On The Actual Performance Of Fun Stuff©

Before I get into that though…Ima gotta tellya that Ima gettin’ pretty darned unhappy with the ridiculous claims, counterclaims, lies, distortions, and completely BS claims of both sides far reaches of our political spectrum. From vaccines to masks to insurrections to peaceful protests to universal health care to rights guaranteed in the constitution to rights that were invented in the constitution to rights that are required to be unlimited to rights that can be reasonably limited to…and on and on and on.

It’s just a bunch of crap…both sides taking political shots at the other side and doing all of the above stuff to rile up people. Over the past couple of decades the fringes have continuously moved outwards to the outer fringes and despite being a significant minority in the country both sides fringe idiots…and that’s exactly what they are, idiots…have an increasingly large say in determination of the policies and nominees of both parties and an increasingly large portion of the people that are middle right to center to middle left have no real say in who gets nominated for election but all too often those folks in the middle-ish who actually determine who wins the election…there aren’t enough fringe people on either side to really matter overall…so we get to choose from between bad alternatives. Makes me think that Neil’s longstanding idea on elections has considerable merit. He says that in every election there should be the candidates and that “None of the above” should also be on the ballot…and if “None” wins then there must be a new election and none of the previous candidates can run. This would encourage bipartisanship and reaching out to voters in the middle and on both sides to elect people who actually believe in doing the job they were elected to do and run the country/state/city/whatever…instead of the current situation which essentially is that an elected official’s primary duty is to oppose whatever the other side wants.

Not going to list all the examples of sheer stupidity and hypocrisy today…ya’ll all know what they are. Connie thinks I bash the idiots too much here but much like our friend Randy Cassingham from
https://thisistrue.com
 I think I really roast the obliviots on both sides pretty much equally. Speaking of This is True…ya oughta go and check it out. It’s a free weekly newsletter that includes actual news stories from around the world rewritten in a humorous style to encourage people to think…he calls it thought provoking entertainment and social commentary…and if ya like it there’s also a premium version which is pretty cheap that includes no advertisements and twice as many stories. In fact…obliviots is a word he coined…it’s a combination of oblivious and idiot…and Randy is one of the earliest members of the internet related created economy we have today…he’s been publishing it since 1994 and has made a full time living from it since not too long after that. Check it out.

Anyways…Fun Stuff©.

We had a pretty nice holiday…I guess. Connie tripped back before Christmas and bumped her noggin on the floor in the kitchen. No serious damage done and she was mostly fine but had a 1/4 inch or so long split in her scalp up under her bangs. Neil took her down to the urgent care clinic and they put a staple in it to hold it together…then a day or so later she come down with fever and headache. He took her back and they made sure she had not had a concussion and it turned out that she caught the flu from her previous visit to the same urgent care center…fever was too low and the symptoms came on too fast to be covid and we’re fully recovered, vaccinated, and boosted anyway…but he told her to isolate from people anyway until no fever for 24 hours. So there went Christmas Midnight (at 1600) Mass the day before which bummed her out since she really looks forward to the pre-Mass concert. And there went a planned trip up to Midlothian VA to see the human kids and Alex.

Instead…we stayed home and Neil cooked a chicken…smoked it spatchcock style and then put it on the grill to crispy up the skin…it was good. We did nothing the week between Xmas and New Years since she was feeling bad…low grade fever and lots of headaches are the primary symptoms of whatever flu is going around down here according to the docs. New Years Eve we watched Alabama beat Cincinnati in the playoff semifinal…then Neil did a ham for New Years and by early last week she was feeling better albeit really bummed out since we had been doing nothing.

So…Neil scheduled us a trip down to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary last Thursday. Corkscrew is owned and operated by the National Audubon Society and is a 13,000ish acre wetlands/pine forest nature preserve down on the western edge of the Everglades. Home to all the usual suspects for SW Fl…gators, birdlife of all kinds, and other critters…it’s $100 for a yearly membership for 2. It’s located about 30 miles south of us and 20 or so miles east.

We figured it was a mite early in the year for most of the wading birds since the winter is the dry season down here and the water probably hadn’t really receded enough for the waders to be here…and as it turned out we were correct…but given our increasing unhappiness with doing nuttin’…it was still a worthwhile trip.

