Yeah…We’re About Ready To Hit The Road

We’ve been getting increasingly antsy the past couple of weeks…and I can now tell ya that me and Kara…not to mention Neil and Connie…are ready to be back on the road. That means we’ve got our split between traveling and sitting here in our Winter HQ just about right I think.

You probably saw on the news yesterday about the fire in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris…looking at the footage on CNN yesterday we didn’t think there would be anything left of the inside and we were figuring better than even odds that the stone would be weakened enough by the heat that the whole structure would collapse. The bad news…is that most of the inside was destroyed…the good news is that the irreplaceable relics that were stored there, the Rose Window on the East transept, the organ, and much of both the artwork and statuary was saved as well as the two iconic square towers on the front of the church. It will still take years…probably 5 minimum…to rebuild it, especially as I’m sure that it will be built to be identical…or as identical as possible but using modern construction techniques…to the original. It will still probably cost north of $500 million to restore it though…and with the financial problems in France; and considering that under their system it’s the government responsible for the reconstruction rather than the Church…who knows how long it will take to carve out the funding.

In other news…the redacted Mueller report will be released by the AG/DoJ probably this Thursday…and I’m amazed at how the Democrats are ignoring the law and trying to make it the Republican’s fault instead of theirs.

I have no idea what the report says…and as said here before the president isn’t our favorite person…but all you see in the media is the Democrats; from Ms. Pelosi to Mr. Schumer to various representatives…are demanding the “complete and un-redacted report including all supporting evidence” be released to the Congress…because “we the people paid for the investigation and we the people deserve to see the results”.

Unfortunately…and this is what really pisses me off as it’s just a political BS move and serves the interests of justice not in the slightest…is that there are rules about what the AG can and cannot release. Way back in the olden days when President Clinton was impeached…he was investigated by what was knows as a Special Prosecutor. Under the law which specified how and when a Special Prosecutor was to be appointed…the report went to the Congress and was specifically allowed to be released in full to the public…which is what happened. The Democrats in Congress were furious about this because all of President Clinton’s dirty laundry was published by the NY Times and Washington Post. In order to prevent this from happening again…the Special Prosecutor law was allowed to expire and then a Democratically controlled House of Representatives and Senate passed…and a Democratic President signed into law…the current Special Counsel Act (not it’s actual name but I was too lazy to look up the right one).

Under the Special Counsel Act…a counsel could be appointed to investigate potential wrongdoing that a standard Department of Justice investigation may not have been able to be impartial in. However…there are significant differences between the Special Prosecutor Act and the Special Counsel Act. First off…a Special Counsel investigatory powers are significantly reduced from what a Special Prosecutor enjoyed. Second…by law…a Special Counsel does not report to Congress but instead reports to the Attorney General. The AG is required to report…at a minimum…any circumstances in which he overruled the Special Counsel’s decision to seek prosecution…but he is not required to report anything else. This is what AG Barr did a few days after the report was received…he reported that the Special Counsel did not find collusion or conspiracy between anyone in the President’s campaign and the Russian government…and that the Special Counsel did not determine one way or the other whether obstruction of justice had occurred. Thus…by law…the AG is allowed and required to determine whether obstruction of justice charges are warranted.

Further…by both the Special Counsel Act and longstanding Department of Justice policy…the AG may…at his sole discretion…release to either the Congress or the public the report of the Special Counsel…but only after he has redacted from the report anything that is classified, anything that reveals intelligence sources and methods, anything related to grand jury testimony, and any information derogatory to any person who was not charged. These redactions are required by law…which is exactly what the AG is doing. Supporting evidence to the report is not to be released.

Democrat mount pieces however…are continuing to demand the “full release of the un-redacted report and all supporting evidence”…in other words they are demanding that the Attorney General violate US statutes. Do they know that this is illegal…of course they do…but by demanding something that is specifically prohibited by law…they can appear to be looking for transparency and no matter how many times the AG or Republican side points out the illegality of their demands the media will continue to report that the AG is “stonewalling” and “white washing” the report.

All I’ve read in the mainstream media for the past two years…is how Bob Mueller was the man who would single handedly save the US from the President…now that he’s released a report that says there was no collusion or conspiracy…I’m seeing lots of attacks on him by the same media that praised him the past two years.

Maybe it’s just me…but according to the AG…Mr. Mueller is helping to redact the report for release to Congress…BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THE LAW REQUIRES…and I’m sure that if he thought that AG Barr was misrepresenting his report he would have said something. At this point…Democrats are demanding that he come and testify to Congress…it’s not going to surprise me at all when he basically doesn’t tell them anything more. While I don’t know him…I’m a bear after all…he appears to be a principled law enforcement officer…and it won’t surprise me a bit if he basically testifies to Congress that he followed the law and submitted his report as required by law to the AG and declines to go much beyond that.

Then there’s Representative Omar…she’s currently having a twitter spat with the President. She said…on video…in a speech to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) that on 9/11 “some people did some things”…specifically blowing up the towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Now I’ll grant you that conservative media selectively edited her remarks and she was really talking about the fact that after 9/11 some of the rights of Muslim citizens were potentially violated and how CAIR…according to her speech…was invented after 9/11 to fight for the constitutional rights of Muslim citizens. CAIR was actually founded back in 1994, well before 9/11…and there is at least some circumstantial evidence that CAIR has supported Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Anyway…while her point was valid…she deliberately used language…”some people did some things”…that was intended to enrage conservatives and provoke a reaction from them…so that she could claim the high ground and say she was being attacked. There is language she could have used to make her point that would have been much less inflammatory…but she chose not to use it. Naturally…the President responded via twitter by tweeting out a video that a NY daily published of her actual speech on video with 9/11 imagery along with it. Now she’s all offended…as is Ms. Pelosi…because she’s “received death threats”…and it’s solely the President’s fault and he should retract his tweet. Seems that Progressives are only interested in free speech that they like. Me…I’m in favor of free speech…as a famous patriot back during the Revolutionary War said…”I may not like what you say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”.I think her comments were reprehensible…but as a US citizen and member of Congress she has freedom of speech. Unfortunately for her and the Democrats…the President has freedom of speech too…and all he did was advertise words she’s already said on video.

Apparently there was some discussion at the White House a month or two ago about taking the illegal aliens currently in custody…and since various courts have ordered them released…taking the illegals to so called “sanctuary cities” and then releasing them there. Me…this sounds like a good idea, since sanctuary cities refuse to enforce existing US immigration law…then releasing the illegals there for the sanctuary cities to support. Naturally…conservatives think this is a brilliant idea…and just as naturally progressive think it’s a terrible idea…but they’re also claiming that this would be illegal and is a callous politically motivated stunt.

Ok…what else is going on?

Pi…we all know what it is right…it’s a number that you get by dividing the circumference of a circle by it’s diameter…and it’s a number that has an infinite number of decimal places…it’s an irrational number which means it can’t be represented by a fraction…sort of like 6/4 can be described as being exactly equal to 1.5. Pi however…goes on forever…it starts 2.th 3.141592654 and goes on from there.

However…and this might only be interesting to me…but hey, it’s my blog so you get to read about it…there was this Indian mathematician named Srinivasa Ramanujan who came up with an idea that any decimal number can be accurately represented by the addition of a series of sub parts…and he came up with the following equation for calculating the value of Pi.

RamanujanFormulaforPi

What you do is start with a value of k=0, then k=1, 2, and so on up to k=infinity…and then you figure out the value of the expression above for each value of k, add them all up, take the reciprocal of what you get and you get the value of Pi. This is how long versions of the value of Pi are actually calculated…if you go here you can see the first 100,000 digits of Pi written out. In practical terms…doing this many digits is useless. NASA uses only 15 decimal places when they do orbital calculations for interplanetary spacecraft launches…why stop at 15. Turns out that they only use 15 digits for Pi…at least according to a web site I ran across…and you determine the circumference of a circle at the limit of the observable universe then you’re not quite precise…but the imprecision is about as large as a hydrogen atom if you use 39 digits. Since NASA’s calculations are in a much, much smaller scale than the observable universe…15 is enough…although it’s actually been calculated out to about 13 trillion decimal places. For NASA’s purposes…the farthest thing they have done calculations for is the Voyager I spacecraft which is about 12.5 billion mils away. Using their standard 15 digits of pi and doing the calculation…they’re off by about 1.5 inches.

And that’s way more than you wanted to know about Pi. There’s probably a similar argument to made about the constant e which is about 2.718281828459045…e is the basis for the natural logarithm but I’m not going to try to ‘splain logarithms to ya…if you’re not a scientist or engineer you just don’t have any practical use for them.

Have you seen the pictures of Julian Assange after he was expelled from the Embassy of Ecuador in London and arrested by British police? Looks like some crazy bearded freak to me. He’s under indictment by the US for computer hacking…I’ve not researched the law in detail but at least by some definitions he qualifies as a “journalist” and hence might have some protection against being prosecuted for publishing classified material he was provided. Just like the NY Times and WAPost weren’t prosecuted for the Pentagon Papers back during the Vietnam War and the materials that Mr. Snowden leaked…he might have a case against prosecution. That’s not to say what he did was right…I haven’t come to any full conclusion on that question yet…it’s not a black and white issue and there are a lot of nuances to be considered. Fortunately…I’m not likely to be on the jury for any trial he’s subjected to…so I’m not wasting any brain power on it. From a strict “defense of the US” standpoint then publishing classified stuff should be illegal…but when you get right down to it is Wikileaks any different from NYT or WAPost…dunno as that’s a way too hard question for me to answer.

