And We Are Homeowners Again

Actually…we were homeowners already…it was just that our home had wheels underneath it and a really big back yard consisting of North America…but that’s another discussion. What I’m talking about is that as of yesterday we are the owners of a normal house…what RVers call a sticks and bricks or S&B…we closed on our home in the Magnolia Landing development in North Fort Myers. The good news is that it is a really nice house in a gated community and St. Therese where we attend Mass is just across US-41 maybe a half mile from home. The…well not bad but not as good I guess is the best way to put it…is that it isn’t any closer to the Elks or Legion than we used to be…although both are pretty much a straight shot down US-41 from Magnolia Landing and driving wise it is a little quicker and with less traffic to deal with.

I am sitting here in the living room in my zero gravity recliner…the house is not furnished yet with the exception of our waterbed headboard which arrived today. The waterbed itself shows up tomorrow and Neil and Connie will be heading off this afternoon after her Ladies of Elks meeting to see about rectifying that little problem.

Our current plans are to start moving stuff from the rig over to the house and coordinate that with furniture deliveries and cable/internet installation and we’ll probably shift sleeping and main occupancy to the house sometime in mid to late February…we still need to run up to Richmond to pick up the stuff in our storage unit and the will happen in early March we think.

We also need to get with the spa company to get ours installed…get new grills…get a freezer and second fridge for the garage and various other moving in stuff…along with some new computer toys of course and the 65 inch OLED TV we picked out.

Here’s what it looks like currently…

Front view with Li’l Red in the drive. The house is concrete block with stucco over it in construction and has a tile roof for maximum hurricane protection.

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After entering the front door the office and second bedroom are off to the left in a separate wing and the main living area is straight ahead. This was taken from the right front corner of the dining room area looking across to the lanai door. The living room is on the right and the entertainment center will be on the wall in front of where the recliners are currently sitting with the master door between where Neil was standing for this shot and the TV which you would be looking at the right side in profile if (a) it was there yet and (b) if he had turned slightly to his right. Inside is drywall with stone tile in the living area and carpet in the bedrooms.

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Turned to his left to get the kitchen…Neil is going to love cooking in here. The only problem is that because the house has 10 foot ceilings the cabinets are pretty hard to reach the top shelves…so we’ll just keep infrequently used stuff up there. The white door is the pantry.

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This is the front bedroom in the left side wing…we’ll use it for our office. The third bedroom is immediately to the right of this one with the second bath in-between them.

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Looking out from the corner of our lanai…the grills will be on the wall to the right and the spa in one of the two outside corners.

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The view out to our pond from the lanai…going to be a great place to have coffee in the mornings and watch the sun come up.

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I’ll post some more shots as we get stuff delivered…I’m posting this on Saturday and we got our new soft side waterbed installed yesterday…looking forward to sleeping in it as it is far and away the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had. The Sleep Number is way better than a normal mattress but still is lacking compared to a waterbed. The nice thing is that waterbed tech has improved considerably since 1976 when we bought ours…no more hard side and just a sheet and mattress pad over the water bladder. Now they have soft side ones that sit on a metal frame above the floor like a standard bed and a pillow top covering over the water bladders…yup, two separate water bladders, heaters, and thermostats so Connie can keep hers at sauna like temperatures while Neil goes for a bit below body temperature. We still need to attach our headboard…the “standard” bracket they delivered doesn’t fit our headboard but we talked to the dealer today and he’s got extender plates for the brackets that will solve the problem. He’s up in Port Charlotte about 30 miles north of the house…but we’re headed off to Sarasota tomorrow for a symphony concert anyway and he’s open on Sunday afternoons so we’ll stop in on the way north and pick them. Neil had a plan to solve the problem but it sounds like bracket extenders will solve the problem more easily.

So far…we’ve bot the bed delivered. Thursday we get nightstands, dining table and chairs, counter height stools for our eat-at bar, and a table to go between our recliners. The TV stand won’t get delivered until mid February so we’ll also order our new 65 inch OLED TV in time to support that delivery as well as our cable and internet hookup…which will be significantly cheaper than what we’re paying in the RV. In the rig we are paying 160 a month for DirecTV and another 65 for our Verizon MiFi internet device…our Premium channel package and gigabit internet will run us just 110 a month.

We also ordered our new recliners…and can anybody tell me why the leather ones are so much more comfortable to sit in than the fabric covered ones? I’m not talking about the smoothness of the leather vs the texture of the fabric…but the chairs themselves outside of the covering are just so much more comfy in the leather ones. We found one that had motors in it to raise the footrest, recline the back, elevate the head rest, and also for the lumbar support area…Connie says it is the most comfortable chair she ever sat in. We decided that the motors were just more stuff to break and they were $2500 apiece anyway. We ended up with standard LazyBoy recliners, rocker style with manual raise and lowering of the footrest upholstered in burgundy leather…less than half the price of the super duper one. They’ll get delivered next month as will the TV stand as I mentioned above. With all of those in place…we’ll have enough furniture to live in the house so will probably move our base of operations over to the house in late February or early March.

Our new neighborhood is going to be nice…we’ve already met Tom the self declared Mayor of Long Pond Road who lives 2 doors down (he was the first owner on the road so he appointed himself)…quite a character as is Lennie who we met walking his poodle-something mixes, two females who clearly didn’t like each other. Connie has already decided we’re going to get our door modified with the leaded glass insert…there is a company in town that makes them for $1200 and then they come out, cut the door and insert the glass panel…she saw Tom’s and said “I want one”.

We spent most of Friday afternoon sitting out on the lanai waiting on the waterbed assembler to arrive…we can see that we’ll be spending a lot of time out there in the future.

I would give you an eagle update…but the baby E14 died this week of unknown causes. The folks from CROW, the local animal rescue/rehabilitation organization came and picked up the carcass with their bucket truck and will be doing a necropsy (which is just like an autopsy except on animals instead of a human) to figure out why. While the other egg never hatched, I don’t think anybody has a guess on why that happened but E14 seemed pretty healthy and was eating well but it obviously had something wrong with it.

Interesting stuff found on the net.


Good idea.


It turns out that 99 squared is a number that has some neat properties…or at least its reciprocal does. Take at look…and for single digit numbers like 0 through 9 just consider them as 2 digit numbers 00 through 09.



Prostate exam




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Life Here in Sunny Warm Southwest Florida

So…no real stupidity in the news today. The only thing I see is the ongoing brouhaha over the killing of Mr. Soleimani. Now as we used to say down south…he needed killing anyway. He was the head of a declared terrorist organization and flew from Iran to Iraq to meet with the head of another terrorist organization…but intelligence sources gave the game away, he was in uniform, and as a legitimate target he was taken out. The Iranians were naturally furious about this so they launched a counter attack of some ballistic missiles against two airbases in Iraq that are used by US forces…although they’ve been shooting ballistic missiles at these airbases semi-regularly already. In this case…they apparently told us via the Swiss I think I read it was ahead of time, launched the missiles when everybody was asleep so they didn’t kill anybody walking around, and even accidentally on purpose I guess missed with some of them. Then a couple of hours later a Ukrainian airliner was taking off from Tehran…after takeoff it was up to a speed of 275 mph and an altitude of 8,000 feet and climbing when suddenly it exploded into flames, turned to the right and then crashed in a huge fireball…there were several witnesses with video both on the ground and in other commercial aircraft nearby. The Iranians almost immediately said that there was an engine problem and it was attempting to return to the airport…but the problem with that explanation is that engine problems don’t cause the aircraft to go up in flames while in the air…that is usually caused by either an internal explosion inside the aircraft or from being hit with an antiaircraft missile. Then today…two “highly placed US officials” said the most likely explanation was a surface to air antiaircraft missile. They didn’t specify why they thought this but admitted we had surveillance assets in the area along with the ability to intercept communications…reading between the lines we probably have a recording of the authorization to fire, the radar used to guide the missile, and possibly the track of it as well. No telling whether it was a deliberate shutdown of a civilian aircraft or just an accident since the Iranians were probably expecting an air strike after their ballistic missile launches a few hours earlier.

Breaking news…I saw
later…turns out that some random Iranian person had their phone out taking a video and happened to catch the explosion on the plane. From the video it clearly had either an internal explosion or was hit by a missile I believe…so either terrorism related or an accidental or deliberate shoot down by the Iranian military.

And speaking of Iran…some outfit named Morning Consult did a poll on Jan 4-5 of almost 2,000 US registered voters asking them to pick Iran out on a map. Here is a a map showing their selections…although this might have elevated to stupidity found on the news if I had seen it sooner…or at least Interesting things found on the net.

