Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Long time no post! I have been busy with evaluating papers, and finally finished the journals yesterday. Today I baked pies (the last two come out of the oven in about 15 minutes). Sophie loves raw fruit and vegetables, and her favorites are asparagus, zucchini and apples. So today, while I was peeling apples, I had to give her two. After she finished eating them, I turned and saw her with her head in the bag of apples - she took a third apple herself! I was reminded of Howie. He never took one himself, and I don't think would have eaten a whole apple, but he would sit nearby as I made pie, demanding the apple peels.

And I found out that high speed internet will be installed in Samsonville on Tuesday (provided I manage to replace the broken CD Rom drive in the machine there in time). Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I found out today that the Samsonville house is only 156 feet from where cable Time Warner will hook us up for free! Yay!

Friday, November 10, 2006

My mother's cat Tabby died yesterday. Tabby was a barn cat, and spent her time with horses. She was at least 14 1/2 years old. Someone dropped her over 13 years ago, during a blizzard in 1993. She was cared for (and named Tabby) by an elderly woman who lived next door to my parents.

Tabby was pregnant when she was dropped, and after she had kittens, my mother took her and had her spayed, earning her the knickname "52," because that's how much it cost. One of the kittens, now old and somewhat wild, is still hanging around there. When the woman couldn't take care of herself, much less Tabby, any more, my mother started feeding her, and it wasn't long before Tabby migrated from the empty house to the barn. That was about 10 years ago.

She was a good cat, and I liked her. Although a small cat, she scared many a dog, and in her day, she more than scared many a rodent. A funny Tabby story is that once when my parents took her to the rabies shot clinic, Tabby managed to squirm away, and their dog Hobo chased her. She ran right up a tree, and a neighbor had to climb up and retrieve her. Several people at the clinic didn't know that Hobo and Tabby were with the same people - they watched Tabby and my mother sympathetically, clucking disapprovingly at Hobo and my father. They were probably thinking, "How could that man allow that bad dog to terrorize that woman and that poor cat!" Tabby was generally in control of all dog interactions, driving canines away from the barn, and Hobo was afraid of her. I guess chasing her that day was his revenge.

Last night, when we went out to dinner, it seemed to me that I saw stray cats everywhere, looking at me, perhaps auditioning to be the next barn cat. One was a half-grown kitten, very cute. But my mother doesn't need any help in that department.

Here's a story from the Freeman, updating the status of the Game Farm animals.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I voted this morning. Since I have a night class to teach, that seemed like the best strategy. I really don't understand why people don't vote. It isn't difficult or that inconvenient. I also don't understand why people don't read the newspaper. I read two daily papers (that are delivered), one daily paper online, one twice weekly paper that I buy in the store, and an every other week paper that I read either online, or in paper. If I go away and my morning papers build up - almost the first thing I do when I get home is sit down and read them.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Today during the sermon, the priest asked us "what would you want on your tombstone?" He explained that in recent years people only put names and dates on there (he didn't say this, but I wonder if it is because headstones are so expensive now) but years ago having poems, prayers, sayings, etc. carved in the stone was very common. So he wanted to know how we would want our lives summed up, what we would want future generations to know about us. So I gave it some thought and found it easy to decide: She loved animals.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sigh. Now I am getting bombarded with spam from a petition organization that I visited over an animal rights issue. Are they asking me to support something to do with animal welfare? No. They are asking me to sign up to telephone people in my area to get out the vote for "progressive" candidates (whatever that means). But the effort is really's, not the petition website's. So, I responded with this:

Why are you sending me this email? I do not support I am very offended to receive emails like this from that organization, I have zero interest in their agenda and consider their tactics disgusting. I do vote, but I am not an overly political person and I am an Independent. I have no interest in telephoning anyone. I can't stand telemarketers myself.

I have visited your site in the past because I am a big champion of animal rights. Recently I was thrilled when the House of Representatives passed the horse anti-slaughter legislation. Although he is not my representative, this was sponsored by Congressman Sweeney and I do live in a nearby district in upstate NY. His advocacy on this issue has earned him the endorsement of the Humane Society in his re-election campaign.

I know is supporting his challenger, because they are running advertisements slamming Sweeney. I'm sure they do not care about animal rights, and define his opposition as "progressive." So the fact that you would let send me this spam when they are supporting a candidate whose winning would be contrary to animal welfare, which is the only reason I visited the petition site, is an outrage.


I have also been the recipient of numerous emails recently that are not spam, but they are partisan in nature and are being sent via a supposedly non-partisan list that I joined. After about the 100th message (I'm exaggerating, it is a small list and the number of emails was probably about 20) I couldn't take it any more. So I wrote an email to the list protesting. Two members responded to me (off-list), and the list quieted down for a while. What a relief. But then today, it started up again. HELLO?!

I forgot to mention this since the article gives me short shrift, but my historical society presentation got about a one sentence (future tense? What is up with that?) mention in this rag of a paper. Scroll down to "Heralding Our Own History." I'm wondering if maybe the reporter was snoozing - or in the bathroom - or maybe in the next room, browsing the books in the library during half the presentations.
I agree with PETA.

Amazing Edna.

When we got home yesterday, we discovered that she had gotten a mouse. She is still proud today, puffed up to twice her size - and she is a big cat already. I was very surprised, since we have had her 13 years, making her at least 14 - and I thought her mousing days were over long ago.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I am busy grading midterms. I am about one-third of the way done, and although I know students would love to have them back tomorrow, I am burnt out on reading at the moment, so they may have to wait a few more days.

