Saturday, January 18, 2014

GM Truck Recall. Star Spangled Banner by McGuire. Betty White. Humans Thrown Away. Kids Disrupting 911. Friending Fresh Air. 4-H And Monsanto. Recall Health Products. 50 Human Mysteries. GM Sells Historic Cars. Fosters Arrive.


For "Summary Saturday" or News, some new some old:

GM Recalling 370,000 Trucks For Fire Risk

The 2014 Silverado is one of two truck models under recall (GM).

DETROIT (AP) - "General Motors is recalling 370,000 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups from the 2014 model year to fix software that could cause the exhaust components to overheat and start a fire.
The recall includes 303,000 trucks in the U.S. and 67,000 in Canada and Mexico. All of the trucks involved have 4.3-liter or 5.3-liter engines.
GM said eight fires have been reported, but no injuries. One garage was damaged, the company said. All of the incidents occurred in cold weather.
The company is asking customers not to leave their trucks idling unattended."  More at:


Jesse McGuire blows the roof off stadium with national anthem performance

image "Who was that trumpet player giving fans goosebumps at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday before the Carolina Panthers faced the San Francisco 49ers? Jesse McGuire

McGuire is from Ann Arbor, Mich., and began playing trumpet when he was 9 years old, according to his biography.

He is an author and jazz and gospel music expert. He has toured and recorded with Tower of Power, Wynton Marsalis, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Elton John, Seal and numerous other musicians and singers.

Here’s a clip of Sunday’s performance of the Star Spangled Banner by McGuire, in case you missed it or want to hear it again."



Many happy returns of the day, Betty!

image "Happy birthday, Betty White! Our favorite TV funny lady turned 92 yesterday and she's showing no signs of slowing down!    She loves animals.  Here's a title we bet you didn't know Betty had. She's been made an honorary park ranger by the U.S. Forest Service and has worked tirelessly for animal rights." More at:  10 Things We Love About Betty White On Her 92nd Birthday


Pope says abortion evidence of 'throwaway culture'


VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis has criticized abortion as evidence of a "throwaway culture" that wastes people as well as food.

In the annual speech on world crises, Francis cited abortion and said: "Unfortunately what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary."  More at:


Kids + Old Cell Phones = Problem

"Old Cell Phones Disrupting 911 Services

It has become common for parents to pass down their old cell phones that are no longer in service to their children for recreational use. Often smart phones are used by kids to play games/listen to music and parents don’t mind because the phone is no longer valid.

The Cleveland Police Department wants parents to know that even though these phones do not have service, they are still able to contact 911 as long as the phone has power."  More at:


Connecting Kids to Nature in the Digital Age

NWF Report: Friending Fresh Air:  Bridge the Indoor/Outdoor Gap with Tech

Father and Son Playing Ipad

"So how do parents balance the role of technology in their kids’ lives with the simple pleasures and lasting benefits of outdoor play? Better yet, how do they use technology to get kids moving, exploring and interacting with the outdoor world around them?

Be Out There takes an in-depth look at how to balance screen time with green time in the report, Friending Fresh Air: Connecting Kids to Nature in the Digital Age. Here, we offer insight on how to use technology you already love and still connect your kids to nature."  More at:


Is Monsanto Using 4-H to Brainwash Your Children About GMOs?

"Monsanto is boasting its partnership with 4-H Youth Development Organization, the country’s largest and most influential youth organization with more than 6.8 million members in 80 countries worldwide.

According to the annual reports, 4-H is receiving funding from Monsanto, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cargill, DuPont, United Soybean Board, Coca-Cola, and Pfizer.

Monsanto has been hijacking society at every turn, including government institutions, colleges and universities, media agencies, and so-called representatives of “science”.

Monsanto recently attempted to brainwash young children with a 16-page book called “Biotechnology Basics Activity Book” full of colorful pages and cartoon characters touting the “benefits” of GMOs.

If your child is involved with 4-H, please monitor the messages he or she is getting, rather than making assumptions that they are based in truth."  Complete article and video at:


Recall: A number of natural health products potentially contaminated with chloramphenicol may pose serious health risks to consumers in Canada.

image "The only products Health Canada is currently aware of potentially being contaminated are products used as digestive and menopausal aids. Health Canada is working with Specialty Enzymes & image Biotechnologies and its Canadians customers to confirm affected products and will continue to provide updates to Canadians as warranted."  More at:


50 Human Mysteries

image "The Human Body is a treasure trove of mysteries, one that still confounds doctors and scientists about the details of its working. It's not an overstatement to say that every part of your body is a miracle.  Here are fifty facts about your body, some of which will leave you stunned...or..." Read about all 50 at:


On This Day:

GM auctions off historic cars, Jan 18, 2009:

"January 18, 2009, marks the final day of a weeklong auction in which auto giant General Motors (GM) sells off historic cars from its Heritage Collection. GM sold around 200 vehicles at the Scottsdale, Arizona, auction, including a 1996 Buick Blackhawk concept car for $522,500, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 COPO Coupe for $319,000 and a 1959 Chevrolet Corvette convertible for $220,000. Other items included a 1998 Cadillac Brougham, which was built for the pope. (That vehicle was blessed by the pope but never used because of safety issues; it sold for more than $57,000.) Most were preproduction, development, concept or prototype cars.

