Parental Rights


I really tried to stay away from this.  I have failed though.

Nicole is irate because the doofus person who runs Medical Kidnap has glommed onto the story of a couple whose baby was taken by CPS, and is now on life support at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital (when it comes to medical care, it doesn’t get much better than that) with the doctors recommending that it be discontinued.

The parents want the child kept alive for no apparent reason other than that’s what they want.

The child has Down syndrome and at least one heart defect, and who knows what else.

The parents have gotten a court injunction to keep the baby on life support for about a week until they can be heard in court.

Nobody has said this, but I will.  From what I can see, these parents are unlikely to be carrying health insurance on this child or themselves either, and yet they insist that this baby be kept on life support (meaning intensive care) for an extra week, against medical advice,  but have no intention of paying a single cent for it. They are also insisting that the kid get a heart transplant, one they will not pay for, and one that the doctors insist will not work, and one that will waste a heart that could go to some kid who might live, because Jesus has said it’s his will or something.

You know, because taxation is theft.

But Nicole brings up a larger issue.

How far do parental rights go?  How far should they go?

The three examples she uses are interesting to me – vaccinations, abortion, life support.

I’m willing to tackle all three, but first, here’s a broad principle.

Your child is not your property.

I’ll repeat that.

Your child is not your property.

At the moment of birth, we as a society have determined that the child receives American citizenship.

You, as the child’s parent, have custody of the kid because somebody has to raise him, but you don’t own him.  Custody and ownership are not the same thing.


Here’s what ownership looks like.

While there were laws in place that prevented slave owners from outright killing slaves, they were poorly enforced and regularly flouted.  Many a slave died from mistreatment, from lack of medical care, from beatings, and nobody called it murder.

You do not own your children.

I get sick to death of the hypocrisy that is rampant among people who insist that “God” gave them their children and therefore they “own” them in some way, or that their decisions are paramount and the rights of the child as a citizen of this country are secondary.

The parallels to the arguments used by southern slave owners to excuse chattel slavery are unmistakable.

You do not own your children.

This means that you do not have the right to deny your child medical treatment because you believe that prayer works better than insulin.  If you try that shit, and your child dies, you can and should go to prison for a very long time.

The case she cites is not really worth discussing simply because we don’t have enough data to make any informed ideas about it.  Medical Kidnap is not a news source.  It’s a bullshit website that offers nothing but sensational fearmongering.

From more responsible journalists, we find that there is, in fact, a delay on the baby’s impending death. And that’s really all we know. The parents, of course, are totally innocent of any problem when it comes to caring for this poor little kid, as all parents are whose kids are removed by CPS, because the state is in the business of kidnapping children so they can sell them, especially those with Down syndrome and heart defects.

Oh, wait.

Well, that won’t work, will it?

So, the state took the kid so that they could kill him after a lengthy expensive hospital stay because spending state money is just so much fun.

That’s plausible, right?

So that’s the overarching principle here.  You do not own your children. They are not your property.

This means that the larger society can, in fact, tell you what you can and cannot do with and to your children.  You do have to get them proper medical treatment, and in some cases, that includes vaccinations (it ought to include those everywhere, but that’s another subject).

You do have to educate them, unless you feed the state some bullshit about how you homeschool and that state has been lobbied to death by right-wing homeschoolers to the point that the laws have been gutted.  I hope that someday some of these homeschooled students, as adults, sue the hell out of their parents.

And if you neglect them and fail to provide them with very basic food, shelter and safety, the state can and should and probably will come and take them away.

So what about abortion?

I am pro-choice.  How do I reconcile that with the idea that you do not own your children?

It’s simple. The child is not a citizen until the child is born.  Prior to that, the mother does, in fact, have life-or-death control over that fetus.

Laws have to be specific. There is a whole book full of laws with very specific definitions for the state of Kentucky. Without the book, everyone would just interpret everything any way they wished and say that making a statement on Facebook is “stalking” and we’d have chaos.

So there has to be a time when a human being is granted citizenship and we’ve determined that time to be at birth. It’s easy to see.  Any blithering idiot can get it right. “Conception” doesn’t really work because when is that?  When the sperm meets the egg?  When the egg implants?  How would you know? What if you engaged in risky behavior during the implantation period not knowing you were in fact pregnant and miscarried?  Was it the result of that risky behavior?  Did “God” do it?  Who knows?

We can argue about it forever.  People have and will continue to do so, but for right now, citizenship is granted at birth and that’s the point where the woman giving birth ceases to have live-or-death control over the fetus.  He has become a separate person and she does not own him.

And when it comes to life support, I really want an answer to my question.

If you think your child should remain on life support against medical advice, and you’ve had lots of specialists look at the situation and they all agree that it’s a hopeless situation, but you think that Jesus wants your kid to have a heart transplant, taking the heart of some other baby that you don’t even know, what makes you think that society should pay for that?

What makes you think that you are entitled to spend that kind of money that belongs to other people?

A heart transplant costs approximately a million dollars, sometimes way more.  That baby is in an ICU of some sort, and the cost of that is something around $3000/day. These parents have gone to court and I bet they didn’t pay to go to court, but found some damned lawyer who’d do it for free, and gotten a judge to declare that the state has to fork over an additional $21,000 just because of their “parental rights.”

The same people who bloviate about how the state should have no say in anything regarding their children’s health also think that the state should pay out this money.  The same people who insist that nobody is gonna tell them they have to buy insurance also think that the state should just fork over more than a million dollars fruitlessly because Jesus might want them to do so.

Frankly, I am more dismayed at some of the comments on Nicole’s page than I am with her original question. I expect her to be an idiot. I’m horrified at how many idiots read her shit and agree with it.

To clarify a little bit: when a medical decision is made to discontinue life support, the state does not make that decision. The doctors do.  I’ll repeat that.  The “state” is not discontinuing this child’s treatment.  The doctors are recommending that course because the child’s situation is not sustainable. He is going to die.

But just read these comments. This is why we have a moron in the White House and the whole world is making fun of us. This.




Seeding Stuff

There are zillions of gardening books, and websites, and videos, and methods out there.  They all purport to tell you how to best put some seed in the ground/pot and grow something.

Most of them are either hogwash or so specific that unless you’re interested in that exact small niche thing  it’s sort of useless.

This is what I know about seeds and gardening, and I say all this because I have done it for years and I have done it successfully, at least sometimes.

First, there’s seed.



You know all those fabulous seed catalogs that come in January in the mail? They’re beautiful. They sit there on the kitchen table and cause the viewer to literally salivate.

I can sit for hours with them and plan the most fabulous garden on paper.

And the ones we all have a tendency to like the best are the ones with the biggest, most gorgeous color photos of the veggies and fruits and flowers.

I have learned over the years to take those catalogs and toss them in the trash. Those are not the companies I want to deal with.  And here’s why.

Seed retailers, like Burpee and Park Seed Company and Baker Creek, don’t grow seeds.  They buy their seed from farmers who grow it and then sell it to wholesalers who then sell it in smaller quantities to seed companies.

A farmer grows a field of, say, tomatoes, one certain variety.  Let’s use one of my favorites:  Amish Paste tomatoes. That’s a nice heirloom tomato (more about heirlooms in a moment), easy to grow. To harvest the tomato seed, the farmer does not pick the tomatoes when they are ripe. He picks them when they are very overripe.

He then processes them.  Processing tomato seed involves letting the seeds sit in the tomato until well past the point where you would want to eat it.  They then have to be washed and washed and washed because they are covered with slime, dried thoroughly, tested for viability and then they are sold, probably by the pound, to a seed company like Baker Creek.


Let’s say that Baker Creek buys 50 pounds of Amish Paste tomato seeds. (I am totally guessing here – I have no idea how much they sell in a season)  Baker Creek prints up a bazillion beautiful little envelopes and puts 25 seeds in each one and sells them for a whopping $2.50 each.

