I Quit… No, Wait! Maybe…?

Isn’t it strange how sometimes we procrastinate about doing something we really do want to do?

I started my first blog way back in the early spring of 2002. It was on Blogger, which, back in those days, was kind of terrible – very limited. And also, I wanted to be taken seriously and all the “serious” bloggers had real websites. So I moved on to better things. Except, a couple of times the better things had a meltdown and I had to move on again, and again. And every time I changed blog platforms and Web addresses I lost about half my readers. At one time I was up to over 200 visits a day. When it got down to about 30 a day I stopped wanting to know. For all I know there might be only three people reading this.

More and more I find myself “not in the mood” to write something for this blog or even to read other blogs and look for inspiration. I actually have the inspiration; I still have ideas and opinions I want to share but for some reason I just can’t seem to make myself write out what I’m thinking.

I have actually been thinking about quitting for about two years but two things keep stopping me: 1. I might disappoint someone, and 2. What if I change my mind? Oh, and one other thing. I kinda love my simple, silly little links page. But I haven’t paid proper attention to it in a long time. It’s full of broken links and I actually only visit maybe half a dozen of those sites regularly.

So, quitting? I still might or might not but I feel there’s no point anymore in paying for hosting (even though it is very inexpensive) when I’m really not into maintaining this site. So I’m going back to where I started. Blogger is much better now than it was 14 years ago. They could still make a few improvements but you really can’t complain much about free. Here’s the new Violins & Starships. There’s not much there now but I will add some links on the sidebar (sooner or later) and I’ll try to at least post a video or a picture or something once or twice a week and maybe I will continue or maybe just fade away. This blog should still be here until the end of this month but this will be the last post.

Random Linkage

Red Caboose B&B – What an awesome idea! Restored train caboose cars turned into motel rooms.

Shopkeepers – an interesting photo series

Spectre, Alabama – A town built for a Tim Burton movie still exists and you can go camping there.

Unusual Fungi – Beautiful! OMG, look at the blue ones!

The Secret Apartments of New York Libraries

Mr. Math, Steampunk Artist – goggles and gauntlets

Facts About Dreams – The pictures are more interesting to me than the “facts,” most of which I have read before.

Once Upon a Town – Early 20th century photographs

Topless Map – Weird. I had no idea that there were so many places in America where a woman can get away with going topless.

Pamela Renfroe Art – Folk art, I guess is how you would classify these? Nice stuff anyway, with old stores and cars and such.

Things You Didn’t Know Were Healthy

You might have seen this on Facebook but I want to rant about it a little bit more here. A while back I saw this meme that said DONUTS ARE HEALTHIER THAN CRYSTAL METH, with a picture of a delicious caramel-drizzled frosted donut. Cute huh? Funny but also obviously true, or at least it’s obvious to some of us. But, proving that no matter how obvious a statement is there are people who will argue against it, some people are actually saying that this is not true. Please go read this from the SciBabe – Five Reasons Why Donuts are Healthier Than Crystal Meth. It contains lots of profanity but in this case I think it’s justified. I’m kinda having a hard time refraining myself.

I think the biggest problem here is not that some people are so stupid they think donuts are actually worse for you than crystal meth; (because at least meth users are not obese) it’s the obsession our society has with thinness and obesity, and eating only the right things, “right” meaning whatever the self-appointed food police have decided is right, and just the general obsession with how other people choose to live their lives. As SciBabe says, one donut, even one donut a week, is not going to kill you. One donut is not going to make you obese; it’s the total calories you consume from all sources balanced against your activity level.

But the Food Police… no, wait, let’s not call them the Food Police. Health Evangelists seems more accurate because eating the “right” foods and avoiding “evil” foods has become like a religion to them. They’re not interested in science or logic and the idea that they ought to mind their own business is completely alien to them. They have latched onto the “true gospel” of healthy living and have made it their mission to save the non-believers. The obvious thing would be to simply ignore them but they are so aggressive and ubiquitous that their nonsense gets into everyone’s heads and into both politics and marketing so it’s impossible to avoid thinking about it and feeling a little bit guilty for occasionally indulging in something that tastes good.

There are people, like SciBabe, fighting against mis-information of all kinds but it seems like no one ever wants to listen to sensible people and this is so frustrating to me.

I wish I could do this to every single person, other than legitimate doctors and scientists, who ever opens their mouth to say what other people should and should not eat or drink:


A Surprising Cover

I love Simon and Garfunkel. The harmonizing of their voices is magical and The Sound of Silence is one of my favorites of their many hits. So I wasn’t sure I even wanted to listen to this cover but curiosity would not be denied. Wow. It hurts me a little bit to admit this but I think it might be better than the original.