Rumors spread that the financially troubled GM was selling off its entire fleet of historic vehicles, but that was not the case. As The New York Times reported shortly after the January auction: "Much has been made of the timing of the sale coinciding with G.M.'s current situation, but G.M. is simply doing the same thing that many large-scale collectors and museums regularly do in culling certain pieces from their collections. This was hardly a wholesale dumping of G.M.'s heritage.""



After a lot of emails, and being 'on hold' to talk to a rep at Amana Corp., I finally bit the bullet and ordered one 220v. window heat/AC unit.   When we have tried that one out, to make sure that the fan goes off when the desired temperature has been reached in Heat mode, I will order the second one for the guest house.

This means that I have a big credit at Home Depot, so as Jay is not in the mood to work right now, I might use it for a green house.

Then a lot more emails with pictures, to determine which kittens I would foster for the foster mom who is overloaded right now.  She is just not feeling well, so at least I can help by keeping four in my grooming room, as I have the facilities. 

image For the church potluck, I steamed some yellow cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, celery, garlic and Roseval potatoes.  But I decided not to include the Roseval potatoes as they have red streaks in them, and the diners might think that there is something wrong with them.

Our SPCA boss, Kenya, went over to the kitten's house to examine, and vaccinate them, so they could be here in the same house as my other fosters who are all ready to be adopted.  Even though they will be kept apart from my other foster cats.  I have to say cats, plural, as Peekers might come back from the Habitat at the end of the month.  She did switch out one, and so I have a silver instead of a tabby named "Charlotte", who has something wrong with one eye. 

So I have "Tulip", and "Pansy" who are fluffy calicos, "Estelle" is white with a black back and head, and "Silverbelle" is, well.. a silver.

I was already bathed and dressed for bed when she called to say that they were on their way.  So it was a mad scramble to get dressed again, turn up the heat in the Grooming Room, and fill up their water bowls and litter boxes. I am so glad that Ray and I got everything else ready the other day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Arsenic In Rice. From The FDA. Toxic Fruit Juice. Animals Pay Dearly. Irradiated Foods. "Sell By". Lost H-bomb.


For "Foodie Friday":

Toxin Found in Most U.S. Rice Causes Genetic Damage

Discover Magazine: The magazine of science, technology, and the future

bowl of rice

"It’s been more than a decade since scientists first raised an alarm about arsenic levels in rice—an alarm based on the realization that rice plants have a natural ability to absorb the toxic element out of the soil.

Since then study after study has confirmed that rice products contain more arsenic than those of any other grain. In response, consumer health advocates have pushed for regulatory agencies to set a safety standard for rice."  More at:


Five Things You Need To Know About Arsenic In Rice (Before Dinner Time)

1. Pay Attention To Where It’s Grown

image “Rice grown in the Southeastern U.S. had the highest amount of arsenic, according to Consumer Reports, which makes sense given that this is the land where cotton was grown and arsenic was used as a pesticide for decades to combat the boll weevil.

Rice is grown in water, so the presence of arsenic in the soil can be readily transmitted. Even though they’ve done away with arsenic-containing pesticides in the U.S., the arsenic remains in the soil [and other arsenic-containing ingredients in animal feed to prevent disease and promote growth are still permitted]. Once in the soil, the arsenic can come into the roots and into the grain of the rice itself.

Rice grown in California wouldn’t have the same problems — California-grown rice has much lower levels of arsenic, the studies found. And here’s one instance in which buying imports is better: Thai jasmine and Indian basmati had some — but much lower — levels of arsenic (about one-half to one-third the amount).

4. Vary Your Grains
“Use other grains in addition to rice and eat a variety. There can be much lower levels of arsenic in wheat and oats, quinoa, millet, amarynth…

Just like eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is protective, eating a variety of grains is protective too.”  Complete article at:


Arsenic and toxic metals found in baby foods

Baby being fed: Arsenic and toxic metals found in baby foods

"Baby foods used to wean infants off milk have been found to contain "alarming" levels of toxic contaminants including arsenic, lead and cadmium.

