Cookie-Cutter Tiny Houses

You know it’s a first world problem when your efforts to curb consumption are co-opted by copycats:

Are tiny houses becoming too “cookie-cutter”?

That’s the fear of Phoenix Vo-Dinh, a tiny-house renter who fears the rise of “miniature McMansions.” And she knows from McMansions: Before her current home, she lived in a Maryland house 10 times its size. The Maryland house had four bedrooms and four bathrooms in its 3,500 square feet, with seven entry doors.

Vo-Dinh now lives with her 24-year-old son, Christopher Lollar, in what she calls a “witch’s cottage” in Portland, Oregon. Its interior walls are papered over with Trader Joe’s grocery bags and pinto bean and flour sacks (coated in linseed oil); the exterior makes use of a local pizzeria’s tomato-sauce cans; and flowerboxes are made from discarded stove hoods turned upside down and poked with drainage holes.


 “In Maryland,” she says, “the size of the house — it was too big! It was a big house with no hiding places in it! It was the weirdest thing. I didn’t know that would happen.

“And this is huge. This is 364 square feet.”

No hiding places. Now that makes me wonder about Ms. Vo-Dinh. And everybody else who thinks tiny houses are the “it” thing. Didn’t they have playhouses or the imagination to create one from blankets and a table when they were children? And just where does she think she’s going to hide from her son in that tiny, though chic and fashionable space?

And what the hell is her son thinking? Perhaps… “Well, Mom is a bit nutty, but she still controls the purse strings. And the apron strings.”

A Complaint Free World?

Touted as a revenue neutral proposal, Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) is pushing for 1% of the world’s population (approx. 60 million people) to become ‘complaint free’. The day before Thanksgiving is to be the ‘Complaint Free’ Day.

Read it all here.

I am SO glad I got all the complaining out of my system earlier this week. But just in case something else comes up, I have a week left to complain.

Am I the only person who now feels compelled to complain about something through Nov. 25th?

Gun Trivia

Alphecca recently commented on how the AP defines “assault rifle” or weapon. Basically, it’s a rifle that looks mean, or “military” and it really doesn’t matter how you define the terms. It’s been my experience that where the media is concerned, AK-47 and assault weapon are synonymous.

Well, darned if the media didn’t have it right this time. Although I doubt they were any more aware of their correctness than I was.

It seems that the AK-47 was designed by copying certain features of the original “assault rifle”, the Sturmgewehr 44. It seems Hitler was highly impressed by that precursor to the AK-47 and gave it a name “satisfying his demented dream of eternally attacking the world”. (p.331)

Stupid, Evil, or

Pelosi, Reid, and the Democrats do not want to take “ownership” of the bailout. Sure, it’s a lot of money and they don’t want responsibility for a spending bill of that size.

But does it go further than that? Do they fear it the spending bill will fail? Do they want they economy to fail, with or without the spending bill? I think that Pelosi is playing politics, fast and furious. She said the bill was in response to “failed” Bush policies of the last 8 years. Hasn’t it been adequately documented that the policies of the last 30+ years are responsible?

With all due respect (which may be none) I am of the opinion that Nancy Pelosi did not want this bill to pass. The reasons why may be numerous.

If I may quote myself (a comment on Ambivablog)

If Pelosi had really wanted this bill to pass, it would have. You cannot convince me that there were not 12 of the 95 Democrats who voted “no” that she couldn’t persuade to a “yes”. She has a bunch of carrots and a wheel barrel full of sticks to use, but she chose not to. Then she did everything she could to ensure that no “on the fence” Republican would be swayed to vote “yes”.

Yet she ( and her Democrat cronies) are doing a very good job of making it look like this was all the Republicans’ (and by default, John McCain’s) fault.

That takes a lot of talent if you ask me. Talent put to use NOT for the good of this nation or for its citizens.

Nancy Pelosi is not stupid, she’s mean-spirited and evil.

I do not want my blog to become a political blog. I’d much rather post pictures of my grandchildren. At one time, I thought about this place as a money-making venture. Being political is one way to do that. But it really isn’t a way suited to me. Been there, done that, found it’s only useful once every four years.

I’m a registered Republican, because I wanted to vote against David Duke 10.. 15… how many years ago was that? The only bumper sticker I’ve ever even considered putting on my car was one for Edwin Edwards, the crook, when he was opposing the racist (truly racist, not just a politically incorrect racist) David Duke.

(I also considered putting a “Don’t blame me, I voted for Jindal” sticker on my car. But I didn’t. I really hate bumper stickers.)

Bottom line – it’s Amba’s to promote if she chooses. Michael Reynolds doesn’t think I get the “politics” of this fiasco. Of course, I disagree!