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I could maybe misunderstanding the layout of countries in the Middle East and perhaps picking Iraq or Afghanistan mistakenly…but ya gotta wonder about people that picked Australia, Nevada, Greenland, and Brazil

And the actual Soleimani attack itself…according to the media for the past several days it was a clear over reaction to the attack on the US embassy by Iranian proxies in Baghdad…but it turns out that the CIA Director presented the CIA analysis before hand and recommended the attack as well as predicting the Iranian response. At this point…things appear to be settling down a bit…although the Iranians have announced that they are no longer bound by the nuclear weapons agreement from the last administration…you know, the one that they were already violating anyway.

Impeachment…we are still waiting on Ms. Pelosi to send the articles over for the Senate to hold a trial…and she is apparently waiting on the Senate to agree to hold the trial the way she and the rest of the Democrats want instead of the way the Senate majority wants…even her own side is starting to say it is time to send them over and be done with it. There is precious little chance of conviction anyway…and Mr. McConnell has it right that impeachment is a political process…but his saying that he will coordinate with the White House and is not an impartial juror is probably something he should not have said as it looks bad politically.

Moving on…we close on our new S&B…that’s Sticks and Bricks which is what RVers call what the rest of ya’ll call a house…on Wednesday then get our headboard delivered Thursday and our new waterbed on Friday. Yes…we’re getting another one of those since it is far and away the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had…the Sleep Number air mattress is close but no cigar as they say. However…waterbed technology has considerably improved in the 43odd years since we bought our other one. No more the hard side 2×10 lumber frame with the mattress inside. Nope…today’s waterbed is actually very similar to the Sleep Number in construction. It has a regular off the floor metal frame and the water bladder is inside a pillow top mattress…there is a separate heater for each side so Connie can keep hers at sauna temperature while Neil can maintain a more reasonable 89 degrees or so…if he recalls correctly that’s what he liked but will have to experiment as the pillow top puts more soft stuff between him and the water. We were going to originally head up to Tampa on Thursday to see friends Bill and Linda along with other New Horizons friends for dinner at the Tampa RV Supershow…but forgot about that when setting up the deliveries so we’ll just have to try again next year I guess. All appears to be in order…money transferred from our investment account for down payment, mortgage at the underwriting committee for final approval although with our assets and >820 credit score it will obviously be approved, insurance in place, repairs complete…all that remains is getting the final HUD form for the exact closing cost number, the walkthrough on Wednesday morning and then the closing.

You might remember about this family of “homesteaders”…and I use that term loosely…named Kilcher up outside of Homer AK . There are a dozen or more of them on a compound and they’re on one of those reality shows…this one is named Alaska The Last Frontier. You may remember that when we were up in Alaska on our trip back in 2015 we made a whole bunch of un about them. To hear them tell it on the show…they’re out in the wilderness surviving by the sweat of their brow and living off the land. In actually…they are 5 or 6 miles from downtown Homer AK…and the reason that when they show their landing craft coming up onto the beach at their property they never look to the right from the beach but always to the left is because the Homer Spit which is the tourist section of town is about 3 miles across the water from their beach.

There is a Chinese takeout less than 2 miles from Kilcher Road that goes down into their compound and a school with full utility hookups 5 miles farther out the road from town than they are. We have been making fun of them calling for Chinese takeout for years but it really came home to us in a recent episode.

Atz Lee…don’t know why his name ain’t Kilcher but it ain’t…he was heading out for a moose or deer or caribou hunt…some sort of protein to stock his freezer for the winter. Don’t know why he doesn’t just spend some of the money from his reality show and drive into Homer to the IGA and buy meat there…but whatever. Anyways…he was talking on the show about defending himself from bears that he might happen across on his 4 wheeler ATV and he talked about the semiautomatic pistol in a holster on his chest, another one on his hip, a rifle on his back, and another handgun on the 4 wheeler handlebars. Then he started into his “last resort” if all of his guns were lost or out of ammo…reached down to the dash of the 4 wheeler and pulled out a pair of chopsticks…he then talked about how he would stab the bear in the eyes with them. We immediately turned to each other and said…”we know where he got those…the Chinese takeout place”. What a bunch of frauds they are. Neil asked in the IGA if there was anything realistic about the show and they said the family was in and out of the IGA buying groceries all winter long…so much for living off the land in remotest Alaska I guess. There’s even an electrical supply line going down Kilcher Road into their campground…they always show cooking and eating by candlelight but I guess they need to keep the freezer cold somehow. Fakers.

It is 77 degrees and sunny here in North Fort Myers today…going up into the 80s tomorrow and through the weekend…I tellya it is a tough life down here. Actually though…it is way less tough than being up north where the dreaded S word keeps happening and where the uniform of the day can’t be shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. For those of you who are a bit confused by this whole “go south for the winter” thing…here are a few images that should help you make better decisions in future winters. Yeah…I realize there are a few people who actually like cold weather…but I’m not responsible for their poor decisions in life. There’s a reason for us to be down here. Yeah…I know it is hot in the summer but that is why God invented air conditioning…and there are hurricanes in the late summer and fall but in a concrete block construction house well away from any serious water and with a tile roof that’s less of an issue than you think. Besides…we can always go somewhere else if it gets too hot…and we won’t get all that overheated by the walk from the air conditioned house to the air-conditioned car and then into the air conditioned Elks Lodge.

Got a shot of M15 and E14 today…the adults are still brooding the failed to hatch egg but it is starting to look like they are giving up hope so it will likely get evicted from the nest soon. At least with only one eaglet there isn’t a shortage of food for it to eat and the smaller one doesn’t get bullied and shut out of eating by the larger one.

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This is a Japanese tour bus stopped on the highway.


And this is Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National park in Montana…the pass there is only about 8,000 feet high and this was taken in July when they were working on snow removal to get the road over the pass open…it typically doesn’t open until at least mid July and closes before the end of September. They actually don’t plow the road there…they use dozers to pick up bucketloads of it at a tie and drop it over the side…they don’t make a big enough plow to clear that road…same thing with the Japanese one above.







Snow Road

And now ya should fully understand just why we ain’t in that part of the country this time of year…crazy talk I tellya.

Interesting things found on the net.

If only it worked this way…the only bad thing about being down here in sunny warm southwest Florida is the idiot old people driving.



Who eats this stuff?



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Newsless Media…or…The Eye Witless News

Ya know…back in the days when there were only the original 3 TV networks…you could depend on the nightly news to actually…provide you the news. They would tell you the facts of whatever happened and the anchors rarely offered an opinion on anything…leaving that to the occasional commentary at the end of the news. There was political news reported…but again it was just the facts without bashing either side. You would never have known it from his reporting for instance…but Cronkite was pretty far left for those times, although he would be just center left these days.

No more though…the news media…no matter whether it’s on the TV, internet, or on paper…these days they’re just political mouthpieces who are more interested in being the news than reporting the news. There are very few news organizations these days that try to maintain a lack of political bias and just report the facts.

What is worse than politicking though…is the complete abandonment of either putting a headline on the article/piece that actually reflects what the blathering is about and of any attempt to include actual truth in the piece…it was bad enough when they just started to only include facts that supported their political slant while ignoring contrary facts…but lately it seems that they just completely make stuff up…I would call it lying.

A few examples…I will leave the links off this time so as not to give the liars any of those profit generating clicks. 

You might remember seeing a week or so back there was a shotgun attack on a church in Texas where a nutcase came in and killed two people during service…then was promptly shot dead by one of the church’s armed security volunteers. Now me…I would call the guy a hero since he prevented more loss of life…the nutcase was angry because when he came to the church for help (he was indigent and homeless apparently) they gave him food instead of cash…because he would have just spent the cash on drugs or alcohol. Anyways…while most of the press correctly recognized the “good guy with a gun” as being a hero…there was a USA Today opinion piece that was primarily intended as an anti-gun screed. According to Elvia Diaz…the NRA and pro 2nd amendment folks are using this incident as PR for why we need the 2nd amendment…but according to her it is about much more than that. She says “he wasn’t just an ordinary parishioner…he is a firearms instructor, gun range owner, and a former reserve sherif deputy…exactly the kind of person that you want around with a firearm when things go south”. However…as she elaborates…”we know nothing of the other 6 worshippers who also drew their weapons…and that is terrifying”. Now none of the other 6 engaged the bad guy as he was dead already…but then she goes on to make the point that people should not be allowed to carry guns wherever they want to…and how Texas has very nonrestrictive gun laws. She agrees that the 2nd amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms and that the amendment is not going anywhere…but then goes off the reservation by saying “that constitutional amendment doesn’t spell out the types of firearms Americans should bear, nor does it give Americans the right to sell them to anyone to carry anywhere”…even though of course it does…she needs to go back to junior high civics and look up the meaning of “shall not be infringed”…it means that it does give them those rights.

