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Okay, I’ll take the headshot. But only if you let me pay for the bullet…


Did you see this article today? “A well publicized report this week that an estimated 1.5 million American children experienced homelessness in 2005-06 did not use the federal definition of homelessness. Instead, it used a different definition that grossly inflated the actual number.”

The National Center on Family Homelessness put together the study in question using a definition of “homeless” that includes kids staying with relatives or temporarily relocated (e.g. after Katrina). By this definition, they spin the utter bullshit statistic that 1 in 50 children in the States is homeless in any given year.

Whatever. My question is, who the fuck is National Center on Family Homelessness? Not them specifically. I mean, half the news stories I read every day were generated by the American Council for Healthy Knees or the Coalition for a Gluten-Free Tomorrow or Americans United in Cotton Underpants…thousands of the bastards, staffed by high-level, full-time employees and supported by PR firms and websites. And maybe with offices and company cars and annual meetings in Aruba. That’s a hell of a lot of money going down the wishing well. WHO PAYS FOR THIS JUNK? And why?

The peppery proprietor of Devil’s Kitchen has started to poke around the British world of fake charities, with a site called…ummm…Fake Charities.

Turns out, many of these organizations get, like, 1% of their money from real people donations. The other 99% comes from government — either the British government or the European Union. These are groups lobbying for things like higher booze prices or lower speed limits or restrictions on the internet. Paid for with our money (because government has no money. It maketh not, neither doth it sell).

So. Government wants a law, government funds “charity”, charity recommends law. Plus, many useless lefties with junk degrees get sweet jobs. Bonus!

With their dying gasp, newspapers tell us we’ll miss them when they’re gone — them and their original reportage. Well. If they were doing any, we might. Instead, they lazily regurgitate the latest position paper from the Won’t Someone Think of the Children? Foundation without ever troubling to tell us who they are and why we should care.

Some days, it’s enough to make a conspiracy nutcake outta me.


Comment from dfbaskwill
Time: March 13, 2009, 6:44 pm

Wow! I don’t know where to start. Get back to you later.

Comment from Nicholas the Slide
Time: March 13, 2009, 7:10 pm

You’re not a conspiracy nut if it’s true. *nodnodnod*

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 13, 2009, 7:35 pm

And speaking of conspiracies, I’m starting to catch myself wondering about this current recession.

How ever-so-amazingly bloody convenient that all this comes along, perfectly timed with the latest hysterical screeching about ‘global warming’ and the need for ‘co-ordinated global controls’.

And what is the first thing our lords and masters do? Turn the screws on the Swiss, forcing them to abandon decades of banking privacy, in order to to ‘close tax havens’.

And why do they want to close tax havens? Well, according to the stuff we are being fed here (and I will be recycling it on my veg patch tomorrow) it is so that the world’s governments ‘have the money to fight recession and global warming’.

When my tinfoil hat gets leaky, I keep imagining I see an ‘s’ missing at a crucial point in that last sentence.

Comment from Allen
Time: March 13, 2009, 7:43 pm

This gives me an arrrggle barrrggle moment (tongue doing the lolling thingy.) During the recent Battle of the Budget Bullshitters here in California…

Unionized State employees were arguing that they were getting screwed by their rapacious employer, the state. They subsequently hired lobbyists to, “help protect them from their employers.” Said protections give more power to the state to protect unions.

My head is on fire, and I can’t put it out!

It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a confluence. The confluence of stupidity. I knew it would eventually come to this: When you use circular logic you always end up biting yourself in the ass.

Comment from Brigette
Time: March 13, 2009, 8:44 pm

Awesome…leaving Barbies behind for politics! Well, sort of politics. Fake charities and parasitic government is a step in the right direction.

You know, this is SO selfish of me. I miss the mean graphics like Hillary as Gollum, but you’re probably so much happier being Mrs. Barbie Badger of Badger House, eating bangers and mash at the local pub, photographing mosses and writing about sewage and composters. Don’t worry, be happy. Obama’s going to screw us all over whether you make fun of him or not.