[By the way, notice that if you happen to want 50 seeds, you have to buy two of those little envelopes?]

On the back of each of those little envelopes, it says clearly “Packed for 2017.”

And that’s all great.

But what happens in September, say, when nobody is buying tomato seeds because the season is winding down and they’ve sold 40 pounds of seed in those little envelopes and they’re staring at ten pounds of seed?  Do they toss it? After all, they bought it for 2017, didn’t they?

They do not toss it.

They store it for next year. Some of them store it under really good conditions. Some of them less so.

Before they sell it the following year, they do a viability test on it.  They take X seeds and sprout them and see what percentage grow.  If that percentage is XX, they then put 25 of those seeds in a beautiful little envelope that is marked “Packed for 2018” and sell it to you.

The federal government has a little say in all this. It’s called the Federal Seed Act, and it’s been in place for 78 years.  It was passed to protect farmers from unscrupulous seed sellers and to prevent noxious weeds from being spread all over hell and half of Georgia.

It also dictates exactly what percentage is the minimum allowed so that Baker Creek can put those 25 tomato seeds in a beautiful little envelope and sell them to you.  For tomatoes, that percentage is 75.

That means that 1/4 of those 25 seeds could be deader than a doornail, and it’s still okay for Baker Creek to put them in the beautiful little envelope and sell them.

And every year that Baker Creek stores that seed, the percentage of viability goes down.  After a few years of this, they have to toss the seed and start over.

And you, of course, as the customer and home gardener, are the end of the chain. You get the seed. You plant it, all 25 of those little seeds.  And only 19 of them come up.

Did you do something wrong?

Probably not. Probably that’s all that were actually alive in the first place.

Seed companies know that home gardeners are typically dumber than a box of rocks. They know that most of us have no idea what we’re doing.  They know that we’re going to most likely blame ourselves if our seed doesn’t come up, or if only half of it comes up.  Sometimes it really is our fault.

People plant stuff all the time in the wrong place, under the wrong conditions, or don’t care for it properly and it doesn’t make it.

But sometimes, they simply have shitty seed in the first place.  They have Amish Paste tomato seeds that are four years old and have only 75% viability.  And viability does not necessarily correlate with vigor.

So, what is the best course for a home gardener?

First, don’t try to save seed very much. Mostly plan to buy seed every year.  If you simply cannot bear it, and want to try, then fold up the seed packet (yeah, I know the picture is pretty, but fold it up anyway) and put it in a glass jar with a tight lid and store it in the fridge.  The key things here are cool, dark and very dry.

But then, where to buy seed in the first place?

I will tell you where I go for seed and why.

I buy seed from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

I have no stake in the company.  I don’t know anyone who works there. I just buy seed from them for a very good reason.

I do it because I think they have a pretty high turnover.

Consider this.


This is from Baker Creek’s online catalog.  As I mentioned, you have to buy those seeds, 25 at a time, to get them.

Who is Baker Creek’s average customer?

It’s somebody who wants 25 tomato seeds.  John Q Homegardener.  That’s who.  The person who is terribly impressed by the beautiful photographs and the glossy catalog.


Here’s the same tomato in Johnny’s catalog.  A packet, they tell us, is 40 seeds, not 25.  Costs a little more than Baker Creek.

But look at the rest.  Look at your options.  Do you need 25,000 seeds?  They can be yours for $143.25.

Who in the world is Johnny’s average customer?

There is a nursery near our house, up in the Mennonite community. Every year, they grow a bazillion vegetable starts and sell them by the flat. Some of those starts are Amish Paste tomatoes.  I do not know where they get their seed, but I bet it’s from a place like Johnny’s.  They don’t buy beautiful little packets with 25 seeds. They buy 500 seeds.

And when they plant them, it’s obvious to them if half the seeds aren’t germinating. They know how to plant seeds. They know it’s not their fault.

And the next time they buy seed, they find a new supplier.

Another potential customer (apart from large scale farmers, who buy most of their seed from seed companies directly) is the guy who grows a very large mixed vegetable garden and sells produce at the farmer’s market or to local restaurants.  He also knows when half his seeds don’t come up that it’s not his fault.

I want to buy from the guy who sells seed to those guys.

So I do.

They don’t have beautiful little envelopes.  They all look just like this one.


And that leads me to “organic,” and “heirloom,” and “non-GMO.”

This is fad shit, folks. Fad shit. Fad.

Let me repeat that. It’s a fad. All of it is a fad.

Even Johnny gets in on the act with the “organic” crap.  I buy non-organic if possible because it’s cheaper and the seeds are identical. I would go so far as to say it’s probably the exact same seed, but I don’t actually know that for certain, so I won’t.

I do know that some of Johnny’s customers are people who grow for the restaurant trade and they have to do “organic” for business reasons, so that the restaurant can advertise that, and it’s all fine, but it’s bullshit and a fad and a reason to make things cost more.

“Heirloom” sounds so nice and homesteady, doesn’t it?  It simply means that it’s an old variety that is not a hybrid.  If you save the seed from an Amish Paste tomato, provided you do it right and the seed sprouts, it will breed true and the resultant fruit will look just like the parents.

The alternative is hybrid seed, generally labeled as F1 hybrids.

Hybrid seed is generally better.

Think about this for a minute and you’ll see why this is so.

Plants inherit genes just like people do.  The process is not much different.  With Amish Paste tomatoes, all the genes are the same. That’s why they all look just alike.  So Daddy tomato has identical genes to Mommy tomato, resulting in little kid tomatoes with identical genes.

Is this a good idea in people?

Why not?

It’s not because it increases rather dramatically the likelihood of genetic defects.  It’s such a bad idea that there are generally laws about incest.

The same thing applies to cattle.  Artificial insemination is a marvelous thing and has revolutionized the cattle industry, because it makes a much wider gene pool.  The dairy doesn’t have to rely on three local bulls to inseminate all their cows and end up with every cow on the place closely related to every other cow.  There are still some inherent problems related to the fact that all their dairy cattle are Jerseys, but it’s still better than having a limited pool of bulls.

Hybrid seed generally has more vigor. It generally produces better.  Note I said “generally.”  Please don’t come back at me with “I grow heirloom whatevers and they are way better than the hybrid ones.”  I know that’s possible.  I already said that I often grow Amish Paste tomatoes and they are heirloom and I like them.

However, I am aware of the drawbacks in doing so. They, unlike most hybrids, are prone to wilt and blight and all the icky bad things that tomatoes get.  It’s a gamble, one I’m willing to take because I like them.  It’s a Roma tomato but much larger than the conventional Roma.  One day I might try a really new hybrid Roma and see it I like it better.

A hybrid is simply cross-bred.  An F1 hybrid is the first generation of seed from two distinctly different parents.  You can’t save the seed, or rather, you can but if you do and plant the seed (called F2), you’ll get some strange offspring.

Some of these open-pollinated (heirloom is just the term for an open-pollinated variety that is older than the person writing about it) varieties have actually been bred very carefully and do exhibit some resistance to some diseases, but most of them are not. You gamble a bit when you plant them.

I plant a mixture. I like Amish Paste because I make spaghetti sauce and ketchup (that takes a ton of tomatoes).  I also usually grow a hybrid to eat, and I often grow some sort of cherry tomato.

And now for the last fad thing:  non-GMO.

I’ve already gone into the whole GMO bullshit thing, but this is about vegetable seeds.

Read this.

There is no such thing as a GMO vegetable seed that you can purchase in beautiful little envelopes with 25 seeds in the packet.  No such thing.  Anywhere in America.  It does not exist.

Read that again.  Go back.

Nobody has them.  Baker Creek doesn’t have them. Johnny’s doesn’t have them.  Nobody does.

They don’t because if you really want to buy GMO seed, you have to get it in bulk from a seed supplier that sells directly to farmers. That’s because GMO seed (most of it, right now anyway) is patented and that evil Monsanto wants to know who in the hell is growing their patented seed.  Otherwise, how will they know who to sue?