Me…I’m all for the anti gun crowd trying to overturn the 2nd amendment…but the founding fathers provided a process by which the constitution can be amended…but they deliberately made it very, very hard. Rather than trying to do things the right way…there is this continual push by anti-gun people to nibble away around the edges, move the goalposts, or whatever other analogy you want to slowly over the years change the constitution via state or federal legislation instead of the proper way.

According to Business Insider…the President broke the law withholding funds from Ukraine. Now it doesn’t matter whether you are for or against the President or the Congress in this case…this is a lie designed to advance a political agenda. The article says that the President “ignored numerous warnings from the Defense Department that withholding the funds was illegal” and that he “violated the Impoundment Control Act”. If that is true…then clearly the President broke the law…but it is simply not the case. The way that things is happen for the government to spend money is that the Congress must both authorize spending and appropriate the money…and the money comes from a particular budgetary year with requirements on when it must be spent by. In this case…the funding was what is called Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and is required to be spent by the end of the fiscal year which is September 30. What actually happens is that the dollars get spent by the DoD on weapons that are then given to the foreign country designated to receive them when they are delivered. What the Impoundment Control Act says…is that funds can only be spent for the purpose that was authorized and appropriated by the Congress and not on anything else…and that if the funds are not spent by the end of the requisite fiscal year they are returned (impounded) to the Treasury and do not get spent.

The Defense Department was told several times in July and August to get all of the paperwork in place in case the hold on the funds was released…which apparently they failed to do. Neil used to be in the procurement bidness for the DoD so has some insight into this…if the paperwork is in place then funds can be obligated in pretty quickly. So the administration is authorized under the appropriations rules to delay spending funds until later as long as they get actually spent on the designated things before the end of the fiscal year. And ya know what…that is exactly what happened. The funds were released on September 11 and obligated…well, most of them anyway…the DoD didn’t bother obligating $35M of them because they didn’t get the paperwork ready early as they were told to. That $35M was returned to the Treasury unspent under the Impoundment Control Act…so despite the headline and the article…no laws were broken here. Nonetheless…the hysteria in the media over this continues and at least according to Mr. Schumer “proves that additional witnesses are needed for the Senate trial”.

From The Guardian…an article about federal judge Loretta Biggs who blocked a voter ID law in North Carolina last week. Now…me, I’m all in favor of voter ID laws…you need an ID to buy booze, cigarettes, get on a plane, borrow a book from the library, drive a car, cash a check, enter most governmental buildings, get government assistance, and what have you…and nobody has a problem with requiring a person to present an ID in any of these situations. Apparently though…asking for an ID to prove you are a US citizen before voting is an unconscionable act designed solely to suppress Democrat votes. This is the second law that NC passed to require a picture ID to vote and it provided 11 different IDs that would be acceptable…both were passed in response to a citizen approved state constitutional amendment requiring voter ID from the 2018 mid term election.

What is most galling here…beyond the unsubstantiated opinion of one federal judge to overrule the citizens of the state…is her reasoning for invalidating the law. She stated that “discriminatory intent was likely a factor in passing this law”…because it was similar to the first one she invalidated but was changed to meet her objections to the original law. She also said that not allowing the public assistance ID that is necessary for receiving welfare benefits was discriminatory to people of color because they’re more likely to be on welfare…when the real problem with using that ID is that non-citizens are allowed to receive welfare benefits and the welfare processing folks do not make any attempt to confirm citizenship before issuing those ID cards. Hence…sure, they are a photo ID…but they do not prove US citizenship which is what is required to vote. So she substituted her feeling that the law might have discriminatory intent for the will of the population as expressed by the vote for the state constitutional amendment. Luckily her decision will be appealed and likely overturned.

An article on Yahoo news which parroted The Guardian contained this quote…”This is particularly relevant to African Americans, who – contrary to popular perception – actually have rather high voter turnout, higher than other minorities, but are disproportionately affected by voter suppression (including incarceration).”. Go read that sentence again…it has two clauses that contradict each other…if African Americans have a higher voter turnout than other minorities…how the heck can they be disproportionally affected by the alleged voter suppression…that just don’t make a lick of sense…but you read it on the internet so it must be true, especially if it supports your political agenda.

The trouble with both sides on the voter ID/voter suppression debate is that both sides are full of crap. Voter fraud is not nearly as high as the Republicans say it is…nor is it as low as Democrats say it is. The problem is that only citizens are legally allowed to vote…and if there is not requirement to prove citizenship to vote and you can sign up to vote on Election Day…then there are potentially 11 million cases of voter fraud possible. Now I know that most of our illegal immigrants are not voting illegally…but that doesn’t really matter…what matters is that they could if they wanted to…and that is just plain wrong not to mention illegal. Republicans are accused of voter suppression when they demand a voter ID…but if you tell a Democrat that giving every illegal alien a drivers license and registering all drivers license issues to vote at the same time…heck, that sounds like ballot box packing to me and that is just as wrong as suppressing votes.

The National Interest has an article in which the author makes the claim that the US Navy should bring back battleships because they can take a lot of damage before being sunk. The problem with that is that the age of the battleship is over. Their main guns have a range of about 25 miles which means that they can threaten just a small area of the enemy country with their 2,000 pound shells. In the days of anti-ship supersonic sea skimming cruise missiles…a battleship would never get close enough to shell the beach. There is some merit in taking a bulk carrier or tanker type hull design, adding some armor, and packing it with a metro buttload of Tomahawk cruise missiles for shore bombardment…but at a million bucks plus each that’s an awful expensive way to soften up the enemy beach. Dumb bombs…or even smart bombs…are a lot cheaper than that and can be delivered by aircraft launched by carriers out of range of most shore based armament. A heavily armored ship with a large amount of offensive firepower is conceptually a good thing. The author quotes the fact that the largest battleships ever afloat…both Japanese vessels…took 19 torpedoes and 17 bombs in one case and 11 torpedoes and 6 bombs in the other case before they sunk. However…in the days of saturation launches of 30-50 cruise missiles…it’s just not realistic that a battleship would survive close to the beach.

On Yahoo…there is an article stating that there were “more mass shootings in 2019 than there were days in 2019” claiming that there were 417 mass shootings (defined as more than 4 people being shot outside of the attacker). While there are way too many nutcases engaging in mass shootings…that number seemed unlikely to me, but it is based on statistics from the non profit Gun Violence Archive which is the other end of the spectrum from the NRA. According to USA Today however…the number of mass shootings (using the same definition)…while it did set a record in 2019…was 41, not 417. So much for truth in media.

According to Bloomberg…”One Certainty for 2020: Conservatives Will Lose”. Actual article…it was written by two Bloomberg talking heads (one from each side of the political spectrum) and they did not agree…imagine that. However, the headline is just clickbait.

In updated impeachment news…Mr. Schumer is demanding witnesses in the upcoming impeachment trial…this is the same Mr. Schumer who was vehemently opposed to witnesses in an impeachment trial of a President of his party. Mr. McConnell wants to use the same rules that were used in President Clinton’s trial. In addition…Mr. Schumer said back before the Clinton impeachment trial that it was the job of the House to investigate and the job of the Senate to conduct the trial…exactly what Mr. McConnell is saying today and exactly the opposite of what Mr. Schumer is now saying.

Anyways…we’ll see what happens on that front in the days to come…but essentially each chamber has one sole right in impeachment…the House to impeach and the Senate to have the trial. Beyond that…it is largely like the rules for parking over in Ireland in that the first rule is there are no rules. The House gets to run the impeachment their way…and in this case the Democrat majority was unfair in the opinion of the Republican side…but it is a matter of majority rules. Now that it is over to the Senate for trial…the Republicans are in the majority and they get to set the rules…yet Mr. Schumer and his caucus are stamping their feet and demanding that the majority do things their way…which is exactly what happened in the House and was essentially ignored by the Democrats because they have the majority…I expect the same thing to eventually be the case on the Senate side. 

Connie just found this tweet from Hoda Katebi (her twitter profile says that she is the angry daughter of immigrants, a political fashion writer and creative, and an abolitionist and organizer…anyway Hoda tweets that US Customs and Border Protection has been ordered to detain and report all Iranians entering the country regardless of citizenship in the wake of our killing as an anti-terrorist strike of the head of the Iranian Republican Guards the other day. It has 40,698 retweets and 58,105 likes since being posted yesterday. The only problem with her tweet…is that…you guessed it…it is a lie. Jason Hopkins…an immigration journalist in Washington DC reports that Customs and Border Protection has confirmed that the tweet is untrue and that they are not detaining either Iranians or US citizens of Iranian heritage. 

