Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Living Room Breezes and Dining Room Ice, I Needed New Windows

The wind chill was minus 17 degrees (F). My furnace was going full blast. Auxiliary stoves were on in each room and yet the breeze I felt while sitting in the living room was about 5 MPH and there was ice inside the windows in the dining room. Global warming, that so claimed tooth fairy by the Republicans, had created so much moisture at high latitudes that the Northern Jet Stream had been disrupted and had disappeared for the first time in an . . . ever (?). The upper atmosphere system great wall of air flow was no longer blocking the Arctic air from falling down into middle America. It was damn cold. I was damn cold. Wife was damn cold. Even the cats who couldn't stand each other were huddled together. This was unacceptable. New windows came yesterday. There are seventeen double hung windows and four picture windows. They have 7/8" space between panes. The panes are covered in special stuff and there is inert argon gas between the panes. There are air pockets and air space and this and that and they fold in and fold out for cleaning and are made in America to boot. It is cold in Oklahoma today, 38 degrees with a breeze. Walked out into my dining room from my bedroom this morning and it was quiet and warm. Warm! It was warm. First thing you got to know is that I have 14 windows and two doors on the front of my house that faces south. The house was designed in 1916 to allow maximum sunshine into the home during the sun's low angle months of winter and to allow air flow and no sun into the house during the summer. Trouble is there are only three windows that would still open, so there was no summer air flow. In the winter if the sun doesn't shine then it doesn't heat the house through the windows. This design was great in 1916, and was great these days too, on sunny winter days. But now, with the new Acrtic Invasions, it was not so great. When it gets cold, things shrink. The old windows were caulked and such but the extreme cold this year caused them to actually pull apart in places. Just enough to let air through which made them colder and so they shrank even more and then they pulled. . . well, you get the cause and effect. My heating bills and body were casualties of global warming. So we went window shopping. Holy shit Sherlock. To replace the 21 windows on my front and SE and SW corners was going to cost my first born and all her children to the third generation be sold into bondage to pay for it. OK, the replacement windows were going to cost between 1/4th to 2/3rds the original cost of my house when I bought it 33 years ago. Yes, they would save me money on heating and cooling. It would only take between 11 to 25 years for me to break even. After the sticker shock wore off we vowed to go ahead with it. It would cost not less than $8,000 and as much as $22,000. So I delved into the pros, cons, lies, and claims of several estimates and a whole lot of web research. Lesson one, make them vinyl. Lesson two, put some sort of solar shield covering on the window panes. Lesson three, they must be at least double paned. Lesson four, one inch between panes is more than twice as good as one half inch between panes. Lesson five, inert gases between the panes is much better than dead air. Lesson six, weld bonded frames are better than any other kind. Lesson seven, do not let water get behind, under, or around them. Lesson eight, the installer is 80% of the success of a good window. Lesson nine, put no (or very little) money up front. Lesson ten, a large chunk of all the window companies have gone bankrupt or have been absorbed into other companies since the 2008 economic meltdown, so there is really damn little history on a lot of this stuff these days. So, go with the survivors who do have a history. Over all lesson: a good window is needed but a good installer is crucial. First thing I did was blow off the box store/mega store's highest estimate. Second thing I did was try to balance cost to quality to energy savings to good installation. Finally after I figured out I did not really know shit about any of this I went with the very good windows and the installer with the best record and lots and lots of traceable references. Final cost only equalled one third of my house's original cost to me or about 11% of its current evaluation. Did I mention how quiet it is? Did I note how warm it is? Am I happy with it all? I don't do happy. I like my new windows however. One can hope that during the next Arctic blast they won't fall out onto the lawn. We shall see.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bright Moon Shinning : My Pictures

March 19, 2011
Moon is 14 % closer and 30% brighter than normal.

Friday, March 18, 2011

White Elephants

The elephant is a prominent icon of strength, fertility and intelligence in many cultures, including Chinese, Indian and African. It is a respected animal of insight, cherished by many. In Buddhism, the elephant is one of the eight holy animals, and in the Hindu religion, the Ganesha is the God with the head of an elephant.

In both a mythical and religious role, the Elephant is seen as a mark of magnificence, able to be worshipped and honoured. In many folklore and war stories, the elephant has been seen as enchanting and alluring - in ancient China, the Elephant was a war animal, often given as gifts to the emperor by the King of Siam, during the Kang Hsi era. This animal could always outdo the opponent and prove both its dignity and discretion.

The pure white Elephant, which is one of the Seven Treasures of Buddhism, is believed by many to be the embodiment of the future Buddha. It holds the same holy place in India, Indochina and Thailand, where the only people who are permitted to ride an Elephant are the king and deities. Because of these precedents, it is known as a figure of royalty, supremacy and stateliness.

The Elephant also holds a very potent position in Feng Shui. The mother of Buddha had dreams about a pure white elephant directly prior to Buddha’s birth; it is for this reason that the Elephant is now an icon of fertility, being used by couples or singles who desire a newborn. It is an auspicious omen, providing protection for the beholder.

In Feng Shui, those who have an Elephant in their house will be blessed with many beneficial sanctions. Here are some Feng Shui tips to achieve that:

1) In Chinese, the word “elephant” is phonetically similar to “Prime Minister”. The elephant is thus regarded as a symbol of vigour, aptitude, power and prominence and can be used to enhance the luck of the head of a household or company.

