‘Speaking’ of the Speaker of the House

The U.S. House of Representatives finally elected the Speaker of the House after 4 days of deadlock and 15 votes. Prior to the final vote, the satirical website  Babylon Bee commented:
“In a shocking overnight vote held by the House of Representatives, the QAnon Shaman, aka “The Buffalo Guy” has received the majority of votes required to become Speaker of the House.”

Several months ago a ‘portrait’ of Buffalo Guy surfaced again on Twitter. (He was one of several thousand protesters who breached the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021).

Cartoonist Scott Adams, in a satirical tweet, remarked “The Jan6th Committee reminds America that we can never again allow a small band of unarmed protesters to conquer the largest military power in the history of human civilization by sauntering through the Capitol rotunda and taking selfies. We were so close to losing everything.”

When Thousands of People Refuse to Comply with Lawful Orders

In light of the 8700  George Floyd Protests in 2020,  (574 with violence and 624 with arson) there was concern about the potential for disturbance  at a rally at the Capitol on January 6. The Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division (IICD) issued a Special Assessment on January 3, which acknowledged there would be extremist groups attending the rally; the groups would be armed; they would target Congress and the Joint Session Certification process; and there was a threat of disruptive actions or violence. The Report was shared on January 4th and 5th with multiple security agencies including the FBI and the DC National Guard.

They apparently underestimated the power of several thousand determined people, eighty seven or so who were carrying  baseball bats, fire extinguishers, wooden clubs, a spear, crutches, flagpoles, bear spray, mace, chemical irritants, stolen police shields, a wooden beam, a hockey stick, a stun gun, and knives. Two had hand guns. They overpowered 1200 officers in a confrontation that lasted about 4 hours.

Further reading:

A Comparison of Injuries, Damage, etc of the 2021 Capitol Riot and the 2020 George Floyd Riots
United States Capitol Police Report
After-Action Reports on the Riots of 2020
What Weapons Did Rioters Carry?

Thought Control and the Decline of Free Speech in Canada

Jordan Peterson Vs The Ontario College of Psychologists

“Dr. Jordan Peterson, the clinical psychologist, best-selling author, hugely popular lecturer, and professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, has announced through his social media posts that the College of Psychologists of Ontario has ordered him to undergo re-education therapy for his very public views, not on professional psychology and science, but mere politics. He is being threatened with the loss of his professional license if he does not submit to this outlandish demand that amounts to thought control.”
Daily Citizen, Jan 5, 2023

Wake up, citizens: professionals are now required to hold their tongue if they believe anything politically verboten.
– Jordan Peterson – Twitter, January 8, 2023 –

Is this the Canadian Liberal/NDP government equivalent of Maoist Re-education?

The roots of re-education or deprogramming are found in Maoism. When China’s Mao Zedong gained power in 1949 he launched the first of his thought control campaigns. The two key elements of thought reform were the requirement that people: confess and renounce past and present ‘evil’; submit to re-education.

What Peterson said to offend a few individuals who read his comments or saw him on the internet: Jordan Peterson’s tweets that prompted complaints to psychologists’ college

The latest investigation against him, filed in March, is focused not only on Peterson’s tweets, but on his appearance on ‘The Joe Rogan Podcast’. How Peterson’s discussions on climate change and other issues raised on that podcast might relate to his professional standing is unclear. The implication here seems to be that only experts can discuss issues in the public domain…
Peterson earned his academic credentials fair and square. And what effect will it have on other clinicians if Peterson is silenced?
The Spectator

It should go without saying that in a free country, professionals should not lose their jobs and licenses because they express a political opinion contrary to the licensing body that’s mandated by the government… We’re seeing the idea that someone can lose their job, their status, their ability to study because they express something that is contrary to the government line, and I don’t believe that is the Canada we want.
– Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada –

Other Articles:
No, Jordan Peterson Isn’t On Trial, Freedom Of Speech Is

Jordan Peterson’s License Fiasco Highlights Why Government Licensing Should Be Abolished

Jordan Peterson: I will risk my license to escape social media re-education

My Kitchen, My Choice

The Gas Stove Story

The American public is being prepped for possible action by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission who say they are reviewing possible health hazards posed by gas stoves and will likely take action to regulate the appliances at some point in the future.