We got an 0800 reservation for our free admission…unlimited visits instead of $17/person/day…is included in the annual fee…sunrise is about 0730ish this time of the year and ya gotta be there early if you want to see the birds. It’s about a 2.6 mile hike around the boardwalk…the entire circuit is on a raised boardwalk since all of it is either underwater or marshy/wet for at least part of the year and some of it is wet year round. They’ve implemented some covid restrictions…reservations required and one way traffic on the boardwalk for the most part…but being outside and in the breeze no masks are required except in the buildings. As expected…on the clockwise one way path you start around the left side and that’s mostly the pine forest/plain/savannah sort of environment. Few birds there although we did find some very fresh raccoon tracks on the boardwalk where they climbed the posts and used it to move around. Once you get to the far end and turn around the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock portion of the essentially oval loop you’re into the swamp areas which are always wet…and sure enough…the water was still too high for most of the birds…we’ll make another trip down there next month sometime and expect to see many more. Despite the water though…we did get a few sightings and Ima gonna put some photos down below.

We got back to the visitor center about 1045 and headed home for the remainder of the day.

Let’s see…what else is going on. Nope, I got nuttin’ else for ya…you’re pretty much up to date…so let’s get into the photos from the other day…there are a few included that Neil got out back of the lanai on the pond. I’ll point those out when they come up but it’s probably not necessary as regular readers will recognize the pond. Oh yeah…Neil did buy himself a couple of camera things…a 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverter in the Nikon Z mount continuing his transition to mirrorless cameras and also ordered a 100-400mm zoom lens but the latter is back ordered at the moment. Still…the two teleconverters came in handy on the trip the other day. He also bought himself a new noise reduction program…it uses AI to remove noise and enhance sharpness on photos…and is pretty much magic. It gets used early in the post processing process so the noise is gone before he starts adjusting color, exposure, crop and so on. So…on to pictures. These are a mix of shots from Neil’s Z7II and Connie’s Z50…she’s really happy to have a longer lens now so she can get some wildlife shots.

Oh yeah…I almost fergot…our local eagle couple Harriet and M15 have two new baby eaglets…E19 and E20. They were hatched on Dec 27 and 28 and are doing well…ya can follow their progress
here
. This was taken on NYE…they’re getting bigger already.

E19andE20

Great Blue Heron and a male Anhinga out back

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This little guy…again out back…is called a changeling. It’s actually a Little Blue Heron…which regular readers will recognize as usually being a dark blue bird with a red/purple neck and head area. However…that’s the adult version, juveniles are pure white and then they spend some time as a changeling before becoming adults. We’ve seen this one several times over the past month or so and either there’s more than one visiting the pond or he’s changing into adult plumage faster than we thought they did.

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This is the pine savannah/forest/plain area on the left side of the boardwalk. Looking southwest here although the pine section vs the swamp section is a matter of elevation difference and not really anything to do with direction…the difference in elevation is only 3 or 4 feet but that makes all the difference in what grows and thrives there.

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A section of the boardwalk in the swamp area.

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Raccoon tracks…these were early in the circuit on the pine/sunny side.

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These next two require a bit of ‘splainin. Much like the Rock Bears one sees up in Alaska, the Bush Moose up in Maine, and the Stump Birds that you see in the forest a lot…this is an example of what we call a Tree Owl.

Not an actual owl of course…or a bear or bird either for that matter…but out in the woods ya see a lot things that initially catch your eye as being something that on further review as they say turn out to be just conveniently shaped twigs or shadows or scars or fungi or whatever that calls to mind something…hence the aforementioned names. This is exactly the same shot twice…but the second one Neil did some Lightroom magic to highlight the Tree Owl. See if you can find it first though.

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Yep, there on the tree…looks a lot like a Barred Owl which is either brownish or grayish depending and they perch on trees a lot so their coloration conveniently…for them but not so much for their prey…blends into the background of the tree. He’s highlighted the section…you can see the whitish area on the face with the darker beak in the midland the mottled body below that with the whitish underside of the tail feathers at the bottom. Fooled him for a few seconds as he pulled up the camera though.