Speaking of Mr. Soleimani…good riddance to him. It is illegal under international law to assassinate a head of state. Fortunately…in this case…he is not a head of state but just the former head of the Iranian Republican Guards…a confirmed terrorist organization…so there was no violation of law involved. He was responsible for the deaths of great numbers of both Americans and innocent civilians…and had flown to Baghdad to meet with the head of another known terrorist organization. Unfortunately for him…US intelligence found out about it and a conveniently located drone took out both of them. It is true that Congressional leaders were not informed ahead of time about the strike…because it would have been leaked by the President’s political opponents and the chance to take him out lost…but Congressional leadership was notified within 48 hours as required by the War Powers Act. So when you read about how the President violated the law as announced by Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer in the news today…just remember it ain’t true just because they said it was. The law was followed…and no matter how many times they put out their sound bite…it is still a lie.

I guess the next move on that front is up to the Iranians…and given the extremely poor state of their military…I really think they should think twice before starting a fight with the US. They have been fighting proxy wars ever since the 1974 revolution against the US and our interests…have repeatedly violated every agreement they ever made with anybody…and even their own people are demonstrating against the government recently although the regime will use this incident to incite the population and coverup their own conduct. Don’t worry though…Bernie says that when he is president he will do everything in his power to prevent a war with Iran because he was right about Vietnam and right about Iraq…I guess he’s a legend in his own mind. Naturally…all the Democratic candidates have jumped on the “this is illegal and unjustified” bandwagon…and are pointing out how Mr. Biden supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq so that clearly demonstrates that he isn’t qualified to be elected. 

As I said…people will say anything true or not in order to advance their political agenda…half truths and outright lies are perfectly acceptable as long as you get to trumpet your political agenda.

OK…movin’ on.

Today…January 6…is Epiphany which is the official end of the Christmas Season and celebrates the arrival of the wise men “from the east”…at last that’s what the historical documents tell us. However…it also says they were following a star that rose in the east from their homeland to Bethlehem…and it seems to me that if they were from the east and the star rose in their east they would be going the wrong way…but whatever.

‘Round these parts…we have the wise men set up on the west side of our fireplace top and they gradually make their way over to the manger scene on the left. Here are photos to prove it.

Back on Christmas…the baby showed up right on schedule…he’s back there under the overhang in the manger.

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Then gradually the wise men made their way to Bethlehem following the star that rose in the East.








Until finally arriving with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh…well except for the fourth wise man who showed up with fruitcake and was sent away…but he wasn’t in any of the pictures of them on the way so it was actually the 3 wise men who sent him away and not Mary and Joseph. It was a fruitcake after all.

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Tomorrow…having been warned in a dream…they’ll depart for their homeland by another way and not report back to King Herod.

Apparently there will only be a single eaglet produced this year…E14 is now 17 days past hatching and since the second egg was laid 2 days after the first the second egg is 15 days past the hatching interval and is non-viable. No telling how long the adults will incubate it before removing it from the nest. Here’s a shot of E14 on the nest…Harriet is sitting on the attic above the nest out of sight and M15 is off hunting…as you can see he has grown tremendously since hatching from the first egg that was the same size as the non-viable one. Looks like it is taking a nap…and dreaming of a future catching prey as in the live view you can see the talons opening and closing.



Interesting stuff found on the net.

This buoy…


washed up over on the east coast of Florida at New Smyrna Beach on Christmas Eve…it broke loose from it’s mooring up in South Carolina earlier in the year and eventually washed up down here. Neil is really confused by that  as the Gulf Stream flows north along the east coast of Florida at 3-5 miles per hour 24x7x52…so how a buoy drifted 400 or so miles south and then ended up on the beach is a mystery…at least to me. I suppose there might bar some sort of eddy inshore of the Gulf Stream…but if Neil recalls correctly from his days back in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club the current is pretty close inshore until well north of the Charleston SC area.

I think my wife loves me.





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And So Long 2019

You know…sometimes these blog posts almost write themselves…as you’ll see in a few. Other times…not so much and one is forced to go search for something to write about…although soon we’ll be in the house and you might get to read some thrilling epics about the installation of a new waterbed or the repair of a rain gutter…ya never know.

Anyway…this is the last post for 2019 since we’re just ‘bout out of 2019…so I thought I would pass along a few statistics along with well wishes for the new year, some stories about idiots, and even the one animal you should never, never, never piss off.

As you know from previous posts…2019 was our last year of full time RV life so here are a few statistics for ya.

  • RV miles: 9,587 (73,447 total)
  • Campgrounds: 46 (309 total)

That’s about it for statistics…I don’t really need to put all that other jazz in that I used to do. Our travels included over the years 49 states and 10 Canuckistan provinces…never saw everything in any location of course but we saw and did what we wanted to.

Down at the local eagle nest…apparently the adults have given up on the second egg hatching…the first eaglet E14 is almost 12 days old and the second egg was laid either 2 days after it was…so at 9 days overdue for hatching it’s not going to happen. It’s not clear whether the eagles have given up and kicked it out of the nest or just the experts that run the web page…but it’s not visible in the nest. Here’s a shot of the nest at 1120 EST today.k You can see E14 sitting kinda under dad (M15) and wiggling around…it isn’t clear whether the second egg is still underneath being incubated. There is a rabbit for food in the lower right hand corner…although I should caution eco-freaks, liberals, and possibly millenials to RETREAT TO YOUR SAFE PLACE…THERE IS DEATH IN THIS IMAGE…before allowing you to view it. Shortly after I got this screen grab E14 temporarily emerged from underneath…it is at least 2 to 3 times its size at hatching so the little fella (or lass, who knows) is growing quickly.

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But wait…we have late breaking news that after video review…also known as looking back at the live cam again we have a shift change between M15 and Harriet.

In the first shot you can see Harriet who landed on the right side of the nest an over the top of her just a smidge of M15 as he departed. The second shot has just Harriet and E14 and the third a clear photo of both E14 and the second egg…so they are actually still incubating it at this point and the third shot illustrates how much E14 has grown since hatching in comparison to the remaining egg. After these screen grabs Harriet did a bit of nest reorganization and cleanup then sat herself down to keep E14 warm.

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On Dec 28…we attended the Gatsby Ball at our Elks Lodge 1288…the theme was based on The Great Gatsby novel which was set in the 1920s. Connie got herself the whole outfit…fringed flapper dress, gloves, long pearl necklace…the whole shebang. She wasn’t the only woman at the party in a flapper dress…but I’ll wager that as you can see in the photo Neil took other that she was the only one in authentic period lingerie. Dinner was chicken picatta…not nearly as good as the version he makes but not bad for catered party food. A good time was had by all.

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Connie and I wanted to wish all of you a Happy New Year…since that’s happening tomorrow…but without further ado let’s see what happened in the news lately.

I been reading on the internet the last couple of days about how we’re “starting a new decade” tonight…even though it’s a year early. Now stay with me here…it’s gonna be 1/1/2020 tomorrow but let’s think about what that really means. Time is measured from the birth of Christ…and is divided into BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini or After Christ) although these are sometimes referred to in non Christian terms as BCE (Before Current Era) and CE (Current Era)…but that is just non religious claptrap as they refer to the same thing. The important thing to remember is…and I’ll say this slowly so even millennials and liberals can understand it…THERE…WAS…NO…YEAR…ZERO. Nope…time as we measure it went from 1BC to 1AD at 12:59:59 PM on 12/31/1BC. Now actually Christ was actually probably born in the year 4BC or something like that…but that is irrelevant to the story. So…the first decade…and first century and first millennia as well…started with the year 1AD. A standard decade is 10 years…which means 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10…yup…year 10AD is the 10th and last year of the first decade…but the year 10AD doesn’t end until midnight on 12/31/10AD which means the new decade doesn’t start until 1/1/11AD…and similarly the 2nd century didn’t start until 1/1/101 and the 2nd millennia until 1/1/1001. It’s simple really…if you understand and pay attention to simple things like how many years are in a decade and when did the first one start. So the new decade doesn’t actually start until a year from now…unless you want to be wrong…and no matter how many stupid talking heads talk about the new decade on the Casey Kasem New Years Extravaganza For The New Decade or whatever else they call it…it just ain’t so. ‘Nuff said.

First up…Bangladesh…now I know you’re thinking just what the heck does a bear know about that country over on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Now I’ll admit it ain’t much I know about it…but according to
this article
…there used to be…before it was closed…a breast milk bank. Now I never heard of one of these before…but apparently there is a whole lotta infant malnutrition over there and some of it is made worse by new mothers who are so malnourished themselves that they can’t produce milk to feed their infants. That being the case…a local hospital created a breast milk bank where mothers who had an excess supply could donate it and it would be frozen then provided to mothers who had a need. Seems like a nice idea to me…charitable works and all that…but the bank has now been closed because “several” Muslim clerics claimed that having a breast milk was a violation of Sharia law. Now again…Sharia law isn’t something that I’m fully familiar with but according to the article…Bangladesh’s “top Islamic leadership” has not made a ruling one way or the other but is investigating how other majority Muslim countries have established similar banks. Nonetheless…some of the more strident lower level clerics have declared that “if two babies drank milk from the same mother and later married” it would “Their entire marriage and lineage would become illegal”. Funny how doing something good almost always certainly pisses somebody off.