Oh, wait. No.

It is patented. That much is true.  And the company that owns the patent does require the farmer who buys it to sign a contract which spells out the terms.  It’s Monsanto’s (or whoever – I don’t know who owns the patent on GMO sugar beets) seed. They can make any conditions they like on the use of it while that patent is good.  And one of those conditions is that the farmer agrees not to save the seed. If you didn’t sign a contract, you didn’t buy GMO seed.

That’s one reason they don’t sell 25 seeds in a beautiful little envelope to Susie Homegardener.

The other reason is that it would be the dumbest thing in the world to do.

Tomatoes don’t count because there are no GMO tomatoes.  But there is GMO corn, although the overwhelming majority of it is field corn, and Susie doesn’t want to grow field corn. But let’s say that Monsanto’s GMO sweet corn was available to Susie in those beautiful little envelopes, and she planted it in her garden.

And the weeds came up.  And Susie wanted to get rid of the weeds, so she went to get her trusty little Roundup spray bottle and went out there and sprayed the hell out of her corn.

All the weeds died.

And so did her entire garden except for the corn.

Don’t pay any attention to any seed supplier that puts out a disclaimer that they don’t sell GMO seeds. It’s silly.  Nobody does for the home garden.

And coming next, what to do with that little packet of seeds once you get it.


When All Else Fails


This is just amazing to me.

The alt-right is painting Jeremy Christian as a Bernie supporter.

But Milo leaves this out:

November 11.  Right after the election.  He didn’t vote. He couldn’t “bring [himself] to vote Trump.”  He. Did. Not. Vote.

Just like Nicole herself, he didn’t vote.

Just like Nicole, he is extremely antagonistic toward the police.

Just like Nicole, he is extremely antagonistic toward, of all things, people who circumcise babies.

Just like Nicole, he loves the expression “taxation is theft.”

Just like Nicole, he shared freely from libertarian bullshit sites, anti-government crap.

Just like Nicole.

And just like Nicole, he gravitated toward only sharing from really questionable sources, like Milo Yiannopoulos. In fact, his Facebook page looks so much like Nicole’s that I found it creepy as hell.

Jeremy Christian is a bigoted, hate-filled, failed human being.  He’s a man of questionable intelligence, certainly with little ability to use any sort of critical thinking skills when it comes to information he gets from the internet.  His comment about Bernie was that he thought Bernie might make it legal to get stoned in school. And in the end, he did not vote. And in the end, he absolutely did walk onto a train, yelled racist comments at Muslim women, because they were Muslim and for no other reason, and then killed two men and injured another who tried to stop him.

To imply that he did this because he was inspired to do so by Bernie Sanders is, well, what you do when you’re Milo.  Or Nicole.  And every other explanation is just too close to home.

This is Interesting

arrest Christian
From OregonLIve, The Oregonian

As probably most everyone who isn’t unconscious today knows by now, this man got irate when a couple of men objected to him yelling racist slurs at two women on a train in Portland, and proceeded to cut both men’s throats, killing them.

He is white, of course, so he wasn’t killed on the spot by the police, and isn’t being called a “terrorist,” although that is exactly what he is.

But what I found fascinating was his Facebook page.

I present some screen shots. To get these, I didn’t do a lot of cherry-picking.  I scrolled down, began to feel a sort of prickly feeling on the back of my neck, and then began grabbing screen shots.

There are a few I skipped. Some were redundant, just repeats of others.  And there were a couple of sports-related posts that didn’t interest me.

But I did not skip many.

I’m going to present these in the order in which I saw them.




The video he is linking to is here.















And at this point, I was curious, so I went back in time a bit further.

As I mentioned above, this whole sequence made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

However, hair standing up is not evidence of anything except that I felt weird reading it.

Correlation is not causation.  Roosters think that their crowing causes the sun to rise, which is why they strut around the way they do, but they are mistaken.  And Facebook memes don’t tell us what people are going to do.

However, if I were a police officer, and I needed to serve somebody with papers of some sort, or execute an emergency removal of some children, or anything else that I thought the recipient might be less than happy about, I would not hesitate to peruse their Facebook page first to see if it follows this sort of pattern and then take appropriate precautions, just in case.


Dan Rather
From Dan Rather’s Facebook page


My Typical Day


I get a lot of this from Nicole.  Why don’t I do something else, other than this?  Why don’t I write about something else?

So I do. After all, I just exist to please other people.

And that doesn’t satisfy her, of course.


I left Joe’s insightful comment so we can laugh.

But I thought I might go through a typical day and just keep track of what I did and what my schedule looks like.

Mind you, this was not a particularly packed-full-of-stuff day. This was just a regular, ordinary day.

We don’t use an alarm clock.  We both have internal alarms that pretty much awaken us at right around 7:15 to 7:30 a.m. during this season of the year.

And this particular morning, I awoke at just about 7:20 a.m.

After getting up and doing morning stuff (bathroom, brush teeth, get dressed), I took the dog out.  Minnie has a very specific morning routine involving walking in certain areas for specific lengths of time. She has to be walked on a leash because she’s a lunatic.  It takes about ten minutes.

Then I fed the cats, who are shut in the garage at night, and cleaned out their litter box.

7:40 a.m. :  Get cart ready for milking. This involves one trip to the woodshed to get the milking cart, and three trips from the house to fill it with equipment.

7:45 a.m. : Off to the barn for milking. Dave and I share these chores. With two of us working, it takes about 30 minutes to clean up after the two small calves, feed the larger ones, get Frances into the stanchion, clean and milk her, prepare her morning alfalfa, fill the calves’ baby bottles, feed both of them, water everyone, and head back to the house. I usually go alone as Dave stays behind and finishes up watering the large animals.

8:15 – 8:45 a.m. : Unload the milking cart and carry everything back into the house.  Put the cart back in the wood shed.  Deal with excess milk. This means straining milk into a glass gallon jar and taking it to the basement refrigerator.  Clean milking machine.  This involves heating a kettle of boiling water (tap water isn’t hot enough) and hanging the claw up.

In addition, during that same time, I start a pot of water on the stove for tea for me.  Dave makes his own coffee. Coffee is a mysterious substance I have never become fond of, and as a result, I make terrible coffee. I also started, on this particular morning, a small pot of grits for me.

I turned on the oven and let it heat up while mixing a batch of biscuits (from scratch) and then put the biscuits in the oven to bake.

In addition, while I was in the basement, I got some chicken out of the freezer for dinner, along with two gallon jars of milk from previous milkings to use for cream.

Because skimming milk is easier and faster when the milk is very cold, I immediately skimmed off the cream as soon I got it upstairs, obtaining a quart of thick heavy cream which I set aside for the moment.

8:45 a.m. :  Dave comes in from the barn and begins to cook breakfast. He always cooks breakfast, at least the make-his-own-coffee and cook-the-sausage-and-bacon part as well as his own eggs.  He also stirs my grits and monitors my tea.

I generally have about 5 or ten minutes to either glance at the headlines, or finish up with the cream or something.  This particular morning, I started a load of laundry.

8:55 a.m. : I go back to the barn to let Frances and the two smaller calves out of their stalls. She has been having her alfalfa breakfast in peace and quiet.  I put her back out in the pasture, and then return to the barn to clean up the poopy she did in the breezeway because she loves me so much.

It’s very runny, because it’s spring and the grass is all green, and so I have to go get a fucking shovel and that means that I then have to hose off the shovel. I swear a little bit.

I then put some grain in the feeder for the baby boys and let them out of their stalls.

9:10 a.m. : The best time of the whole day.  Breakfast. Alexa reads us the news.  We have warm biscuits fresh from the oven. We bitch and moan about the moron in the White House. Dave tells me about some video he saw last night.  We talk about his latest project, which involves dealing with trim in the living room and getting Al’s gift to us mounted on the wall (more about that later on).

