Friday, December 19, 2014

Why Pakistanis are the enemy of Civilization - no matter where they live

From the Toronto Sun, September 8, 2014

There are 1.5 million street kids in Pakistan -- an estimated 90% of them have been sexually abused at some point in their lives.

Rape in Pakistan is so common, it’s barely taboo. Last week the Daily Mail interviewed a bus driver from Peshawar who says, after his shift is over, he likes to go into the slums and rape street kids. Sometimes he pays them a dollar. But often he doesn’t – he just joins in a big gang rape.

"Once, there was a boy on the bus and everyone had sex with him," he told the Daily Mail. "I did it too but what else could I do? They invited me. And he was that kind of boy anyway." He says he’s raped 12 different children.

This wasn’t a solitary rapist, hiding in the shadows, afraid of being seen or being caught. This was men joining together, unworried about social norms, unworried about someone stopping them.

A poll of 1,800 Pakistani men found that a third don’t think raping street kids is a crime – and they don’t even think it’s a bad thing to do.

And then there’s so-called honour killings – where families kill their own daughters for social improprieties, real or perceived.

Every year close to 1,000 Pakistani girls are murdered by their own fathers, brothers or even mothers, for "moral indiscretions" ranging from going out on a date to dressing in western clothing to marrying the wrong man.

What a horrific duality -- a country that has normalized the rape of children, but would rather murder its own daughters than have embarrassing gossip about them.

No wonder so many Pakistanis are happy to emigrate. Put aside the ongoing terrorist civil war, put aside official discrimination against minority religions, such as Christianity or even other Muslim denominations like the Ahmadiyyas -- Pakistan drives out its best, those who want a better life, a life of freedom and peace and safety.Canada is the [UN]lucky recipient of many such immigrants. The Sun’s columnist Tarek Fatah is a perfect example of that – someone so Canadian he probably has maple syrup in his veins. But not all Pakistani immigrants prefer our liberal values to those of the Peshawar bus driver.

Aqsa Parvez was a young woman who was murdered by her father and her brother for the honour crime of dressing and acting like a Canadian teenager. They imported the worst of Pakistan to Mississauga.

Rotherham, UK, has received another import: mass rape gangs. Between 1997 and 2013, that city of just 250,000 had 1,400 girls – as young as 11 – systematically "groomed," raped and prostituted by Pakistani gangs. Fourteen-hundred out of a city of 250,000. The girls were white Christians; in the eyes of the Pakistani Muslim gangs, they were sub-human, like Pakistan’s own street orphans.

Rotherham police knew all about it. But they were paralyzed with fear – fear of being called racist if they dared to act. They found the mass rape of a generation of the city’s girls less intolerable than the risk of being called politically incorrect or "Islamophobic."

Back to Canada. Pakistan is the fourth largest source of immigrants to our country – nearly 100,000 in the past decade. Most of them are wonderful, peaceful Canadians, like Tarek. [Wanna bet?] But how many are like the Peshawar bus driver, or the Rotherham rape gangs, or Muhammad Parvez?

Pakistan, like some [ALL] other Muslim countries, has a rape problem. Perhaps before opening up the floodgates, we might want to do something as simple as asking a prospective immigrant for their views on women, rape and honour.

Why Muslims will Never be Civilized and Why Pakistan is the enemy of Civilization

The family of two Pakistani Christian teenagers, who were gang-raped at gunpoint in the Punjab Province by four Muslim men, is saying that they are being threatened by influential people in their village and warned not to press charges against the attackers.

The father of the two victims, Ilyas Masih, told police that his daughters, 16-year-old Sehrish and 14-year-old Farzana, went outside of their house in the village of Jaranwala during the middle of the night on Dec. 3 to go to the bathroom, since there are no bathrooms inside the house. But when the girls went outside, they did not return. The family began to frantically worry and filed a missing person's complaint with the local police, in which a search was launched to find them.

The two teens were found the next afternoon laying unconscious along the side of the road several miles away from their home village. The girls were taken to a hospital and later told police that a well-known local landlord and three other men had taken them at gunpoint, took them away and raped them.

In their statement to the police the girls alleged that a local landlord Muhammad Shabaz and his three accomplices abducted them at gunpoint and took them to a deserted place where they 'gang-raped us,'" a local police official told PTI.

A local pastor named Razaq, who was told of the details incident by the two girls and has tried to organize legal representation for the poor family, told GlobalNewsCentre.com that the men threatened to shoot the girls if they did not go with them. Razaq added that once they got to the deserted location, the men ripped the girls clothes off and gang-raped them "many times."

According to a report by Release International, an advocacy group speaking out for persecuted Christians, the family claims to have been threatened against pressing charges. Additionally, the family also claims that the local police have "obstructed attempts to gather medical evidence."

Partners with Release International have vowed to provide the girls with the medical and legal assistance they need. Razaq explained that Shahbaz and his three accomplices were all Muslim and had previously been accused of rape by another Christian family in the village. Razaq added that the other Christian family compromised on a settlement after being pressured by influential people in the village to drop the lawsuit. Razaq fears that Masih and his daughters will continue to face the same pressure to settle out of court.

The police official said that Shahbaz has already been arrested, as the police found him when they were searching the known hideouts of the other three men involved in the incident.