Saw an article today about the priciest toll roads in the US…the winner is the Pennsylvania Turnpike which costs $45.75 for transiting its entire 193.76 mile length. Second is the toll road up to Pikes Peak in CO…$40 per car for its 19 mile length. We’ve been up it…in fact there’s a race up it every year called the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb…the course has 156 turns over 12.42 miles climbing 4,720 feet…the current Unlimited Record which was set by an electrically powered Volkswagen I.D.R…which looks eerily similar to the VW Van that hippies drove back in the 60s…in 2018 is 7 minutes and 57 seconds…for an average of 93.73 miles an hour. Having driven up that road…with it’s 170 degree switchbacks and if you went off the corner it’s a long, long way down…that’s pretty darned quick.

Again…something that might only interest me.

All of the Democratic candidates…well at least a majority of them…have released their tax returns this week…seems that Ms. Harris, Mr. Sanders, Mr. O’Rourke, and Ms. Warren…well they’re all part of the 1% that they decry so much. However…all of the “tax the rich” schemes they’ve endorsed only tax people that make more than they do…funny how that worked out.

Interesting things found on the net.

Andre the Giant was a mainstay of professional wrestling (or wrasslin’ as we would say in the south) back in the 60s to early 80s. Andre was a Frenchman who stood at 7’4” tall and w weighed 520 pounds. Neil remembers seeing him on Saturday Night Wrasslin’ back in the day…and the guy was huge. Essentially he would pick up his opponent and just bear hug him until he passed out and then toss him onto the mat and pin him. To show you just how big he was…here’s a photo of him holding a standard 12 ounce beer can.

AndreTheGiantBeerCan

This is a Golden Pheasant or Chinese Pheasant…it’s one of the few remaining members of the genus Phasianidae…this is a male and they average 35-41 inches in length. Quite striking…ain’t it.

GoldenPheasantPhasianidae

AReallyBadDay

This how skinny girls fake up their online dating site profile.

SkinnyGirlDatingProfile

People often confuse the position of the knee and ankle in most animals. Conscious of this…here’s an illustration by the Japanese illustrator Satoshi Kawasaki showing what a human would look like if their knee and ankle were in the same relative position as a human, then dog, then horse, then flamingo. Really gives you a different perspective on the anatomy of animals, doesn’t it.

HumanDogHorseFlamingo

Ever wondered how the population of the world is distributed…amazing enough it’s really concentrated in SE Asia as shown in the following graphic. Of the current 7.7 billion world population…over half live inside the circle.

WorldPopulation

An interesting item I ran across…one of the earliest slave owners in America was a fella named Andrew Johnson who lived in the colony of Virginia from 1600 until 1670. He was a successful…and very rich for the time…tobacco farmer. You’ve probably never heard of him…I certainly had not. The really interesting thing about Mr. Johnson is not that he was successful, not that he was rich, not that he was a tobacco farmer, and not that he was a slave owner. The most interesting thing about him is that…believe it or not…he was black. I only offer this as an example of how we in 2019 look at the past with our 2019 societal norms and customs. While we in 2019 find slavery abhorrent…back in the 1600’s it was a perfectly acceptable thing…and even black men owned slaves. Think about that the next time you’re tempted to judge past centuries by today’s standards of what is acceptable.

And finally…we’ve all seen and heard the Beef Council commercial…naturally it’s a suggestion that “beef…it’s what’s for dinner”…and it uses the famous Hoe-Down tune from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo Suite (pronounced Ro-day-oh). You may not really know that it’s Rodeo or that Mr. Copeland…arguably the most capable of America’s classical composers…wrote it…but if you click here or here I can almost guarantee that you’ll recognize the music. Anyway…what’s for dinner. Why it’s ET…easily recognizable by anybody who’s seen the 1982 film ET the extra terrestrial.

ETForDinner

Cyas.

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Cocoanut Milk…Where Have You Been All My Life

Yeah…let me go down the cooking rathole a little…because I need to brag on this some.

Neil’s been making curry for many, many years…but he’s always added plain old grated cocoanut to the mixture. So’s Connie keeps track of her email and periodically we find recipes…we always forward an email to Neil with [RF] as the beginning of the subject line and that prefix results in the email being automatically sorted via an email filter to Neil’s Recipe file.

Connie found this one named Chinese Chicken Curry the other day…and we all thought it sounded good so it went into the recipe file. Today we decided to try it. Neil thawed out a single chicken breast and in accordance with the recipe he made the following.

Cube the chicken and toss with some soy sauce and corn starch (that will thicken it later) and set aside. Then chop up some scallions…also known as green onions…in this case we used 6 of ‘em. Meanwhile Neil cooked some rice outside…it’s 90 here and we’ve got the A/C on so we made all that steam outside…and then Connie grated some fresh garlic and some ginger…we always keep fresh ginger frozen in our freezer for various oriental dishes…and he also finely chopped a Seranno  pepper…he took out the seeds so it was not that hot.

Once the rice was almost done…he sorta stir fried the chicken until it was browned but not done and set it aside. Then he sautéed the scallions, garlic, ginger, and pepper for a couple minutes…then added cumin, some crushed red pepper to give it a little more heat, garam masala (Indian spice), cumin, and curry powder. Then added a can of cocoanut milk…this is distinctly different from the sweetened cocoanut milk like Coca Lopez brand that ya make Pina Coladas out of in that it has only a little added sugar. Bring all that to a boil and then add the browned chicken cubes and cook for 5 minutes or so. The corn starch on the chicken helps thicken the sauce so it’s pretty thick and then add some cilantro…in our case we always have fresh cilantro pesto in the fridge…along with a little salt to taste. Serve over rice.

Neil’s done all of this before for curry dishes…but I gotta tell ya the addition of the cocoanut milk instead of chicken stock makes a world of difference. We all agreed that it was about the best curry he had ever made…and cocoanut milk is not on our “always keep in the pantry” list.

We have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow…but if you like curry then I highly recommend you try this instead of chicken stock or water in it…amazingly enough it doesn’t really make the final dish very cocoanut tasting…our opinion was that we would still add some grated cocoanut at the end as we like our curry to have some cocoanut flavor. We all knew it would be good…but had no idea it would be that good.

We dropped of Li’l Red at Service King today for repairs…so…knock on wood…it should be done before our scheduled leave date and won’t cause any issues for us. 

I see that the Democrat head of the House Judiciary Committee had a vote earlier this week to authorize him to subpoena the entire, un-redacted Mueller report. Apparently…he hasn’t read the law…or maybe he has and is just pandering to the media the liberal base, which is more likely the case…that was enacted under a Democratic administration and Attorney General…this law and policies make it illegal to release Grand Jury testimony to the public…and also make it mandatory that a Special Prosecutor submit his report to…and only to…the Attorney General…who then releases a summary report to Congress. My guess is that the Dems know exactly what they are doing…and that what they are demanding is illegal…but they’re playing to their base and the press so that they can seem to be “the only ones interested in transparency”…in other words they’re playing for political points.

I’ve also seen in the past week or so from numerous Democrats how…Mueller is covering for the President…never mind that for the past two years they’ve been touting him as a paragon of virtue who would “bring down Trump”. Unfortunately…now that the report says there was no collusion…which isn’t actually illegal anyway…they’re turning on Mueller as a bad guy.

I realize not everybody likes the President…but as President Obama once said…elections have consequences…and the Democrats lost. It’s way, way past time for them to accept that…and to actually try to govern the country instead of demanding more investigations…at this point it’s all political and doesn’t have a darned thing to do with justice,  what’s right, or whether the President committed an impeachable offense. I’m sick of all of them.

I’m so pissed off at the Democrats…and their friends on various liberal dominated courts…who seem to think that we should be offering an open pass to every illegal immigrant who wants to come here and get benefits. Instead…how about enforcing the existing immigration laws and…more importantly…prosecuting the US based businesses who hire illegal labor. Put the business owners in jail…and enforce the law that says if you aren’t a legal us immigrant you can’t have a job in the US…if the employment opportunities for illegal immigrants dry up…then maybe they won’t come here. Sure…it might cost a little more for an avocado or to get your office building cleaned…but the first and most important reason to have a national government is to provide for national defense…and that starts at the border. Why in the hell are the Democrats interested in allowing essentially an open border and ignoring the requirement that if you want to immigrate to the USA you need to do it legally and not just swim across the Rio Grande. I’m also pissed at the Democrats who are 100% adamantly opposed to any sort of border barrier…as recently as 2000 or so both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer went public with speeches on the floor of Congress that demanded…yes, demanded…a physical barrier at the US/Mexico border. However…in today’s political environment…doing the right thing is by the wayside…it’s much important to resist whatever Trump wants regardless of whether it’s a good idea or not…the Democrats are still pissed that they lost the 2016 election…and overturning the results of that election is their primary goad.