A Few Links

Heros and Aliens – People in 19th century photos turned into superheros and fantasy creatures.

Antique Toasters – I like the one called “The Sweetheart”.

Takumi Kama – Surreal and fantasy art. I love the landscape in a jar

Animal Portraits – Wow!

Sci-Fi Covers, Instagram – I own or used to own quite a few of these myself.

How did the Klingons Get Warp Drive – “So how did a race who spends too much time yelling, fighting and feuding and not nearly enough time studying, experimenting or inventing manage to create a warp drive?”

Dream Doll House

This is all kinds of wonderful. I could do without the skulls and the dog skeleton but otherwise, WANT! And even more I want to have the talent and imagination to have created it.

Not Your Kids’ Cartoon Movie

This is quite possibly the most messed up animated movie ever. I mean, we all love anthropomorphized food, right? But when the cute little talking pigs have made their final transition to bacon or sausage there’s no cause for guilt, at least for us omnivores. Well, in this movie sausage and even buns and potatoes have feelings. Great diet movie?

There’s also a longer, uncensored trailer, complete with Hollywood’s two favorite words: the one that begins with F and the one that begins with S. I repeat, this is not a kids’ movie, folks. (And yes, I want to see it. I’m so bad.)

Prime Day?

So yesterday was Amazon’s “Prime Day” which seems like it’s supposed to be a really big deal, based on the hundred bazillion emails they send out telling us how great the deals are going to be. I barely looked this year since last year was disappointing and I couldn’t think of anything specific that I wanted except maybe another pair of those stretchy shoes in the “bronze” color but no luck there. I suppose I could have bought a new improved Kindle. Even at the regular price some of the new ones cost one-third or less of what the one I have cost and have touch screens (and the screens are supposed to be brighter) but I didn’t think of it and didn’t even look at the electronics. The old one still works and I’ll probably keep it until it doesn’t work anymore. A couple of times I thought it had quit – the screen was doing weird things – but I just turned it off and let it rest a while and when I turned it back on it was fine.

I don’t know… is it just me? I guess it depends on what you’re interested in. Does it seem to anyone out there that Prime Day even comes close to living up to the hype? When someone makes a point of telling me something is going to be great, big, huge, awesome, and fantastic I expect it to be, if not really great, big, huge, awesome, and fantastic, at least good and a little bit out of the ordinary. It seems to me that it would be better – for the customer at least – if instead of specific items being on sale they offered everyone discounts on the stuff on their personal recommendations lists.

I’ve Been Tagged!

You don’t see these things much anymore – things like this Sunshine Blogger Award where you get tagged to answer a bunch of questions and then you tag a bunch of other bloggers. I used to see them all the time and always think, “Somebody pick me! Oh please pick me!” but most of the time no one ever did. But anyway… this time I got tagged so here goes with the questions.

1. What do you value more in a story: dialog or plot?
Both but if I have to pick just one, dialog. Bad, boring or unrealistic dialog can spoil an otherwise good book but if the plot is lame or non-existent but characters and dialog are interesting I can still enjoy the book.

2. Describe the home planet of Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Come on, that dude ain’t human.)
I have no idea who you are talking about. I did Google the name so now I know who he is but still not enough about him to describe his home planet.

3. If you enjoy watching any sports at all, which ones would you at least like to try just once?
I don’t know… volley ball maybe? Sad story about this: I never played volley ball when I was a kid because when someone would ask me if I wanted to play I would ask them to teach me the rules first and they would say something like, “Just stand here and hit the ball back over the net when it comes to you,” but I was sure there were rules that they weren’t telling me and that everyone would get mad at me when I broke one so I wouldn’t play.

4. Describe the most recent book to which you gave (or would have given) five stars.
I guess it would have to be Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey. That whole series is awesome.

5. Do you finish bad books? Why or why not?
Usually, yes. Why? I don’t want to be a quitter, maybe? Sometimes a book that starts out kind of blah gets really good halfway through. Or if it really is bad, sometimes a bad book will be just interesting enough that I want to see what happens. Depends on what’s bad about it. Maybe the plot is good but the characters are two dimensional or the writing itself is like an eight year old wrote it or something like that. On the other hand, there have been a few books that I started and just couldn’t get interested in at all so I quit and moved on to something better. It’s only in recent years that I’ve started doing that. I used to almost always finish books no matter what.

6. How vexed are you when movies don’t match the books?
Not at all. I don’t expect movies to match the books. Books and movies are two different things, both good in their own way.

