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Posts from — December 2018

Have You Been Nice?

Grandfather Frost

That’s Grandfather Frost [Дед Мороз] and he is the Russian ‘gift giver’. He is assisted by the Snow Maiden [Снегурочка], but ever the jolly, fun-loving people, the ‘gifts’ are a bit different. Threats of coal or sticks would be weird to a people who are trying to stay warm, they would consider them welcome.

Generally there are sweets, maybe salo [salted fatback], and other high energy food.

For the ‘naughty’ list there is the staff. You don’t get beaten, merely touched, which turns you into a popsicle. [I told you they were fun-loving.]

Tonight’s the night – you’ve been nice, right?

December 31, 2018   6 Comments


Trump issues executive order freezing federal workers’ pay in 2019:

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday freezing federal workers’ pay for 2019, following through on a proposal he announced earlier in the year.

The move, which nixes a 2.1% across-the-board pay raise that was set to take effect in January, comes as hundreds of thousands of federal employees are expecting to begin the new year furloughed or working without pay because of a partial government shutdown.

Trump told lawmakers he planned to scrap the 2019 pay bump for federal workers in August, saying the federal budget couldn’t support it. In addition to the 2.1% pay increase, the executive order also cancels a yearly adjustment of paychecks based on the region of the country where workers are posted, called the “locality pay increase,” that was due to take effect in January.

The move does not affect a 2.6% pay increase for US troops next year that was passed as part of the massive defense spending bill Trump signed in August.

Having cut tax revenue with his give away to corporations and the 1%, increasing the defense spending, and shutting down the government in an effort to waste money on an unnecessary border palisade, Trump decides that giving raises that are below the inflation rate to government workers is too expensive. As he believes that government workers are all Democrats and part of the “Deep State” out to get him, he has no problem with screwing them over.

December 29, 2018   2 Comments


A probably preventable death:

An autopsy on the boy shows he tested positive for Influenza B, the medical examiner’s office said Friday.

Influenza B is among the viruses that cause seasonal epidemics most winters in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Felipe was taken to the hospital Monday after a border agent noticed signs of illness, and the medical staff first diagnosed him with a common cold and later detected a fever.

“The child was held for an additional 90 minutes for observation and then released from the hospital mid-afternoon on December 24 with prescriptions for amoxicillin and Ibuprofen,” CBP said in a statement. Amoxicillin is a commonly prescribed antibiotic.

I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV or YouTube, but I had the flu the first week of February. It is flu season again, and the test for flu takes about 15 minutes. As I reported at the time, my local emergency room had me in a mask as soon as I gave them my name so they could search for my records. Then I went into isolation and the swab was taken. The hospital prescribed Tamiflu [an antiviral] and prednisone [a corticosteroid for my COPD] for five days and my own doctor followed up with Levaquin [antibiotic] for 10 days.

Ibuprofen is fine for fever reduction, but the amoxicillin make no sense for a cold or the flu because they are both caused by viruses. Further, releasing the child to be returned to crowded confinement is asking for more cases. Confining children in group setting until they have been scanned by competent medical professionals and immunized is asking for an an outbreak of communicable diseases. Daycare and elementary school are biowarfare labs.

December 28, 2018   2 Comments

‘Tis A Puzzlement

Trump threatens to shut Mexican border in demand for wall funding? Am I missing something here? I’m being overwhelmed with cognitive dissonance by this statement. If Trump somehow has the magical ability to shut the Mexican border, why does he want to build a wall?

I assume that he intends to stop those who have a legal right to cross the border, something he already does to asylum seekers. Cutting off trade that will cost businesses on both sides of the border major money every day is not going to result in anything other than making more people annoyed with his petulant attitude.

Maybe he should try holding his breath…

December 28, 2018   Comments Off on ‘Tis A Puzzlement

The Cease Fire Is Over

I kept my peace over the holiday, but enough is enough.

A New Jersey substitute teacher lost their job for telling first grade students there was no Santa Claus. Why is Trump still in office?

Apparently the seven-year-old felt that this was one of the ten lies per day of Trump and put out the milk and cookies. Via Digby Dan Rather wins quote of the day.

So Melania went to visit troops, as she has often done, and Trump went along … to Iraq. While there Trump violated DoD directives and the regulations regarding participating in political activities while in uniform. There will be counseling letters entered to personnel files and in the Air Force the First Sergeant would find something unpleasant for you to do during your off time.

Melania is much better at the morale thing than Trump has ever been or will ever be. She can organize Easter Egg Rolls, state dinners, Christmas decorations, etc. that passes for pomp and circumstance in the Presidency. Trump can’t even be an inoffensive guest, much less a host.

December 27, 2018   2 Comments

Happy Sales and Returns Day


Time again for my annual rant about a Christmas carol …

While December 26th is celebrated by a lot of people in the US in shopping malls returning gifts or taking advantage of inventory clearance sales, there are other celebrations.

It is the first day of the Kwanzaa celebration, which is explained at the link.

It is Boxing Day, a celebration of noblisse oblige when the upper classes bestow gifts on the lower and the contents of the poor boxes are distributed. Under the feudal system this was part of the “contract,” the mutual system of obligations that tied the system together.

