RIP Michael Ruppert. You deserve it.

I didn’t know him personally, but I was a follower of his original website From the Wilderness since its inception in the late 90′s.  He was a brilliant, flawed, tortured man with a message that is too hard to hear (i.e., understand and act on) for most.

May he rest in peace.  He deserves it, for he found none in this life.

Words can’t describe how sad I am right now.  He will be missed, both by his friends and family, and by those like me who heard the message.

Well what do you know? The Social Security Administration is stealing from lots of taxpayers this year!

Social Security and Treasury target hundreds of thousands of Taxpayers for parents’ old debts

Funny how most of the money is in amounts that, like mine, are so small that getting a lawyer will cost more than just suffering the theft.

I give up.

Kilt Hose for Mr. Tin FoilNot on these.  These are finished.  The yarn is hand spun superwash Blue Faced Leicester, purchased when I thought I was going to have time to actually make a business out of my crafting.  Purchased, not incidentally, for the specific intention of spinning sock yarn.   ETA:  I know I have said before that superwash isn’t as good for use in socks, but I wasn’t buying this for me.  I was buying it to spin and sell, which didn’t end up happening.  I still have several pounds of this to use up; if you want hand dyed hand spun sock yarn, email me for prices.

I used it for Mr. Tin Foil’s hose because this is pair #3 I’ve made for him, and pair #2 of hand spun.  He is *very* hard on socks.  I’m hoping these hold up longer than the last pair; I made his last pair out of worsted weight wool and he wore a hole in the tops of the toes the first day he wore them.  We all (friends who also wear kilts/hose) told him he must walk by curling his toes up every time he picks up his foot in order to wear holes in the tops of the toes.  He wasn’t amused.

There is a supposedly debunked urban myth that says knitting a pair of socks takes as much time and as many stitches as knitting a sweater.  I say supposedly debunked because the debunker did some math and decided that was not possible with size 3 needles and regular socks.  Said debunker has obviously never knit a pair of kilt hose on size 1 or size 0 needles or said debunker (who shall remain nameless though if you look I’m sure you can find the relevant information) would not be so sure.  These are made on size 2, which to me is HUGE but made the knitting of these go relatively quickly.

No.  I give up on making more things for family members who don’t care and don’t appreciate it.   I just can’t spend that much time making things for children whose parents put it away and the kid never wears it because the parents don’t put it on the kid.  I just can’t spend that much time making things for adults who put it in a drawer and let moths eat it or even worse, never even acknowledge they received the gift.  Cash is more expensive in dollars, but easier on my heart by far.

I guess it will free up more of my time to spend on making things for sale — I do a fairly good side business with my weaving and knitting; if I”m not wasting time making things for family members who don’t care about the gifts anyway I will certainly have more time to design and weave things that may actually sell.  Or to design and weave things for myself.

Yes, there was an incident that provoked this post.  I asked someone of the same approximate age as my children if I was being overly sensitive and was told no, that I had every right to be upset.  Ah well.  I will save my creative energies for those who appreciate them I guess.  Fewer tears for me.

Blacklisted from Raw Story for violating their terms of service

Why?  Who knows.  Their terms of service state abusive or insulting language will be blacklisted.  Violence or threats of violence will be blacklisted.  And the word that was used in my notice is yes, BLACKLISTED.

Terms of Service

Comments and commenter accounts are maintained at the sole discretion of Raw Story, its employees, contractors, freelancers and designated agents (hereafter referred to as “Raw Story”). Comments may be deleted and/or commenter accounts suspended at the sole discretion of Raw Story without notice. By commenting on the site, you are agreeing to these terms of service.

Commenting guidelines:

Raw Story appreciates and values the community that comment boards build, and uses moderation to make these discussions more productive for all who participate. But in order to maintain a productive community, our moderators generally hew to the following guidelines and we encourage commenters who wish to remain a part of this vibrant community to do so as well.

1. Abusive language. Almost everyone (including the editors of Raw Story) loves profanity, and the creative use thereof. But when profanity or other inappropriate language is used towards other people, it can either start non-productive arguments or silence another commenter. Any comments deemed abusive towards other commenters will be deleted and commenters who continue to engage in this behavior will find their accounts suspended.

2. Advocacy or threats of violence. Any comment that threatens violence against others (commenters or subjects of stories) or advocates that someone be subjected to violence (including that they should do violence unto themselves) will be removed. Commenters that continue to engage in this behavior will have their accounts suspended.

3. Ad hominem insults. If your sole contribution to a discussion is to insult the participants in it, your comments will be removed and your account suspended. It’s both unproductive and uninteresting.

4. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism. If your comments contain any of these things or other slurs similar to these, your comments will be removed and your account immediately suspended. This includes comments that smack of veiled slurs (dog whistles) as determined at the discretion of Raw Story — but note that we work on the Internet, and we quite likely know exactly what your “subtle phrasing” means.

5. Attacks on editors, writers, staff, moderators and management. Our staff is no less subject to criticism than those we write about — but there’s a pretty large gulf between criticism and attack. Abusive language, attempts to bully (in comment threads or in any platform, including email and social media) or ad hominem insults aimed at those who work for Raw Story will not be tolerated and will result in the immediate suspension of comment accounts and/or the deletion of comments. If you have a specific disagreement with a piece of information, have more information on a story that is in a piece or noticed a typo, spelling error or grammatical error that made it through our editing process, a polite email to will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member for review.

6. Anything else our moderators, staff or freelancers deem disruptive. We wish this could be a comprehensive list, but we’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that there will always be someone who can some up with some offensive thing we haven’t thought of before. A good rule of thumb is that if you are writing it to piss someone off, stop. If you are trying to trump something offensive someone else said, stop. If the other person “insulted you first,” stop and flag their comment for a moderator and/or email instead of replying with another insult. If the Secret Service would be asking us for your ISP address if they read it, stop. If a little voice in your head says, “The moderators might challenge this,” listen to that voice before submitting the comment.

But we’re not all mean. If your comment account is suspended, we will offer a process for appeal. A suspended commenter can send a polite email to explaining that his/her commenter account has been suspended and s/he’d like to come back to the community, and will receive a response that the suspension is under review. There is a 3-day mandatory cooling off period during which our staff and/or moderators will determine why the account was suspended and whether, in their judgment, it warrants further review. During that cooling off period, the suspended commenter will be told, if s/he doesn’t know, what sparked the suspension. If s/he wishes to return as a commenter, s/he must then acknowledge in the email that they violated our comment guidelines, understand it was inappropriate and pledge not to do so in the future.

Note, however, that abusive, bullying or inappropriate emails or interactions on social media sites will end the review process. Each commenter may receive one review; if the account is suspended again, the decision is final.

I will note that one of the blogs I follow, Guns Save Lives, added Disqus as their commenting platform within the past week or so.  Given that Raw Story is a liberal news site, I am guessing that the mere fact that I commented there would be enough to have me blacklisted (read banned) from Raw Story.  I’ve been commenting on Raw Story for – oh, probably 7 years without a single issue – so this mere fact makes me suspicious.

Either that, or the fact that I used the actual word ‘hell’ in a comment…as in “what the hell is a public official doing unilaterally giving tax payer money to a private company with no vote on how that money is to be spent” Because that of course is insulting or threatening or abusive.  Because the word hell, even though it’s a biblical word, and was used with that meaning in mind, is insulting or threatening or abusive.

Or perhaps it was my comment that Luddites were skilled craftsman trying to protect a trade from outsourcing and lower quality, and romanticizing the industrial revolution should perhaps be re-evaluated and researched by the commenter, as should the actual history of Ludd and his Luddites.

Like I said, who knows.  I have noticed recently that Raw Story does tend to ban anyone who doesn’t fall into lockstep with their liberal agenda.  Kind of like the worst of the Tea Party blogs.  The difference being that most blogs are owned/moderated by one or a few individuals with a limited audience and no advertising.  If they pay for their own blog to make their own points and outline their own platform, more power to them.  It prevents honest discussion, but that’s their choice.  Raw Story, however, is a for profit site that makes a lot of money from advertising and depends on it for their profit.  They also have a definite liberal slant that is obvious both in the reporting of stories and in the commenting.

No big deal, I had an adblocker that enabled me to read the stories without the annoying and pervasive ads…perhaps that was the reason I was blacklisted.  The content for the most part is getting pretty annoying anyway.  Note the final paragraph here:

But we’re not all mean. If your comment account is suspended, we will offer a process for appeal. A suspended commenter can send a polite email to explaining that his/her commenter account has been suspended and s/he’d like to come back to the community, and will receive a response that the suspension is under review. There is a 3-day mandatory cooling off period during which our staff and/or moderators will determine why the account was suspended and whether, in their judgment, it warrants further review. During that cooling off period, the suspended commenter will be told, if s/he doesn’t know, what sparked the suspension. If s/he wishes to return as a commenter, s/he must then acknowledge in the email that they violated our comment guidelines, understand it was inappropriate and pledge not to do so in the future.

If they think I’m going to apologize for a single thing I’ve said or done, they are smoking the liberal crack.  I’ll just make a point of copying, pasting, and commenting here on my own blog if I have a problem with a story or a comment – after all, they’re the ones all for fair use.  But maybe that only means for liberal bloggers who don’t have an original thought outside of what Raw Story’s writers and editors think for them.

Man, it’s hell being neither liberal nor conservative, and having a thinking brain that compels me to research anything anyone says…don’t blacklist me because I said hell tho.

9 yards of mosaic

9 yards of mosaic green9 yards of mosaic brownThese are towels I just finished weaving and took off the loom.  They aren’t done yet, because I haven’t cut them apart, sewn the hems, or wet finished them.  But the weaving part is done!  I made one green one simply because I was getting very tired of looking at the pottery brown color, and because it’s a gift for someone who asked for green.  A few of the browns are destined for gifts, the rest will be put up for sale.  I was very excited about this pattern and its treadling variations until I did 9 yards of it.  I needed something different after all those towels in the same basic pattern!

I just finished warping up a mohair warp.  Amazingly, I only broke one thread in the beaming on!!!  It’s a very sticky warp though, and after weaving only the header to separate the warp threads I can already tell I’m going to need something to put on it to ‘slick’ it up a bit.  From what I’ve read a product called Cowboy Magic (for horses) is supposed to work like magic in making them separate more easily.

Absolutely nothing done in the garden yet.  I’ve been lazy, and working on things I really want to work on – like spinning more sock yarn, making kilt hose, finishing up the weaving,  sewing, mending, etc.  It has to happen soon though, or we’ll have nothing to eat in a month or two!

The chickens have begun laying again which has been excellent.  They have been allowed to roam the yard and as a result I have no grubs in the beds.  And the yolks are so very orange that everything I make with them takes on a bright yellow cast.  After going the whole winter without eggs, I can’t tell you how delicious these are.  We did break down and buy a dozen eggs twice, but they were awful.  Pale and watery, like the memory of eggs rather than the real thing.

That’s all, I’ll have pictures of the mohair warp later on.  I need to get busy making peach cobbler to take to a friend’s celebratory barbeque – he got a promotion and a 20% raise.  Lucky man in these times!

The essential problems of Marxism

I was inspired to actually read some of Marx’ works, though not in the original language (I once spoke German but it’s been too many years).  With my reading material being internet sources, I’m not positive as to the exactness of the translation/interpretations – German is a notoriously hard language to translate as the feelings/ideas conveyed by one word simply don’t have exact translations/interpretations that are less than a paragraph in length and assume a certain social understanding that I don’t have.

That being said though, I think Marxism has some of the same essential flaws that Capitalism – in the sense that modern Libertarians and Republicans understand Marxism – suffers from.  They are in many ways more similar than they are different in some essential ways.  And I’m not talking about socialism!  Different beast that shares characteristics of both!

Now let me state clearly that I’m no student of Marxism but I probably know more than the average conservative in this country because I actually READ some of the original works in question.  I’m also no student of Communism or of Capitalism though again, I’ve actually READ scholarly works, and critiques of some of those works, as well as derivative works unlike many of my fellow citizens on both sides of the political fence.  Because I read, I can’t help but form opinions that gel with neither fans nor enemies of said political/economic schools.

Off topic:  if I step on ONE MORE GOATHEAD in stocking feet I’m not sure what I’ll do but it isn’t going to be pretty….

Both Marxism and Capitalism assume an endlessly expanding economy.  This is the essential feature of the Marxist theory of declining rate of profit – because the market expands, the value and price declines forcing lower worker pay and higher work load in order to keep the owners’ profits at the same level.  This is true IN AN EXPANDING ECONOMY.  It cannot be true in a contracting one, or even in a steady state one.  There may be price deflation as people lower their prices to try to sell product, but deflation isn’t what Marx’ theory applies to, nor does he even address a deflationary economy as far as I can tell.

Both Marxism and Capitalism assume, along with an endlessly expanding economy, an endless amount of innovation.  This, of course, forces the market to constantly adapt as people make the same product at a lower cost with better features  and thus the above occurs – declining rate of profit.   This too, is only possible in an expansionary economy.  In a shrinking or steady state economy, there is little incentive for people to think about making things more efficient, except as directly affects their own living situation.  It isn’t something that businesses will have spare capital with which to invest, in order to increase their rate of profit.  In a contracting or steady state economy businesses do NOT invest.  That is plainly true if you look at the books for many Wall Street companies over the past several years.  Businesses hold onto their capital in case they need it.

Finally, both Marxism and Capitalism assume money is the sole form of exchange.  Given that Marxism is less than 200 years old, and capitalism is really only about 500 years old, this is patently not true for most of human history!  Money is only efficient as a method of trade if there are luxury goods to be had that must come a long distance:  silk, in ancient times, iphones today.  For the vast majority of regular business, there are other equally efficient forms of exchange; barter can fulfill quite a few needs if one is fairly self sufficient and possesses skills that are desirable.  It may not be preferred now, because our entire society is focused on money, but that has not always been true and it probably won’t be true in the future.

Now, to be fair to Marx, many of his criticisms of capitalism are spot on – and some of his solutions such as worker owned business simply make sense for the health and well-being of the community – but he lived in the largest age of expansion the world has ever seen, and he can be forgiven if it never occurred to him that it might someday end.

We need to realize that neither Marxism nor capitalism have the answers.  Capitalism has had a long run but it has proven to be the instinct of the lemmings, driving humanity over the brink of the biosphere cliff.  What then shall we design?  It must be sustainable over the long term, allow for both needs and wants (luxury items), fun and recreation, and not create wants that must be satisfied by any means necessary (as capitalism creates).   I have a few ideas, but they’re ideas that can’t work in the present milieu – capitalism needs to crash and burn first.


“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

-The Gulag Archipeligo

Long, long book.  Excellent read, worth every minute spent on it.  Given the mess that is currently simmering in Connecticut, and in our federal government, I highly recommend a read.

Women’s health is difficult!

speculum2That’s the class I’m currently in.  Normally an ‘A’ student, I’m floundering in this class.  Stop your snickering!  Just because I’m female doesn’t mean I understand everything about how the female body works!  I have a B, but it’s a borderline grade in my program; several programs I am familiar with require a B as a minimum passing grade.

The charting is part of what is killing me.  The SOAP format  (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan) is so nebulous in many ways that what one instructor insists is the *one right true and only way* to chart will get you a failing grade from another.  Frustrating but I’m only the student so I don’t have a lot to say about it.

I am having a hard time getting my required number of pelvic exams as well; I am supposed to have 25 by the end of the program and most students get them during this class — I couldn’t get a women’s health preceptor so I am doing part of my clinicals with a family practitioner who sees a lot of young women with sexual health complaints — but it’s winter, and when it snows, they don’t show up for appointments.

I’m doing some extra clinicals with an OB/GYN also; one of my fellow students was kind enough to refer me to him and he was kind enough to accept me.  So I’m getting at least some of my pelvic exams completed.

They are difficult!  I have short fingers!  I just can’t seem to reach far enough to feel ovaries though I’m told by one of my preceptors you should be able to feel them.  Telling a forward flopped uterus from a rearward flopped one is a skill I just don’t seem to possess yet, and may never.  I just take my preceptor’s word for it.  I’m glad I wasn’t interested in pursuing women’s health as a specialty; I would have to choose another field if that was the case.