9:45 a.m. : A friend stops by and visits with both us for a while,  during which time, I hang out the clothes and start a second load of laundry.

10:30 a.m. : I do the breakfast dishes. I do not have a dishwasher.  While I’m washing dishes, I churn the cream (in the food processor) for butter. I wash the butter well and wrap it and put it in the freezer with some more from other days that will become ghee.

I also listen to an audio book.  Alexa always reads to me while I work in the kitchen.  Currently, I am listening to a collection of Sherlock Holmes (Doyle) which involves 4 novels and several short stories, a total of 62 hours.  Prior to that, I listened to a book called What the F, which is about swearing.

Along with the breakfast dishes and the butter, on this particular day, I also make a quart of hummus. I used the last jar of garbanzo beans I had canned.

In the middle of it all, I stop and hang out the second load of laundry and start a third.

11:15 a.m. :  Dave found a bargain at the Mennonite produce place.


That’s a 1 pound package.  He bought 8 of them. They are just huge.  UPDATE:  I forgot the best part.  $1/box.  That’s eight dollars for the whole flat. He almost bought two.

I made a batch of jam.  One batch takes two pounds. You cannot double jam or jelly recipes, so when I have fruit like this, I typically do one batch daily until it’s all done.

I do not use Sure Jell or anything like that, so it takes longer to make.  Just strawberries, sugar and a little lemon juice.


Three pints, cooling a little bit.

strawberry jam

And here they are again, a little later, with the first of two layers of wax.

Yes, I seal jam and jelly with wax.  Kill me.  Don’t do it if you don’t know what you’re doing.  I’ve done it for years and years and years.

And then I washed up those dishes.  I do dishes a lot.  Alexa gets tired of reading to me.

12:15 p.m. : I consider what to have for dinner with the chicken which is thawing.  Today, we’ll have tikka masala with rice and a salad.  That will be relatively quick and I have a little bit of time before I have to start it, so I hang out the last load of laundry and access my computer for the first time.  It is already after noon.

12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. : My computer time is all jumbled up.  I do a bit of this and then a little of that.  I’m in the process of going through all the papers in my office, scanning what I think we need to keep and discarding everything I possibly can.  Call it “paper minimalization.”  It’s a bit of a chore and I can’t do it for long without becoming extremely bored.

So I do a little bit and then do something else and then a little bit more.

I start a blog post about pressure canners (remember?) and gather some photos and write a little bit and then go back to paperwork.  The printer needs a new ink cartridge, so I do that.

And yes, I screw around on Facebook for a few minutes. I also check the blog, and approve comments.

1 p.m. : I go start the tikka masala and rice (in the Instant Pot), and while it’s cooking, make the salads.  In between, I do some light cleaning and put the second layer of wax on the jam.

1:30 p.m. : Dinner time.

Dave and I eat dinner mid-afternoon, and then we don’t eat a formal supper.  I don’t cook in the evening.

2:15 p.m.  Dishes again. Alexa reads some more. She is threatening to quit if she doesn’t get a raise.

2:45 p.m. : I watch an episode of The Handmaiden’s Tale, and afterwards, yes, screw around on Facebook for a little while.

4:00 p.m. : I finish up writing the blog post about the pressure canning stuff, and do some more paperwork. I’m not sure I will ever finish the paper scanning project, but surely it will end if I keep doing more every day than what is coming in the door.

I haven’t even chronicled the points where I stopped to take Minnie out.

4:30 p.m. : A friend calls on the phone and we chat for a while.

5:00 p.m. : Dave and I pause to go out to the garage and discuss some stuff that he’s working on.  Minnie comes with us and is a total pain in the ass. The cats help as well.  I water my plants on the back porch and rearrange the furniture a little bit.

5:30 p.m. : Time to bring in the laundry, fold it and put it away.

6:00 p.m. : Minnie gets a hair cut.  She was in dire need of it.  She also has her nails trimmed, which involves enlisting Dave’s help and the use of a muzzle because Minnie considers nail-trimming the worst cruelty ever perpetuated by human beings on canines.

7:00 p.m. : The evening version of the morning schedule begins.  Minnie goes out again, then the cats are fed and put up in the garage for the night.

I get the milking cart and load up the stuff and off we go to the barn, repeating everything we did this morning.

8:00 p.m. : I clean the milking machine, deal with the milk, wash up whatever dishes are hanging around and Alexa reads some more.  Dave does the put-Frances-out thing at night, so I don’t have to go back out to the barn.

9:00 p.m. :  After a little time to myself (online, whatever), I go to bed. I generally read for a while in bed.  I am currently reading The Confessions of Nat Turner (Styron), which is sort of controversial. I didn’t know what the controversy was about, so I’m reading it and then I’ll find out.

And there you have a typical day in my life.

Dave and I are retired. We don’t have to do anything much at all if we don’t want to. And as we’ve gotten older, we’ve also slowed down a little bit.  We don’t even attempt to accomplish as much in a day as we did even five or six years ago. Obviously, every day is not identical, although the morning and evening chores pretty much are.  Some days, after the morning milking, we get in the car and go someplace for the day, returning home in time to milk again.

Obsession? The only one I see is the one we have with the cow.


Culture War

This is the world I come from.

The author is far younger than I am. She came along after I’d already begun the process of leaving.

And I have a couple of slight quibbles with what she says.

Through these programs we learned how to argue effectively. As students, we were taught critical thinking skills but given only a narrow view of what was acceptable to argue for. We were, after all, being trained to take over the country for Christ, literally. We knew how to perform logical gymnastics about abortion, Christianity and any evangelical talking point you could throw at us.

They were not taught critical thinking skills.  Not. Critical thinking skills involve being able to look at all sides of a position. To do that, you first have to recognize that there might well be more than two sides, maybe more than three or four. You have to be able to understand the opposition, not just out-argue them.

These folks don’t have that skill.

I know they don’t because I didn’t.  I was never taught it. In fact, I was inoculated against it.  Even attempting to understand another viewpoint was seen as “compromise” and was evil.

We impressed every government official and staff member with our questions, earnesty [sic] and demeanor. In short, we were sneaky and polite Trojan horses; we had an agenda. Yes, even as 15-year-olds. It was forcefully handed to us by the adults in our lives who had been preparing for this since before we were born.

My generation, too, did this. We were encouraged into political activism with the rise of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority (which was neither moral nor a majority).

And I knew Mike Farris way back before he started Generation Joshua. I remember reading some of the stuff from HSLDA, though, and getting a glimmer of what he envisioned.  He has actually failed absymally, in spite of the election of that moron in the White House.

Progressive culture has made great strides in my lifetime. It’s going to be difficult to tell LGBTQ people to get back in the closet, to dissolve their marriages, to tell women that exercising reproductive choice is evil and that their duty is to have babies.

Farris and company want to turn the clock back, and doing that is almost impossible.

The problem this subculture has is numerical.

They know this.  They don’t have the people.

So they attempt to breed them.  Make babies. Adopt babies.  Lots of kids = good. Few/no kids = not God’s will so you’re selfish and evil.

But they have not been as successful in keeping the babies in the fold as they have been at having them.

And therein lies hope.

However, and this is a big deal, I do not agree with her that Pence is seen as the Messiah.

This might be true among the faithful, but the faithful is a shrinking group.  As these fundigelicals quit going to church, they typically don’t abandon “God.”  I didn’t for a long, long time.  I understand why they don’t.  It’s part habit, part deep-seated indoctrination, and part fear. Instead, they abandon the organized church and bring their horrible “God” with them.

What they do seem to do is become more racist and nationalistic, just like the awful “God” they continue to embrace, which is the core problem that gave us the moron in the White House.

And therein lies horror.


I found this piece to be interesting, from Richard Dawkins, reporting on a study done about the prevalence of atheism in America.  However, I thought the description of exactly how they did the study confusing, so I went and read the report itself and it was actually pretty brilliant.  It was also done by a couple of psychology profs at the University of Kentucky.