How is Green Johanna working out, btw? I’m still thinking about buying one if I can’t figure out how to pretend I’m British so your newly adopted gov’t can give me one.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 13, 2009, 8:51 pm

Oh, no. More graphics is the direction I’d like to go with this, Brigette. I really enjoy doing them, and I *especially* enjoy seeing them make the rounds. It’s kind of cool to do your daily blog loop and see your own shit on other people’s blogs. I just haven’t got my ‘studio’ thingie set up yet. There’s a MOUNTAIN of shit to climb here to get everything together.

Uncle B swears Green Johanna is nothing special — really, just a big old compost bin with pretensions. Still, I feed her regularly, stir her as best I can and put a little Garotta and old compost on top from time to time. Four to six months they said, so I’m thinking May before I know what’s happening in there.

Comment from blake
Time: March 13, 2009, 9:32 pm

Well, in fairness, cotton underpants =are= best.

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: March 13, 2009, 10:13 pm

Well, in fairness, cotton underpants =are= best.

Yeah, nylon panties make lousy gags. I mean, the knots keep coming undone, and …

what??? I can’t be the only one who has noticed this.

Comment from Brigette
Time: March 13, 2009, 11:34 pm

So I can save my money (what the government doesn’t take anyway) and just get a big old wooden box for my eggshells and carrot peelings and pine needles, I guess. 4 to 6 months for compost…have to be for next year’s garden. I’ve been meaning to plant one since we moved to this big ole place out in the country, but the first year things were too chaotic, then last year I had a baby, and I’m thinking this year might be it, but then again it might not. I’m trying to get myself geared up to actually do it, but we’ll see. City girl that I am, I’m a bit intimidated.

Comment from porknbean
Time: March 14, 2009, 12:39 am

How ever-so-amazingly bloody convenient that all this comes along, perfectly timed with the latest hysterical screeching about ‘global warming’ and the need for ‘co-ordinated global controls’.

Ding! Ding! Ding!


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 14, 2009, 8:19 am

Hello Brigette!

All the compost experts (I know, I know.. sad innit?) reckon the plastic bins really aren’t any better than the traditional wooden types. Some of them say they’re worse.

The good thing about them, however, is that they can be more or less beastie-proofed and if you are going to compost food waste (especially meat, bones etc) that’s pretty essential.

As for Green Johanna, I still think she’s ridiculously overpriced. Walk round any garden centre (at least here – but it surely can’t be different in the good ol’?) and you can find any number of bins made out of sturdy plastic, for far less money.

The only advantage I can see that the Johanna has is a guard at the bottom supposed to keep the aforementioned nasties out. But I’ve seen those on other bins, too, who why the price?

The key thing, in my experience, is to get one with a door at the bottom that lets you shovel compost out once it’s made.

No idea where you are in the States, but another factor to consider might be heat. They need to get pretty hot to work and in a very cold climate, you might need an insulating blanket of some kid in the winter. Traditional wooden bins stay hotter.

Frankly, if I’d had the space, I’d have built a wooden one, but we’ll see how it goes. So far, as her Ladyship says, it’s just sitting there: not so much rotting as brooding thoughtfully.

Comment from Lokki
Time: March 14, 2009, 11:04 am

plastic box or wood?
Which is better for saving
Our old friend the earth?

Does garbage like wood
When it comes time to rot away
Or will plastic do?

Can we please compost
All those damn imitation
Charities I hate?

Comment from Gnus
Time: March 14, 2009, 11:34 am

Another thing to watch for when evaluating charities is how much of what they take in in donations gets used for “administrative” purposes. Some of them spend a lot of their moneys on themselves, and very little is actually used for the intended purpose.

From what I’ve seen, the loftier and more noble the mission statement the more you’ve got to look out.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: March 14, 2009, 2:32 pm

How long does compost normally take to, uh, compost? The grass cuttings, the mowed twigs, weeds, other garden detritus and shredded cardboard from last summer in the bin I made (which is a wooden frame and chicken wire contraption) aren’t composted yet.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: March 14, 2009, 6:26 pm

There’s no easy answer to this one, Gibby. It took me a year in my last place, using a plastic bin, but I’ve known people who have said they can get a load ready in as little as three months.

I suspect they are doing that by making it all in one go, rather than adding bits here and there. I was hardly ever at my old place and I think that’s why it took so long.

