Over At the Frankenstein Place

Pretty Buckwheat is smart, too.

On Wednesday, I was deliberating on a riddle -

Q: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at midday and three legs at twilight?
A: Wrong riddle. Try again.
Q: How much hip pain would keep me from working at the food pantry?
A: Mmmm, exactly as much as I have now.

- while making dinner for my Handsome Husband, and as I was rough-dicing sweet potatoes the power went out. The only light in my kitchen was the flame under an empty pan into which I dropped chopped onions and diced sweet potatoes and dinner turned out fine, but if you’re ever in need of a little heart-pounding excitement, give some thought to dicing root vegetables in the dark.

Speaking of Nature, when is Nature like sharing a room with your sister? Buckwheat knows: when giraffes fight over a blouse!

Buckwheat dislikes the monkey suit!

From inside my house, I could see two lights a few streets away behind the house and a street light two blocks in front, so I knew the outage was local. I lit some candles and protected them from curious cats with one hand while calling my sisters at the family store six blocks away and not in the dark with the other. Pete and I ate steamed pork bao dipped in fragrant sauces, washed the dishes and settled in to hours of talking, knitting and writing by candlelight in our living room. The lights came on as I dialed Siobhan to discuss jarring applesauce in the dark, which I was about to do. I was almost disappointed to be able to see what I was doing.

Thursday morning, I barked at my boss Gianna, who lives two blocks from me, “What did you do last night?” She looked at me quizzically. “Power failure from 6 to 9?” I hinted.

“We didn’t have a power failure last night,” she said, “but don’t feel bad. We have one every day. The power goes out and everything blinks. We stopped resetting our clocks years ago.”

Knowing Who To Cling To

Miss Sasha casually mentioned North Dakota was enjoying a blizzard yesterday, so it should come as no surprise that last night the power went out in the tiny New Jersey town just as I started dinner. I made dinner, then called Miss Sasha to tell her the depth of sympathy, which was insufficient. Panky had just tossed his dinner on the floor.

Right Back To Where We Started From

Here at Poor Impulse Control, who the hell knows if we have our priorities straight. Let’s review:

Adorable grandchildren -
Learning about food preserving -
Potatoes, still without a glass bottom potato boat -
Cat blankets -

And on Monday, Pete and I start a three-day motorcycle safety course that either ends with our getting licenses or drastically rethinking the next thirty years of our futuristic and stylish lives.

Buckwheat: check! Panky: check! Destination: picnic!

Zucchini in tomatoes, pickled beets, red onions in red wine, Tata in 100 degree weather.

We've grown potato plants; no idea if we've grown potatoes.

Hey! Turns out cats like blankets!

That A Woman Can Be Tough

Where's Panky? You cannot see him!

David Dayen spills some very bad news:

Understand what we have here. There’s a fiscal commission operating partially in secret, without transcripts or recordings, planning to drop recommendations on Congress in the middle of a lame-duck session, with each leader in the House and Senate promising a vote on the recommendations. Unlike the Conrad-Gregg commission upon which this was modeled, the executive order on the fiscal commission does not mandate a super-majority requirement in each chamber of Congress for passage. It does mandate the need for agreement from 14 of the 18 commission members for passage of any recommendation, but the commission is stacked with people who want to target entitlement spending rather than any balanced proposal.

Even those supposedly defending bedrock programs like Social Security and Medicare on the commission, like the SEIU’s Andy Stern, have expressed a desire to at least open the retirement program to add-on private stock accounts:

“I agree with many Commissioners who have said that all entitlement programs should be on the table. We should include tax entitlements in that conversation… This Commission should examine our country’s entire retirement security system, private and public. Taxpayer dollars are spent in a multitude of ways, not just on Social Security, with the aim of producing retirement security. Yet, many Americans retire with anything but security. We should include as part of our agenda ideas for strengthening the private parts of the retirement security system, reviewing both the adequacy and the solvency of the Social Security system, and the possibility of universal add-on retirement accounts.

Add-on private accounts are an idea direct from the DLC in the late 1990s, when Bruce Reed, who co-wrote a domestic policy book with Rahm Emanuel, was involved with the group.

We have a commission pre-disposed to those types of ideas, operating partially in secret, foisting recommendations on Congress in December, without a super-majority obstacle to overcome in the House or the Senate (although the filibuster would presumably still be in play should a Democrat actually want to protect people from safety net cuts).

An House aide told me that the commission is deliberately trying to “keep the public from weighing in until the last possible moment.” They aren’t delivering public hearings outside of Washington, claiming that they don’t have a budget, but that could be deliberate as well, because it allows them to have billionaire hedge fund manager Pete Peterson provide the commission with staff and fold the conversation into his deficit mania “America Speaks” tour. It’s quite a public/private partnership going on.

Privatization of Social Security and Medicare – or trusting Wall Street with healthcare and pensions -is as brilliant an idea as trusting Halliburton and BP with an entire coastline. How stupid do you have to be not to get that?

After Night No Questions Asked

Panky perks up after a foiled escape attempt, already planning to blast his way out next time or as soon as he can pronounce that.

Pete and I cleaned and scoured and vacuumed and mopped and laundered for a week before Miss Sasha, Mr. Sasha and Panky arrived for a sleep over. The cats made themselves scarce. Five people, one of whom has not developed an inside voice, put up a racket. Every so often Sweetpea would slink down the stairs, catch a glimpse of Panky, say, “What the hell is THAT?” and flee. Miss Sasha left in the morning with Dad’s tiny baking forms, one of Dad’s working notebooks and one of Pete’s authoritative pastry books. Mr. Sasha left with ideas for container gardening in North Dakota. Panky left needing a nap and better alibis.

They were at our house for a total of 17 hours and three days later I’m still falling asleep in my V8 Juice.