Maybe there are more of me out there.

More Pressure

I left off yesterday with canning, specifically pressure canning.

My canners are described in the manuals that accompany them as “pressure cooker/canners,” so I was always aware that pressure cooking was a possibility. And I did exactly that when it came to dried beans.


As you can see, we like beans. They store like that (or rather, in airtight containers) for quite some time, so the only reason to can them is for convenience.  Rather than cooking one pot of beans for a long time on the stove, I could do 7 quart jars at one time and be done with it.


But this is what changed everything for me.

Fresh eggs are great.  They are marvelous until you want to hard cook them. Then they do this.


Not only do they look terrible for deviled eggs, but you end up tossing part of the egg that is stuck to the shell so even if you’re going to chop them up, the whole thing is wasteful.

This drove me crazy.

It drives a lot of people crazy, it seems, since you can Google it and find all sorts of articles explaining how to hard cook eggs the “right” way.  The “right” way, if you’re going to hard cook them on the stove without pressure, is simply to wait until they are as old as I am.  Then they will shed their shells without a single bit of swearing on your part.

One day, I read something about hard-cooking eggs in a pressure cooker and how that solved the problem. I got out my trusty little precious baby All-American canner, put a trivet in it along with some water, and pressure cooked a few very fresh eggs, and became a believer.

Canners are heavy, though.  It’s a pain to get one out just for everyday cooking, even my beautiful baby All-American, so I bought yet another pressure cooker.


Hell, it was about $35.  It’s a Presto, like my big canners.  It’s light and handy.  And it has cooked a boat load of eggs.

I also realized that it does a magnificent job with dried beans.

And pot roast.

And chicken.

And then one day, I got an idea. [It seems that this wasn’t exactly an idea that only occurred to me, since lots of other people got the same idea, but I came up with it independently.]

It takes three minutes, in that pot, to hard cook eggs.  One day I realized that it also takes about three minutes to cook cut-up potatoes.

So, I put the potatoes in the pot, along with some water (you have to have water to create steam or you’ll have no pressure), and then I put about five eggs right on top of the potatoes.  Three minutes.

It isn’t really three minutes because the cooker has to bring the water to a boil, the steam has to build up to the point that the pressure begins to mount, it has to reach the appropriate pressure, and then the three minutes starts, and then it takes a couple of minutes to bring down the pressure afterwards.  It’s actually more like 10 minutes.

But during that time, I chopped up  onion and celery, mixed in mayonnaise and some relish and some spices and salt and pepper, in a large bowl.

When the cooker was done, I put the eggs and potatoes in a colander and ran cold water over them, chopped the eggs, tossed it all in the bowl and I had potato salad in less than thirty minutes start to finish.

Call me happy. We like potato salad.

I was a pressure cooking person.  I began to use that thing several times a week, sometimes daily.

And then I noticed that people were talking about this.


That’s an Instant Pot.  It’s actually my Instant Pot.

To say that I was resistant to the idea of this thing is an understatement.  At first I was really skeptical. I’m not terribly fond of having multiple small electrical appliances all over my very small kitchen where counter space is precious.

After all, I have five pressure canners and a pressure cooker. What in the hell do I need with yet another one?  Surely I can do anything in my little Presto pressure cooker right on the stove that can be done in that Instant Pot?  Right?


For one thing, the Instant Pot (at least my model – I have the DUO60 7-in-1)) has a cycle that makes yogurt.

I have made yogurt for years. After all, we have a cow.  If it’s made from milk, I’ve pretty much made it or at least thought about making it.

Making yogurt requires three things (beyond milk). You have to heat the milk to 180 degrees, cool it down to 110 or so before adding the culture, and then incubate it for several hours at that warm temperature.

I made it by heating the milk on the stove using a cheese thermometer, cooling it, stirring in the culture and then putting it in quart mason jars, and incubating it in a small cooler with about three inches of hot water in the bottom.  After about three hours, I’d add some more hot water to the cooler and incubate it some more.

It worked fine.

But it was fiddly.  I had to mess with it all day long.

The Instant Pot does it all for me in one pot. The only thing I have to do is take out the inner pot, cool the milk, stir in the culture and put it back in the device and set the culture time.  It keeps track of the time and temperature for me.

After it’s done, I put the resultant yogurt in a nut bag to drain off some of the whey and it’s the best yogurt I have ever made.  Absolutely the best.  I suspect it’s because the pot keeps the incubation temperature far more stable than my cooler did.

But beyond that, the Instant Pot makes pressure cooking simple.  When I use the pressure cooker on the stove, I have to monitor it.  I have to set the heat to high, wait for the pressure to build, set a timer for the required cooking time, reduce the heat so it doesn’t overpressure, and then come get it when it’s done. The Instant Pot does all that for me.  Set it and forget it.  It not only beeps nicely when it’s done, but then it keeps the food at a safe hot temperature practically forever and monitors how long it has been done.

This means that I can start dinner two hours before dinner time, and just keep it on hold until Dave comes home, or until he comes in from outside, or until I finish whatever I’m doing.  It means that I can put frozen food in the pot, set a timer telling the pot how long to cook it and when I want it done and it will do as it is told.

I have cooked chicken and beef and lamb  and pork in it.  It makes excellent rice and I don’t have to watch it to make sure it doesn’t stick.  Furthermore, I can put chicken or beef in the bottom of the pot, add a stainless steel trivet on legs, then put a small stainless steel bowl on the trivet with rice and water in it and cook the whole meal.

I’ve made soup in it. It’s no different than making soup in a pot on the stove except that it’s done in a few minutes instead of a few hours without any help.

And of course, it cooks dried beans and eggs just as well as the little Presto does.

I know the Instant Pot is a bit of a fad right now.  That’s another reason I was skeptical and resistant for so long. But sometimes products become wildly popular because they work, and this is one of those times. A lot of people are afraid of pressure cookers, and the Instant Pot takes all the fear away.

I wasn’t one of those fearful folks, but I sure appreciate the time it saves me.  Now if they would add a deep fat fryer function. . .

There are more websites and blogs about the Instant Pot than you can imagine, and lots of Facebook groups and Youtube videos.

The best I’ve found are:

Hip Pressure Cooking Ignore the nutritional “information” and just know that the recipes have been tested and the times are pretty accurate.

This Old Gal, which is probably my favorite.

And on Facebook, the Instant Pot group is pretty much the best I’ve found.

And I’m eyeing sous vide.  It’s tempting, but I haven’t succumbed yet.


Dave and I moved from Greenville, SC to Southern Pines, NC  within a year or so after we got married. We lived in a rented house.

small house

Right there.

Dave and a friend found a farmer who agreed to let us use some space in one of his fields for a couple of gardens.

I’d never grown so much as a tomato plant in my life. Dave’s stepfather had always had a garden, and Dave had “helped,” but he knew next to nothing as well.  So the total amateurs planted a garden.

One day, my mother was visiting from South Carolina and we went to the garden. She explained to me, gently, without laughing, that our green beans were ready to pick. We did that, and then she took me to a store and bought me my first pressure canner.

This is not the canner, but it’s a photo of one identical to it. [Mine is down in the basement and I’d have to fish it out to photograph it.]

Yes, I still have mine.  It’s now more than 45 years old.  Everything you can possibly replaced on it, including the gauge and all the handles, has been replaced.

Here’s how it works.


See the stem that I’ve marked with a red arrow?  That’s where the weight goes.

Here’s what the weight looks like.


Inside the canner, there is a metal rack.  To use the canner, you put some water (about 2 quarts ) in the canner, along with the rack and then the mason jars filled with food and with their lids on finger tight (but not overly so).

The lid is placed on the canner and locks into position. The burner is put on high and the water in the canner begins to boil, which creates steam. The steam begins to come out of the stem (red arrow) in a stream. I allow that steam to escape for about 10 minutes.

This is called “exhausting” the canner.  It removes a lot of the air in there. As air heats, it expands, and it needs some place to go.  If you forget to “exhaust” the canner, it is quite possible that the jars will break.

