American Elephants

10:40 On a Gloomy Tuesday Night! by The Elephant's Child
February 28, 2023, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Politics

Little or no traffic on the main drag down at the bottom of my hill. I’m assuming that everyone is tired after all the holiday excitement, and just ready for a fire in the fireplace, no excitement, no holidays, just a little peace and quiet. Or perhaps they have just gone to bed. There’s kind of a gap there between Christmas, New Years, and settling back into normal life.

Easter is an interesting holiday, religious for some, all about hard-boiled eggs to decorate for others, and a stepping stone to Spring. We usually herald it as the real beginning of a new year, when we give up on snow and ice and look for the first blossoms, new buds, flowering trees beginning to show buds, first leaves showing up. That sort of thing, depending on where you live. Those who live in the icy Midwest may head for Florida, just to get some sunshine and budding flowering trees and shrubs. I always think of it as the transition point from Winter and all it’s cold and misery to Summer, not here yet, but promised.

Before it got dark, there was a lot of smoke in the air, presumably entirely from every house having a fire in their fireplace..

Families have to recover from all the Christmas and New Year’s excitement, and it takes some effort to slip calmly back into normal life. Easter Sunday means Church, decorating hard boiled eggs, Do families make a big deal over decorating eggs anymore, or do they just wait for stores to advertise their brand new Spring wares?

We had lots of Spring wildflowers in Idaho, Buttercups, grass flowers, and gradually the syringa bloomed, with its lovely perfume.We had a long line of lilacs that came on a little later, but the weeks were marked by what was starting to bloom.And gradually the wild shrubs and trees marked the seasons as we moved from Winter to real Spring. Immensely welcome after much melting snow and suddenly everything was budding. A good snowy winter may be fun for sledding and skiing, but when the wildflowers on the surrounding hills start to bloom, it really indicates the change from winter to an approaching summer. Makes you forgive the mud, the puddles and the overflowing ditches with their promise.

7:30 In The Evening In A Seattle Suburb! by The Elephant's Child
February 28, 2023, 8:41 pm
Filed under: Politics

Pitch black outside, no moon, no stars, and most of the neighbors’ are pitch black as well. Guess they’ve all gone our to dinner. The weather is bland, no rain, snow or anything useful. Snowed a tiny bit last night, but not enough to even look interesting. It is, after all, February, and supposedly Spring is upcoming fairly soon, I always hate this time of year. I am completely tired of winter and ready for Spring, but the calendar is not cooperating. But of course, it seldom does. I don’t know that anyone yearns for rainy weather except those who work for umbrella companies.

Little traffic on the main drag down at the bottom of my hill, or at least no noisy traffic. No police cars with sirens on, witch means nobody is speeding unreasonably. They are all out to dinner or a pre-dinner party, or just ordinary work day. The commercial on the radio is for an organization that will teach you how to talk to your children. Uh huh. Followed by a lot of “trans-gender” nonsense. Sorry, the doctor who helped with your birth, said something like “Look, it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl”, as the case may be, He did not announce that it was an unknown sex until it grew up a bit and decided what they wanted to be. How on earth did we reach this point?

It seems to me that we are having some trouble with the journalism profession. A thought, statement, or something written becomes more important if said or written by a “recognized” celebrity.

Sorry, I could not be less interested in any idea or statement from a so-called “celebrity”. No interest in the deep thoughts or words of a “movie star”. None.

I had an aunt who worked for Warner Brothers, and she took us to watch a movie being filmed at the studio one time. The director would get the “actor” to say the lines over and over until they got the line just right, and then go on to the next line. No flow of story or emotion, none of that. Clearly, the movie was being made up of hundreds of scenes that would eventually be tailored into a viable entity, and then patched into what would eventually become a movie for the public. Forget anything like creativity.

That was the eventual aim, to make it look as if it was a creation., and they often do a pretty good job of making a “creation” our of scattered bits and pieces. Kinda soured me on movies a bit. And on “celebrities”, a whole bunch. Most “celebrities” are so called because they had a successful movie, or are particularly pretty, Hardly for the works of their minds. Helpful to keep that in mind.

Smoky Outside! by The Elephant's Child
February 26, 2023, 7:28 pm
Filed under: Politics

Which I assume is due to lots of fires in people’s fireplaces. No sirens anywhere to indicate that anything is on fire or needing attention. There was a bit of snow last night, which melted off promptly, but it did snow. It’s still February, so that is not remarkable. February is often a strange month for weather. Can’t quite decide whether it’s going to be Spring or stick with Winter. In general By this time of year, people are thoroughly sick of Winter and yearning for Spring. Winter is great fun when it involves sledding or skiing, or even building snow forts, igloos or sculpting snowmen of our forbears. We had a marvelous sledding hill, in Idaho, not too long to make it a big deal to haul a sled up, and long enough to get a good ride. Since my home was also a hot springs resort, you could finish off a day of sledding with a swim in a nice warm pool. Doesn’t get much better than that. Did snowmen representations of George Washington and other presidents as well, which we thought were quite spectacular, or at least pretty good snowmen.

