Rants Archive

Rain…..

Posted July 1, 2015 By Ruth

You know, when you talk about moving to central/upstate NY, everyone warns you about the snow.  Not only does the area get large total amounts of snow, but it gets lake effect snow, which is a special torture all of its own.

And a little research will tell you that the Syracuse area is one of the least sunny areas of the country.

Nobody tells you about the rain.  I suppose it ought to follow along with the previous two bits of trivia, but somehow it never does.

Its not till you move to the area that you learn that almost half of Syracuse is a flood zone.  They’re currently arguing with the Feds about whether those folks have to buy flood insurance or not.

That I81 itself floods to the point if not being drive-able, and if the rain is hard enough it’ll happen so fast you’ll end up stranded in the middle of it.  Seriously, go look at that picture.  Those cars didn’t drive into a “flooded road”, they were ON the road when it flooded.  To top it off various morons in charge want to turn I81 into a tunnel under the city.

We’re not quite breaking records for rainfall this month.  But we’re in the top 10.  There’s a reason my garden is all in raised beds.  My yard is a swamp.

I don’t want the drought conditions the west has, but I’d be happy if we could just have an average rainfall…..please!

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Economy…..

Posted June 27, 2015 By Ruth

Saw an article not to long ago (no, I didn’t save it, wasn’t intending to blog on it) about how even with the lower gas prices the general public wasn’t spending more money on “extras” than they were before.

They had a whole list of reasons as to why the author thought that was the case. 

But they missed the one I thought most obvious.

When gas prices skyrocketed, very shortly afterwards the prices on everything else started going up.  Meaning that consumers were not only paying for the higher gas prices at the gas pumps, but also at the grocery stores, and clothing stores…..

When gas prices came down (we dropped below $3/gallon for the first time in how many years??  Hell, I don’t think we’d even been below $3.25/gallon for that period!) nothing else dropped in price.

Husband and I did some math, and we’re saving, on average, about $20/car/fillup, which means about $40/week for the household.  Although we’d both noticed with delight the lower gas prices, neither of us noticed that $40 a week.  Not really.  It got added into the grocery and sundry budget before either of us so much as thought about it.  Hey, we can have a once a month ordered out pizza again!

Sure, $40 a week is $2080 a year.  Which I suppose has the potential to be a nice vacation or something.  But I’ve got far better things to spend that on.  Its not “extra money”.  And it’d take a hell of a lot larger savings at the gas pump (for a much longer period of time) before I’d even consider calling it that.

So, why am I blogging about this now?

Yesterday I bought sugar.  

I don’t buy sugar that often, infact its been a couple months since the last time I bought it.  The name brand stuff has been packaged as 4lb bags (instead of hte former 5lb bags) for a couple years now at least.  But the Wegmans brand sugar was still 5lb bags last time I paid attention to the label.

Yesterday, I noticed that the Wegmans brand sugar was packaged in 4lb bags, for just about the same price I remember paying last time I was sure it was a 5lb bag.  Now its possible it was like that last time I bought sugar and I didn’t notice.  But it hasn’t been like that for much longer than that, because I DO try to notice.

Not only are the prices on “other stuff” not dropping to match the gas prices, they’re still going up.

And “they” are wondering why we aren’t spending our “extra money” on things like big vacations……

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Blanket Training……

Posted June 25, 2015 By Ruth

*sigh*

I try, hard, to stay away from “reality TV”.  Because if I watch even a few minutes of it I find myself wanting to give into the desire to smash the TV and pound my  head into a wall.

This means that I didn’t follow the Duggars either.  I knew who they were, couldn’t avoid that, but I otherwise tried hard to not pay much attention to them or their TV show.

Which means that when the publicity storm hit that the eldest son was a rapist, I took a deep breath and ignored it.  And when the fact came out that he’d been 14 at the time, and it was more like “force-able touching” than rape, and his parents hadn’t even gotten proper counseling for him or their daughters I did the same.

I wasn’t quite able to ignore their interview with whoever it was about the subject, and ended up reading the transcript of the interview.  Got very frustrated at the religious stupidity of people (“well, all of our friends’ sons did it so we figured it wasn’t a big deal” gggrrrrrr, no, it means you and your community FAILED MASSIVELY at teaching the moral/religious concepts you’re so proud of!), and then took another deep breath and turned in a different direction.  Adding my voice to the mess was pointless, I’m sure they’re ignoring the large majority of it anyway.

Two days ago THIS blog article popped up on my news feed.  Since it wasn’t immediately obviously attached to the Duggars and I was bored I clicked through.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that thats a “thing” in the child rearing world.  Nor that certain strict thought processes insist that if the child isn’t happy they’re shaming their parents.