Oddly enough, Canada isn’t jumping on that bandwagon yet, but… early days…

Are Gas Stoves Really Responsible for 12.7% of Current Childhood Asthma Cases in the US?

Recently there have been stories about the risk of childhood asthma caused by natural gas stoves. It has been suggested that this news was one ‘trial balloon’ to influence public opinion on gas stoves.

Pushback about the validity of the Gruenwald Asthma-Gas Stove Research paper came from independent sources such as this:

… the Gruenwald et al paper seems to have some clear challenges that would typically preclude it from consideration in a policy-making process. Its underlying data is of low statistical power. Its conclusion is directly contradicted by more recent studies with significantly greater statistical power and it relies on a statistical tool that is considered invalid in situations with confounding variables yet it is being used to analyze an association that is absolutely rife with confounding variables.
– Blair King, Professional Chemist, Analysis January 12, 2023

How Much Pollution?

Stanford Researchers estimate, (based on a study of 53 California homes) that  methane leaking from natural gas-burning stoves inside an estimated 40 million U.S. homes has an annual climate impact comparable to the annual carbon dioxide emissions from about 500,000 gasoline powered cars.

This suggests one stove releases emissions equivalent to .0125 gasoline-powered cars.

To put this into perspective, The U.S. Department of Energy has calculated the annual well to wheels emissions for vehicles (they used an average driving distance of 11,579 miles per year.). An All Electric vehicle emits 2817 pounds of CO2 equivalent. A gasoline vehicle emits 12594 pounds of CO2 equivalent.

By extension then, a stove would emit 157 pounds a year, though that doesn’t include emissions from manufacture, etc. Put another way – each year a gas stove releases the equivalent emissions of driving a gasoline car about  144 miles.

In response to the possibility of any mandated ‘mitigation’ strategies, this comment appeared on Twitter a few days ago: “My kitchen, my choice”. I thought this variation of “My body, my choice”  was quite funny and apropos!

“…we currently live in a political climate that prioritizes grand symbolic gestures without regard to unintended consequences or even whether they will achieve their purported goal.
– Tristan Hopper, National Post: You want to ban me? A gas stove makes its case

The Babylon Bee, a satirical news site, offered this story:  “Biden Calls for Two Weeks of Not Cooking on Gas Stoves to Flatten the Curve”.

Other Reading:

Steve Everley, Managing Director in FTI Consulting’s Energy & Natural Resources, Current Research

Time: The Best Stove for Your Health and the Environment
Gas-Stoving America
Do Gas Stoves Cause Childhood Asthma

Data Sources:
U.S. Department of Energy Emissions from Electric Vehicles
U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment Climate and Health Impacts Natural Gas Stoves
Study on Natural Gas Stove Emissions in 53 Homes

Fifty-Three, But Who’s Counting?

We look pretty good. What is it we’re all dressed up for?
(Helpful hint – put labels on old photos while you still remember the details…)

I have many talents – drawing isn’t one of them – for example The Car Guy is much taller than I am…

The Car Guy and I celebrated our 53rd Wedding Anniversary in 2022. Our Wedding Vows were very traditional, but if there had been an internet back then, I think we would have added some of these vows, which I found when I did some web research:

“I promise to get up and get our remote from across the room, even if it was not I who placed the remote so very far away.”

“I promise to love you through Ikea, be it during the buying or the assembly of furniture procured therein.”

“I promise to replenish the toilet paper that you almost certainly won’t remember the stored location thereof.”

“I promise that I will never ask you to sample anything to see whether it has gone bad.”

“I promise that I will clean up after supper when you cook it.”

“I pledge always to respect your musical preferences while you are driving. However, if you are not driving…”

“I vow never to steal your covers, unless you are hogging them.”

“I vow to agree that you really are the best driver on the road and that you always know exactly where you’re going.”

“I vow to always do all the stuff neither of us wants to do when I know that you really, really don’t want to do it a lot more than I really, really don’t want to do it.”