Our friends Bill and Linda won’t be at the NHOG rally in a couple of weeks…they have had some scheduling issues and wont make it. Too bad…Bill and Neil…along with our friend Ray…usually spend at least 2 days during the rally wandering around fixing various rigs. We’ll miss seeing them…a lot…but at least they went ahead and shipped us the 2 bottles of Hell’s Kitchen Habareno Hot Sauce from Cannon’s Country Gourmet they bought us earlier in the spring…Cannon’s factory is up in Plant City FL and after they visited us in January they stopped there on the way north and bought more for both themselves and us. It’s…hands down…the best hot sauce we’ve ever tasted. We’re not interested in hot just for the sake of being hot…we like flavor to go along with our hot and this Habanero Hot Sauce is far and away in first place for the best stuff we’ve ever had. We were down to our last bottle…and now we have 2 more in reserve. Thanks a lot Bill and Linda…we really appreciate it.

We’ve got all the materials for replacing the carpet in our LR slide with hardwood flooring when we arrive in Kerrville TX for the NHOG Rally…I’ll make sure Neil…or Connie…takes some photos for posting about it later.

Connie and Neil…on the way home from dropping Li’l Red off for body work…both agreed that they were ready for winter stop to be over and to get onto travel season and some Fun Stuff…that’s called “Hitch Itch” in the RV badness…but in any event they’re both looking forward to being on the road again for 6 months of travels.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

I think I already posted these…but Ima not sure so here they are again.

A real Cliff hanger.

ARealCliffhanger

HesTheSameEveryWeekend

Disney logic.

DisneyLogic

Karma.

Karma

First world problem.

FirstWorldProblems

I think this might be a problem…this is a single photograph.

IThinkThisMightBeAProblem

It’s true.

ItsTrue

And finally…

WildCorndogs

Cyas.

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Li’l Red Has A Boo Boo

It happened yesterday. Neil had an appointment up at McDill AFB in Tampa to get his retired ID card renewed since he’s enrolled in Medicare now. The good news is that that part was easy peasy…he was in and out of the ID office in 19 minutes flat…then he picked up some wine and beer at the Class VI store on base before heading home.

The bad news is that he got rear ended in stop and go traffic on the way from the freeway to the base gate. He was in the right lane on a 4 lane road and the left lane was blocked by a landscape maintenance crew up ahead of him. He had pulled over into the right lane a minute or so before and it was the old 20 feet forward, stop, repeat sequence…when one of those impatient self-entitled millennials decided to jam his way into the space between Neil and the car behind him. He was looking to his left or texting or whatever…but what he wasn’t doing was paying attention to his driving and when Neil stopped he clipped the back passenger corner.

No injuries and both cars were drivable so they exchanged information and went on with life. Got a preliminary estimate from USAA and checked in at Service King…an in network shop for USAA down here…and hopefully it all be fixed before we need to leave. If it’s not…well we’ll put our plans under dynamic review once we know the extent of any delay.

IMG 4557

I see in the news that the liberals are all out of sorts with themselves since the 2 year+ TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) collusion narrative has failed to remove the President from office. Now they’ve shifted to “Barr is covering it up” by not “immediately releasing the full, un-redacted report…yesterday the House Judiciary Committee voted to subpoena the entire report and all evidence. Unfortunately…they seem to have forgotten to read either the law regarding what is releasable or long standing DoJ policy…so if/when they decide to actually serve that subpoena I guess we’ll have another protracted court fight over it.

Uncle Joe Biden…who isn’t even officially running for President yet but is actually leading in the polls…well he’s been #metoo’ed…well actually it was #meseven’ed as now 7 women who have never complained before now all claim that he inappropriately touched them and they were horrified and triggered by the incidents. Never mind they said nothing at the time…or that none of them have any actual evidence of it that I’ve seen…and I guess we’re not supposed to ask which of the announced candidates they support but I’m guessing it’s not Uncle Joe.

The President on the other hand…he doesn’t need much help to say stupid things…he said in a call with reporters yesterday that wind turbines cause cancer…who knew?

The head of DHS says that “getting rid of birthright citizenship” is on the table in order to help solve the illegal immigration problem. While I agree that it’s removal might prevent a few illegal pregnant women from coming here to have a baby that’s a US citizen…I don’t think that is a significant contributor to the number of illegal immigrants in the country…lack of enforcement of existing border control laws and lack of prosecution of employers who hire them is a much larger component. It’s true that if we locked up a few lettuce farmers, office cleanup company owners, and road construction company owners the price of their services would increase…but that’s an acceptable alternative in our view. The real problem…is that once again we have a politician who doesn’t understand what the constitution says. The 14th amendment grants automatic and full US citizenship for any person born on US soil…and changing that would require…yes, you guessed it…a constitutional amendment. The chances of passing a constitutional amendment to overturn it aren’t any better than the chances of overturning the 2nd amendment or the Electoral College provisions…it just ain’t happenin’.

Speaking of constitutions…down in socialist Venezuela…the country that AOC and her ilk would like to turn the US into…yesterday the government stripped the self declared interim president’s constitutional immunity from prosecution as the head of the legislature. Once again…politicians who don’t care what the law actually says. I also can’t figure out given the issues with Venezuela…the current inflation is 2.3 million percent and the unemployment rate is north of 7%…not to mention the ongoing power outages, rolling blackouts and such…there’s no food in the stores and I can’t figure out why anybody would want to live there. That’s what happens eventually with socialism and ultra progressive government…eventually you run out of other people’s money and the whole Ponzi scheme comes crashing down.

So…stand by for further updates on Li’l Red’s condition and any potential plan changes…but he’s drivable in the meantime and we’ll hopefully get done on time.

Interesting things found on the net this week.

You’ll probably have to be an SEC football fan to get this one about Auburn University’s recent advancement to the Final Four in March Madness (NCAA basketball).

AuturnBasketballSchool

Another of those signs that you would really, really like to know the origins of.

AnotherOneYouWonderWhyAbout

Mind blown.

MindBlown

In honor of Monday’s April Fool’s Day.

LegendaryAprilFoolsJoke

Really?

NoJokeSherlock

DontForgetMothersDay

Best packaging ever.

BestPackagingEver

LifeImitatingArt

And finally…I think the marketing department failed on this one.

MarketingFailed

Cyas.

Posted in Reality Based Blogging, RV, Travel | Leave a comment

More Assorted Random Ramblings

Man…I’ll sure be glad when Neil and Connie hitch up ol’ Big Red to the rig and blow this popsicle stand…they ain’t really doing anything that remotely sounds like it meets the definition of Fun Stuff©…which means that ya keep getting random life and gross stupidity posts.

Anyway…lessee what’s happened since my last post. ‘Bout the only thing was that we went out to dinner with our friends Frank and Gail and Joe and Kay from the Elks…Friday night we went down to the Cape Coral lodge and had dinner with them. Then Saturday night it was Casino Night at our Fort Myers lodge…we sponsored a table which included tickets for 3 to the event, we gave the extra one to Frank so Gail only had to buy one for them to attend. We visited with them as well as with Wes and Carol…again more Elks friends, we’re all in the Lodge 2742 refugees group along with at least a dozen others who transferred from 2742 recently. We ate too much and Connie gambled while Neil sat around and talked. Connie did successfully bid on a nice silver necklace and earring set from the Silent Auction…and she won a bottle of wine in the Chinese Auction with her winnings from the slot machine and blackjack tables.

Neil’s continuing to crank away on our pre-departure list…he’ll be done in plenty of time at this rate. He’s got an appointment this week to get his new Navy retired ID card…his old one expires next month due to turning Medicare eligible so it’s a trip up to Tampa to the Air Force base there to get it done. Connie’s runs out in December so she will sign up for Medicare on September 1 and we’ll get her card once we get back here to North Fort Myers.

We got our awning fabric replaced as well as the seal on our bedroom A/C which had developed a leak.

Let’s see what else happened…lots of things in the news lately.

I guess ya saw that the State Attorney up in Chicago dropped all charges against Jussie Smollett…he’s still claiming he was the victim but he apparently forfeited his $10,000 bond and did 8 hours of voluntary community service…and the DA decided that dropping all the 16 felony charges…and then had the record sealed in an emergency court hearing. Turns out she didn’t actually recuse herself from the case as she announced 3 weeks back…her office issued a statement that said it was a colloquial recusement only. An actual recusement would have resulted in the requirement to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the case…which means that she would have lost control of the investigation. She was in frequent text message contact throughout the investigation with Mr. Smollet’s family who “had concerns about the investigation”…and had a mysterious meeting/text/phone/call/something like that with Mrs. Obama’s former chief of staff. 

After all of that…and despite the mountain of evidence the police collected…she decided that there were “problems with some of the evidence” and she “couldn’t guarantee a conviction”…so the only “just thing to do was drop the charges. She didn’t bother to either discuss it with or give a heads up to either the mayor or the police commissioner.

