Another Day…With Not Much Goin’ On

I guess the title really says it all…nothing at all going on round here at Long Pond Road…although to be fair we did have a couple of wildlife sightings and it was warm enough on Friday evening to cook outside on the lanai so mebbe it wasn’t so much of a bust as I thought.

We did have some excitement on Thursday…in Heron’s Glen which is the gated community immediately north and bordering onto Magnolia Landing where we live…a 27 year old woman was ambushed
according to the headline
 by a 10 foot 4 inch gator while she was trimming trees near the lake. What actually happened was she was trimming a tree…wasn’t watching around herself which is a bad idea since this is Florida and gators and snakes are pretty common in the environment…and got too close to the gator which bit her on the leg and then apparently let her go and did not try to eat her as it retreated to the pond nearby. It was subsequently trapped and removed to a gator farm as a nuisance gator…this is only interesting as it was essentially right next door to us. 

Since we have 3 gators most of the time in our pond…nothing really a big deal about this. We do have 2 rules though…we don’t go outside the lanai in the back after dark…and we don’t go into the garage without turning the light on and looking first. There are rattlesnakes in the prairie/swamps around the neighborhood and also cottonmouths…and they are occasionally seen in the neighborhood…so it behooves us to look before we walk just in case the snake came into the garage to escape the head and stay away from the water at night.

A couple other examples of stupidity in the news.

Out in Portland…the mayor…who is also the police commissioner…has ordered the police department not to use tear gas to disperse crowds even if they declare a protest to have become a riot. Since we’re now well over 100 nights in a row with protests, riots, burning of businesses, attacks on both police and police vehicles…I wonder just what in the hell the mayor thinks the police should do to curb the riots…maybe he thinks they should just ask the rioters pretty please to go on home. If I was the chief of police…I would just have to let the riots and destruction continue and not put my officers in danger by sending them out.

Speaking of riots…I read on the news yesterday that…at least according to the WAMM…none of the violence has been perpetuated by the peaceful protesters…it has all been either white supremacists or police that caused all of the violence, burning of businesses, snd attacks on monuments they don’t like…although why police and white supremacists would attack a monument that the BLM hates escapes me.

Out in the PRC…Governor Newsom has declared that climate change is no longer a theory but is a proven, established fact of settled science in CA…since they have a lot of wildfires. The problem is that the governor is full of crap. While heat and drought have probably contributed to the extent of the fires…the mismanagement of fires, woodlands, and the refusal of the state to allow some forest management practices…like controlled burns or allowing fires that do not threaten people or property to burn themselves out rather than putting them out…that have been well proven in other states to minimize the amount of out of control fires and property damage. Forests by their very nature depend on fire to keep the fuel on the forest floor down…and mismanagement of fire policy by the state is certainly a bigger contributor to the current problems out there than climate change.

While it’s clearly true that in the short term (the past 50 years or so) it has gotten warmer…despite the claims of the tree huggers that climate change is settled science…any real scientist knows that there is absolutely no such thing as “settled science”…in the long term it cannot be conclusively shown that the recent increase in temperatures is due to use of fossil fuel by humans, volcanic activity, or just the normal cyclic variance in climate that has happened for hundreds of millions of years. All of the folk that claim this is “settled science” had already made up their minds before they did any research…and they take very, very limited and unknown accuracy data of temperatures 100 million years ago…and fit a curve to match their preconceived notions. The trouble is that there are no unbiased researchers into climate…every one either believes that mankind is solely responsible or that mankind presents a negligible effect and shape their conclusions to match their beliefs.

The simple fact is that we have no real, accurate data to base any conclusions on…and thus any conclusion either way is highly suspect. The second simple fact is that…even if we knew with 100% certainty that human activity was the sole cause of climate change…what would or could we do about it. All of the agreements that are forced onto governments by climate justice warriors require the developed countries like the US to eliminate emissions while China continues building coal power plants by the dozens and countries like Brazil and India are completely exempted from doing anything. Even if the US reduced our emissions to zero…which is scientifically, technically, and economically impossible…emissions by China…who refuses to reduce their emissions…and by the exempted countries would still cause carbon dioxide levels to increase.

Despite this…the WAMM is demanding that we spend trillions of dollars we don’t have in the US to eliminate all fossil fuel use, require only electrical cars, not to use nuclear power, and do everything with solar or wind power. They haven’t explained how we’ll use solar power at night…and they haven’t figured out that we would need trillions of dollars in infrastructure spending to get transmission wires which currently don’t exist from the places in the country where solar and wind make power…all of those flyover states ya know…to their coastal liberal cities. Not to mention…even more trillions of dollars to build the solar and wind plants and legislate scientific progress to make solar work at night. I guess they’ll just have to pass Ms. Warren’s wealth tax through congress…never mind that it would (a) be obviously unconstitutional as that document requires that taxes be distributed according to population and (b) the likelihood that the government could accurately evaluate the wealth of a person who has a privately held business and a lot of artwork annually is basically zero.

Ok…what else.

Oh yeah…we did get a few nice shots this week out back.

First up…a couple of shots taken very near dark one evening of a complete rainbow behind the house. Connie originally saw the dark trees that were still lighted at the top so Neil went out to take a shot for her…and then he noticed the rainbow.

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Yesterday…he spotted this Little Blue Heron across the pond…they’re about 2 feet tall…and got a shot.

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Today…as he got finished with his bike ride he spotted a Great Blue Heron across the pond…he passed our street and went down to the clubhouse to cool down from the ride effort and spotted it from the main road through the development as he came back. So he grabbed the camera and snuck around the house to get the image below. Great Blue’s are about 4 feet tall…this one is starting to get breeding plumage so it’s most likely male as they change a lot more than females for the mating season…which for most of the waders is late fall down here in FL. They never get as much or as beautiful plumage as the egrets do but they do get some. I’ll look back and I think I have some photos of them in full mating regalia in the Lightroom catalog that I can post next time along with a side by side of mating and normal plumage.

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It looks like the wildlife is starting to come back based on the last week or so…and it has been a bit cooler so maybe we’ll keep seeing more and more of it. Still haven’t seen any of our gators since the water level in the pond came up…we briefly spotted one of them a week or two ago but that’s about it.

One last one…this is a repost of one of our local eagle pair…they’re back at the nest site and getting it prepared for another mating season. One of the two eaglets from last year has left the area but the other is still hanging around…probably the departed one is male and the hanger on female based on typical eagle behavior. 

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Interesting things found on the net.

This is funny as an example of political spin…and it’s funny no matter which side of the aisle your political persuasions lie. It’s also not a true story although I’ve used it here as it was sent to me. Snopes.com has evaluated this story as false…but it’s still quite funny.

PoliticalSpin

Next…

RabbitPriestMinister

NavalObservatory

All you need to know about 2020 can be seen on Lucy’s face.

AllYouNeedToKnow

Is this a goat or a bird?

GoatOrBird

CanAnybodyExplainThis

MinorWreck

And finally…I really wonder about the inspiration for this political ad.

StrangePolitaicalAd

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Homebody, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Civics Lesson

OK folks…time for a civics lesson…or…how the US government works as they used to say on Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. Readers who are of the same general vintage as Neil and Connie might remember how you took a Civics class in high school and you learned those sorts of things. However…younger folk who suffer from deluded school boards eliminating the requirement to actually learn how the country works might want to listen up and pay ‘ttention so’s ya’ll will know.

Before that though…a quick update on life under quarantine…or day 176 as we sit here on Labor Day 2020.

Last week we had dinner over at our friend’s Frank and Gail…he grilled some really tasty ribs and we had corn on the cob, tater salad, and coleslaw to go along with it…and some munchies before dinner…as well as a brew and some nice wine. After about 3 hours of good food and good company we headed home…since we did that on Thursday night we decided to just skip Date Nite last week. The day before we had dinner with them was the Elks Lodge monthly meeting…we attended and all I can say is that you have to be really bored before any meeting sounds like a good idea. On the bright side…we got word that the lodge will reopen the bar starting this week on Wednesday and that Taco Night on Thursday will start back up as well.

Taco Night on Thursday…well, the precipitated a change in Date Night. We had set it up for Thursday primarily because it was Thursday back in the  day when we were working…which was set up because you didn’t need a restaurant reservation for a Thursday and could just waltz in and have dinner…and having it on Thursday worked for us. However…there’s nothing magic about Thursday at all so we decided to move it to Tuesday night for this week and then Monday night as that doesn’t interfere with anything else on our schedule. Since Connie has to put on a dress and heels for Date Night…we figgered that her getting all dolled up every Thursday night for Tacos was overkill…’sides, we don’t want to go eat tacos every week anyway.

Neil found a great recipe a couple weeks back…garlic rice roasted chicken. What you do is take some leftover rice and mix it with garlic, herbs, and butter…then take a whole chicken and carefully separate the skin from the breast without tearing or removing the skin…then stuff the rice between the skin and the meat and roast it for an hour. The idea is that the rice sort of insulates the breast and keeps it moist until the legs and thighs are done…and also separates the skin from the meat so that the skin gets all nice and crispy…and the luscious schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) from the skin drips down and makes the rice even more delectable than the stuff you already added does.

However…rather than roasting for an hour…he decided to smoke and then roast it on our pellet grill. Two hours at low smoke temp of 165F then upped the temp to 400 for about another 40 minutest or so to get the meat all done and the aforementioned crispy skin and rendered chicken fat goodness.

The recipe then called for setting the bird aside to rest and adding 1/3 cup of sherry vinegar to the drippings to make a pan sauce. Neil thought that this was way too vinegary but did it anyway…and on tasting it determined that he was right after all. So…he added some wine, chicken stock, a couple other spice goodies and a bit of cream and the vinegar was still too strong so in went some honey…after a couple of additions the sauce was just right. Served over the chicken with rice and crispy skin and it was right tasty.

New wildlife sighting this week…here’s a small taste for ya with more details later.

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OK…civics lesson starts now.

I keep reading on the interwebs about how it would be terrible and an insult to democracy if the President were to win reelection while failing to win the “national popular vote”. There are a couple of problems with these claims. First off…there is no such thing as a “national popular vote”…that’s not the way that our Presidential elections work. Second off…the US of A…well, we’re not a democracy at all. A democracy is what they did back in the day in Athens Greece where all the voters got together in a meeting and made decisions…which we clearly can’t do with 330+ million residents. Nope…what we have is a federated democratic republic…an association of individual states with rights, responsibilities, and rules for how things work set out in this thing called the Constitution of the United States.

So here’s how the President gets elected…note that nowhere in here do the words “national popular vote” exist.

The founding fathers…well at least the ones that didn’t live in NY, MA, or VA…recognized that those 3 states had about 80% of the population in the entire country and that the needs/wants of heavily populated cities and states were different from those in sparsely populated agricultural states…what the progressive coastal elites call flyover states these days. So…the idea of a national Presidential popular vote election was dismissed and the founding fathers invented the Electoral College or EC. The EC grants one electoral vote for every Representative and one for every Senator and thus ensures that small states have a say in the election of Presidents. Now granted…the EC as setup does give a greater effect on the election for a voter in one of the flyover states than for a voter in the coastal states with large cities…but news flash…that’s the way it was designed. The EC is not perfect…in fact I could think of several ways that it could be improved…but the fact is that the EC and it’s makeup are enshrined in the Constitution…and it would take a Constitutional amendment to change that. Another news flash…the founding fathers actually realized that the Constitution might need changing as time went on and set up a procedure for doing that…but they deliberately made it hard…very hard…so that the Constitution would not be changed lightly.

An amendment takes 2/3 majority vote in both houses of Congress to be proposed…or 2/3 of the state legislatures can pass a law calling for a Constitutional Convention which can then propose amendments. After one is proposed…it must be ratified by 3/4 of the states (currently that’s 38) before taking effect, and the proposed amendment itself can include a time limit for ratification.

So…what’s wrong with this process for amending? Well…it’s hard…that’s the total problem for the progressives. They hate the idea of flyover states having a say in how the country is to be run and want to institute this “national popular vote” to elect the President. The idea is that the coastal large city states which are dominated politically by progressives would then be able to elect the President of their choice…in other words they want to change the rules in their favor.

Now…I’m all in favor of them changing the rules for Presidential elections…but they have to follow the rules on how to change the rules…in other words they need a Constitutional amendment. As discussed above…that just ain’t happening…because it’s too hard.

So…the progressives came up with this thing called the 270 Vote Coalition or something like that where states that join it pledge to award their EC votes to whichever candidate wins the popular vote…and if they get 270 EC votes worth of states to join then they get their way without the pesky bother of having to amend the Constitution. States get to choose how to determine their EC votes…but I think a lot of states citizens would be mightily displeased if the candidate that did not win their state were to receive their state’s EC votes. The coalition currently has the votes of states totaling 196 EC votes…essentially all of the Democrat controlled states…16 in total. Fortunately…the likelihood of getting any more is low as the flyover states are unlikely to vote to reduce their effect on national politics. 

Further…the coalition states that once a state is in…they can never leave.

So…is this coalition…it’s actually named the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact…is it actually legal? Depends on who you ask and if it ever came into effect the Supreme Court would have to vote on it…which means that whether strict or loose constructionists are in charge would likely determine the outcome.