The two girls have been so traumatized by the incident, that they are afraid to leave the house to use the restroom, and instead are using buckets inside of their house. According to GlobalNewsCentre.com, The Pakistan Legal Evangelical Association Development is collecting donations so that they can install a bathroom inside of the girls' home.

The Release International report also indicates that many of its partners have reported a "sharp rise" in the number of Christian girls being attacked in Pakistan.

Release International cited another incident in the Punjab Province that occurred in late November where a 14-year-old Christian was abducted, forced to convert to Islam and forced to marry her captor. Local Christians and Muslims are involved in negotiations to have the girl returned to her family, but, so far to no avail.

Also in Novembe Shoebat.com reported on a 16-year-old Christian girl who was tied and raped by six Muslim men, who owned the brick kiln where she is enslaved as a bonded laborer. In August, Fides reported on a 12-year-old Christian girl who was kidnapped by two Muslim men and three Muslim women and was later raped inside of a closed school by the men.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

From Harry

You are always showing us pictures and videos of your home state of Washington. It is beautiful and I still want to visit one day to experience the mighty Columbia and mountains like Rainer and St. Helens.

I want you to see the beauty of my home, Virginia. This video popped up on my Facebook page and I think it is pretty good, although it features the Hampton Rhodes area more than the north, center or western parts of the Old Dominion.

If you stop the video at 1:01 with the view of Richmond, and look at the top left-hand corner of the frame at the horizon, you can imagine that you can see my house beyond the western part of the city. It’s the one with a new roof we put on last year. Hugs, Harry

Sunday, December 14, 2014

From Harry!

Q: Why do mermaids wear seashells?
A: Because B-shells are too small, and D-shells are too big.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Moaning, Groaning, and a Pregnant Pixie


            I’ve spent endless hours in doctor’s offices lately. I think most doctors are witch doctors in disguise. They stick you in an MRI machine, and it looks all scientific. But it’s little more than shaking a rattle and tossing finger bones to read the signs.

            My relief is sipping hot coffee, nibbling lemon cake with lemon-vanilla frosting, and venting to my pet Scotsman or my coffee group or both. Knobby Knees is less intimidated by my coffee mob. He holds his own fairly well now. Considering the diverse and forward character of most of my regular mob of coffee drinkers, this is a huge male accomplishment.

            Things one learns while visiting doctors and their minions aren’t always pleasant. But I won’t discuss that today, except that I learned that losing a pound or six will make my doctor lecture me for thirty minutes without a breath. (I may have exaggerated.)

            I worked reduced hours on my “other job” this week to accommodate the doctors’ appointments. Did I mention that I don’t like doctors much? Oh, yes, I see I did.

            My writing partner got a nice bit of fan mail from someone who bought out book. He has a very large archive of relevant historical material and shared some of it with us. It’s always nice to get fan mail. I wish our books were selling faster than they are. People buy them in spurts. I do not have a feel for the way they’re selling. But they do sell. If people would leave reviews I’d be happier. You can leave a review of Separate Identity on google books. (books.google.com) But no one has. There are only two reviews on Amazon, both really nice, but still, there are only the two.

            One nice thing was finding out that we’ve gone from the bottom of the heap on one bookseller site (something like near a million down on their best seller list) to about sixty thousand. That leaves us way down in the pile, but what a jump! I’d like to see us in the top 100. Won’t happen, I suppose. But I’d still like it. On Amazon, where we have many competing books, we’re way down. But most of our books are sold by other sites. Almost none are sold through Amazon, which is not bad because Amazon take more than their fair share of the money. We had several issues with Amazon too. It takes forever to get them to fix anything.

            I’m chronically unhappy with the documentation we have. But things are improving some. I found a few newspaper articles, and I’m on the trail of some original documents.

            I sleep more than usual. And I have some trouble breathing. And I’m cold. I bought a heater for the downstairs bedroom. KK and I have moved into that room. It’s smaller than our bedroom, but I can’t climb stairs without difficulty. I’m dizzy. And I’ve taken some bad tumbles down the stairs. It doesn’t make sense to heat the entire house to eighty degrees (F), so I just heat my workroom. It keeps me comfortable. When I teach I wear a warm sweater. It helps some.

            We’re selling more of our research collection. Both my writing partner and I have medical bills that need attention. Aunt S. still owes about a thousand dollars on her hospital stay when she had her stroke. Insurance paid almost forty-thousand dollars; the rest is up to Uncle B to pay. So we’re selling six bound volumes of a magazine from the 1830s. They contain letters from Henry Grew. While we had planned on eventually writing a biography of Grew and his associates, it is now obvious that we never will. So we can sell these. We’re in negotiations for a private sale.

            I bought a really cheap stamp from Wurttemberg. (under a dollar) It made me totally happy. I’ve looked for it for ages. No one had it. A stamp dealer in Germany who knew I wanted it sold it to me. I enjoy a completed album page. Now I’ve filled another.

            One of my sisters is pregnant. This will be her second child. So, while it makes no sense for me to think about having another, I’ll get to play with her baby. It’s very clearly a girl. I’ve already been buying baby clothes. I suppose that’s silly. But I like being an aunty nearly as much as I like being a mommy.

           

 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Wonderland Trail

Permit to camp is required. The hike takes six to ten days, depending on the hiker's fitness. God made this land. And once upon a time a pixie and her pet Scotsman made a baby pixie on this hike and named her Elizabeth. The mountain you see is 14,408 feet.

