Russians More Rational Than The West

It is rather strange to me that when I listen to the Russians, they are more logical and rational than those who claim to speak for The West. Never mind that Biden is senile and Camel-Ah cackles and says nothing, and that Ursula is just evil and manipulative. No, I’m talking about “the content of their characters” and their utterances, not their warped and distorted utterances.

It is really a very simple point. When I listen to the Russians, what they say is direct, clear, and aligned with what I personally have observed. There is no bluff, no mis-direction. The answer to questions is often a bit long and nuanced, but reality is in fact long and nuanced. (Westerners tend to the “simple, obvious, and wrong” and often with a political manipulative misdirection as well.)

So here’s the Russian Foreign Minister talking in India about just what’s going on now. The simple logical coherence of it is a pleasure.

The “hook” in this bit is that FM Lavrov talks about ‘the war launched against Russia’ and the crowed laughs… yet in 2014 with the USA CIA led coup in Ukraine is the moment that this phase of the War Against Russia was launched….

Folks who have followed me here for a while know that ‘one of my things’ was a muse about what language was the best at logical and coherent thought; and that my conclusion was “whatever language was your first as you know all its quirks” since all languages have a boat load of “strange bits”.

I’ve now come to realize that a big part of it is NOT the “language” per se, but the “cultural context” of the language. All that “crap” that is the social milieu of propaganda, “social networking” and more. i.e. the context, not the medium.

Oh Well…. Only about 20 years of pondering down the tubes… but at least I have my answers.

Yes, manipulating the language can color the thoughts, and yes, some languages are a bit more prone to “logical rigor” than others; but all of them are riddled with the weaknesses of human nature, the drift and corruption of change (both random and capricious as well as directed and manipulative / evil). But LOGIC and REASON are not tied to any one language. And similarly neither are manipulation and confusion.

Keeping a tidy mind is an exercise in patience and control in any language.

Filter out the crap. Test the remainder. Connect the dots to prior reason. Mark things for degree of veracity. Save the best bits. Integrate and assess. Then and only then, draw conclusions.

There’s another posting in the works. “Are ‘we’ the baddies?” that looks at how The West is apparently the source of evil. What this moment is about is how Russian leaders have been quite rational whenever I’ve heard one of their speeches. in English or in Russian.

Russia will “win” in Ukraine. They have no choice but to win. Whatever it takes. “The West” is trying to stir up a second front in Georgia. That will fail. China and Russia have recognized they have a common ‘enemy’ and have joined forces. The West is losing, badly, to the BRICS consortium (adding dozens of new members – it seems that if you piss on enough countries they all like to huddle together under the Big Umbrella when it is available…) So as The West implodes, I need to figure out how best to survive it with wealth and safety. OK…

At the end of the day, I find a curious satisfaction in the realization that culture, Christianity, and technology will survive in Russia; even as The West collapses. China I am less sure about. (Remember that I “had a crush” on the Chinese Girl in my school as a kid, so this isn’t a “race thing” – it is a Communist “Lang type socialism” vs. “Corrupt Imperialist West no longer a Republic” thing…) Which kind of corruption is less evil?

So, OK, back to the reality of today. California is having a “Flooding Drought Of Epic proportions!!!”) and I’m just glad I’m not in it. The West (via the machination of our CIA Driven Government) is busy trying to figure out how to destroy Russia & China and stay Top Dog despite the USA having, via corruption, moved all power and manufacturing to China. Then the EU would really really like to stay In Power despite pissing on all their constituent Nations.

I think I need more wine… and maybe it’s time to buy more wine stocks, or at least more wine futures…

Posted in Human Interest, Political Current Events | 8 Comments

Bill Maher Catches Clue – No, really…

It is fundamentally entertaining when someone catches a bit of clue about the Green Scam. It is even more so when it is a comedian. So Bill Maher wakes up to the hypocrisy of the Green Team. Oh, the ironing… 8-)

I donno… but I may have to start watching his stuff again…

Posted in Global Warming General, Human Interest, Humor, Political Current Events | 4 Comments

Growing Well, So Far, In Florida Garden

Just a quick note about what’s working (so far) in my Florida garden, and what isn’t.

First off, I have largely unimproved Florida Sand. A.K.A. Myakka. It is basically sand, with a tiny bit of humus in it. Washed by dramatic summer rains, it drains to near desert dry in winter. I’ve bolded a few bits in the quote below:

Good, nutritious soil is the basis for any plant’s success. To the frustration of many gardeners, Florida’s “soil” is mostly sand.