Comes a time though, when one is thoroughly sick of Winter and ready for Spring! Then you have to endure bad roads and nasty weather until it decides to actually be Spring. Trees leaf out, and wildflowers start to bloom. Miss that when you live in an ordinary city. Do you have special Spring notifications? Flowers in your yard that only bloom in early Spring? Pussy willows? Nice to have seasonal specialties! Seattle can’t quite make up its mind whether it es a coastal city, because it borders on Puget Sound, or because it is so close to the mountains that “coastal” doesn’t fit. The transition from Winter and Christmas to Spring and blossoming is pretty much welcome to everybody but the skiers, who want to keep their season going as long as possible.

President’s Day! by The Elephant's Child
February 20, 2023, 6:04 pm
Filed under: Politics

Quiz for you!

Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Write down the names of all the American Presidents you can recall and name, starting with, naturally, George Washington. We have had 46 presidents, how many can you name? If you have kids, good lesson for them as well. If you are able to add a little history of potential interest, that will help. Look them up. Some of them were faced with major challenges, World Wars and Civil Wars. President Biden has been faced with balloons in the sky, with a hard time deciding whether they are attacks by an enemy like China, or some kids’ balloons that drifted up. Nobody said that the Presidency of the United States was an easy job. And there are probably no suggestions on the presidential desk about what to do with stray balloons. Decisions must be made!

President’s Day is not a holiday that has gotten much attention, since no one seems to know what to do with it anyway. Always accompanied by photos of Mr. Rushmore, but can you or your kids name who is represented there? I’m not even sure just where Mr. Rushmore is. I’ll have to look it up.

Climate Change? Is it Changing? by The Elephant's Child
February 19, 2023, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Politics

It seems to me that it is getting much harder to understand the news, and essentially to be informed. Part of that is that there are just more sources, each with slightly different approaches and different beliefs, and what is going on in the world is not simple clear events, but confusing events, with goals that we don’t understand, enemies that we don’t understand, and too much news that does not clarify.

Google “Climate Change” and you will get pages and pages of articles about Climate Change and Greta Thunberg, Who is Greta Thunberg? She is an 18 or 19 year old Swedish high school kid, who came across the Atlantic to the United States to warn the Americans that the climate is changing. You will get pages and pages of links None particularly useful. She made speeches, got enormous publicity, and got climate change on the “hot list”, and essentially accomplished nothing at all. Even got her portrait painted on the side of some San Francisco building, if I remember correctly.

So is she some kind of authority on the climate? Not at all. There is no reason to assume the slightest bit of expertise, But a high school age kid seeking out the press, who are always looking for a new and interesting story would naturally be interested in a new and different approach to climate, which seems to be an international concern. Journalists report what seems to be going on out there, but are not necessarily good judges of what is true, false, or important. As readers, we need to approach what the journalists present with a slightly (at least) skeptical eye.

Planning Ahead! by The Elephant's Child
February 17, 2023, 10:49 pm
Filed under: Politics

I think the next big holiday coming up is Easter. However, I’m not particularly conscious of many of the upcoming holidays. Can you tell me when Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, for example, are? I suspect most of us don’t have any idea and only respond appropriately when the sellers of “proper presents” start running ads about the upcoming holiday to get us into their stores. Mother’s Day probably gets a lot more attention. Mothers get offended if you don’t remember their holiday, and fathers are probably as unaware of when “Father’s Day” is as the rest of us are.

You can call up a dandy list of American holidays online, add the appropriate ones for your family and friends, and You won’t have to wait for the stores to remind you. Lots of dates that we need to remember so we can say “Happy Birthday”, for example, to a good friend with whom you do not ordinarily share either gifts or cards. Everybody likes to be remembered!

Didn’t Get a Single Valentine This Year! by The Elephant's Child
February 15, 2023, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Politics

Last year I got a snugly plush stuffed elephant (“American Elephants”) who resides on my bed. He is a pale gray with a white velvet tummy and soft white tusks, and very snuggly indeed

Have you ever noticed that photos and drawings of elephants almost always portray gray elephants. BUT real elephants are NOT GRAY at all. They are brown animals. Call up some photos of real elephants online, and see what you get. Funny how ideas sometimes get twisted in the public mind. I had assumed that elephants were gray, but I was completely wrong. Haven’t seen many real elephants ever. I seldom turn out for a parade, when they sometimes bring out the zoo elephants, and haven’t gone to the zoo since my kids grew up. I wonder how so many of us started assuming that elephants were gray?

