The Six Dollar Box of Oatmeal

Yesterday, Camera Girl returned from the grocery store and she was highly agitated.  I know that lately she has been finding her grocery shopping frustrating because of the price inflation.  But I could tell that she was much more annoyed than lately.  She explained to me that she went to buy oatmeal and there was none to be had.  So, she went to another store, I think it was Walmart, and they had oatmeal.  But instead of being $3 a box it was $6 a box.  Now that caught my attention.  I’ve been seeing inflation numbers quoted as six percent, ten percent or maybe fifteen percent.  But this data point is a 100% increase!  How the hell is that possible?  Well, when there is no oatmeal on the shelf you can charge whatever you want.

My next question was, “What happens when oatmeal goes from $3 a box to $6 a box in a week?  Well, I know what happened when inflation reached 18% in 1980.  Jimmy Carter got a new job in 1981, unemployed.  So does this mean that the Democrats are going to get drubbed in 2022 and Biden will get bounced in 2024?  Well, the first result looks pretty certain.  The second is much less clear.  Three years is an eternity when discussing the future.  For all we know Joe Biden will go with some kind of price-fixing scheme to insulate Americans from the damage he’s done to the economy.  Nixon tried that back in the 1970’s when OPEC hit us with the oil embargo.  But Nixon got a pass because he could blame the Arabs.  So, is there a change in the world that allows runaway inflation to happen without political consequences?  Maybe.

Everybody has been talking about the new reality where elections don’t require the electorate to vote.  Maybe that’s the theory for what’s happening.  The government tells companies to fire their employees because they don’t have proof of vaccination.  The government destroys the ability of industry to provide enough of the essentials for life and the poorest, or rather the poor that aren’t advantaged by protected status will have to do without when supply and demand puts essentials beyond their means to purchase.  The government does whatever it likes to hurt its enemies and help its friends.  It doesn’t sound like anything that could happen in America but it does sound like the Soviet Union.  Starving their own people was a specialty of the communists in Russia. The manufactured famine in the Ukraine is the classic example.  Maybe the communists running our government think they are ready to start using soviet tactics to destroy their enemies.

I don’t know.  It’s a strange time we find ourselves in.  All of this is happening because of COVID and because of the war against petroleum.  The desire to turn us into serfs is visible all around us.  Are we really so helpless that we’ll just let it happen?  I tend to think not.  Even idiotic white women in the suburbs must notice that their lives are becoming steadily worse.  At some point I assume they will decide that being against Donald Trump doesn’t justify allowing Joe Biden to impoverish their family and deprive them of the means of living a first world existence.

Anyway, that’s what I hope will happen.  In the meantime, I better go enjoy my bowl of doubly expensive oatmeal.  I won’t even bother to ask for sliced bananas in it.  My heart isn’t strong enough to hear what they must cost.

02SEP2021 – Small Critter Photos

I’m saving the mantis photos for my series finale of the mantis project.  But here are the rest of the critters Camera Girl found for me today.

Monarch caterpillars


Spotted Salamander


Four Toed Salamander


Kudos to Camera Girl for her excellent wildlife spotting skills.  No reward mind you, but virtue is its own reward.









02SEP2021 – OCF Update

Today was a strange mixture of things.  Camera Girl’s car needed a new gas tank and heat shield so I had to give her a lift to pick it up (and pay for it!).  But to pay me back she used her hawk-like eyesight to find a full-grown praying mantis in her gardern and a spotted salamander in the pool.  After saving him and another one I did a photo shoot of the salamanders and the mantis today.

Later on my trusty wilderness guide spotted a rodent of unusual size (RUS) swimming around in the pond.  I started yelling, “Where, where?”  Which panicked it and I could see a rather large creature crashing through the undergrowth on the opposite side of the pond.  We both agreed it’s probably a beaver sizing up the pond for a brand new dam.  Long time readers will remember we had one of the varmints living in the pond a few years back.  He disappeared under what I consider suspicious circumstances.  We’ll see if history repeats itself.

I plan to spend some time with the photos I took today and put up a post on them.

