Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Profiteers Strike Again

Chilling Evidence

It seems like Trader Joe’s has become just another poker chip in the Wall Street casino. Whoever holds the chip at the moment has been making the usual cost saving reductions in quality and this time it was the ice cream.

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Hardboiled investigative journalist

When the Trader Joe’s French Vanilla ice cream in my old refrigerator stopped being solid and began to stick to the spoon like never before, I thought it was the fault of the freezer.

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I got a new refrigerator and TJ’s ice cream still served up gooey and spoon sticky.

Maybe the new fridge was just not set cold enough. 

My blood ran cold at the thought that it might be the ice cream itself.

Was it just another in a recent series of quality reductions at Trader Joe’s?

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Real tomato

The last time I got Trader Joe’s Australian Angus grass fed beef patties, I noticed they were loaded with grease and didn’t taste particularly good.

The Penne Pasta and Parmesan Chicken with broccoli in the refrigerated prepared dinners section no longer has broccoli in it.

So I looked at the ingredient list on the ice cream and discovered why it behaved like window caulking compound; They have added guar gum.

Nearly ripe tomato

This means they took out whatever real food ingredient was in there that held the ice cream together. 

I guess it will make the profit margin look good so the next player will buy the Trader Joe’s chip. These ruthless gamblers are called venture capitalists. Mitt Romney is one of them with his company Bain Capital.

The corporation holding the TJ's chip will keep cutting ingredients and inventory until Trader Joe's goes bankrupt. The stock market gamblers will make money off of that deal, too.

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Ahead by a nose

In the meantime, we will have lost another source of quality groceries, and I will need to start making my own ice cream.

Other brands of ice cream, including Alden’s Organic vanilla, contain a variety of gums, cellulose, and other non food items. Cellulose is a catchall term for sawdust or ground cardboard.

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Green leaves at sundown

I don’t mind the challenge. There are several ways to make ice cream. The plastic bag in a bag shake it method, folding sweetened milk and vanilla into whipped cream and freezing it, or for $15 - $400 one can use a good old hand crank or electric motor ice cream maker.

It will be the perfect compliment to my homemade apple pies.

Today’s Video;

New Adventures and Knowledge Gained

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I Write Letters

That Sometimes Get Read

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Breakfast In the land of fruits and nuts

The past few days were overfilling my email inbox with desperate pleas for money to protect our president from the crazy right wingnuts in congress.

You can’t impeach a president just because you don’t like him.

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Spider silk and agapanthus catching sunlight

But the fundraising letters continued.

So I wrote the following:

To The Democratic Party FundRaising People,

Throwing money at billionaires is counter productive.

We need to use our brains and come up with strategies that will bypass the, "my pile of money is bigger than yours", approach. That game is rigged.

The money we spend on TV and Radio spots goes directly into the pockets of the republican media moguls.

We can do better than that.

We are smart imaginative people. Let's come up with a plan that bypasses the billionaire bankers, Wall Street gamblers and tax cheating corporations. Something that will inspire our party to stand up for America before this country gets sold and traded piece by piece on the world market.

Phil Seymour

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New pie this evening

Definition of Corporation: A way for businessmen to avoid investing in the country they get their money from.

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Hot pink rose

I sure am glad I have A/C. It wasn’t until about 7pm that i went outside today. To save money and conserve our state’s energy, I have the windows covered with thermal blackout drapes. Sort of like a casino; it looks the same in here day or night.

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Red plate special

I went out to get the mail around 7pm. It was only in the 90’s, (About 96 according to my balcony thermometer), but the breeze was hot. It reminded me of time spent in the deserts of west Texas and how the hot wind smelled like toasted dirt.

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Deep yellow in the hot sun

We have a PSB rehearsal scheduled for tomorrow at 1pm. According to Weather Underground , it will only be 105 tomorrow. That should be fine. Mark has a swamp cooler to keep the band cool while we practice in his garage.

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A perfect match

Once again I hope to get some good pictures and recordings of the band to use in promotional packages, but we shall see how it goes.

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This is my favorite picture of the evening

One of the projects I completed today was to finish this short video of a storm cloud that loomed in the west one day this week. So, here it is -

Today’s Video;

Eyes On The Skies

Thursday, July 24, 2014

And Another Thing

Or Two

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Lela’s hydrangea is still blooming

I got a thankyou for sending this letter;

To Chairman Tom Wheeler and the FCC Commissioners––––

The internet is open to all who wish to learn, speak out, sell their products and ideas, publish art, music, news, video's, and viewpoints around the planet.