Moving on…presidential hopeful Andrew Yang…who made the debate stage this month but has not amassed sufficient poll support to be on stage for the January debate…anyway he was advertised as “the only person of color” on the stage among the white billionaires…despite the fact that Mayor Pete is not a billionaire, nor are several of the others although they are millionaires…and it’s debatable whether an American born citizen of Taiwanese parents is a “person of color” or not…anyway in
this article
he tells about how he wrote a letter to the Democratic National Committee deploring the lack of diversity on the debate stage and suggested a simple idea on how they can increase diversity…essentially he wants them to basically allow each candidate to pick whatever polls they desire to meet the required support levels to be on the debate stage. Since he will probably not make the stage otherwise…this seems a little self serving to me. Not surprisingly…the DNC said thanks but no thanks…we’ve already specified a number of national polls that will allow candidates to meet the support goals…and the whole idea is to gradually winnow down the field anyway.

Then there is
…with the headline “Rather Than Retiring, The Air Force’s B-2 Bomber Is Being Upgraded (For Nuclear War)”…which talks about how the Air Force is upgrading the B2…ya know that bat shaped stealth strategic bomber they have…to carry those dreaded nuclear weapons. Left out of the discussion is how the aircraft was designed primarily as a stealth, low altitude penetrating bomber to deliver…nuclear weapons I think it was…with a secondary mission of dropping conventional bombs. The rest of the article is basically about testing of a new combined purpose nuclear weapon…it is in the same family as older bombs but whereas they existed in several physical variations depending on whether you wanted an air burst or bunker buster, or silo killer sort of attack profile…the modified ones have all those capabilities in a single package which makes the logistics of storing and maintaining them easy as well as providing more robust attack options. Nothing really new here…I guess it is supposed to be shocking that a nuclear bomber might actually be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

Continuing on the nuclear weapon topic…and both of these are obviously “nuclear weapons are bad and we shouldn’t have them” propaganda…
this article
says…”Make No Mistake: China Would Destroy U.S. Cities In A Nuclear War” and goes on to talk about how…assuming that China and the US ever got into a strategic exchange…the biggest cities on both coasts would be targeted and destroyed by ICBM attack…and then goes on to say that this is with their antiquated DF-5 ICBM missiles…and that they’re building “scary new missiles” that will be even worse. Now I’m not sure how it can get worse than New York being nuked into the Stone Age…but apparently it can. What the article doesn’t mention is that Chinese cities would also be vaporized if this happened…and that…assuming we ever got into the aforementioned strategic exchange…the vast majority of ICBMs on both sides would get through. Sure…we each have some anti-ICBM capability…but the numbers are very limited and the likelihood of a hit with an anti missile missile is pretty low so the systems are really designed to counter what the Defense department calls a rogue single strike…an attack with 1 or 2 missiles so that with a half dozen or so launches against each there’s a reasonable probability of knocking it down. In a full scale Chinese (or Russian) vs US exchange…the number of missiles launched by each side would be in the hundreds and there is simply no defense against that sort of attack…hence the old Mutually Assured Destruction standoff theory from the Cold War.

Really…one would think that the various news media could (a) get somebody with more than a 5th grade education to write their articles so they would be grammatically correct, (b) do a little internet research to get at least some of their facts straight, and (c) write a headline that actually had something to do with the article. Not gonna happen though…every click means ad revenue to somebody so I guess that is just the way it is as Walter Cronkite used to say.

Finally…before getting into interesting things found on the net…there is
this article
about what happens if you piss off an Amur Tiger. The article itself is actually not stupid…it’s from NPR and talks in some detail about a documentary about the Amur Tiger…commonly but erroneously called a Siberian Tiger…and it is the largest cat on earth. They are capable of leaping over a basketball goal which is 10 feet off the floor and covering 25 feet horizontally in a single bound…weight is up to 500 pounds and length up to 10 feet nose to tip of tail…so not your average pussy cat.

At the center of the story in the documentary “The Tiger”…is Vladimir Markov…a Russian poacher who in the winter of 1997 shot and wounded one of these animals and then stole part of its kill to eat. The injured tiger stalked Vladimir back to his cabin, systematically destroyed everything outside the cabin the smelled of him, then laid in wait for him to return, killed him, and ate him. Clearly the tiger had a bone to pick with this guy and hence the one animal you never want to piss off is an Amur Tiger…’cuz he will hunt you down and kill you…and he can run faster than you and jump higher than you so you’re  not gonna escape once he gets close. I guess if you’re going to shoot one…ya bedda make sure it is dead.

Interesting things found on the net.

In the RV vein…there is this.


Yes…it’s an RV made by mounting an aircraft fuselage on a truck bed…seen out in the west someplace.


Thanks Captain Obvious.







And finally…Christmas Redneck Style.



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Just A Teeny Tiny Bit o’ Stupidity Today

…but mostly I wanted to put up more Christmas related stuff while it was still the season.

Here ‘round the old Majestic…we celebrate the holiday the way it was meant to be celebrated…it is a celebration of the birth of Jesus after all and although we do succumb to the buying presents part a little…mostly that is an afterthought for us as we mostly buy what we want or need when we want or need it. That said…Neil did get some new Thorlo running socks…not that he runs any more but he wears them with his Merrell shoes that are his daily drivers (well, at least they are when he doesn’t have flip flops on) because his old ones are all (a) thin and tearing up and (b) mostly gray instead of white after so many years. He also got a new pair or bike gloves and this really cool blue Hawaiian shirt that he is going to wear tomorrow night to the Gatsby Gala at the Elks. Connie ordered herself a flapper dress a couple weeks back…black, fringe, short skirt…and it comes along with the feather adorned headband to wear, long black gloves…’cuz wimmin wore those back in the 20s ya know…and one of those really long pearl strings that they put on and then tie sort of a knot in it just below the girls if ya know whaddImean. He’s going in Hawaiian 20s regalia…whatever that means he ain’t really sure but it involves the aforementioned blue shirt…and he’s even going to wear pants instead of his standard shorts. For Christmas…Connie got a new bottle of Jean Claude Gautier perfume…she was almost out and both of them really like the way it smells. She also got some new hair scrunchies…white ones don’t stay clean and they’re just about impossible to get white again…sorta like white sneaker socks…along with some other colors that will match several other tops she likes to wear. She also got some cucumber flavored vodka…she likes to have a nip of it occasionally and although it’s usually just plain with some olive juice in it…AKA a dirty martini…she also drinks cucumber mashed into tonic water a lot. The tonic provides quinine which helps with her rib cramps that she gets frequently…and the cucumber masks the taste of the tonic…’cuz that stuff tastes turrible ya know.

Anyways…back to the reason for the season.

We always set up our tiny manger scene on the left side of the TV…but until Christmas it’s only the shepherds and the livestock gathered around the old manger. On Christmas…Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus make their appearance as you can see in this photo.

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That angel laying down there…well that’s the lute player (part of that whole heavenly host thing)…but when we put her up we discovered she had been inadvertently beheaded somehow. Not to worry…a spot of gorilla glue and she’s as good as new…but Neil forgot to stand her back up before he took the photo. Over on the right…that’s the rest of the heavenly host…led by the angels Lo and Behold in the front of the group. Ya knew that wuz their names right? It says so right in the Bible…”and Lo, an angel of the Lord” and “Behold, an angel of the Lord”. They’ll stay that way doing their heavenly host thing right up through Epiphany…which is when the wise men arrive. Here they are.

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The wise men will slowly make their way across the top of the fireplace over the next week or so and eventually will arrive at their designated location on time to deliver their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Speaking of wise men…you can tell these wise men are not from North Carolina since they’re not wearing their fireman hats. Again…it says right there in the Bible…”They came from a far”.

Also speaking of wise men…did you know that there were actually 4 of them originally. The fourth one was sent away because he brought a fruitcake.

As I said…just a teeny tiny bit of stupidity today…and it’s even Christmas related. I ran across
this article
that relays the story of a liberal millennial who never allowed her daughter to sit on Santa’s lap during the holidays because (a) it communicates to children that it is OK to confide in strangers and have physical contact with them, (b) because we invite a complete stranger to surreptitiously enter our homes through the chimney in the middle of the night, instead of announcing himself at the front door like any other guest…then we reward him for it with offerings of milk and cookies, and (c) she doesn’t push her daughter to be affectionate even with family. She closes by saying that her daughter…now that she’s old enough to communicate her desires…her daughter agrees with her…poor kid…she’s already indoctrinated into liberalthink.

She then goes on to castigate families who let their children follow this custom and praises the establishments that allow beloved characters to be appreciated at a safe distance.