I noticed that the Supreme court managed to override John Roberts’ veto to allow Texas to pass a restrictive abortion law.  This is sure to rile up the Dems.  They may eliminate the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court in retaliation.  Should make for maximum theater.  Good.  Let her rip.  Let’s bust the thing up as soon as possible.  Why pretend there are laws that the Dems would obey.

I see Biden’s underwater job approval rating has finally been allowed to show.  They’ve got the approval/disapproval as 45.4 / 49.4.  I think the real numbers are more like 40 / 60 but at least they’re reporting something close to real.  Well that’s what happens when you run away from a war zone and leave people behind.

Stay tuned.  It’s been active lately.  More will follow.

Camera Girl’s Super Power

I believe in making marriage into a sit-com.  Camera Girl has said on any number of occasions that I need to write new material because she’s bored with the old stuff.  And she’s right.  But what I have in abundance is mockery.  I mock everything around me because that is how I think.  It’s a family trait that is probably our defining one.  That is how we analyze the world around us.  And because of her proximity Camera Girl is my favorite target.  I mock her choice in books, tv shows, talk shows, her frugality, her ideas about pets, her family, her friends, her rudimentary political ideas, her lack of knowledge about science, history, religion, philosophy and technology.  I make it such a regular practice to call her a poor ignorant peasant girl that she has started saying it about herself to save me the time.

What I never mock are her domestic skills.  Her ability to organize, schedule and maintain a home is remarkable.  Her cooking has kept me fat for decades and her ability to raise and entertain children is well-nigh magical.  And it’s this child-herding skill I want to write about.

This week we are entertaining the two younger grandsons and the granddaughter.  The boys are ten and seven and the girl is almost three.  Someone who doesn’t know kids might not know how hard it is to keep this combination of ages and sexes busy and happy at the same time.  Suffice it to say it’s like juggling chainsaws.  But she does it effortlessly.  She’s even able to integrate me into the trick when she thinks I can be trusted.  For instance, at one point, the next event was ninety minutes in the swimming pool.  But right before the time, the two boys got involved in a race to see who would grab hold of a toy they both wanted, some kind of remote-controlled car.  The little guy ran a little too fast and fell, skinning both his knees badly on the driveway.  After first aid and bandaging was performed Camera Girl informed me that out of necessity I would be drafted into service.  Since the little guy couldn’t go in the pool in his wounded condition, he would be watching a movie about tyrannosaurs (his favorite subject) and I would keep him company.  And she had made the right call.  Whereas I could have taken the other two kids to the pool, what she realized was that if I provided my nerd-like knowledge of prehistoric creatures as a way to occupy him, then my grandson wouldn’t feel so bad about missing the swimming pool which was a sore disappointment to a little boy.  We sat there and talked about the latest research on the most probable speed that a T. rex could run.  We discussed whether the T. rex was really the apex predator of all time and really the greatest creature to ever walk the face of planet Earth.  And even though I might have some theories on T. rex that differed from this dinosaur enthusiast’s I listened very respectfully and tried to enrich the discussion with some other scientific and general interest items.  And when his brother and cousin returned from the pool there wasn’t a single sad face or harsh word from him.  I had performed adequately and hadn’t dropped a chainsaw.

And later on, when the two younger ones were going to play some board game (I think Candyland) I was entrusted with taking the older guy outside for a baseball catch.  It was pretty hot out there but the hour went by like a flash as we tossed around the ball and talked about whatever was on his mind.  And once again I completed my task without incident and tossed the chain saw back to the master juggler.

And so it goes.  Minding a toddler and keeping her safe, soothing a little boy with sore knees and keeping a ten-year-old from getting bored all while cooking breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, cleaning the dishes, doing the shopping, washing the clothes and dealing with all my complaints without dropping a stitch.  Then bathing the baby and putting her to bed and before collapsing into bed herself she tries to read a few pages out of one of her books.  I honestly don’t know where her energy and work ethic come from.