Friday, December 05, 2014

From O. Reader


The Mousetrap

It is in the record books as the longest running play in theatre history – currently notching up its 63rd year in London.

I first saw it in the early 60s with my grandmother.

Then, when first married to Mrs O, we used to have cheap holidays in London at my mother’s home – and saw it together then.

Wind the clock forward to this, a special anniversary year – someone kindly gives us a present for our anniversary, which translated in theater tickets for a matinee performance by a touring company in South Wales.

In London I imagine the main audience is made up of foreign tourists scratching their heads and wondering why on earth this is such a phenomenon for the British?

In the South Wales theater matinee performance, it was “grey power” time. Well, blue rinse and bald head time. Since I currently sport neither I was in the minority. I actually felt quite young just looking around. It was very gratifying because I am now of an age where you remember being told to respect your elders, but find it increasingly difficult to find any!

But what can one say of this old creaking vehicle after more than 62 years?

Well, there is humor – there is suspense – and there is a lot of sheer ham – but as expected, the cast brought off very well... Almost at the start of the play a radio announces that the murderer they are looking for was seen wearing a dark overcoat, a light scarf and a dark felt hat... As it does so, a main character tidying up picks her husband’s clothes absent-mindedly off a chair – a dark overcoat, light scarf and dark felt hat...

It got the desired laugh, and things kept up well thereafter.

As always with touring productions, there was a generally unknown cast. The only name I knew was a radio actress, and she was here as an understudy. But their CVs showed various fringe theater efforts, small parts in TV programs, and in one case the proud boast of being the back end of a pantomime cow in a famous TV commercial.

And as always with touring productions, apart from the occasional thespian in the last throes of their “career” it was nearly all fresh faced youngsters not long out of drama school. Young people playing middle-aged or elderly people, even with the ministrations of stage make-up, never does work properly for me. Even in films it rarely works.  I can see me now watching the boy wonder Orson Welles in Citizen Kane playing the old Charles Foster Kane - he still looks like he’s got a face full of latex. Which he has.

The Mousetrap started life as a 30 minute radio play by Agatha Christie, who later expanded it for the stage. When I first discovered detective fiction, Agatha Christie was heralded as “The Queen of Crime.”  Later in life, I lived near her for a while.  Even later again I worked out that I had actually called at her home in Wallingford as part of my then activities. However, I never met her in person.

Even as a teenager and a pre-teen, I had an obsessive nature. So I remember clearly how I made a list of every book Agatha had written up until then, and ticked them off as I read them. There I was, sitting in the school corridor, lounging on the school playing fields – bedlam all around me, and me just reading, reading, reading. I remember how I ticked off number 36 and something snapped. I almost screamed out loud. I had gone down with a bad case of Agatha Christie overload.

I never touched another one until about two years ago, when in desperation late one night suffering from insomnia I found a free one online to put on my eReader as chewing gum for the eyes. I discovered I was now partially cured of the aversion.

Personally I prefer the stories as radio plays, and Mrs O has all the TV series on DVD video. Still, it was nostalgic to visit the theatre.

What was amusing was the collection of people around us – after the first half with its two acts, they all had theories as to who dunnit. It must have been a really well-kept secret for 62 years. Because what was particularly amusing is that they were ALL WRONG. Mrs O had forgotten who the murderer was. I hadn’t, but this WAS the THIRD time for me.

And I remember at the very end at the curtain call, what they did at every performance – a bit like Hitchcock did in the first showings of Psycho – a pact with the audience, don’t tell anyone the secret.

So – under pain of being struck down with an awful curse, the audience must not disclose WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. Well, I think that after 62 years the time has come to break the spell and use a venerable pixie blog to do it. Some readers may even have seen the play themselves – somewhere. So dear reader, either look away now or be prepared to learn that the killer really was.......

Aaaaaaaaeeeerrggh...

 

Monday, December 01, 2014

I even managed to impress myself: 4:01

Click to Mix and Solve

I'm tired of ...

I'm tired of dealing with really stupid people. My first post on the history blog has become a target of trolls. I removed it today. It wasn't essential to the blog; it was wrong in a minor detail. The visits and misuse will stop ... because it is gone for good.

People are increasingly hard to like.

The Pet


            So … I’m not writing much today. Well, not anything historical. I have pages of things to write for next semester’s classes. I started early this morning, and, unless I’ve forgotten something, I am done.

            My desk is now unusable, and I’ll spend the rest of the day putting my work room back into some sort of order. I want new curtains for my work room. It has two small and one large window. My desk sits in front of the large window. The smaller windows are over bookshelves.

            The curtains are striped, shades of green. Though they match the house’s historical period, they are ugly. I’m tired of looking at them. I may replace them with white blinds and lace sheers. I haven’t made up my mind yet. Window blinds of the style found in 1940 are very expensive. I may compromise and buy modern, narrower blinds.

            I asked for volunteers to run down some divorce papers from 1903, but no one came forward. I’ll start on that next week. So many essential things seem to be lost. I can’t find any issue of a paper called The Last Trump and all the key issues of Zion’s Day Star seem not to exist. There must be one copy out there somewhere. One of our history blog readers asked about them on a controversialist’s website but without result.