“I vow that for as long as we both shall live, I will guard you against spiders and mice.”

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.
– eCards –

For more pithy quotations see this post: Love and Marriage

An Abnormal Normal Christmas

Back to Normal Christmas Letter
For many years I wrote an Annual Christmas Letter for family and friends. There wasn’t much to report on a personal level in 2020 and 2021 because of Canadian pandemic social restrictions. Everything I wanted to say about everything else was on my blog – so I didn’t do letters for those two years.

January 2022 was the end of the pandemic for The Car Guy and I. We promptly got Covid when we left the restrictions in Alberta and moved to the open social life of Arizona – sure made writing the Annual Letter more interesting and easier to write!

An Abnormal Christmas
The Car Guy and I moved up our migration to Arizona to early December 2022. That meant we celebrated Christmas with real family in Alberta in November, while December Christmas was a series of virtual visits with family who were also in small pods in far flung places. Our Christmas Day meal was a simple gourmet BBQ hamburger dinner for two – if that isn’t a stress free holiday recipe, I don’t know what is!

One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.
– Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone –

I always know what I’m getting for Christmas…
fat… I’ll get fat.

I bought my brother some gift wrap for Christmas. I took it to the gift wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.
– Steven Wright –

As for this post – “It’s A Wrap” too!

How Twitter Censored Information

Elon Musk has purchased the social networking service Twitter. He says he believes “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated…”

To achieve that free speech, Musk believes he has to ‘clean house’ in terms of staff numbers, staff bias (according to Twitter’s files, in 2018, 2020, and 2022, 96%, 98%, & 99% of Twitter staff’s political donations went to Democrats) and content restrictions that affect the free flow of ideas.

Musk also believes Twitter has to be transparent about how it functions, which includes an accounting of how it operated previous to his purchase.

That ‘historical’ accounting is being released in a series of ‘Twitter Files’ which are internal Twitter, Inc. documents (screenshots, emails, and chat logs)  that  CEO Elon Musk released to journalists for them to present to the public. Here are their reports, with their comments in quotation marks:

Part 1: How and Why Twitter Blocked the Hunter Biden Laptop Story
Part 7: The FBI & the Hunter Biden Laptop
“October 14, 2020, The New York Post runs its explosive story revealing the business dealings of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. Every single fact in it was accurate. And yet, within hours, Twitter and other social media companies censor the NY Post article, preventing it from spreading and, more importantly, undermining its credibility in the minds of many Americans.”

Part 2: Twitter’s Secret Blacklists “teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users.”

Part 3: The Removal of Donald Trump October 2020-January 6th
Part 4: The Removal of Donald Trump: January 7
Part 5: The Removal of Trump from Twitter
On the morning of January 8, President Donald Trump  tweets twice:
6:46 am: “The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!”
7:44 am: “To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th.”
Twitter executives (then banned) Trump, even though key staffers said that Trump had not incited violence—not even in a “coded” way.

Part 6: The FBI Subsidiary
“Federal intelligence and law enforcement reach into Twitter included the Department of Homeland Security, which partnered with security contractors and think tanks to pressure Twitter to moderate content.”
Part 8: How Twitter Quietly Aided the Pentagon’s Covert Online PsyOp Campaign

Part 9: How Twitter Rigged the Covid Debate
“But Twitter did suppress views—many from doctors and scientific experts—that conflicted with the official positions of the White House. As a result, legitimate findings and questions that would have expanded the public debate went missing.”

“Martin Kulldorff, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is an epidemiologist and biostatistician. He is Professor of Medicine at Harvard University (on leave) and a Fellow at the Academy of Science and Freedom. His research focuses on infectious disease outbreaks and the monitoring of vaccine and drug safety.”