Words We Think We Understand

Etymology. Callimachus explores word-pairs. His post led me to wonder what the etymology of “punish” is. That search led me to Etymologically Speaking, where I’ve spent the last two hours.

Some of my favorites:

From the Spanish “charlar,” to chat.
From the Latin Candidus word meaning, “bright, shining, glistening white.” The ancient Roman candidates for office would wear bright white togas. This same word also gave rise to “candid,” which candidates rarely are.
From the French “Crétin,” which originally meant “Christian.”
French for “of good air.” In the Middle Ages, people’s health was judged partly by how they smelled. A person who gave off “good air” was presumed healthier and happier.
From the Latin elire, meaning “to choose,” from which we also get the modern Spanish word meaning the same, elegir.
Originally meant “placed on the knees.” In Ancient Rome, a father legally claimed his newborn child by sitting in front of his family and placing his child on his knee.
Greek for “Choice.”
Kampf (German) Struggle
From the Latin “campus” — for their type of fortification, where the Roman soldiers had their military drills — from which we also drive the English words, “camp,” “campus” and “champion.” Thus, when we talk about a “college campus,” there are subtle militaristic overtones.
From the Old English “cniht,” which meant “boy, servant.”
Kopf (German) Head
From Latin “cuppa,” meaning “cup”; the Romans used the cup as a metaphor for the upper part of the head. Similarly, another Latin word for “cup,” “testa,” has now become the French “Tête,” for “head,” too. Note that both the Germans and the Celts used a “skullcap” “top of the human head”) as a drinking vessel; this was part of the honoring of the enemy ritual. Thus related to “chief” and “capital” (and “testicle” as well).
The Latin words “Liber,” “Libera,” and “Liberum” — with a Long I — came from the root meaning, “to pour.” From this, we get the word “Liberty” (hence pronounced with a short I), from the freedom we feel when we get drunk.
From the French “Maîtresse,” which originally meant “bride.”
From the Latin word “moneta” which originally meaning, “warning.”

From the Latin “nescius,” for “ignorant,” and, at various times before the current definition became established meant “foolish” then “foolishly precise” then “pedantically precise” then “precise in a good way” and then our current definition.

From the Latin Occasion, meaning, “accident, or a grave event.”
Old; and Alt (German) Old

“Alt” originally meant, “Grown up”; the participle of “growing”; related to “Alan,” which meant, “to grow” but no longer exists in modern German. In Old English, the word “Alan” was also used in this same sense of growing or nourishing. Related to the Latin “alt” meaning “high.”

From the Latin paganu(m), for “someone who is not from the city, rather from the country.” In late Latin, this turned into pagensis, “one who is from the country,” and this utimately became the French pays and the Spanish País, both meaning “nation.”

Pay goes back ultimately to Latin, “pax” peace, by way of, appease, pacify. So “pay” originally meant “pay off,” to keep the peace.

Salary; Salt
In the early days of Rome its soldiers were given a handful of salt each day. The salt ration was subsequently replaced by a sum of money allowing each man to buy his own, and relieving the commisariat of the trouble of transporting it. The money received was referred to as their “salt money” (salarium in Latin). Eventually, the term would make its way into medieval France, where a soldier’s payment was known as his solde (which is still in use today as the term for a soldier’s or sailor’s pay), and it was in paid for with a special coin called a sol. By extension, the word also came to refer not only to a soldier’s wage, but also to the soldier himself, evidenced by the medieval French term soldat, which itself came from the Old French soudier. For its part, the English word “soldier” comes from the Middle English souder, which also derived from soudier [Footnote: Contrary to popular belief, salt–necessary as it was and unlike other spices–was never very expensive. It only became expensive towards the end of the twelfth century A.D., when it was used as a means of taxation and people often went without it, as a result–a fact not unconnected with the famines and deficiencies that afflicted so many generations of Europeans at the time).].
From the Latin “senex,” meaning “old”; thus related to “senile.”
From 1550 to 1675 was “very extensively” used in the sense of deserving of pity and compassion, helpless. It is a derivative of the Middle English “seely,” from the German “selig,” meaning happy, blissful, blessed, as well as punctual, observant of season.
From the Latin “sinister” for “left.” Hence, left is evil. 
The Eastern European region of Silesia was known for its fine cloth. Eventually, so many low-quality imitations wound up on the market that Silesian turned into sleazy.
Greek for “no where.”
From “Villaneus,” meaning, “inhabitant of a villa,” i.e., a “peasant.”
From the Old English “witan,” meaning to know; intelligence.

Oh, and “punish.”


“Why isn’t there any fun anymore?”