            Other than a brief biography in volume 1, we haven’t written much about an Arthur Adams. A. D. Jones was a thief and a pervert. But he is interesting. Adams makes my skin crawl. I read his 1882 book. We will quote from it, I think. But … well … ever pick up a book and feel as if you want to wipe your hands clean after? That’s how I feel toward his 1882 book. Jones, for all his colorful behavior, represents a very ordinary wickedness. Adams touched Satan’s face. But, despite my personal feelings, we’ll just tell the story as it happened. I don’t have to like the people we write about, just tell the documented truth about them.

            I wrote a short story called Too Soon Goodb’ye once upon a time. It was published in Mebra Disjecta, a now defunct web magazine and republished on this blog. There is more reality in it than fiction.

            I’m experiencing the same stressed and melancholy mood that I portray in the story. My complex of seizures produces odd effects. I sometimes ‘hear’ my own name. That’s characteristic of one type of seizure. When I was a child and going to religious meetings with my mother, one of the Elders suggested I was demonized. That upset my mother who though a Bible believer was very practical. It offended me. It made me cry.

           I see things. I know they’re not real, and this too is common symptom of this complex of seizures. I’m not going mad, my brain is misfiring.

            There are issues that my doctors explain with guesses. I’m not going to describe them; I can’t do them justice with words. But they are frightening. I don’t like the experience.

            Life is grim sometimes. I can see that I’m on my way back to doctors. (Did I mention that I don’t LIKE doctors.) I can feel myself shutting down.

One of my favorite imaginative artists


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Imagination

This illustration is by Darrel Sweet. I'm posting it without his permission, and I don't have a working link to his web page. The one I have is broken. This picture reminds me of how my daughters and their dad interact. It takes a tough-minded Pixie to keep order in this house because Knobby Knees, even when he's in his dragon mode, is easily manipulated by our girl children.



Page Views


            Well … this blog drew over 900 page views yesterday – most of them from the same source: Someone using AT&T in Indiana. While I like it when someone reads my blog or views the photos I post, this is a bit creepy.

They systematically read through each post back to March 2010. I’m inclined to attach this to a controversy on a history blog where I am moderator. But it may have come from a small group of Internet griefers who’ve been reading everything they can find about me.

If you are Mr. (or Miss) Indiana, introduce yourself. I hope you enjoyed my blog. You spent enough time here to decide. Let me know. Did you find the porn you were apparently seeking?

If you’re one of the trouble makers who center on a woman living in the UK, let me know what you think anyway. It’s much easier to ask me direct questions than it is to search the internet looking for my biography. I noticed that the same bunch (I’m presuming it’s the griefer bunch, though I may be wrong) read my first “guest post” on the history blog over thirty times. Didn’t it bore you after the second reading?

I posted an indignant rant to the history blog, but I removed it. It didn’t address the real issue. And the person for whom it was meant wouldn’t get the point anyway.

I’m weary. People who believe that I’m obligated to like them no matter what wear me out. I’m not obligated to like anyone.

I have clearly defined expectations for friends and acquaintances. I am not obligated to tell you what they are. And I’m free to like or dislike you without notice. Live with it.


 What did you expect to see?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Goat Girl and Her Pet Shape-shifting Dragon



Dragons are easily seduced.
 

Stuff


            I have a bad headache today. It’s really my neck. It’s making me miserable and unhappy.

            The illusive Mr. Jones is giving up his secrets – slowly, reluctantly. He used so many aliases that he is hard to follow. But the key elements of his life are clear. I think the man needed mental-health counseling. Eventually, we’ll try to locate records of his second divorce. These are in Cook County, Illinois. This and his first divorce are important, I think. The other “divorces” seem never to have happened. He just remarried without divorcing his pervious partner. We know of one incident because his “ex” was prosecuted for bigamy. While she was in court, and Jones was no where to be found, he was married to a fourth wife (or maybe fifth.)

            I can’t locate any of the first issues of his magazine. There must be at least one copy out there. They were “throw away” items, things few saved. We see something similar with a booklet entitled Food for Thinking Christians. About a million and a half of them were printed. A handful survives.

 

            All my children have scattered. No school. Knobby Knees is working, but it will be a short day. It’s turning dreary. The wind is picking up. I need a nap already. As soon as the laundry load is in the dryer, I’m going to snuggle my pillow and dream about dragons and evil frogs and lost temples, or maybe just about nothing.

 

            Someone gave me a huge file of old newspapers. We couldn’t afford the microfilms, and it’s really kind of them to scan them all and pass them on. We aren’t allowed to share them. I have no clue what sort of reasoning demands I not share what I can otherwise get from a library in Minnesota. But, I promised …

           

            I found an illustration online but didn’t save it. I went looking for it today without success. I found the same illustration but the girl in it is naked. I wanted the one where she is fully clothed. I should bookmark things I like. And I do sometimes.

           I was going to use it with a post entitled “Shopping with a Dragon.” But since the post is still an idea and not a reality, it can wait.

           

            I purchased a stamp I’ve wanted for years. Sometimes it only takes patience. This is the three mark stamp from the 1900 series for Germany. Later versions differ in wording, making some of the first series scarce. This one catalogues for seventy UK pounds in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, slightly less in the Scott Catalog.  I’m happy to have it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

4:27

Click to Mix and Solve

My Pet Scot's View of Life with a Pixie


            One of my friends is an artist. We discuss life, dragons, sex with wicked elves and lately anthropomorphism. She sent me a huge file of illustrations, none of which are hers. I don’t post hers because this is usually a PG to G rated blog. Her drawings are never exactly PG. They’re more R to XXX.