So apparently…Chicago is still as corrupt as it was back in the day…according to some reports the FBI is investigating the dismissal of the charges and I’m pretty sure they’re still investigating Mr. Smollet for mailing himself a threat through the mail with mysterious powder in it.

Michael Avenatti…he of Christine Blasey-Ford and Stormy Daniels lawyer fame…he got himself arrested by the Feds for trying to extort $20 million from Nike…guess he’ll be in jail since they have him on wiretap.

AOC…well, she almost did the right thing this week…but then had to ruin the effect. She was on an MSNBC Town Hall earlier this week discussing her Green New Deal…when one of the audience members called a former Republican member of the House a moron during a discussion about whether the Green New Deal could be adopted and signed into law during a single Congressional session and whether it was even possible to achieve the 10 year mandate in the plan. The good thing was that she immediately jumped on the audience member and told him that language like that was unacceptable. So she got some points for being reasonable there…but then went ahead and lost those points when she followed up with “And that’s the difference between me and Trump.” Then she went on and talked about how opponents of her Green New Deal were “making total fools of themselves” by criticizing her proposal. She’s also proclaimed that the recent vote in the house to consider the deal…which was voted against by all Republicans and 4 Democrats but all the other Democrats just voted present…represents a great victory for the plan as it shows that the Republicans are climate change deniers and don’t care about people. Nah…they just realize that (a) it’s not possible to fix it in 10 years in any event, (b) many of her ideas are not scientifically possible anyway, and (c) unless we involve the entire world then all that would result is the bankruptcy of the US and it’s economy as China, India, and Brazil aren’t participating in her deal…so even if the US cut carbon dioxide and methane emissions to zero that would only delay her “in 12 years the world will end because of climate change” by a couple of months.

One positive example…and I can’t really believe I would ever say this about either the wildly conservative Tucker Carlson or the wildly liberal Tulsi Gabbard…anyway she’s one of the many Democrats running for President but unfortunately she doesn’t toe the socialist line quite firmly enough for those on the far left…so they’re criticizing her. Mr. Carlson said on a recent show “If you don’t like her foreign policy views, let’s just say so. But no one ever really wants to debate what our foreign policy should be. They just attack anyone who deviates from their own dumb ideas.” In other words…he’s saying they’re wrong for refusing to debate the issues with her but just attack anybody who disagrees.  I think what really irritated the other socialists was her statement that now that the Mueller report has been released and there is no collusion…which if you’ll recall from last time isn’t illegal anyway but most Democrats aren’t interesting in letting that stop them as their chief goal here is to undo the 2016 election…that the Democrats need to just sit down, shut up, and do what they were elected to do instead of demanding more investigations. Me…I don’t think all that much of most of her positions…but sitting down and trying to work with the other side rather than obstructing sounds like a so much better idea…mebbe our congress critters should try it.

Speaking of the Mueller report…the AG and Deputy AG are currently reviewing it and redacting material that…by law…in fact by law that was voted on and signed into law by Democratic administration…is required to be redacted. No matter though…even though they’re not done yet and the report hadn’t been released the Democratic leadership in Congress has already seized on the proven obstruction of justice in the report. They’ve demanded the full report be released…unredacted…by April 2…even though their demand would require the Justice department to violate federal law. Now as I said before…I have no idea what the report says…BECAUSE IT”S NOT BEEN RELEASED YET…but those who haven’t seen it, don’t know what the AG is redacting, haven’t read or understood applicable federal law, and have political axes to grind have conclusively stated that the President is guilty.

Frankly I think they would be a lot better off by…instead of pandering to the socialist ultra-liberal fringes of the party…to find a more centrist mainstream candidate to run against the President in 2020 and try to win on the issues. I don’t see how any of the announced candidates can possibly win a national election in what is still a center-right country.

In other Democratic Presidential nomination news…Joe Biden, who isn’t even officially running at this point…anyway he’s the leader in the polls by far and is being described as the “mainstream” candidate…even though he’s not really mainstream, he’s pretty liberal but he’s like the Tea Party compared to Sanders/AOC and the other socialists in the race. So naturally…since he’s ahead…he’s now been #metoo’ed…he’s been accused by a former Nevada legislature member of inappropriate behavior by “hugging her and kissing her on top of the head…and get this…it was 5 years ago and amazingly enough nobody else that was there recalls seeing it, she never said boo about it until this week, and we’re supposed to just believe her because she says it happened. He says he doesn’t remember it either…and that nobody has ever complained about his hands on political style…but that women should speak out on these issues. Stay tuned…there might be video or photographic evidence but she hasn’t produced any so far.

Over in Europe…a Turkish citizen owned oil tanker was asked by the Libyan Coast Guard to rescue some people who were trying to illegally immigrate to the EU. Once they were rescued from their unseaworthy craft…the illegal immigrants preceded to hijack the tanker and force the crew to sail it to Malta. Fortunately…the Maltese military boarded and arrested the criminals.

Brexit…we’ll it’s pretty much up in the air still. The Prime Minister got an extension to mid April but then Parliament voted the deal down again…along with voting down another referendum, a customs union, a no-deal exit, or remaining in the EU…in other words Parliament disapproved all possible ways forward. Now…apparently…the PM is going to ask for a longer extension but will decline to have the UK participate in the EU Parliament elections in mid May…which the EU has already said is a non starter. The EU has also refused to renegotiate the departure deal, the folks in Northern Island (part of the UK) refuse to vote for any deal which puts a hard border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland…so there’s no clear path as to what will happen at this point. My personal opinion is that eventually the EU will just refuse to approve any extension…which takes a unanimous vote…and that refusal will result in a no-deal exit. In that case…the UK will just then have to arrange trade deals with other countries…just like they used to have to before the days of the EU. What those who are not in favor of Brexit are completely ignoring…is that the UK is a large market for countries in the EU and a large supplier of goods to countries in the EU…so the EU and it’s member countries need a trade agreement with the UK just as much as the UK needs one with them. However…so far the EU has been playing brinksmanship in my opinion in order to keep the UK aligned economically to the EU…because that is to the EU’s advantage over having to negotiate trade and border agreements with the UK.

The moons around Saturn…well they’re actually shaped like little ravioli’s according to NASA.

Saw an article today about a dinosaur fossil site up in North Dakota which…according to the scientists who’ve investigated it and who refuse to let other scientists do research there to confirm or deny the claims…conclusively proves that the asteroid that hit in the Gulf of Mexico near what is now Yucatan about 66 million years ago was singly and solely responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs and that it happened in a day due to a combination of finely debris and a 1000 foot tall tsunami that went across what is now North Dakota. Unfortunately…they’re completely ignoring the fact that the debris and tsunami would not have gotten there on the same day…physics just don’t work that way…and that dinosaurs were all over the w world not not just in North Dakota. While it’s likely that the impact actually resulted in the extinction of most dinosaurs…as indicated by what is known as the K-T boundary in the earth’s crust…it’s much more likely that it took thousands or hundreds of thousands of years to happen. An impact that large would have forced many cubic miles of dirt into the upper atmosphere…for example the explosion of the volcano Krakatoa in 1883 resulted in 11 cubic miles of material becoming airborne and reducing temperatures by about 3 degrees worldwide…that blast is estimated at about 200 megatons. A stadium sized asteroid hit Alabama way back when and it was estimated at about 50 megatons. The asteroid that hit Yucatan was about 9 miles in diameter and while I can’t find an estimate of it’s megatonnage since it was thousands of times more volume than the 50 megaton one in Alabama the size of the blast has to be up in the 1000’s of megatons…and instead of 11 cubic miles as from Krakatoa it had to be up in the thousands of cubic miles of debris. So that much dust would have had a much more severe effect on both temperature…remember most dinosaurs were reptiles and hence cold blooded…as well as pretty much blocked out sunlight for years to centuries to millennia…which would result in most plant life dying…which would result in herbivorous dinosaurs dying…which would result in carnivorous dinosaurs dying…which would result in mass extinction…but it didn’t happen in day. How long did it actually take…who knows but awhile anyway and not a day. Unfortunately…from what I’ve been able to find out about it…the scientists who’ve concluded this are doing exactly what the climate change folks do and we should just agree with them rather than have things like peer review, additional confirmatory research, and scientific debate. Just like the climate change folks who trumpet that “it’s settled science”…any good scientist knows that there is no such thing as settled science, just as settled as we can get right now until we get better information or develop more sophisticated techniques and understanding of how things work. For these folks to claim that they can conclusively prove something that happened 66 million years ago seems a bit of a stretch to me.

On to interesting things found on the net.

Beer is one of the oldest drinks humans have produced, dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC in Iran. This is a 4,000 year old beer receipt recording a purchase from a brewer, c. 2050 BCE from the Sumerian city of Umma in ancient Iraq.

Alulu 4000 Beer Receipt

Petco has a policy that your pet is welcome in their store as long as it’s on a leash. This guy has a pet African Wadius…which he brought in on a leash and pretty much everybody in the store came up to pet it.

AfricanWadtusiPet

Bagpipes can be useful.

BagpipesCanBeUseful

This is either a panoramic photo gone wrong…or a picture of Cerebus at the Gates of Hell in Greek mythology.