John Brignell, in March of the zealots, explains why fun has gone out of style. In doing so he also explains a lot of other stuff. Consider yourself warned.

Every age has its dominant caste. This is the age of the zealot. Twenty years ago they were dismissed as cranks and fanatics, but now they are licensed to interfere in the every day lives of ordinary people to an unprecedented degree. When Bernard Levin first identified the new phenomenon of the SIFs (Single Issue Fanatics) many of us thought it was a bit of a joke or at most an annoyance. Now the joke is on us. In that short time they have progressed from being an ignorable nuisance to what is effectively a branch of government. They initiate legislation and prescribe taxation. They form a large and amorphous collection of groups of overlapping membership, united and defined by the objects of their hatred (industry, tobacco, alcohol, adiposity, carbon, meat, salt, chemicals in general, radio waves, field sports etc.) Their success in such a short time has been one of the most remarkable phenomena in the whole of human history.

He may be wrong on his timeline, as I remember hearing as a child, “If it’s fun, you better do it now before it goes out of style.” Back then “style” meant “approved,” but today it’s called “political correctness.” I also remember coming to the conclusion nearly 40 years ago that everything caused cancer.

I’ve been fed up for quite a while, it seems.

The common factors in these campaigns of zealotry are:

  • Creation and maintenance of a myth

  • Ignoring all evidence countering the myth

  • Ad hominem attacks on opponents

  • Encouraging authoritarian governments to impose taxes and reduce individual freedom

  • Promotion of limits and constraints that are simply invented without reason

  • Collusion by the establishment media

  • Damage to science and its methods

  • Elimination of things that make life bearable

  • Making some people very rich whilte impoverishing the lives of almost everyone else

They will not be satified until they have you shivering in a cave, sipping thin gruel.

It’s rare that I come across an essay this long in which I find almost nothing to disagree with.

(via Junkfood Science)

Some Will Never Understand

At least some of us get it. No, wait. I think the majority of us get it. Follodor points out why gun buybacks don’t work – people are not as stupid as the government hopes they are.  I think I might substitute “most politicians” for “government” in that statement, but meaning is near the same.

Then again, why do we not-so-stupid people keep electing stupider-than-us politicians?

Great Choices

Bill Jempty of Wizbang has chosen Mississippi State Representatives W. T. Mayhall Jr, Bobby Show, and John Read to receive his Knucklehead of the Day award.

These three morons have sponsoring the following legislation:

An act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the state department of health; to direct the department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act; and for related purposes.*****

(2) Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and Management established under Section 41-101-1 or its successor. The State Department of Health shall prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese, and shall provide those materials to all food establishments to which this section applies. A food establishment shall be entitled to rely on the criteria for obesity in those written materials when determining whether or not it is allowed to serve food to any person.

House Bill 282 was introduced Friday, Feb. 1.

Sandy Szwarc, of Junkfood Science fame asks:

Is this a tongue-in-cheek bill, meant to point out how absurd the war on obesity has become? Or do lawmakers actually believe the myths that gluttony is the cause for obesity and that it is the government’s role to force people to eat and live how it deems best?

Rep. Mayhall answered her question that the bill was serious, though regrettably (hallalujah!) he doesn’t believe it will pass. He hopes it will call attention to the problem and what obesity is costing the Medicare system.

What is obesity causing the Medicare system? Someone want to give me some hard figures on that? I don’t want “but it must be costing because fat people are unhealthy!”

Too Much Time On Their Hands

This is what happens when a lawmaking body has too much time on its hands:

Berkeley Finds a New Way to Make War Politics Local

BERKELEY, Calif. — While the City Council here has little — read, no — sway over foreign policy and distant wars, local parking is a different matter. And so it was that a parking space directly in front of the recruiting station here for the Marine Corps was awarded on Tuesday night to an antiwar group in the hope of running the Marines out of town.

A city council that has nothing better to do has given a parking spot to a bunch of old ladies with nothing better to do. I have some sidewalk chalk, and I’m thinking of burning it in effigy. It would be so appropriate to do something extremely silly that won’t work to protest this Berkeley silliness, wouldn’t it?

How young is too young to hunt?

Ann Althouse asks “Should a 10-year-old be permitted to go hunting?” In Wisconsin, there’s a proposal to lower the hunging age from 12 to 10. A previous proposal set the age at 8. I find myself in agreement with the Althouse commenters who suggest that parents must decide when a child is mature enough to hunt.

Myself, I went to hunting camps as young as 8, but never hunted because I didn’t want to. There was no pressure. Just like there wasn’t any pressure to get me to fish. I did, however, enjoy the bounty of those who successfully hunted and fished. Especially fish. Especially catfish and crappie. I love fish much more than I like venison.