            Anthropomorphic art and literature takes in everything from Peter Rabbit to Laurel K. Hamilton’s torrid (read pornographic) fairy fiction. My favorites include the Redwall series. They’re fun books written for pre to late teens. I’ve read most of them.

            Almost none of the art she sent can appear here, but this one I especially liked. I don’t know how to title it. Is she stealing carrots? Going to share with friends? I dunno. I just like the picture.
 
 

 

            The bunny girl reminds me of my children, two of them especially so.

            I like girls with swords pictures. They fit in nicely with some of my oral stories. This one reminds me of the warrior princess in my current story.




 
            And this last one is my pet Scot’s view of life with a pixie:



Harry thinks he needs a coffee cup like this one


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hunting the illusive Mr. Jones.


Hunting the Wild Illusive
 
So … my writing partner and I are trying to tell Albert Delmont Jones’ story. He will have a chapter of his own mostly because he was a bad boy, and bad boys are more interesting than saints. As with many of the personalities that make up the history we write, he is illusive. I feel like a hunter stalking the wild, pixie-eating lion. (I don’t think lions actually eat pixies, but you never know with lions.)

            We’ve accumulated some good documentation. Antonius, “Ton” to readers of our history blog, spent hours researching Jones. (I miss Ton. He was a tenacious researcher.) And we found things as well. What we don’t have is key issues of Jones’ magazine, Zion’s Day Star. Some issues are in the Library of Congress. We’d need over three hundred dollars to have them copied, money better spent on other things. The key issues (1882-1884) are no where to be found.

            We have bits of early life biography. We know something about his family. We have a spotty criminal record. We know about a failed bank, real-estate deals gone bad, a scheme that sucked in someone who we usually see as an adept business man, money borrowed from a rich iron merchant, and we have divorce records. We don’t have his photo. We believe it’s in the New York City archives, but no one has located it.

            As with any research project there have been dead ends – hunches that did not work out or that remain unproven. The next step down from hunches are wild guesses. We’ve made a few of those, none of which were fruitful. It’s like playing “cowboys an Indians.” You can shoot all you want, but if the other person refused to die, you can’t do anything about it but whine.

 


Bows and Arrows and Little Toes.
1940


            My oldest daughter attracts boys. She’s mostly oblivious. She is good at identifying nonsense. Most twenty-something young men are full of nonsense. I don’t have to point that out. She’s tumbled to it, and probably did so when she was seven.

            Annie and my baby half-sister have made a teddy bear village. BHS thinks that’s super. Annie crafts stories, and they play act. Annie will make a good story teller one of these days if she wishes to write.

            My CPI recertification class was last night. Four hours of lecture and role playing. I got to be the bad-acting student, mostly because I’m small. So I was restrained in various ways. I surprised a principal who took the course by being able to pin his arm down so he couldn’t move. It’s not about strength but position. Most of the class is about the mechanism of emotional release and how to handle the explosive emotions of students. It’s very interesting. But it’s not a fun class.

            My body temperature is off kilter. I bought a new heating blanket, the kind with dual controls. That’s part of my neurological problems, and it comes and goes. It’s not fun. But a good snuggle helps relieve it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Solving it.


If solving a jigsaw puzzle takes longer than expected, try this:  

Find the border pieces first. Solve from the border inward. While you’re solving the border sort out pieces that have similar colors or patterns. Green was a prominent color in our last puzzle. Put those pieces in one spot out of the puzzle area. (I start my puzzles in the upper left corner.) As the similarly colored or patterned pieces are found, put them together. When you have them all assembled put them in the puzzle frame. 

Remember, though, that you’re building the puzzle from the frame inward.
 
Look for clues. For example, a bit of blue sky at the edge of a puzzle piece tells you it connects to the sky area. Straight lines are a give-away too. If they continue across the piece, then they connect to another piece with a similar straight line. Puzzle solving is based on pattern recogniztion. However, note the picture patterns first, the shape of the puzzle piece second. If you focus on puzzle piece shape first, it will increase your time.

This should speed up your puzzle solving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

So-so at 4:05

Click to Mix and Solve

Crime!


            So, today was on the not-fun side. The circuit breaker for our furnace went bad. It’s cold. The furnace will run, but the breaker buzzes loudly. So we’ve turned the heat down. An electrician is coming tomorrow to replace the breaker. Until then we’re all wearing sweaters.

            I had the day off (both jobs). It’s a school holiday. And I scheduled myself off for today on my ‘other job.’ I’ll spend my night off snuggling ol’ knobby knees.

           I’ve almost caught up on the laundry. That’s always a near miracle. Try doing the laundry for seven people! Okay six. My oldest does her own.

            I didn’t get anything done other than work out when the electrician can come and do the laundry and cook dinner. Good dinner though, even if I say so.

            I noticed that none of my blog readers tackled the “what would you be?” question.

            One of the school counselors sent a really nice email: “You are wonderful! Thank you! So many would-be writers struggle with this and exaggerate expectations in their own minds. And so many of them floursh in your classes because you see past their difficulties to their gifts. You are a huge blessing in their lives. It never ceases to amaze me how many non-writers choose and love your classes!” Nice, huh? Better than a chocolate bar. …

            I’m collating papers. I keep our research material in binders. As needs change I move some of them into other sections. For instance, if I have a newspaper article that mentions two people, while we write about one of them, the paper is in his binder. When we write about the second person, I move the paper to his binder. They’re all tabbed with sticky notes, so that isn’t hard work. Just time consuming.