On one hand…the Constitution says that each state has the right to determine how it’s electors in the EC are determined and who they are to vote for…under this clause it seems that a state could decide to award it’s EC votes to the mythical “national popular vote” winner.

On the other hand…the Constitution also states that states may not enter into an agreement or compact with another state without the approval of Congress…which would seem to make the Compact illegal.

The entire issue comes down to the fact that progressives want their way and demand that the rules be changed. But it’s too hard to change them the correct way so the compact is just an end run around the Constitution…very similar to the way that the anti gun crowd wants to make an end run around the 2nd amendment by legislating it out of existence. Gee…I wonder if they would also be in favor of legislating the freedom of the press right out of existence…for instance by the passage of legislation along the lines of the Official Secrets Act in the UK where the government can mandate something as an official secret and thus the press and news are legally prohibited from publishing or covering it. I’m guessing they would be not in favor of reducing that right…but like many on the left they pretty much only believe in free speech that they approve of.

So…speaking of this whole “national popular vote” thing which progressives tell us is because President Trump and bush were both elected “illegitimately” since they didn’t win the mythical “national popular vote”…let’s talk about another election where the person elected President failed to win the mythical “national popular vote”. Back in the day…in 1824 to be specific…John Quincy Adams was elected President despite receiving the second highest total of EC votes…he received 84 to Jackson’s 99 and two other candidates received 40 and 38 but no candidate received the 131 required for election. So…the vote went to the House of Representatives where each state gets one vote…not each Representative…and by some political manipulations Adams was elected President. Six states did not have any popular vote for president at the time…the legislature appointed the electors…so the whole “national popular vote” didn’t really apply.

Speaking of “national popular vote”…there was another president who was elected despite receiving less than 40% of the popular votes…although by that time almost all states had popular votes for President…and the guy who won with <40% of the vote was…Abraham Lincoln.

Ok…back to the teaser image way back at the top. It seems over the past couple of weeks that wildlife is starting to return…birds in particular…we spotted this Great Egret the other day and Neil wandered out to get a few photos. Like always…he starts farther away and takes insurance shots as he gets closer…but this time he used a tip from one of his forums to (a) not stare at the animal as you approach it but just glance to the side periodically and (b) don’t walk straight towards the animal but sort of zig zag with periodic stops to prevent startling it into fleeing. He took advantage of the stops to get more insurance shots…especially as he did not have the bird lens on the camera as moving the tripod would be too much movement and would have likely startled it. He ended up with some nice shots including a series as it took off and headed the other side of the pond. It was originally on our side of the pond right behind the corner of our lanai.

You can tell it is a Great Egret and not the similarly size and white Great White Heron (the latter is actually closer to a Great Blue Heron and I won’t try to explain the difference between a heron and an egret)…it’s the legs. Great Egrets have black legs and Great White Herons have yellow greenish legs…both have yellowish beaks. Juvenile Little Blue Herons are also white as are several other egret and heron varieties but those have either size or other distinguishing characteristics.

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Interesting things found on the net.

Our friend Bill sent this one along…and I have to tellya there’s a lot of truth in it.

PrivilegedUSA

Younger readers might not get this one.

MeepBeep

This is what a dead vole looks like…or actually it is the impression left behind in the snow by the owl that caused the vole (essentially a mouse) to become dead.

OwlPreyInSnow

4PieceBathingSuit

And finally…another one that has a lot of truth in it.

TimeOutGeneration

Cyas.

 

 

Posted in Critters, Homebody, WIldlife | Leave a comment

Laws…Or Should We Just Have Anarchy

Pretty much situation normal round here…we keep thinking that while we are suffering from a lot of things during the corona like not seeing friends, visiting the Elks, and the like…one thing we aren’t suffering from is having good food. Seems like every meal we pretty much hit it out of the park no matter who’s doing the cooking. Scallops, lamb, crab cakes, steaks, smoked turkey…yeah, we’re really suffering.

Neil ran down to the eye doctor yesterday morning…he’s got an infection in his eyelid so he’s got some antibiotics and some ‘roid drops to put in to ease the swelling and itching. It’s getting better and is pretty minor but I figgered I should update his status since I mentioned it last time.

I’m really disgusted with how people these days seem to think that laws just don’t matter…they’ll sue over them and find a friendly judge to rule in their favor who might be overruled by other courts but in the meantime they get their way. Or we’ll have leaders that issue Executive Orders because it’s just too darned difficult to get Congress or the legislature to actually do their jobs…then depending on your political persuasion either those EOs assume the force of law because they fit your political views or they’re sued over trivia like not getting public comments before the new regulations get published.

Or they loot and burn cities over whatever the injustice of the week is…attacking cops and public buildings and then get all butt-hurt when the cops use force to stop the riot. Many of the injustice of the week things are actually valid…although not always as valid as the rioters claim…and sometimes the cops probably do over react…but then believe it or not when a cop goes to work his primary goal is not to shoot a black guy during his/her tour but to be alive and unharmed at the end of his tour to go home to his/her family.

Anyways…just a few examples from just the past 3 or 4 days in the news…and I’m not even going to include any of the riots.

Now I have a passing familiarity with the Constitution…and it says that states are responsible for the time, place, and manner of holding elections (it specifically talks about Senators, Representatives, and Electors for President but by extension the responsibility goes to all elections) but that Congress may make or alter such regulations.

Let me state up front that there is nothing wrong with voting by absentee ballot…and further there is nothing wrong with voting by mail…assuming the individual state has set their voting rules up this way. It is correct however…that the possibility of voter fraud is higher with voting by mail since most states do not do an adequate job of providing election security. In our opinion…voter ID is a good thing as it ensures that only citizens who are properly registered vote and that they do so only once. We have our Democrats demanding that every vote count and our Republicans who want to ensure that only citizens vote once each…and Democrats stating that voter fraud mostly doesn’t exist. That might even be factually correct…however we should still take precautions to prevent it from happening…just like we take precautions to keep minors from buying alcohol or cigarettes or to ensure that folks with DUI convictions don’t have a valid drivers license…but I’m starting to go down a rathole so back to the point.

States are responsible for voting practices, procedures, and timelines. So down in GA…there’s a law established by the legislature that states that the deadline for receipt of any mailed in ballots is the close of the polls on Election Day. That’s the law…and I’m all in favor of the legislature and governor changing it if they so desire…but it is the law. A group named the New Georgia Project…decided they didn’t like this law so they filed a federal lawsuit demanding that the deadline be extended along with other voting changes including a prepaid postage return envelope, allow third parties to collect and submit ballots, require that invalid ballots be communicated to the voter so that they could fix it even if this was past the deadline, and additional demands. Now it seems to me that…under the Constitution that says the state is responsible for making these determinations that the correct avenue was to have a legislator sympathetic to their cause introduce legislation to change the rules…but nope, they decided to use the federal lawsuit route instead.

Amazingly enough…US District Judge Eleanor Ross actually agreed with them as far as the decline goes but she declined to order most of the changes…instead she merely required that ballots received by 7PM 3 business days later be accepted and not declared invalid as required by state law.

Just who does this judge think she is to substitute her judgement for the requirements in the Constitution? I’m really confused about what authority she thinks she has to over rule the state law on the deadline…she can’t declare the state law unconstitutional since the Constitution leaves the rules completely up to the states…but she decided that this “narrowly tailored remedy” was appropriate because voters “might be disenfranchised if they mailed their ballots too late”. Seems to me that mailing the ballot too late is the voter’s fault and not the state laws fault…but what do I know.

Similarly…down in TX…the state law regarding absentee ballots generally restricts absentee (AKA mail in) ballots to voters over the age of 65, disabled voters, and those that will not be in their county of residence on Election Day. Now one side might not like those rules…but again, under the Constitution the state sets the rules so the rules are what they are and there are legal avenues to getting the rules changed.

However…down in Harris County TX…the election board unilaterally decided to ignore state law and announced that they will be sending a mail in ballot to every registered voter.

Again…who do those people think they are…you don’t just get to decide the law doesn’t apply and ignore it. The state government has sued the county over the plan so I guess we’ll see what happens there as well.

In Atlanta GA; the CDC has issued a “sweeping nationwide ban on evictions due to the corona virus”…that supposedly will reduce the spread of the virus. The problem is…under what legal authority does the CDC which is responsible for disease control have the authority to issue a nationwide ban on evictions…that seems out of the purview of their responsibility. The President did issue an EO back in early August to consider if a temporary halt in evictions would aid in reducing the virus…but considering whether it might help doesn’t seem to give them regulatory authority to issue this order. Again…we’ll have to see what happens here. It might actually be a good idea…but the CDC can only do things they are legally allowed to do and I don’t see how this falls under their bailiwick.

Out in the city of San Francisco…there was a citywide EO in effect that requires that beauty salons, barbershops, and bars remain closed…so that puts a legal requirement that they remain closed…which means no customers allowed. Despite this…Ms. Pelosi decided to have her favorite salon give her a was and blow out earlier this week…and she’s on video in the salon getting her done sans mask…which violates another local guideline that mandates masks in public.

So I ask again…who does she think she is that the law on getting her hair done and wearing a mask doesn’t apply to her? Unfortunately…it’s San Francisco and she’s a liberal from a liberal state so I’m sure that nothing will happen. Her office claims that “she followed the guidelines as given her by the salon”…so essentially she’s blaming the salon and not her willful ignoring of the law.

People need to learn to follow the law…and that they don’t get to unilaterally decide to overrule them…my guess is that the decision in GA will be overturned and the suit against Harris County TX will succeed since the state law is the law…but we’ll see. Ms. Pelosi…she’ll get away with it because she’s important and has to appear on TV. The CDC thing…no idea on that one. The Democrats won’t sue over it since that’s what they want anyway…but whether the CDC can issue such a nationwide order I’m not sure but don’t think so.

One of the websites that Neil checks out frequently is one called digg.com…they aggregate news articles from around the web and are…mostly…not politically biased. One of their ongoing sections aggregates a series of advice/relationship columns…think Ann Landers or Dear Abby and you’ll have the flavor of them. Anyways; from this week’s selections.

  • “Am I a jerk for taking a bath in my neighbor’s apartment without his knowledge”…this person has a key to his neighbors apartment that he was given while his neighbor was out of town on holiday. The key was never returned…so when the neighbor with the key had an “important work presentation” and his shower was broken he used the neighbor’s key to enter and use his bathtub. He brought his own shower gel, shampoo, and rubber duck so he thought it was just fine…and so enjoyed the experience (since he had no tub in his apartment) so that he has continued to go twice weekly on Tuesday and Friday to use his neighbor’s bathtub. Unfortunately…the neighbor died and he didn’t know it until the neighbor’s brother came in and found the tub visitor “naked on the toilet”. I guess the brother freaked out so the tub visitor wanted to know if he’s the asshole for doing this. Advice columnist evaluation…Yes, you are.
  • A person in some sort of middle management position over an employee he calls John (and John happens to be transgender and was formerly known as Sally…note that we don’t believe there’s such a thing as transgender, you are male or female, determined at birth, and can’t change it…although there are a few genetic mutations that result in ambiguous gender. We don’t care if you want to be a woman and dress in men’s clothes or vice versa…but it’s just dress up, putting on make up or cutting your hair doesn’t change gender.)…wonders about a situation he has. Seems that another employee Lizzy transferred into his department…and discovered that Sally is now John…and she insists on using Sally as the name. John has complained to HR about it…who told him she is not harassing him from being trans so she’s not breaking the rules. Lizzy says that she has no problem with trans people but is “using the name he was given at birth out of respect and honor to his mother”. She’s been asked to use John by both John himself and the supervisor…but refuses. So…John has started calling Lizzy Elizabeth instead of her preferred Lizzy…which she hates. She’s complained to him, the supervisor, and half the office about this…John simply replies that he is “using the name she was given at birth out of respect and honor to her mother”…the supervisor’s question (despite the supervisor thinking the situation is hilarious) is whether he should force John to use Lizzy while accepting that she can use Sally. Advice columnist answer…No.
  • And the final one this week…a thirty something straightish (whatever that means) woman who is in an open relationship with a thirty something straight man…an open relationship means that they can date/have sex with others outside other relationship. She further states that both she and the man are in long standing, stable, open marriages…just not to each other. In other words…she and her husband are fooling around with this other woman and her husband with the full knowledge of all 4 of them. Anyway…apparently the other couple is having marriage difficulties…imagine that…and they are undergoing couple’s counseling to determine whether they should stay married and/or cease their open marriage activities. The questioner states that the real problem is that the other wife feels threatened by her…although how she supposedly knows this is not stated. Her question is whether she has a right to demand that she be included in the couples counseling the other couple is having because they will be “talking about her behind her back”. Advice columnist answer…butt out and let them hash out their own marital problems on their own…the fact that you don’t want to “lose the intense relationship she has with the other woman’s husband” is irrelevant.

I had to wonder just what is wrong with these people.

Interesting things found on the net.

FavoriteAnimal

TimeAtWorkVsAtHome

SocialDistancing3

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Exciting Stuff

Well…whether it was exciting really depended on who we’re talking ‘bout.

Connie…son Bryan…DIL Jen…yeah, they were excited.