This gray, fine soil is called Myakka, (pronounced My-yakah), an Indian word for “big waters.” Only found in Florida, Myakka covers the majority of the state—more than 1½ million acres—and is actually our official state soil.

While the majority of the state is covered in Myakka, soil properties can vary widely. The soils of North and Central Florida are typically very sandy, while in the panhandle, the soil can contain substantial amounts of clay. Clay soils compact more easily and drain slower than sandy soils.

So on my “things to do for the future” list are:

1) Add some clay or similar water retaining minerals.

2) Bulk up the humus. This will be a combination of compost (both home made and bags) along with bags of “garden soil” from the hardware store and some kind of top dressing “mulch”. Stuff that will get turned under and rot to humus over time.

3) Get some worms going and happy in a worm bed on the edge of the garden area; so that they can do the incorporation of the organic matter for me ;-)

That will tramatically improve the soil over time and a lot more “stuff” will then be happy to grow.

But what about now? What have I learned so far?


Well, oddly, one is that Florida produces some of the most hardy and vigorous weeds I’ve ever dealt with. You wouldn’t think sand would support them so well, but it does. I don’t know what most of them are, but they are persistent. Turn the “soil” over so it’s just sand on top, and the organic bits a foot under. Come back in a month or two and it’s all green weeds again. California weeds could be eliminated by just a soil turn or two, then some stragglers pulled out. Here not so much. So, OK, I need to be more vigorous in my weeding and mulching and much more particular about what I plant in a single bed so that I know what’s a weed. I’ve tended to interplant several things in a “square foot gardening” kind of way. That complicates weeding as some of the weeds here look a lot like young crop seedlings… So more “Collards Bed Only” and less interplanting.


Where I have improved the soil, things grow better. OK, need to do a LOT more of that. So far it’s about a 3 x 3 foot square that got improved.

Where I have not improved the soil, things that like sand do better (well, duh…) I’ve got Pineapples doing OK in it, and some cabbage family plants seem to like it. (IIRC the collards family is from the beach areas of Europe, originally). Similarly, Lima beans that fix their own nitrogen are doing OK.

I’ve been using Miracle Grow to make up for the poor soil nutrient levels. It helps a lot in the short run. Longer term I need a better composting solution. Probably one of those barrel things that composts in a few weeks (and that can be put in the shed during high wind periods). Like this thing:

Naturals Down South

Most successful so far have been things associated with the South. Florida Speckled Lima Beans. Collards. Bananas. I’m planning to do a more complete search for Florida Specific crops and varieties. So, note to self and anyone else changing locations: It works best to grow what is traditional in the place and accustomed to it.

I have one “cowpea” that I’ve grown before, who’s flavor I liked, so it is up for trial. Unfortunately, most of the “black eyed peas” I’ve tried have a “dirt like” flavor that I don’t like… so some searching will be needed. I’m hoping that more “usual” legumes will do well too, but I’ve not got any going yet. The “green beans” I tried didn’t survive the Attack Of The Weeds & Mold, nor did the northern type summer squash that just turned white and died…

I have a couple of Chayote that are sulking in a shaded spot and one growing gangbusters in a very sunny spot. These were planted toward the start of winter, so likely not the best time. Clearly “shade planting” doesn’t work well for them. We’ll see if that improves as the summer sun arrives. These make large climbing vines, so the ones in the shade can, eventually, run down the fence to collect sun out from under the tree… Since one chayote can make up to 400 “fruits” in a year, and folks get tired of that much squash after a while; I’ll likely do just fine with the one in high sun. These are kind of like a perennial summer squash. Being from the tropics, they seem to be entirely mold / mildew resistant too.

Any other suggestions from folks who do grow things here will be appreciated.

We did visit a local garden and they had successfully grown large blocks of kale, Asian mustard greens, Chard, cabbages / collards, lettuce and various herbs; so I’ll be taking notes from them. They also had very dramatically improved their soil. Basically, they had pallets of bagged soil they used to make raised areas where they set out plants. So, OK, that’s a clue… Their’s were already adult / harvest size when I started planting my kale and collards, so clearly my calendar needs fixing up too ;-)

Food Forest

This has great promise longer term, but trees are slow to get to maturity. I have 3 banana shrubs planted. All from the Cavendish type. One dwarf, one Grand Nain (semi-dwarf) and one full sized. They ALL had trouble with the mid-winter freeze and only survived IMHO due to some use of a cloche. The neighbors bananas had no such issue, so either these toughen up with establishment, or they are a different type.