            I’ve been watching detective videos. This is a quick assessment:

 

            Colombo - Contrived, irritating, predictable.

            Perry Mason - Gorgeous 1950s sets. Good plots. Perry always wins his case, except once in the whole series.

            Burk’s Law - Utterly stupid American TV.

            77 Sunset Strip - Campy. Funny when it’s supposed to be serious.

            Wild, Wild West - Meant to be funny, but often isn’t. Fun though.

            Dragnet - the 1950s shows are the best and hold up well. The 1960s shows are a rant disguised as a crime show.



            Inspector Linley - Same complaints as noted in a pervious post.

            Inspector Gently - Really good to so-so.

            A Touch of Frost - Uniformly good. Police work is iffy by American standards, but then that’s so of most crime shows no matter who makes them. Frost reminds me of someone I know. I like this show.

           Various Agatha Christie based shows: Mostly really good. I was disappointed in Moving Finger. Nemesis was good.

 

            Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies and shows. Funny, entertaining.

 

            Though A Touch of Frost is high on my list, Law and Order is still the very best show.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What would you be?


So … I’m still vegetating. But I’m much better than I was. I still sleep endlessly after I take my new medication, and I’m lethargic. I am back to work. Most days I make it through my schedule without feeling as if I am dying.

I’ve continued my story about the eleven year old warrior. Except she’s now fourteen. This isn’t something I’ll write. I just entertain my family with it. As she is now she’s in the wild mountains with a wolf companion who isn’t really a wolf. He was a bad boy and was turned into a wolf because of his sins. I’ve married off the bad man-wolf’s daughter to prince Robert. They’re off with 125 knights conquering what was her father’s kingdom. Papa can’t come because he’s a wolf, more or less forever.
 
Imagining the World as Other
 

This is the longest continuing story I’ve ever told my family. When we’re in a deep sleepy snuggle Knobby Knees says, “Okay, tell me what really happened.” That version is not for young ears.

I CPI recertify next week. CPI training is instruction in non-violet take down of violent students. I’ve only used those skills once. But I have to stay certified. It’s not a fun course.

I’ve been thinking about the world. It’s not a very nice place. And it’s never what it seems. We presume things about it that aren’t true - or of necessity true. We ignore huge bits of it. What if a planaria had true genius. How would you know? Most people reject the idea of invisible beings, but there is evidence for them. Because the idea falls into the area of superstitious belief, it’s a fringie concept usually left to horror novels and science fiction movies. But I think invisible beings exist. Don’t you? No? You mean you don’t believe in God, the angels?

The world as we see it is incomplete. And humans are unobservant. They believe nonsense and reject truth as if it were nonsense.

When I’m drowsy with my meds, I drift into thoughts of the otherness of our world. I get to make it up. But there is a reality out there, just beyond my grasp. I would like to find it. I’m certain I never will

So suppose space travel becomes common in say two years. Maybe through a sudden, surprising leap of technology. And you decide to take a tour of Nether Space. Your tour ship crashes, and, while the residents there can save your life, they say: “We can reconstruct you and make you walk and see again, but we cannot restore your form.” You’re given several choices, each of them somewhat anthropomorphic but not really so. What would you choose to be if you had to look something like a cat or a goat or a deer or a cow or a fox?
 


What Would You Be?
 

I’m sticking my cute little nose into the life of A. D. Jones. He was a bad boy. I don’t have a photo. I probably won’t find one either.
 



 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Lost in the Wilds ... O. Reader's Adventures with ....


A gig too far

A final word from Scotland.

Our trip to a folk festival finally came to an end, and amongst the singers who sang, we saw Amy who has featured on these blogs in the past. As I have connections with her family, I made sure I saw her two performances.

Amongst the mishaps of the ten days, our extended party  all got dressed up to visit a place called Aberfeldy for a religious meeting, only to find that the congregants had all pushed off to a semi-annual conference that weekend. So we spent the day as uncomfortable tourists in the area, somewhat “improperly dressed.” But it ultimately led to us visiting what I can only call a gig too far.

There was an advertisement on the wall for the Aberfeldy Festival. Attending the Perthshire Amber festival we had nothing booked for this final Saturday night, and hey – there was Karine Polwart. My daughter had seen her when she first went solo at the Cambridge folk festival, and today she is very well-known as a singer songwriter. Look her up on Wikipedia. Mrs O sings one of her songs “Follow the Heron Home” which has become a sort of standard in folk clubs today.

So we booked.

The problem turned out to be that a festival may have a folk artist as headliner, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it is that kind of festival.

As we soon found out when we turned up. The pleasant lady at the door asked if we wanted to leave our coats in the coat check room? No thanks – we would stick them on the back of our chairs. Chairs – what chairs? This venue didn’t actually have unreserved seating – more like unreserved standing.