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Red Bellied Woodpecker from the back…this particular species has the black and white checked back and the bright red cape/cowl on the back of his head but not the front. It would have been called…probably…the Red Headed Woodpecker except that name was already taken for another species that has an entire red head like it was dunked in the paint can.

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Woodpecker nest…we think.

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Great Egret fishing.

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Black Vulture.

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Squirrel.

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Bromeliad.

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Black Throated Blue Warbler…and yes…I know it’s neither black throated or blue…but this is the female which…just like the Red Wing Blackbird…is considerably less colorful than the male of the species. The boys need to be pretty to attract the ladies ya know.

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Male Anhinga…the female has a brown neck and head but is otherwise similar.

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Pileated Woodpecker…about twice the size of the Red Bellied above…you’ll recognize it as the namesake of Woody the Woodpecker cartoons from your younger days. There were actually a pair of these in the same area as another Red Bellied. Unfortunately…neither of them really came out into the open for a really great shot but these are better than average poses for them…they’re not all that common.

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White Ibis.

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With the exception of the couple of ‘what it looks like’ shots at the beginning…the wildlife shots are pretty much in order as we went around, the squirrel and female warbler were up at the far end turnaround just before we headed into the swampy section of the boardwalk. 

We were pretty tired by the time we got back…haven’t done much hiking for the past almost 2 years due to the covid and we really need to get out more and do cool stuff…and not the least because Neil will get me cool pictures to post. He’s scheduled already a trip back up to Black Point Wildlife Drive and Lake Apopka Drive for next month……and we’ll do a day trip to Venice Rookery and get back to Corkscrew as well…it’s mating/nesting season down here now and you get both a much higher concentration of wildlife as well as they’re all dressed in their finest mating plumage in order to impress the ladies…or guys in the female case.

Interesting things found on the net.

ReincarnationError

No one is immune I guess.

NoOneIsImmune

Just in case you ever want to be able to find the state of Kentucky on a map of the USA.

HowToFindKentucky

A few interesting map comparisons…

The US vs the size of India.

USVsIndia

And compared to China…although at 1.5 billion they have over 4 times our 330 million population.

USVsChina

Everybody knows that Texas is pretty big…the largest state outside of Alaska but how does it compare to Africa?

TexasVsAfrica

And a couple example of why the founding fathers insisted that our country is a union of states and not one large company…just in case the name United States of America doesn’t give you a clue.

Fifty percent of the US population lives in the red shaded area. Notice that it’s heavily slanted towards densely populated urban coastal cities.

50PercentOfPopulation

 

The orange area and the red area have equal population.

EqualPopulation

 

These last two maps illustrate why the Electoral College is a good idea…it keeps a relatively small area of the country from imposing whatever political will they have on the larger portion…it was the same idea back when the EC was invented by the founding fathers although for a different reason…back then they didn’t want the cities of NY and Boston to run the country despite what the more agricultural states with fewer people per square mile thought should happen. I’m not opposed to the idea that some folk don’t like the idea of the EC…what I am opposed to is attempts to end run around it because they don’t like how it works. There’s a way to get rid of it…way back when the aforementioned founding fathers included in the constitution a way to amend it as times change…but by design they made amending it really hard because they thought that any changes to the founding law of the land should require buy in from most of the population…hence the requirement that 2/3 of both houses of Congress approve it…that’s 67 Senators and 291 Representatives then it must be approved by 3/4 of the states…or 38 states. It’s supposed to be hard.

There go those silly mathematicians again…this week’s installment is something known as narcissistic numbers. That’s any number that is the sum of the cubes of it’s digits.

N narcissisticNumber

Now I understand the concept here and it’s not really surprising that some numbers exist such that this rule holds true…but it’s another in a long line of utterly useless trivia that those nerds come up with.

Ima still waitin’ on somebody to ‘splain to me just why all these numerical concepts exist. Some of them have uses but there are way too many that seemingly exist just to get the discoverer’s name out there or to impress the other nerds with what they figgered out.