Ok…enough of that blather. On to more interesting stuff.




You might have thought from those last two…and harkening back to the 70s when the movie Blazing Saddles came out…and remembering the campfire scene from that movie…that reindeer are guys…particularly when the leader of the pack is Rudolph with his radioactive glowing nose…although I can’t really figure out exactly what radioactive element glows red. Tritium is the only one I know of that glows and it is white. There’s also Cherenkov Radiation which is emitted by uranium atoms when the fission…they can be observed in swimming pool reactors but Cherenkov is blue. Anyways…if you thought that the reindeer were male…I hate to break it to you…but you’re absolutely 100% incorrect.

All of the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are female.

True…google it.

Reindeer are the domesticated version of caribou…they’re genetically identical. They are the only member of the deer family where both the bucks and does grow antlers…although not all does do so but the majority of them do. Bucks (males) shed their antlers after the rut in the late fall…or well before Christmas Eve. Females typically keep their antlers until June…they use them to defend areas where they have cleared the snow away to give birth and get food to enable them to provide milk to their offspring.

Since every…andI mean every last steenking one…image you’ve ever seen of Santa, his sleigh, and the reindeer clearly shows antlers…QED, they are all female.

There’s another story goin’ ‘round that conclusively proves that if Santa ever did deliver presents on Christmas Eve that he’s dead now…there’s a lot of math, science, and physics in it…but it’s a long story so I will save it for another season.



And finally…everybody remembers that old saw from back in the day that helped you remember whether the i or the e comes first when spelling certain words…



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Merry Christmas Folks

Well…it’s Christmas time…so no examples of stupidity political or otherwise today…but then there really hasn’t been any more since my last post.

So with no further ado…


While we can’t always be with all of our friends and family…there is always FaceTime…which we’ll be doing with Alex and the kids tomorrow.

So…on to more interesting stuff.

First up…for younger readers of the male persuasion…it’s been well known since forever that one high priority item for them is to separate cute young ladies from their delicate underthings…and they strike out far more than they hit a home run to bring in a euphemism from an earlier time…at least Neil and most of his friend did…and today we finally know the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.

You can head over to
this post
at Nick Russell’s Gypsy Journal blog for all the details…and he tells the story much better than the synopsis below…but the gist of the story is that back when Nick and Miss Terry first started blogging they went to Maine where she grew up and by happenstance there was and Escapees rally just a few miles away. They attended and met lots of friends they didn’t know yet…like the RVers they would eventually be for 18 years or something like that…and it turned out that this was the Annual Chapter 3 Rally…at which the Miss Brewer Beauty Contest was conducted. Lucky male club members are selected to dress up in women’s clothing…all the way down to the aforementioned delicate underthings. Nick details how putting on a bra, pantyhose, and makeup was a whole lotta trouble…and then proceeds to give his lady readers credit as he has newfound respect for the things they go through on a daily basis…or as Neil puts it…the Price of Being Beautiful©.

Then he goes on to say “wait a minute…now I know why I was so unsuccessful at luring innocent women out of those mysterious garments…because they were so hard to get into that it wasn’t his fault he was unsuccessful…it was simply because it was to save themselves from the ritual of dressing again afterwards.

Anyways…heck over to Nick’s blog…it’s a great daily read as they navigate their now “off the road” life in New Smyrna Beach over on the east coast of Florida.

Back last Wednesday…Connie and the rest of her choir from Church headed over to a local retirement home to sing Christmas Carols for an hour or so. It was great…the audience was appreciative…well, except for the senile one who kept wandering around and picking fights with the other residents…eventually the staff got her to get her walker and politely escorted her back to her room or maybe solitary confinement for all I know.

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She was going to go in these ugly flat dark red velvet shoes…but Neil convinced her that she would (a) look much more lady like (hey, he is old fashioned ya know) and (b) much more festive and stylish…if she wore her bright red stilettos. She grumped about it a bit…and said her feet hurt some after standing for an hour in them…but sure enough she got 3 compliments from other ladies in the choir about how stylish and festive she was. Guess she should listen to him more often, eh?

Lets see…what else…

We’re headed off to Midnight Mass in a few hours…’cept Midnight Mass is at 1600 in the afternoon down here. Father Tom talked on Sunday last about the Christmas Mass schedule and relayed a story about his first year down here. At that time a parish up in Venice had a new pastor and when he discovered that there hadn’t been a Midnight Mass in 20something years he schedule one…it had the whole multiple celebrants, 2 dozen altar boys, choir, orchestra and the whole shebang…and 48 people showed up.

Down here in Old People Country©…Midnight Mass is in the afternoon so all the blue hairs can get home before dark.

The lamb chops…well they’re marinating in tasty stuff for tomorrow’s date with them on the barbie…and the sweet taters are baked so they are ready to be turned into cinnamon caramelized sweet taters tomorrow. Neil even got some Jack Daniels to go into our post Mass eggnog along with a baguette that he will make into a French Bread Pizza for dinner…although actually it’s a Ciabatta baguette so maybe it’s an Italian Bread Pizza instead…whatevers.

He’s got double digit price per bottle red, white, and rose wines all ready to do…so we have what you would call…options…for later on and tomorrow. The forecast…well for tonight it will get down to a bone chilling 60 and up tomorrow the the mid to high 70s…it’s gonna be brutal I tellya but we’ll struggle on through somehow. I could tell you how we’ll have to walk 20 miles to Midnight Mass and back…through heavy snow…uphill both ways…like our parents used to do back in the day…but yeah…it’s definitely not going to be a white Christmas down here.

Here’s a blast from the past…this was taken at last year’s Midnight Mass…the guy lost a bet and had to dress up that way. You can’t see her feet but trust me…they were clad in bright red sparkly 5 inch heels and with the length of that dress…well, her legs went on forever it seemed like. Mebbe we’ll see her agin’.

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On to a few holiday themed interesting things I found on the internet.



And this one…everybody knows that Santa comes from the North Pole…but just where exactly is the North Pole. It’s simple really…you can just google it…it is right there where the red pin is on the map below. We know…because we wuz there back in 2015 on our Alaska caravan…ifn ya go and check out
this link
…ya’ll will learn all ‘bout it…there’s pictures and everything of his house at 110 Saint Nicholas Lane, North Pole, AK.

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Now that we know the North Pole is located in the middle of Alaska…the obvious next question is…just how big is Alaska…so I found the below image to show you…it’s a same size projection map to give you the most accurate representation possible. If you dumped it down on the lower 48…it would go from Californiastan over to Florida east to west and from Wisconsin to Florida north to south. It’s so big that it has 60% of all the National Park Land in the entire country located within its 24 National Park Service units…just the 8 official National Parks alone comprise 33 million acres or 51,500 square miles…those parks alone would be the 25th largest state…and the largest…Wrangell-Saint Elias at 8.3 million acres is larger than 9 states all by itself.

While how far away Alaska is depends on where you live and whether you measure by “crow files” mile or “miles along the road”…it’s about 17,500 miles by road from southwest Florida there and back.







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You Just Can’t Believe Anything You Read Or Hear On The News

Yeah…I know that may come as a shock to some of you…but it’s really pretty much spot on as you’ll see in the words that follow (editor note…4,600 of ‘em, sorry it took that long. The TLDR Too Long Didn’t Read version would be…Read the Title). You need to do your own research and look at various sites on both sides of just about any issue or report…and once you find out the actual facts you will likely agree that the news media these days doesn’t consider it their job to report the news…but rather they want to make and be the news and influence either policies to suit their own bias/political persuasion or what have you.

Here are a few examples…you can consider this post a Public Service Announcement.

First up…
this article
…which if you believe the headline and some of the claims therein means that Russia is placing into service a new hypersonic nuclear capable missile which renders US missile defense forces useless and places the country under threat of preemptive nuclear attack by the Russians. Let’s look into this a bit more…and add a few tidbits of actually useful information to what it says in the article.

Right at the top of the article…there is a picture of a missile…which one would assume is the missile in question, something called the Avangard. The first problem you will notice is that those missiles are 30 or so feet long, only a foot or two in maximum diameter, and have fins…not to mention that they are clearly surface to air antiaircraft missiles (SAMs) and not the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) that are used for long range nuclear attack. Then getting into the article itself…it claims that a new ICBM payload known as a hypersonic boost glide missile will be deployed this month.