I have been told by my daughter that many concerts are standing only. The problem was – this was nothing like a folk concert. The first two acts reminded me of punk bands from 20-30 years ago. The drummer did a nice impersonation of Animal from the Muppets, and the lead singer with his Adolf Hitler moustache, and musical looping box made loud discordant sounds while shrieking unintelligible words. The audience, ourselves included, were sort of crammed shoulder to shoulder, jigging up and down in a kind of unison – a rather difficult feat to accomplish successfully when you have an overfull glass of beer in your hand. At one point the vocalist looked like he was going to launch himself into a spot of crowd surfing – memories of Jack Black in School of Rock going splat on the floor.

Mrs O and I (by far the oldest people in the building) eventually worked our way to the edge of the fray, and sat down in a heap on the floor. The dance floor pulsated under our bottoms with the beat, as we leant back on the wall against a radiator which supplied a comforting heat. Then - all of a sudden, through the scrum came two ministering angels, two very pleasant ladies with concerned faces, carrying chairs. Would we like a seat? How sweet. How nice. As they disappeared, my daughter (still standing) said – do you know who that was? Karine Polwart and another band member. She must have seen us from behind the curtains and worked out that we had to be part of her core audience, rather than being there for the supporting acts. So – KARINE POLWART BROUGHT OCCASIONAL A CHAIR. How kind. My daughter Facebooked her with thanks after the gig, and got a nice reply.

As for Karine – how on earth she got booked for this gig, who knows. She introduced herself as feeling like the spotty kid at school who finds herself invited to the wrong party... But she did her stuff. And the audience went all quiet, and morphed into an attentive crowd who gently swayed and sang along with the choruses. It was quite a transformation. It was nice that the good people of Aberfeldy had such eclectic tastes.

Even if Occasional didn’t.

As a Pixie addenda: http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2014/11/amy-goddard-burn-glow/

New to My Collections


World War Soldier's Mail: Bulgaria 1916
 
 

Germany, 1919.
National Assembly Issue with Commemorative Cancels.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

O. Reader's Day


6.30 a.m.  Wake up too early and decide to rise and work on speaking engagement waiting for me when get home from vacation in Scotland. Do three minutes and then do crossword instead.

9.00 a.m. Rest of family surfaces. Well, it IS a vacation.

10.00 a.m. Go for walk alongside the River Tay. A famous preacher probably got his middle name from this river – many Scots took it, and then took themselves off to Ireland before heading to America. Beautiful autumn colors, which is why the folk festival is called Perthshire Amber. Take numerous photos and manage not to fall into the river.

12.00 noon. Mrs O collects more wool from the festival HQ. Everyone who can is knitting squares that get put into a huge blanket that then gets sold off to raise funds for a charity. They should have raised sufficient money to pay for training a guide dog by the end of the week. (Total cost about 20 thousand GBP). At most concerts there are a host of mainly women knitting away while the performers perform. I have this mental picture of women knitting by the guillotine during the French revolution...
 

12.30 p.m. Family repair to Indian restaurant for cheapo midday meal. Also a place that has internet and phone access.

12.35 p.m. Telephone the company back in Wales who are going to dismantle and then reassemble my mother’s special bed into another room while she is staying in respite care, after the “vaudeville special” of an ambulance crew getting her out of her house. Bed, what bed? Job, what job? Paperwork, what paperwork? Mrs O quietly rants (she is so much better at it than me) and it is promised before the week is out.

2.00 p.m. Singaround and Tunes session. Each day a different pub is “Pub of the Day” and anyone can go there to sing and drink. In Scotland it divides into a battle between tunes and singers. You have to dive in and start before yet another fiddle player starts another 10 minute opus that sounds identical to the last one. I managed to get in Wheelie Bin Fire. I don’t know what they call them in America, but over here each home has several very large plastic bins that have to be put outside their homes – some for rubbish, others for recycling. Because they are on wheels they are called – Wheelie Bins. To the tune of Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire.

Some stupid clown set my Wheelie Bin on Fire

And they danced all around as the flames they grew higher

And it burns, burns, burns (all join in on this bit)

My wheelie bin fire, my wheelie bin fire.               

 

The verses have such lines as – the sight at dawn was quite fantastic, smouldering rubbish and molten plastic...

 

6.00 p.m. Another meal and drinkies for those who aren’t driving.

8.00 p.m. Concert at Pitlochry Town Hall – Buddy Macdonald (Canadian), Eliza Lynn (American) and the Paperboys (Canadian). Good show. We went specially to see Buddy Macdonald. He emailed me the chords of his song “Bright Star Shining” a couple of years ago, and I regularly massacre it at singarounds in Wales. Free beer, and for the drivers, tea, coffee and biscuits. Very civilized.

11.30 p.m. Home and for most bed, but for me checking all emails as internet access has returned. Several comments on a post on another blog. So research and post. As you do.

2.00 a.m. Next morning. Creep into bed. A sleeping Mrs O mumbles “What time is it?” I don’t answer and she says no more. How does Gone With The Wind end? – “To-morrow is another day.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vanilla Wafers


So … I had a stressful day. I sent a young man to the office. This was his third trip. Instead of reporting to the office, he hid out in the boy’s room. The principal fished him out. He and his parents are now faced with a decision. They can withdraw from my class. Or his mother must attend his classes.

            Last class of the day was total fun though. This is a Grades 1-2 literature class. We read stories and craft our own books. The books are made up of pictures, puzzles, counting games, a short writing (or picture) cut-out and similar things. We finished our first major project, so today was party day: Chocolate Milk, Vanilla Wafers, music and cartoon videos, and lots and lots of chatter. We drank a gallon of milk and consumed a huge box of cookies. One of the little girls said, “This is the best class ever! … Are we allowed to do this?” I assured her we were.

