New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

Whoa! Threadbender may have intervened and fixed it! I just got the screen the way it should appear.

Test it, y’ all!

Post away on anything whatsoever, except politics or religion, no matter how tempted.

we’ve had some technical issues…

the page locked ME out, and I’ve finally gotten in.
Threadbender, who is our server technical guru, has had to be absent for a few days, so it may take a bit getting fixed. Please bear with us.

And the garage door is screwed again…

Sometimes the opener works and sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s a real heavy doublewide door. We can raise it. But not safely while standing on ice.

So…I canceled my third try at replacing my broken working glasses (I’m using some 10 year old driving glasses…) and Jane and I tried to get the opener fixed (we may have) and to melt a 4″ deep ice cap on our back walk—when you get to where you’re using your figure skating skills to reach the garage…time to do something. She found the ice melter she’s sworn we had; it had become a brick, but we hacked enough loose to spread on the walk and it does seem to be doing something. We’ll see. Meanwhile I’d had to fetch the ladder we had on the patio to deal with the canopy to the garage to deal with the garage door mechanism, and we may have gotten it straightened out. We were going to go out for the dinner we didn’t have on Valentine’s because of the crowds and weather, and didn’t: ordered pizza and Advil.

One of these days soon i’m going to have glasses and a dinner.

I took the garbage out and it was hailing.

I figured I owed Jane this after trying to rescue the spider that was letting itself down onto her head from her ceiling fan above the desk. I was just going to move the creature, which ended up letting go and dropping onto Jane…

Sigh. I keep trying to do good deeds…

The garage door is open!

Jane got it. I don’t know how, but she got it. Now we have to clear the water-logged snow in the driveway. Freedom is in sight.

Meanwhile I used our local grocery’s delivery service and was pleasantly surprised. 7.00 flat fee, and I ordered a hundred dollars worth of staples and fresh veggies. To heck with these online recipe offerings (which I hear don’t always pan out, pardon pun). Our grocery folk picked primo veggies, no culls, and we’re set for some nice fresh stuff after two weeks on pasta.

There were surprises. I thought I ordered 2 large mayo jars. What came were minis. Got to read more carefully.
The chopped garlic could supply the US Army. That jar was large.
And two of the items were out of stock, at which point I learned you can find a recipe for anything on the internet. I googled ‘chicken sweet potato’ —which is what I have; and stirred up a lot of recipes I’d never have thought of. I’m going to do that with the rest of the lot. It’s as good as a meal service: you order ‘what they’ve got’ and look up recipes for what arrives.

This is going to turn into a baked curry-spiced diced sweet potato chicken thing, maybe with cauliflower on the side. You dice raw sweet potato, add diced chicken and curry spice, stir with olive oil, bake 15 min, stir, bake 15 more at 425. And they show it with broccoli. I have cauliflower. I’ll make do with a cauliflower steam-bake with parmesan cheese.

Snowing like mad. Seattle got creamed—unusual for them. We get another load.

And poor Shu, excited perhaps by the storm, took a flying run to the tip top of his over 6′ tall cat tree—against the wall and beside the fireplace—only to have the connection for its topmost structure fail on him. Do him credit—he didn’t go for the mantel with all the fragiles, though the piece fell against it: he jumped clear entirely and bounded off a footstool.

We need to fix his favorite climbing toy. The Christmas ferris wheel/ice rink/merry go round have survived another season on the hearth—but if he has to find a new way up, I think it may imperil those. He is, despite many quirks, a very good kitteh.

Seishi was just quietly appalled. He’s sure somewhere in his previous lives he must have done something terrible and people will find it out and chase him. He tends to be a very anxious cat.

I note the house across the street is now losing its front gutter from the snow weight.

I think we are getting closer to calling out to order our groceries in—I’ve never used ‘delivery,’ but it is good and reasonable here granted you get enough to make it worth the trip. And we could.

You can’t say our lives are same-old/same-old…

I’ve been trying to get the Prius in for regular scheduled maintenance since November when the snow came, when I had dental woes, etc.
I’ve known I really need to get my glasses prescription seen to since, well, at least December.
Here it is February and I started the week with an appointment for both.
Especially the glasses, since a lens fell out day before yesterday and I stepped on it. [glass].
We’re also low on groceries.
My third intended stop.
Jane, bless her heart, went out to shovel her way to the garage as I got ready.
I’m in final stage of ready when she comes back in to tell me I’m not going anywhere.
Half a foot of snow and ice have trapped the garage door.
We COULD go out and try to free it.
I decided to move the appointments to Thursday and we’ll have more spaghetti and meatballs and the better wine until I can get to the grocery.

I’m glad everyone enjoyed the recent post. I have another.

Some people may have noted in the news that using NASA tech, we are now able to read some burned, rolled up scrolls from the House of the Papyri (qv) in Pompeii. It is a preserved library that may give us some ancient works we don’t have. Or just grocery notes. We’re still reading them. Some appear to be works of philosophy.