Look, I think the average teenager today has both too much freedom and not enough.  They lack learning in responsibility and consequences, and I dread the day that those kids are adults who are helping form the society for their kids.

I don’t have a problem with “place” training for dogs.  Which is likely what the “blanket training” is based off of.

Nor do I have a problem with a properly placed and timed swat on the rear of a misbehaving child.

But…..there’s a point at which things are taken to far……and the Duggars and others who follow those methods have found that point.

 

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News!

Posted May 19, 2015 By Ruth

A week ago today I noticed police sirens approaching my house at a fairly high rate of speed.  Glanced out the window in time to see a tan car with out of state plates fly by, taking the 90degree turn just past my driveway at about 50, follow closely by two state police cars, lights and sirens going.  

Less than a minute later a state police SUV followed, also with full lights and sirens.

Shortly behind him was a county sheriff’s car.  Also lit up and loud.

And a minute later an unmarked black SUV also came flying through, hidden lights flashing, sirens going (that was interesting, didn’t know any of the local police had an unmarked black SUV….).

The whole crew made an additional 90degree turn (still doing 50) onto the only street leading off of mine in that direction, and just before they got out of my range of vision I saw one of the original pair of state cops try to pass the tan car.

Chatting on Facebook about it, a friend, who happens to live a couple miles further down that road, commented that they’d all blown by her, still in hot pursuit of the tan car, and that the tan car had narrowly missed t-boning a truck when it blew through the stop sign…..

Not one of the local or semi local news places carried so much as a blurb on it.  

 

For the last 3 days at work I’ve had customers asking me “did they ever get the ducklings out of the storm drain???”.  Turns out that on my day off last week the police and DPW ended up shutting down over half of the (major thoroughfare) lanes of the road that the store is on in order to try to pull up a storm grate to get a bunch of ducklings out of the storm drain.  Right infront of the store.

Not one of the local news places carried so much as a blurb on it.

 

*sigh*  I know that in the over all scheme of things ducklings in a storm drain falls into the “cutsy and stupid” category, but when that many people want to know what happened its probably worth running a few seconds on it on the news that night (especially since it basically shut down a major road for several hours).  And a high speed chase out in the “rural farmlands that aren’t anywhere near the city” (*rolls eyes*) doesn’t really impact city life……but really??  And in the mean time the news media is full of pieces on the midnight closing of the local Toby Keith’s restaurant……

Ow…..

Posted May 15, 2015 By Ruth

Last year my mother was diagnosed with a particularly nasty form of an immune disorder.  Like, a large portion of people aren’t diagnosed with it till they “end up in a coma in the hospital with their system shutting down” nasty.  Which makes my mother incredibly lucky since she never got anywhere near that bad.  But in retrospect she’d been experiencing symptoms of it for at least a couple years prior, and they’re struggling to get it under control now.

Needless to say, when the doctor informed her that this significantly increased my chances of having an immune related disorder, she added in the fact that I’ve been dealing with arthritis in both of my  hands, and had a bit of a freak out.

I wasn’t nearly as worried, other than my hands and screwed up knees I have essentially zero symptoms that match up with any of the immune related problems I’d looked at.  But when my mom’s youngest sister’s bloodwork came back as “highly likely you have an immune disorder but we can’t figure out which one” I agreed that I probably ought to see a rheumatologist.  After all, if nothing else, at least one could make sure I was coping properly with the achy hands…..

It took 3 months from my doctor sending in the referral to my appointment with the specialist.  I rolled my eyes and thought that it was a good thing I wasn’t actually experiencing any real problems.  But when I actually got into the office I discovered that they are actually just that busy.  Oh, and instead of sending out the questionnaire they want filled out to you ahead of time, you’re required to wait to fill it out till you’re in the office because they use a fancy computerized pen to record your answers so that no one has to data entry it.  Which is cool, except that it’s my HANDS that hurt, which means that holding a pen for extended periods hurts…..*gripe grumble*

Doctor was a nice fellow who’s new to the practice (they need to add at least one more though, to cope with the patient load….), got on my case about never having seen a dermatologist about my adult acne (honestly, unless I’m having a flair up, its rarely more than a few spots, so I’d never really thought about it, though the times my doctor tried to do something about medically the treatments only worked for a short time).  He agreed that based on the bloodwork already done, combined with my lack of symptoms, my chances of having what my mother has are pretty much nill.  Made me flex various joints, asked me if my ankles ever bother me (nope, but I did sprain the hell out of them as a kid).  He put in for a bunch more bloodwork, and some xrays.  Come see me in 6 weeks to discuss the results.  

