Odds and ends

April 22, 2014



A friend sent an email about a phone scam going on
where the caller claims to be with the IRS. The
caller ID may even display IRS and a bogus phone

But do not fooled as the IRS doesn’t ask for PINs,
passwords, credit card, or bank information. They
also warn of other scams concerning the lottery,
or debt relief while claiming to be from the IRS.

The callers will use phony names and badge numbers,
may be able to tell you the last 4 digits of your
Social Security number, and even call back claiming
to be with the police.

If you think you have been targeted, or if want more
information, go here.




And it now appears that the bio-fuel industry has
taken a big hit on the “green” front. We’ve been told
for some time how much better for our environment
renewable fuel is.

But it turns out the corn based fuel may actually
release more greenhouse gasses than conventional
fuel. The story on that is here.

So there is some news you may not have seen nor
care much about.
Comments are always welcome.

Country protest songs

April 14, 2014

There are times when a song can lift our spirits,
sadden our hearts, enrich our patriotism, or seem
written for a later time.

While talking to our son he mentioned listening to
C.W. McCall’s “Classified” which was on the 1974 album Wolf Creek Pass. You may not remember the song,
but it might make you smile.

For some odd reason, this reminded of a rare single
from 1980 about the Iran hostage crisis. It was
considered a politically conscious song at the time.

“You guys in office!
You better listen!
We’re sick an’ tired of gettin’ took
This ain’t no crap game!
This is our future!
So run this country by the book”

Which reminded me of another of his songs from the
Wilderness album of 1976.

“There won’t be no country music
there won’t be no rock ‘n’ roll
’cause when they take away our country
they’ll take away our soul.”

McCall had bigger hits and more popular songs, but
we think these three are worth a listen. Love them or
hate them, agree with them or not, these songs should
at least make you think.
Comments are always welcome.

Some cheap tricks

April 14, 2014

Spring has sprung and before we know it weeds will
start growing like, well weeds. So once again we list
some homegrown solutions to the problems life throws
at us while we’re making plans.


Some say just fill a spray bottle with vinegar and
soak the weeds while others claim box salt will do
the job.

Something we have tried is mix a gallon of vinegar
with a half cup of table salt and give it a squirt of
lemon dish detergent. Then use a watering can, pail,
or whatever is hand is pour on the offending weed.

Just remember that if it kills weeds it will kill
grass so be careful.

Summer is just around the bend and that means
sunburn. We keep vinegar in spray bottle for such

And warmer weather means ticks if you are an outdoor
lover. If you have pets mix a cup of water, two cups
of distilled white vinegar, and two spoonfuls of
vegetable or almond oil and put it in a spray bottle.
Ticks hate vinegar and the oils contain sulfur which
is a natural tick repellent.

For you and the family mix 2 cups distilled white
vinegar and a cup of water then put it in a spray
bottle. If the smell bothers you add 20 drops of your
favorite essential oil.

Baking soda has many uses outside the kitchen, here
are just a few. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a
half glass of water for heartburn. If you have a
rabbit problem, sprinkle baking soda around your
flowerbeds to keep them out. If you sprinkle baking
soda around your tomato plants you will get sweeter

Lemons are useful too. You can remove stubborn odors
from your cutting board by rubbing a lemon half over
it after washing. Lemon juice and toothbrush will
clean grout between your tiles, and a quarter cup of
lemon juice added to your wash will brighten whites.

A study done at Copenhagen University found that
drinking a cup of hot water mixed with two
tablespoons of honey and a teaspoon of honey every
morning relieved arthritis pain.

And it’s just that easy.
Comments are always welcome.

Interesting home

March 22, 2014

What you do if you were living in Thailand and a
friend gave you some land on his mango plantation?
Pitch a tent? Pull in a travel trailer?

If your name is Steve Areen and you had six weeks
and around $9,000 you would build a dream home.

I don’t know much about dome homes, but I know I
could live in one like this. I also don’t know much
about the cost of things in Thailand but don’t
believe one could beat the price.

It wouldn’t be for everybody and we think it is one
of those love it or hate it deals, we we like it.
Throw in a radio we could watch and it would be just
about perfect.
Comments are always welcome.

Here we go again

March 2, 2014


We are once again getting our gear together
for another snow removal marathon. Wind
chills are below zero, the wind is whistling,
and the snow is piling up.

We ask whomever prayed for snow to please
stop. It has worked, it is March 2nd, and
we are ready for high temps over single

The white flakes of global warming have
blessed us with their presence often enough.
Perhaps the snow could hover over a third
world country whose people have never before
seen snow.

That would delight the children of said
country and make us happy also. It is a
win/win solution.
Comments are always welcome.

Alternative fuel?

January 28, 2014


A newsletter sent us on another quest to
find the truth. Actually it was the content
of said newsletter that got me thinking “if
it sounds too good to be true it isn’t”.

What at first appeared to be a sales pitch
for the gullible turned out to be fact. I
am again amazed at our technological

If I said we could make our own gas,
propane, and natural gas with water and
sunlight would you think I’d lost my mind?