More Information about the Misleading Information Policy
Twitter had a COVID-19  Misleading Information Policy (which has been removed) that stated you could not tweet that vaccines are untested, experimental or somehow unsafe or that specific groups or people are more or less prone to be infected or to develop adverse symptoms. That policy may have limited tweets about the incidence of  myocarditis, even though  “Based on passive surveillance reporting in the US, the risk of myocarditis after receiving mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines was increased across multiple age and sex strata and was highest after the second vaccination dose in adolescent males and young men. (Source JAMA, Jan 25, 2022). It also may have limited tweets about age and obesity even though: “More than 81% of COVID-19 deaths occur in people over age 65; Having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID-19 infection.” (Source CDC)

“Trust, but Verify” – US President Ronald Regan
On December 28, 2022, Elon tweeted: “New Twitter policy is to follow the science, which necessarily includes reasoned questioning of the science.”

I see this as the next step in what Dr. Zubin Damania has been talking about for the past year or so:

This is now the prime challenge. First of all, you cannot villainize or demonize each side. You have to understand there’s going to be extremes that are crazy on both sides, but that the vast majority of people are trying to be good based on their moral matrix. So we have to, first of all, open dialogue between the sides that doesn’t involve, shaming and name calling and ad hominems and logical fallacies. We need to introspect and see our own moral matrix and bias so that we can go, okay, so when am I just feeding my own confirmation bias?… Then we need to have dialogue across these lines respectfully. And that’s what I call Alt-Middle.
– Dr. Zubin Damania –

Christmas Tangle 2022 – A No Snow Holiday This Year

We  are in sunny AZ this holiday season. We arrived here just in time to miss the snow and bitter cold that is making travel so hazardous in western Canada and the USA right now! I’d like to say it was good planning on our part, but weather is too unpredictable for us to take any credit for our choice!

To all of you who have been a part of our lives in a great or small way – The Car Guy and I wish you all

Safe Travels,
A Very Merry Christmas
and
All the Best in the New Year!

All my favourite holiday Quotations: Christmas Quotations

My very first Christmas Post: The Annual Christmas Letter.

Perhaps my best Christmas Story: Home – The LEGO Businessman and the Oranges

A Gallery of my Christmas Tangles:

This is the Week That Was – In the Christmas ‘Spirit’

What contemptible scoundrel has stolen the cork to my lunch?
– Clement Stone –

Easy Peasy Cork Wreath: first, drink hundreds of bottles of wine…



Update on the Paper Bag Snowflakes

I thought I ordered lunch size brown bags and smaller white bags. I guess not.
Three snowflakes done – finished size is 16 inches (40 cm).

When you are into Paint Pouring, Everything Looks like a Canvas…

I’m painting some scuffed old ornaments with acrylic pour paints.
We don’t have a cat any more, but the memory of it climbing the Christmas tree is still vivid. I remember the event each year when I am putting up the ceramic angel ornament that was bifurcated when the tree (with cat clinging to the apex) assumed a lateral aspect.


Song of the Snowbird

Oh, the weather outside was frightful,
The snow was not delightful.
And since we’ve got a place to go
We drove, to a home, without snow.

Glad to be in Arizona again!

Meanwhile, Back in the Land of Ice and Snow

Paper Lunch Bags – Some Quotes and Giant Snowflakes!

Paper Bag Quotations are at the end of this post.

These Giant Paper Bag Snowflakes seem to be very popular with crafters this year. They appealed to me because they are so ‘over the top’ big!

I had all the supplies on hand – brown paper lunch bags (you could use any color of bags); hot glue or white glue; scissors and or X-Acto knife;  cord or ribbon (for hanging).


Each snowflake uses 9 to 10 paper bags (depends on the size of the bag) that are glued and stacked one on top of the other. With the bags still folded,  run a bead of glue along the base of the bag and another bead down the center of the bag. Lay another bag on top of the glued bag,  making sure they line up. Press (with your hands) along the glue lines. Repeat with next bag.
Once a stack is glued together (I made two stacks, cut them, then glued the stacks together), cut shapes with scissors or an X-Acto knife. Do not cut into the glued areas.

Next, carefully unfold the snowflake (see the video at the end of this post  to see how.) Run two beads of glue in the same manner as before to stick the first and last bags together.

Glue a loop of string as shown in the video below. I glued the loop about a third way down one arm of the snowflake so that the snowflake would be  suspended from a thicker section. Hang the snowflake. I used long T-pins for snowflakes that I mounted on the wall.