Going forward, I’ll be looking into some more cold resistant types to plant, and may even investigate Plantain cooking ;-) I did get 2 plantain at the grocery store and did manage to make something edible, but more skill and practice needed…

The two avocado trees are doing well and didn’t even notice the frost nights. They are both about 2-3 feet tall and are making what I think are flowers already. Since these are grafted, no need to wait 7 years to start producing. These ought to be a very good long term supply in a year or three. One is “Bacon” type, known for cold hardiness, and a good pollinator for the other kind, a Hass. Avocados come in 2 major types, and each needs the other for best pollination and production. I have one of each, and they neighbor has some kind of small avocado tree too.

The Papaya were likely planted out at the worst time. Just as winter was coming (and the nursery was ending their stock…) They both survived the cold and are now adding leaves. One had the very top growth die off about an inch, so is now sprouting from the stem in several places. I don’t know if the cold got it, or the cardboard box “cloche” pressed on the top too much. But whatever… Papaya grow fast and live short, so I suspect I’ll have several different kinds to trial over time. They can be cooked green as a vegetable, or ripened to a sweet fruit. A staple of the tropics.

I have a “volunteer” Guava that sprouted from a seed I had in the compost pile. As it takes about 7+ years to start making fruit, and makes a decent sized tree, I’m trying to decide what to do with it. For now, it stays in a pot to 5 gallon pail.

Over time, I intend to expand the Food Forest part of the garden. This can give year round food with very low work level. I’ve identified a few potential trees, and when I find those notes I’ll comment on them. I figure about 2 trees a year until I’m out of dirt for them ;-)

Doing OK

I have planted out a dozen or so potatoes that started to sprout in the bag. Both russet and reds. They are doing OK here in the winter / spring. They did complain about low water until I figured out that Florida can be a desert in winter… I think they would also like more fertilizer. But they are surviving and growing. How well TBD at harvest time. I planted in about December, a bit before the nursery started advertising seed potatoes in about January.

Sweet Potatoes were planted out of sequence too. These did really well until the frost killed off the top growth. My goal was to get some plants established, not harvest roots, so I’m OK with that. I need to get a proper calendar going for production, though. I do now have a large stock of “starts”. These will be planted out now that it’s warmer and a long season is ahead. Also, some “critter” cleared the tops off of one whole section… so “something” likes the greens ;-) Not too worried, I like having some herbivores around in an emergency ;-) We have seen a local bunny or two, working over the neighbors yard, and I’m OK with them having a snack here if they need one.

Garlic, Elephant Garlic, and some onion starts have been doing OK in pots. I’ve set them out in the “soil” and we’ll see how they do. Sensitive to dry soil, I’ll need to make sure the water gets to them regularly.

I’ve also planted out some Russian Kale grown from seeds. They seem to be going fine so far. Probably planted out too late as they love it cold and will grow under snow. We’ll see how they do with Florida Spring and 85 F days.

The Failures

As noted above, the Zucchini like summer squash I set out in the middle of summer just didn’t thrive. Some mold got them. Plus the weeds were growing like, well, weeds; and I wasn’t doing enough tending. I’ve planted some pumpkins during winter that are doing OK, but also have some white on them. These from a Halloween pumpkin just as a quick test. There is a native Florida pumpkin, the Seminole IIRC, that I expect will do better.

The “green beans” that I also planted in the same bed with the squash made a couple of pods, despite complete neglect. I suspect that with better weeding, a dedicated bed, and some soil amendments, I can get a decent bean crop going.

My Rosemary is surviving, but needs frequent weed removal so it doesn’t get smothered (at least until it reaches bush size). However my attempts at thyme, parsley, and basil have all done badly. I’ll likely just grow them indoors in pots. Between drying out and then weed smother, they just don’t make it outside. IF I put enough tending into them, they would; but I don’t. They did great indoors in pots, though. Until I planted them out and they didn’t get tended enough.

In Conclusion

Well, that’s the summary to date. If I think of something else, I’ll add it in comments.

Mostly I’ve learned that the soil is sucky and winter is dry, while summer is full of rain and things mold. Also that I need to pay more attention to the calendar than was needed in California.