But rather than think Camera Girl is a goddess, which she is, I think all women should be like her.  Raising kids is the greatest responsibility any human can undertake.  Sharing their lives and teaching them how to be people like Camera Girl does is mothering.  Plugging them into the television or the computer is what you expect from a zoo attendant or prison guard.  If the human race doesn’t get back to the old standard for mothers we’re doomed.

So, here’s to Camera Girl.  Long may her super power thrive.  I hope to see her someday plying her trade with her great grandchildren.  But I do wish she would do a better job training her dogs.  They’re all spoiled.  And she knows it.

Camera Girl Saves the World One Guinea Pig at a Time

When I was a kid if you wanted to get a pet, you went to a breeder or a pet store and looked in a few cages or fish tanks and picked one out and passed a few dollars across a checkout counter and your pet was handed to you on a leash or in a small box with some holes punched in it.  And this time-honored arrangement served me in good stead for countless pets of almost every description.  Maybe sometimes the box was a plastic bag if it was an amphibian or a fish.  If it was a snake, it would be a cloth bag with a knot in it to prevent it from trying to squeeze out of a flimsy box.  But if it was any of the several types of rodents that I have owned; mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs or chinchillas; there was no fanfare and definitely no discussion beyond what it ate and how to keep it from escaping.

Today I journeyed with Camera Girl across state lines to an obscure and truly annoying animal “adoption” center to be allowed to purchase two guinea pigs.  The fact that guinea pigs couldn’t be found at our standard pet store was inconceivable to me.  Guinea pigs like all rodents procreate at the drop of a hat.  They seem to be almost literally born pregnant.  How there could be a shortage of them sounded like a science fiction story plotline.  But being the mild-mannered and supportive modern husband that I am I only scoffed a little and agreed to travel to the ends of the earth to procure these rare and legendary beasts.

When we got there, I had my first nasty shock.  The nudnicks who ran this establishment required us to wear face masks to enter the sacred precinct.  Apparently, we had entered a medical facility where lockdown protocols were in place.  I asked Camera Girl if we should scrub up and put on our surgical gowns too.  She nervously shushed me and we moved on.  The surprising thing was that none of the highly trained animal adoption specialists were wearing masks.  I found this more than a little annoying.  This was the first of the little hints that I picked up that told me I was participating in a passion play.  We were performing a religious ritual where the High Priestess would coach us through our roles and provide the sacrament which in our case were overweight rodents.

The various stations of the cross included discussion about why we wanted said rodents.  I was tempted to relate a story about how a voice out of the sky told me to find the guinea pigs while I was mowing the lawn but I didn’t want to crab the deal.  So, I let Camera Girl describe her maternal fervor to save a poor orphaned guinea pig from a life of crime.  Then we had to prove that we could afford to care for these two new dependents.  I wanted to say that if the present menagerie had no complaints about the regularity of meals these two new freeloaders should be willing to roll the dice with me.  Once again, I bit my tongue.  I cautioned myself, “Patience, patience.  It will all be over soon and Camera Girl will be proud of me for being so tolerant.”  So, I held my peace while she answered all questions.  Credit reports were submitted, bank account statements were handed over, COVID vaccination papers were displayed.  Finally, it was all over.  Camera Girl followed the high priestess into the checkout area and I was left to commune with the rats while payment was made.  I felt virtuous for being a compliant chump through this embarrassing and absurd ritual and the payoff was imminent.

But after twenty minutes I was still sitting there with the rodents.  We had stared at each other a very long time and I could tell they were even less impressed with me than I was with them.  So, I cleared my throat excused myself to them with the alibi that I would make their space in the car more comfortable and went looking for Camera Girl.

I found her at the counter with the thirty bucks still in her hand.  But instead of grabbing the receipt and being on our way she was filling out a stack of paperwork and chatting amiably with the high priestess (HP) about the cutesy things that guinea pigs do when you give them human food.  So, I sidled up to her and gave her a quizzical look.  What I noted was that HP was handing out these forms one at a time with copious and completely unnecessary instructions on the minutia of how this information would be used to further the continuous improvement of rodent adoption.