There has never been anything like it in our history. It is open to all and that is how it gets it's power.

To allow a couple of corporate interests to take this resource away from the people of the world would diminish its value and appeal.

Keep it real. Keep it open and accessible to everyone.

Phil Seymour

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See the white dot of snow on top of Lassen?

That letter clearly expresses the words of a starry eyed optimist who still has hope and a basket full of moral standards. It would be nice to have a basket full of morels, too. They are my favorite mushroom and if you know where to look, they are free, ( as well as not being easily mistaken for death angels or amanita muscaria ).

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John’s latest violin begins to show personality

This cockeyed sense of stewardship and love of all life, prompted me to join in a conversation today at John’s violin shop about clear cutting. 

Not all my family are idealistic dreamers like me. One of my brothers came up with deceptive scenic corridors when travelers drive through the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

I told John and Rocky about the time when my oldest brother was a geographical economist for Weyerhaeuser in the 1970’s. It was David who suggested that they not clear cut the forests right up to the roads, but instead the loggers should leave bands of trees along the highways.

Another good apple pie

These ‘scenic corridors’ give travelers the impression that they are driving through the bountiful forests of the pacific northwest, when in reality, the corporation had directed the loggers to clear cut the timber behind the wall of trees.

This reminds me of another thing;

David was also involved in moving lumber operations out of the northwest to the deep south pine forests. Spoiler alert; It had nothing to do with the spotted owl.

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Red rose in cloud diffused sunlight

Around the same time the company was running out of the right kind of pacific trees, engineers finally made a machine that could take advantage of those uniform sized southern pines and cost effectively turn that plentiful and fast growing stock into plywood cheaper than cutting and milling the remaining less desirable trees in the northwest.

They had used up the once plentiful pacific trees and now Georgia was on their mind. All they had to do was blame something other than themselves for the collapse of the pacific lumber industry and they could simply close up shop and leave.

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Agapanthus getting sparse

They came up with a very effective scapegoat.  

Mill workers and timber cutters were easily persuaded that the spotted owl, the evil EPA, and those damn tree-hugging environmentalists cost them their jobs.


Then, Weyerhaeuser got onboard that midnight train to Georgia.

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Try the pie

Another Thing

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My Spartan living room

My spine and easy chair/recliner had deteriorated to the point where they were no longer compatible. The chair had to go. The desk chair works just fine as an easy chair and it has wheels.I picked up a canvas directors chair at Big 5 sporting goods for extra seating.

Today’s Unrelated Video;

All Life Matters

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Coming And Going

It’s All Part Of Life

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Yes, another apple pie

I realized that when one makes their own apple pie with organic apples and simple pie dough, it is actually a nutritious food item. Certainly more healthy than a cheese burger.

The other day Raley’s had a sale on Granny Smith apples. They were the industrial, pesticide soaked, chemical fertilized, bred for shipping, waxed and polished ones. I got some anyway because I was low on money and out of pie.

They didn’t even come close to being tasty. After eating real apples in my pies for so long, that pie tasted nasty. I won’t be cutting expenses that way again. Yuck

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And it tastes good, too

R.I.P. Maverick. Better known by some as James Garner, he infused the character of Maverick with ‘cool’. It was the best of the many Warner Brothers TV westerns of the 1950’s, in my opinion.

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Another pretty pink driveway rose popped open

I started this blogpost last week, but wasn’t satisfied with the writing, so I’ve been rewriting, switching out pictures and trying to recall how to edit. Like most publishing, one should avoid editing their own stuff, but the Phil’s Place staff have yet to show up for work in the composition room.

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Eye catching red driveway rose

John Harrison and I have been writing more new songs as well as tidying up arrangements on some of my older songs. We had planned to work on some of that today with the rest of the players, but we postponed rehearsal until possibly next Sunday.

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Dandylion and spider silk

The wind is somewhat fierce this afternoon. It is a good thing I couldn’t find the right priced umbrella to replace the ragged, threadbare, tattered and torn one I keep patching up. If I had acquired a new one, it would be blown to shreds in the hot blustery wind gusts.

The old one has no cover on the hole on top, so that significantly reduces lift. Some of the sides have slipped up on their poles thus creating more flexible, (flappy), surface areas,  ultimately reducing tension. It is nice how some things turn out.