First available appointment is for EIGHT weeks, yes they’re that busy, and I head down for bloodwork and xrays.  Xrays of my hands, and my kne….ankles??  Wasn’t expecting that.  My ankles never bother me!  But ok, if that’s what he wants…..

A week later I’m starting my new job.  One that once again requires me to be on my feet all day.  Been there, done that, more times than I can count.  I know it takes some time to re-adapt to being on my feet after several months out of work, feet hurt, and knees hurt, and the nerve under where they did the lateral release on my left knee gets irritated, due to swelling from that pain, resulting in what is essentially “diabetic nerve pain” in that leg (one of those “side effects” that they either didn’t tell me about, or that I didn’t understand properly at the time of surgery *sigh*).  Its a pain in the ass (not literally, but close enough).  But once I’m used to being on my feet again it’ll be fine.

Two weeks into the new job and it’s not my knees that are giving me hassle, its my ankles.  Oh, the knees are a bit achy, but not like my ankles are.  And its bad.  Tiger balm doesn’t help at all, and two days off in a row doesn’t help much more….what the fuck??  I swear this had better be all in my head……

Bill # S04706 and Bill # A01006

They are essentially identical as far as I can tell.

They are written to prohibit the tieing, tethering, restraining, caging, or penning of “any dog or animal”, whether “working or non-working” during the hours of 7pm to 6am.

There is nothing that says that these restrictions are for outdoors only, so the indoor crating of a destructive dog could be considered illegal under these bills.

There is nothing that defines what those other “animals” are.  So in theory these bills could be applied to horses and livestock.  

In addition to the above these bills also state that “dog or animal” that is penned, caged (etc)….during the day must be housed in an pen or cage that is at least 4 times the height and length of the animal.

There are sections of my house where the ceilings are only 7ft high.  Which means that per that law it could be considered illegal to contain my Tibetan Mastiff INSIDE MY HOUSE.  Nevermind what it would do to housing horses…..

 

ALSO, Bill # A06406

Adds additional restrictions to the tethering of dogs.  While I agree with some of the restrictions I have problems with some of them.

There is no provision for working dogs.

Tethering would be prohibited completely between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

Tethering during the day could only be for a maximum of 3hrs unless you have WRITTEN permission from your local Animal Control AND your veterinarian.  And even then the max length of time the dog could be tethered would be 12hrs.  AND that written permission would have to be renewed every 60 days including having a NEW written statement from your vet.

While I can sympathize with the desire to restrict the length of time a dog is tethered this is NOT the way to go about it…..

 

Dogs and kids

Posted April 7, 2015 By Ruth

Just before Easter a newspaper in a town in Idaho posted a picture sent to them by a reader.  The photo hit their Facebook page Friday, and went out in Saturday’s paper.

If you’re part of a community of dog people on Facebook I’m sure you saw it.  A 2yr old toddler, who I’ll refer to as B, and a large dog I’ll call T.  The child’s bunny ears had been placed on the dog, and B was kissing the side of T’s nose.  The uproar was because of T’s expression.  Tight staring eyes, wrinkled face and nose, teeth bared, the dog himself clearly tense.

By Monday the paper had pulled the photo off their Facebook page, and printed a short article in response.  In the article were repeated statements by the mother detailing why she felt that everyone else was wrong and there was no danger to her child.  The paper even found a local veterinarian to lend credibility to the idea that the public was over reacting.

Don’t get me wrong.  Some of the responses were over reaction.  The calls for the mother to be reported to authorities were stupid and made it easy to lump all the responses into the “crazy” category.

 

But lets get some things straight.

 

Some dogs do appear to “smile”.  Its often a “submissive grin” and often means the dog thinks there may be a problem and he’s trying to appease (though not always), but its characterized by the lifting of lips in an otherwise “soft” face, and may even include the showing of some of the whites of the eyes, though usually they’re squinty.  Although a dog may bite after showing a submissive grin, they don’t usually.

However what T was displaying was an “agonistic grin”.  Tight eyes, wrinkled face, baring of teeth.  Although an agonistic grin doesn’t mean the dog is going to bite, it is far more likely than with a submissive grin.

 

Veterinarians ought be decent studies of dog behavior, just by virtue of the time they spend with them.  However that does not mean that they are.  And the one in the article who shrugged off the photo (assuming he was quoted correctly) appears to be particularly clueless.  Stating the dog didn’t appear to be skittish or aggressive in the photo so therefor there was no problem.

However dogs do not have to be skittish or aggressive in order to object to the way he’s being handled, and even the best dog can snap if pushed too far on a bad day.  Something that every vet ought to be aware of since they are in a situation to see a lot of very unhappy dogs.

