We both needed to get our driver’s licenses renewed, so we decided to go visit our local DMV this morning, mid-morning, rather than wait until this afternoon, or closer to the weekend.  It turned out to be a good choice.  It wasn’t that busy.  There were only a handful of people ahead of us, despite the “social distancing,” a door guardian letting people in one or two at a time, etc.  That was never the case in years past.  It was always much more efficient in this state than previous ones in which we’ve lived, but this time we were in and out in half an hour, instead of two hours, let alone half a day.

The only hitch is that our renewal is temporary for 15 days until we get our “permanent” four year one from the state capital in the mail.  Supposedly, the reason is so they can make sure our photo doesn’t match one on file under another name to avoid ID fraud.  I had to make sure it had my current address, indicate my US citizenship, indicate that I was already registered to vote, and did not want to change my party affiliation.  Other than that, it was a breeze.

The employees there were nice, instead of the rude jackasses I remember from elsewhere.  “Thank you,” “You’re welcome,” and “Have a good day” were exchanged as polite pleasantries, rather than venom spewed through gritted teeth.

Nobody at this DMV location has ever been a jerk, but the lines and waits have been a lot longer than this in years past.  What a pleasant surprise.

Night of the Lemus

Svengoolie has a lot of super cheesy movies, but this is the cheesiest one so far.  The cast has half a dozen famous people in it, but the entire premise sucks, as does the screenplay.    Lagomorphs on steroids, and writers on something more than a little illegal, sums it up in a nutshell.  The best part is Rich Koz’s commentary, and his parody of The Monkees theme song.

9/11/01 Press Coverage

This disgusts me.  I was there in Lower Manhattan when those planes hit the Twin Towers.  Nineteen years ago, the press was all “OMG, how could this terrorist attack happen?”  Now, they’re all “Meh.  Whatever.  That pales in comparison to the COVID deaths for which Trump is personally responsible.”

WTF is wrong with our media?  Never mind.  I know the answer.

Very Pleasant Dining Experience

Last night, I didn’t feel like cooking, and we’re out of charcoal for grilling, so we went to our local pub, which is now allowed to seat diners indoors at half capacity.  Yay!  The staff was half what it used to be, but the service was just as pleasant and efficient as it always was.  We only ordered one appetizer (which is enough to feed a hungry roofer after a hard day’s work), one “early bird” fish & chips special, and two pints apiece.  The fish & chips entrée is always on the menu, and always comes with a house salad and coleslaw, but the early bird special also comes with a dessert, for a buck less than it would normally cost, w/o the dessert.  Turns out all four pints showed up on the bill as half price, so … damn, was that an inexpensive dinner bill.

The waitress was so apologetic when she had to inform us that the cheesecake dessert she thought they had, that we ordered for take-out, because there was no way we would have had enough stomach capacity left to eat it while we were there.  The other dessert they did still have was some sort of chocolate swirled pumpkin (something) with pecans, so we  said “sounds good to us.”  Turns out it came with an extra 2 oz. container of pecan halves in a nice sticky brown sugar syrup to pour all over it, and it’s a 4″ square, which I could never finish by myself in one sitting.  Good for sharing, though.

Of course the waitress got a really good tip.  It’s not her fault that some menu items were discounted from their normal prices, and even before all the COVID shutdowns of restaurants, we’d tip based on what the bill would have been.  Now, even for pub grub, we chuck in an extra buck or two.  Wait staff, bartenders, runners, and even the owners are hurting.  I’m doing my part to help keep them afloat.


In case you’ve never used Nextdoor, it’s basically a modern day version of a local bulletin board service.  Most people use it to find recommendations for contractors, doctors, dentists, report neighborhood crimes, or report suspect business practices.

A couple of days ago, someone reported a super-aggressive corner salesman approaching older women to suck them into his shop to buy $400 face creams.  This happened in a nearby town that gets a lot of day trippers shopping for various things, from antiques to head shop stuff.  The woman who reported this aggressive behavior had her elderly mother in tow, who got sucked into the sales pitch.