I hung some of mine in front of windows. I hung other ones on the wall.

Paper Bag Quotations:

I caused my husband’s heart attack. In the middle of lovemaking I took the paper bag off my head. He dropped the Polaroid and keeled over and so did the hooker. It would have taken me half an hour to untie myself and call the paramedics, but fortunately the Great Dane could dial.
– Joan Rivers –

I’d learned some things. I knew you weren’t supposed to hold a good wine at the top – the paper bag falls off.
– Pat Paulsen –

I scoop a clattering cascade of green apple Jelly Bellys into the white paper bag and remember when we were seven. I got stung by a jellyfish. Tim cried because his mother, and mine, wouldn’t let him pee on my leg, which he’d heard was an antidote to the sting.
– Huntley Fitzpatrick –

It was once suggested to me that, as an antidote to crying, I put my head in a paper bag. As it happens, there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable: it is difficult in the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in “Wuthering Heights” with one’s head in a Food Fair bag.
– Joan Didion –

“My God”, I said. “You move so silently. So you have had ninja training.”
“I have two older brothers,” Vince said. “It’s the same thing.”
I held up the white paper bag and bowed. “Master, I bring a gift.”
He looked at the bag curiously. “My Buddha bless you, grasshopper. What is it?”
I tossed him the bag. It hit him in the chest and slid to the floor. “So much for ninja training,” I said.
– Jeff Lindsay –

Pray note that my chest does not appear to be a toast rack in a wet paper bag.
Mort glanced sideways at the top of Ysabell’s dress, which contained enough puppy fat for two litters of Rotweilers, and forbore to comment.
– Terry Pratchett –

Secrets are like honey in a paper bag. Eventually, they leak out.
– Drew Bankston –

The brown paper bag is the only thing civilized man has produced that does not seem out of place in nature.
– Tom Robbins –

We’ll See What Happens

Scam, Spam and Phishing
My recent post, 13th Anniversary of Blogging, was reblogged without my permission by someone who I think might be a phishing scammer (though I may be over-reacting.)

I contacted WordPress about this and asked them to take the reblogged post down. The Happiness Engineer (HE… or maybe HER) suggested I fill out a Copyright Infringement Complaint. I don’t see how that would do me any good because WordPress is the one that provides the reblog tool that lets people take your content.

I had left a comment on the site that had reblogged my post, asking them to take it down. The reply from the blogger was: “Pls am sorry and I will happy if you can guide me too on this WordPress blog to become famouse and get money there easily pls Mrs Amusive pls contact me on what’sapp +(234xxxxxxxxxx) so we can talk more pls”

So I  filed a complaint of scamming  – which was a lot faster and easier than a copyright infringement complaint. We’ll see what happens.

The Response to Elon Musk Buying Twitter

The big news in Social Media is that Twitter has been purchased by the richest man in the world, Elon Musk. His expressed reason for purchasing it is because he wants “civilization to have a common digital town square.” By common, Musk says the company would allow “all speech that the First Amendment protects”. Getting from ‘what Musk now owns’ to ‘what Musk wants it to be’ has been a bumpy ride so far (as opposed to the ride you get in one of his Teslas…)

This has created an uproar with people who want Twitter (or Facebook or YouTube) to decide what is misinformation or hate speech (for example) and do not agree with Musk’s opinion that better decision making comes from more open debate. We’ll see what happens.

Quiet Quitting

This is a new term to me. It means “doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary.” I’ve read that this trend is popular with Gen Z who believe working will lead to on-the-job burnout if they do more than what they think they are being paid to do.

This has apparently led to Quiet Firing where the employer does the minimum required of them – which does not necessarily include giving raises, increased opportunities or promotions to employees who don’t do more than what is absolutely necessary… etc.

The Employer could, of course, escalate things to ‘UnQuiet Firing’. Apparently Musk has fired about half the Twitter work force. Speculation is that Amazon will lay off 10,000 employees and Zuckerberg is cutting 11,000 employees.  I suppose it is possible that some of those laid off were quiet quitters… We’ll see what happens.