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Obama Commits to Saving Declining Honey Bees

The loss of honey bees has been one of my major causes for many years. It has always been on my list of probable causes adding to the coming apocalypse.  Now finally the government is creating a task force to study what is causing bees to die out.

The White House announced Friday its commitment to saving the mysteriously declining honeybee population, putting a task force of federally-backed scientists on the case.

I first learned about the loss of honey bees in 2007 and created a design based on those milk cartons showing lost children except with pictures and descriptions of honey bees and Colony Collapse Disorder(CCD). That is what they were calling the unknown cause of death for these insects.

This is a world-wide problem and in the intervening years, while European scientists have boiled the major issue down to the use of insecticides, specifically neonicotinoids, and mite infestations, research in the U.S. has been falling behind. Finally funds are being loosened up to allow some research.

You Can Help

Biodiversity is one thing that will help the pollinators of the world survive. For that we need many different plants for bees and other similar insects to pollinate in the wild. So one of the things that anyone with room for some dirt can do to help is grow some flowering plants outside. Even if its just posies on the porch in a pot, bees and other pollinators will find them and be able to pick up some nutrients. Get any flowering plants native for your area, set aside some space in your garden for them, and never use any herbicides or pesticides, ever. Besides, weeding by hand is great exercise.

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Thoughts About Gun Control

I Beleve in gun control. If I can’t control my gun how else am I gonna hit what I’m aiming at?

Recent legislation in Georgia has brought about many fears of running gun battles in the streets. The Safe Carry Protections Act, which was nicknamed by opponents as the ‘guns everywhere bill’, went into effect on July 1, 2014. There are many provisions but the bottom line is people who have valid concealed carry permits can carry their gun into public places like bars, churches, schools and parts of airports. These places retain the right to refuse to let guns in if the choose. Similar laws have recently been passed recently in several other states.

I can’t see this as anything but a good thing. We already have criminals carrying guns wherever they want. We already have people getting hit by stray bullets in the cross fire. Three children in my city have been hit this year, one fatally, and it’s only July. So why not loosen up the laws and give the law abiding folks a even chance.

In the areas where these laws have been passed, the street were not immediately transformed into Dodge City with Marshall Dillon taking down the bounty hunters who think they have a mission. In fact just the opposite. No one noticed a change in downtown Atlanta when the new law went into effect. Several years ago in another city there was even a thwarted robbery at a drugstore because of a similar law. The only reason that guy got in trouble was he was concealing his weapon and he was therefore charged with a misdemeanor.

In other places, where guns have been a part of the culture for almost 200 years, they become a marketing device. There’s a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado (what better place?) where the servers all carry guns and the customers are encouraged to do the same. The place hasn’t been robbed yet. I think the sign posted in the dining room sums it up the best:

Please keep all weapons holstered unless need arises. In such case, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.

This sounds like the simple philosophy that should allay any concerns of non-gun-toting bystanders. Just keep your gun in your holster until you have to use it. And when you feel threatened, don’t miss what you’re aiming at. Even Duke Wayne would go along with that thought.

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Gardening by the Yard

How much responsibility does one spouse have concerning the other’s hobby? Well, I suppose it depends on the hobby.

Among her many hobbies my wife has a flower garden. But I don’t know if that describes it. It’s more like a collection of colorful plants, many in pots, many in the ground. The grandkids call in grandma’s maze. I call it the Land of the Lost.

My idea of yard is a nicely trimmed lawn with no weeds. In our case, about a third of the backyard has grass which edges directly up to the garden. This makes it impossible to use any kind of weed treatment without hitting plants meant for growing in the garden. Mowing is difficult but not impossible if you have the correct philosophy.

Over the past years, I’ve drilled drainage holes and moved pots to their summer locations. I’ve dug holes to drop the plant in and even leveled and landscaped the area around the potting bench. Someday I’ll tell the story of the greenhouse kit I assembled. When she leaves for a couple of days, I water daily. On hot, sunny afternoons I even set out misting hoses. And above all I never ask how much money has been spent on garden supplies. That way lies madness.

But all of the obligatory assistance aside, isn’t it her hobby? I hate yard work. As far as I’m concerned the only reason we have a yard is because it came with the house. So I try not to feel guilty when she spends the entire day in the hot sun deadheading. She must enjoy it or she wouldn’t have planted all that flora, right?

“Say sweetie, those flowers next to you over in sun look gorgeous. Can I bring you another glass of lemonade? Just a thought.”

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Don’t Hate Me Just Because You’re Beautiful

I was running errands today. First stop was the grocery store. After picking up my milk and cookies, I got in the checkout line. The checker was this incredibly beautiful, young blond girl.

She was totaling up groceries for a customer ahead of me who was wearing (in my mind) a ridiculous cowboy hat and obviously flirting with her. Well, she was having nothing of it. She went about her business barely even looking the man in eye.

When my order came up, she again barely looked up from her register and made no small talk. In keeping with the mood I said barely more than answering whether I wanted paper or plastic.

I then realized she probably lives in constant exasperation regarding the men that try to flirt or even just get a smile out of her. It must be a strange kind of curse being attractive because it brings constant attention that a person doesn’t want. As a defense mechanism they learn to ignore people even who are just trying to be friendly. I wonder if this makes it even more difficult to develop your own friendly personality.

Now, contrast this with the barista I encountered during my later stop at the coffee shop. She was an attractive brunette, only slightly above average. While I waited for my order, we not only discussed the hot weather but how it affected the shop’s sales. And I gave her a good tip.

Maybe grocery checkout folks should work for tips too. It’s a thought.

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Who Is He Talking To?

Not too many years ago, when you saw someone walking down the street talking to himself, you figured he was crazy and a person to be avoided. But these days its not so easy to tell if the guy is crazy or just talking on his cell phone. Of course he may just be pretending to have a cell phone.

I have a cell phone but I text more than talk with it. Now, I’m not making any comment on mental illness. My wife is constantly asking me what I said to her and it was just me sorting things out aloud. Maybe this is why people cross the street away from me when I’m walking. Hmm.