CerebusGatesOfHell

This is why I have trust issues.

TrustIssues

Back when we were up in Canuckistan…we saw road signs that basically said “Rough Road…Deal With It”…I like this one better though.

RoughRoad

Mickey Mouse is getting old.

MickeyMouseIsGettingOld

And finally…an ad for WD-40 from 1964…before the dawn of the age of political correctness. Couldn’t use this today.

1964 WD40Ad

Cyas.

Posted in Reality Based Blogging, RV, Travel | Leave a comment

What’s It All Mean

I stole that line from Wayne Shannon…real name Gerald Wayne “Gerry” Schetzle…who was a TV personality, humorist, and political pundit who died in 2011. Back in the day…when Neil and Connie were stationed out in Mare Island CA…he was employed by KRON 4 TV, the NBC affiliate in San Francisco. His segments were very similar to those done by the late Paul Harvey…he would tell you some story, usually with some humor involved and then ask his trademark question…”What’s it all mean?”…then much like Paul would do with his Page 2 announcement…proceed to tell you what the story really meant when you cut through all the BS of a political or any other variety and spoke simple English. Connie and Neil learned to appreciate his viewpoints and this day they’re known to use his tagline.

There’s some Reality Based Blogging…RBB©…in this post.

OK…some background. Anyways…just in case you were under a rock since last Friday…Special Counsel Bob Mueller submitted his report concerning any Russian interference in the 2016 election cycle and any associated participation in any alleged interference by the President’s campaign…well, he wasn’t the President yet but I digress.

There was the famous Steele dossier which was used to obtain a secret FISA warrant to investigate Mr. Trump and his presidential campaign staff…and as it turned out the document was mostly fake and was…depending on who you believe…paid for by the campaign run by his opponent Ms. Clinton.

This investigation has been going on almost two years now…ever since Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein appointed him under the Special Counsel Act which came about after the Special Prosecutor Act expired. Mr. Mueller is a Republican but everything I’ve read about him in the past two years indicates that as the former head of the FBI and a federal prosecutor he’s a quite person who doggedly goes about his job, doesn’t seek press attention, doesn’t talk to the press, and is generally thought well of by everybody.

During his investigation…he spent 675 days interviewing more than 500 witnesses using 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents, 2,800 subpoenas, nearly 500 search warrants, more than 230 requests for communications records, 50 orders for pen registers (who was talking to him but not the contents of the communications), 13 foreign government information requests, and associated other staff…he indicted 34 people and so far has gotten 6 guilty pleas from indicted persons.

By law…his investigation must be limited to things involving what he was appointed to investigate…alleged Russian interference in the 2016 cycle…but he is allowed to indict people for other crimes he uncovered during his investigation.

By law…his task is an executive department only task…and by law he is to supply a report to the Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General detailing his decisions to prosecute or not to prosecute. By law…the AG is then to provide a report to the Congress summarizing the prosecutions and non prosecutions.

This law…the Special Counsel Act…was passed by a Democratically controlled Congress after the impeachment and acquittal of President Clinton…and the reporting and other requirements in the law were political in nature…the law specifically outlaws the public release of the complete report by a Special Counsel.

Mr. Mueller submitted his report last Friday and on Sunday AG Barr summarized Mr. Mueller’s findings to the Congress…he stated that Mr. Mueller found no collusion between the Russians and Mr. Trump’s campaign but could not exonerate Mr. Trump from any obstruction of justice charge, but Mr. Mueller also noted that longstanding Justice Department policy precluded him from indicting a sitting President but that even if he could have indicted the President Mr. Mueller found no collusion.

Naturally the media is all up in arms about this…as is the Democratically controlled House. Here are a couple of things I’ve seen since Friday.

  • Trump is guilty…impeach him despite there being no evidence of Russian interference.
  • He’s guilty of collusion and needs to be indicted, impeached, and removed from office yesterday.
  • Mr. Mueller…who heretofore was held up as an outstanding individual by the press and Democratic Party…was bought off and needs to be investigated
  • The entire contents of the report must be released immediately along with all other evidence…but not any evidence regarding whether the original FBI investigation was improperly started.

So…as Wayne used to say…”What’s it all mean?”

Before I tell ya…I gotta also tellya that ‘round these parts we’re not real great fans of the President. We like some of his policies and his constitution reading requirements for judges he appoints. We’re not so sure why he insists on a wall since most of the border with Mexico already has a fence. We think he’s not a nice person personally and that like many rich people (Robert Kraft, owner of the NE Patriots for instance) he takes advantage of women…but to some extent we (well, at least Neil, I will leave Connie’s opinion out of it) we think that some of the taking advantage of women was consensual at the time by the women as they were getting something…hanging on a rich guys arm, presents, whatever…out of the deal. I’m not attempting to rationalize rich guys behavior…but let’s be real…rich guys have been having sex with young babes for centuries.

During the 2016 cycle…we looked at it as a vote for whoever was least bad…Neil says it’s another example of why his election idea should be implemented. He says that “none of the above” should be on the ballot and if it wins you need to have a new election and those people can’t run again.

Ok…first up all you’ve read in the news for the past 2 years is “collusion, collusion, collusion”. Collusion is defined by Webster as secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. The problem with reading that for the past 2 years is that collusion per se is not against the law. If…and that’s a big if…there was collusion then the actual crime that gets charged is either conspiracy or mail fraud or possibly obstruction of justice depending on the state or federal nature of the charge.

Obstruction of justice is the other thing you’ve been reading about…but again…if there was no underlying crime then obstruction of justice charges are either impossible to file or much, much harder to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

So…what did Mr. Mueller’s report say?

First and foremost…it found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in it’s election interference activities. Second…and Mr. Mueller apparently told this to the AG and Assistant AG 3 weeks ago…he could neither exonerate the President from obstruction of justice charges…nor could he have indicted the President even if DoJ policy allowed him too.

Republicans…and the President…jumped on these statements as “complete vindication…no collusion, no obstruction”. Democrats have a different reaction…”was not exonerated and therefore we (Congress) need to see the complete report and all evidence so we can initiate impeachment proceedings…and demanded that both Mr. Mueller and the AG come and testify.

Now as I noted above…Mr. Mueller is prohibited by law from giving his report to Congress…and as the chief law enforcement officer in the country the AG is legally the one who gets to decide whether evidence rises to the level of indict-ability.

So…what’s really in the report. I haven’t seen it either…but my guess is that there is stuff that would be politically embarrassing to the President even though it doesn’t rise to the level of either indict-ability or “high crimes and misdemeanors” as specified in the Constitution.

The Speaker of the House has public stated that there won’t be an impeachment vote unless compelling evidence comes forth that convinces Republicans in the Senate to vote to convict the President…and at this point that seems unlikely to remote.

The House will continue to beat this drum for the next two years until the 2020 election cycle…because it’s pretty much the only thing they’ve got to run on at this point. All announced candidates are so far to the left/socialism side that the likelihood of any of them winning is essentially zero. Heck…at this point Joe Biden is being cast as a “mainstream” candidate.

The Democrat party for the past two years has been trying to undo the 2016 election. The Republicans certainly obstructed to the best of their ability the ability of President Obama to achieve his goals…but a key difference is that the latter used the rules to do so rather than some nebulous talk of impeachment. Should the House vote to impeach…which is possible since all that is required is a majority vote…but then their majority isn’t that large and there are probably some centrist Democrats that would vote their conscience instead of the way the far left wants just as there are Republicans who would vote their conscience instead of what the Tea Party folks want. However…they would need 2/3 majority…67 votes…to convict in the Senate that that just ain’t happening.

The Republicans on the other hand…they’ll keep talking about Ms. Clinton’s email server, Mr. Comey’s disregard for both classified material rules, DoJ policy, and the requirement to not leak things to the press if you’re the FBI director…but nothing will come of that either.

I also think that unless the AG keeps a real tight rein on who has the report from Mr. Mueller that some left leaning secretary or somebody in the Justice Department will leak it to the press…despite it being against the law…and if said person is identified and prosecuted the left will canonize him/her as a “brave whistleblower” on the “corrupt Justice Department”.

So now ya know what it means…is there any chance that both the White House and Congress will get back to doing their actual jobs and running the country? Probably not.

OK, on to interesting things found on the net.

Abe Lincoln…ya know, the Republican President that the left holds up as the most outstanding President of all time who ended slavery? Turns out that through most of his public life he was an avowed racist and what would be today described as a white supremacist. He also did not free the slaves…the Emancipation Proclamation…well, it only freed the slaves in the Confederate states but not those in the states fighting on the side of the north. Look it up…it’s true. It’s also true that he was opposed to slavery but wanted to just outlaw it’s spread and let it die out over time rather than free slaves from their owners with no compensation…and he wanted to essentially send all the freed slaves back to Africa (or any place else that would take them).

Turns out there’s a new language…prairiedog-ese. Apparently they have different words for human, dangerous human, coyote, dog, hawk, and other predators. They even distinguish between the color of shirt the human is wearing.