 

The mother stated that T is a big loveable oaf who’d never harm her son.

But if you a search for “family dog bites child” you’ll find almost identical quotes from the parents in those cases too.

 

The mother stated that T is “regularly used” as a racetrack, a pillow, and a step-stool by her son, and although T is generally not happy he tolerates it.

Which tells me that this kiss on the face isn’t a once off thing, that the child is regularly allowed to treat the dog as if he’s an inanimate object whose feelings don’t matter.

 

The mother also states that T often makes that face “when his whiskers are touched, he doesn’t like it”.  And that “.05 seconds after the photo was snapped T got up, licked B’s face, shook off the ears and walked away”.

Look, dogs lick people for all sorts of reasons, but in this case, in this setting, that was a blatant “back off kid……”.  Never mind that she KNOWS that T doesn’t like having his whiskers touched, and yet has continued to touch his whiskers enough to shrug off T’s expression as normal, and to even allow her toddler to do so, to the point of allowing B to put his face in the line of fire.

 

Its enough to make me want to cry.  This is apparently a well trained and socialized dog who’s doing his best to be polite to the baby.  And his owner is essentially setting him up to bite her child.  Hopefully he won’t.  He’s a good dog who doesn’t deserve to be put down for his owner’s failure, never mind that no 2yr old deserves to be on the sharp end of it.

Please don’t do this to your dog, much less your child.  Please take the time to read over the couple links I’m going put at the end that detail the canine body language you should be watching for.  And please please please, teach your child proper dog manners, so that they won’t join the far to many children who are bitten by a “friendly” dog every year.

 

Why Supervising Isn’t Working

Learn to speak dog

Family Paws

The heartbreaking story of another mother who was sure her dog wouldn’t bite her child.

 

Our broken media

Posted March 27, 2015 By Ruth

I ran across this on Facebook this morning:

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And I realized that I don’t recall seeing a single news story on the crash that stated the pilot’s name.  The co-pilot’s name is all over.  Admittedly I’ve not gone out of my way to dig out news stories, but still…..

Dear Software Companies

Posted March 10, 2015 By Ruth

I understand that advertising your software is pretty much required these days.  And I have come to terms with the fact that if I’m using one piece of software from a company, while I’m using it, I’m going to see advertisements for other pieces of software by the same company.  Thats pretty much life these days.

However.

If I am not currently using your software.  Haven’t been using your software.  And your software shouldn’t even be running in the background.  And you start flashing popups on my screen advertising your other pieces of software.  And then make it impossible to turn off those popups (never mind the malware that drives them)…..

….you have just ensured that not only will I be uninstalling the one piece by you that I paid for.  I am also never ever again buying a piece of software by you and will be very aggressively recommending against your software to anyone who asks.

 

This one’s for you NH people.  I know there’s at least a couple of you who read here.

House Bill 0624 is going to modify the process of what happens when an animal is seized for abuse or the like.  I just did a quick scan of the text, but at least one problem jumped at me right away.

Apparently current process: your dog is seized for abuse, you go to court, and if you’re convicted you’re expected to pay for the costs of the care for the animal while it was in custody.

What they want to do: your dog is seized for abuse, you get handed a bill for the care of the animal before you even get to court, and if you can’t pay that bill you lose custody of the dog regardless of whether you end up convicted or not.  Cause you know, guilty till proven innocent or some such……

I can sympathize that caring for an animal, especially a sick or injured animal, while waiting for a case to go to court isn’t cheap and eats up the limited resources of shelters, but this isn’t the right solution either.

There have been SO MANY cases of reports of abuse that aren’t anywhere close to such.  People who see an animal with “an obvious health problem” where the animal is under the care of a vet for the condition and the owner is taking the appropriate steps to care for the animal.  And sometimes there isn’t a “health problem” at all beyond the reporter’s imagination and lack of knowledge of life.  

Its not bad enough that you’re spending alot of money on the vet bills and medications that your sick animal needs, but now, cause some idiot reported you for abuse and it went viral (which happens WAY TOO OFTEN cause people are fucking stupid), and the local ACO gave in to pressure, they seized your dog, so now you have to pay a ton of money in legal bills to get him back and clear your name……but now they want to  charge you for caring for the dog (which you were doing properly at home in the first place) and if you can’t pay that bill TOO you’re going to lose your dog no matter what the outcome of the court case……

Maryland folks, I’m being told that there’s a similar bill(s) pending in your state as well, I’ve not stopped to read them yet, but consider this a heads up you’ll want to check on!