Researchers found feeding infants twice a day on the shop-bought baby foods such as rice porridge can increase their exposure to arsenic by up to fifty times when compared to breast feeding alone.

Writing in the journal of Food Chemistry, the scientists from the Unit of Metals and Health at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, where the research was carried out, said: "Alarmingly, these complementary foods may also introduce high amounts of toxic elements such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and uranium, mainly from their raw materials." More at:


Then this from the FDA:

Questions & Answers: Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products

"What is arsenic?
Arsenic is a chemical element present in the environment from both natural and human sources, including erosion of arsenic-containing rocks, volcanic eruptions, contamination from mining and smelting ores and previous or current use of arsenic-containing pesticides.

Are there different types of arsenic?
There are two general types of arsenic compounds in water, food, air and soil: organic and inorganic (these together are referred to as “total arsenic”). The inorganic forms of arsenic are the forms that have been more closely associated with long-term health effects.

How does arsenic get into foods? Do all foods have arsenic?
Arsenic is present in many foods, including grains, fruits and vegetables where it is present due to absorption from the soil and water. While most crops don’t readily take up much arsenic from the ground, rice is different because it takes up arsenic from soil and water more readily than other grains. In addition, some seafood contains high levels of organic arsenic.

Do organic foods have less arsenic than non-organic foods?
Because arsenic is naturally found in the soil and water, it is absorbed by plants regardless of whether they are grown under conventional or organic farming practices. The FDA is unaware of any data that shows a difference in the amount of arsenic found in organic rice versus non-organic rice.

What are “rice products”?
Rice products are foods that contain rice grains or rice-derived ingredients, such as brown rice syrup.

What FDA is Doing About Arsenic in Rice?" 

More at:


Dr. Oz Proves This Fruit Juice Can be Toxic

image "In September, Dr. Oz also discussed this issue on The Dr. Oz Show.  Then Consumer Reports backed it up.(

He claimed to have tested 50 different brands of apple juice, and found they ALL contained high levels of arsenic. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contested Dr. Oz's findings, stating that his testing was inaccurate because he tested for both inorganic and organic arsenic, the latter of which is considered fairly harmless.

image Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment, and is a common groundwater contaminant. The US EPA limits trace amounts of arsenic in drinking water to 10 parts per billion. However, arsenic is also showing up in food and drinks, for which no safety limits have been set, raising concerns about overexposure through diet, especially for children and pregnant women.

Tests performed by both Consumer Reports and Dr. Oz recently exposed high levels of arsenic in fruit juices, especially apple juice. As a result, Consumer Reports is calling for government standards to limit consumer exposure.

Ten percent of 88 juice samples tested by Consumer Reports had arsenic levels exceeding the U.S. federal drinking-water standard.

Many foods, including chicken, rice, and processed baby foods have also been found to contain high levels of arsenic.

While acutely toxic at high levels, low-level chronic exposure to arsenic can lead to a wide variety of health problems, including gastrointestinal problems, skin discoloration and hyperkeratosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, high blood pressure, diabetes, reproductive problems, reduced IQ and other neurological problems, and various cancers."  Complete article at:


Animal Cruelty Is the Price We Pay imagefor Cheap Meat 

image "If you’re a typical milk cow in America, this is your life. You are raised, like pigs, on a concrete slab in a stall barely bigger than your body. There, you never touch grass or see sun till the day you’re herded to slaughter. A cocktail of drugs, combined with breeding decisions, has grossly distended the size of your udder such that you’d trip over it if allowed to graze, which of course you’re not.

image Your hooves have rotted black from standing in your own shit, your teats are scarred, swollen and leaking pus – infected by mastitis – and you’re sick to the verge of total collapse from giving nearly 22,000 pounds of milk a year. (That’s more than double what your forebears produced just 40 years ago.)

By the time they’ve used you up (typically at four years of age), your bones are so brittle that they often snap beneath you and leave you unable to get off the ground on your own power.

Brittle bones aren’t the only reason cows become nonambulatory. A “downer” cow is an animal unable to stand on its own due to injury or illness; downers are deemed unfit by the federal government for human consumption. They are three times likelier to harbor a potentially deadly strain of E. coli, and at higher risk of carrying salmonella bacteria and transmitting bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, as it’s quaintly known.

image But before you’re classified as a downer, Big Meat will use every trick up its wizard’s sleeve to keep you on your feet. Workers hit you in the eyes with a cattle prod, or in the groin, if you like that better; stick a fire hose down your throat to get you to stand, a ploy inspired by those who brought you Abu Ghraib; and, if all else fails, they hoist you with a forklift and load you onto a flatbed bound for slaughter.

image In 2007, the Humane Society caught Westland/Hallmark red-handed, and just over two months later it busted the Southern California rendering plant for dumping 37 million pounds of downed-cow beef into the national “low cost or free” school-lunch program.  No, it wasn’t enough merely to pawn toxic meat on an unsuspecting public; the company sold it to the Department of Agriculture for more than $156 million, which approved it for poor kids’ meal trays. That scandal shut the plant down, put Westland/Hallmark out of business and started riots in South Korea, where protesters – fearing exposure to mad cow disease – fought a pending deal to reverse an almost five-year ban on American beef. The total tab for that outrage remains a mystery, but is thought to be in the billions."    Read more:


Never Buy Meat, Potatoes or Herbs With This Label on it

radiation in spices"Irradiated herbs, seasonings and spices are exposed to HALF A BILLION chest X-ray's worth of gamma radiation. This information is clearly publicized by the USDA and FDA.

The FDA presently supports the use of Cobalt-60 culled from nuclear reactors on all domestically produced conventional food.

Irradiation leads to the formation of furan, which has been linked to liver toxicity, including carcinogenicity.

irradiation symbol for radiationIrradiated foods must be labeled with the statement "treated with radiation" or "treated by irradiation" and the international symbol for irradiation, the radura.

Irradiated foods contain compounds called 2-alkylcyclobutanones (2-ACBs), which may promote tumor growth and colon cancer; they are found exclusively in irradiated foods.

Irradiation is essentially a very effective medium for masking filthy conditions in slaughterhouses and food processing plants; You can avoid irradiation by choosing locally grown, organic foods as much as possible."

More at:


Food expired? Don't be so quick to toss it

image "Terms like "sell by," "use by" and "best before" are usually not good indicators of how safe the food is to eat. Rather than referring to when the food is safe to eat, these terms are simply suggestions from the manufacturer for when the food is at its peak quality.

The "sell by" date tells grocery stores how long to offer the product for sale, and food is usually fresh for at least several days after that date.

"Best by" usually speaks to when the food has its best flavor and quality. "Use by" is the last date recommended for use of the product at its peak quality. Confusion over these dates prompts 9 out of 10 Americans to throw away food before they really need to – a waste of taste and money.:  More at:


On This Day:

H-bomb lost in Spain, Jan 17, 1966:

"On this day, a B-52 bomber collides with a KC-135 jet tanker over Spain's Mediterranean coast, dropping three 70-kiloton hydrogen bombs near the town of Palomares and one in the sea. It was not the first or last accident involving American nuclear bombs.

The bomber was returning to its North Carolina base following a routine airborne alert mission along the southern route of the Strategic Air Command when it attempted to refuel with a jet tanker. The B-52 collided with the fueling boom of the tanker, ripping the bomber open and igniting the fuel. The KC-135 exploded, killing all four of its crew members, but four members of the seven-man B-52 crew managed to parachute to safety.

None of the bombs were armed, but explosive material in two of the bombs that fell to earth exploded upon impact, forming craters and scattering radioactive plutonium over the fields of Palomares. A third bomb landed in a dry riverbed and was recovered relatively intact. The fourth bomb fell into the sea at an unknown location.

Palomares, a remote fishing and farming community, was soon filled with nearly 2,000 U.S. military personnel and Spanish civil guards who rushed to clean up the debris and decontaminate the area. The U.S. personnel took precautions to prevent overexposure to the radiation, but the Spanish workers, who lived in a country that lacked experience with nuclear technology, did not. Eventually some 1,400 tons of radioactive soil and vegetation were shipped to the United States for disposal.

Meanwhile, at sea, 33 U.S. Navy vessels were involved in the search for the lost hydrogen bomb. Using an IBM computer, experts tried to calculate where the bomb might have landed, but the impact area was still too large for an effective search. Finally, an eyewitness account by a Spanish fisherman led the investigators to a one-mile area. On March 15, a submarine spotted the bomb, and on April 7 it was recovered. It was damaged but intact.

Studies on the effects of the nuclear accident on the people of Palomares were limited, but the United States eventually settled some 500 claims by residents whose health was adversely affected. Because the accident happened in a foreign country, it received far more publicity than did the dozen or so similar crashes that occurred within U.S. borders.

As a security measure, U.S. authorities do not announce nuclear weapons accidents, and some American citizens may have unknowingly been exposed to radiation that resulted from aircraft crashes and emergency bomb jettisons. Today, two hydrogen bombs and a uranium core lie in yet undetermined locations in the Wassaw Sound off Georgia, in the Puget Sound off Washington, and in swamplands near Goldsboro, North Carolina."



DSCF0051-001 Ray came over and we set up one more cage in the Grooming Room for the four orphan kittens that I am expecting to arrive soon.

