TD is running this poll:

It was recently reported that Rocky Ford cantaloupe has been linked to the recent Listeria outbreak. Will you continue to eat cantaloupe?

This is the 'yes' option offered:

Yes. As long as you take the necessary precautions, such as washing all melons, people are ok. Besides, we must continue to support our local products.

Now, in asking around, I've found that many people don't wash melons before serving them. They'll rinse them, but they don't wash them, not with warm soapy water and then a good rinse. Washing produce of any kind seems like common sense, but apparently not. Sooner or later, then, that process of not scrubbing the melons was going to bite someone right on the backside.

In other words, any produce, improperly prepared, would be risky. Contaminants of all kinds abound. I recall watching a kid sneezing all over the veggies in Walmart. The other day a kid was dribbling snot all over the place, wiping his nose with his fingers, and then helping himself to 'samples' of grapes already bagged up, also in Walmart. Contaminants abound ...

But that bit about knowingly serving up contaminated foods to one's family, 'because we must support local business,' now that seems a poor reason to me.

Here's another thing. Did you know that you can buy Rocky Ford cantaloupe cheaper at the Fort Carson commissary, and in the Pueblo King Sooper, than you can in Rocky Ford? Yep. You can. And they aren't second rate melons, either.

Here's yet another thing. Last year this time, maybe a bit earlier, we were up in Old Colorado City, and came across that rather nice farmers' market they have. The yuppies, millenniums, New Agers, whatever they're called these days, were going nuts, shopping for all those really nice fruits and veggies. Three of our local producers were up there, and I gotta tell you, the stuff they were selling to the Big City dwellers was a lot nicer than the stuff they were selling down here.

We can't blame the local producers for taking their wares where they can get top dollar for them, after all, they're in business to make a living, even if that means selling seconds to we dumb-assed locals who have been brainwashed with that 'we owe it to the local businesses to support them even if they give us second-rate goods.'

But the attitude that we have an obligation to 'support local business', even to the point of knowingly purchasing contaminated goods seems more than a bit down home stupid to we here at Blogger Central.

But if it works for you, hey ... have at it.

An  update, 09.29.2011:  Contaminated melons redux

9/9/11

"Pass this bill ..."

That's what he said. That's what Obama said, as he berated Congress last evening.

Obama also told legislators that they should quickly pass his plan, called the American Jobs Act.


The main problem here is that there is no plan, no bill. Nope. There isn't. It doesn't exist. From Rich Galen's column last evening:

Here's the thing the President left out: He never told us how many jobs this would create and how far down it would bring the unemployment rate.

Let's spend more money and hope for the best.

Having listened to the 127 times President Obama said some variant of "pass this bill" I pinged a leadership staffer office only to find there IS no bill. No paper. No package. No nothing. Here's the text of the e-mail I got having asked if the President dropped off a bill on his way into the House chamber:

"Of course not - no one has seen it. No consultation with House or Senate GOP. No Pay fors [identified]. Just more of his "I decree" this is the plan and [is, therefore] bi-partisan."

Immediately after the speech ended reporters began Tweeting that the cost of the bill would be $447 billion according to a White House "fact sheet." If there is no bill, how can the WH say that?


But what he did say, was just more of the same. He wants to spend more money, claiming "... and everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything." That's a story we've heard from this guy before. It wasn't true before, so why should we buy this line now? He's into his "... the sky is falling ..." mode again, too. Remember the panic he stirred up before the 'Stimulus' bill? The world as we knew it would end if it wasn't passed right then. That one was passed with no one reading it, an act of incredible stupidity and irresponsibility on the part of our elected officials. And what has it gotten us? What's the unemployment rate today?

I'll wager our two senators will march in lockstep right over the fiscal cliff with this one, too.

From Harry Reid:

"I hope they (Republicans) will show the American people that they are more interested in creating jobs than defeating President Obama," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in a statement. "Experts from the ratings agencies to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have said that political gridlock is the main obstacle standing in the way of our economic growth. It is time to put jobs and the economy ahead of partisan politics."\


What Harry is missing is that we are not going to have more jobs, and the economy is not going to improve, until Obama is defeated and run out of office.

Unfortunately, the Republicans are not fielding much in the way of viable candidates. Perry is coming out in front of that pack, but there is no way I'm going to vote for a rabidly fundamentalist evangelical for president of these United States. We have enough trouble as it is.

Is it going to come to pass that Hillary is our best chance for political and fiscal salvation?

9/8/11

And high times in The Smile Hi City

I stopped by Vanhook's earlier today, and scarfed up on some Jonathans, and some Galas, and some really nice peaches and plums. Didn't have the camera with me, but here's a post with some photos from back in 2008:

Market Time

High times in The Holy Land

Swink's first home volleyball game of the season, tonight, starts at 5:00 PM, against Crowley.

Not only will the crowd be going completely Alpha Sierra over killer VB ... but there's those concession stand nachos, and Polish dogs, and ... popcorn!

As I always tell the kids ... popcorn's good for ya. Makes ya poop!

And tomorrow, Swink's first home football game, against McClave. Starts at 7:00 PM. More nachos, and Polish dogs, and burgers, and ... popcorn!

9/6/11

High times at the Broadmoor

Awhile back we put up a couple of posts about the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) having its annual bash at the Broadmoor while school districts are laying off employees, dumping teachers, and eliminating all kinds of programs.

School Daze

Total price for CASB's bash at the Broadmoor

The Broadmoor is some digs, as they say.

Apparently this bit of fiscal incongruity has finally registered with CASB:

Colorado Association of School Boards reviews use of Broadmoor hotel

Some excerpts:

The Broadmoor has long stood out as one of Colorado’s most prestigious hotels, and it’s also been the longtime home of the Colorado Association of School Board’s annual convention. But now with education budgets under extreme scrutiny the image of board members gathering there while their schools are suffering may be the wrong one.

Ya think?

The head of the Colorado Association of School Boards defended the use of the Broadmoor saying they get special off-season rates for guest and conference rooms, but acknowledged the use of the hotel is under review.

Of course.

As for the parents of the students in the school districts, the ones footing the bill for those high times (off-season) at the Broadmoor ...

"Qu’ils mangent de la brioche"

9/2/11

Irene was a joke

For those who think the gummint over-reacted to Irene, and who have been going about about how the storm was a big joke:

Irene: The Big Weather Joke?