And finally…since it is…er, was…the holidays ya know…

CatXmas

 

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Hiking, Photography, WIldlife | 4 Comments

Tornadoes…Really?

Ya know…everybody talks about the good weather down here in Florida…but we got your hot, humid, sticky summers so it’s not all roses ya know. We do have nice winters…but in the summer we have thunderstorms and tropical storms and all but winter…and well spring and fall as well…are pretty darned nice mostly.

Hurricanes…yeah, we got ‘em. Tornadoes though…not so much.

At least until Tuesday…although it really wasn’t much as tornadoes go.

Up our way in North Fort Myers…we had pretty strong winds most of the morning…generally in the 30s but with gusts up to the high 40s range but they had most died down by early afternoon…and then we saw on the news that a tornado had touched down in South Fort Myers about 13 miles as the heron files South Southeast of our location. It was only an EF 1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale so it was the second smallest one that would get called a tornado instead of a whirlwind or whatever a tornado wannabe gets called. EF 0 is for winds from 40 to 72 and EF 1 is 73 to 112 so at 95 mph this one was just about in the center of the EF 1 range. It was on the ground for about 2 minutes, 50 yards wide, and had a path about a mile long so forward speed was 15 miles an hour heading North Northeast…if it had continued on a straight line it would have passed 4 or 5 mies east of us 20 or 30 minutes or so later but it dissipated. It was early in the morning about 0630 and at the time the winds were from the northeast before shining around to the southeast and then south by 1000 or so…I’m not sure why it headed northeast instead of southwest which was the prevailing wind direction at the time…at least up in our neighborhood. Total damage was less than $500K and with the exception of one car damaged by a falling palm tree and a single minor injury the damage was confined to patio furniture and pool/lanai screen enclosures.

Magnolia Landing had all the recycle and garbage cans blow over on their sides…Tuesday is our pickup day and they were all out from the night before. That meant that a lot of recycled beer cans, plastic bottles, and cardboard got scattered all over creation and those folks who had loose garbage in their cans instead of having it in bags had to pick up all that crap from the front yard…at least that part that wasn’t blown down the street. Our recycle bin fell over so Neil just brought it up to the garage door out of the wind and then when we heard the truck he ran out and pulled it across the other side of the cul-de-sac street we live on so the auto lift truck could dump it as he came back down the other side. Our garbage can was fine…partly because all of our garbage was in bags as it should be but mostly because Neil had tossed in a dozen busted hard drives he has collected over the years…and the extra 20 pounds or so for them all fell to the bottom of the can and lowered it’s center of gravity so it stayed upright most of the morning…although it did tip over late morning in the worst part of the wind so he just positioned it so the lid wouldn’t blow open and scatter stuff.

Then after that…it was 49 degrees over night into this morning…I dunno who ordered that temperature but whoever it was is just wrong. It aint’ s’posed to be like that here…any temperature that starts with 4 is definitely prohibited and mostly any one starting with 5 never happens either. Low temps are gradually going to warm up through the end of the year with highs also slowly warming to the mid 80s by late next week.

We got all of our Christmas decorating done this week…Neil and Connie had already put the wreath on the door and the lights on the bushes…one of our strings got cut somehow by the yard guys so he used our last spare strip to get back decorated…we’ll buy some more spares after Christmas when they’re on half price sale. Over last weekend we…well Connie mostly…Neil assembled the tree into it’s stand. We bought it last year and it’s got lights and some decorations permanently attached so his part took just a few minutes then she took over the remainder.

Connie tripped the other night and banged her head on the floor…it was still bleeding after the overnight (we thought it was stopped) so he took her down in the AM to the urgent care clinic and they put a staple in it…Neil said that if he knew they were gonna do that he coulda saved the trip since he’s got a staple gun out in the garage. It’s a small split up under her bangs from where she hit the floor…and she’s got some aches and pains from bouncing off the floor and…we think…the side of the freezer door in the fridge. She’s getting better though…and we’ll have to go get the staple removed next week sometime.