Neil…not so much.

As I may or may not have mentioned…Neil and Connie got Apple Watches back in the fall when they returned from the 2019 travel season and they really like them. They waited until the 5th generation because it took that long before they decided the features were worth the price. Your watch pairs with your iPhone and allows getting text, email, voice mail, checking the weather…and importantly you can use it for contactless mobile payments with your associated credit card stored in the Apple Wallet app on your phone. None of those features played a factor in the excitement/non-excitement though.

Series 5 of the watch also includes fall detection…and while it’s really too sensitive and introduces some fall detections that aren’t falls like when you clap your hands vigorously or shake water off of them it’s better to be too sensitive than not sensitive enough. The idea is that if it detects what it thinks is a fall you get an alert on your watch where you tell it whether you fell or not and whether you’re OK or not. If not…then it decides you really fell…and importantly if it thinks you’re not moving any longer it takes action to call your emergency contact numbers which you previously entered into the medical alert section on your iPhone…in Neil’s case those numbers are the cell numbers for Connie, Bryan, and Jen.

As I said…that’s the way it is *supposed* to work…and up until yesterday it always worked that way…you periodically get “you might have fallen” alerts on your watch and answer the questions that you’re not unconscious in the ditch or whatever and you go on about your business.

So yesterday morning…Neil was out on a bike ride and maintaining about a 15.something miles an hour pace except for one stop at a light where a truck was turning left in front of him so he momentarily stopped with his foot down…but later reconstruction showed that this was not the cause of the excitement.

He rides up and down US-41 (Cleveland Avenue/Tamiami Trail) routinely and yesterday he headed south down it, turned left and rode one of his standard routes through a subdivision named Suncoast Estates then back out onto Tamiami and headed north towards home. He passed Del Prado where he had turned left to head over into the subdivision with a bit over 3 miles left home. Now he’s familiar with the fall detection feature and there are a half dozen or so places on his various standard routes that tend to activate the fall detection feature as he bumps over a curb or bump in the bike path and he knows to pick his left hand off of the handlebars to prevent a false detection there. However…none of these places are on the east side of Tamiami headed north towards home. And in any event…he received no fall detections on the entire ride…the watch has haptic features so it vibrates on your wrist and also has a distinctive alert tone…neither of which happened.

However…his watch obviously decided that he had fallen, not gotten up, wasn’t moving and was therefor unconscious in the ditch someplace…none of which was actually true. So…it waited the requisite time period and then commenced to calling his emergency contacts several times each. They then used the Find My Friends feature on iOS devices to see where he was and noticed that he was still moving. Then all three of them started calling and texting him…which would normally have sent alerts to his watch in addition to making his phone ring…and those alerts would have vibrated the watch and made even more alert sounds.

None of which happened. He was just cycling along to the end of the ride and as he passed the house he stopped his cycling tracking app, downshifted and did a quick cool down to the end of Long Pond Road and back…at which point Connie runs out of the house telling him that he’s calling everybody. 

He checked his watch…no alerts. Phone…yup…he’s called everybody and they’ve called and texted him but no alerts to the watch and no rings on the phone either.

He’s got no idea why nothing worked as expected this time…but he rebooted watch and iPhone and all is better as he got a fall detection alert this morning when he was making French Toast for breakfast.

He and Neil had a nice date night on Thursday…he ran down and got lobstah bisque and lobstah rolls (warm for him and cold with mayo for Connie) for dinner…and they’e been invited out to eat at some friends one night next week.

Other than that…it’s pretty much same-o same-o ‘round here. He does have some sort of eye thing going on as well that started on Friday…tenderness on the inside lower eyelid next to his nose on the left side. He’s monitoring it and if it’s not better by tomorrow will run down to the eye doctor and get it looked it…could be some sort of tear duct infection or a half dozen other minor things that might need a topical antibiotic to take care of.

And naturally…another day and there’s more stupidity in the news.

First up…ya probably read in the news about the black fellow that was “completely unarmed and was mercilessly gunned down by racist cops up in Kenosha WS…at least that’s the way the WAMM is reporting it. Naturally the riots started that night with multiple shootings, businesses looted and burned, and injuries on both protestor and police sides.

And then…well you actually get a few more facts. Now I’m not saying that this shooting was justified or not yet as the investigation is ongoing. However…there have been a few more facts released in the past few days that tend to cast some doubt on the original WAMM media claims.

  • The cops showed up at the shooting location based on a 911 call by a woman who said he (a) had a restraining order against him, and (b) he was trying to steal her keys and car. Not sure how that woulda worked as his car with his 3 kids in it was outside the house…but he was the subject of the 911 call and the cops that showed up knew that he had an outstanding felony sexual assault warrant active at the time.
  • He was armed…he told the police at the scene that he had a knife and at some point it was out of his pocket since the police drew their weapons and told him to drop the knife…the young local man who videoed the shooting says that he heard the cops tell him to drop the knife…and the knife was eventually found in the floorboard driver side of the car with the kids in it.
  • He fought with the police including putting one of them in a headlock, was tased twice with no effect, and ignored the orders of the cops to stop, put his hands up, and drop the knife…and walked around the front of the car and attempted to getting with a cop pulling on his shirt.
  • He appears in the video to be reaching towards the driver side floorboard area in the car immediately before he was shot.

The investigation is ongoing by the local DA as well as the state DoJ…but it’s clear that there is more to this situation than ‘another unarmed black man gunned down by racist police’. I realize that people are frustrated by the situation and there may or may not be systemic racial profiling by the police…but if you look at things without a predetermined outcome it’s also pretty clear that not following the commands of the police and fighting with them might get you shot. Back in 2007 or so…a black comedian named Chris Rock put out a video entitled. “How not to get your ass kicked by the police”…and there’s a lot of truth in it. I’m not sure if he intended it to be just a comedy routine or if he was using comedy to try and convince young black men to be less confrontational with police encounters…but a lot of what he says in the video is 100 percent on point.

Let’s see…what else is there.

Down here in Florida…they’re getting ready to release
750 million genetically modified male mosquitos
…this is a form of mosquito control since they have been modified so that when they mate with females the resulting mosquito eggs/larvae will not survive to become adult mosquitos. Now remember that male mosquitos do not bite…only females do that…and that this technique has been tried several times before (although not in FL) and proven successful in lowering the mosquito problem. Also remember…that while these particular mosquitos have been genetically modified by scientists…the net result is exactly the same as selective breeding would have gotten you to as you bred them to enhance certain characteristics.

Mind you…the EPA has approved this test based on proven results in earlier uses of the same technology…and mosquitos transmit many diseases not to mention being seriously annoying.

So let’s see what the linked article says about this

  • “With all the urgent crises facing our nation and the State of Florida — the Covid-19 pandemic, racial injustice, climate change — the administration has used tax dollars and government resources for a Jurassic Park experiment,” said Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment and Center for Food Safety”
  • “Now the Monroe County Mosquito Control District has given the final permission needed. What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks, now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” she added.”
  • The article admits that people in the Florida Keys are fully in support of this test…but notes that a change.org petition against it has over 240,000 signatures as of earlier this week…but it doesn’t mention how many (few I’m sure) of those people actually live in the Keys.
  • People are being used as “guinea pigs” for the “superbug” or “Robo-Frankenstein” mosquito.
  • “The release of genetically engineered mosquitoes will needlessly put Floridians, the environment and endangered species at risk in the midst of a pandemic,” said Dana Perls, food and technology program manager at Friends of the Earth, in Wednesday’s statement.

I really don’t understand the outrage. Mosquitos are a problem, this has been tried and worked before…and the modified males survive several generations to help lower the density. Male offspring mature normally with the modified genes and only females…the ones that bite people and animals and spread disease…are killed by the modification.

Nuts I tellya…nuts.

OK…and I need to say up front that this isn’t a complaint about masks…it’s a complaint about manipulating data for fake headlines.

Out in Kansas…the Democratic governor issued a “masks are required everywhere in the state” order back on July 3. Some counties followed her order precisely…and some did not. Those that didn’t largely justified their decision based on low population, no urban centers, and low case count in their county. Naturally…this pissed the governor off so she had her Department of Health issue a chart this week showing how successful her order was in reducing corona cases in those counties that followed it…here’s the graph as issued by the state.

Now look carefully at this graph…the blue line is the no mask counties and the yellow line is the mask counties. From this graph…one would naturally conclude…which was their precise goal of this misleading graph…that counties that followed the governor’s mask mandate showed a significant decline in cases…right?

Well…actually not right…because if you look carefully you’ll see that there are two different y (vertical) scales on this graph. On the left is the mask scale which goes from 15-25 rolling 7 day average per 100,000 population…while on the right the no mask scale goes from 4-14 using the same horizontal graph lines…and they also carefully selected the starting and ending dates on the x-axis on the graph. Thus…one would conclude that clearly those counties who followed the brilliantly issued mask mandate showed a considerable decline in case rate…and that clearly counties that failed to follow the mandate both did not see any decrease and are actually a higher case rate than in the mask counties.

UntitledImage

Now it’s clear to anybody that understands math and/or charts and/or statistics that if you’re comparing two things…any two things…you have to use the same axis scale on the graph and over a longer time period.

Luckily for us…the Kansas Policy Institute was on the job…recognized the flagrant lie provided by the above graph…and gave us a more accurate graph. Here it is with the same axis used for both mask and non mask counties.

Again…yellow for mask and blue for no masks. As you can see from using unbiased, fair, and mathematically correct graphing techniques…no mask counties and mask counties case rate both increased but no mask counties have a higher overall case rate and although the percentage increases are in the same ballpark visually it’s pretty clear that mask counties have a higher increase.

UntitledImage

Gee…I wonder why the state chose to publish such a clearly biased chart. Probably because an unbiased chart would undercut their contention that the mask mandate was and is a wonderful thing and only those idiot Republican controlled counties are wrong.

The real issue here is…beyond the obviously biased chart…that a mask mandate is not a one size fits all thing. Yes…masks do help prevent an infected you from spreading the corona…and to a lesser extent they protect an uninfected you from being infected when out and about. However…the difference is really an urban verses rural population. In lesser populated places…there will naturally be a lower case rate…and in those places with fewer people and less social interaction with large groups the utility of mandating mask wearing is lessened. Not zeroed out by any means but lessened. The fact that those rural counties tend to be Republican controlled and urban counties tend to be Democrat controlled because of the larger city populations is really irrelevant to the case rate or the wearing/not wearing of masks.

Instead…we get what is clearly a biased graph designed to reinforce the political stance of the governor. I’ll grant you that the Kansas Policy Institute is right of center…but all they did was fairly plot the actual data…the same actual data that the state used to construct the misleading first graph.

What we really need is for our politicians and media to simply stop lying for political gain and…ummm…just tell the truth…ya know, the actual facts without all of the completely BS attempts to spin things to suit their political desires.

Not gonna happen though…as we’ve frequently lamented ‘round these parts all of our politicians of both parties are more interested…well, maybe not all but the vast, vast majority…in making eat other side look bad and getting reelected consumes as close to 100% of their efforts as you can get without actually getting to 100%. Both parties at this point are being run by the idiots on the fringe…despite the fact that those idiots on the fringe stand little chance of winning in any non local election…and despite the fact that most of the population is much closer to the center. Yeah…some are left of center and some are right of center…but largely the population is much more center than fringe. There’s almost no political party left for those of us in the center.

Our upcoming election illustrates…once again…why Neil’s long standing recommendation of having None Of The Above on the ballot…is a simply stupendous idea…and if None wins you have another election and none of the idiots who ran the first time can run in the new election. Unfortunately…that would require constitutional amendments…multiple ones probably…to be enacted and our current two party system is too well entrenched for them to allow citizens to actually vote in an acceptable alternative.

Mike Rowe has another
really interesting column
this week. It’s about a black Republican woman named Kimberly Klacik who lives in Baltimore MD and is running for Congress there. She put out a campaign ad showing her walking through bad neighborhoods in Baltimore saying that the people who run Baltimore don’t care about black lives. She says that the city has been run by Democrats for 53 years and shows what Connie and Neil are familiar with from living there as the problems facing black residents in the city. She cites numerous statistics for her claim…and politics side the ad seems pretty factually dead on with the facts…and that she wants to try and make a difference for her city.

Now I’ll grant you that she’s running for office so she is highlighting the problems she says are attributable to Democrat leadership of her city…but naturally the Democratic Party is all in a tither over this ad. However…instead of politicians attacking her or trying to defend their record…apparently they had their friends in the WAMM at the Baltimore Sun put out a
response
. Do they defend their policies…umm…no. Instead they call her a Trump enabler and accuse her of trying to blunt black voter support for Mr. Biden. She has responded with a
commentary
in the same Baltimore Sun. Her Democratic opponent was kicked out of the NAACP amid allegations of sexual harassment, nepotism and mismanagement…and this is the candidate the Baltimore Sun has endorsed. Her response and positions indicate that she is a moderate mostly center right Republican who is in favor of a lot of the social policies the Democrats want…but I think she’s right in that 53 years of control by the other party have definitely contributed to the terrible situation Baltimore is in.