After that ten-minute exhaust, the weight is put on the stem, effectively stopping the escape of the steam.  Pressure begins to build in the canner, and you can see it do so on the gauge (yellow arrow).  When the pressure reaches the limit of what the weight will stop (in most canning situations, that is 10 pounds of pressure, but it can vary depending on elevation above sea level), the weight will begin to rock slightly, releasing a tiny bit of steam with each movement.

At that point, you reduce the heat until the rocking is steady and start to count the time.

The green arrow is pointing to the emergency overpressure plug. If for some reason, everything goes to hell and the pressure continues to rise, the canner will not explode.  Instead that little overpressure plug will fly out and steam and pressure and probably your food will escape through the hole there.

I have never experienced that particular pleasure.

Once the required time has elapsed, you turn off the heat and wait.  The canner’s pressure will come down gradually as it cools.  When it has reduced to zero, it’s safe to open the lid and remove the jars, carefully, as they are still very hot.

So how in the hell does that make the food safe and how do the lids work?


Here are some lids. They come in two pieces, the thin flat lid itself, with a rubber ring built-in that seals it, and the ring.

During the canning process, remember, the air expands. That’s why we exhausted the canner. We needed to create a little space so that when the air in the jars expanded, it would have someplace to go and the jars wouldn’t crack.

That’s why you don’t tighten the lids super tight when you put them in the canner. You want the air to be able to escape. It does so, and when the jars are removed from the canner, you tighten the lids down well and let the jars cool. As they cool, the air contracts again, but there’s less of it.

And that lack of air creates a vacuum in the jar and the vacuum holds the lid in place.

Once the jars are cool (overnight), I remove all the rings and wash the jars well in case some of the liquid in the jars escaped inadvertently (that often happens).  And then I store them on shelves in the basement where it is cool and dark.

But why?  Why do we do this?


We do it because of these little bastards.

Remember the piece about tetanus?  Our little buddy, Clostridium tetani?

Clostridium tetani has a cousin.  A really closely-related cousin, named Clostridium botulinum. These two bacteria are in many ways identical. Both produce neurotoxins. Both do so in anaerobic environments. Both are deadly to human beings (and puppies and cows).

But Clostridium tetani can’t survive in stomach acid. You can’t eat it and die. That’s why a little kid can eat dirt and be fine.

Not so with Clostridium botulinum.  It appears to have a genetic difference that allows it to not only survive, but thrive in stomach acid.

Remember, though, it’s the toxin that is dangerous, not the bacteria itself. You can eat a boatload of Clostridium botulinum,  and as long as they don’t produce the toxin, you’re good. (That’s quite a gamble and one I won’t engage in, but in theory, it’s true.) The problem is that it’s relatively hard to kill the bacteria itself.

Boiling water temperature (212 degrees F) won’t do it.  Clostridium botulinum considers that a dip in a hot tub.  So you gotta get the temperature up higher.  And putting steam under pressure is how that’s done.

As an interesting side note: Boiling temperatures do, in fact, destroy the neurotoxin that is generated by the bacteria.  So if you are ever unsure about home-canned food, just boil it for about 10 minutes and eat it immediately and you’ll be fine.

This is all terribly scary, I know.  The pot might explode.  (It won’t. There is that little rubber stopper that will come out first.)  You might not do it right and then you’ll poison your entire family in one sitting.  (You won’t if you follow the instructions very carefully and don’t get creative until you know what you’re doing.)  The jars will break. (They might.  I’ve broken more than one.  Nobody died.  But it doesn’t happen very often.)

The first time I used my canner, Dave stood at the edge of the kitchen and watched. He was leery as hell.  It didn’t explode.  Then he was afraid to eat the beans.  He finally did after I did.

After about 45 years of eating food from mason jars, he no longer worries about it and he’s not even slightly fazed to see me with three pressure canners going at the same time (two on the gas stove and one on the wood stove).

canned stuff

Because, yes, I have more canners than just that old Presto.

To be exact, I have five of them. Two Prestos and three All-Americans. Three of them are the same size. One is slightly smaller, and the last one is my sweet baby All-American that just holds 4 quart jars.

But what about pickles and jams and jellies and peaches and cherries and  stuff like that?  What about water bath canning?  Why don’t people die from doing that?

It’s because Clostridium botulinum doesn’t like vinegar and isn’t one bit fond of sugar.  It can’t produce the neurotoxin in either one.

Pretty much nothing will grow in sugar if it’s concentrated enough.  That’s why you can store the stuff practically forever. If you can keep moisture out so it doesn’t turn into a rock, it will never go bad.

And pickles are high-acid (vinegar), so they are safe as well.

When I first started canning, people did tomatoes the same way.  Just filled the jars with cut up tomatoes and juice and a little salt and canned them right in boiling water and there you go.

But, over the years, more and more home grown tomatoes (especially) are lower in acid than they used to be.  People like the flavor better, so seedsmen accommodate them and breed new varieties.  And the acid level has fallen so much that it’s become a bit iffy.  Too iffy for me.

I spent one entire day a few years ago looking up everything I could find about deaths from botulism poisoning in America and I was surprised by the results.

It’s rare.

Like really rare.

But when it happens, it’s bad.

Like really bad.

There was one case (and I can’t find it now for some reason) of a whole family that was poisoned by improperly canned salsa.  Several people died.

Salsa is a big culprit. That’s because tomatoes are already iffy when it comes to acidity. Salsa is made with tomatoes but then whatever borderline acidity remains is diluted by the addition of non-acid vegetables like onions.  There are a couple of good thoroughly-tested salsa recipes out there, but what happens is that people say, “Oh, we like more onions than that,” or “we like peppers in our salsa” and they modify the recipe and then they’re in a danger zone.

Because Grandma made it for years like that and nothing bad ever happened does not mean that it’s safe.  Grandma might well have had much higher-acid tomatoes (if we’re talking about salsa or spaghetti sauce), and Grandma might also just have been lucky as hell.

Canning isn’t about having the product turn out perfect. Canning is about food preservation.  It’s quite possible to can something that is completely safe and tastes like shit. In that case, we figure out another way.  We freeze it, or we simply ditch that idea altogether.  My link is an example.  Sweet and sour chicken in a convenient quart jar.  Looks great, doesn’t it?

It’s not. It’s absolutely terrible.  The reason it’s terrible is that pressure canning chicken takes 90 minutes. That’s a long time.  And everything in the jar, including that already canned pineapple and those bell peppers, is also canned for 90 minutes.  And when you eat it, it’s completely safe, even though the pineapple no longer tastes like pineapple and the bell pepper is mush.

The way to can chicken is to can the chicken all by itself.  Then can the sweet and sour sauce if you want, and leave the pineapple in the can you bought it in. Put it all together in the end.

I do this with chili.  I can the kidney beans, onions and hamburger in one quart jar, all together (similar processing times).  I can tomatoes separately (short processing time).  Then, to make chili, I open two jars.

When I started canning, I was dumber than dumb, and I knew it.  So I followed the directions to the letter.  And any time I have “broken” the rules, I have done so after years of experience, knowing what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, and with confidence that I’m not endangering either me or Dave.

One other interesting thing I found when I looked all this up is that home-canned foods aren’t the only culprits in the war against Clostridium botulinum.  It occasionally happens with commercially canned stuff as well (now I’ve made everyone nervous as hell).

What typically happens is that Bob Patient shows up at the doctor’s with an obvious food-borne illness, and is asked about what he ate.  Generally, the food he ate is all gone.  It was all eaten, or it was thrown out.

But as soon as the health-care folks hear “home-canned,” they automatically blame the home-canned food, even though the green beans were accompanied by commercially processed salmon. There is nothing to test, so it’s all guess work.

The good news is that it’s rare to have any of this happen.

And all those years with a pressure canner led me right into pressure cookers, a whole different subject for later on.