DSCF0059-001 Peeker's cage is still set up in my house, because if he isn't adopted from the Habitat by the end of the month, he will be back here.  He stays in the house and plays with Nala my foster cat, but there are times when he has to be locked up for his own safety.

DSCF0058-001So that is why we had to set up another one in the grooming room, as I don't want to have more than two kittens in each cage.

But first, we carried the cages outside to our wash-bay, sprayed them down with bleach water, rinsed them, and brought them back in when they were dry.

DSCF0056-001 Then we vacuumed and disinfected my four-storey kitty condo and took it into the Grooming Room for them to play on.  The few-months-old kittens have been locked up in cages where they are, but I will be letting them out to have some play times.

As they are not yet in the system, our SPCA boss, Kenya, is going to visit the kittens, to look them over, make sure they are healthy, and get them vaccinated, today. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Short Bed? Payment Trap. Short Hose. Floor Vents. 5 Stupid Things. Wasps Like Gas. Surge Protector. Stow Stuff. RV Tips. Deadline in Iraq.


For 'tRaVersing Thursday", or RV Day

How to lengthen an RV bed

"A bed in an RV can often be too short for tall RVers, who have to scrunch up to fit in — not good for a restful sleep. This video shows you how to fix that problem for about $30 — a lot cheaper than a new bed!"


The Payment Trap / The Illusion Of Freedom...

"Many people are making payments on their recreation vehicles thinking that they are free to travel and live off the grid when in actuality they are tied to the system and a slave to their wages. Their possessions end up owning them, they do not own their possessions. Many people are just one paycheck away from repossession and losing everything.."


Carry an extra hose?


"Carrying an extra, specially sized water hose, can be a godsend for the traveling RVer. Here's why.

Keeping a long water hose in the rig is always a given, particularly if you frequent RV parks with hookups. But a short coupled water hose, just a few feet long, can make life a whole lot easier when on the road."


A tip about heating vents in your RV

"Jim Nelson shows you a way to cover one or more of your RV's heating vents to keep debris from falling in and to help control your heating comfort."


5 Stupid Things I Have Done To Damage My RV

"Here are 5 Stupid Things I Have Done To Damage My RV plus One *Bonus Stupidity Not Done by Me. When You travel enough time in your RV you are bound to eventually do some stupid things. These are my top doh! moments."


Flea collars keep wasps out

"Wasps like the smell and sweet taste of propane, and will turn the pilot light areas in the refrigeration and water heater compartments into their next home. If too many wasps move in, their condo will clog up the pilot light area and the system won’t work. When the propane is turned on, it could result in not only frying the wasps but also the RV wiring, meaning a potentially expensive service call to the repair shop.



Cut a flea collar in half and lay each half on the bottom of one of the compartments. Wasps don’t like the smell of flea collars and will congregate elsewhere.

Other solutions, such as commercial wasp traps to keep wasps out are available. If wasps have already invaded these compartments, one-shot solutions to get rid of them include dousing them with a cup of soapy dish detergent in water. Wasps reportedly like the smell of beer better than they do propane, so place a half-full can of beer in the compartment. The wasps will crawl into the can to get at the beer and drown."  by Cheryl Probst


Are surge protectors needed in RVs? And what about extended service plans?

"Dear Gary,
A friend told me about how his 120-volt appliances in his RV fried at a campground in AK. He said a surge protector probably would have prevented a huge bill to replace what was destroyed. Is it a good idea to have a surge protector? Also what are your thoughts on extended service plans?" —Jim G. (Seattle, WA)

Read Gary's response. Posted by The RV Doctor, Gary Bunzer


A Sometimes Overlooked Motor Home Safety Tip

PM Essex"All motor home owners observe certain procedures prior to taking off from a camp stay. Things like, disconnect all connections, slides in, jacks up, antennas down, and more, are standard rituals they are all accustom to. A vehicle walk around after everything is set, is a good policy and hopefully is done by every RV’er. These often reveal issues that need attention such as open compartments, obstacles beneath the coach or wheels, awnings not locked, etc. A little time spent completing this can save a lot of time and possibly costly repairs later.

Okay, all checks out as ready for the road, but, what about loose items within the coach? Those items like toasters, coffee pots, cutlery and other personal things that we all carry, are they safe? They create little or no danger while driving down the road outside of possibly rattling in harmony with the bumps on the road surface. However, in the case of a sudden deceleration caused by a collision or even a panic braking action, these items can become lethal. The sink with several dishes, knives and forks, can be tossed up and become ballistic household shrapnel.

Many makes of class “A” RV’s do not fair well in a collision, and in some impact instances, the body may practically disintegrate, offering little or no protection for the occupants.  Unlike automobiles, trucks and even buses made today, RV’s do not have to meet the same crash test safety regulations.