Go take a look at Mike’s post…as is his norm it’s well researched and while it is clearly an opinion he’s got facts and figures to back up what he recommends…and mostly he is kinda like the guy that says the King has no clothes. He’s only recognizing obvious facts and suggests that it is forcing a long overdue conversation about the rot, corruption, and lack of services in the city…and that after 53 years refusing to have that conversation and trying to figure out a solution is simply guaranteed to perpetuate it for even longer. He doesn’t either endorse or not her candidacy…but he does endorse having the conversation because things will never get better otherwise.

Interesting things found on the net.

So…what’s the easternmost point of the United States? I have to admit that we…like probably 99.99% of the rest of you…thought it was the state of Maine and more specifically West Quoddy Head Lighthouse just south of Lubec which borders the Lubec Narrows with the island of Campobello belonging to Canuckistan to the east.

However…you…like us…would be wrong. Let me show you the actual easternmost point of the US. It is named Semisopochnoi and is the rightmost island in this image.

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So just what…and where…exactly is Semisopochnoi. Looking at the name…which means “having seven hills”…it’s obviously a Russian name which probably gives you a clue where it is. Semisopochnoi is an island in the Aleutian chain about 150 miles to the west of Adak Island and about 700 miles from mainland Alaska and 1000 miles from the main portion of mainland AK. What is unique about Semisopochnoi…as well as the additional half dozen or so islands in the Aleutian chain that are west of it…is that they like across the  180th meridian and their geographical coordinates are eastern longitude. Looking at the 48 contiguous states…they’re all in eastern longitudes as well with Maine being about 66 east…while Semisopochnoi is 179.something east and the beginning of western longitude about 5 miles east of the island. So…when considering actual longitude standards…Semisopochnoi is farther east than Maine is and hence is the easternmost point in the US.

Followup question…how far is it from the easternmost point in the US to the westernmost point? Only about 71 miles as if you head east from Semisopochnoi you cross into western longitude and get to the westernmost point the island of Amitagnik.

I have to admit…we never thought of it this way…but on further review as the replay official says…it is correct.

I found an interesting tidbit that…again on further review…one would agree that this would happen ‘Only in Texas’. Before the recent arrival in the area of hurricane Laura there was naturally your typical run on stores for vital hurricanes supplies like milk, bread, and toilet paper. So naturally the HEB store there (HEB is a grocery chain) started enforcing some limits on how much of these vital supplies an individual could buy…and naturally the local TV station put these limitations up so that folks would know ahead of time.

OnlyInTexas

I have to admit…I’ve lived my entire life without knowing that brisket (thick beef roasts for bbq/smoking) were vital hurricane supplies.

Speaking of riots…

GangViolence

And in the dumbest crook of the week…actually probably the decade at least and maybe the century.

After the recent shooting in Kenosha…the WAMM has the normal series of articles with headlines like “Timeline of the shooting” and “What do we know about this racist cop”. In the latter article…they breathlessly report that he was one of a group of officers who were previously sued right at the top of the article.

About 5 paragraphs later when most people have quit reading…they report the actual facts of the suit. Turns out that an inmate in the local hoosegow filed a handwritten federal civil rights lawsuit against him and another half dozen or so officers for “causing damage to his door”. What actually happened was that the cops broke the door down…because they had a no-knock warrant…which means they are legally allowed to break the door down…and that the results of that warrant were what earned the complainant in the suit a conviction and his being in the hoosegow when he filed his lawsuit. So the cops had a proper warrant to search for evidence, entered as allowed in the warrant, found the evidence they were looking for, and the perp was convicted and sentenced based at least partially one would assume on that evidence.

So naturally…he filed his handwritten federal civil rights lawsuit.

Which was summarily dismissed.

Gee…imagine that. I’m shocked I tellya…shocked.

My buddy Randy has the rights to a domain about idiotic lawsuits…they’re known as Stella Awards based on Stella who…at the age of 79 successfully sued McDonalds in 1992 and was awarded $2.7 million in punitive damages (later reduced to just $480K) because she spilled a cup of hot McDonalds coffee in her lap and burned her lady bits. Now McDonalds at the time did serve their coffee hotter than your average coffee stand did so that they would get fewer complaints about their coffee not being hot enough…and while there may have been a lack of notification in writing that their coffee was hotter than normal coffee shops…any moron should know that coffee is hot and shouldn’t be placed in between your legs with the top removed (as I recall) so that it can spill onto your lady bits or man bits. Anyway…no new cases are being accepted but since Randy dropped the site due to it not making him any money to make up for his time and effort in maintaining it he still owns the rights so he’s gradually re-releasing the cases. This week’s case deals with Kathleen Ann McCormick who lived in Wilkes-Barre PA and was an obese smoker who had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a family history of coronary artery disease.

Her doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medial Center told her to…amazingly enough…stop smoking, lose weight, and eat a more healthy diet…which naturally she did not do. And then…again, amazingly enough…she had a heart attack which…according to her suit against the VA and her 8 doctors for $1 million…left her a cardiac invalid. According to her…her doctors…with the full and complicit conspiracy of the entire VA and the US government…”did not do enough” to convince her to work to improve her own health…and thus she deserved compensation. The lawsuit was filed back in 2002 and Randy could find no news reports on it here in 2020 except for those that referred to his original post so evidently this suit was also summarily dismissed.

If you want to read more about some of these cases…stellaawards.com will get you to the page where you can sign up for the (approximately) weekly notification of re-released cases. And while you’re at it…thisistrue.com will allow you to sign up for either the free or paid version of This is True…his weekly newsletter of amazing but true stories from the media.

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Boring Stuff

Not much going on the past few days…although it’s really been raining almost every afternoon for going on 2 weeks…but that’s late summer in southern FL I guess.

The hurricanes passed us by. Marco was well to the south over by the Yucatan peninsula as it went into the Gulf and Laura shifted left and passed just south of Cuba, over the Keys east of Key West and on into the Gulf. We had some rain bands from it as it passed yesterday with some occasional heavy rain but winds only got to the mid 20s. Both will hit along the TX/LA coast in a double whammy tonight or tomorrow…but one will just be a tropical storm and the other a minimum hurricane as they come ashore according to the forecast. So they’ll get some rain and wind but overall it should not be too bad…although this morning’s news says Laura might be a category 3 by the time it makes landfall. The media is hyping the danger but looking at the actual Hurricane Center data forecasts a minimum category 3 at best and almost immediately down to tropical storm strength after landfall. Of course…Katrina was supposed to be minimal as well until the last 24 hours before landfall so anything is possible I guess at this point for eventual strength. Once it makes landfall it makes a right turn through AR and then will speedily head east departing the coast near MD only 3+ days after landfall which should minimize the amount of rain and flooding in the mid Atlantic states.

We continue to stay at home with limited outings…Mass on the weekend, takeout pickup for Thursday date nights, grocery pickups from Walmart and produce runs we do ourselves. We keep remarking to ourselves around here that while we’re suffering from a lot of things under the lockdown situation…good eating isn’t one of the things we’re having to do without as we keep making really good meals pretty much every night.

Neil did a bunch of camera stuff this week…mostly a deep cleaning on the sensors on each of our DSLRs. That involves locking the mirror up and the shutter open and then using specially sized single use cleaning swabs and some very volatile cleaning solution to get the gunk off of the glass covering the sensor. I am going to post a couple of the after shots further down…mostly so I’ll have them easily available for review down the line if necessary…there’s nothing really super about any of the images but I was really trying to just check and make sure all of the gunk that was causing spots in the images was gone.

Our new grill and Neil’s new bike shoes/cleats/pedals came in so we’ll probably get all of that set up this morning before the rain starts…

~~musical interlude here as he goes out and does that and Connie replants one of her spider plants that grew an offspring~~ 

OK…we’re back with mixed results. 

  • New grill hooked up and original burn in to get rid of all the leftover manufacturing oils. The automatic piezoelectric lighter didn’t work but that might be (a) because his 20 pound LP tank is almost dead, (b) it had some of the aforementioned leftover manufacturing oil on it so it piezo’ed but didn’t spark, or (c) it’s broke. We are due to go refill our tank tomorrow so we’ll try again before doing any further troubleshooting or complaining to Dickinson Marine who makes this brand of grill…I know we’re not using it in a marine environment but since the whole thing is stainless steel it will hopefully last longer. His buddy Clarke had one he recently replaced that he said came as original equipment with their 1992 Newell so that makes it 30something years old. The old one is out with the garbage for pickup since today just happens to be garbage day.
  • Spider plant transplanted into a new pot…it is still connected back to the parent plant via a stem…kinda like a plant IV bag I guess…that she will cut once the new roots get started.
  • New bike shoes fit perfectly…but the new pedals only had a single (left) pedal in the box, the right one was missing. The box was in a sealed plastic bag and should have had 2 each of pedals, cleats, and mounting bolts but the right pedal was missing. Don’t know if never made it into the box from the Shimano factory, was taken out and the package resealed by somebody along the line who needed a pedal, or taken out for some legitimate purpose and accidentally resealed. The plastic bag didn’t look like it had been resealed so I guess it was either not there from Shimano or whoever needed a pedal was really neat about sealing it back up. In any event…he did the live chat thing with Julia T from REI out in WA and got the confirmation for the replacement order before he disconnected with her. In the interim, he’ll just keep using his previous 2 bolt pedals and basically worn out shoes.

Speaking of bolt pedals…way back before he bought his current Cannondale bike and we went on the road he upgraded his previous bike from the toe basket type of pedals to cleat pedals. Since it was a hybrid bike designed for both on road usage and some off road/gravel usage, when he asked the REI guy what cleats and pedals to buy the tech recommended what he now knows as 2 bolt mountain bike cleats, shoes and pedals. The advantage of 2 bolt ones is that the cleat is metal and hence lasts longer, and the pedal is open so that gravel or dirt won’t get trapped in it. The disadvantage is that a 3 bolt road bike pedal, cleat, and shoe make for more efficient energy transfer. He rides almost exclusively on the road (paved surfaces) even when he had the hybrid bike…but didn’t know enough to get the 3 bolt road bike cleats and pedals at the time. The 3 bolt cleat itself is much larger than the 2 bolt one is…and it has some ability to rotate a few degrees either way without coming unclipped as compared to the 2 bolt one. The much stiffer sole on the new road bike shoes also helps with power transmission from the leg to the pedal crank and he’s told it’s more comfortable for long rides…although even his long rides of about 15 miles would be considered merely a warm up by the serious biker crowd.

OK…a couple of actual images I wanted to share before the “just put them online to find easier later” ones.

A new bird for us…an Eastern Kingbird. He (we think) was sitting on the tree right outside of our lanai and he’s demonstrated that he is pretty skittish so this one was taken through both our glass door out to the lanai and the lanai screening…and he also had his 18-300mm lens on the camera instead of the 150-600mm bird lens so he had to crop a little more than he would wish to…but he wanted to get the shot before the bird left. After he got this one he shifted to the bird lens but it was too late as either he left on his own or saw the reflection of Neil’s movement in the glass. It took us awhile to figure out what it was…when we searched in Peterson based on location and date the drawing showed a small red crest on top of the head and it wasn’t until we read the detailed description that we saw the note that the red crest was rarely seen as it is small. This is the same tree we thought the Shrike pair was nesting in but we haven’t seen either of them in awhile, Neil has searched the tree for a nest, and we don’t hear any chicks peeping so maybe the Shrikes we saw were just passing through.

D75 6028

Taken on an early morning drive out in NE this past summer…it was foggy and we were out on a birdwatching driving loop thing…didn’t see many birds except for some wild turkeys but we did get a shot of this tree through the fog. It’s got a kind of eerie dust bowl sort of vibe. I’ve previously put in a similar shot that Neil took but he found this one un-imported into Lightroom on Connie’s memory card when he was getting the before and after sensor cleaning images off of it to verify that he had in fact gotten the sensor clean. Turns out that on both of their cameras it took 2 cleanings (and 3 on one of them) to get it clean. The cleaning swabs have a flat piece covered with liquid holding cloth of some sort and exactly match the width of the sensor (you need to get the right size for your camera when you buy them). You are cautioned not to scrub with the swab…just put the cleaning liquid on both sides then start at one side, put pressure on the swab and go once across the sensor, then flip it over and go once back with the other side. This means that you might miss stuff on the first swab and have to do it again. He used about 8 or 10 bucks worth of swabs to get it done but you don’t need to do it real often, maybe annually or so and neither of these have ever been cleaned this way in the 3 and 5 years they’ve had the bodies. Normally he just uses a lens brush and squeeze air bulb to clean them but the really stuck on stuff doesn’t come off that way very well.

D71 8659

This is Neil’s Nikon D7500 after shot with his 18-300mm lens…you’ve seen this framing of the pond out back before but as I said it’s just for documentation purposes.

D75 6034 Luminar4 edit

Connie’s Nikon D7100 with 18-55mm lens.

D71 8694 Luminar4 edit

And a couple more taken by Neil with his 7500 and 150-600mm bird lens to round out the set of post cleaning images and re-verify the autofocus fine adjust tuning for that lens…they are at various focal lengths and focusing distances to verify accurate autofocus.

Our bougainvillea plant out front.

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Mockingbird across the other side of the pond.