From my comment on Facebook: “Some people don’t know HOW we have exact copies of ancient writings such as works of Plato, Terence, Plautus, Vergil, Demosthenes, Horace, Ovid, etc. Hand-copying was how, back in the ancient world: a ‘printing press’ consisted of a large room of copyists (best in the front, with best materials) hearing dictation from a master reader and taking it down, ‘mass-producing’ a book or play, which would then sell, depending on quality for, oh, the modern equivalent of 30,000 dollars. And which would then be read in the household in leisure time, to all persons interested in hearing—ancient television.. Or lent to other households, in return for other books. It was a social thing, in the case of fiction or philosophy.

When the ancient world collapsed, we lost a lot: but monasteries preserved the precious books.. And monasteries that had books lent copies, a careful and perilous transport in some cases, to other monasteries to copy, often by monks who didn’t know the languages they were transcribing. This occasioned mistakes, which pass through a ‘line of descent’ of manuscripts, which works like DNA to determine which manuscript is most like the original, which are ‘daughter’ manuscripts down which line, and therefore which is the more ‘correct’ reading. (Sometimes as well, margin notes got copied in by mistake.)

Some of the surviving mediaeval copies are in the Vatican’s collection, or at other universities.

We also get a bit from Egypt, where schoolchildren copied onto papyrus—we learn pronunciation from their spelling errors, and occasionally get lines from lost plays…which we would love to have the rest of.

This is why this discovery in the Pompeii eruption is so exciting: these are whole ancient books that we may never have seen before—being read by space-age science.”

From a discussion on where are they? WHO are they?

Thought you might enjoy the content.



They get around on planet Earth.

You, dear friend, share fifty percent of your DNA with—yes—a banana.
While some folk were offended at the notion we might share genetic heritage with a chimpanzee—we do. And with his favorite yellow treat.

adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T) are nucleic acids that make up your DNA. And a banana’s.And the chimp’s.

It’s half the DNA spiral ladder..From Science Primer: Like DNA, RNA polymers are made up of chains of nucleotides *. These nucleotides have three parts: 1) a five carbon ribose sugar, 2) a phosphate molecule and 3) one of four nitrogenous bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine or uracil…don’t freak: I’m about to speak English.

Once cells ‘learned’ to reproduce themselves, life was off and running. And Earth’s genetic heritage is connected: dinosaur genes aren’t totally gone. We likely have some things in common—after all, they had hearts, livers, lungs, and other structures resembling us more than either of us resembles bananas.

The next question is—what other assemblage of chemicals would be self-reproducing, and carry information to organize a living body of some sort, change moderately over time, and derive materials from the environment?

How easily do these acids form in the environment? How easily do they associate? And how hardy are they?

I wouldn’t be that surprised to find, if we find evidence of Martian life, we find evidence of RNA-DNA chemistry…some of Mars may have landed on us, and they had a head start in cooling. I have more question regarding, say, Titan. Will we find a second viable system of doing genetic business?

Nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, etc: the elements are the elements. The relative availablity varies from star to star, but the elements themselves are the elements, and certain ones combine easily and certain ones don’t combine without heating and pressure. Chemistry is chemistry. Some sugars, eg, wind left-handed and some right-. But basically, sugars are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen—water is hydrogen and oxygen…all pretty low on the periodic totempole.

Just sayin’. IANAC—I am not a chemist, nor a biochemist, but seems to me that given the same building blocks, similar heat and pressure, it may be a duplicatable result.”

Burglar in the night…four-footed.

We’re still under a foot of snow here, with more on the way.

Last night, abed, I heard a considerable thump in the back yard, and the spooklight had come on. Seishi, our burglar detector, was up at the open window with his neck giraffed to twice its ordinary length…

I looked out, and saw a raccoon larger than an Aussie shepherd across the pond, by the garage door. I banged on the window, then ran out to the living room where Jane was still watching telly, said, “Raccoon at the pond,” and ran through the kitchen, knocking over a plastic platter, a large plastic and a large metal mixing bowl in the process. Grabbed one and ran out through the mudroom, to turn on the light and clatter the bowl loudly. I stood out there barefoot in a nightshirt on the icy concrete as Jane joined me and did some reconnoitering— couldn’t see anything, but I also hadn’t heard a corresponding sound of a raccoon leaving.

So I stayed a little alert. It’s been so cold I’ve hesitated to put out our groundlevel spooklight lantern, but I think I may tonight. The snow is frozen, so it’s not going to show tracks, but there’s some collapse around the mugo pine near the waterside, and I think our bandit may have tried to go down to the water there.

Weather will be clear for about 3 days, then another weeklong round of snowy weather, though not, I think, too much accumulation. It’s been a very persistent winter up here.

The service was extraordinary…

Dress code was—purple shirts. Mike was like that—not a formal guy, though he could look very nice in a suit. Attendees were artists, writers, scientists, churchly folk, fans, neighbors—amazing mix.
It’s hard when somebody goes so young. It was hard.
Still can’t believe it. But it is.