Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Big sky!

We made it to South Dakota all in one piece, with dog and cats intact. We got to town, closed on the house Wednesday morning and we are all moved in and ready to go.
If you have never been out west it is truly amazing. We took a short ride to 'west river' as the part of South Dakota over the Missouri is called (we of course are 'East river', by about a quarter mile). What a spectacular landscape! The vast expanse of rolling green hills and enrormous sky were actually breathtaking. And coming up on the Missouri is wonderful. I know that a few miles either side of the river the plains are, well, plains flat and after a while boring to look at, but so far we are thirilled to be here. The air and land are so clean here it is amazing. Having just moved from an inner city neighborhood, this is really refreshing. We started work today and so far so good. We spend the night tonight at the HS boy's huse so looking forward to meeting the kids and more of our co-workers. Did you ever have those moments in life when you thought, 'How did I get so lucky?'? That's where I am and its a nice place to be.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Leaving the 'Zoo

Kalamazoo that is. We are packing up and moving out TODAY! HOORAY!!. Leaving for South Dakota and a new life or at least a new place to live and work. Before I go for a while I wanted to make a book recommendation.

1491 by Charles Mann This is an amazing study of the Americas just before the invasion by Europeans. Mann presents most of the newer theories and studies in a balanced fashion and draws his conclusions, It is engaging, fascinating and I learned a ton(scholarly term there). See ya later.

Friday, May 16, 2008

This is the limit!

Mike Huckabee addressing the NRA joked today about someone pointing a gun at Barrack Obama. You can see his comment at Yahoo News. Talk about tasteless, rude eointless evil comments! To make a joke like this is tantamount to wishful thinking. I didn't think Huckabee was this big an asswipe, but never underestimate the scabrous wiickedness of a right-wing religious jerk. Actually I don't think its the limit, I think the would-be fascists are just warming up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

To Blazes With It

Its no joke for folks in Central Florida today, wild fires involving thousands of acres are destroying homes and forcing evacuations. This morning I read about people trying to save their homes with garden hoses and I could only imagine how powerless that feels. Well, I could imagine it fairly well as I remembered the first time my son and I burned off the winter dead stuff from an acre and a half rise behind our house back when we lived in the country in Indiana. The wild growth stood about six feet tall, mighty good top soil there, and it hadn't been cut or buned in years. I knew nothing about burning except that we had a good buffer of green grass between the hill and the house, a road on the other side and a creek to the west. And a garden hose. Man talk about a hellacious blaze! I lost confidence in our buffer lawn and it was scary as hell. We had had plenty of rain so the fire burned the dead stuff and nothing more. Oh, and it sort of scorched the power line pole pretty good. We got that put out thanks to Nick's vigilance. But to see the world around your house going up in flames like those must be truly horrifying.
This new story about wildfires came to mind as I read Crunchy Chicken's really thoughtful post this morning about security and what life should be about http://crunchychicken.blogspot.com/ .
It made me grateful that we are going off to do some really meaningful work and have the wherewithal to make this sort of change without hardship, only minor aggravations. I hope I can maintain this sense of gratitude, for my life, my loving partner, the interesting challenges I have face and remember that security is as fleeting and illusory as misfortune.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Keystone Cops move across country

At the very best, moving is a pain in the butt. As one who has moved 8,472 times I know whereof I speak. When you add in underwriter's heebie-jeebies(does anyone know the etymology of that term?) you get ulcer city. Here's the back story. Our new employer would have provided an apartment for us through an arrangement they have with a rental place in town. Apartment building doesn't allow pets. We called around-NObody allows pets. So, carbon footprint be hanged,we drove all the way back out to SD to buy a house so we could take our animals when we leave. This may seem foolish to some, like my brother for instance, but we ARE responsible for the little pests and besides, we love them. The trip went well, we saw a nice house within bicycling distance to work(trying to make up for the extra trip y'know) made an offer, got pre-approved with a bank and headed back to big M. Good news for us,the assessment came in nearly two grand less than we offered and the seller accepted the lower price. We get a closing date and make arrangements for our house in the Zoo, rent a truck,etc. Bad news for us, the underwriters won't release the dough until we get the roof(old but serviceable) replaced and the foundation checked by a licensed contractor. Good news for us, the bid on the roof came in at about half what I expected; bad news for us, they can't possibly replace the roof in two weeks. Good news for us, the banker can do an in-house mortgage until the roof is done and then switch to the fixed rate at no extra cost to us, she only needs the contractor's inspection report. Bad news for us, the contractor goes out of town for a week! This morning, with seven days until we load the truck I am calling SD folks to see if anything is shakin'. As it turns out, the contractor has already looked, said the foundation is fine and we can close on time. So if all goes as planned(HA!) we will be ready to start work on the 27th. By the goddess, this is the last move I make unless we pack a knapsack and move to the commune! Got any moving stories to share?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Curse those price gouging farmers!

