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Midnight Bombers January 16, 2013

Posted by Toy Lady in guns, Musings, Not about Food, Politics, random stuff.
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If you live anywhere near a radio, the internet, or any other form of communication, you’ve likely heard about the New York legislature’s newest attack on its citizens.

It’s not enough to tax us into the ground – oh no.

It’s not even enough that it’s apparently okay, in this state, for newspapers to publish names and addresses of law-abiding citizens who are, well, abiding laws.

Now they’re coming after our guns.

That’s right – I said it. I don’t care if it makes me sound like a right-wing wing-nut.

This week, our legislature, under cover of darkness, and with no discussion, no due diligence, and HEAVEN FORBID we should ask the constituents what they think, passed what’s been lauded as the “most restrictive gun laws in the country.”

In the middle of the night, with no input from the very people who are most affected, our state government passed a package of laws that essentially criminalizes a significant portion of the State’s more conservative population.

Who legislates at midnight?

And, based on the President’s press conference, I can only assume that as New York goes, so goes the nation.

Now I am aware that many people, probably even many of our readers, “don’t like” guns.  Obviously nobody in either Albany or Washington does.

And you know what?  That’s fine.  I’m not asking you to own guns, or even to like them.  That’s your prerogative.  And it’s none of my business.

Just like someone else’s guns are none of your business.

This is just so wrong, though, in so many ways.

Oh, where to start?

How about with the fact that  the horrible events at Sandy Hook and our own Webster firefighters were used as political props.

Let me repeat that.  Both the Governor of the State of New York  and the President of the United States used these tragedies as leverage to ram through unconstitutional laws.

They have used  two recent instances where mentally ill people (e.g., nut jobs) gained illegal access to weapons and used them to murder, in the first case, innocent children, and in the second, first responders.

Do I agree that these horrors are unacceptable? Of course.  But I most adamantly do NOT believe the actions of two (TWO!) criminals should be used as an excuse to unreasonably restrict the rights all of the others who would never dream of such acts?

And frankly, does anyone even believe that restricting legal gun ownership is going to matter?

Does anyone really think that, by tightening the gun laws, that’s really going to get guns “off the streets?”

Really?

Neither the Newtown killer nor the Webster shooter was a legal gun owner.  And I’m willing to bet they didn’t buy their ammo legally either.  Huh.

Then there’s the restriction on magazine size.  But I’m sure that your average school shooter would probably stop and reload after 7 shots, too.

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Citizens! Hand over your guns!

The really sad thing?

They’re all pretending this is about protecting the children.

It’s not.

This legislation – and the backlash that will (hopefully) follow is about one thing, and one thing only – and it’s not the kids.

It’s about the Second Amendment, and they know it.

It’s not about hunter’s rights.

It’s not even about self-defense.

It’s about citizens having the power to overthrow a corrupt government – what it’s always been about.  And they know it.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Let the renovations begin! December 7, 2012

Posted by Peeps in Home, Not about Food.
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My wife has mentioned that we’re having a bathroom installed on the first floor. They started Wednesday.

I got home from work Wednesday to find a truck in the driveway and a large gaping hole in the side of the house where a window used to be. Oh, and it was quite windy with snow flurries every once in a while. A delightful way to come home.

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The guys doing the work are very nice and very good at what they do. I watched them doing their work for a bit and was very impressed at how easy they made it look.

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In order to keep the guys from being bothered, we’ve been taking the dog to day care for the mornings and once I get out of work, I go pick him up and take him to my wife’s office. As a plan, it seems to be working. I did warn the guys about the cat, but so far she hasn’t caused any trouble.  Oh, and speaking of trouble, I did warn the guys about this happening to them.  I would hate to see anything bad happen to them.

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The mess isn’t quite as bad as it seems, although I’ll admit that I can’t wait for them to be done. Nothing is where it’s supposed to be. Like walls and stuff. I haven’t run into one yet, but I think it’s just a matter of time.

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A couple more days and we should have a new bathroom and closet on the first floor. We won’t have to worry about the dog trying to kill anyone in a misguided attempt to protect the homestead – he typically feels the need to enthusiastically escort any bathroom-going guests upstairs and back.   And he certainly takes his responsibilities seriously.