Almost everybody who replied said they were familiar with that sort of aggressive sales pitch in big cities, but not around here.  One guy replied that the person doing that was a young handsome man who always dressed nicely, and had never accosted him on the sidewalk, so there’s no way he could possibly be creepy or intimidating to women.  *eye roll*

So, I asked him whether he thought the seller would be less intimidating if he wasn’t so handsome, and dressed so nicely.  Holy hell.  Within two hours the guy shot back four replies at me, each of which screeched louder and louder about how I was sexist for having some sort of problem with him spending $300-$400 on facial creams.  Once the rage-y guy replied, and self-identified as male, I felt comfortable telling him “Dude — chill.”

Never heard from him after that.  I don’t care which way a person swings, but DO NOT make assumptions about what you think I might think about you.  If you get in my face that way, it’s going to be your attitude that annoys me, not the way you swing.

Sombreuils (OGRs)

I wanted to put in a couple of antique roses that I planted at a previous house, but did not bring with me when I sold the place.  Found them from a place in Texas.  So, I ordered two of them less than a week ago, and received them yesterday.  Sombreuil roses are climbers that bloom profusely in huge white blossoms that have a classic tea rose scent.  They are super thorny, but I don’t care about that.  As they start climbing the arch next spring, the deer will love them, but if I have to fence them in with chicken wire, so be it.  The deer can dine on poison ivy, instead.  And, they will.

Then, tonight, I got another email from the seller, saying that they were processing my order, which could take another three days.  Dafuq?  Alright, I love Sombreuils, but I don’t want four of them, and I don’t want to get double billed.  So, I emailed them back to explain that I had already received my order, etc.  Fingers crossed, although if the screw up doesn’t get corrected, I suppose I can find another spot to plant two more of them.  The thing is, if I’d really wanted two more OGRs, I’d have ordered Reine des Violettes, not more Sombreuils.

I hope this mix-up can get resolved pronto.  I think it was just some computer glitch at their end.  They have such a wonderful selection of antique roses, as well as a good reputation.  Plus, the ones I received look great.

Got It (Woo-Hoo!)

Wow.  There was a line out the door, because the store was only allowing a few customers at a time to enter.  Yes, we all had our muzzles face masks, and the woman who was “manning” the door squirted our hands with sanitizer.  It was ~15 minute wait to get in.  It didn’t take me any longer than five minutes to explain to the salesman what I was after (specified .22 rifle, with no further qualifications), and fill out the paperwork to submit for a background check.  He immediately pulled out exactly what I wanted.  It’s a fucking gorgeous semi-auto Ruger 10/22 with a birch stock.  I’ve fired .22 rifles before; they won’t even bruise my shoulder, let alone knock me back on my ass.  And, the ammo is relatively cheap.  Semi-auto beats the crap out of a bolt action single load, like I was using when I was a kid.

So that they could take other customers, we had to wait out in the parking lot by our vehicle while the background check was being processed, but it still didn’t take any longer than another half hour.  Of course I passed, and came home with it this afternoon.  Because it’s a rifle, there’s no reason to apply for a concealed carry license, and my state does not require a FOID like a handful of states do.  Anyway, my purchase was all on the up and up, and perfectly legal.

The vehicles in the parking lot were an odd mix of luxury cars/SUVs, pickup trucks, sports cars, and big motorcycles,
as opposed to those annoying “crotch rockets.”  The people in front of us in line were a middle-aged couple with their teenage son.  Some guy wearing a Trump t-shirt came out of there while we were waiting on line.  Everyone on line gave a thumbs-up sign.  Judging by the lawn sign ratio around here, and reports from elsewhere in the state, Biden might well lose this state.

FWIW, this was a very pleasant shopping experience.  I was impressed with their efficiency.  Mostly, I wanted this rifle to pick off varmints raiding our various gardens.  An air rifle with hollow point pellets, or even a .22 CO2 pistol, can take out a rabbit — and mine have — but neither one would do the job for a groundhog.  That’s where a real firearm comes in.  This dealer has an excellent reputation for knowledge, selection, and price, all of which are important.  Unfortunately, they were all out of .22 ammo, but do expect to get in another shipment toward the end of next week.  I’ll have to wait to stock up on ammo.  The sight looks pretty good as is, so it shouldn’t take more than a few rounds to get it sighted properly.