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Water plant out in the pond.

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Our neighbor 2 doors to the left has a hummingbird feeder hanging from his tree.

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Interesting things found on the net.

This is the Kjeragbolten rock in Norway. It is a piece of stone about 15 cubic meters that is stuck in a crack suspended over a 948 meter (3,110 feet) vertical drop down to the fjord below. I can most definitely state that crawling out on this is something that Connie will never do…it’s right up there with bungee jumping or leaping out of a perfectly good airplane for her. Neil would hike up and see it…it’s only about a mile and a half from the parking lot so a pretty easy hike…but he would have to look at it before he decided to crawl out on it or not…on google maps it looks like the top is only about 5 feet by 8 feet so I’m thinking probably not. He would take a look at it and get photos but crawling out on it might not be the smartest thing…it’s a long, long way down.

Kjeragbolten Norway 948Meters

Here’s a hint if you ever think about getting yourself or your kids a pair of rabbits for pets/companionship…get them fixed if you do. We’ve all heard the expression “reproduce like rabbits” and this is why.

ReproduceLikeRabbits

 

This guy probably got a ticket…but he’s not wrong and if he fought it in court he would probably win.

GreenVehicles

And a few design/thinking failures.

Indian television show props.

IndianTVProps

This submarine captain.

SubmarineCaptain

An article on how to avoid needless monthly subscription fees…located behind the paywall of needless monthly subscription fees at the Wall Street Journal.

NeedlessMonthlySubscriptions

Whatever city this is had the right idea but their execution was sorely lacking…putting a solar powered streetlight under a highway bridge means that…ummm…it ain’t gonna work very well.

SolarPoweredStreetlight

Cyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Critters, Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Prediction Placeholder

Connie and Neil have made a prediction…which I’ll not go into detail here at the risk of being accused of fake news or conspiracy mongering…besides if it never happens then I would hate to have to take it back:-). 

However…if it comes to pass then I (well the adults actually…as bears don’t believe in predicting anything past the next salmon run and hibernation season) want to be able to talk about it…and naturally talk about their brilliant deductions a bit although to be fair both of them really thinks this prediction is a pretty obvious one.

That’s it…nothing else interesting today although Connie is heading down to get her nails redone this morning and then we’ll have Date Nite tomorrow.

Posted in Reality Based Blogging | Leave a comment

Ya Just Can’t Believe Anybody Anymore

There’s so much BEP (bovine end product, a more PC version for BS) out there on what are supposed to be news sites that you can’t believe ‘em…instead you’ve gotta read a bunch of places, extract the actual facts from the article, and then form your own opinion. Back in the day…Walter Cronkite just read the news…you would never have guessed from his daily presentation that he was a pretty far lefty politically…but today journalism is pretty much dead. Instead we’ve got opinion talking heads posing as serious journalists when they’re really more interested in being the news or creating the news in their own likeness.

‘Afore I get into that though…let’s see where we were on this day in the 

Blast from the past

In ’19 we were stuck in Cody WY waiting on Neil’s kidney stone treatment but in ’18 we were in Medway ME at the Katadin Shadows Campground…so named after Mount Katadin which is the highlight of the most popular state park in ME…Baxter State Park. We had considered hiking up to the top of the mountain but decided that due to the limited number of parking spaces and having to win the daily lottery to get a hiking and parking pass…it would have been a nice walk with a thousand or so of our closest friends…so we passed on that and instead sought out other less popular things to do in the park.

Katadin Shadows was actually a pretty nice campground…we had reserved what we thought would be a nice site with an open shot to the SW for our satellite dish but on arrival found that it was not open at all. Fortunately…we were right next to the cabin occupied by the owner’s parents and she offered us a connection to her DirecTV system which was a bit to the south of her cabin and our site out in an open area.

We headed out through the town of East Millinocket which turned out to have a really great dive bar that we ended up at several times…good thing it was nice as just about the only watering hole around…and into the park for a drive along the river and through park road. We actually drove that rode several times in search of that mythical creature known as moose…headed out early two different days and stopped at the ponds that “always have moose” according to the locals…bzzzzt. We did however…find some nice views of the river and mountains although actually seeing Mount Katadin was pretty hard due to heavy tree cover…but then it is the backwoods of Maine.

This was the coolest little river…it was never more than about 2 feet deep and had a solid rock bottom, no sand or gravel to be found. We watched a bunch of kids playing in various parts of the river near where we got this shot and had lunch one day.

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Lots of nice waterfalls…this one is on a different river than the one above.

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The same river less than a half mile downstream from the falls above…hard to believe it is the same one since it is so calm and placid here…these two shots were taken about 20 minutes apart as Neil remembers.

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We’re pretty sure this is Mount Katadin…it was taken from the same spot as the one above but about 30 degrees to the right…you can just see the mountain on the far right of the shot above.

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This is still another river in the park…best shot we could get as there was no place to get looking onto the face of the drop and even these Neil had to stick the camera lens through the chain link fence which keeps morons from climbing out and then falling down the waterfall.

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So…about that gathering your own facts…this week Uncle Joe Biden announced his pick for VP…and almost immediately the right started bashing her while the left declared her to be the second coming of Moses. There was some kerfuffle about whether she was eligible to run for VP…with some idiots declaring that her parents weren’t legal residents when she was born and hence she is not a natural born citizen…and some more kerfuffle about whether she was eligible to be called African-American since her parents were an Indian and a Jamaican citizen. Frankly I don’t care what she calls herself…she’s way too liberal to get my vote but that’s just me…and anybody that either has googled the definition of natural born citizen or took civics in high school back before taking civics and government classes went out of style knows that if you’re born on American soil…you’re an American citizen, it’s as simple as that.

Next the arguments descended into her attack on Mr. Biden during the debates about how she was in the second integrated school class in America. Now again…I could give two hoots…but instead we have the idiots from USA Today deciding to fact check the claims that she was not telling the truth when she said that.

Turns out that she was born in 1964 and started school in 1970…and the claims by her detractors were that she was not part of an integration during the 60s or the second integrated class. In comes USA Today to…fact check this claim. In their article…they officially declare this claim to be false…but there’s a little problem with their conclusion. First off…she didn’t start school until 1970. Second…her school district started forced busing to achieve school integration in 1968…so she would have actually been in the 3rd class of students in that district. Thirdly…the researchers at USA Today didn’t bother trying to find out whether her school district was actually the first one that started busing for integration.

All of those are minor errors I’ll grant you…and her little speech did make a good debating point even though she completely mischaracterized Mr. Biden’s record on the issue. However…even in the face of facts that they included in their article…USA Today’s ‘journalist’ concluded that the claim by her detractors was false…and that’s a straight up lie. Granted again…it’s a minor point…but technically the claim is completely true…however that doesn’t fit the narrative this so called journalist wanted to perpetuate. Like I said…real journalism is dead and buried.

My suggestion…you’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts. Figure out what the actual facts are and then at least you have an informed opinion even if I disagree with you.

The other big topic in the news this week…is how the President is deliberately trying to emasculate the postal service in some sort of attempt to rig the election…I’m sure you’ve seen the claims that blue mailboxes are being picked up and mail sorting machines being retired. Then there is the coup de grace…the letter that the postal service sent out to all 40 states that…according to the articles you read…tell of drastic inability to deliver the mail in ballots on time. Well…that’s what the article says anyway…but then if you actually go and read what the letter says…and do a little research on the numbers you will see that the truth is just a little different.

Now I admit…the USPS is a basket case and is effectively bankrupt…but this is due to a whole bunch of factors including both political parties, Congress, multiple administrations in the White House, USPS management, USPS union leaders who keep getting more expensive contracts, and how the post office is run and regulated even though it is supposed to be self funding. I could go on for many paragraphs about all of the ills in the organization and who is responsible for them…but suffice it to say that it isn’t a simple explanation and has a multitude of factors.

So…what do these letters really say…and will the post office be able to deliver all the mail in ballots?

Let’s look at a couple of numbers. The USPS handles about 145 billion pieces of mail each year and while there are no specific numbers that I could find on letters verses packages…I’m going to assume that about 120 billion of those or so are lettres…although the actual number doesn’t make much difference to the outcome. That 120 billion letters per year is about 330 million letters per day. Now in the US there are about 153 million registered voters and generally about half of them vote in any given year…so be generous and call it 100 million votes this year. I have no idea how many of those will be mail in ballots, but even generous guesstimates on the interwebs put it at 40-50% of votes will be mail in so let’s call it 50 million mail in ballots and let’s assume that they all got mailed over the 3 days prior to and Election Day…that gives us about 12 million mail in ballots for each of those four days.

With the USPS handling about 330 million letters per day on average…do we really think that adding another 12 million or so will overwhelm the service? Of course not…but that doesn’t fit the narrative the Democrats want to have…but from a capacity standpoint these mail in vote numbers are well within the capability of the USPS to deliver the mail.

What did the letters actually say? Well…the letter from the Postmaster General this week is essentially the same letter that was sent out back in March…which warned states that the limits that the states had imposed on mail in voting were the problem…not the ability of the USPS to deliver the mail.

For instance…in Oregon one can request a mail in ballot up through October 20 which is the Friday a week and a half before the election on Tuesday November. I can understand wanting to allow the maximum amount of time that a voter can request a mail in ballot. However…that doesn’t leave sufficient time for the USPS to guarantee delivery of the ballot from the elections board to the vote…at least according to the USPS long standing recommendation of 14 days lead time. That’s what the letter actually said (there were multiple versions of the letter depending on the election rules in different states).

What other problems are being blamed on the USPS? Well…in NY state…the governor directed all election boards for the recent primary to include a prepaid postage reply envelope in the package. Again…I can see how that might be a good idea…but the good governor failed to think his cunning plan through. NY election rules require that ballots be postmarked by Election Day…and by long standing policy the USPS does not postmark postpaid envelopes…it’s simply not done. So the governor specifically directed something that under state law made the ballots ineligible for counting since they would not be postmarked and hence the election boards would have no way to verify if they met the requirements in the law.

The governor’s response was to direct the election boards to count them anyway…and while the previous election was only a primary I can imagine that if he pulls a similar brilliant idea for the November election there will be lawsuits aplenty over it…the governor has no authority to ignore state election laws. I did see that a state judge ordered ones received by 2 days after Election Day to be counted…that seems like a reasonably fair thing to do but it does technically violate the state voting requirements, but then every liberal judge thinks they can just make up the law to suit themselves it seems. To me it is an open and shut case and they’re not valid since they’re not postmarked. However…in their overblown demands that ‘every vote counts’…they’re shooting themselves in their own foot.

Speaking of elections…Connie and Neil voted in the primary today and gladly provided their identification to the poll workers when checking in. They were glad to do this as proper identification prevents voter fraud. Forget what the right says about all the massive voter fraud that is supposedly happening…how much does or does not happen is unknown. Forget what the left says about there not being any voter fraud. What the rules requiring identification do is prevent the possibility of voter fraud…which is the goal. If the left is correct and there isn’t any going on…then I say “Holy shit…the rules are working.”

Unfortunately…none of the above which is Neil’s long standing desire…did not appear on the ballot. He thinks that it should and if it wins then you need a new election and none of the people in the previous election can run again. I’m really pretty sure that this year none of the above would win in a landslide.

Neil ordered some new bike shoes…his are over 10 years old and falling apart. That…of course…required a different kind of cleat to attach them to the pedals…which of course require a different design pedal to be clipped into so he ended up with shoes, cleats, and pedals. He wants a new bike too…but he said he’s waiting on the rig and truck to sell first. Connie suggested he just get one anyway and mebbe he’ll just do that…yaneverknow.

Interesting things found on the net.

It turns out that in Cape Coral…which thank goodness we don’t live in for a whole bunch of reasons…anyway it is illegal to park on the grass…even if it is your own grass in your own yard on your own property. Of course…this is the same jurisdiction that made it illegal to leave your garage door open so really I guess that is to be expected. I understand there are some valid reasons for both of those laws…but really?

There’s another whole kerfuffle on the interwebs over some game called Fortnite which is published by Epic Games and is available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android phones. Both of these stores charge developers a 30 percent commission on sales since Apple/Google pay for the infrastructure on the stores, check apps for malware, collect the money and distribute and otherwise provide services to developers. So Epic decided that they didn’t want to follow the rules in the contract they signed with both Apple and Google any longer…so they introduced a cheaper way to pay them directly…which is directly in violation of the rules they agreed to. So naturally both Apple and Google kicked the game out of their store…and 2 hours later Epic filed a 64 page suit agains each of them demanding that Epic be allowed to run their own store for their games…and to collect 30% from all the other developers who would join the new Epic store.

Google allows other app stores besides theirs…however if you do use one of the other stores (known as side loading) then the Android OS on your phone pops up a notice warning you that you are going to a store not managed by Google and that Google has no way of determining the safety of going to that store or whether your identity, credit card information, or privacy might be violated. You’re not prevented from going…just warned.

Apple on the other hand…does not allow any other app stores…which is their right as I see it.

I don’t really see this suit by Epic going anywhere unless they’re hoping that Apple and Google will fold and give them their way…which is to provide services to Epic by Apple/Google with no renumeration to Apple/Google. Nuts.