As we all know, the fault of the latest food crisis is that farmers have actually started making living wages off their crops(we aren't counting the big guns who live off of government subsidies). Right? Check it out.
"The World Bank says that 100 million more people are facing severe hunger. Yet some of the world's richest food companies are making record profits. Monsanto last month reported that its net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (£275m) to $1.12bn. Its profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn." http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/multinationals-make-billions-in-profit-out-of-growing-global-food-crisis-820855.html
Hmmm, 100 % profit increase, maybe the farmers aren't to blame? Sound like the oil company profits? Will the government ever take action on these fucking price gouging monsters? Once again we gotta say, hmmmm, who makes the big political contributions? These bloodsuckers would watch you starve in the streets before they would surrender their power to wrest every last dime from any venture. Well, I am too angry to write anything terribly coherent or productive but I will say, a slow and painful death would be a very fitting end to all these shitsucking bottom feeders. DOWN WITH MONSANTO, DOWN WITH FOOD SPECULATORS!
Whew, that felt kinda good.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Whoa Dude!

No posting for this blog today because there was this code, see, and it said a buncha 'bx' bs. So I had to do this changing to classic template thing and I will be posting soon. This shit is like witchcraft-well, actually, it is like my car breaking down because I don't know much more about that than computers. Alas, it is hell to be such a doofus.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

This Little Piggy Went To Market

The struggle near Marty SD between the Ihanktowan Oyate or Yankton Sioux and Longview Farms is over a CAFO(confined animal feeding operation). http://equayonabigbear.blogspot.com/2008/04/moving-to-cattle-country.htmlNobody pitches a fit when a farmer moves onto some land with his family, builds a house and outbuildings and starts to raise pigs. Or goats, or whatever. But the 11 man concern building a feeder hog operation near the schools and government buildings of the Ihanktowan aren't going to live there. Their children aren't going to attend the daycare that is less than two miles from this factory. They aren't going to have to dig a well and hope that their concrete cesspool holding the shit and piss from over 3000 pigs doesn't leak and contaminate the groundwater. They won't be doing business in Marty, SD when the nauseating stink blows in. The Ihanktowan people will be doing all that. The owners of this factory farm? They are going to be in Iowa! Its time to make CAFOS pay for the horrors they perpetrate on the animals, the environment and the people who have to live near them. The Union of Concerned Scientists have a petition you can sign at their site http://ucsaction.org/campaign/5_1_08_cafos_uncovered
You can read their report on CAFOs at that site also. If you would like to find out more about factory farms in your state and county, check out this cool interactive map http://www.factoryfarmmap.org/ at Food & Water Watch. Sierra Club also has a factory farm project you can support. http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/ In fact they won a judgement here in Michigan in January! So they can be fought.
Finally, here's an odd thing about the feeder operation construction. Greenpa referenced a report about the dwindling money to be made in hogs http://littlebloginthebigwoods.blogspot.com/ "Most farmers today lose $40 to $50 per pig, according to Buhr. " But the CAFO feeder operation in South Dakota forges ahead, garnering the enmity of the neighbors, flaunting White power and privilege to force its way on brown people whenever ther's a stinkin' buck to be made, and they are likely to lose money!? WTF?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Same Old Crap, Different Day

"The Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota is continuing to protest a proposed hog farm in Charles Mix County.Tribal leaders and members say the operation would harm the environment. Long View Farms wants to house 3,350 sows and process up to 70,000 pigs a year at the farm.Tribal members are blocking a Bureau of Indian Affairs road that leads to the site. Long View Farms says the tribe has no authority at the actual farm, which is apparently located on fee land adjacent to tribal land. "

The people standing on a road on tribal land were arrested by sheriff's police and handed over to state troopers. The sheriff of this county is believed to be the father of the contractor who will be installing the electricity for this operation. This is a wanton act of disrespect for the Ihanktonwan Lakota and typical of the strong arm tactics the various levels of government continue to use to destroy the original people of this land.

Yankton Sioux Tribe part 1 - Protectors of the Red People

This is something that should be on the nightly news across the country but you likely won't see it. At least until they start arresting white folks.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Moving Days A'Comin

Things are speeding up! We just made arrangements for our Kalamazoo house an hour ago. Thanks be to the Great Mystery(or universe or goddess or karma or all of the above)! It is really good to know the people moving into your house. They are involved in the neighborhood and we feel they will be good neighbore to our good neighbors. We just sold our second car yesterday. It has a quarter of a million miles on it, but it runs well. I thought about donating it but this moving stuff gets expensive. We close on our SD house on the 21st and start work on the 27th. We have the truck reserved, we have some help lined up(at least for loading). sweet C is really sorting and organizing! She took another load to Goodwill yesterday. And now its time for the goodbyes.
We visited my daughter and grandkids in Indiana Monday. You can see that the kiddos and I are totally absorbed watching Veggie Tales. Sweet C is too, but she looks happy about it at least! We are going to visit C's 90 year old Grandma today in Illinois, then we are driving to Chicago tomorrow for my aunt's funeral. She was the last of my mom's sisters and a really sweet person. What a series of visits, what a progression of life. If I were a more profound thinker I am sure I could do quite a lot with this but as it is, I will just leave it alone and sort of savor it all. And we are now about to leave! Be back Saturday.