But, even if they did, they still pose an added danger that the others generally do not. That is, loose cargo items throughout the interior. These normally harmless pieces will continue their forward travel speed should the vehicle be caused to stop instantly.

So, if you are lucky enough to survive the impact moment of a bad collision, you may still be seriously injured, or worse, from this flying debris. So what can we do to reduce this potential danger? Well, cleaning off the counter and removing items in the sink is a good start. Look for items that would be unimpeded from travelling in a forward motion to the front passenger area.

Be sure any heavy items are secure and would be blocked by a wall or bulkhead towards the direction of travel. If there is nowhere else to store that blender, place it on the floor, preferably without a clear path forward. If you have any forward facing cupboards, use a tie of some type to prevent them from opening in a sudden stop event. These are just some ideas, but each rig is different, as are what people carry with them. Use common sense in how items are stored while travelling.

Now, don’t forget your seatbelts! While your motor home may seem like sitting in a living room, you are travelling in a vehicle that is, not only less maneuverable than your car, but also may possess other possible dangers. Drive safe!"   With an Eye on Safety – Lug_Nut – Peter Mercer


From me:  This includes your pets. Keep them safe in strapped-down carriers or in a seat belt harness.  A man had his neck broken by a large dog being thrown forward, and beloved animals have escaped through broken windows, never to be seen again.  It is also easier for the medics to tend to passengers if the animals are restrained.


RV Tips:

Use big enough leveling blocks
"Got leveling blocks for under the tires? Make sure the blocks are big enough that the tire sits completely on the block — not overhanging it. Dually rig owners, BOTH the tires must be supported, not just one."


Keep your RV food safe

"Food borne illnesses can stop your RVing fun in a big hurry. How can a RV foodie keep this nastiness away? The food safety experts at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center provide a few tips to keep the food fun going."


Prep your rig to be sales-ready before upgrading to a new RV 
"Is it pristine clean? Do the appliances work? Does it have any off-putting odors? Look at your rig as a new buyer sees it — and take care of its shortcomings before they turn off a prospective buyer. These tips will tell you how."


Treat your campground neighbors as you would want to be treated.

"Don't play your music so loud that they are forced to listen to it — they may not share your love of Conway Twitty. Would you want to listen to their music? Always be considerate."


From me:  Standard size sheets v. RV sheets?

Get some sheet grippers.  Available at most dept. stores.


Adjust the hitch ball height
“Towing with the tongue high (or low) can overload one of your trailer axles.  Set your ball height to level the trailer when attached to the tow vehicle."


Cleaning the RV shower, sinks and toilet
"Remember that whatever you use to clean the sinks, showers and toilet ends up in the RV holding tanks. Never use any cleaners that could possibly damage the holding tanks. Clean these surfaces with a non-abrasive mild detergent, water and a soft cloth.

Never use any harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners that can scratch or damage ABS, plastic and fiberglass finishes. Some wet wipe products work well on these surfaces, but avoid using bleach." Tech Tips from Mark Polk


On This Day:

Benny Goodman brings jazz to Carnegie Hall, Jan 16, 1938:

"Jazz has been called "America's classical music," a label that does more than just recognize its American origins. The label also makes the case that jazz is worthy of aesthetic consideration alongside music usually thought of as "classical." In the current era, when programs of Duke Ellington and J.S. Bach often draw the same highbrow crowds, that argument hardly seems controversial. In the 1930s, however, the notion was almost laughable, which is what made Benny Goodman's January 16, 1938, concert at New York City's famed Carnegie Hall so revolutionary. Goodman and his supporting cast claimed a new place for jazz on the American cultural scene that night, in what has come to be seen as the most important jazz concert in history."


Bush waits for deadline in Iraq, Jan 16, 1991:

"On this day in 1991, President George Herbert Walker Bush waits to see if Iraq will withdraw from Kuwait by midnight, a deadline mandated by the United Nations, or if war will ensue.

On November 29, the United Nations Security Council authorized the use of all means necessary to remove Hussein's forces from Kuwait, giving Iraq the deadline of midnight on January 16 to leave or risk forcible removal.

Just after midnight in the U.S. on January 17, Bush gave the order for U.S. troops to lead an international coalition in an attack on Saddam Hussein's army. U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf led Operation Desert Storm, which began with a massive bombing of Hussein's armies in Iraq and Kuwait.

Following an intense bombing of Baghdad, U.S.-led coalition ground forces marched into Kuwait and across the Iraq border. Regular Iraqi troops surrendered in droves, leaving only Hussein's hard-line Republican Guard to defend the capital. After pushing Hussein's forces out of Kuwait, Schwarzkopf called a ceasefire on February 28 and accepted the surrender of Iraqi generals on March 3."



