Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's Christmas Morning!

This is a grand day! We have received presents! Piled on our doorstep! This occurrence is unprecedented! Our mail lady must have been bemused by the appearance of two cartons with our names on them.

(We also removed the propane bill from our doorknob, but we're not counting that as a gift.)

We'll give thanks alphabetically, because the gifts are of equal value to us, and our thought processes have yet to flow as smoothly as might be wished.

First, many thanks to you, Debra, for the absolutely astounding quantity, quality and variety of tea bags that caused our sleepy eyes to spring wide in shock and awe. Many of the flavors we have never before tried, and you included among the enormous selection some old favorites that you know we enjoy. We plan on having a good old-fashioned Penfield Tea Party! We haven't the words to express how we feel about this, so we will just give thanks for having met you.

And Kathy, many thanks to you for the piles of newsprint that you sent (Bonnie is at this moment happily ensconced at her command center, poring through the pages in search of intriguing tidbits. I myself am wondering if this is your fiendishly clever way of reducing your recycling load   {;~)>   ) You must have chortled to yourself as you enclosed the small bottles, knowing that we would ask "What are these?" After struggling with the ziplock, stripping away the plastic seal (who would want to contaminate that solution, for heaven's sake?), and prying off the cap, we discovered the tiny wand and exclaimed "bubble solution!" I am so far from my childhood beginnings that I began to wave the wand about in the air, to no effect. Bonnie finally said "Blow through it." With a mental slap upside the temple, I said "Oh. Right." and did so. And lo, there were bubbles! 

We both want to say "Thank you, dear friends, for being who you are. We can ask for none better."


Bonnie and Walt




Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Our Weekly Wednesday Answer Page

I am not in the habit of complaining overmuch about my health. Much of what I suffer from is a fact of life and has been relegated to background noise, not worth mentioning, and no one enjoys a constant diet of bitching and moaning. This latest nastiness, however, is worthy of note, if only to memorialize it as an actual journal  entry. I need not describe it, as most everyone in J-land who has suffered from it already knows the details. Bonnie, bless her soul, has been largely immunized to it through constant exposure, and we can only hope that it stays that way.

In our area, we have three entities responsible for  providing content and communications (I am here ignoring radio because for me it is a medium of last resort, as when the power goes out.)

For communications we have Citizens Communications, formerly the ill-fated Global Crossing (ill-fated for us, anyway, as GLBC bought Frontier Corp. not long before the corporate honchos danced away with what Wikipedia describes as "astounding gains", leaving employees, including Bonnie, with very shaky pensions) and Time Warner Cable.

For content we have Dish Network and Time Warner Cable.

You will discern the common denominator.

Despite the fact that Time Warner has a virtual stranglehold on our local area, they feel it necessary to mail out glossy, four-color, picture-laden more-than-weekly brochures touting their various bundled products (digital tv! digital phone! broadband!) Every year our cable rates are raised, presumably because 'programming costs more.' Along with that, they continually play with the schedule, moving most of the decent programming to digital and bestowing upon us backward (read cheap) troglodytes the picked-over leavings that nobody wants to watch. They have done one nice thing for us, removing TBS and Animal Planet from ala carte status.

However, being the greedy corporation that they are ...

Although the two channels will be ala carte for four days only, the latest bill reflects the idea that we should pay for the full month. What they presumably planned to do is to give us a credit on next month's bill for the overage, having earned a shitpile of interest in the meantime.

Bonnie discovered this because she became curious about the new lineup and wondered how long it would be before we had access to the ala carte channels. She was surprised to learn that our actual bill was $1.13 less than the printed bill that came in the mail. Due to this felicitous discovery we will have that $1.13 in our account, rather than in Time Warner's account. Multiply that small sum by thousands of customers, and you will see how clever Time Warner is being.

I hope that was coherent; my thinking is not currently of the clearest.

Here is the answer for the March fourth Cryptocrostic -


These puzzles are meant to inform as well as entertain; you will sometimes discover words that are somewhat uncommon. We try to stay away from too much of that, but we can't resist tossing in some lesser-known words from time to time.


Bonnie and Walt


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Our Weekly Sunday Puzzle Page

We were warming. We were greening. And then - we were cold and white again. Today the sun is of that brilliant purity that leaves you in no doubt that your retinas will ignite if you gaze too long upon it. There are sounds of melting and ice breaking away.

Winter is a fickle soul.

We thought we might offer a cynical political observation.

We thought we might revisit the unexceptional bookbindery.

We think we'll just publish the puzzle.

This is the second in the CityState series of sudokus.

(Note to Kathy - your word scramble skills should stand you in good stead for this puzzle.)     ;.)   {;~)>

Bonnie has given this puzzle a rating of ** (of course, over time she's become an expert solver, so she may unintentionally be understating things.)

Happy Sunday, happy solving and


Bonnie and Walt  

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Our Weekly Wednesday Answer Page

Whew! Missed it by one day! Friday the thirteenth might bother some people; it's Wednesday the fifteenth that always gets to us. (Not really - we just wanted to offer another angle on superstition. Maybe we can start something. Beware Wednesday the fifteenth!)