Connie has an extra choir rehearsal today and then a busy weekend…she’s singing at Midnight Mass Friday…which actually happens at 1600…Florida and old people ya know…and then at both 0800 and 1000 on Christmas morning. While she’s doing that…he will be baking the Pecan Pie Brownies we’re having for dessert. He’s got a whole chicken brining out in the fridge in the garage that he’s gonna spatchcock and grill on Christmas…we’ll have a baked winter squash to go along with it and whatever else they decide to make.

Nothing much else planned though.

He did get one shot out back this week…this Great Blue Heron which took off shortly after he got the shot. It was just sitting there and waiting to fly…he stood out ready to shoot for a bit and naturally it didn’t move…at least not until 2 seconds after the lanai screen door closed as he came in after giving up. Our local eagles Harriet and M15 are brooding a pair of eggs with expected hatchings on the 26th and 29th. 

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You probably saw where Senator Manchin put the kibosh on the Build Back Better plan over the weekend…he kept telling them it was too expensive and they were using budget gimmicks to hide the true cost and that creating a permanent welfare class wasn’t good for the country…but they ket pushing and browbeating and social media complaining and trying to force him to do it their way…until he finally just said basically “What part of No do you not understand?”. Most of his constituents are against the bill…75% by the poll we saw…and the man is a smart politician so that combined with his real concerns about the cost of the bill and the fact that the free money programs in it will never be cancelled no matter who is in charge in Congress and the White House make his opposition seem pretty normal.

We keep hearing these booms in the neighborhood…there is construction going on both east and west of us (further to the front and back of the community. Most of them are dull booms that are clearly explosions and the house rattles a bit. However…the ones the last couple of days have sounded more like a dumpster getting dragged across concrete than a boom but they still make the house rattle. We haven’t figured out what is different about them. 

Interesting things found on the net.

Ya know those nachos you get at the ball park or football stadium with the gooey melted cheese like substance on top of them? Well…although it’s not really cheese but just cheese like stuff…the chemical that makes it ooey-gooey and creamy is named  Sodium Citrate. Interestingly enough…here’s the formula for Sodium Citrate.

Nachos

RecentStudyResults

GauntletThrown

LinuxInzSpace

PointOfView

WinnipegTimeServed

A few late but Thanksgiving related ones.

The Octo-Crab-Turrkey

OctoCrabTurkey

HappyThanksgivingDonald

Working around the clock

WorkingAroundTheClock

Ima really sure I don’t want any of this perfume.

Ass fragerances

Cats playing Spin the Bottle.

CatSpinTheBottle

And finally…

ReincarnationError

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody | Leave a comment

Off To The Symphony

Ok, lessee what’s been happenin’ since Turkey Day…or as we called it ‘round here Duck Day.

Alabama wrapped up the SEC championship with a thrilling come from behind 4 overtime victory over Auburn in the Iron Bowl…in most years the respective quality of the tow teams and the season records have nothing to do with how close or run away the game is…and this year was no exception. Auburn played inspired defense and had a 0-10 lead over the Tide into the 4th quarter but a field goal and then a clutch 97 yard drive in the last minute and a half or so of the game with a TD pass at 24 seconds remaining sent the game into overtime and after swapping CDs and field goals in the first two extra periods it came down to 2 point conversions. Third overtime both were successful and in the 4th a defender tipped away Auburn’s pass attempt followed by a slick move by one of the Tide’s receivers to get open and tiptoe into the end zone for the winning points.

The next week…it was off to Atlanta for the SEC championship…but we had wrapped up the SEC West the week before so regardless of the Iron Bowl were headed to Atlanta. Everybody expected a defensive battle and it started that way with Georgia having a 0-10 lead early in the second. We then scored on 5 consecutive possessions to put the game away midway through the 3rd quarter and then dominated defensively on the way to a 41-24 victory, a Heisman moment for the ‘Bama QB Bryce Young, and the top seeding in the playoffs…we’ll play Cincinnati on New Years Eve and Georgia and Michigan will play that evening for berths and a potential rematch in the championship.

Young went on to win the Heisman Trophy yesterday…that’s 4 of the past 13 despite having never won one before…and despite a bunch of really good QBs over the years (Starr, Namath, Tua, Mac Jones and others he’s the first QB winner from the school…and it looks like Georgia’s defensive coordinator is headed to Oregon…it remains to be seen whether he’ll coach through the playoffs or get replaced.