7. Describe your perfect hot beverage. In detail. I’m talking roast of bean or variety of leaves, additives like spices or squirts of citrus, vessel from which the drink is sipped, where you are sitting as you sip it, who is next to you, what music is playing.
Any number of beverages can be “perfect” but more often than not it’s tea. My favorite, or the one I brew most often, is Russian Caravan from Porto Rico Importing. The cup or mug is important. It has to feel right in my hands. I prefer one that is taller than it is wide, so a mug. I have a little collection of them (and would have a BIG collection if I had the space) and I like to get around to using them all. Hardly any of them just sit there looking pretty. Sometimes when the weather is nice I go outside and sit on my front porch and enjoy the trees and the birds. If I’m indoors I’m listening to music, almost always classical, in the broader sense, and it could be anything from medieval to contemporary art music.

8. Do you watch cooking shows? If so, describe your favorite.
Hardly ever except for Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. I guess that’s sort of a cooking show.

9. Name a place you’ve visited that you thought you’d hate but you didn’t.
I can’t really think of any place I thought I’d hate. I once went to a tractor pull and enjoyed it more than I expected to. Does that count?

10. You know that hobby you had as a younger person that you miss dearly but you know you’ll never do it again? Describe it!
There’s no childhood hobby that I “miss dearly”. Maybe coloring books but now that there are adult coloring books I can’t say I’ll never do it again.

11. On January 20, 2017, the newly inaugurated President of the United States signs a law requiring all Americans to display a coffee-table book prominently in their home. Which one do you put out?
A surrealist art book. Not Dali, someone else – Tanguy maybe, or maybe a book of various surrealist artists.

Now I’m supposed to tag eleven other bloggers and write eleven questions for them to answer but I don’t know eleven bloggers who would be interested in this so, I’m sorry but I have to break the chain. It’s okay though. I don’t believe in bad luck.


Time – or our perception of it – is a funny thing and the older we get the weirder time seems. You can think of an event in your life 30 or 40 years ago (or 39 years ago or whatever) and you think it can’t possibly have been that long ago but, at the same time, it feels like it was impossibly long ago and that more than a lifetime of things have happened between then and now.

The Vet Shows

Ah television – why bother to come up with original new shows when you can copy an existing hit show? First there was Nat Geo Wild’s The Incredible Dr. Pol. (Actually I think there were others before it but it was the first big hit vet show, I think.) Millions of people watched it so now every cable/satellite network has to have a vet show or three. I’m not complaining though because, frankly, I’m hooked on several of these shows. I want to say that Dr. Pol is still my favorite. I like Dr. Pol himself. He has a great personality, both funny and caring. However, I would like to see more pets and a lot less arm-up-a-cow’s-butt.

If I remember right Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet (also on Nat Geo Wild) was the second vet show that I started watching. I haven’t seen it for a while and really don’t have much to say about it either positive or negative but I thought I should mention it anyway since I have watched it. It’s okay, interesting sometimes, but there’s nothing about it that makes me care whether or not I ever watch it again.

Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER (Nat Geo Wild) is one of the more interesting vet shows because she only sees avian and exotic pets. Some, like rabbits, are not what I would consider exotic because they’re so common but basically any house pet that’s not a cat or a dog. Dr. K – Susan Kelleher – is not one of my favorite personalities. Nothing I can complain about, really, but she is definitely not the reason I watch the show and I think if I worked for her or otherwise knew her in real life she might rub me the wrong way sometimes. But overall I do like the show a lot.

Dr. Jeff Rocky Mountain Vet (Animal Planet) – You know how I said I wanted to say Dr. Pol is still my favorite vet show? Well, honestly I think this one is actually my favorite. Dr. Jeff Young is a wonderfully kind, caring and dedicated person. He treats every animal – whether dog, cat, rat, bunny, hedgehog, lizard, snake or whatever – as if it were someone’s precious child. He charges a lot less than most vets and frequently shames other vets for their high fees. (“I don’t know how you charge $4000 for that surgery. I guess he drives a better car than I do.”) He also regularly does mobile free clinics in remote locations. Dr. Jeff runs a large clinic and seems to treat his staff very well. They once said he has 30 people working for him and everyone I’ve seen on the show so far is very likable.

I have just recently started watching Dr. Dee Alaska Vet (Animal Planet) and I love her! She is hilarious. She’s always saying something funny, or the way she says something is funny. She has a pilot’s license so she can go see patients in remote areas of Alaska. I’ve only watched this one two or three times so far.

The Vet Life (Animal Planet) is the newest of the vet shows. It’s about three Houston Texas vets. The three of them went to college and vet school together. They are friends who work well together and their families are all friends. Their family life is a big part of the show. So far I’m liking this one even though, so far, it seems to be less about the animals than the people.

I know these are not all of the vet shows; they’re just the ones that I watch.