MomForTheWeekend

EmotionalBaggage

Neil’s totally into this one.

BehavingMyself

SendTowTruck

QuarantineIceCube

EmotionalSupportDog

Cyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Why Are People So Stupid

Ya would think that morons would learn from the mistakes they read about in the news…but no, not gonna happen.

Here on quarantine day 153…as expected not much is new. We reinstituted Date Nite on Thursdays…I think I might have talked about that before…anyways back after Bryan headed off to college we instituted Date Nite so every Thursday night we went out to eat. That sort of fell by the wayside when we moved into the rig but then we were headed out to the local dive bar a lot so we figgered that made up for it. When we got off the road…we figured that heading out to the Elks Lodge for dinner was the new normal but then the corona came along and that stopped. So we started it again…we’re just getting takeout from someplace instead of eating there…which means you have to be selective about what you order off the menu since by the time you pick it up, drive home, and have cocktail hour before dinner it’s gonna be going on 2 hours since you picked it up…which means you gotta reheat it and that means you need to be careful to get something that will reheat nicely. Neil picked up from Bonefish Grill this week…Connie had a tuna bowl which was seared mostly raw tuna, jasmine rice, and avocado with some fruit salsa thing and a cup of corn chowder…Neil had their Bang Bang shrimp and some bacon Mac’n’Cheese. The shrimp are fried so they didn’t reheat that well…but she’s allergic to a preservative that gets put on shrimp immediately after they come out of the water so he doesn’t cook them at home any more since he would have to cook 2 different meals…he only gets them out and figured they would keep ok. They did but were a bit soggy, and he’s decided that their Mac’n’Cheese sucks so he won’t be getting those if/when we go back there for takeout. They’ve got a seared tuna appetizer which is mostly just fine if it’s cold so he’ll have that and the chowder instead. Connie thinks she’s gonna get steamed lobstah tails this week…there’s a local place that sells them 2 for $20 along with baked potatoes. Neil’s not sure how well they’ll be 2 hours from now…we’ll probably just leave them cold and eat ‘em like shrimp…kinda make a lobstah cocktail to go with the taters…and melted butter with lemon.

Ok…learning from other people’s mistakes.

You probably read about the Sturgis Motorcycle Festival that’s going on this week…well, it’s only sorta going on. All of the ceremonies and such in town have been cancelled but the motorcycle folk said they were coming anyway…which meant that the town had to put up the port-a-potties since the crowds were coming anyway. The town suggested that folks properly social distance by riding around the many nice country roads in the Black Hills region…which they are sorta doing…then coming back to town and drinking too much in crowded bars.

Anyway…they were out riding yesterday and a bunch of ‘em got stopped in Custer State Park by a herd of bison crossing the road. All of them stopped and were taking photos.

Now remember that there have been at least 3 bison “attacks” that I can recall this summer in Yellowstone or others places around there…but attacks is really fake news. What actually happened in every case was that…well, morons is the most charitable way to describe them…got too close to the bison so they could pet them or get close up selfies with their camera phones, then ignored the stomping and chuffing breathing that bison do to warn you, kept coming closer and eventually got tossed in the air/gored/whatever by the irritated bison. Just stupid I tellya.

So the motorcycle folk…one of the female ones got off the rear seat of her man’s bike and walked up to within about 15 feet of a sow and her calf then sat down to get a selfie. Naturally the mother didn’t take kindly to this and charged her. Luckily the horn got stuck in the woman’s belt and her jeans came off so other than being pretty much neckid as it looked like her underwear was down to her knees in the video as well she was uninjured and refused treatment. Not sure how she got back to town or if her jeans were rescued from the bison though.

Bison will mess you up people…stay the heck away from them far enough so they don’t get pissed off at you. We saw plenty of ‘em out in Yellowstone last year and stayed away…but then the bird lens means you don’t really need to get up close and personal.


Wild boar who stole German nudist’s clothes to be culled
…now there’s a headline you don’t see every day. He was sunbathing au natural at a lake in (or maybe near, Ima not really up on German geography) Berlin when this boar came out of the woods and ran off not only with his clothes but his laptop…the article has a photo of him chasing in an attempt to regain his stuff but no word as to whether he was successful or not. Anyway…they’re gonna kill the boar as it has “lost it’s fear of humans” but not until the fall when the crowds thin out. Not sure how they’ll figure out which one to shoot as they don’t come with license plates or serial numbers…but then not my problem.

In another
headline you don’t see every day
…the 9th Circuit Court out in northern PRC…ya know, the most liberal and overruled by the Supreme Court circuit in the country…anyway they ruled (at least a 2-1 vote on the 3 judge panel) that the PRC’s ban on high capacity magazines is unconstitutional. I figure that the liberal judge who lost will ask the circuit to hold an en banc hearing (which means all of them) and since it’s wildly liberal the ruling will be overturned…which means that the SCOTUS might need to get involved as there are several different circuits who have ruled differently on magazine bans.

Me…I don’t really care one way or the other about high capacity magazines…but what I do care about is the Constitution…and the 2nd amendment does say “shall not be infringed”. To me…that means…shall not be infringed and hence I think there are only two ways to outlaw magazines…one is to pass an amendment that modifies the 2nd amendment…two is to pass a law and have it declared constitution by the SCOTUS as a limitation on the right. There’s already a law on the books that says you cannot own a fully automatic weapon without a Federal Firearms License…but that’s been around since the 1920s or so and while it passed muster with the Supreme it’s unclear whether it would today in the absence of the previous decision. Stay tuned I guess.

Speaking of SCOTUS justices…I read an article the other day that had some convincing arguments that the President would be justified in appointing a new justice if an opening became available and the Senate would be justified in approving that selection. The article pointed out a lot of precedents from previous administrations where that happened…and when divided into instances where the Senate and White House were the same party and instances where they weren’t…in almost every case where they were the same the appointment was confirmed and in the single case where it wasn’t confirmed the nomination was withdrawn and then resubmitted after the expiration of the Congressional term since the nominee was a sitting Senator…he was then confirmed in January.

Now there’s not an opening…and frankly I am torn between the need for justices who will read what the Constitution says instead of what they want it to say and the political upheaval which would occur if a currently liberal justice were to need replacement. My current but not final thought is that if the opening is before the election I am slightly in favor of an appointment but it is really hard to come to a definite conclusion.

That’s about it I guess…let’s see what interesting was found on the net this week.

I have to admit…whoever came up with this one has a point. Mr. Biden committed long ago not to select the best candidate for VP but to select a woman for VP…and as we now know he was pressured so that he ended up choosing a black woman instead of picking the best candidate. I can’t say whether Senator Harris is the best candidate or not, in my opinion she is not but that’s just my opinion. However…

GoodPoint

There’s a lot of truth in that sign.

So…if you look up at the night sky how many stars can you see? Turns out that it is only about 9,000 or about 0.000004% of the 100 billion to 400 billion stars in the galaxy (the 9,000 number does not include the Andromeda galaxy which we can see since with the naked eye it’s individual stars cannot be discerned). Here’s what that looks like.

HowManyStarsCanWeSee

CoViD19QuickTest

RoadrunnerCartoons

Shaft

Posted in Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Maskholes and Quarantine Day 149

Ok…before I get into that title I need to tellya one thing we’ve noticed during the corona…and we’re now up to day 149…while we’re suffering from a lot of things like no Elks Lodge, no bars, no eating out, and being pretty much stuck at home…one area we aren’t suffering in is eating. Between the two of the adults…they’re making some really outstanding meals pretty much every day…and they’re spending a lot less in the bargain.

This week we’ve been eating on a smoked whole chicken Neil did on the pellet grill on Friday. After taking it out to thaw on Wednesday…he put it in his large pasta pot with some brine Thursday morning…brined in salt, sugar, water, and spices…and after about 24 hours in there Friday morning he took it out, dried it off and put it on the grill set on low smoke which has a temperature of 165F about 0830. It smoked until about 1700 with the last 45 minutes or so on high smoke at 225F…on further review he thinks it needed about 2 hours instead of 45 minutes as it was just slightly underdone in the deep joint areas. It wasn’t raw…and smoked chicken tends to remain a little pink no matter how well done it is…but in his view it was a little too pinkish in some areas so he just nuked what we ate the first couple of days. We had chicken and some corn casserole both Friday and Saturday evenings…then sandwiches a couple of days. Last night he made a smoked chicken shepherd’s pie…cooked up some chopped onion and poblano pepper then added a bit of Better than Bullion chicken flavor, some roasted garlic, a bit o’ wine and then some stock and cream…then had Connie thicken it a little. Meanwhile…some cubed and boiled red taters became mashed with more roasted garlic, bacon, cooked shallots, and cheese and then the meat mixture went into oven proof bowls, topped with the taters, and then covered with a mix of cheddar and Parmesana Regiana cheese…we found an Italian market down near the Cape Coral Elks Lodge that has imported Italian foods and their cheese is so much better tasting than the US produced brands. Tossed the bowls into the oven for a few on broil to melt/burn the cheese and they were mighty tasty.

Connie’s got another medical appointment with her GI lady on Thursday…it’s the followup from a couple of scans she had done the last few weeks along with some more blood work.

OK…maskholes.

Back in the day…there was this TV show that ran from ’83 to ’90 named Not Necessarily The News…it was a satirical sketch comedy series that was similar to Saturday Night Live that came on earlier in the evening and was primarily based on current news topics. One of the stars was this guy named Rich Hall…and he usually had a sketch where he introduced the world to sniglets…which is a word that should be in the dictionary but isn’t. A couple of sniglets examples…squimmetz, they’re the stringy stuff on a banana…root-tooter which is the empty toilet paper roll once it is all used up…and aquadextrous or the ability to control the bathtub faucet with your toes.

So yesterday…Neil was reading for the umpteenth time some diatribe for or against the wearing of masks during the corona and it came to him…maskholes. A maskhole is a person who continuously and obnoxiously forces his/her opinion concerning masks…and to a more general sense social distancing, opening of bars, opening of schools, antibody testing, vaccines, the president and his brilliant/failure response (depending on your political persuasion) or various medical treatments for the corona…to the extent that you just get sick and tired of it.

I gotta be up front here…this isn’t a plea for or against masks or any of those other things…just a plea that enough is enough already.

Masks help…not nearly as much as some claim and not nearly as little as others claim. As I’ve noted before…reopening is a sensitive topic and we can’t only take into account infection rates, death rates, unemployment, evictions, or the economy…all of those things have to be considered by leaders before making any decisions one way or the other.

Us…we wear our masks when going out and they provide some protection against an infected but you don’t know it you giving it to other people…and perhaps a lesser amount of protection for the other way…it all depends on exactly which study you choose to believe or disbelieve. So…I’m not judging anybody for their opinion…I’m glad you have one.

What I am judging you for…is being a maskhole…here’s a couple of perfect examples of what I mean.

There’s this woman in LA…the one out on the left coast, not the real LA as in Lower Alabama…who’s going around with a badge on her chest that says “RTBA”. She goes into business establishments without a mask and her smartphone video camera rolling and waits until an employee tells her that she must wear one or leave. At that point…she tells them that she is from the Right To Breathe Agency of the government and that the employee can be sentenced to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for telling her to wear a mask…and that she can be personally sued for damages in addition to this. She then demands that the store employee go and get a manager so that she can threaten them too. The trouble is…this agency does not exist, is based solely on a private Facebook group that this woman is the founder of, and they have already been told by the DoJ to cease and desist claiming to be a government agency.

Yep…she’s a maskhole.

Then there is this school district in Paulding County in northwest GA which went ahead and opened their high schools this week and did not enforce a mask or social distancing requirement because it was “too cumbersome to enforce” although they did have suggested guidelines on the doors. I’m not. Sure how this is too cumbersome to enforce when students have been sent home because their short were around their thighs or because their skirts were a half inch too short…apparently those requirements weren’t too cumbersome. Anyway…naturally the brain dead teenagers which inhabit our high schools failed to respond to the suggestions for masks and distancing and crowded the halls. The crowding is to be expected I guess as they move between class periods but masks seem pretty easy to me. Anyway…a couple of students took photos and posted them on TwitterFaceTikGram or someplace to complain about the lack of masks and distancing. The school’s response…now rescinded…was to suspend the students for “violating phone and social media policies”.

Yep…maskholes…the school for not having requirements and enforcing them as well as the idiotic suspension…the students who refused to wear masks…and the student who posted the picture to expound on her views.

Then there’s our buddy Randy who runs a newsletter and website…I’ve mentioned him several times in the blog. He’s clearly pretty far left in his political views…and thinks that every body should wear a mask…and it appears that he thinks schools should mandate and enforce a mask policy as well. Now that’s all well and good…he has the right to his opinion as do all of the above folk…and I’m fully supportive of all of them expressing their opinion.

But yep…continually jamming it down your reader’s throats…maskhole.

However…for the love of sanity…just state your opinion…and even repeat it if you feel the need…and then JUST MOVE ON.

At this point…every person in America…yes, every last one I believe…has already made up their mind about masks, reopening schools, reopening bars, mail in voting, and every other damn opinion we keep seeing over and over and over again all stemming from the corona. None of these minds are going to be changed…not gonna happen…no matter how many times you scream in their face that you’re from the Freedom To Breathe Agency or how many times you post insults about the intelligence of those who for whatever reason choose to wear/not wear a mask, play/opt out of your professional sport, go vote/mail your ballot in, go/not go to the bar.