            Knobby Knees met me for coffee. I left him to his hardware shopping (bet he comes home with junk food too), and stopped at the Goodwill Store. I found books!

I found an Anne McCaffery book I haven’t read. And Sarah Prineas’ The Magic Thief. That’s on our short list for next semester’s mid-grades reading, but I haven’t read it. So this was good. Best of all, I found the one volume of the US Army’s pictorial history of World War 2 that I was missing.

So … how was your day?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anthony's Day

8:00am: Coffee, oh yes, coffee
8:30am: More coffee
9:00am: Editing
10:00am: Editing
11:00am: Editing
12:00pm: Food. Send flirty emails to two separate women, engage in Skype banter with two others, FB chat seventeen-year old “boob explosion” daughter of a friend
12:30 pm: Feel guilty for being such a dog
12:31pm: Guilty time over
12:45pm: Chase Wife Unit around the kitchen with wooden spoon. Forget wearing wool socks. Slip on hardwood
1:00pm: Bandages
2:00pm: Editing
3:00pm: Editing
4:00pm :Editing
5:00pm: Editing
6:00pm: Home cooked meal cooked lovingly by Wife Unit. Suck it, feminists!
7:00pm: Board game with kids
8:00pm: Editing
9:00pm: Editing
10:00pm: Editing
11:00pm: Editing
11:20pm: Bedtime!
11:30pm: Try to peel myself off ceiling when Wife Unit puts all the cold body parts on me under covers
11:45pm: [REDACTED]

God made men to warm cold toes. Live with it!
 

From Harry - Inspired by "News"

 

The News


1:45 am - Pixie arrives home. Eats saltines with spinach dip and a glass of milk.

2:15 - Spooning her pet Scot. I deny that pixies snore.

8:15 - Intense snuggle.

8:45 - or so: Pixie makes coffee, gossips with snuggle partner.

9:12 - Pixie is shuffling papers, trying to sort mess on her desk.

9:36 - Pixie reads email. Writes reply. Returns to sorting papers. Thinks about writing stuff. Is pleased with new ‘thoughts.’

10:00 - Pixie reads stupid stuff on Internet. Frowns. Decides to ignore it.

10:06 - Pixie is in chat room scolding rude man. Throws same out of chat room

10:27 - Mailman delivers package, pleasing pixie no end.

10:36 - Pixie is reading today’s mail.

11:00 - Pixie puts quilt in wash.

11:08 - Pixie is playing with new toy. [See entry for 10:27]

12:02 - Pixie is multi-tasking: Washing, cleaning work room to start new research project. Filing stuff. Looking for a lost file folder. Occasionally playing with new toy.

12:30 - Pixie is taking a break, writing this, and sipping coffee.

 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Flirting, Dragon Sex, and Coffee


            So … Knobby Knees and I went off to town. He needed some man stuff, and I needed the disinfectant, deodorizing cleaner for the carpet. We stopped in at my favorite gossip place. Two of my usual coffee mob were there. Poor KK. I think they overwhelmed him. One of them flirted with him. I’d have been miffed, but she’s a flaming lesbian. He blushed brilliantly. I finally told him she was teasing; that she was not interested in men much. Poor, poor flustered man.

            Next I have to disinfect the inside of the cubby where the pipes are located. I don’t feel up to that today, so I’ll probably do it on Monday. We raised enough money selling things on ebay and on Craiglist that I can pay one major bill. This is good. We have thousands more to raise. But this is a good start. Uncle B’s share will pay off my aunt’s rehab clinic. This is good too.

            I’m going to sell the First Edition, Second Printing (1904) of the French language Millennial Dawn. It’s in super shape. Last time someone listed one online it was priced at nearly seven hundred US dollars. I’ll ask 125.00. I think the higher price isn’t realistic, though it is a very rare item.

            I removed a boy from my class. He decided that he can’t behave, so off to the office he went for a conference with the principal. Why they funnel the bad boys to me is a mystery. Well … not totally. I’m one of two CPI (crisis intervention) trained teachers at our school. So I get the hard to handle ones, even if they don’t otherwise belong in my classes. For example, I have a disgraphic young man in my writing class. He can’t write. The class isn’t designed to improve his penmanship or address similar issues. It’s for students who already like to write. But there he is … in my class, put there in an evil conspiracy between counselor, principal, and parent just to give me headaches. And his behavior is a growing issue. He’s on his last warning. I’ve contacted his parents. A family conference with the principal is next. Then he’s out for good.

            In fairness this isn’t all irritation. I have another young man with similar issues in that same class. His first assignment was supposed to be a short story. I got one sentence from him. Between us we set progressive goals; he’s now up to eight or nine sentences. This is real progress.

            I teach in a high-expectation school. We expect excellence academically and behaviorally. If a student can’t reach that standard, they’re returned to one of the more traditional schools. The chances of a return to our school are slim, though it has happened. Those students who have academic promise but known behavior issues are admitted with an educational contract that clearly spells out procedures and expectations. There is no leeway.

            I missed work Thursday. And last night I slept twelve and a half hours. I’m starting to feel some better. I think I’ll turn KK into a dragon tonight and have my way with him. …