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Ye old watering hole

Some of the places I would like the band to play want a picture, bio, and a CD. This is tricky since I don’t really have any pictures of the band with Mel Prado our new drummer and the only recorded tracks with him playing are from rehearsals.

I accept the challenge and think I have figured out how to get around those tiny details. If time permits, I shall have created a new band package by the end of the week.

Watch this space      .

Stay tuned...

Don’t miss the exciting unveiling of the all new Phil Seymour Band press kit.

Today’s Video;

Do Your Best Always

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Every Day Brings

Opportunity For Delight

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Colors in the lawn

High temperatures and a little water can make some flora grow in a hurry. The grassy area behind building A was filled with colors about half past noon. I got in close to see what was making the red and yellow pattern in the grasses.

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Driveway rose princess

Alongside the entrance driveway to the Treehouse, there are very colorful roses blooming daily. They don’t last long in the heat, but they are stunningly beautiful when they first open.

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Saturday full perigee moon

It was a good thing I got out and took scores of moonrise pictures. They are providing hours of entertainment when I play with them later on the MacBook Pro.

Stripped agapanthus speaks to me

Perpetually fascinating sights, sounds and stimulating experiences surround the sensitive seekers here in sunny northern California. (Say that succinctly three times in a row and win a free tongue straightening) That was a workout!

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Before cutting the F holes

John is making another violin and I have been getting some fun pictures of the process. The latest series of violins are sounding and playing with strong experienced voices from the moment they are first strung and played.

We have been practicing songs for the band with our guitars in the violin shop for an hour or so, three afternoons a week. The sound and atmosphere while surrounded by beautiful violins and violas is a surreal sensory experience. I can hear my voice and our guitars resonate in those instruments that hang in the shop.

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One of Dorothy’s colorful garden delights

One more wonderful event from today was the sunset afterglow in the clouds. It was purely happenstance that I was out at the right time and the right place to capture the glorious Redding sky after the sun went down.

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Fiery clouds in the western sky

On my way to Raley’s to get some apples for a pie I saw the sky turning red after the sun set. There is a good spot for photographs on Northpoint Drive, just behind Raley’s.

I was able to get some powerful images during the 5 to 10 minute window of opportunity. The afterglow can peak just like sunrise. It won’t wait long while one gets to the right spot and sets up a tripod. I feel very fortunate to have been less than a minute away from an ideal vantage point.

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Spectacular last light deep reds

I hope your day was joyously bountiful and fulfilling. Every day is a gift, but some are wrapped more brightly. It is the present that is the greatest gift of all.

I spoke with Marian this evening and we will likely get together soon to play some music late August-early September. That will be nice. I haven’t played with Marian for a couple of years.

Today’s Video;

Savor Earth’s Beauty

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Interesting Times

Manners Are Vanishing

Friday Super-sunset

From the unabashed rudeness of the right wing berserkers in the media, to the industrial desecration of our planet for monetary profit, there is an appalling lack of manners and considerate behavior in today’s ‘society’.

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Super-Lassen on Friday

Part of the blame can be attributed to unregulated capitalism; Money trumps everything including the common good. It is money that put the misnamed Tea Party Patriots into our hallowed halls of governance.

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Friday Supermoon

The historical Boston Tea Party was a protest against the corporate takeover of our  democracy by the East India Tea Company. The tea corporation was buying favors from, and writing legislation for government officials that adversely affected free trade in America.

The present day Tea Party Patriots lack the historical knowledge or mental capacity to understand they are corporate pawns.

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Saturday Supermoon rise

These unruly illiterates have stained the hallowed halls of Congress with their obnoxious bad manners. They vent their ignorance and thinly veiled racism with avalanches of rudeness and antagonistic attacks on our President, while they bring the business of government to a standstill.

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Saturday Supermoon rising

The main promoter of today’s manner-less malignancy is the right wing owned media. Specifically but not exclusively, Fox news corp. They are the source of most crazy conspiracy campaigns. The Birth Certificate, Death Panels, Agenda 21, Benghazi, Impeach the President and other fabricated anti-Obama dramas begin on Fox news.

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More Saturday Supermoon rise

Personally, I want clean air, water, safe infrastructure quality public schools and a genuine cost of living increase in my social security check. I know that won’t happen with the bunch of republican hooligans currently in Congress so I am voting all democrat this November. I think that is a positive step towards reinstating good manners and dignity among our elected officials.

Today’s Video;

Be Nice