There’s a ring of truth to this…

RingOfTruth

TrulyBroke

HighCostOfLiving

Apparently in Chicago they need pipe fitters…look at the salary they make and they’re offering to pay students to go to school and then advance from apprentice to journeyman to master pipe fitter.

PipefitterSchool

BewareOfTheDog

And finally…never thought about it like this.

NeverLookedAtItLikeThat

Cyas.

Posted in Reality Based Blogging, RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Every Time You Think It Can’t Get Any Worse…

Well…then it does. 

Today’s lunacy example for instance. There’s this black law professor at Harvard…Ronald Sullivan, Jr…who also happens to be the faculty dean of Winthrop House…which is one of Harvard’s 12 undergraduate housing complexes.

Earlier this year…Mr. Sullivan joined Harvey Weinstein’s legal team…ya know that whole due process, everyone gets their day in court, must be proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt thing…anyway he’s now part of the legal team handling Mr. Weinstein’s case.

So along comes a “visual and environmental studies” major…whatever that means, I have no idea…who first initiated an online petition that has since turned into an in-depth review by Harvard administrators…anyway the student claims that Mr. Sullivan’s choice of legal client was…”deeply trauma inducing” and shows that Mr. Sullivan doesn’t “value the safety of students”.

Instead of calmly explaining to the poor millennial that even the most despicable defendants are entitled under the constitution to a fair trial by a jury of their peers in an adversarial proceeding where guilt has to be proven “beyond reasonable doubt”…Harvard has launched a review of “concerns about the community’s overall climate”…where they’re individually interviewing students residing at Winthrop House. The dean of Harvard’s faculty of Arts and Sciences…well, he’s not sure about Mr. Sullivan’s ability to rehabilitate himself because his statements to date to reassure the community have been “insufficient”. 

Now I have no other information about Mr. Sullivan than what was published in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece today…and while Mr. Weinstein’s actions if true are probably reprehensible…like many instances in today’s me-too climate it’s pretty clear that actual evidence may be limited and whatever happened might come down to he said/she said…and since I’m not on the jury and haven’t heard the evidence I have no idea whether I would vote for conviction or acquittal…but the idea of a fair trial with competent legal representation is one of the founding blocks of American jurisprudence.

So instead of using this as a learning opportunity to explain to the poor snowflake undergrads that they don’t always get what they want and that the college administration is in charge…Harvard is essentially saying that because Mr. Weinstein is unpopular he doesn’t deserve his constitutionally guaranteed protections.

Nuts I tellya.

Ya remember hearing how the progressives were howling about how the President’s Supreme Court choices would undermine the rule of law and overturn all the rights that progressive judges had enshrined in the constitution even though they’re not really there Yeah, me too. So in two of the three decisions issued by the court yesterday…those two justices were on opposite sides. Granted…these two cases involved Indian treaties and maritime law…but rather than the lockstep voting control of the court that was decried during their confirmation hearings…apparently each voted based on his understanding of the constitution. Imagine that…judges that actually read and interpret what it says…shocking I tellya.

Regarding the shooting at the pair of mosques in Christchurch New Zealand last week…first up it took all of 3 days for the media to Invoke TDS and say it was Mr. Trump’s fault. Second…and more importantly…the hero in the story who probably saved a lot of lives was this fella named Abdul Aziz. He’s an Afghan native who lived in Australia for 25 years before moving to New Zealand. When the shooting started…he got his family and other worshipers down on the floor then ran out to attract the gunman’s attention…first throwing a credit card machine at him and then picking up a discarded shotgun and breaking the window in the getaway vehicle causing the gunman to leave the scene. With all the bad press that an extreme minority of Muslim folks get…it’s nice to see an example that illustrates…as we’ve said around these parts for a long time…that the vast majority of them are good people…and law abiding citizens who do the right thing.

Ran across another presidential candidate yesterday…some guy named Andrew Yang…never heard of him but apparently he’s running too…on a platform to guarantee a universal basic income of $1,000 per month to every adult in America…and he’s going to cancel completely Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and welfare to pay for it. The only trouble with his plan…which he conveniently ignores…is that cancelling all of that gives him about $2 trillion a year to spend on his universal basic income…which will cost somewhere north of $3.5 trillion a year. Guess he needs to go back and take first grade arithmetic again.

Neil went over yesterday and picked up our new flooring…when we get to the NHOG rally in Kerrville he and a buddy are going to install it in our living room slide. The carpet is pretty worn out and we’ve always wanted the hardwood flooring in the slide as well as the rest of the rig…so we’ll solve both problems.

Grand baby Alex isn’t doing too well…he got nipped by Betty yesterday. Apparently he crawled up on the couch and she snapped at him. We didn’t get any real details…but my guess is that since Betty is basically blind at this point she was probably asleep on the couch and Alex either startled or landed on her and hurt her and she instinctively reacted. Alex isn’t too badly damaged…got a bandage on his nose. Connie’s worried he will have a scar…Neil told her that guys didn’t care about scars…but she’s not quite convinced.

Over in CA…the governor has apparently decided the wishes of his voters don’t matter. On the ballot in 2016 there was a referendum to abolish the death penalty in the state…and the referendum lost 53%-47%. So by a popular vote totaling 13.5 million valid ballots…over 1.0 million were rejected as invalid, that’s 7% of the ballots cast which says something about the ability of CA voters to read and understand a simple question and then choose Yes or No…anyway the population voted in favor of capital punishment. Newly inaugurated Governor Newsome has chosen to ignore the states voters and (a) initiated a moratorium on capital punishment in the state and (b) commuted the sentence of all death row inmates…that latter decision can never be overturned by a governor who might follow him. Unsurprisingly enough…he trotted out a widow (or maybe mother, can’t find the particular url again) of a murder victim who agreed with his decision. Also unsurprisingly…he didn’t specify how many victim relative he had to ask before he found one who agreed. While I haven’t seen any polls on his decision…from the articles I’ve seen most victim families seem to be pretty darned upset about it. His justification is that capital punishment is applied disproportionately to people of color…seems to me a better idea is to apply it to all murders  and once guilt has been established limit the time for appeals…and we all know there are countless appeals that have nothing to do with guilt but everything to do with delay of sentence imposition…ya know, things like “he was abused as a child” and “she was a victim of Stockholm syndrome who was abused by her husband/father/whatever. In most of these cases…guilt is pretty well established. It’s true that there are a lot of people of color on death row…but how much of this is because they commit the crimes and how much is because they’re people of color has never been shown by the other side. Me…I think if you can’t do the time then you shouldn’t do the crime and that the chief problem with capital punishment is that it takes too long. The other side claims it’s not a deterrent…but I can tell ya for sure that it deters at least one murderer…and if it was carried out more expeditiously it just might deter some others as well…I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing back public hanging or beheading like they used to do.

Apparently there are some issues with the Boeing 737 Max aircraft…two basically new planes have crashed in the past year with pretty similar flight paths after takeoff. I’m not an aerospace expert…after all I’m just a bear…but I did a little googling yesterday after seeing numerous articles blaming the problem entirely on Boeing. My 15 minutes of research indicates that there’s probably a lot of blame to go around…from the FAA who certified the aircraft and who are probably too in bed with the aircraft industry to be a proper regulatory agency to the airlines who wanted an aircraft that didn’t need a new type rating for the pilots, a different type rating requirement would mean more pilot training/cost and make scheduling of aircraft and aircrew harder/more expensive to Boeing who wanted a more efficient plane and made some design changes that may or may not have had an impact to the software engineers who…because of the mechanical changes to the airframe instituted a new system that issues flight control instructions without the pilots knowing anything about them at intervals specified by the software.

Naturally though…the commenters on internet articles have deduced both the cause and required corrective actions necessary…the black (well, actually they’re orange and not really boxes either these days) boxes haven’t been analyzed yet but since the interwebs weenies have already figured it out maybe we ought to just skip the NTSB investigation and force Boeing out of business.

There’s this Fox personality named Jeanine Pirro who asked the other day on her interview show whether the fact that Representative Omar wears the hijab in public means that she supports Sharia law which is in some respects antithetical to what the Constitution says…her intention was to initiate a debate on her show about the question. I don’t see anything Islamaphobic in that question…but the left is outraged by it and she’s been apparently suspended (or at least her show was preempted last Saturday). At the same time…Representative Omar’s “anti-Semitic” remarks…which again I don’t find all that anti-Semitic but then I’m not Jewish…are left to pass and she’s being lauded by many on the left. In both cases…having read the exact wording of each woman’s remarks…I can say that each has a valid point but because they were on opposite political sides they phrased their statements poorly…and then the other side jumped all over their poor wording rather than the substance of what they were trying to say. What ever happened to political discourse…we used to be able to at least talk reasonably with the other side and while we might not convince them of the rightness of our position…at least it wasn’t just name calling. And it’s not just us…down in Australia a right wing Senator had some comments about the New Zealand shooting…and again he (in my opinion) chose poor wording to make his point. So this millennial…he sneaks up behind the elderly Senator who was talking to some reporters and after carefully positioning his phone to record video…so he could go viral I guess…anyway he smashes an egg into the back of the Senator’s head. The Senator reacted and popped the snot nosed little so and so one. Now the kid is being lauded in the media as a hero and several senior legal folks in Australia are trying to being the Senator up on charges. From looking at the  video…the Senator…even though he worded it poorly…had a valid point of view, he was attacked by the kid, and he responded. Nobody went to the hospital, no blood was shed…and the kid got his 15 minutes of fame out of the it…so why make a big deal out of it.