A hypersonic missile is defined as “one that goes faster than 5 times the speed of sound or Mach 5. While this new payload is hypersonic…I hate to break it to The National Interest…which is generally considered to be right of center in political leaning…that although their statement is true that the new payload is hypersonic…it is just like…every…other…ballistic…missile. The latter travel about 6,500 miles in 30 minutes…which makes their speed about 13,000 miles per hour…or somewhere in the vicinity of Mach 17 on average. It is true that the new hypersonic payload is a bit faster…up to Mach 20 claim the Russians and the article…due to a different flight path. A normal ICBM flying to that 6,500 mile range has 3 phases of flight. The Boost phase…which is when the motors are burning…lasts 3-5 minutes and ends with a speed of about 9,000-18,000 miles per hour (well into the hypersonic regime) at an altitude of 90-250 miles. Next is the 25 minute or so midcourse phase…when the payload is basically just coasting…albeit it with some slight maneuvering to scatter it’s warheads and countermeasures to foil possible defense…up to about a 750 mile apogee at a speed of 5,000-10,000 miles per hour. The final phase is the reentry phase when the warheads fall down onto their target at speeds up to 15,000 miles per hour…again well into the hypersonic range. The hypersonic missile works in a completely different manner. Launched by an ICBM booster but on a much flatter trajectory…the higher speed of these payloads is achieved through the use of an engine on the payload which works on the RAMJet or SCRAMJet principle…very similar to a jet airliner or military aircraft engine except the combustion air…instead of being compressed and pushed into the combustion chamber by compressor blades at the front of the engine use the speed of the vehicle to ram the air into the combustion chamber…the famed SR-71 Blackbird used a variety of the RAMJet when it was at speed and altitude. The drawbacks of a RAMJet or SCRAMJet is that (a) they are combustion engines, need air, and hence have to stay in the atmosphere and (b) they must be at high speed and high altitude before they will work. Thus…the ICBM booster gets the payload up to Mach 5 or so then releases it…it then engages its engine to accelerate up to the claimed Mach 20 and flies to the target. According to freely available information on the web…it would arrive at the target area in about 1/2 to 2/3 of the time of a standard ICBM…so it is faster but not revolutionary faster. Further…the article claims that it cannot be detected by current long range air defense radar that will detect ICBMs…that’s unlikely as it is bigger than a standard ICBM warhead and flies at a lower altitude. 

However…this payload does likely have a greater survivability against most missile defense systems since the shorter flight time allows less time for detection, engagement, and retaliation…but in the scenario of a major attack…this is again…just…like…every…other…ballistic…missile. Missile defenses are not designed for and would not protect the US against a major attack…the likelihood of interception by any individual anti missile missile is low enough that there just isn’t enough money to produce enough missiles to stop an attack. Missile defense systems are designed to do 2 things. First…give a reasonable probability of killing a single incoming missile from a rogue state like Iran or Best Korea…and second to give enough warning to allow a counter strike by US nuclear forces…that goes back to the Mutual Assured Destruction concepts of the Cold War. The launch time for US ground based ICBMs is on the order of 5 minutes from receipt of the launch command…so even the faster flight time of the hypersonic payload means they would still be launched before the incoming arrives…providing about 430 missiles with almost 500 warheads. Aircraft response time depends on what state of readiness they are in…but is likely somewhat longer than ICBM response time…if in any sort of higher state of readiness than ordinary peacetime airborne forces would be on either 5 or 15 minute alert time…so some of the bombers would get away from their bases even against hypersonic incoming warheads…but then again aircraft are a pretty small portion US nuclear forces. Submarine launched missiles…SLBMs…would be completely unaffected by hypersonic weapons if at sea…and even if in port in a higher readiness condition they can launch from beside the pier in 50-15 minutes and still reach most of their targets. So…it’s hard to argue that our forces are any less secure in the presence of Russian hypersonic super weapons since Mutually Assured Destruction would still result in the end of the world as we know it. Simply put…a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia/China/whoever is not a winnable thing for either side.

Moving on to Door Number 2…according to
this article
…which is again from The National Interest…”The F-35 is a success story that keeps getting better.” The F-35…for those of you who may not be familiar with it is also known as the Joint Strike Fighter and is a poor attempt to replace pretty much all fighter and strike aircraft for the Navy, Air Force, and Marines with a single aircraft that can perform all of these missions. Unfortunately…like pretty much every other “one size fits all project…ever”…it really doesn’t work very well. It can’t fly in the rain because that damages the stealth coating that helps it avoid radar. It can’t carry very much fuel or weapons as the aircraft it is supposed replace…and is not as fast as other aircraft it is supposed to replace…so the amount of net ordnance on target it can deliver is only a fraction of those aircraft it is supposed to replace. Further…it is so expensive that the likelihood that commanders will risk it in a battle where enemy tanks need to be destroyed in a contested air environment…because you will take losses in that scenario even if you win. The aircraft’s reliability is far less than those inferior aircraft it is supposed to replace…and pretty much no warfighters except flag officers, the guys and gals who fly it, and Pentagon PowerPoint Rangers really want it. It was declared to be operationally capable despite the fact that the software it needs to actually do war fighting things like launch missiles, shoot guns, and drop bombs is (a) years behind schedule, (b) way over budget, (c) fails to often, (d) doesn’t meet the operational requirements the aircraft is supposed to meet, and (e) has not been completed, tested, and released to operational squadrons. The first 100 or so of these expensive planes can never…never…be upgraded to be fully operationally capable to the requirements. Asking a single aircraft to replace supersonic fighter intercept aircraft, ground support aircraft, and bomb delivery aircraft is just nuts…but the idiots in DC have foisted this under performing, over expensive pile of crap on the warfighter. Supporters of it claim that it will be able to detect, track and destroy enemy aircraft before the enemy knows it is there…but in every air to air engagement since…forever…eventually you have to get close in and fight with guns…and the lack of maneuverability and limited weapons capacity of and F-35 means that it will die…it is as simple as that.

Moving on to Door Number 3…and this one is actually what started this whole post off but I didn’t want you to think I only picked on liberals…one of our liberal friends here in the campground tweeted the other day about Moscow Mitch holding 275 bipartisan bills passed by the House in the Senate graveyard. While I thought at the time that this claim was political BS…a quick google search revealed hundreds of articles making this same claim…with precious few details. I kept looking on and off over the past couple of days and finally happened across
this website
…the headline says “In Senator Mitch McConnell’s Legislative Graveyard, Senate Republicans Block Commonsense Legislation To Secure Our Elections, Protect Americans’ Health Care, And Safeguard Pensions Earned By Working Americans”. Note the source of this site……this is the official web site of the Democrats in the Senate and therefore will present their argument in the best possible light.

Anyway…according to the article…Senator McConnell is holding “more than 250 House passed bills” hostage. When I had a twitter conversation with our campground liberal friend the other day…I said that those 250 bills (actually it is a claimed 275 but the article is from early November…it is possible but unlikely that the House passed another 25 bills since then due to being overly focused on impeachment…but I could find no better listing). Anyway…despite the claimed “more than 250” this is the most complete list of those bills I could find…and being put out by the Democrats in the Senate I figure it is the one that will put their claim in the best light. So…let’s review the article and see if we can get the rest of the story.

The partial list on the site details with links those that passed the House with…their words, not mine…bipartisan support. Of those so listed…the number of Republican votes in the House breaks down as follows…27 claims of bipartisan passage…of those 27 18 had a single digit number of Republican support, 6 had double digit support, and 3 had triple digit support.

Triple digit Republican support went to the following:

  • A resolution against the President’s withdrawal of troops from Northern Syria…no actual legislation here.
  • The SECURE Act which supposedly helps people save for retirement…but actually is mostly an increased tax penalty on people who inherit a pre-tax IRA account from their parents…I can’t figure out why any Republicans would vote for this as the only meaningful provision in the act is the tax increase. In any event…the SECURE Act was attached to the Omnibus spending bill that was passed and signed into law by the President earlier this week…so that removes it from the list in the Senate Graveyard.
  • The Debbie Smith Act…which is actually just reauthorizing funding to help process the rape kit backlog nationwide.

Bills getting double digit Republican support in the House included the following:

  • Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act…this protects women (and sometimes men depending on which version of the bill you read) against domestic abuse…but isn’t that already against the law so why do we need a special law to protect them? With all of the “protected classes” the Congress and courts have established…pretty much everybody has their own special laws except for white men.
  • Multi-employer Pensions Act…this appears to be mostly a bailout for over extended pension funds that were improperly and deliberately under funded by the company or government agency that negotiated the pensions in the first place
  • Corporate Transparency Act…this cracks down on those pesky Russians who used shell corporations and Facebook accounts to supposedly rig the 2016 election…despite there being no proof whatsoever that any election results were actually hacked. The Russians had their preferred candidate in our election…just like we have our preferred candidate in elections in other countries…and they used the election laws in the US to promote their preferred candidate…just like the US does. I could not find any real details to determine whether this is actually a good idea or not.

So let’s recap.