I highly recommend that all of you simply take a deep breath, realize the other side is not going to do it your way just because you think they should…AND STOP BEING MASKHOLES.

Let’s see what else interesting came across the transom from the internet this week.

As I’ve discussed before…polar bears…you know, those white bears that roam around the Arctic eating seals even though they are actually black skinned with translucent fir…well, they’re pretty big animals. Just how big you say? How about 1,002 kilograms or 2,209 pounds big. This is the taxidermied trophy of the largest polar bear ever taken…it was shot in 1960 in Kotzebue Sound in Alaska…when mounted in this standing position it stands 3.9 meters or 12 feet 9.5 inches tall. I believe this is the same polar bear that Neil saw in the Anchorage AK airport on his trip up to the ice camp back in the early ‘90s…it is no longer on display but it looks about the right size and pose as he remembers it.

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And just in case you thought that only polar bears get big…grizzly bears get pretty large as well…albeit somewhat smaller than their faux white cousins.


Here
…you can read about and see photos of the 1,600 pound grizzly that was shot by a US Forest Service employee while deer hunting in Alaska…it charged him from 50 yards away and he emptied the magazine of his 7mm magnum rifle…that’s a serious big gun with about a 3.25 inch long cartridge that fires a 7mm diameter bullet (about 0.3 inches). The bear collapsed at his feet but wasn’t dead until he reloaded and shot it a bunch more in the head. Upon analyzing it’s stomach contents…it had killed at least 2 humans in the last 72 hours. Backtracking from the location of the kill…the Fish and Wildlife Commission folk found half the remains of a hiker that had disappeared along with his empty 38 caliber revolver (that’s what police used to carry before they shifted the the higher capacity semiautomatic pistols they use today). The hiker had managed to hit the bear with 4 of his shots and an additional 12 7mm slugs were recovered from the bear’s body. When walking on all four legs…this bear’s eyes would have been the same height as a human’s eyes…and he could look into the second story windows in a house.

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Look at the size of that paw.

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Them be serious carnivores. Granted…most grizzly and polar bears aren’t that large…but they’re still pretty good and the one Neil was close to up in Katmai National Park in AK was still about 600 pounds they thought. We saw plenty of grizzlies and brown bears…which are actually genetically identical and not individual species as was thought for many decades…another example of settled science that turned out to be not so settled. However none of them were even close to the size of the ones above.

Sow grizzly…because she had a cub with her.

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Brown…gender unknown…about 10 feet away. There’s a rule in Katmai NP that you cannot approach a bear closer than 50 yards. Unfortunately nobody told the bears about that rule so tourists who fly down on small planes and land on the beach get around the rule by getting ahead of the bear, standing still, and letting the bear come to them. That’s what he did…along with the pilot and other 4 passengers on our plane we were standing on a little tuft of grass about 2 feet high and 12 feet (as measured later) from the bank of the river and the bear walked between the water and the grass. He just glanced at them on the way by…although they’re wild the bears in Katmai are somewhat habituated to human tourists, we’re not really on the menu for them unless they’re starving, and it was fishing for salmon anyway.

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Here’s a reflection shot to help settle ya down after all that huge bear section…it was taken in 2018 in Franconia Notch NH after we returned from the Canuckistan Maritimes. One of the best reflection shots he’s ever gotten…truly amazing how still that water was as can be seen by the perfect reflections.

Franconia Notch is where the Old Man Of The Mountain rock formation used to be before it fell off the size of the mountain…that formation was about a mile south of where he was standing and looking south for this shot…essentially around the other side of the ridge on the right.

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OK…lessee what else I gots for ya.

This might only interest Neil…and DIL Jen the math teacher.

Everybody knows that the sun is larger than earth…but it would actually take about 1,000,000 earths to fill the sun as you can see here.

OneMillionEarths

Another size comparison
can be found here
. Astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy took images of the sun and every planet in the solar system, adjusted their size so the relative sizes were right, and composited them into a single photograph. The link shows the full resolution composite image. So yeah…the sun is a whole lot bigger than all of the planets in the solar system…but then as stars go the sun is actually pretty puny.

Using the radius of the sun as 1 how big do stars get? For comparison…a star the size of the orbit of Saturn would be about 2,000 times larger than the sun and the largest star observed is named Stephenson 2-18 and is 2,150…it is located in the open cluster Stephenson 2 which has an additional 25 red supergiant stars.There are a couple of hundred listed on the page at wikipedia that are larger than the sun.

Turning to black holes…the largest one on record is named TON 618 and has a mass of about 6.6 times 10 to the tenth or about 66 billion suns and it’s size is around 1,300 on the same scale as the stars above or about 40 times the size of Neptune’s orbit…the luminosity is about 140 trillion suns.

I’m glad it’s far away since we would get sucked in by it otherwise. The closest large black hole to the earth is Sagitarius A which is the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy…it’s only equivalent to 4.3 million suns so as black holes go it’s again pretty puny…it is about 26,000 light years away and only about 20% bigger than the orbit of Mercury.

In other astrophysical news…NASA has decided to rename a bunch of long named that way nicknames…things that were named that because of what they looked like or who discovered them. Anyway…in the current days of PC as dictated by the WAMM…NASA says “community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful” and that it is “examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion”. So…the Eskimo nebula…it’s gone because the term Eskimo is. widely viewed as a colonial term with a racist history”…never mind that it looks like an Eskimo (or first people or whatever they want to be called) with his fur hood over his head.  Likewise…the Siamese twin galaxies which orbit each other “may have historical or culture connotations that are objectionable or unwelcoming, and Nasa is strongly committed to addressing them”.

People need to get a grip…and stop judging past people, events, and norms by today’s standards since it is very likely that many of today’s people, events, and norms could get cancelled by our progeny 200 or so years down the road. Football might be considered a barbaric sport right up there with feeding Christians to the lions by then for all we know…and eating a juicy medium rare steak might be considered poison for all we know.

RabbitEars

FamilyPortraitGrade

CookedFunnyBone

RedneckBikers

16AndGrounded

Cyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

And Then There Were Three…

Looking back at our past posts in the blog for this week…it turns out that Aug 9 has historically been either a middle of a disaster day, a do nothing day, or a rainy day…albeit with a few decent Fun Stuff© days as well. We spent a rainy day in Elizaville NY in the campground laundromat our first year on the road, stuck in Graham WA in ’13 with Neil’s broken foot, stuck in Barnsville MN in ’14 battling norovirus or whatever it was Connie picked up on her train trip and then gave to Neil on her return, we did have a good day in ’15 on our boat trip out to the glacier in Valdez AK, again in ’16 we were in KY doing bourbon distillery tours, transiting to Salem OR in ’17, watching a cool sunrise in Dalhousie up in Canuckistan in ’18 and hangin’ out with kidney stone in Cody WY in ’19. 

Before we decided to exit the full time RV life this past fall…we had already decided to modify our travel style and take a 2-3 week break about halfway through travel season…departing FL after easter sometime and arriving back November 1 after hurricane season was over so sometime in the late July/early August time frame we were going to just take a break and sit a spell as they used to say on The Beverly Hillbillies TV show…our enforced stop for a month in Cody last summer was so nice that we figured picking a nice spot and settling there for awhile with some day trips for Fun Stuff©, hikes, waterfalls, wildlife and what have you would suit us.

Then we got back and Connie said she was done…so we were done. Truth be told…he wasn’t all that unhappy about it but would have probably traveled one more season before hanging up the keys…but then the corona happened and we would have had to head west someplace to get into areas that weren’t virus hot spots…and we would have had to know where those were ahead of time although places like WY, SD, ND, MT, ID, and the like would have been pretty good guesses. We think that things turned out for the best overall though.

Nothing new going on here…like that surprises any of you I guess. We headed over to St. Therese for 4PM mass yesterday afternoon since Connie was cantoring…and Henry was already there sitting in the cantor chair and had rehearsed the music with Marge…turns out that he hadn’t looked at the schedule and didn’t realize he was off this weekend and she just assumed he was the right one and didn’t look at the schedule either. Fortunately…we had looked at it and Marge told him that Connie was on the schedule…after she finally looked and verified…Henry looked sort of peeved when he left in Neil’s opinion but it is hard to tell when you’re all masked up…I guess it woulda been easier if he had the Krispy Kreme box face shield that I had a picture of last time but with your standard white paper mask you can’t tell for sure. Anyways…she was typically outstanding…afterwards we got home, had a cocktail and then ate leftover smoked chicken and corn casserole for dinner. We got ourselves a new grill when we got here…a pellet grill which uses small pellets of various woods instead of charcoal or gas. They’re fed into a combustion chamber by a screw auger thing from the supply bin. The nice thing is that you can set it for low or high smoke at 165F and 225F along with smoke for smoking your meat…or you can set a temperature setting and it gets really hot. After using it a half dozen times…we can say it’s great for smoking, great for doing things like a roast, pretty good for regular grilling of chicken or pork…and pretty darned lousy for steaks. It just doesn’t get the grill surface hot enough…even on the max temperature setting…to really give you that nice sear on your NY Strip. Over all we like it a lot…but we’ll keep a regular grill running on gas for our steaks or quick burger cooks…the pellet grill takes longer to warm up to higher temperatures than the gas grill does since it has a relatively small firebox. Our CharBroil infra-red grill is on it’s last legs…the grill is rusting through in several places and the burner has a lot of internal rust particles he can’t get out so the flames aren’t as big as they used to be. We thought about just replacing those components but that’s about 3/4 the cost of an entire new CharBroil…so we’re thinking about spending a few more bucks and getting us a Sea-B-Que instead…it is just slightly larger in grilling area than the CharBroil is but it has more BTUs of heat output which will better sear your steaks and it is made of stainless steel instead of regular steel. As you can guess from the name…it was originally built for boat owners and there is an available mount for it that goes into a rod holder on your yacht…but it comes standard with just legs…and since it was designed for boat usage the stainless has a much lower rusting problem. We’ll have some more smoked chicken today…this time as part of the filling for chili releno’s which are roasted Poblano peppers stuffed with cheese and your protein of choice. Usually we dip them into corn meal and fry them but Neil thinks today he’s gonna make a cornbread like batter to fry them in instead so they have more of a coating. We’ll pair them with something tasty…but exactly what is still under dynamic observation as we like to say ‘round here.

Oh yeah…and then there were three…I didna ferget…nosiree Bob I din’t.

We’ve previously introduced you to our resident A. mississippiensis or American Alligators that live in the pond out back. First up…we had Ragnar who is about 7 or 8 feet long we think…since we ain’t brave enough, stupid enough, or willing to violate the “don’t over there” postings around the ponds here in Magnolia Landing. We regularly saw him…although whether it’s really a him or a her is completely unknown. Generally crocodilian males are larger when fully mature than females…but since they both grow continuously throughout their life. And they ain’t got any external man-bits or lady-bits all they got is a vent inside which are the actual bits. So’s…ya gotta roll ‘em over, grease up their vent, and slide your forceps in there to figger out what they got.

Here’s a shot of Ragnar who we just arbitrarily decided was male.

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Later on…we seen a smaller one which we decided to call a female although it could just as easily be a youngster instead but we decided smaller meant female…and it also has a shorter snout proportionally…and named her Lagatha. This is about the best shot we got…she rarely comes up onto the bank…she’s only about 4-5 feet long.

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Then…the day before yesterday…after we’ve not seen either of them for over a month since the pond got full when the rainy season started…Neil briefly spotted a gator up on the bank just above Ragnar’s Beach as we named it over on the other side of the pond. He originally thought it was Ragnar who had returned so ran out and got a picture. However…in order to get the entire leviathan as they say on Swamp People in the viewfinder, he had to use something less than maximum zoom on the bird lens…it was bigger through the lens than Ragnar was in about the same spot so he decided to do a little ‘vestigating to see what he could see. He went back and looked at all our shots of Ragnar and counted the number of fins/scales/body sections on top of the tail from just at the rear of the back legs to the end of the tail…then did the same on the one he saw. Ragnar has about 27 or 28…depending on how you count them as sometimes they’re not fully visible in the shot and you just count the empty space where one should be or whatever. The one from the other day has 34 or 35…again depending…so we decided this was our third resident which we promptly named Loki. It is about 9 or 10 feet long and getting that big it’s either gotta be a really old female or a middle aged male. Ima not goin’ over thar with my forceps to find out…so we’re calling it a he.

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And a closeup of Loki…or at least as close up as he could get.

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They’re still rioting almost every night out in Portland…the mayor and the Feds came to an agreement that the Portland PD would actually be allowed to do their jobs and protect federal property from vandalism so the federal law enforcement has stood down from that duty but are still in town just in case. The Portland PD only declares a riot when there are fires set or violence starts…at which point they break out the pepper spray and tear gas and do the the exact thing that the federal law enforcement was doing before…but at least the PD is being allowed to do their jobs…and the chief out there has stated publicly that the violence, burning, and rioting is doing their cause more harm than good at this point. Still…the WAMM will be the WAMM…and looters will be looters I guess so the riots continue.