2) For businessmen, display a pair of Elephants in a distinguished spot on your desk in your office, facing outwards. This will provide you with fortification from your opponents, as well as induce victory on your business ventures.

3) Display a pair of Elephants indoors, beside your main entrance, facing inside- this will create a flow of good luck into your home. If they are displayed outdoors, then they should be positioned facing out, as they will safeguard the home in this arrangement.

4) If you and your partner are trying for a child, placing the Elephant in the West sector of your home (the corner of descendant luck, according to Feng Shui Bagua 8 Life Aspiration formula) or in the bedroom. Caressing its trunk every night before slumber will increase fertility, enhancing the chances of a new baby being conceived.

5) Make a wish when rubbing its trunk. The Feng Shui elephant is also known as a grantor of wishes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blood Etc. For The Cause

Spent the morning at the VA hospital. No, nothing wrong, I mean nothing other than the dozen or so regular things. I was giving them body stuff for the long term study on Agent Orange affects on the troops. I did get a little concerned when the blood collector took out 7 large vials to take blood samples. Yes, she filled each and every one of them. I did notice all the old guys had caps on with their branch of service and wars displayed on them.
They have a little store there that sell all sorts of patriotic stuff. Maybe I can get one there.

It did remind me as to why I have avoided the VA lo these past 40+ years. It is very "Military". My wife went with me. No not to give me support and help. She went with me to make sure I actually got there, and then staid there and didn't walk out after the first encounter with....whatever...

It did seem as though for a place full of "infirm" hobbling old dudes everything was a long way from every other thing there. I worked out a hypothesis that what they were doing was testing to see if the patient could actually be helped or not. If the patient could make it around to all those places then they were healthy enough to be cured. If they couldn't make it then why bother with, them they were hopeless any way. I could be wrong.

Every time I got through with a specific clinic they would say, "Thank you for your service to your country". I actually heard that said more times today at the VA than I have heard it said to me otherwise in my entire life.
However, I don't really believe there was much fervor as they said it. Do you think they might be required to say that? It was sort of like the big sign over the front door that said, "Welcome American Heroes".
Yeah, right.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

When The Earth Moves Things Happen

Brand New Imports for Sale
Slight water damage a few dings.

"Already, just over 36 hours after the quake, data-crunchers had determined that the temblor's force moved parts of eastern Japan as much as 12 feet closer to North America, scientists said — and that Japan has shifted downward about two feet."

Acapulco Mexico

"The shores of Acapulco's beaches were this weekend teeming with masses of fish packed so tightly they looked like an oil slick from above.

Thousands of sardines, anchovies, stripped bass and mackerel surged along the coast of the Mexican resort in an event believed to be linked to the devastating Japanese tsunami."

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1365538/Japan-earthquake-Swarms-fish-coast-Acapulco-caused-tsunami.html#ixzz1GS7WWOIi

"Delighted fishermen rushed out in wooden motor boats, abandoning their rods and nets and simply scooping the fish up with buckets."

It is an ill wind that blows no one.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Alien Life!!! ??? OK, Now We Are Past That, What's Next?

I guess I had hoped for a little more than a bacteria for an encounter of the third kind.
But what the heck, hello little guy, welcome to earth.
Is this our proof that alien life exist elsewhere in the Cosmos?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Moser against Israel? Time For God To Do It Again?

Traditionally the Hebrew Diaspora had such a horrific time with the Gentile cultures that for anyone to speak against any other Jew to the Gentile authorities was a special kind of treason, a Moser.

Back in 1968, I was sitting on the porch of the Baptist Student Union, at the University Of Oklahoma. I was an Army Security Agency dude then on a TDY and then leave from Ethiopia on my way to Vietnam. I was here because I was staying with my wife who was in college there before I went on to SE Asia. Sitting with me was a friend. She was a "Christian Sabra" from Israel. We were talking about the 1967 war with Egypt in which many friends of hers had fought , some dying, for Israel. I was asking about the intentional attack by Israel on the U.S.S. Liberty and the rumored massacre of thousands of Egyptian Army prisoners by Israeli forces in the Sinai. As a young American warrior then, I found all of that to be incomprehensible( I hadn't fought in Nam yet at that time). I thought maybe she could help me understand.

She did enlighten me, but not exactly as I had hoped. She relaid me to a passage in the Talmud that says (paraphrased), if it were not for the sins of the Jewish people the Bible would have mostly never been written (Nedarim 22).

That did not satisfy me at that time, after all Israel had murdered 30 plus Naval Security Group sailors from my sister agency. But the thought stayed with me. (I confess however I have to look it up every time I try to quote it) Now and again, I think to myself, surely this or that particular Israeli sin will cause God to set them straight. After all they are often as screwed up as their enemies and each new generation seem to aid and abet the hatred against themselves. Now I know the politics and theology of this is terribly complicated, and madly emotional, but it does seem at this time as these predominantly Muslim nations around Israel seem to be seeking new just and democratic ways of life, that it might well be time for God to send a new Prophet to speak to Israel and her supporters and lead her and the rest of us into a more peaceful future.

Naive of me. Yes. But down in what might be my soul (if not indigestion) there is still a glimmer of hope for things like this.