I started glaring at Camera Girl to make it clear I was out of patience and needed to exit this building before I told HP what I really thought of the idea of “adopting” rodents.  I could tell that Camera Girl guessed that I was getting close to announcing to HP that most of my rodent associates were deep frozen rats and mice and even several hamsters that I would use to feed various snakes that I have from time to time kept and that if I wasn’t allowed to get on my way Rodent A and Rodent B were in danger of ending up as dinner for some future serpent inmate at my home.

And as hoped the pace of checkout speeded up acceptably and we were out of there in another couple of minutes.

On the way out I gave Camera Girl a very detailed lecture on what was wrong with allowing women to run anything and more particularly what was wrong with allowing women to confuse animals with children in their priorities.  Seriously a whole industry has grown up around the idea that dogs and cats and rats need to be rescued.  But what is actually happening is that suckering these women into “fostering” animals and then suckering some other women into “adopting” them had become a scam.  The shelters were hooked up with rescuers who were breeding the dogs either themselves or through some fellow scam artists and then charging the saps hundreds of dollars to save them.

I cautioned Camera Girl that from now on all rodents we purchased would be from people who didn’t name them but calculated their value by how much grain they had consumed during residence time in the system.  I just don’t have the stomach for dealing with scam artists and I don’t want to encourage Camera Girl to humor these maniacs.

23JUL2021 – OCF Update – The Prisoner Speaks

I’ve been washing venetian blinds all morning and am still only half done!  I’ve calculated that there are 450 individual slats to clean by hand one at a time.  Camera Girl is a harsh mistress.  Pardon my absence.  I will catch up as soon as I am released from bondage.

As a quick note I listened to ZMan’s Friday podcast and it was on “The Book of Five Rings.”  The book’s author was a 17th century Japanese swordsman named Miyamoto Musashi.  The book is ostensibly on the strategy of sword fighting but is actually a meditation on the philosophy of living in the real world.  I thought his podcast was extremely interesting and I’ll have to read book soon.  I wish the podcast was much longer it took my mind off the drudgery I am enduring.

Stay tuned.




26JUN2021 – OCF Update

As you can tell I’ve been spending time doing some of these macro focus stacking projects.  It’s a weird thing and much less fun than just taking photos.  But it does allow me to make images that would be impossible otherwise.  But it’s fussy and time consuming.  I’ll be doing some flower shots soon and I’ll see what else I can think of.

Camera Girl has abandoned me today to learn how to paint pictures.  She left my lunch in the microwave.  I will have to feed the dogs and push the button on the microwave and talk to myself for several hours.  I told her this was a dereliction of her wifely duties.  She narrowed one of her eyes and I think she was thinking bad things about me.  Luckily I think she lacks psychokinetic powers.  Unluckily she makes my food so you never know.

Camera Girl has become a voracious reader of fiction.  It’s mostly crime novels but recently she read a book that was recommended by a friend.  Based on the quality of that book she picked up another one by the same author.  Yesterday she told me that the plot of the book involved a black maternity nurse who gets involved in the death of an infant whose father is a white supremacist.  He even has swastika tattoos on his head.  Apparently, in the story the hospital is punishing the nurse out of consideration for the influence of the swastika guy.  I told Camera Girl I thought this was quite a stretch of the imagination.  “How many white supremacists are out there who have the local district attorney prosecuting black nurses?  I’m thinking the number is slightly lower than one.”

I tried to browbeat her into abandoning her book but she never drops a book until she finishes it, no matter how bad it is.  Well, this prompted me to remind her why I don’t bother to watch most television and movies that have a Leftist slant.  She rolled her eyes and nodded.  I told her I’ll have to find a Dissident Right author for her to read as penance for the indignity I suffered through knowing she was reading this piffle and she made a disparaging noise that was sort of a guffaw mixed with a cough.  Women!

Anyway, I’ll have some stuff up later and we’ll see how the day goes.  It looks nice out so I’ll be at play in the Gardens of the Lord.  Enjoy your day.