One source even claims we could have our
own power plants to make it!

Admittedly that would be decades away, but
when 80% of our energy used is from some
form of fuel, it has to be a step in the
right direction.

At UC Santa Cruz a team of chemists
have designed a gadget that uses sunlight
and sewage to make hydrogen fuel.

The University of Minnesota is also
working on turning water and sunlight into

This may be ancient history to some, but
it sure is news to us. It would have to be
greener than ethanol and just as renewable.

As soon as it warms up I’m getting out the
garden hose and a bucket.
Comments are always welcome.

The ongoing corn fight

January 20, 2014


It now looks like Iowa may be ground
zero for the ethanol debacle of 2014.

The pro-ethanol group wants to ramp up the
sale of E-15 ethanol. Their claim is that
the fuel is safe for all vehicles built in
2001 and newer.

The anti-ethanol group states BMW,
Chrysler, Toyota, and VW will not be
cover for fuel-related claims caused by
E-15 under warranty

Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo
say E-15 use will void warranties. This is
because of potential corrosive damage to
fuel lines, gaskets, and engine components.

AAA, a group who has no car in the race,
wants to stop the sale of E-15 until there
is more testing.

Of course those who favor E-15 say don’t
look behind the curtain. They do this by
saying just because auto makers won’t cover
damage under warranties does not mean that
E-15 actually poses a danger and the
potential for damage to fuel lines and
components is overstated.

Gas stations don’t want the added expense
of installing new tanks and pumps to sell
an unknown product.

Others against ethanol claim production is
more damaging to the environment than just
running the old straight gas was.

The farmers like it because they can make
money. And we still feel ethanol isn’t
worth the hassle.

To learn more about the environmental cost
of ethanol on the rest of us, go,

Regardless of which side you’re on, there
are some questions that must be answered.
Comments are always welcome.

Thoughts during my second childhood

December 16, 2013


Oh how quickly we forget. We noticed no
parties or parades, nor televised comments.

Exactly 5 years ago, in the second week of
December, 2008, Al Gore stated that the entire
North Polar ice cap would disappear in 5

Five years and a few days have passed.

We eagerly await his comments as to why the
event didn’t occur.

I can’t wait long however because we have an
appointment with someone at the company the
wife works for who is supposed to explain why
they can longer offer her health insurance.

In theory, we are going to hear about the
“options” that are available to her except
her keeping the policy, and doctor, she likes.

7 am seems like an odd hour to talk about
insurance, but I have been informed I want to
slide through the fresh fallen snow to do so.

The wife doesn’t know if this person will be
explaining our options under the “Affordable
Care Act” or insurance in general.

Since I have been told for some time that I
am going through my second children,I am
looking at a different approach. Why not go
without health insurance?

After all,
we are either sick or healthy. If we’re not
sick there is nothing to worry about.

If we are sick, we will either get better or
die. If we get better there is nothing to
worry about, and if we die we won’t’ worry

So why worry and spend a bunch of money on
the off-chance we may get sick when we could
spend it on a party.
Comments are always welcome.

The hedge

July 16, 2013


As the temperatures outside reached the
mid 90s and the humidity climbed, I got
the idea it was time to trim the hedges.

With the recent heat and rain said
bushes had reached epic proportions and
I needed to trim them or get our yard
declared a National forest.

I was going to fire up the gas-powered
hedge clippers and go psycho on the
offending vegetation. But something in
the back of my head told me to rethink
my position.

If my memory was correct we’ve had a bird
nest on one end of the hedge in the past
so I grabbed the pruning shears instead.

After toiling long enough to trim about
4 foot of hedge the nest came into view.
As you can see from the picture it has
eggs in it.

So I wiped the sweat out of eyes, went
to get the camera, and took the picture.
With that done I quickly worked around
the nest leaving that area untrimmed.

One neighbor thought I was trying to
make the hedges into artwork and even
ventured a guess that I was going to
trim them to resemble a sea serpent with
head raised.

Works for me, at least the nest is
Comments are always welcome.

Strange little car

April 16, 2013


A friend sent an email that at first I
brushed off. I had never heard of the
Edison2 product called VLC.

VLC stands for very light car. It is
called that because it’s light, it’s
simple, and is environmentally sound
among other things.

The vehicles light chassis and aerodynamic
body means it only needs a 250 cc engine
from a motorcycle to power it.

The Edison2 company
is located in Lynchburg, Virginia and was
started to compete in the Automotive X
Prize competition and actually won a
division prize in 2010.

Time magazine also named the VLC as
one of the 50 best inventions of the
year 2010.

The little cars run on E-85 and get
better than 69 mpg. So if sitting in
a cramped, weird-looking little box
that gets great mileage is your thing,
you may want to follow this group.

This vehicle may also be available
as an electric vehicle if things go
as planned.

We looked for 0-60 mph figures and
couldn’t find any. This could be the
car of the future, but we hope not.

Driving something that looks like a
cross between an insect and an
escape pod from a science fiction
movie just isn’t our thing.
Comments are always welcome.


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