I couldn't be home for Halloween, so we put an "honor" bowl of candy on the porch. I don't think any kids came while we were gone, though. Bob said four trick-or-treaters came while he was here. That is the fewest ever, some years we get 100 kids, more recently we get at least 35, but I think darkened houses are not very inviting, and I am not sure the neighbors were home either. So trudging up the Green Avenue hill didn't seem worth the effort. There were a lot of kids out, and when I got home, I heard teenagers making a racket in the cemetery. Hopefully they didn't do any vandalism, and were just having fun scaring each other.

We have decided to get high speed internet access for Samsonville. After years of struggling with dial-up, we are both fed up. I already know my preference (and what I have in Castleton), DSL won't be coming until the distant future - and even then, it may not come because digital will be a better option (Verizon says they may bring digital in a year, but it will probably be more). A cell phone provider is also not an option. There is currently no cell phone service there.

So I emailed Time Warner (a company I hate, but oh well) and the response was that there are no active customers on Jomar Lane. I had been under the impression that Jomar was wired, but that other nearby roads were not, and I had heard horror stories of TW offering to bring the cable - but the homeowner pays, to the tune of $1300. I was very disappointed - who knows how far away the cable is and how much it would cost to run it - so I asked if that meant I couldn't have Road Runner at all? The response gave me a number to call. Which resulted in a voice mail, and (of course) it wasn't returned.

So yesterday I called again. This time I spoke with a very helpful young man who explained that it may be that the problem is not that Jomar Lane isn't wired for cable, but that the house is more than 250 feet from the road. He wasn't sure, but he said they have to send a survey team out to assess it. I believe that is the limit they are willing to absorb the costs for, and that we would have to pay to have it brought from the road if it is too far. We already have a pole so I can't see why it would be a big deal even if we have to pay.

The woman responsible did call me back and a survey team is being sent, so I should know next week. She said, "is your driveway long?" I really didn't know how to respond. I said, "well, I don't think it is for a rural area - but compared to a suburban area or a city - yes!"

While I was waiting to hear from TW - anticipating a "no" or at least an answer that is cost prohibitive - I have been researching satellite. I did this once years ago, and the answer was disappointing in terms of speed and cost. Things have improved a lot. Satellite still is more expensive (at least assuming the connection charges to TW are not exhorbitant), and not as fast as either cable or DSL, but it is a lot better than dial-up. I have found 4 providers, so if TW doesn't work out, I will do some more legwork and go with one of them.

Either way, we are going to get Road Runner or satellite internet. I'm psyched. Once it is hooked up, I think I will install a wireless network there. Of course I will have to keep it a secret or I will have all of Samsonville driving up Jomar Lane to hitch a ride on the signal! Luckily my traffic to this site from the town is not all that high!!

As my sister says, "this is the 21st Century, it shouldn't take $1300 and and Act of Congress to get high speed internet." A cousin adds, "yes, I thought all the taxes and surcharges that us city folk have to pay were going toward rural access."

Now I am getting political spam in my university email. This isn't the first time; last time it was from the Albany County DA (odd, since I do not live in Albany County), and after receiving several messages, I reported it to IT Services and they stopped it. This time it is from some group calling themselves the "RFK Democrats." The message I received today said:

Are you as appalled as we are at the ongoing debates about Alan Hevesi’s "ethical lapse"? It almost makes us ashamed to be Democrats----not because of Mr. Hevesi, but because other Democrats including Mr. Spitzer have allowed the "wuss factor" to override their good judgment. We are not saying that Mr. Hevesi did no wrong. He did--and he deserves to be fined, sanctioned, or whatever is decided. An ethical lapse is a far cry from criminal behavior. Ask Bill Clinton. There is every reason to vote for Alan Hevesi this coming Tuesday. Consider the following:

Where were/are we in our moral outrage when we have had to spend hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to provide "safety and security" on 3 (three!) houses (Garrison, Essex Co. and the Mansion) for a governor who has spent more time in Hungary, Iowa, New Hampshire and other states than he has here in the Capital of NY. He has never lived in the Mansion. We still have to pay to maintain and guard it. The Governor did not give a knee jerk reaction to all of this--and neither should we.

Where is our moral outrage on the fact that we cannot get legislation passed where mental illness is treated in the same way as physical illness by our insurance companies. Mr. Hevesi should be supported for trying to provide safety, security and privacy to his wife in very difficult circumstances and not abandoning her. If we did not have biased attitudes toward mental illness, maybe he could have been more open and dealt with the security issue in a more appropriate way. Where were his political friends then--especially those who are abandoning him now? And where are the mental health advocates weighing in on this?

Do you really think that Mr. Callahan is a competent, credible state comptroller? We do not. His fiscal ideas are about as passe as his bowtie. As Saratoga County Comptroller, he was cited on issues. He made serious errors in his mortgage application? And he is going to run the state pension fund and audit others' books?
Keep in mind fellow Democrats--and others. Not voting for Hevesi is a vote for an extremely incompetent candidate: Callahan. Let the Legislature decide what his penalty should be. He is a good man. He is not a criminal. And he deserves better from us. He has done his job well; he has served the people of NY well. A vote for Alan Hevesi is a vote for the future fiscal health of New York State.

So I went to the unsubscribe link, and it appeared to be a place where you enter your email address for more information! So naturally, I didn't.


Usually when I write a long post like this one, blogger freezes up, sends it off to the parallel universe, and I remind myself once more that I should have copied it elsewhere. (But of course I never do.) So here goes.