It was a good time to go shopping, mostly for fresh green veggies and pet food.

As Jay is in his own little world of getting drunk, I went by myself.  Ray was taking his son to the doctor. 

After I had dropped off the paper recycling, I  stopped at several thrift shops as I was looking for a food processor.   All I found was a very bulky old one that would not be very practical.  Anyway, it didn't have all the attachments. My small one is great, but lately it seems to have lost it's oomph to mix some things.

DSCF0049-001 Maybe Nala is missing Misty, or maybe she just likes a different bed.  After I put laundered Misty's beds back in place, I found Nala asleep in the one under my bed.  She and Ava actually got within two feet of each other without Ava hissing, so we are making progress.  Nala was here first so she should, in theory, be alpha cat, but senior Ava wants that title.  She doesn't seem to realize that shy, gentle Nala wouldn't want to defend her title, she's a lover not a fighter.

It was a nice sunny day, but very windy. At Kroger's I really had to hang onto my door to stop it from hitting the car next to me, yesterday.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Harlequin Duck. Bird Nests. New Wings. Kirtland's Warbler. Hooded Mergansers. Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Emptying the Skies. BirdNote: Blackbird, by Paul McCartney. First Super Bowl.


For "Winged Wednesday":

Cold-weather Clown: Harlequin Duck

"The Harlequin Duck borrows its name from the Italian comedic character, the harlequin, who wears brightly colored clothes. "Lords and Ladies" is another nickname, again because of the vivid coloration of the males. These ducks gives distinctly unduck-like squeaks when interacting, the source of yet another local name: Sea Mouse.
Although the male’s coloration is stunning, females and immature birds are more subdued, or cryptically colored, for protection against predators.
George Wallace, ABC’s Vice President of Oceans and Islands, remembers: “I saw these birds every day when I was a salmon fishing guide in Alaska. I was always amazed at the ability of these birds to literally outrun a skiff up a river running eight miles per hour. It’s really a lovely sight to see a female with a string of tiny fluff-ball chicks sprinting over the surface of water and then diving for cover under a fallen log.”

The eastern North American population was in decline but is slowly recovering. It is listed as threatened in Maine and is considered a species of special concern in Canada and the western United States."
How do Harlequin Ducks resemble colorful corks? Read more>>


17 bizarre and beautiful bird nests

"From tiny hummingbird nests to massive weaver nests that encompass entire treetops, take a photographic tour of these birds' impressive creations.

Bird nests come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from burrows in the ground to tiny cups perched high in tree branches. We've rounded up photos of some of the most fascinating nests on the planet, as well as a few unusual places for a bird to build a home."

black-capped social weaver nests in an acacia tree

Black-capped social weaver nests hang from an acacia tree.  (Photo: Wild Horizon/Getty Images)

More at:


Hawk receives new wings at Raptor Center

ST. PAUL, Minn. - "A young red-tailed hawk flew into a window near downtown St. Paul and suffered trauma to the head and damage to her left wing.  Lori Arent, clinic manager said, "She ended up breaking the tips off many of these outer feathers which really now inhibits her ability to fly." 

Arent clipped the damaged feathers and grafted the healthy new ones using bamboo sticks and epoxy glue. Arent expects the bird to be healthy enough for release as early as next week. "If we weren't able to do this process for this bird it would be here probably until next August or September," Arent said."  More in video:

And more:


Kirtland's Warbler: Mississippi Flyway Stand-out Species

image"Over the last three weeks, BirdNote has highlighted special birds in each of the North American flyways: Wood Thrush in the Atlantic, Whooping Crane in the Central, and Calliope Hummingbird in the Pacific Flyway.

Which special bird did BirdNote select for our fourth, and final, installment?

The Mississippi Flyway Standout Species: Kirtland's Warbler


Kirtland's Warbler © Laura Gooch

The Kirtland's Warbler is one of the rarest birds in North America.  The reason? Its breeding range is limited to a few locations in the Mississippi flyway, in very specific habitat, in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario.

Kirtland's Warblers are picky about their nest sites. They require locations under jack pines that are more than five years old – but not more than 15 years old. And the sites must be in well-drained, sandy soil. Consequently, the Kirtland's Warbler has one of the smallest breeding ranges of any bird in North America.

Historically, forest fires benefited Kirtland's Warblers by clearing out older trees, causing cones to release seeds, and enriching the soil for young jack pines to grow.  But fire suppression and an influx of Brown-headed Cowbirds, which lay their eggs in the nests of other songbirds, nearly drove the Kirtland's Warbler to extinction. Only 167 singing males were found during a survey in 1987.