Other than that…nuttin’ is really going on. We went down the the Elks a couple times, Connie’s cantored…a lot…and we’re headed off to Sarasota this afternoon for the second Masterworks series concert. And it’s Alex’s birthday…so we’ll give him a call and wish him a happy 7th birthday this evening on the way home after the concert and dinner at our usual Longhorn Steakhouse.

We had our annual termite inspection…no issues…and our quarterly pest control visit…no issues there either but we did get him to spray for the centipedes. We’ve seen a couple of them inside the house but that’s pretty much a way of life down here.

We’re looking forward to the holidays…probably do a spatchcocked chicken on the barbie as they would say down under in Aussieland.

We got our Moderna COVID booster shots and also had a very nice dinner for Connie’s birthday on Dec 2. We did the shots the afternoon of her birthday since we knew whatever side effects we had would not happen until the next day…then headed down to a place named Deep Lagoon…had some excellent oysters and lobstah bisque along with a bottle of vino. The guy next to her at the bar used to be the manager there and it was his birthday…so they brought him out 4…count ‘em 4…desserts…chocolate cake, chocolate mousse pie, cheesecake, and I canna ‘member the last one. He offered us one since he wasn’t going to eat them all…the cheesecake and the canna ‘member one were already spoken for and Connie picked the mousse as it would be light. The chocolate cake looked good…but it was really dark and would obviously be rich and heavy…and it was Connie’s birthday after all so he let her pick…and the mousse was pretty darned good.

Friday we ran a bunch of errands…did the Bingo deposit, picked up a Walmart grocery pickup order, and picked up an Italian sausage sandwich from the place outside Home Depot that we brought home for lunch. The plan was to run down to the pool area at dinner since there was a cheese steak sandwich truck coming in…but that was a bust. We got there about 1715 or so and had at least a dozen to fifteen people in front of us. After waiting over 15 minutes…we had seen exactly 3 sandwiches delivered to hungry customers…obviously they weren’t really prepared for a crowd and no sandwich is worth an hour plus wait in our opinion. So we bailed and had a frozen pizza instead. Then Connie had cantor duty for Saturday afternoon Mass so we had leftover chicken thigh stir-fry for dinner after Mass.

This week Jussie Smollet was convicted of masterminding the hoax hate crime up in Chicago back in 2020…like anybody really believed that there were a couple of MAGA folk running around downtown Chicago at 2AM. His case quickly became a ‘cause’ after it happened and everybody from the President on down decried the hate crime against him…again without bothering to get any of the facts. The original case was wrongfully dismissed by the local DA but after her whitewash of the entire lying incident a special prosecutor was quickly appointed that resulted in new charges. Clearly the jury believed the prosecution’s case or else they would not have convicted him…but naturally the left is screaming about the wrongful conviction by the ‘biased justice system’. Sheesh…just like in the other two politically charged cases recently…I wish people would actually get the facts before coming to their own biased conclusion and then putting it in the media like Moses coming down from the mountain.

Then there was the McDonald’s CEO. In April, a 7 year old girl was killed in a drive by shooting in one of their parking lots in Chicago…and in this case the father was fully aware that the other gang was after him to kill him…then a few weeks later a young black man was killed at 0230 in the morning running from police with a weapon in his hand…video showed that he tossed the gun a second or so before being shot. The CEO of McDonalds tweeted that both shootings were tragic but that in both cases the parents failed the child…the father of the girl for taking her out in the car while being hunted by another gang and the parents of the second for letting him run around at 0230 in the morning with a weapon. Interestingly…his tweet did not blame the usual suspects of racism and rogue cops…but pointed the finger at the parents. 

Nonetheless…activist groups decried his tweet as

“ignorant, racist and unacceptable.”

and

“You relied on lazy, outdated and racist stereotypes in order to uphold the status quo and avoid accountability for those in power,” the groups wrote. “As the leader of one of the world’s largest private employers and most iconic brands, you have a responsibility to do so much better.”

at which point the CEO immediately apologized and met with 100 pastors and community leaders in the city to bow and beg forgiveness for his sins. Even the WSJ said that he was “stating a plain truth that is surely shared by a an overwhelming majority of rational adults.”