Justice Revisited

And I post a lot of things about government corruption, police brutality, government official misconduct, things like that. I know a lot of people get offended by my views, but I’m not really concerned about that.

For somebody who is not concerned about it, Nicole sure does bring it up a lot. And she really didn’t like it when Todd Pate told her he’d seen some of it.

I think a lot of people are naive and think that it, you know, happens like it does in the TV shows, and the system is, is fair and just for everybody and the bad guy gets caught and all that other good stuff. But that’s not how it works.

Uh, no. Those of us who follow the Naugler story know perfectly well that it’s possible to dump human waste all over the ground and get away with it. And it’s possible to threaten people repeatedly and get away with that. We know.

The revenue the state is built off of is you.

Exactly what other source of revenue did you think the state was built on? Really? Where would the state get money except from taxpayers and citizens? We already had this discussion, oh, about 250 years ago, but I suppose when you unschool, you don’t know stuff. That’s one of the major reasons that the Articles of Confederation didn’t work. Our forefathers realized that without a source a revenue (taxation), a government simply couldn’t function.

You know, I worked as a nurse. I assure you that if I hadn’t gotten a paycheck regularly, I would not have shown up for work. I assume that’s true of everyone, including government officials.

you pay all kinds of fines and court costs and all that other fun stuff

Yeah, that’s called “making the asshole who broke the law pay for it.” I’m absolutely in favor of that. You use the system. You pay for it. The judge, like the nurse, doesn’t work for free.

But what Nicole is blathering on about here is plea bargaining. She doesn’t like it. Well, she doesn’t like if it’s Joe who is being offered the plea deal when she has convinced herself that barging into a woman’s business and calling her a “cunt” is just a fine thing to do and so the state should absolutely allow Joe to have a jury trial and convince 12 people that using that word (which, second only to the N-word, is the most disfavored word in the English language) was totally a beautiful thing.

I’ve already written about plea bargaining, so I won’t repeat myself. Suffice it to say that it’s way more complicated than Nicole seems to think.

And it’s not about fairness, because I can assure you, in any of the cases that we’ve had in the last two years, and prior to that too, dealing with this, never has anybody asked or looked at any type of evidence.

Well, actually, there is a whole long-ass video of Nicole being asked for evidence. The judge begged her for evidence. The judge pleaded with her to present her evidence. She didn’t have any.

We can have the discussion about insurance later.

Oh, I can hardly wait.  Let me guess. It’s evil and statist.

So the solution to you not being able to afford your insurance is to charge you more money, because that makes sense, right.

Exactly what “solution” would Nicole suggest?  That the state pay for her insurance?  (Because that’s what is really being discussed here – Nicole doesn’t want to have to pay for car insurance.)

The state levies fines against people who break the law (and driving without insurance is against the law for a very good reason) because money is the only way to get it through thick Naugler heads that they absolutely must obey the law.

It’s a little bit like adopting a feral cat.  If you cannot afford to have your cat spayed/neutered, to feed your cat decent food, to provide vet care as needed, you cannot afford to own a cat, even a “free” one.

If you can’t pay for car insurance, routine maintenance and tags, you can’t afford to own a car, even if it’s “free.”

The county attorneys in Kentucky, and I know it’s different state by state, um, the county attorneys in Kentucky can pick and choose which cases they take and which ones they don’t.

Yes. That’s what we pay the county attorneys to do.  It’s their job.  They are the gatekeepers.  Otherwise, the court system would be overwhelmed (even more than it is already) by the Red Smiths of America.

There is a big difference between criminal court and civil court.  Civil court involves disputes between citizens.  Anyone can sue anyone for anything.  (Winning is another story.)  Bill doesn’t like something that Fred did, so Bill sues Fred. The judge is simply serving as a sort of arbitrator.  That’s why the case is called Bill v Fred.  You don’t go to jail over a civil suit. If you lose, you pay money.

Criminal court, which involves the county attorney, is about the state, the community, bringing charges against a citizen for breaking a law. When a crime is committed, it’s considered an offense against all of society.  When Joe menaced a woman in Breckinridge County, the case wasn’t called Menaced Woman v Joe Naugler.  It was called Commonwealth v Joseph Naugler.

The Commonwealth is me.  It’s Al Wilson.  It’s Lisa Luthi.  It’s Nicole Naugler. It’s all of us who live in Kentucky.  The county attorney represents me and Al and Lisa in that case against Joe.  He’s our attorney.

And because we pay him, we expect him to pick and choose his cases carefully and not waste our money and his time with the Red Smith shit.

So if you have an actual complaint of an actual crime, if you’ve been victimized by somebody, you have to take it to the county attorney. You have to then, you have to, that’s your job, have to provide the county attorney with enough evidence of a crime for them to decide to pick it up.

Yeah, that’s how it works.  Or conversely, if you call the police, and the police determine that a crime has been or might have been committed, the police can issue a citation or arrest the person on the spot.

And then county attorney looks it all over and makes a decision about whether or not he thinks 1) this case is a good use of our limited resources and 2) that he can win.  If he thinks he might not be able to win, he’ll often offer a plea deal, which is preferable to doing nothing at all.  Sometimes, he just decides there isn’t enough there there, and he lets it go entirely.

This is what happened when Nicole suddenly decided, because she got pissed off at Ron Sneed, to try to get the county attorney to charge Linda Sneed with “attempted vehicular homicide” or some stupid shit for a fender bender that didn’t bend a fender which happened about six months earlier.  And she is still bitching about it, as you can see.

Say you and your neighbor get into an argument and the police show up. You know what they say? Just fine everybody. That’s what they do. We’ll just, okay, you all go to jail. Either you solve it or you all go to jail. That is always their solution.

And here she’s talking about Eric and Viv and the whole “Joe barged in and called Viv a cunt” thing.

You know what? The police didn’t just “show up.”  She makes it sound like they materialized out of thin air.  Somebody called the police.  Everybody called the police before it was over.  It happened over and over again, something like four times in two days.

And the police got sick and tired of four adults behaving like small children.  They did the equivalent of making all the children fighting in the sandbox go stand in separate corners.

I don’t blame them one bit.

If you don’t want to end up going to court over and over again, iron out your differences yourself and quit calling the god-damned police over every tiny slight you think you suffered. Eric said something ugly to Joe. So what?  Joe deserved everything Eric said.  Joe is lucky that Eric didn’t actually pound him into the parking lot.  Someday, Joe is gonna piss off the wrong man.

There’s no accountability. They are elected officials. You have two choices. You can sue them or you can not elect them.

Actually, those two choices are called “accountability.”

I didn’t elect him in the first place . . .

I didn’t elect Donald Trump but he’s still the President.  For now.

But then, I vote.  Nicole doesn’t.

. . . not really like I have much say anyways. . .

When you don’t vote, no, you don’t have any say.  And your opinion is worthless.

The sheriff will hardly talk to me because he knows I document and record. The county attorney will hardly talk to me because he knows I document and record.

Those men won’t talk to Nicole because she insults them repeatedly on the internet. She won’t shut up about them. She belittles them every chance she gets. She misrepresents what they did and said. She insists she has recordings but rarely produces them.  And she wastes their time.  They are very likely sick to death of her.

She’s Red Smith.  They are like me in the library in Cooper Landing, avoiding Red.

They don’t like being called on when they’re being inappropriate. . .

Nicole labors under this illusion that she is in charge of everything, everywhere.

They are looking to find ways to either a) get you out of their hair. . .

Bingo.  When you’re Red Smith, yeah, that’s what they are doing.

It’s hard to imagine somebody who criticizes government more than Nicole Naugler, who carries on more about “voluntaryism,” but who calls the police, goes to the county attorney and files more bogus, frivolous bullshit stuff.

They don’t want Nicole’s nonexistent money. I would imagine they want her gone. Anywhere. ASAP.

So this is something that I think a lot of people aren’t aware of.