Secondarily, things already adapted to Florida and / or tropics do better. Kind of obvious, but worth stating.

So my next round of garden work will focus more on soil improvements, calendar making, variety selection for the area, and more trials of interesting things. Also a very slow expansion of the Food Forest area.

I figure that by this time next year, I’ll be moving more into “production” gardening and doing less “explore and trial”.

Also, given how well the collards are doing, I think I need to learn better ways to prepare them ;-) I’m hoping things like Napa Cabbage will do well, along with other Choy types, but that’s in the “we’ll see” category at present.

I’ve also found my cabbage / kale / collards cross seeds, so need to get them going while there’s still hope for viability. (Green Glaze collards, crossed with Dinosaur Kale, and a purple cabbage from the grocery store that sprouted roots while forgotten in the bottom of the fridge… I figured that kind of determination and tenacity needed to be rewarded.)

Posted in Emergency Preparation and Risks, Food, Human Interest, Plants - Seeds - Gardening | 14 Comments

I’m In Rain & Thankful For It – California Snow Halt

Well, that was fun… NOT!

I’ve just done a marathon 3 day coast-to-coast drive. Why? Tax schedule interactions with weather. There’s a couple of boxes in storage in California that I need to get to the Tax Guy in time for taxes to be done by April 1 (or he assures us big penalties will arrive due to the large capital gains taxes on selling the house in California). OK, so a run to California…

I’ve got a new (to me) FORD Expedition tow vehicle and a new trailer… except both need to be registered and the truck needs new tires, and I need a couple of days to get familiar with both. Then there’s the added couple of days crossing the country in a trailer at 55 to 60 MPH…

So I checked the expected weather. Oh My God. Massive snow was expected about 4 days out. The only way to beat it was to “leave now” (last Monday evening) which I did.

But the FORD & Trailer were not ready… so I took my nemesis, the Mercedes ML. The car that was supposed to be my Tow Vehicle but in almost a year (and over $3000 of “repairs”) has been unable to properly function as a tow vehicle. But it ought to be a good enough 4 x 4 Station Wagon, so off I go.

It has done more or less OK, I guess. Getting between 21 and 23 MPG on Diesel at about 70 to 80 MPH most of the time. Big enough in back that I can sleep on an air mattress when I needed a nap. About 3500 lbs of four by four on bad roads.

Well, I was about 1/2 way from San Antonio to El Paso (i.e. middle of absolute nothing in nowhere West Texas) when the driver side rear tire starts to making rumble noises and the ride gets a bit rough. Checking it, I found a big goose egg starting. Incipient tread separation. Checking, the “compact” spare looks OK and I’ve got a tire pump with me to adjust pressure… but limping at 50 or so for 250 miles on a compact spare is not in the plan… So time to roll them dice.

I did adjust air down to the minimum for empty, and then cut back speed to about 65, and worked my way into El Paso. That was about 5 hours of not so fun. Oh, and the “Administratively shut off Turbo” problem returned during that time… I thought this had been fixed, but nooo… This is where it “hicups” a couple of times and then decides the air pressure in the turbo is not what was expected so the Engine Brain just shuts off turbo boost.

This is only really a big pain on hill climbs or when you want rapid acceleration. On the flat it will reach and hold 75 to 80 mph. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of hills in West Texas and more on the rest of the trip. It does reset to working when you turn off the engine, and sometimes I’ll get 50 miles of good operation before is again shuts down the turbo. Sometimes just one get up to speed…

In El Paso I was informed that ONE tire shop had the tire I wanted (told to me by the other three I visited). An hour or so later I was on my way with a new tire. Ride fixed. But the turbo not so much.

Oh, and there were wind gusts up to 50 MPH on the approach to El Paso. Some times on hill climbs into the wind I was down to 45 and downshifted from 7th gear to 4th… but I got there.

So now I’m sitting in the rain in a hotel about 1/2 way from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the 101 freeway along the coast of California. And I’m happy about it.


Because a Snow Storm Of Epic Proportions is happening BEHIND me.

Despite needing to use the Shift Paddles to climb hills by treating the ML like it was a 1970 VW MicroBus… Despite tire issues. Despite a marathon drive schedule. Despite flurries of snow in Arizona. Despite 2 bits of snow crossing the L.A. Basin. Despite all that, I’m still ahead of the Snow Closures.