I believe I wrote about this last year too. You might notice that the elephant at the top of our page is not gray!

Do You Celebrate Valentine’s Day? by The Elephant's Child
February 12, 2023, 5:48 pm
Filed under: Politics

As I mentioned, when I was growing up, admittedly a fairly long time ago, Valentines’ Day in my community was a very big deal. The Drug Store carried big packages (roughly enough for standard class size) of little cards of punch~out valentines, very cheap, to cover such an occasion, and you weren’t supposed to leave anybody out, no matter how much you detested them.

I have wondered if that was just normal everywhere, or uniquely local. No idea. In our very small town in Idaho, just the way things were. Other than all the fuss in the lower grades in school, I don’t know if anybody paid any attention at all.

Additions to Your Town’s Amenities! by The Elephant's Child
February 12, 2023, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Politics

We had a small windstorm last week. Nothing important, but on a hillside lot with lots of fir trees, a lot of branches came down. Whenever there is a bit of a windstorm, our fir trees usually shed a few branches that they are tired of. Sometimes pretty big ones. I have a lot of fir trees on my hillside lot, and given a little wind, they shed.

My eldest son and his wife came over to cut up some fallen branches on my front walk and the steps up to the upper garden. They had borrowed a small power saw from their community’s “tool library”. What a splendid idea. There are special tools for tasks like that that most people have not purchased for their own use, since they need them so rarely, if at all. Small fee to maintain the “library”, and very helpful for the folks that do not usually need them.

You might contact your own town council and promote the idea. I did, and they will discuss it at the next town council meeting.

Valentine’s Day! by The Elephant's Child
February 12, 2023, 5:21 pm
Filed under: Politics

After four o’clock in the afternoon, here in a Seattle suburb.Very cloudy skies, with only vague hints that there might be blue sky somewhere behind them. In other words, a completely ordinary day. Tiny bit smoky off to the south — which I attribute to fires in local fireplaces for comfort on a not very inviting day outside. Not bad weather, just nothing out there, beckoning one out, as a little sunshine might do. Well, it’s only February, which is always a dismal month, promising something better– later. Of course we’re all looking for those better days. It’s just an unfortunate time of year. Have there been any special Februarys that you can recall? I certainly can’t. Long ago, in grade school, there were Valentine’s Day boxes, always heart-shaped and bright red in which one put a valentine for each of their classmates. If you missed anyone that was very bad, and the drug store had big packages of very cheap valentines to satisfy the need. Where did Valentine’s Day come from? Was there a Mr. Valentine that we celebrate for some reason? Can’t recall.

Nothing promising in the news, just more “uninvited objects” in the sky shot down, but no real answers yet as to what or why, or where from. So far, it looks like devices designed to capture our communications, but that seems uncertain. More comfortable having them shot down. Some have been captured to investigate their mission and contents. so somebody is indeed paying attention.

Don’t Trust Everything You Read Online! by The Elephant's Child
February 10, 2023, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Politics

Sometimes we get somewhat confused by stories we see online, or ads we hear, and assume that their content indicates some kind of reality. There’s a company that advertises extensively called “My Patriot Supply” that wants to sell you a 25 year supply of food to protect you from the coming “food shortages”.

The United States of America has what is probably the most generous and available supply of food for its people, of any nation on Earth! There are no coming food shortages. Some stuff happens. For example, there is currently an avian flu that has hit some egg growers’ birds. Has also hit some chicken farmers, which is why eggs are currently a little more expensive, and there may be some chicken shortages in some grocery stores. So have cereal for breakfast instead.

Aside from grocery stores, I haven’t seen anything about Kentucky Fried having shortages, have you? I really resent people who try tricks like My Patriot Supply is attempting.

Straight Talk About the Climate of the Earth! by The Elephant's Child
February 10, 2023, 8:43 pm
Filed under: Politics

Can we start with just a few very basic facts? The Climate of the Earth is controlled by the action of our sun, and our sun is just fine. It is shining up in the sky, even when it rains, or when it seems cold, or you just cannot see it. The climate of the Earth is NOT controlled by your possibly having a gas stove. Even if everybody you know, or everybody in your town bought a gas stove, it would have no effect on the climate whatsoever. Banning gas stoves completely would have no effect on our climate. The climate of the Earth is controlled by our sun, and clouds in the sky that might prevent sunshine warming the climate much on rainy days. Your gas stove has no effect whatsoever on climate. Neither does the exhaust from your car. It’s not your fault!

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