The two things I know that help speed the process up are a warming blanket (old carpet works well) and every now and then to add a booster. Ammonium sulphate (yes, we do spell it that way in the old country) works fine, or you can use one of the proprietary compost accelerators. Alternatively, you can pee on it.

That at least gives the neighbours something to chatter about.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 14, 2009, 7:01 pm

Dude. Duuuude. You are SO not peeing in my Green Johanna.

Not even if you could get the trajectory just right…

Comment from Brigette
Time: March 15, 2009, 12:23 am

Thanks for the compost tutorial, Uncle B. I’m in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where winters are supposedly mild, but my first two winters here were FREEZING since as we all know the planet is warming at an alarming rate and we’re all going to be drowning in tropical seas pretty soon.

Comment from Machinist
Time: March 15, 2009, 3:46 am

“You are SO not peeing in my Green Johanna.”

Are you sure you don’t mean “anymore”?

Comment from Machinist
Time: March 15, 2009, 3:55 am

If Weasel detects,
visit by B, she’ll be off,
to see the whizzer!

Comment from Machinist
Time: March 15, 2009, 3:59 am

“To encourage rot”‘
he exclaims, as he reaches,
to unzip his fly.

Comment from Lokki
Time: March 15, 2009, 9:26 am

“Save the Earth!”, She cried.
“Compost EVERYTHING right NOW!”
“Piss on THAT”, Badger said.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: March 15, 2009, 12:44 pm

Does it have to be human? I’ve got a gallon of emu piss that I’ve been saving for a special occasion. I’m just kidding; it’s more like a pint.

Seriousloy though, two of my neighbours are ex-coppers. No doubt they’ll still be in touch with members of the force. In other words, I don’t want to get done for Aggravated Public Micturation with Intent to Accelerate Composting.

I think I read somewhere that Comfrey gets things going a bit more sharpish. Maybe I’ll try that instead.

Comment from Joan of Argghh!
Time: March 15, 2009, 7:50 pm

Ay! Don’t piss off the the stoat!

Comment from naleta
Time: March 16, 2009, 1:05 pm

Hmmm, ’tis better to be pissed off than pissed on!


Comment from Nicholas the Slide
Time: March 16, 2009, 1:36 pm

This gives me an arrrggle barrrggle moment (tongue doing the lolling thingy.)

😆 And here I thought I was the only person who said “argle bargle” when I got frustrated. 😛

Comment from Lipstick
Time: March 16, 2009, 10:44 pm

Ha! Joan found my post. I was actually thinking about weasel when I took those weasel photos. Weasel and my little ferrets at home half a world away.

Comment from lauraw
Time: March 17, 2009, 7:38 pm

Can’t…resist…discussions about rot…lovely,lovely rot

Chopping everything up, layering or mixing up the wet greens well with the dry brown materials, making the pile at least three feet high by three feet wide, and making sure it is kept dampish makes for a pile that heats up real quick in the right weather and breaks down with amazing speed.

I made a humongous pile that way in early Summer a few years back before I started sheet-composting (I’s a Ruth Stout devotee now). The materials were piled in a big circle of fencing wire at the edge of the woods. I went to turn it in the morning three days later. The inside of the pile was already abloom with lots of white fungus, and waves of hot steam billowed out as I pulled the layers apart.
The neighbor even came over to check it out.

Pretty exciting!

A week later of course, came the snakes looking for a warm place to bed, and the Fishing Spiders…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 17, 2009, 9:07 pm

Oh, man. My mother caught the Ruth Stout bug.

I’ll never forget the time we conned a whole truck-bed full of shrimp heads off the local Cajun eatery. It was an hour and a half from there to home. Uhhhhh.

Comment from lauraw
Time: March 18, 2009, 11:53 am

Shrimp heads! Oh man. Good stuff. Must have taken forever to de-stinkify the truck though.

When hubby had a buddy who ran a brew pub, I almost asked for a truckload of spent grain. Didn’t do it because I didn’t want the guy to think I was weird or something.

I run these ideas past the Hub first and watch his eyes. If he gets this desperate look and starts really thinking hard about what to say, I just drop it.

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