Here's the answer to the Feb. 28th word cube - we await breathlessly the appearance of the graphics -

Not quite as clean as we would like, but readable. We can't ask for anything more.

We've been remiss in welcoming one of our good friends, Marti, online again. For a long time, she did not have access to a computer, but that has been remedied and she is writing again. Please stop by her place and say hello.

If we haven't commented in your journal recently, it's because our alerts have gone missing. Once again, aol is exercising its capability to be annoying.


Bonnie and Walt

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Our Weekly Sunday Puzzle Page

Random Sunday Blather

Our life together could be said to be astonishingly soporific (perhaps more so for our visitors than for us), but we like it that way. We have reached an age where most surprises tend to be of the unpleasant variety (annoyances minor and major); we still do enjoy agreeable surprises, but they represent a distinct minority of the overall class of amazements, and so are the more welcome for their rare occurrence.

I have lately been wondering why I do not suffer from what is called "cabin fever"; I spend almost every hour inside our mobile home, essentially living in what might be described as a warren (this may be why I identify so closely with mice). It does have the appearance of a tunnel with various recesses, except for the windows through which I peer as I pass them. My only reasonable conclusion is that cabin fever is a condition that I cannot afford to suffer if I wish to lead a happy life.

War, it seems sad to say, is for some reason part of our primitive makeup - when we live in peace, we sublimate our need for war by means of the outlets of sports and the reenactments of past battles. Despite the fact that natural disasters are a perfectly good means of limiting population overage, it appears that we humans are not satisfied with that but must indulge our primal urge to slaughter. It is to be devoutly hoped that our species may someday become civilized enough to move beyond that, and develop the means by which we can play well with others.

Bonnie has shared a few jokes with me, engendered by her choice of tv viewing for this afternoon (Barbarians on the History Channel):

"What battle cries did the Saxons shout as they attacked the Picts?"

"Take your Pict!"

"Go for the Pict of the crop!"

And the Pict battle cry?

"Blood your axe on the Saxon!"

Okay. We'll stop now. Please don't throw anything, you'll only damage your screen.

I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe--"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

From "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau

Substitute "Iraqi" for "Mexican" and this becomes a very timely quotation.

A couple more items of note before we publish the puzzle -

Kathy has written a very moving and eloquent entry on what it means to be a small-town American, to revere flag and country, and to experience the emotions that arise when someone we may have known is taken suddenly from us in war. Thank you, Kathy, and be assured that we will NEVER FORGET.

When Carl Sagan was alive, we were attentive readers and viewers of any appearance of his, particularly the PBS series Cosmos. He was known as a popularizer of science, but beyond that, he was a serious and dedicated proponent of rationalism. There is a contemporary scientist who, although speaking in his own unique fashion, wears the mantle of popularizer and rationalist quite well. His name is Neil deGrasse Tyson, and it is well worth anyone's time to expose themselves to his enthusiasm for the scientific. Here is a short article that we found highly enjoyable and would like to share.

This word search was designed for a particular person whom some of you may recognize, hence some of the peculiar search terms.

For everyone, we wish happiness and


Bonnie and Walt

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Our Weekly Wednesday Answer Page

We've been hibernating over the past few cold days (animals do it and we can too), so it came as a bit of a surprise that it's Wednesday already. We bought a couple of little toys online that are crucial to puzzle creation and they arrived today, so we're busy playing with them.

Yes. That is boring. That's why we kept it short.   ;)

Here is the answer for the first CityState sudoku. Only 49 more to go!

The graphics! They're clean and clear! Oh, what hath aol wrought?

Friendship is returned in the measure in which it is received.

If you live life as though you enjoy it, you will.


Bonnie and Walt



Monday, March 5, 2007


We have been watching the Congressional hearings devoted to the state of facilities and medical care of our young men and women who have sacrificed their health, and more, to fight for freedom. It is amazing to us that it took a pair of journalists to rip off the scab and discover the suppurating sore underneath. For decades, veterans have been complaining about the treatment, or lack of such, that they receive, to no apparent effect.

To put it briefly, here is the problem. If you have ever dealt with a bureaucracy in any capacity, or if you have ever worked in an organization that relies on a rigid chain of command, or (Creator forbid) you have had experience of both, you understand the gist of what representatives' questions have elicited from the testifiers. There appears to be a predisposition to avoid accountability and to pass the buck on any situation that presents more than a normal level of difficulty. This is not specific to the military; one encounters this type of behavior frequently.

There is plenty of blame to go around, from the lowest-level officers who deal directly with the outpatients to the highest levels of the Department of Defense, and ultimately to the commander-in-chief himself. The men and women who are supposed to represent us in Congress are not exempt; they have been taking the word of military officers that all is either okay or in the process of being fixed instead of initiating personal inspections and compelling the military to allow them to visit places that most ought be inspected.

We the voters should be able to expect that the people who have been injured in service to our country be offered a higher degree of caring than they are at present receiving. That they are not is a shame and a black mark upon the soul of our nation.


Bonnie and Walt