Questions of the Day

  1. It is May 1.  Why is it still cold?  This morning self saw on the news a group of bedraggled cruise ship passengers who had been headed to Mazatlan and instead found themselves re-directed to San Francisco.  Where it was freezing.  They stood around on the gray sidewalk, in their shorts and tank tops, and uttered several choice sentiments regarding the weather, the flu crisis (many seemed to feel it was exaggerated), and how unhappy they were to be in San Francisco instead of on a beach, getting a fabulous tan.  Self truly felt for these people, dear blog readers.
  2. California is having a statewide special election on May 19.  Again, the question is:  WHY?

Last night, self observed hubby scrupulously studying the official voter information guide.  First she asked him a question whose answer was obvious:  “What are you reading?”  And then she followed it up with:  “Why?”

Hubby says to just vote no on anything that means a tax increase.

This morning, since self has a little time on her hands (before she has to head to Lisa Y’s for a book salon), she picks up her copy of the voter information guide.  Normally, this ends up unread and eventually in the trash, but since hubby last night set such a stellar example of civic responsibility, self would feel like a lie-about if she did not at least make an effort to familiarize herself with the issues.  And here is the list of propositions which are to be decided on:

Proposition 1A:  Changes California Budget Process. Increases size of state “rainy day” fund from 5% to 12.5% of the General Fund.  Measure Results in Tax Increases.

Proposition 1B:  Creates $9.3 Billion “Supplemental Education” Obligation.  (Apparently, this one only passes if Proposition 1A passes.  Duh?)

Proposition 1C:  Allows State to Borrow From Lottery (For now.  What about the future?  Hubby reminds self to consider future fiscal impact.  According to him, we cannot always depend on lottery bailout, etc etc etc.  But we’re in deep doo-doo right now, who cares about the future? At least, self doesn’t!  At the rate her family’s dropping like flies, in 10 years she’ll either be in a nursing home or six feet under!)

Proposition 1D:  Allows Temporary Redirections of Funding to State Programs for Children.

Proposition 1E:  Allows Diverting Funds from the Mental Health Services Program to Help Alleviate California’s $42 billion Deficit.

Proposition 1F:  Eliminates Pay Increases for Legislators During Times of State Budget Deficits.

Aaargh!!  The voter information pamphlet is 63 pages long, dear blog readers.  Single-space, with tiny print.  Is there any single person in the entire state of California who has the patience  —  with the exception, of course, of hubby —  to actually wade through all of this?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Peoples of the Dawnland, 1600 A.D.

Self absolutely enthralled by the book she is currently reading, 1491. Among other things self has discovered: that the Native Americans who lived in the area of what is now Massachusetts referred to the New England shore as the “Dawnland,” because it was where the sun first rose. The inhabitants of the Dawnland were “the People of the First Light.”

***

“Dawnland diets at the time averaged about 2,500 calories a day, better than those usual in famine-racked Europe.” (p. 40)

***

These early peoples found the Europeans “physically weak, sexually untrustworthy, atrociously ugly, and just plain smelly.” (The British and French, many of whom had not taken a bath in their entire lives, were amazed by the Indian interest in personal cleanliness.) A Jesuit reported that the “savages” were disgusted by handkerchiefs: “They say we place what is unclean in a fine white piece of linen, and put it away in our pockets as something very precious, while they throw it upon the ground.” (p. 46)

***

Also, self thinks the following is probably the first recorded instance of “mooning”:

“The Indians denied the visitors permission to land; refusing even to touch the Europeans, they passed goods back and forth on a rope over the water.  As soon as the crew members sent over the last items, the locals began showing their buttocks and laughing.” (p. 46)

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