We rarely vote Democrat ‘round these parts…but I did see a couple of interesting election related articles in the past day or so. First…from all the media exposure that Ms. Omar, AOC, and other socialist/far left folks are getting these days…it turns out that the more mainstream Democrat PACs were far more effective at getting their candidates elected than the far left was. In the primaries…something like 80% of the candidates endorsed by the mainstream PAC won their primaries and only about 25% of those endorsed by the far left won their primaries…and precisely 0 of the seats flipped by the Democrats from Republican control were won by the far left endorsed candidates. Second…mostly what we’ve heard about the election in 2016 was that Ms. Clinton “won the popular vote”. Now notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Clinton won twice while losing the popular vote and nobody was talking about popular vote back then…there are about 3,200 counties in the US…the number is inexact because some states have districts instead of counties so let’s call it 3,200 country like political boundaries. Turns out that Mr. Trump won the county tally by about 2,500 to 500…again it depends on exactly how you define “county”. Even in supposedly blue NY state…he won over half of the counties in the state but Ms. Clinton’s 2 million vote majority in 4 of the 5 counties that make up NYC (he actually one one of them) tipped the state to her. What this means is that the founding fathers got it exactly right when they instituted the Electoral College…which was originally setup to prevent the populous southern states from outvoting the relatively low population northeast states…in order to ensure that all states…from smallest to largest…had a say in the election. If we shifted instead to a national popular vote standard instead of the Electoral College…an idea Ms. Warren has said should be completed before the 2020 election…then the only states that would matter are CA, NY, FL, and TX with perhaps PA and OH added to the mix. Looking beyond states…it would mostly be NYC instead of NY, LA instead of CA, southern FL instead of FL and Dallas/Fort Worth  instead of TX that would elect the President…those areas have enough population to override anything the rest of the country could do. I don’t think the Electoral College overturning constitutional amendment will happen though…you need 2/3 majority in both houses of congress to get it started and you need 38 states to ratify it and I can guarantee that the small states…the ones Ms. Clinton and her ilk refer to as fly-over states…aren’t going to ratify it.

Ok…on to interesting things found on the net.

I know I missed the date and that St. Paddy’s Day was last Sunday…but here’s a belated Happy St. Paddy’s Day to ya’. You can always find a pot o’gold at the end of the rainbow ya know.

StPaddysDayRainbow

This is a guy from the UK responding to the NZ mosque shootings…another hero.

ManchesterMosque

Ya know that guy at Alabama who’s the quarterback…his name is Tua Tagoviola…I wondered why his first name was Tua and why his parents gave him that name. Turns out…it’s just short for his real name kinda like Bob and Robert. 

TuaFirstName

In the long name category…I think we have a winner. This is a sign at a train station in Wales.

WelshTrainStation

Everybody knows that a hydro electric dam is big…but sometimes you need to see a photo like this to realize just how big they are. This is a picture of the penstock…that’s the name for the pipe that leads down to the generator room…being installed at the Hoover Dam back in 1935.

HooverDamPenstock

This gang violence has to stop…now.

GangViolence

This is a diamond squid…it’s about 2 feet long. Pretty neat.

DiamondSquid

Who says birds aren’t smart?

FireHawk

And finally…

DrHedgehog

Cyas.

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It’s…er…Was I Guess…Alex Time

Yup…we actually did something these past two weeks. 

After my last post…Connie and Neil completed their transition to the Fort Myers Elks Lodge. They attended the lodge meeting where their transfer was approved and their new membership cards should be available tonight when we head over there for music and Happy Hour.

After that…we left last Friday morning for a quick trip up to Midlothian VA outside of Richmond to see Alex and his parents Bryan and Jen…and to drop off some stuff at our storage unit like we usually do. We generally leave our Christmas stuff in our storage unit over the summer travel season and since we’re going directly from Fort Myers to Texas for the NHOG rally Virginia just isn’t on the way so we took it up with us.

It’s about 900 miles up there from here so we blasted out of the campground shortly after 0600, stopped at Loves for breakfast and coffee and hit the road. Up I-75 to Ocala FL, then US301 to pass west of the Jacksonville beltway and onto I-95 just north of Jacksonville…and 600something miles later we pulled over for the night in Fayetteville NC. We had a pretty good meal at the local Holiday Inn bar…our original  plan to go to a local seafood place was dashed by the large crowds waiting for a seat…too bad as it really smelled good. Up pretty early…although not quite as early as Friday…we pressed on the last almost 300 miles and arrived there in late morning. We stayed at the kids house sleeping on the pull out…it’s not all that comfortable but it does have the advantage of being free instead of $160 a night. 

We spent the rest of Saturday and through Tuesday there doing Alex things mostly…our original idea was to take them out for Bryan’s birthday on Monday but he preferred to eat in so we just did that instead. We did take Jen and Alex out to a Mexican place named Chuy’s…it’s a chain but it turned out to be pretty good so we would definitely go there again.

Connie and Alex playing cards.

IMG 2939

Alex ‘splaining something to Neil.

IMG 2936 2

Alex and his shield.

IMG 2945

Connie had to be back for a Ladies of Elks meeting Thursday afternoon…so we pretty much got packed up Tuesday afternoon and the car loaded before the aforementioned dinner out. Then Jen’s dad called and wanted to bring us over some ground venison to take back…he did and we had a nice visit with him as well, haven’t seen him in about 18 months so it was great to catch up with him and hear the news about a situation he’s involved in with a society up there…it has a rental property with occupancy issues and he finally convinced them to kick the tenants out as it’s just not safe  as well as being a lawsuit risk.

With the venison in hand…it was already frozen…we modified our plans slightly and after getting up at 0500 Wednesday morning we quickly packed the car…kissed Jen ‘bye…and made 3 quick stops on the way to the freeway. Dunkin Donuts for coffee and breakfast, the Shell station for gas, and the Kroger grocery store for dry ice to keep the venison frozen until we arrived. Then it was onto VA-288 and then I-95 south…and again 600something miles later we stopped in Macclenny FL at the Travelodge there…Macclenny is right near the intersection of I-10 and US-301 where we needed to head south to Ocala to get on I-75 home. She passed on a hotel east of US-301 because it was $160 and went for the $63 Travelodge instead…then all she did was gripe about the hotel. First up for her was to wash her hair and…according to her…the hotel ran out of hot water halfway through. Gripe, gripe, gripe. Turns out that it wasn’t actually a lack of hot water…somebody in a room further up the line turned on the shower and sucked it all up so none made it to our room…as when Neil went in after her there was hot water available but just not a strong stream.

Luckily…although she was unhappy with the hotel…dinner turned out to be really good. We walked across the street to Bootsie’s Bar and Grill…hey, it was close…with the intent of having Happy Hour then either eating there or heading a mile or so in the car to a local seafood place. We quickly met Tabitha the PM bartender and the single other customer that was there early on a Wednesday evening…Tabitha turned out to be a hoot and a delight so we had a second cocktail/beer and then ordered a couple of cheeseburgers. We weren’t expecting much…but they actually turned out to be really, really good burgers and we enjoyed them with another cocktail/beer before wandering back across the street with happy smiles on our faces from the good food and conversation. Again we were up early the next morning…and after taking a look at the free continental breakfast…it didn’t look very appetizing…we hit up the Golden Arches for breakfast and hit the road. We got home in time to have lunch and unpack the car before Connie headed off to her LoE meeting in the afternoon. After dinner we watched the tube for awhile and then went to bed…happy to be again in our bed at home with our stuff. Visiting the kids and Alex is nice…but it’s just not home and we were ready to be back.

Friday Gordon the mobile RV tech came by and he and Neil replaced our awning canopy fabric…after 7+ years on the road it was worn out, dry rotted, and the seams all coming apart so it needed a new one. They got the old one off and new one on a lot easier than they expected it would be and were don’t before noon when Connie arrived home from the grocery store.

Let’s see…what else went on.

Politics…there continues to be ongoing idiocy from both the almost countless at this point number of contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, from the President himself, and from the right wing as well. I can’t understand how any of them think…anybody with 3 working brain cells easily recognizes the lunacy from all sides.

At least we’re not alone in having stupid politicians…the UK’s aren’t doing much better this week. As you probably know…there’s the ongoing brouhaha over the UK leaving the EU known as Brexit. Back in 2016 there was a popular referendum on whether to leave or not and leave won…so the government has been negotiating for the past 2-1/2 years with the EU on a divorce settlement. Turns out that each side has their own non-negotiable demand…and those two demands are fundamentally opposed to each other.