The Democrats in the Senate…reinforced and amplified the hundreds of articles in the media…claim that there are more than 250 bills “passed by the Democrats in the House”…again their words, not mine…and note the “passed by the Democrats” in that claim which doesn’t sound bipartisan to me…but then they only list 52 bills…which turns out to really be only 45…so I guess the other 205 or so even the Democrats think are partisan…and of those 45 they claim 27 of them have “bipartisan support”…which turns out to be only 9 that had double digit Republican support in the House and only 3 of those 9 had triple digit Republican support.

I don’t know about you…and there’s no strict definition but Merriam-Webster calls it “involving cooperation, agreement, and compromise between two political parties”…anyway a reasonable person might think that you would need 25% of the opposite party to support you before it can be called bipartisan…that would be 50 Republican votes in the House and there were exactly 3…count ‘em…3…of those that got sent to the Senate Graveyard…and one of those was a meaningless resolution and a second was already signed into law in the omnibus funding bill that was passed and signed this week…that leaves exactly…1…bill from the House with meaningful bipartisan support made it to the Graveyard…and even that one at less than a few hundred million was probably included in the omnibus bill although I could find no specific information on whether it is or is not included.

The remainder of the bills…well, at least 46 of them appear to be Democratic/liberal/progressive/socialist wish lists…and since we have a bicameral legislative body and the other body is controlled by the other party…naturally the other body is going to send those wish lists to the nope bin.

Kinda gives you a little different perspective on Democrat and media statements that “the Senate is sitting on 250 plus House Democrat passed pieces of legislation”…doesn’t it? This is exactly the same thing that happened when the majority party in the two houses of Congress were the opposite of now a few years back…only then it was the Democratic Senate Majority Leader consigning bills that Democrats didn’t like to the graveyard. Like I said before…this is all just politics…and there are precious few candidates to vote for with enthusiasm for those of us in the center politically.

And finally…let’s try Door Number4…even though the Price is Right only uses 3 doors as did the old Match Game. According to
this article
…the floating nuclear power plant that the Russians built on a barge then floated around to the far north to an area named Chukoktka and a town named Pevek…you know, the one that the anti nuclear power folks call “a floating Chernobyl” which will due to some environmental disaster like “a tsunami” could trigger a “nuclear explosion at sea”. The article further states that this is Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant and that despite being towed…it is on a barge after all…3,100 miles to the current location it will be difficult for emergency response teams to react if Something Bad© happens…and that environmentalists “worry about the safety of such facilities”.

OK…let us examine the things they don’t say…or ignore or are just clueless about. First off…there could be a disaster like a tsunami that would cause the barge to sink…although how likely that is to happen is pretty much impossible to calculate…and it is moored properly which isn’t exactly rocket science it would tend to ride out the tsunami at it’s berth because it is…ya know…floating and would rise up and come back down as the tsunami just like ships at sea do just about all the time. However…let us assume that it sank and somehow compromised the cores. Then that whole physics thing gets you…and ya know…physics is pretty much the same for everybody…anti nuclear activists don’t get to redefine physics to suit their agenda. What the actual physics tells you…and as I said this is it works for everybody…and Neil used to be in the nuclear submarine bidness so he sorta knows how they work…it is just not possible for any reactor to suffer a “nuclear explosion” as the article claim. A nuclear explosion implies an uncontrolled fission chain reaction based on fast neutrons alone with an effective multiplication from each fast neutron average lifetime to the next of 1.3…and that just physical cannot happen with any nuclear reactor be it a pressurized water reactor like this one is or a boiling water reactor like some older plants use…nor if the moderator in the reactor is water or graphite which are the two that it could be. Nope…just ain’t happening…the fuel concentration is simply not high enough nor the density of the fuel high enough for that to happen…and no matter how many times the anti nuclear crowd talks about it a nuclear explosion just cannot happen. You can have a fire like Chernobyl did that spreads contamination outside the containment…or you can have a partial core meltdown like Three Mile Island and Fukushima did…but that is in way a nuclear explosion. It is definitely not a Good Thing©…but a nuclear explosion it is nota by any means.

In order to have a nuclear explosion…you can use either uranium 235 highly enriched isotope or the much easier to make fission plutonium 239 isotope. Then you compress it with hundreds of thousands of pounds of pressure which increases the density enough to make fission start…this is done via either of two methods. First…by dividing the critical mass (the minimum amount of material you need to achieve fission under any circumstances) into two pieces and then firing one down a long barrel with high explosive so that they two pieces are mashed together creating the density reburied to start the chain reaction. This is how the Little Boy device that was dropped on Nagasaki Japan was constructed…and it used plutonium. The second method is the implosion method…and this is the standard process now as you need less fissile material if you use this method. In this type…the fissile material is machined into a very precise sphere which is then surrounded by rigid blocks of plastic explosive…the resulting structure looks a lot like a geodesic doe with little 6 sided pieces of explosive surrounding the sphere. Then the blocks of explosive are all detonated simultaneously…and that is a critical thing…unless they all detonate simultaneously the sphere is not compressed uniformly and the chain reaction doesn’t start because the density doesn’t get high enough…this is known as a fizzle and it happened more than once during testing…although usually you do get a small fraction of the design output of the warhead rather than a complete fizzle. If this is a fusion or hydrogen bomb…then shortly before the explosive detonates a mixture of tritium and deuterium are pumped either into the sphere or into a space adjacent to it…so that the resulting heat and pressure from the fission process heats and compresses the gas enough so that fusion will start…the only real purpose of the fission in a hydrogen warhead is to get the hydrogen fusion process to start…the latter provides something north of 3/4 of the total bang depending on how sophisticated the design is. The other neat thing about nuclear explosions is how fast they happen. Naturally…when the high explosive detonates to compress the fissile pit…the shockwave also travels outward toward the case of the warhead and would conceivably fracture the case into pieces when the shockwave hits the inside of the case shell. However…this is not what happens…once the pit is compressed…which happens a few microseconds before the case would have ruptured…the neutron lifetime is about a million times less than a microsecond and essentially the entire nuclear part of the explosion happens before the shockwave gets out to the case. At the point…the nuclear chain reaction (and fusion process in a hydrogen warhead) is over, all of the energy that will eventually be released has been released but is still inside the case, and the case would appear intact. But then the laws of thermodynamics take over, the case is mostly vaporized by the gamma ray and heat flux from the fission/fusion, and the mushroom cloud appears.

So…no nuclear explosion no matter what…physics just won’t allow it.

The even bigger error is that the article states that this is the “Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant”…but unfortunately that isn’t correct either. The world has had floating nuclear power plants since 1954…although most people call them submarines and aircraft carriers…and in the case of the Russian Navy battlecruisers and ice breakers. All of those nuclear warships are…you know…nuclear powered and all…and the last time I checked they were floating…so this is clearly not “Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant”. In fact…I read somewhere along the way that the two reactors on the Akademik Lomonosov are the same type used on their most recent class of nuclear powered icebreakers. The sole difference is that instead of turning steam turbines attached to generators which power the electric drive motors on the ship…the generators are attached to wires to provide power to folks on land. Heck…even the United States had a floating nuclear power plant at one time…it was tied up down in the Panama Canal Zone providing electricity to just about everybody there.

Are they safe? Well…definitely not as safe as US Navy nuclear power plants…and arguably less safe than non Russian commercial nuclear power plants…but they’re as safe as their submarines, battlecruisers, and icebreakers are…and probably safer than commercial Russian nuclear power plants. But…nuclear explosion…well, no. And first floating nuclear power plants…well, no…again. I wanted there to be a third strike but couldn’t find one in the article.

It all goes back to the post title…ya just can’t believe everything you read on the internet or hear on the news…even if it took me 4,600 words to get there.

Interesting things found on the net.

It is Christmas time…so these seem apropos.

Gift drinking min

On a serious note…this one isn’t supposed to be funny. We need to think of all the sailors, marines, army grunts…and yeah even the Air Force weenies…who are away from their loved ones and homes this holiday period…serving on the front lines overseas and in harms way in order to protect the freedoms and way of life we enjoy in the United States. Let’s not forget that the reason we have a free Federated Democratic Republic was a bunch of brave folks back in 1776 who declared themselves free of the shackles of tyranny from the British government…and that the reason we continue today is because of those brave men and women through the decades.

This poem “The Soldier’s Night Before Christmas” was supposedly written by a US Marine stationed in Okinawa but has been attributed to several sources over the years including an Air Force Colonel in Korea in 1993. The actual author…according to who is generally credited as the preeminent arbiter for determining whether an Internet rumor is true…and they credit this one as true…was Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt who wrote it in 1986 while he was stationed as a Battalion Counter Sniper (a sniper who hunts and shoots other snipers first) at Marine Corps Barracks, 8th and I, Washington DC. It was originally titled “Merry Christmas, My Friend” and it was published in Leatherneck Magazine (the official USMC publication) in December 1991. With no further ado…and with resounding Thank You and be safe to our men and women in uniform this holiday.

Merry Christmas, My Friend

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.


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