Of course, we’ll still have to paint the new areas. And rehang the curtains. And clean a lot. Probably other stuff I haven’t even thought of yet. But in the long run, it’s all going to be worth it. Really, it will.

My Wasted Vote November 7, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in just general griping, mirth & woe, Not about Food, Politics.
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So I’m still here, no computer except the ancient laptop.   Which means no photos.    (And while that may not be a HUGE loss, it’s still a loss, right?  Right?)

At the time of this writing, it’s the evening of Election Day.

Thank GOODNESS it’s almost over!

While we don’t know who will win at this point, I’m sure we all know who we want to win – or at least who we don’t want to win.  And I’m equally certain it’s not the same for all of us, is it?

I find myself in the position of being something of a disenfranchised voter.

In the general election, anyway, my vote doesn’t really count for much.

Sure, the local elections matter – and I always make sure to vote there.  I firmly believe that the closer my government is to me, the more control I have.  Town, Village, County, even State elections all matter, more, I think, than the presidential election.

Especially here.  You see, I’m in New York, and I don’t think there’s a truer, bluer state than New York.   Except maybe New Jersey.  Maybe.

Which means that my presidential vote is worthless.    Thanks to the electoral college, my representative will be voting for Obama, whether I like it or not.

Some representation, huh?

That’s not to say I think Romney walks on water, because I don’t.  I truly believe that there is less separating the two mainstream candidates than they’d like to have us think, and whichever your choice is, it’s no more than the lesser of two evils.

But you know what?  I’m kind of glad.  It gave me a chance to vote the way I’d like to vote, if I could vote however I wanted to if I wasn’t worried about “throwing my vote away.”

For the first time since 1984, I actually left the voting booth feeling good about my presidential vote.

I voted for what I really think – knowing that “my guy” wasn’t going to win anyway-  he wasn’t even going to make a dent in the final results.

I decided to do something radical – to vote for a “third party” candidate.   A politician who actually stands for the things I believe.  Gosh I wish people would take the Libertarian Party a little more seriously. . . I’ll bet the Founding Fathers  would have.

*Images: credit to Young Americans for Liberty.  Even though I’m more a “Middle-Aged American for Liberty.”

Stormageddon October 31, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in Not about Food, random stuff, Rochester.
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It’s been a weird day around here.

We here in upstate New York have suffered the remnants of Hurricane Sandy and lived to tell the tale.

All of the local schools were closed today – they made that decision last night.  Kind of a “just in case” thing, I guess.

It appears that none of the houses across the street from us has power – we’re all good, though.

I was walking the dog this morning and heard what sounded like a lawnmower running.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t a lawnmower because (a) it was not even 5 AM, (b) it was dark, and (c) it was raining.

I’ve never once seen anyone mowing a lawn under those conditions.  So I presumed it was a generator – and I looked closer and saw that there was no sign of any light in any of the houses on that street – except for the house with the lawnmower-generator sound.  Huh.

(Peeps walked by the same house on their afternoon walk and confirmed that yes, there was a generator running in the driveway.)

We walked a couple more blocks, then headed home – and we had to walk in the street at one point.  There was half a tree blocking the sidewalk.

I headed for work, and everything was in place there, but several people we deal with regularly are based in Manhattan.

From what I’ve seen on the news, New York City is underwater – or at least the parts that aren’t on fire, anyway.  Most of lower Manhattan – the financial district – the area I deal with – is flooded.

One guy is working from home – he’s fine.  He provided me with his cell number yesterday.

One guy took the train into the city (or should that be The City?) yesterday, then the trains stopped running.  He’s there until probably Wednesday.  I hope. That was the plan, anyway.

Emails to that firm have been bounced back to me – evidently the servers are down.  That can NOT be good, though hopefully they’ve planned for that eventuality.   I’m sure they’re fine – that’s just the kind of guys they are.

I haven’t heard from Peeps’s friends in New Jersey – they may have evacuated, since their neighborhood tends to flood if someone leaves the bathtub running too long.  I’m sure they’re just busy keeping their old dog (and themselves) calm.