As of today…the UK will be leaving the EU on March 29 regardless of whether a deal is reached or not. The fundamental difference seems to be whether there will be a hard border between the UK Northern Ireland and the independent Republic of Ireland who share the island of Ireland. A hard border means that customs and immigration will be there, a soft border means that the UK will remain trapped in a customs union with the EU indefinitely. There’s also the issue of what is known as the Good Friday Agreement…that’s what ended the sectarian violence years ago…which says there can’t be a hard border between the two. 

So this week…the UK Parliament voted down…again…the deal that was negotiated which says no hard border and a customs union…primarily because there’s not an ending date for the customs union and it essentially ties the UK to the EU rules even though they’re no longer members. Then they voted against a no deal exit on March 29…even though that vote has no legal validity since the departure is a done deal at this point unless it’s extended or cancelled…t this point the UK will exit on the 29th unless a delay or cancellation of the departure is approved. Parliament then voted to extend the date past the 29th…even though again this has no legal validity as the existing treaty says that’s the date for departure. The UK can request an extension but it needs a unanimous vote from the other 26 member countries of the EU…and at least two of them have said publicly that they won’t approve an extension unless there’s some prospect for an agreement that Parliament will accept…and that gets back to the fundamentally incompatible demands. The EU’s chief negotiator says “we have a deal…and we’re not reopening negotiations”…so basically nobody knows what will happen. The side that lost the referendum back in 2016 is demanding that there be another referendum…basically they want to re-do the election that they lost, much like the Democrats here want to re-do the 2016 Presidential election that they lost. Most of the “remainer” crowd is in favor of another referendum but that was defeated soundly in Parliament. Most amazing is that the reason for the demand for another resolutions is that…according to the remain proponents…only old people voted to leave, and they’ve all died off now and been replaced by younger, more liberal, more forward thinking millennials who clearly see that socialism and the EU is the superior choice and we should just step aside and let them run the country…very similar to the attitudes of liberal millennial in the US.

AOC has now kinda sorta recanted her “say no to Amazon” blather of some weeks back…now she says they’re welcome to return if they “get community involvement” in the process and “meet the community’s demands”. Strange…I thought that Amazon negotiation with the city and state was community involvement…apparently she thinks that Amazon should give up the tax credits they were going to get, fully support unionization of the jobs in the campus, and invest in local schools as well. Somehow…she thinks that Amazon getting $3 billion in tax credits while paying another $20something billion of actual taxes was a bad deal for the city and state…and that the $3 billion could be spent on other things…apparently she doesn’t realize…or care to admit…that there’s no actual $3 billion available, it’s just a break on the taxes that Amazon would have paid later on…not to mention the number of jobs both at the campus and in ancillary businesses to support the workers at the campus.

Jussie Smollet has been indicted for 16 felony counts over his fake “hate crime” in February…he’s still claiming he’s innocent of course and his lawyer is decrying the “over reach” of prosecutors to actually have the gall to charge him for his criminal acts.

The liberal media is all up in arms over the “limited sentence” that Mr. Manafort received the past week or 10 days…it seems they don’t understand that despite all their claims of how he should have gotten 20+ years the actual crimes he pled guilty to have much lower sentencing guidelines…even though his plea agreement with Mr. Mueller was tossed out and Mr. Mueller recommended the longer sentence demanded…the actual crimes he’s guilty of have lower sentences…maybe the armchair lawyers need to go and read what the laws actually say. Probably not though…they don’t bother reading the Constitution so it’s unlikely they’ll do anything to educate themselves  at all…mostly they want to just scream “collusion”…even though there’s no such crime as collusion. Mr. Manafort’s crimes…well, they all took place long before he joined the President’s campaign staff.

Neil’s guess about the whole long standing Mueller investigation will be that…yes, the Russians had an interest in who won our election. That’s like saying water is wet…just like w have an interest in who wins the Russian’s election…and we have an interest in ignoring the actual results of the recent one in Venezuela and want to overturn it for an opposition candidate that we like. While I agree with most that the duly “elected” President of Venezuela is a crook who rigged the election…it’s been ratified by their judicial system (which is likely biased I also agree)…and hence should we accept it or try to get rid of him. I’m not in charge of the US foreign policy…and we should do what’s in the best interests of the United States first…it does seem kind of weaselly to me that we decry the Russian’s “interference” in our election while thinking it’s OK for us to have an interest in and support anti-Putin politicians and the opposition in Venezuela.

It’s not like the Russians actually did anything to the voting process after all…they just published Facebook and other social media posts that supported who they preferred to deal with after the election.

I’m sure that the President…like both others before him and his opponent in 2016…did some slime-worthy things to get elected. I’m not so sure that (a) any of them were actually illegal, (b) that a prosecutor can prove any of them beyond reasonable doubt, or (c) that any of them rise to the impeachable definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as specified in the Constitution. Just like President Clinton before…every body pretty much knew that he was a hound dog who had many women through his political career besides his wife. Just like his wife…who arguably violated both classified material and record retention laws with her private mail server. Most politicians who are successful have skeletons in their campaign closets…but proving they did it and even proving it was illegal is problematic.

However…the likelihood of common sense breaking out and Congress…or any of the other politicians involved…actually running the country and doing their jobs is pretty remote I guess…it’s much better to try and trash the other side than to try and reach some compromises with them that will actually make things better.

In one last note from the news this week…the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that flipping the bird at a cop is constitutionally protected free speech. Turns out this…amazingly enough not a millennial but a 61 year old…woman was pulled over by a cop for speeding. He decided to show leniency and gave her a ticket for a lesser offense that was cheaper to pay and involved fewer points. As she drove away…in response to his kindness she flipped him the bird out the window. In response, he pulled her over again 100 yards down the road and then gave her the speeding ticket…she then sued him. The court held that any reasonable offer would know that a citizen who raises her middle finger was engaging in 1st amendment protected free speech. They stated that it violated no law and that it was “an ancient insult that did not give police a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation”. The cop’s claim that he was protected from liability through qualified immunity was also denied. Seems to me that while she was technically right and legal in her action…rewarding a cop who gives you a break is just the wrong thing to do…me…I would thank him for letting me off rather than piss him off. Dumb I tellya.

Interesting things found on the net.

Another couple of those ya gotta’ wonder signs.

StoryBehindEverySign2

StoryBehindEverySign3

Wine for old people.

WineForOldPeople

Fun fact about Apollo 13…everybody knows this was a spectacular failure of the Apollo program and how they made it back by the skin of their teeth after the service module oxygen tank basically blew up. After their problem…they looped around the back side of the moon at an altitude of 254 miles…which made their distance from earth of 248,654 miles…which makes them the record holders of the “farthest humans have ever traveled from earth” record. Here’s a shot of the moon as they passed.

Apollo13FunFact

Meanwhile…in Canuckistan.

MeanwhileInCanuckistan

There’s this bird in New Zealand known as a Kea…it’s a large parrot found in alpine regions. This is what it looks like…pretty uninteresting, eh?

KeaPerched

In flight however…it’s completely different and quite magnificent.

Kea

KeaUnderside

Everybody knows about the Great Red Spot on Jupiter…it’s essentially a large hurricane as seen below in a shot with the shadow of the Jovian moon Io passing over it.

JupiterGreatRedSpotGanymedeShadow

The question is…just how big is the Great Red Spot. Well…here’s an image of it and the earth to scale.

JupiterGreatRedSpotEarth

Then there’s the sun…which is even larger than Jupiter…in fact one million earths would fit inside the sun. Understanding a million is one thing…but…again to scale…what would a million earths inside the sun look like.

OneMillionEarth

Those really give you a better appreciation of and ability to visualize the relative sizes.

Here’s a Jim vs Joe comparison…I think it came from Mike Rowe’s web site (he of Dirty Jobs fame). Mike is a great believer in hard work and while he thinks that college is a good thing…he’s of the opinion that not everybody needs or wants a college degree, and that there are plenty of good paying jobs that don’t require a college degree.

JimVsJoe

Ran across this article on the Guardian…guess I can post the link here since the new EU copyright rules haven’t gone into effect yet…apparently there’s a woman in the UK named Amber Butchart…she’s a fashion historian and works as a buyer for a vintage clothing shop…normally spending her days evaluating antique dresses, corsets and the like for sale and putting appropriate values on them. Anyways…in her guise as a fashion historian she has great knowledge about fashion of old of course…and this includes underwear. She’s able to identify the time period that underwear came from…all the way from the corsets of Victorian days through the cone bras that were popular in the 60s along with the various flavors of panties, thongs, boy-shorts, hi-briefs and the various other kinds of underwear that women wear. She can use materials, design, and construction details to date underwear to the time it was produced…and hence if the underwear happened to be found on a dead body she can assist in determining when the person died or was murdered or whatever. She’s frequently engaged by the police departments in both her local area of Surrey as well as throughout the UK to help date bodies that are found. This is apparently particular valuable if there are only skeletal remains in figuring out when the person died in hopes of figuring out who they  were.

Her official title is Consultant Forensic Garment Analyst…but she’s better known about the various law enforcement agencies she supports as…you guessed it…the Fashion Police.

Finally…a couple of quick funny ones.

ScienceAndMorons

GenderReveal

What’s this…a face plant of course.

FacePlant

Cyas.

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