I am 68 years old now.  I have never (knock on wood) had a traffic ticket in my life. I have only ever been stopped by a policeman twice, once for my own safety and once because it was the middle of the night and the cop was bored. I have never been in a courtroom except as a visitor.

Dave is 78.  He had a couple of tickets way back when he was much younger (like under 35) and has had none since.  He’s never been in courtroom except as a visitor.

The Nauglers manage to stay in court. All the time.  There are always pending cases on the docket for them. Over and over and over again.

Why do you suppose that is?

And it’s not just since the infamous children “kidnapping” by the “evil state.”  They have petty criminal records, both of them.

You know why?

Because they keep doing shit. They bounced checks. They got evicted. Joe pushes women around.  They let their “livestocks” loose and don’t take responsibility for anything.

I’ve had to defend myself then, back when people have photographed my home and driven by my house in large groups, specifically four, harassing me.

See what I mean?  This is the sort of thing she “has to defend [herself]” against. She’s Red Smith.

I know that my children have suffered quite a bit and nobody wants to hear their side of the story.

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

The children are so damaged. They will never recover.

Or, the children are so happy and healthy and perfect and brilliant and well-adjusted.

Which is it?

They experience them first hand, so there’s not much I can hide from them.

No, they don’t.  Nicole tells them stuff. She does live-streaming video ranting and raving while a child is in the back seat listening to every word.

She pointed Jacob to this blog.  He said she did.

She supposedly showed pictures of Lisa, who she didn’t know from Adam, to her children right after they came from the Great Kidnapping so they could identify her nonexistent driving down the Blessed Little Road at a point when Lisa didn’t even know where Nicole lived.

She and Joe systematically teach those kids to fear and disdain any authority figures except her and Joe. They freely discuss this shit right in front of the kids.

. . .some thoughts that I had in my head. . .

Might need to rethink all that.





Every Town Has One

We lived for about ten years in a small village in Alaska called Cooper Landing.  If you haven’t read this, or if it’s been awhile, go do so. It will keep me from being repetitious.

It’s true that Alaska has a, well, different kind of population.

Anchorage is sort of like any city. The locals there sometimes refer to it as “Los Anchorage” and will talk about how you can drive out of Anchorage for about thirty minutes in either direction (there are only two roads in and out) and find real Alaska.

But the small towns and villages are, well, different.

Most people just don’t want to live in rural Alaska.  The weather can be brutal. Winter lasts almost forever.  The cost of living is sky high. Cabin fever and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are real things.

But Cooper Landing is a unique little Alaska community. It’s a resort town. Lots of residents (including the people who bought our house when we left) are weekenders from Anchorage.  They’re typically wealthy people with second homes who come down to fish and boat the river and lake. The entire Kenai Peninsula is considered Alaska’s playground.

A large part of Cooper Landing’s history centers around Cecil and Helen Rhode.

photo courtesy of Mona Painter

You can read about them here.  Scroll down to the second article on the page.  At least skim it a little, because it will help you understand the rest of this story.  And here’s another article, from my time there (and mentioning both me and Dave) about the mountain.  Unfortunately, the photos appear to be missing.

Cecil and Helen had both died by the time Dave and I arrived in Cooper Landing, but we came to understand the very large footprints (large indeed, as in two mountains and a park) they left behind.

We also counted their son, David, as a good friend.

As an aside, this is my favorite David Rhode story.  One winter evening, we planned to have a few people over (a total of ten including us) for dinner. I decided to serve do-it-yourself stir fry. We had a Jenn-Air griddle embedded in our kitchen counter and it was a very convenient place for guests to make their own stir fry.  I chopped up lots of stuff, set it out in bowls, and cooked a large pot of rice.

David Rhode was one of those guests.  On his way to our house, he stopped off at a local grill/pub and in the course of conversation, mentioned that he was on his way to our house for dinner.  And ears perked up.  Somebody said, “The Davises are having a party?”  And David said, “Oh, yeah. Come on over.”

And 35 people showed up at our house for dinner, when I had been expecting eight.  Considering that there are only 300 people in the whole town, that was a significant segment of the population.

I spent the entire evening chopping up veggies.  I used every bowl in the house. And some girl came through my kitchen asking where the bathroom was. I pointed. I had never seen her before in my life.

David Rhode is a free spirit indeed. He’s also one of the smartest people I’ve ever known.  He’s the guy in the yellow ball cap looking askance at us wimmins.  (By the way, the quilt on the table is now in my living room awaiting hanging on the wall.  I was describing how it’s made, totally by hand.)


His parents helped put Cooper Landing on the map.

After they died, there were two mountains named for them. The most prominent is Cecil Rhode Mountain which stands right on the south side of the village. We had a beautiful view of it from our dining room.


There it is. (Not my photo.)

photo courtesy of Mona Painter

Here is a photo (taken by Cecil on the mountain that bears his name) of Helen Rhode looking down on Cooper Landing.  If you draw a line straight down from her right foot, when you reach land, you’ll be pretty close to the roof of our house.

Notice the bridge going over the Kenai River? See the white bare land on the far side of the river, on the left side of the road?  That area, that land, is now a park.  It’s small, just about the size of that white area.  It’s called the Helen Rhode Memorial Park, and it is filled with native Alaskan plants only.  Town residents volunteer to keep it maintained.

But Cecil and Helen and their son David were not the only long-time residents of Cooper Landing. Another one was Red Smith.

Red was a relatively tall, older man with red hair (I assume that’s where he got the name). He’d lived in Cooper Landing for a long, long time, and knew both Helen and Cecil, and he, of course, had watched David grow up there.

Red had an interesting hobby.

He wrote all sorts of treatises on government.  He filled them with lots of stuff about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and lectures on US history and the flag and you name it.  He wrote letters to the editor that nobody wanted to read.

And he filed lawsuits.

He filed lawsuits a lot.  It seemed like he filed one every month or two.

It was kind of a joke. Nobody paid him much attention.  He was just this argumentative, eccentric old guy who filed lawsuits and would tell you all about his rights and your rights and how nobody was respecting his rights.  He used to come in the library when I was there and I would manage to find something that was really pressing that I needed to do and look very busy indeed. If I didn’t, he would bend my ear for an hour.

It was all just a bit of a joke.

One day, David Rhode showed me a lawsuit that Red had filed. When I saw the look on David’s face, I realized that Red’s bullshit was no longer a joke.

This screed was long. I can’t remember how many pages, but there were lots of them.  It was all written in Red’s usual legalese shit, with “whereas” and “therefore” strewn all over the place, and cited all sorts of Miller v United States stuff, complete with numbers.

He was suing everyone on earth.  I cannot remember who all was named, but it included legislators and borough representatives, and it included David Rhode.

Red was mad because the park was named for Helen Rhode, and the mountains were named for Cecil and Helen.

He was royally pissed off and he wanted his day in court.  He had evidence, you see.  He listed it all.  He also listed all the Amendments that he felt had been violated, and all his “rights” that nobody was addressing, and all the various parts of the Constitution that were being ignored.

I looked at that mess, and tried to tell David that it didn’t matter, that Red was crazy, that nobody would listen to him for two seconds, but I knew it wasn’t helping much.  David grew up knowing Red. He knew Red was nuts.

It hurt him anyway.

It was his parents’ legacy that was being attacked by a spiteful, jealous old man who believed every conspiracy theory you can imagine and thought he was an expert on the US Constitution and smarter than any lawyer anywhere.

I do not remember anything coming from that lawsuit, or anything else Red ever did, but Red hurt my friend, a good, decent, kind, gentle man who didn’t have a bad thought about anyone.  I never forgave Red Smith. It was a nasty, hateful thing to do, and he did it for no other reason that he liked to pontificate about his view of the law and the government and he was royally pissed that nobody thought enough of him to name anything at all after him.

Every town has a Red Smith.  Some towns have several of them.  I bet a big city has hundreds.

Breckinridge County, Kentucky has at least two.