Thursday, August 29, 2013

What I found in our garden

A week or so ago I did some weeding in our side garden – which is a complete shambles - and pulled out a lot of grass that was growing there.
Fortunately I did not delve into the overgrown part because at this stage I really don’t know what are weeds and what are not. When Cate’s sister-in-law visited us recently from Washington DC she pointed out that we had poison ivy in abundance.
It had never occurred to me that we could have poison ivy lurking in our garden. I had assumed – and I don’t know why – that it was confined to forests and woodlands.
So I am going to get a gardener to come in and deal with it properly as I am sure that if I tried to do it the results would be catastrophic - and involve a hospital.
We are in our second (or is it third) week of temperatures in the high 80s and early 90s. On a brighter note some of the trees around us have started losing their leaves - so we know that Fall is on the way. Yes I now call it Fall instead of Autumn.
I have been told that I need to buy a leaf blower from Costco and I am looking forward to this as I have never had a leaf blower before. I have no idea where I blow the leaves – but assume it is into the neighbor’s garden.
I also need to start thinking about a snow shovel and any other implements I need for winter. I also have no idea what these might because I did not need any of this stuff in Vienna.
I will ask the man at the hardware store.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Here is my problem

I am living in a country with more than its fair share of crazy and stupid people.
A poll in Louisiana last week found that 29% of Republicans believe that Barack Obama was more responsible than George Bush for the poor response to hurricane Katrina.
Polls show that 34% of Republicans believe that President Obama is a Muslim – and 43% believe that he was born in another country.
There is another fascinating article in the Washington Post today about what recent polls say Americans believe.
The post is here – and following are some interesting results from a Public Policy Polling release in April this year.
37% believe that global warming is a hoax.
6% believe that Osama bin Laden is still alive.
21% believe that a UFO crashed at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 and the US government covered it up.
28% believe that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order.
13% believe that President Barack Obama is the anti-Christ.
4% believe that shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining political power to manipulate our societies.
29% believe that aliens exist.
9% believe the government adds fluoride to our water supply, not for dental health reasons, but for other, more sinister reasons.
 4% believe the moon landing was faked.
15% believe media or the government adds secret mind-controlling technology to television broadcast signals.
5% believe that the exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons.

I don’t actually believe that the numbers are all real. I am sure that many people gave the answers they did to deliberately skew the poll. 
This is known is Australia as ‘taking the piss’ - and the pollsters seem to have been had. However, taking this into account - some of the numbers are still really scary and make me worry about my fellow travelers in the mid-west. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

We are not hard to please

We enjoyed Michigan even though our bed and breakfast place was no where near the place we wanted to be – but that was because we booked late and that part of the world is very popular in summer.

Breakfast was not as I had imagined it would be. Day one was ‘French Toast Crème Brulee’ which looked gooey and ghastly. Day two was a Tortilla – which looked like road kill. So on both days I had fruit and what purported to be coffee.

We saw Saugatuck, Holland and South Haven and liked the latter the best because it had good espresso coffee.

We are not hard to please – espresso coffee and a bagel will make our day – but espresso coffee is not that easy to find in some parts of the USA.

Each of the towns we visited has an endless array of galleries and shops selling gruesome schlock for tourists. Naturally we tried to visit every one.  I also spent some time sitting in SBCs while Cate tried on clothes.

We found a couple of surprisingly good restaurants and some surprisingly bad roads. We traveled most of the way on US 31 which in some places is falling to bits.

We are planning on doing quite a bit of driving so I hope all US roads are not this bad. It is certainly a big change from what we were accustomed to in Europe. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We do expect to be punished

This weekend we are having our first weekend away since we got to America. We are going to Saugatuck near Lake Michigan where we will stay at the Kingsley House.  

I am looking forward to my American breakfast of bacon and eggs, hash browns, grits, waffles, blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and cinnamon bagels. I am taking my bucket and spade.

We don’t like our cat minder – who was provided by the Cat Nanny.  We both agree that she is creepy. However – as she is the only one who responded we are stuck with her for this time away.

She does have two cats of her own and has been working for the Cat Nanny for some months – so we are sure that the cats will survive the ordeal.

We do expect that they will be unhappy even though we will be gone for only two days – and we do expect to be punished for this heinous act. This punishment will most certainly involve the carpet and rugs and could take a variety of forms – none pleasant. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I was cheered up immensely

It can be a bit gloomy for a liberal living in the Midwest but I was cheered up immensely this morning by an article about gay marriage in the Indianapolis Star.

In 2011 the General Assembly in Indiana approved a amendment which said:

“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.”

No surprises there.

But – a new coalition called “Freedom Indiana” has been formed to fight this amendment – which goes before the Assembly again in 2014 and – if approved - will then go before voters.

And – here is the good part – the coalition is supported by some of Indiana’s major businesses – including Cate’s employer Ducky Pharma. They are doing this on the basis that - with laws such as this in place they are not able to attract the very best people to Indianapolis – which in any case is a difficult task given the location and politics of the city.

Indeed we know personally of a gay couple who declined to leave Europe for Indianapolis because of the certain prejudice they would face here.

I just don’t get the objection to gay marriage. It’s not as though marriage is a finite resource so that if a gay couple gets hitched – then  a heterosexual couple misses out. I think there is enough to go around.

And – while I respect the right of other people to not endorse gay marriage – I do not think that they have the right to deny this type of union – and its attendant benefits -  to a large part of the population.

But then I don’t mind either if people vote Republican – as long as we have a Democrat as President.