Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mini Free Library Update

Pieces ready to piece together

The Mini Libraries, there will be three, ours and two gifts, are in progress, but work has been delayed by the irrigation project.

The one for the Blue House is tall, because of the stained glass window, and larger than I expected.  It should take two rows of books. 

Ready to fit the door

 I plan to make them all different. 

Handwriting Expert

On Friday night the guest speaker at the local club, was a handwriting expert, and she proposed two things:

(1) That handwriting can show your personality.  I think this is true, and the same for drawings and paintings, they reveal how you view the world.

(2) That practicing "good" corrective handwriting can possibly fix all personality problems except for rapists, molesters and pedophiles. She said if you have "aberrant" cursive writing, if you practice making it better, it will improve your "aberrant personality."  An amazing claim, and after a little research it seems to known as Graphotherapy, a pseudo science.

And she is a legal expert witness, which is scary, as her hold on reality does not seem to be one her strong points.

I do not even write in cursive, I type everything, and I type all day long. What little I write with a pen are notes, and I have been this way for decades.  I write a check maybe once a year and have to relearn how to do it each time.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Salman Rushdie

I had never heard of Salman Rushdie, like millions of others, until the infamous fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Khomeini, god rest his soul.   I bought and read the book, Satanic Verses, to see for myself what the fuss was about.  It was a tough read to plow through his lyrical prose.  It was 1989 and I was an innocent, and I did not understand.

So much has happened in the last 23 years, and they are still trying to kill the guy.

What part of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, copyrighted in 1776, do they not understand?

All of it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mini Libraries - a cool idea but a little too late?


This weekend I hope to work on two mini Libraries, inspired by an article in the Houston Chronicle, and then an e-mail from a neighbor who had seen the same article and already had the library made and installed! And it is registered and on the web:  http://goo.gl/maps/eSpdB

I am making two, one for the Blue House, and one for a neighbor who expressed a wish to have one, and will be surprised.

I have no idea if this will work, but it is a cool way to recycle books and magazines.  In the city it is not even possible as the having such a box near the curb as it would not meet the deed restrictions.

I read the Houston Chronicle and Scientific American on paper, but all books on a Kindle, and the Economist on iPod, so I need to look elsewhere for book sources, to prime the library.  A minor problem.

Pictures to come!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Seen on a black Cadillac, the vanity licence plate (vehicle registration plate), VFW JAG

VFW is an acronym used in the US for Veterans of Foreign Wars, and JAG is an acronym for Judge Advocate General (military legal advisers).  So we possibly know something of the driver.

It the plate had been on a Jaguar, instead of a Cadillac the story would be different.

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Ulm Volunteer Fire Department Fund Raiser

Every year there is a fund raising event for the New Ulm Volunteer Fire Department,  NUVFD.  They sell hot food, hold a silent auction, hold a raffle, and more, and hundreds of people turn out.  We helped serve hot food.

It was all you could fit on a plate, for about $8, beef, pork, mutton, beans, mashed potatoes, and salad.  I am vegetarian, and served up the beef and got through 4 giant bowls.  I kept my Vegan identity to myself and happily spooned up the food.

Late Summer Garden

Last year we had a severe drought and the garden was in survival mode.  This year has been kinder, and the plants look amazing good, and there are butterflies everywhere.

Pepper and Pride of Barbados:

Hummingbird bush outside the Blue House:

Border plants on the inside fence of the Yellow House:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mudita, better than Schadenfreude

And neither word is in the Scrabble dictionary, the source of most of my recent new words.

Mudita is the joy of the success or well being of others.  Such a nice concept.  For details see http://cultivatingwisdomandcompassion.org/mudita.htm

Free Will article in the Houston Chronicle

Wow.  In the Friday "Belief" section of the Houston Chronicle is an article featuring David Eagleman on Free Will:


I read one of his books last year, it is excellent:  Incognito, the Secret Lives of the Brain


Brainwashing in the news

Sun Myung Moon died recently, the cult leader. I knew of a very rational person that went, out of curiosity, to a Moony weekend. They kept him awake and and isolated from the outside, and he barely escaped, after 2 days of thought control. The fact he had this nagging thought that he had to go to work Monday, was what saved him from being sucked in.

And currently there are people rioting in Egypt and Libya, in part, because of an obscure anti-Mohamed movie.  In a real sense the movie is a non-event.  There are thousands of movies every year, millions a video clips, trailers, books, .....    I doubt few have never seen this movie.  The mob kill, injure, destroy.  They are driven by anger over nothing, but to them it is real.  The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Six days in May

The one upside of the United Airlines purchase of Continental Airlines, misnamed a merger, is our frequent flyer miles were merged, and we have enough to fly to Beijing.

I have been to Beijing many time for work, but not since 1999.  My wife has never been.  So we are off, for 6 days in early May, after the brutal winter and before the brutal summer.  Ah, I remember it well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The first cold front of the season

It is the end of summer, but that really does not come until October, sometimes November.  The first "cold" front blew through on Saturday at 08:10 in the morning.  The front is a distinct volume of air, and one can feel the air as the boundary between the warm muggy gulf air and the dry northern air passes.

The previous day it was a humid 36C, and Saturday it was a sunny, dry and a pleasant 30C.  Not exactly cold, but nice.

The earliest frost I have seen was on Halloween, and some years we go without a frost.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Neighborhood PC Help

I promised a neighbor, when she got a new PC, I would help her set it up and transfer her files across.   And the PC arrived, and I made a house call, or 3.  From experience, I know this process is more investigative unraveling than technical.  It takes time and patience.

The old machine was 10 years old, running XP, the new PC a very nice Windows 7 machine. There were no real problems except the e-mail.  Microsoft does not make it easy to transfer old e-mail and address books.  The only way to go is webmail, easy and permanent.  But is is a generation thing, the need to trust web applications.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bank Robbery in New Ulm, Texas

New Ulm is a small settlement, not an incorporated town, of 600, most of whom live in the country around the town.  It has no police, it relies on the Austin County Police based in Bellville.

But it has a new bank, built in 2010, which was robbed yesterday.  The details are uncertain right now, but it is believed a guy held up the cashier and took money and escaped in a car heading north up 109.  A customer in the bank witnessed the robbery, and followed the robber.   The robber ditched his car barely half a mile up the road, and ran into the wooded area.  The police came with in a few minutes, and captured the robber.

Report from Sealy News:  http://www.sealynews.com/news/article_7e0307e6-f887-11e1-8f4b-0019bb2963f4.html

Report from KBTX: http://www.kbtx.com/news/headlines/Man-Arrested-for-Alleged-Robberies-169394636.html?ref=636

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Not selling anything

It was Sunday morning and these two very nice well dressed women stopped at the front door.  I thought they were selling religion.

"Hi, Good morning, what are you selling?" I said.

"Are you Mr Dyer?"

"No."  Which is true but not helpful.   My wife, who is on the electoral register, is Ms Dyer. So they had the right place but the wrong person.

"Oh, we are not selling anything, we wondered if you would be interested in voting for your local judge?"

"Sorry, but I cannot, I am not a citizen," said I.

"Where are you from?"

"England,"  I answered.

"You could become one," one said, persistently.

"But right now, I can live and work in 28 countries, why would I want to give that up?" Which was almost true.

And they smiled, and moved on to the next house.