As the feast of St. Stephen it honors the first Christian martyr, but Ireland’s Saint Stephen’s Day celebration is a bit different and is the reason for the wren on this post.

However, this post is really my complaint about “Good King Whatshisface.”

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December 26, 2018   Comments Off on Happy Sales and Returns Day

Gold, Frankincense, and Purr…

Cat Creche

December 25, 2018   Comments Off on Gold, Frankincense, and Purr…

Have Yourself A Merry Christmas

XMas 2017

The BBC has an interesting article on the creation of A Christmas Carol.

The Goat made it to Christmas this year!

December 25, 2018   Comments Off on Have Yourself A Merry Christmas

Spirit of Catmas Past

Merry Catmas!

Cat Blogging

HO! … Ho? … Whatever.

[Editor: Sox, Dot, and Ringo being as merry as they were ever likely to be.]

December 25, 2018   Comments Off on Spirit of Catmas Past

Trump’s Economy

CNN says: Dow plunges after Steven Mnuchin fails to calm markets and the BBC notes: Mnuchin calls big US banks after huge stock market falls.

The so-called Secretary of the Treasury is on vacation at a Mexican resort [they should deport him in the middle of the night]. He called the six largest US banks and asked about their liquidity, i.e. did they have enough money on hand to cover margin calls or a bank run. And then tells them there is nothing to worry about, the economy is strong.

If the aircraft commander comes on the intercom and tells everyone to double check their parachute, but “there’s nothing to worry about”, you start to edge toward the emergency exit.

The government is shut down, Trump is making unsettling foreign policy decisions, the Fed has just raised the prime rate again, and China’s economy is slowing. Throw in Brexit and the investigations into the Trump mob, and the market has a right to get nervous. The investors want stability, and Trump provides chaos.

On October 3rd the Dow was at 26,828. It closed today at 21,792. It closed on 01/20/17 at 19,732.

December 24, 2018   Comments Off on Trump’s Economy


“From Congress I would ask for wall. We need wall.” – DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen 12/20/18.

The post notes that Russian doesn’t use articles [the, a, an] and I know that neither does Chinese. The Turks use suffixes instead of a separate word. I would note that there are special cases in British English where the articles is dropped [I went to hospital. I go to university] but not in the Queens, New York City dialect of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Danish splits the difference by having a word for the indefinite articles “a & an”, but use suffixes to express “the”.

Of course, Trump has decided that he now wants a palisade made of steel posts. The tops to be pointed [to act as lightning rods?]. Like the Keystone XL, the steel will likely come from Russian companies and be more expensive as a result of the stupid tariffs.

Instead of a ladder, the ‘bad guys’ can start this to power this, or just run a bead of plastique around the posts and take them down.

December 24, 2018   Comments Off on Wall

Happy Christmas

Holly, Robin & Mistletoe

The broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is available on the web at from BBC Radio 3. [At 8AM CST live, and on demand later in the day.]

The British have some wonderful Christmas customs that have survived the incursion of Christianity, especially the Puritan party poopers. Stealing customs from the Celts, Germans, and Scandinavians, they have created a wonderful holiday that I fondly remember from time spent there.

The bird is a European robin that is featured on British Christmas cards, as it is a Winter bird in England, unlike the fair-weather laggard of the same name in America. It is bracketed by holly and mistletoe. All go back to the druids and solstice celebrations.

If you read the Harry Potter books you will get a taste, but not the full effect of a British Christmas. A full-on Christmas dinner is wretched excess to the nth degree – Thanksgiving on steroids.

The BBC has the background on Father Christmas.

December 24, 2018   5 Comments

Happy, Merry, Joyous Whatever!


Ho Ho Ho!

С Рождеством Христовым
메리 크리스마스!
Vrolijk Kerstfeest
Nadolig Llawen
Fröhliche Weihnachten
Joyeux Noël
Buon Natale
Feliz Navidad
God Jul
Rauhallista Joulua
عيد ميلاد سعيد
Happy Christmas

At 6AM CST Christmas arrived in Asia, and the excitement is building among the “rug rats” that will burst forth at any moment to waken their poor parents who have probably had about two hours of sleep after dealing with “some assembly required” and/or “batteries not included”.

To avoid any bad feelings: it is an official requirement contained in the “Manual for Childless Adults” that some form or type of device that makes loud and obnoxious noises must be included in all Christmas parcels for children [of all ages].

December 24, 2018   Comments Off on Happy, Merry, Joyous Whatever!

…And Checking It Twice

Santa listSo it’s time to get everything in line so that there will be smooth sailing tomorrow.

Obviously you need the text of A Visit from St. Nicholas [AKA Twas the night before Christmas] or one of the variations.

But now that you’ve finished putting up enough lights to match the total electrical consumption of a third world nation, you can sit back and watch the North American Air Defense Command’s annual attempt to take out that red-suited commie’s attack on the capitalist system by giving stuff away. [Don’t worry kids, they are using the anti-missile defense system, so there’s no danger to anyone but taxpayers.]

Google has a tracker, if you don’t believe the government is up to the job.

December 24, 2018   Comments Off on …And Checking It Twice