New Rifle

We have ~10 gun shops within a 5 mile radius of us.  The one that has the best reputation for selection happens to be ~4 miles away.  Of course I will have to fill out Form 4473, and wait until it clears, which could take anywhere from 20 minutes to two days.  Then, I can go pick up my firearm, if they have it in stock.  Otherwise, if they have to get in what I want, it could be another four day wait.  Whatever.  I can wait a week.

I’m not looking for a rifle that can take out an elk or a deer at 100 yds.  I just want one one that can pick off rabbits and groundhogs.  Flat points for target practice, and hollow points for business.  The ammo for what I want is relatively cheap.  So’s the rifle.  It can be bolt action, but it should accommodate a magazine that can pack 10.  Not difficult to find.  Might be a little harder to find with a solid wood stock, but so be it.

Sombreuil Roses

These are antique roses that are extremely thorny white climbers.  I put in a couple at our old house, and didn’t dig them up to take with us when we sold the place and moved.  Other than their nasty thorns, they’re well behaved, easy to tie and train, not susceptible to disease, and are tough as nails in our crummy native rocky clay soil.  I never really had to trim anything off them besides a stray branch or two that didn’t survive winter.  A spray bottle with dilute Murphy’s Oil Soap did the trick to get rid of any aphids on them.  They’re as maintenance free as roses get — well, cultivated ones, anyway, as opposed to the invasive wild ones.

I miss the Sombreuils I used to have, so I ordered a couple from a place in TX that specializes in antique roses.  Fall is not my favorite time of year to plant roses, but they will have time to root in before they go dormant.  Technically, fall is still three weeks away, but the vendor won’t ship them here before mid-September, and it might take another week after that for delivery (UPS Ground).

As much as I love roses, I couldn’t really think of a good place to plop them in the ground, where they’d get enough sun, but not impede lawn mowing, until recently.  It was a *headdesk* moment.  Why did I not think of that place years ago?  It’s perfect.  And, it’s close to the house where I can see easily see them, just looking out the sun porch’s windows.

I also love Reine des Violettes old garden roses, and would like to put in one here, but finding a place tucked in a corner that would still give it enough sun is a bit of a challenge.  Those are almost thornless, and are supposed to be shrubby, but I’ve grown them vertically on/in a pillar, by not cutting them way back every spring.  They’re a pleasant shade of pinkish-purple, and smell wonderful.

Roses are my second favorite to orchids.  But, in my USDA zone, most orchids are indoor plants, and roses are best grown outdoors — even the miniature ones that come in pint sized containers within cachepots for gift giving.  Plant them outside, and they will bloom again for years to come.  Orchids come in all sorts of crazy botanical nomenclature, and run the gamut of looks, but all roses look like roses, and fall under “rosa.”  When my 5″ thick American Horticultural  Society encyclopedia fails me, I can look up damn near anything online.

I await those Sombreuils with the sort of drooling a dog does when it thinks it’s going to get a piece of bacon.

On a completely different subject, we took our longhair cat in this morning for her annual checkup, and distemper combo vaccination.  She’s 12, so she was given a 3-year shot, instead of the usual one year one.  She was not due for her rabies vaccine, and won’t be next year, either.  We’ll bring her back in a year for her annual checkup, anyway, even if we don’t notice anything in the meantime that is concerning.

2020 Decennial Census

Everything is screwed up, time-wise, for due dates this year.  Income tax, property tax, school tax, driver’s license and car registration renewals, and the decennial census.

We got the mailer months ago about the census.  It’s eight pages long, for those who are stupid enough to fill out the entire form.  The only question required by law that we have to answer is “How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020.”  April Fool’s Day does seem appropriate.  You’re an April Fool if you provide answers to any of the other questions about demographic and personal contact information.

So, the form got buried under a pile of other mail, and last week, some census taker came door knocking, so to speak, to do an in-person interview.  I missed the person because I was out back, doing pool maintenance at the time, but my other half intercepted the intruder.  The person got no more information than the number of people living here.  Good.  That’s all the information the Feds need to allocate congressional reps for each state, anyway, which is the entire purpose of the census.

The Census Bureau does send out annual surveys to a small slice of households, which results in the annual CPS (current population survey), but all that data is extrapolated.  I’ve never received one of those mailers.