09MAY2021 – OCF Update – Happy Mother’s Day

It’s going to be quiet on the site today because I’ll be gone for a chunk of the day eating delicious unhealthy food with the most important people in the universe, my descendants.  After all their relationship to that strangest of all human beings, me, ensures that I find them infinitely fascinating.  I will impose myself on them and assume the role of “one of the boys.”  Whatever they want to do I’ll join in.

And I’ll be a charming guest for their parents too.  But it is a well known fact that grandchildren are much more fun than children, especially after they become parents.  So that won’t be as fruitful an activity to my mind.  And I’ll be nice to Camera Girl.  But really that’s her children’s job today.  It’s right there in the title of the day.  But I’ll still be nice to her.  She deserves it.

The day has dawned and it is sunny, butterflies were fluttering by and the stupid blue birds are complaining that once again they were dispossessed of the houses I built for them by birds with more grit and verve.  I intend to go out now and perambulate in the Fields of the Lord and restore my faith in creation as a whole if not in the so-called pinnacle of it.

I hope all of you have a good day with your families and I’ll contribute something today when I can.

17MAR2021 – OCF Update – Camera Girl’s Birthday

The great religious holiday is upon us again.  Once a year to celebrate her birthday Camera Girl makes that traditional Barese meal, Corned Beef and Cabbage.  Now, I won’t pretend that I’ve always enjoyed it.  I confess that until I discovered the power of really strong brown mustard I didn’t always care for the cabbage.  And even today I do require that the cabbage is extremely well drained.  But with the availability of better grades of corned beef I’ve seen the light and now relish this once a year treat.

And as a special bonus this year, Camera Girl will be going for her first dose of COVID vaccine today.  She is approaching this treat with a bit of trepidation.  She has always been a little more aware of her mortality than I.  And who can blame her?  Any chance that her privilege of spending time with me could be curtailed would seem like an unacceptable risk.  But honestly, if I can manage to snag a shot too this long imprisonment away from family will finally be over.

But to all those out there of Irish extraction and to anyone who lived in a place that celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy the day in your traditional manner while I get out the mustard jar.



Post Script: Well, Camera Girl arrived back from her shot alive so I guess she can relax.  Although now she claims she’s really afraid of the second shot.  I give up.

10MAY2020 – OCF Update – Happy Mother’s Day

Greetings everybody out there.  Hope all the moms out are somewhat enjoying Mother’s Day.  Although the whole cowering-in-place has rendered Camera Girl’s Mother’s Day sort of an academic exercise.  None of her kids can come to see her.  In recognition of this injustice I have spent the weekend as her company.  Unfortunately I’m a poor stand in for her children.  But I did what I could.  She is a Scrabble fanatic so I volunteered to play several games of this bizarre pastime.  It confirmed my belief that she has somewhat unorthodox ideas about what constitutes as legitimate English word.  She used “droid” without any embarrassment.  In addition we watched some movies together.  Interestingly we watched the movies I wanted to see but I attribute that to coincidence.  But I have been incredibly attentive.  I have been talking about all kinds of stuff and asking her all kinds of questions and talking about all the good things we can do together alone.  I’ll have to say, in my opinion, her enthusiasm was somewhat lacking.  Several times she seemed to wander away in the middle of one of these displays of attentiveness.  Apparently laundry and floor sweeping are time critical in her mind.  I’ve always thought men are much more sociable creatures.  Not to mention our pleasant and even-tempered personalities.  Well what can you do?

So anyway, I’ve been unavailable for output on OCF this weekend but that interregnum is now over.  I’ve got a post cued up for tonight on the Flynn fiasco.  I think that should be a major point of discussion for folks on our side of the aisle.  The fact that the information has been transmitted to the public is in itself encouraging.  More to follow.

We had a little more snow here yesterday but it wasn’t much to talk about.  But it really makes you wonder how much later into the year it would have to snow before we could question the reality of global warming.  Would a foot of snow at the Fourth of July qualify?  I’ll have to ask one of my Green friends (if I had any).

So enjoy the holiday to the extent that circumstances will allow but I’m back on the job and content will follow.

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens