Making Predictions

I was happy to wake up on September 24 and find that the world hadn’t ended as David Meade, biblical numerologist, had predicted. I believe he recalculated after he found things were still the same on the 24th as they were on the 23rd, and predicted another date for our demise  on  October 15th.  The rogue planet Nibiru, violating all physics principles, is predicted to collide with earth and set in motion all sorts of rannygazoo.   We shall have to see what happens. I believe that is the date of  Blevin’s book club.  At least you will all be together.

It isn’t easy to make accurate predictions.  Our world is so random that people search for certainty and cling to the idea that we can make sense of the universe. Consider poor Harold Camping,  the evangelist and radio host who made multiple predictions of the Earth’s end in 2011,  and who finally admitted in 2012 that he was sinful for even trying to make such predictions, falling back on Matthew 24:36 “of that day and hour knoweth no man”.

I am often asked as part of my work to make predictions regarding human behavior.  Psychologists have a myriad of tests and ways of making such predictions, but it is never completely 100% accurate. I know that people who score certain ways on tests of cognition and memory probably have dementia.  I know that people who score in certain ways on tests of emotions and personality probably have certain  mental health diagnoses.  I feel pretty certain predicting that parents with drug and alcohol use disorders  who previously neglected and abused their children will probably do the same thing if they continue to abuse substances.   I can  predict, however, with almost 100%  certainty, that if people are allowed to purchase machine guns, those guns will fired off.  That is probably the easiest thing to predict, and you don’t need an advanced graduate degree to do so.

When have you been able to say “I told you so”?

Birthday Boy!

Today is the birthday of our dear leader Dale!

We’ve talked here over the years of the gift that Dale has given us by starting the blog and setting a tone that we all appreciate.  Now let’s make a list of what gifts we would like to give Dale.

Here’s a poem for Dale’s birthday – although not quite up to the standards of Poet Laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler.

You’re honest,
decent, lovable,
and truly are first rate.
You’re charming,
unforgettable,
and clearly pretty great…

You’re dignified,
sophisticated,
gracious, sweet,
and kind.
You’ve got a lot
of talent
and a wit that’s
hard to find.

You’re cleaver, cool,
considerate,
and clean up really nice.
You’re worldly wise,
and wonderful
and full of good advice.

You’re fun
and entertaining,
not to mention
very smart.
You’re altogether awesome
and you’ve got a lot of heart!

What gift would you give Dale?

The Peach Man Cometh

Our town boasts two large grocery stores in addition to Walmart.  All three places have terrible produce, especially when it comes to summer fruit.  We waited all summer for Idaho, Colorado, and Washington peaches,  but they never arrived, leaving us with the second rate California peaches which always seem to disappoint.

Husband’s paternal grandfather was a door to door vegetable salesman in eastern Ohio from 1925 until 1968. He drove his truck up and down the roads and highways around Bridgeport, Ohio,  shouting “Vegetables!” and selling produce he grew himself or bought wholesale in Wheeling.  Husband grew up with great expectations for really nice produce, which is probably one reason we garden so much.

All summer we keep a look out for the fruit trucks that come through town, usually on the weekends. The Peach Man (who also sells Flathead Cherries) always parks in the small parking lot by the State Farm Insurance office and the Music Store.  He is a local guy who drives out to Montana and Washington, fills up his truck with peaches and cherries, and sells them here and in the little towns around us.  His produce is terrific.

We only got to the Peach Man twice this summer, and were feeling deprived when I noticed that one of his competitors, The Fruit Club truck, was in town one last time last Saturday. Off we went, and we came back with 10 pounds each of plums, peaches, and pears.  They all ripened Monday, so we are making jam and freezing pie fillings.  Sometimes  you just have to go overboard.

What do you find hard to resist?

Keyboard Kitten

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay.

A day ago, a couple of letters on my keyboard wouldn’t work, so I took it to the Apple Store, a twenty-minute drive. The tech said I’d need a new keyboard and their repairs are backed up, so it could be a week. A week without my laptop would threaten my mental stability, so he offered to call me when the repair backup was down to a day or two. I’d used the little keyboard drop down before, and since only my “o” and “l” weren’t working, I took it home and thought I could just muddle by clicking the missing letter on the drop down until the repair schedule opened up.

I brought it home and suddenly a half dozen letters wouldn’t work, as well as my “.” I rushed back to the Apple Store and they said that I could buy a new laptop, then return it after my keyboard was replaced BUT they’d have to transfer all my data to the “loaner” for it to be useable for me.  I thought, “Wow! I’ll still have a computer while my old one’s being fixed!

I left the old laptop there all night, then went to pick up the new laptop with my data transferred into it. When I got it home, I had the very same problem as I had on my old one. The very same letters wouldn’t work.  I again rushed back to the Apple Store to raise hell. On the way, I got a call from them saying, “Your computer’s fixed”. Huh? Did they get a new keyboard installed already???

When I got there (my 4th round trip), they told me that it was just a minor software issue and not a keyboard problem. I inquired about how this problem arose in the first place. They said that I must have held down the option key too long.

Then, I remembered leaving the kitten’s room, which used to be my bedroom, and coming back to find one of them happily sitting on my keyboard, enjoying the sounds it was making.

The next time my keyboard isn’t working, I’ll just take it in for a brief Genius Bar correction, but my first words will be; “Whatever’s wrong, consider that a cat sat on the keyboard, and take it from there!”

What have you had to tolerate from your animals?

In Search of My Irish

Today’s post comes to us from Jacque.

By the time you read this, I will be in Ireland. I could not get my head around how to tell one of these stories. It is cruel and overwhelming and unbelievable. It stopped me cold when I started to write it.

The group I am travelling with is a group of polymer clay artists who have been the students of our teacher from Jordan, MN, Maureen Carlson. She has for years had a teaching studio where people came to learn from all over the world.  One of those students is an Irish priest Father John.  Maureen closed her studio nearly 2 years ago to semi-retire.  He cut a deal with Maureen—let me come over for lessons one more time, and then the next year you can bring a group to the retreat center I run in Ireland for another 5 day lesson.  She said SOLD!  I was invited to attend.  I said yes.

Weirdly, this retreat center is located in the Irish county where my ancestors emigrated from in 1841 to Canada, County Down. That is my mother’s side.  You can the read the story of my great grandfather at this link:

https://www.bookemon.com/book_read_flip.php?book_id=278253

That story is stereotypical. The Newells wanted a better life.  They emigrated to Canada, then Iowa to homestead and did very well.  I hope to travel to see the old stone house the Newells lived in on the sea.  It is still there, 25 miles from the retreat center

The story I found in Ancestry.com on my father’s side knocked my socks off. I had no idea.  This is located in the county north of Down, in Antrim where Belfast is located.  I understand the Irish hatred of British after this one.  Sorry this is so long.  Here we go:

“The year was 1548 and it was in Ireland and it was time to pay Taxes to England . Ever year England would send a small army of tax collectors to Ireland to collect taxes, The people of Ireland had very little money and never enough to pay taxes to England . The tax collectors had been given the right from their King Edward V to take any thing of value to pay the taxes owed. It was the practice of King Edward and Mary Tudor to take Children in payment of the taxes. The children were taken to England to be trained as domestic servants and bonded labors.

This small village called Antrim, in the Ulster Province and of the MacDonald Clan was no different than any other village in Ireland everyone had to pay taxes one way or another, And this is where my story begins, Young children ages 12 years and older that looked in good health were taken from the family clans as payment for the taxes.From the time that the tax collectors picked the first children until they had over 100 children to go back to England it would take lest a week to 10 days. The children would be put into carts and wagons and most of the time their hands were tied to the racks on the carts to keep them from running away.

One young boy that came from Antrim was called James Antrim. His last name was from where he came from. He was being trained as a cord winder and rope maker. James Antrim was a hard worker and he learned well he also learned to read and write that would help him to get ahead in life. He lived and took his training at the family mansion of Sir Thomas Wyatt . During the five years of training young James Antrim had a hard time at first until his hands and arms got stronger, then he was as good a rope maker as there was.

It was on a spring day on a weekend that James went to the market with three men that he came to see for the first time a young lass with red hair , James had to know more about this young women. James found out that she was a cook’s helper at this master’s house and that her name was Colleen O’Shay . This was the first time that he seen his wife to be. The servant’s Masters was willing to let their servants have relationship with other household master’s  servants.  With the hopes that it would lead to a marriage. This way the servants children would be under the master ‘s care and they would become servants also and it would be cheaper than going to Ireland and bringing back young children to train .

Our ancestors were two of these servants that were married and two of their children came to Salem , Massachusetts, America in 1635. they were Thomas Antram and his wife Jane Batter, . And Thomas sent two of his sons John and James back to England in 1679 to bring friends and to raise funds to buy land in New Jersey. Our Ancestors were early America Pioneers.”

I hope that in our 5 days of touring we get to the Antrim area, as well. I want to know more about this practice of taking children for taxes.  It is guaranteed to create hard feelings that last for hundreds of years. It makes me think about how much I hate taxes sometimes.  Several times, while I owned my practice, I had to reach down deep to pay my taxes, but never did I have to make this kind of sacrifice—a 12 year old child.  I cannot come up with a question for discussion for this one.

What would you suggest as a question?

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