So.

Were you in the path of The Storm?  How did you weather it?

(Heh.)

If not, what was the coverage like for the rest of the country?  Were there semi-hourly updates?  Discussions of “100-year floods?”  What have you heard?

Hot Fish May 3, 2012

Posted by Toy Lady in Family, Not about Food, random stuff.
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almost forgot!

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I went on the field trip with my mother?

We had visited several shops and neat places, and, in each one, everyone was so very gracious – exactly what you’d expect in a small town, I guess.  I picked up a little something at each stop, and, as would be expected, I came away with a bunch of neat stuff.

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Then we got to the last stop – Bennett Clay Fish.

I’m going to be honest.  I would have been just as happy to skip this one.

I mean, it was a long day.  And I was tired and hungry.  I had a fairly long drive to get home.

And I was quickly running out of cash.

And, um, ceramic fish.

But Mother and I were having such a nice time, and we kind of got lost trying to find the place, so at that point, it would be silly to give up, so we forged on.

(Heh, get it? – forged on!)

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And BOY am I glad we did!

What I did not do, unfortunately, is get photos of the barn full of fish.  But I’ll tell you – they were amazing.  There were giant fish hanging on wall, and little fish on tables, and mermaids and squids and even, I think, jellyfish.  Some were so realistic as to be almost creepy, and some were just plain silly (like the cat fish – a fish with a cat’s face!).

See, sometimes, I kind of feel like a weirdo of something if I just whip out my camera everywhere I go – kind of like, I don’t know, just weird.  Like some kind of wannabe cub reporter or something.  That’s it – I feel like  Jimmy Olsen.

“So, tell me, Mr. Pottery Guy, would you like to say anything to the public?”

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We went ahead and checked out the fish (and the serious price tags – dude, this stuff is ART!), and I decided right then and there to come back one day with enough cash to get a DOG fish to hang on my front porch.

As were were regretfully getting ready to leave, Alan, the “head fish maker” asked if we’d like to see a raku firing.

(Aside:  When he was in high school, the Boy was very much into pottery and ceramics, so I did know – sort of – what he was talking about)

So we said “sure.”

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And that was when I remembered my camera.

See, this has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever watched.

You know how a ceramic piece is glazed – basically painted with this mud-colored paint that, basically, you have to trust that it will become the color the label says it will, right?  And then you stick it into a rippin’ hot oven (hotter than for pizza, even!) and bake (fire) it in a kiln.

Well, here comes the cool part.

This guy pulled, literally, a red hot ceramic fish out of the kiln, and he set it in a pile of, basically, wood chips and dirt.  Actually, it kind of looked like he was laying it in a pile of mulch.

Do you know what happens when you take a fish that’s, oh, about a million degrees, and roll it around in a pile of mulch?

All those wood chips burst into flames, that’s what happens.

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And then he slapped a lid on it.

Much better. The flames died down (a bit), and the fish just lay there and smoldered.

Alan said his down-wind neighbor always knew when he was doing a firing.  I can just imagine.

Give it a couple of minutes, and he un-lidded the piece, and then (are you ready for this?) he grabbed his really long tongs, picked it up, and dropped it into a tub of water.

Still on fire.

HOW can that be?  I mean, how can you take a piece of ceramic, get it so hot that it has literally burst into flames, and then dunk it in water?

Imagine, for one minute, doing that with Pyrex.  Trust me, it doesn’t work so well.

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And I know this stuff was still mighty hot, because when he pulled it out of the tub, the water that filled the cavity was still boiling.  Now THAT is hot!

Discretion being the better part of valor, or something, the sleeping fish were left to lie, at least until he’d cooled down a bit.

At which point, Mrs. Fish Wrangler, Rosemary, picked it up, grabbed a sponge, and went to work cleaning the fish up.

And what went into the oven as a nondescript piece of glazed clay, then came out as a glowing red something-or-other, only to become a flaming fish, was suddenly the coolest silver-spotted, lipstick-wearing, um, well, ceramic fish.

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Pretty cool.

And I have got to get me one of those!

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