I’ll post more details when I have time and access, for now I need to get moving again. This hotel was a very nice place to sleep, but “something in the air” from the heater is making my eyes turn red and burn. Could be pollen, or cleaners & sprays. Life of a highly allergic person… But it waited to morning to manifest, so I got a good night sleep, and a shower.

Somewhere about 2000 feet elevation above Tucson, on the way in, I was cozy in the sleeping bag in the back of the ML in a Rest Stop. At about 2:30 AM I woke up (no big surprise as I’d got in the sack about 10 PM and don’t sleep long). It was gently snowing and a modest wind was sticking it to the passenger side windows. OK, time to drop elevation…

After dropping about 500 feet, the snow was more slush. Another 500 feet (it drops fast on that approach to Tucson on I-10) it was mild rain. By Tucson it was dry. I’d gotten out of the weather. But still, it was snowing in Arizona. Another bigger storm entering Northern California…

I took I-8 “Phoenix Bypass” while contemplating “Go all the way to San Diego then up?” or “Rapidly cross L.A. on I-10”? Well, at the “return to I-10” turn, I took it. The added time to go through San Diego would put me late as the big snow hits Los Angeles today and I wanted to cross in the light precursor event.

As I dropped into the Los Angeles Basin, I’d guess at about 2000 foot elevation, there were snow flurries. The freeway came rapidly to an ALMOST halt. Folks in L.A. freak out a bit at snow… but started moving again fairly quickly. Dropping another 500 feet it was just light rain. (The freeway the other way was halted, as they were getting worse weather as they climbed into it).

I “hung it high” across the top of the basin on “The 210”. (In L.A. they don’t say “I-10” or “I-210” or “Interstate”… it’s THE 405, or THE 210… ) past Pasadena. This is higher than the valley floor by about 400 feet, I’d guess (details when I get map time). Once again, a few snow flakes showed up. Some of it more like graupel. (think of a snow flake a bit mushy and kind of like 1/2 melted hail). But it only lasted a minute or two.

Once I reached the 101, then over to the coast, things improved greatly. Sun breaking through scattered clouds. Not even rain. Temperature up to 55 F instead of the 33 in the mountains to the 43 in the L.A. Basin. It was a clean and easy run up the coast to where I’m now in a hotel. (I crossed the L.A. Basin between about 11 AM and 2 PM when traffic actually moves).

It was very strange in Santa Barbara. You could see snow on the hill tops about 500 feet up, and it was sunny and dry on the 101 freeway at sea level.

All the while the Radio KNX 10-70 AM telling folks what roads were shut down in the mountains due to snow, and maybe they ought to just stay home for the day… when it rains in L.A. they tell folks to watch out for oil / water emulsion on the roads, so snow had them just perplexed; even though it didn’t stick to the roads.

Now, the Accuweather TV channel is reporting California is increasingly cut off from the rest of the country. I-5 shut both in the Cascades up north and at the Grapevine into L.A. from the Central Valley. Roads through the Sierra Nevada closed (I-80, hwy 50, etc. etc.). I-15 to Las Vegas closed yesterday (worse snow today). Etc. etc.

Me? I’m in a rain band between here and Silly Con Valley, so it is just “load and go”. I’ll figure out later how to get back to Florida ;-) Likely via 101 to San Diego and then out I-8.

The things we do to meet a weather event driven driving schedule 8-)

So today or Monday the ML will visit my mechanic and I’ll find out if I’m driving it back to Florida, or the 240 D that I left there for some fixing up months ago…

Some history:

FWIW, one radio station was correctly reporting that this was just like the LAST TIME they had called a blizzard in L.A. That was in 1989. I remember it well as I took my son (then about 3 years old) up to play in the snow on the way to Santa Cruz and a local photographer put pictures of him in the local newspaper… You see, this isn’t “Snowmageddon”, and it is NOT due to “Globull Warming”. It is a CYCLE. Just one with about a 30 to 35 year cycle.

So, want to have an idea what’s next? Look at the weather of 1989 / 1990.

With that, time for me to get breakfast and get back on the road, in the rain. I’d like to get off the coastal highway before too much more rain, since a lot of rain starts to bring mud slides and road closures. So about 2 more hours and then I’m entirely in the clear.

Ah, the joys of knowing how the local area works, and planning routes around natural disasters “of epic proportions” (per the radio guy ;-)

Posted in Human Interest | 16 Comments