Down in LA…there’s this guy in jail with a life sentence as upheld this week by the LA Supreme Court. His crime was an “attempted simple burglary”…although how it was either attempted or simple after the stolen item was found in his vehicle…he claimed that he ran out of gas and went into an open garage in the middle of the night to see if he could find some gas to steal so that he could drive home but found no gas and went back to his car…and has no idea how the gardening tools in his car got there. Anyways…he was convicted and since this was his fourth felony conviction he …under the law mind you…was given a sentence of “at least 20 years” so they gave him…again under the law of the state…a sentence of 20 years to life.

It turns out that he was arrested at age 38 in 1997 after a homeowner testified that he was the guy in his carport/garage and identified the hedge clippers found in the perps vehicle…so as a result of 4 previous convictions including attempted armed robbery he was justly sentenced under the law.

The state Supreme Court upheld the sentence this week since the judge…umm…followed state law in issuing the sentence by a vote of 5-1. The sole dissenting vote was by the minority female Chief Justice (her identifying characteristics are only mentioned here since the WAMM article about it specifically pointed them out)…who decided that since all of his previous convictions involved theft and that petty theft is “frequently driven by the ravages of poverty or addition or both”…that the sentence was unfair. She didn’t say the law was unconstitutional…just that the sentence was unfair…and thus in her view deserving of being overturned and state law ignored…in other words she wanted to legislate from the bench.

Sorry lady…if you don’t like the law then get your cohorts in the WAMM to file suit over it and if/when it ever comes to your court then you have a vote on whether the law is constitutional or not…but in the absence of that you as a judge are required to follow the law.

In corona news…there’s apparently some moron woman named Ms. Koloma out in Orange County in the Peoples Republic of California going around and entering stores that have either a state, local, or store mask requirement. She’s got a badge that says FTBA on it and says she is from the “Freedom to Breathe Agency”…which doesn’t exist…and she threatens store employees that they are in personal legal liability to be sued for enforcing a mask order and that the employee can be sent to prison for 5 years and fined $10,000. This organization also distributes fake “face mask exempt” cards and the woman and her companion insisted to store management that they had medical conditions and religious beliefs that prevented them from wearing a mask but would not identify any particulars about either of those.

Sorry lady…again you’re nuts. If state or local officials institute a mask requirement…then it is a requirement and you can be arrested/cited for it. You may not like that…but it is legal. For a business…if the owner institutes a requirement for his place of business…and properly posts notice outside concerning that requirement…then again it is legal. You don’t have a right to enter any business…you enter at the permission of the property owner and he/she/they can institute pretty much any requirement that they want to. It is their place of business…not a government owned or public area.

I really can’t decide what is stupider…that she thinks she can ignore requirements…or that she can make up her own non existent agency and threaten employees with prison…or that anybody would actually believe her. Her organization…of which she is the founder and leader…has already been officially warned by the Justice Department to cease and desist.

We have a new, late entrant into the VPStakes for Uncle Joe…apparently Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer is in the running and met with him for an in person interview. So much for all the articles you see that claim the field has been reduced to 2 or 3 with every article touting that the finalists include their prescribed candidate. I don’t think anybody knows yet…but Uncle Joe’s number 1 political advisor has always been his wife Jill…who is known to have a long memory and I really don’t think she will forget the way Ms. Harris trashed and lied about her husband’s record during the early debates. I guess we’ll hear the winner in a week or so at the convention.

NYC is apparently housing homeless people in luxury hotels…at government expense…and they are sitting out front drinking from their paper bagged jugs of wine and doing drubs…and apparently the residents of the generally well to do neighborhoods where luxury hotels are typically located aren’t too happy with that sort of behavior…and apparently hizzonor the mayor doesn’t intend to do anything about it.

Negotiations between the House, Senate, and White House on another corona bailout bill have broken down…or at least stopped for the weekend depending on which article you believe…so the President issued Executive Orders to extend the unemployment benefits that expired last week using previously unspecified corona relief funds, extended the eviction moratorium, and suspended the collection of social security taxes (AKA payroll tax) through the end of the year. Naturally the Democrats are incensed over these and will be filing suits in…three…two…one. 

I don’t know whether extending unemployment using previously authorized but unallocated funds is legal as the White House says since they are appropriated but unallocated…or completely illegal as the Democrats say they are since “only Congress has the power of the purse”…it probably depends on the specific language in the previous bill appropriating the funds as well as previous court decisions regarding this issue that I’ve not researched…but telling an Executive Department agency to issue regulations to extend the eviction moratorium seems perfectly legal to me…and while the President has wanted a payroll tax cut for months he didn’t actually cut it as he doesn’t have that power, he just suspended it and employees will have to pay the interest free loan back next April 15 according to 2 articles I read. However…all that aside…if the various sides can’t come to an agreement on another bailout and what it should include…does it really make sense to sue the administration over their doing something to move the ball down the field? It makes perfect sense…from a political and sound bite standpoint…for the Democrats to rail against the “completely inadequate response of the White House” who just refuse to go along with our demands. However…it makes zero sense from the point of view of helping people affected by the problem.

But then…as we all know…doing their jobs, executing the business of the country, and working for the people who elected them is completely out of the question…politicians of both sides are most interested in making the other side look bad, to a lesser extent getting their way, and to almost no extent doing anything that doesn’t benefit them politically.

In Denver…prosecutors are “Investigating police officers who handcuffed black girls” according to the headline from the AP. What actually happened was that the police saw a car with plates that matched those of a reported stolen vehicle so they initiated a felony traffic stop. That always involves drawn weapons, detaining everyone in the vehicle, and handcuffing them while detained while they figure things out. This particular car contained a black female and 4 black children ranging from 6-17 in age…but the race and gender was not known until after the stop was initiated. So the cops detained them all, handcuffed the mother and the older two daughters, investigated, determined the car was not the stolen car originally thought, and released everyone with an apology and explanation.

Naturally…the district attorney found this “very disturbing” so he’s conducting an investigation “…determines that the officers involved committed a crime, I will not hesitate to file charges and prosecute them.” So apparently in the Denver suburb of Aurora CO…cops are also not allowed to do their job any more. Guess we need to send out some counselors to conduct felony traffic stops in the future.

Yes…getting handcuffed might be temporarily traumatic for the 17 and 12 year old daughters…and might cause them to cry…but it was a…felony…traffic…stop. Sounds like the cops took the appropriate approach to detain, question, investigate, and release them in this case.

The President has banned TikTok from the US…it is some sort of really popular social media thing that is owned by the Chinese. Given their form of government…it is highly likely that nothing they do is not monitored by the government…and while I don’t really have an opinion about whether TikTok should be allowed in the US…he is the President so gets to make those sorts of decisions. And naturally…the Democrats are against this as well…claiming in an article in Business Insider that “CIA analysts told the White House that though it is possible for the Chinese government to access TikTok user data, there is “no evidence” that it has done so, per a New York Times report.” However…knowing how the Chinese government works…the fact that we “have no evidence”…or that the NYT would be aware of what the Intelligence folks know since the NYT has no security clearance…means pretty much nothing. I would be very surprised if the Chinese government was not only fully capable of monitoring TikTok but had done so routinely for anyone they thought appropriate. Remember…theirs is a totalitarian government where the peasants exist only to keep the elite well fed and maintained…and dissent is most definitely not allowed.

Interesting things found on the net.

It’s really amazing what people will argue about…and how quickly forum discussions can diverge radically from the original question, claim, or statement. As I’ve mentioned in the past…Neil frequents a photography forum called Ugly Hedgehog…apparently nobody really knows the origin of the name but several explanations have been postulated…why not…names are just that, names…we are all cute and cuddly except for the ugly people and hedgehogs are cute and cuddly.

Anyways…among the many photography related topics there is a section of the forum named Chit Chat where…naturally…non photographic subjects are welcome. One of the members posted a topic named “Celsius or Fahrenheit” and in the opening post he opined that certain sections of the world had increased by 2 degrees F in average temperature over some specified time period…but that if you considered it in degrees C you got 3.6 which made the problem much worse…this is clearly not correct as you are just changing the units of measurement, not the actual increase. It is also not necessarily even scientifically correct as this amount of variation could be due to the effects of carbon dioxide and man…but it could just as well be normal variation of the long term earth temperature as the planet exits the Little Ice Age (or the last full Ice Age, both are relatively recent on a planet existence time frame)…or it could just be random variations caused by increased solar radiation, more volcano eruptions, less volcano eruptions, cow farts, or whatever. Remember…no matter what the global warming crowd tells you…there is no such thing as settled science. Scientific investigation goes on and things that were previously obviously true become true…man will never fly but now we have airplanes…life in space is impossible but now we’ve landed on the moon and routinely put astronauts in space…atomic weapons or power is impossible but now we have both…the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean is unreachable but now we’ve been there. See…settled science does not exist. We’ve also only been able to measure temperature since the invention of the thermometer about 225-235 years ago so knowing what the temperature profile of the earth was say 10 million years back is educated guesswork based on currently understood science and not an actual fact. Add in the fact that determining the “average global temperature” is fraught with error mostly in determining just exactly what that term means…but I digress, this really doesn’t have anything to do with climate change beyond the original statement.

Where was I…oh yeah, 3.6 degrees C is much worse than 2 degrees F. Naturally there were a lot of comments on this…and almost immediately they completely diverged from the topic at hand. The first couple basically said “BS…it’s the same amount of change just measured differently” but then we got one that said “It’s about time that America adopts the metric system to come in line with the rest of the world. . .”. How the Celsius temperature scale really isn’t part of the metric system at all but in general is used by countries that have adopted the metric system so there’s some correlation but they are actually two different things. This statement generated a whole ‘nuther set of comments for and against both Celsius being part of the metric system, how much better the metric system was than the system used in the US, and how backwards the US was for clinging to the past…not to mention arguments both for and against the US converting and how much or little it might cost. Then there was a group that basically said “some of us are capable of telling the difference between apples and oranges”…followed by the best comment in the entire thread.

“There are countries that use the metric system…and then there are countries that have been to the moon.”

Then there was another side argument about the flaw with the lens in the Hubble Space Telescope and how it was flawed due to an incorrect conversion between metric and US measurements…which is easily disprovable by a quick google search…it was simply ground incorrectly because of something called a reflective null corrector…and various claims fosr and against that.

We also got into the pros and cons of metric vs SAE tools, not to mention Whitworth threaded fasteners…and one wag pointed out that even if you went to the Home Depot and bought a set of metric sockets, while the individual sockets were things like 9mm, 10mm, etc…the ratchet that was used to drive the sockets was still either a 1/4”, 3/8”, or 1/2” drive.

True…metric/SAE units conversions have caused problems in the past…for example the US Mars mission that crashed instead of landing due to the software being written both by US and British coders and a conflict between unit systems…and an instance where a Boeing 767 ran out of fuel in Canada due to incorrect conversion (although this was actually a not recognizing the units rather than a conversion error when you go read about it) so that the plane had to conduct a dead stick glider landing onto an abandoned RAF airstrip named Gimli that had (a) been converted into a drag racing strip and was (b) in use for a drag racing competition when they landed from behind everybody because they were looking down the track.

Second best comment in the thread was the one about tires in the US…”And yet, here in America, we size tires by P (for passenger), 265 (rim width in millimeters), 70 (tire sidewall is 70% of rim width, by 16 (rim diameter in good old inches) which rocket scientist came up with this formula?”

Eventually the discussion descended into minutia and arguments over semantics and definitions. Neil tends to stick with the “apples and oranges” definition…know your units and be able to convert them…but then he was an engineer and sailor and was used to converting times, distances and such as a normal part of doing business…in fact he is even familiar with a term called a barn which is a measurement of area (it is 10 to the minus 24 square centimeters) and a unit of time known as a shake…1 shake is 10 nanoseconds…the term was invented by nuclear bomb physicists, it turns out that when you have a nuclear explosion the whole nuclear part of it is over within 30 nanoseconds and after that it is just the released energy exiting from the still intact at that point outer steel casing of the bomb since 30 nano seconds is essentially non zero compared to the milliseconds it takes the blast from the conventional explosives that start the nuclear bang to reach and break the outer casing of the bomb. Anyway…the physicists invented the shake so that they could go to the local bar and when asked how long a nuclear explosion took they could honestly answer “three shakes”, a reference to the old nursery rhyme about three shakes of a lambs tail.

Things to ponder.

Too many people these days are too judgmental. I can tell just by looking at them.

I look at people sometimes and think…really? That’s the sperm that won?

If the past few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that stupidity spreads faster than any virus.

Can we still order Black Coffee?
Are Brownies being taken off the shelf?
Is White Castle changing its name?
I’m sure Cracker Barrel is screwed.
Can we still play Chinese Checkers?I’m going to miss Snow White.

Are we the only country stupid enough to start a second civil war because we are offended by the first one?

And the best of the bunch…

So I think we can all agree that switching from ass whoopings to time outs didn’t have the outcome we had hoped for…

LittleRedRidingHood

TriedItDoesntWork

MarriageCounseling

Cyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Critters, Homebody, WIldlife | Leave a comment