Fortunately, conservation efforts that began in the 1950's are paying off. Today, people come from all over the world to see Kirtland's Warblers in their native habitat in Michigan. Thankfully, as of 2012, there are over 2,000 singing males to welcome them!"


Listen to BirdNote shows about the Kirtland's Warbler:

Counting Kirtland's Warblers
Birds and Climate Change -  Places for Birds to Go   Kingdom of Rarities - With Eric Dinerstein


Hooded Mergansers - Getting Frisky

"It's winter, but many species of ducks are already preparing for spring.

Nearly all ducks are seasonally monogamous, forming pair bonds with new partners every imageyear. Go to your local pond, lake, or beach during the winter, and you may be lucky enough to see male mergansers, goldeneyes, or Buffleheads, displaying to attract the attention of females. If a female likes what she sees, the two will remain together until they mate the following spring. For migratory species, this requires flying together for hundreds -- or even thousands -- of miles back to their breeding grounds."  More and many pictures at:


Spoon-billed Sandpiper: Hatch.

image "...The first moments of life at a windswept Spoon-billed Sandpiper nest. Video includes commentary by the Cornell Lab’s Gerrit Vyn. Filmed July 7, 2011, near Meinypilgyno, Chukotka, Russia."

Watch the first ever footage of this critically endangered species nesting:

From me: I didn't realize how endangered and special these birds are.  The chicks wander around feeding themselves as soon as they come out of the egg.


Emptying the Skies: Important Film about Songbirds in the Mediterranean

“Emptying the Skies,” a film inspired by a New Yorker article penned by award-winning novelist and ABC Board member Jonathan Franzen. The film follows an intrepid group of bird-lovers who risk life and limb to disrupt the poaching of millions of songbirds trapped to be served as illegal delicacies at restaurants. The bird-lovers free as many birds as possible."

Video about this at:

Much more at:



BirdNote: Blackbird, by Paul McCartney


Upcoming Shows

Great Gray Owl SUNDAY Photographing The Great Gray Owl Featuring Paul Bannick LISTEN NOW ►

Donald and Daisy MONDAY Donald Duck - The Duck in the Sailor Suit by Bob Sundstrom  LISTEN NOW

Northern Beardless Tyrannulet TUESDAY Winter Sounds Of the Lower Rio Grande by Bob Sundstrom   LISTEN NOW ►

Eurasian Blackbird WEDNESDAY Paul McCartney's Blackbird  Written by Ellen Blackstone LISTEN NOW ►

Cerulean Warbler THURSDAY Recording Cerulean Warblers Featuring Charlotte Goedsche, Audubon North Carolina LISTEN NOW

Spoon-billed Sandpiper FRIDAY Photographing Spoon-billed Sandpipers in South Korea Featuring Adam Sedgley and Gerrit Vyn, Cornell Lab of Ornithology LISTEN NOW ►

Feathers of a Brown Pelican SATURDAY How Feathers Insulate by Frances Wood LISTEN NOW


On This Day:

Packers face Chiefs in first Super Bowl, Jan 15, 1967:

"On this day in 1967, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the first-ever world championship game of American football.

image In that historic first game--played before a non-sell-out crowd of 61,946 people--Green Bay scored three touchdowns in the second half to defeat Kansas City 35-10. Led by MVP quarterback Bart Starr, the Packers benefited from Max McGee's stellar receiving and a key interception by safety Willie Wood. For their win, each member of the Packers collected $15,000: the largest single-game share in the history of team sports.

Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial American holiday, complete with parties, betting pools and excessive consumption of food and drink. On average, 80 to 90 million people are tuned into the game on TV at any given moment, while some 130-140 million watch at least some part of the game. The commercials shown during the game have become an attraction in themselves, with TV networks charging as much as $2.5 million for a 30-second spot and companies making more expensive, high-concept ads each year."



Ray came over and we watered all my aloe vera plants.  The shut-off for the outside faucets had to be turned on to do that, and then turned off again as it supposed to freeze again on Friday night.  It takes two people to hold the two large patio doors, which are the temporary green house, that are leaning horizontally against the storeroom wall. It is working a lot better than expected.

Then while Ray washed my van, I weeded and raked the front flower bed.  Some of the bushes had frozen and looked scruffy, so I cut them back.  They will grow again in the Spring.

One of our SPCA foster moms sent a pleading email for me to take some of her foster kittens off her hands, as she had too many.  Our fosters parents aren't supposed to foster more than 12 animals.  Even that many is difficult to take care of properly. Please spay and neuter your pets! 

As I agreed to take some, she offered to send me pictures so that I could choose.  I said, 'I don't care what they look like, it's the personality that counts, just like people!'  They should be arriving in the next few days.