I definitely prefer the metal speculums (specula) to the plastic disposable ones.  Easier to insert, DEFINITELY easier to remove without pinching delicate tissues in the process, and more environmentally friendly.  And probably more cost effective as well, they last more than a lifetime with proper care.

Life is Terminal.


I have had a hard time at work this week.  I have been yelled at and insulted by family members, had attempted intimidation by family members, and been asked straight up if I’m “resistant, am I sensing you are resistant to what I’m saying??”  by family members.  All four of these incidents are stemming from family members who are in either rehab or in long term care and on hospice; all of the the patients are in their 80′s.  All have conditions which are ultimately terminal.  One has end stage COPD (emphysema) and has dementia, one has colon cancer with two operations to remove sections of bowel, one has a surgically repaired fractured hip and dementia, one has Parkinson’s and advanced dementia and a surgically repaired fractured hip on top of it.   None of these family members has come to terms with mortality — not in themselves, and most certainly not in their family members.  They take their fear and lack of maturity regarding this oh-so-integral part of life out on us, the staff, by attempting to use yelling, name calling, insults, and intimidation to force us to *make* their family member our special priority and use our super powers to reverse fate.

You will notice I used lack of maturity in regard to them.  I truly believe this is so.  Once up0n a time, death was common and untimely death was more so.  Everyone had a death they had witnessed, everyone had  a funeral or three they had attended.  Death was something that was immediate, commonplace, an ever-present possibility.  One’s own death was contemplated as a religious observance:

“Dying used to be accompanied by a prescribed set of customs. Guides to ars moriendi, the art of dying, were extraordinarily popular; a 1415 medieval Latin text was reprinted in more than a hundred editions across Europe. Reaffirming one’s faith, repenting one’s sins, and letting go of one’s worldly possessions and desires were crucial, and the guides provided families with prayers and questions for the dying in order to put them in the right frame of mind during their final hours. Last words came to hold a particular place of reverence.”   – Atul Gawanda The New Yorker, 2009

I give you  Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist contemplations on death.

Medicine, in particular Western medicine and the doctors who practice it, are in large part responsible for the change in our culture from contemplation and acceptance of death to refusal to accept death in any form, any time, whatever.  Doctors themselves are uncomfortable with death, and often refuse to acknowledge the possibility even to themselves, let alone to their patients or family — hence the focus on endless medical interventions even in the face of – frankly – futility.  One can always find stories that showcase the 15% of patients who defy the odds and do well, like this one but the reality is that 85% of people (more in my experience) do not do this well at all.  In fact, they usually go from hospital to rehab facility back to the hospital to rehab to long term care and then, if they’re lucky and their family is compassionate and mature, to hospice.

I am of the firm conviction, having worked in the medical field for more than 20 years, that contemplation of death is a healty thing to do.  Not only is it healthy, but it is necessary for full maturity as a human.  Those who refuse to accept mortality, in themselves or in their family members, have not matured into a full human adult.  They are eternally teenagers, thinking they are the exception to the rule and that they are immortal — or even worse, thinking that if only their loved one could go on forever (or at least until after they themselves are dead) then everything will be just dandy.  I would say that this way lies madness, but I think it’s even worse than that:  this way lies unutterable cruelty.  The family members are not there, day after day, to see the misery and decline of their loved one.  We are.  The family members are not there in the dark hours of the night to see the suffering and despair.  We are.

Who are we?  We are not the doctors – they come in for 30 minutes perhaps daily, perhaps once or twice a week.  We are the nurses and nursing assistants, the social workers, and the ancillary staff.   We are the ones who are left hanging out to dry by our administrators when we don’t meet the expectations of the family, who are usually making the decisions for their loved ones.  We are the ones who see the suffering and try, as best we can, to comfort and support.  We are the ones who are trying to follow family dictates, however fanciful, and provider orders, however unrealistic.  We are the ones *with* your loved one.  Because you cannot deal with their mortality.

Please, if you love your family members, if you have respect for yourself, begin a contemplation of death.  Decide, with those closest to you, how you want your life to go if you cannot make those decisions for yourself.  Write them down, and ask your family members to abide by them for love of you.  Think carefully, for miracles do not exist, only blips on statistical charts.  Do not think yourself so lucky that you will be the blip.