What the heck has happened to personal responsibility in America?

And in
another video
by the legal eagle…it turns out that the judge in the Rittenhouse case might not have been so racially and defense biased as the media and left have repeatedly claimed…once again a rational analysis of the actual laws, facts, and judicial norms might lead an unbiased person to think that just maybe the judge did his job and wasn’t in the tank for the defense.

And just so you wont’ think we only skewer the left…we’re equal opportunity pointers out of behavior by idiots of either party…the President hosted a virtual Democracy Summit this week…and while this is a dumb concept in general that’’s not really the point. As part of his introductory speech…he said that all men and women were created equal and had a right to lift, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…and while this isn’t exactly the wording of the Declaration of Independence it seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable adaptation. Back then…women didn’t have too many rights but we’re more enlightened today…so I really don’t see any problem with it.. However…Fox News host
Tammy Bruce thinks it’s an issue
. Frankly…we don’t watch Fox except for their sports events…and I’ve never even heard of this woman…but she’s apparently a self described out of the closet lesbian feminist…so rather than accept this as a progressive step towards inclusion…she immediately went on a tirade about “sleepy Joe” and how his words were “not what the founders wrote” and “the sacred words of our founders weren’t inclusive enough for sleepy Joe, so he corrected them.”

In this case…I have to agree with those on the left who said that’s she’s just an idiot.

We did get a few more wildlife shots for ya…

White Ibis

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Another Great Blue Heron…why do wading birds stand on one leg so much I wonder

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And a couple of shots of an Osprey who was fishing in our pond…unfortunately Neil wasn’t able to get either of the splashes but did get him right after takeoff from the second unsuccessful attempt.

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And the little ‘gator was back up on the bank on our side of the pond again.

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And since it’s Alex’s birthday…here’s a shot of him on his actual birthday. He’s bigger now of course…and recently got glasses but that was expected as his parents and grandparents all have them.

Neil3 0Newborn

Interesting things found on the net.

In honor of Keith Richards (front man for The Rolling Stones) upcoming birthday this week.

KeithRichardsBettyWhite

KeithRichardswillieNelson

This is an Organ Pipe Cactus…notice the person down at the base…figuring it’s an average sized man this makes the cactus 50ish feet tall. It was identified as a Saguaro Cactus by the guy (Massimo) that posted it on twitter but he was quickly corrected.

OrganPipeCactus

DoctorProtest

There’s this concept called Pi-ish which is when you make up sentences that actually make sense using words that have a number of letters in them conforming to the digits of pi.

 

Pilish

 

This is apparently not a real road name out in Colorado…but the name of a private road/drive…but it’s still a great name for a road.

RoadNameCO

PlowedAgain

FrostyHead

ChickenNames

UKWebsites

And finally…

FarCough

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Photography, WIldlife | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving E’vrybody

Yep…have a happy one today and don’t eat too much…or at least get yerself a turducken…John Madden’s favorite meal of a deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck stuffed inside a deboned turkey with layers of sausage stuffing and cornbread stuffing inside. We’ve never had one at our house for a couple reasons…first off Neil don’t do turkey for this holiday and second the thing weighs 17 or so pounds and since the birds are deboned it is al meat and while we dearly love meat of all types that’s just way too danged much and we would be eating it for weeks.

Do we love meat? Sure we do…as we’re fond of saying ‘round here “there’s room for all of God’s creatures, right next to the mashed potatoes.

We’re having a duck breast with raspberry/orange/habanero sauce, some pumpkin puree with brown sugar and cinnamon and some left over garlic/parmesan mashed potatoes from last night…along with a nice bottle of Pinot Noir and then some blueberry/apricot crisp for desert.

So…have a great day and pay no mind to the woke liberals who claim the holiday is racist and historically inaccurate. Yes, the Indians fed the English settlers and it wasn’t the whole kumbaya thing of lore…but we all learned that back in our grammar school years. And yes…the behavior of the colonists and the early history in what became the US of A was racist…by today’s standards. However, it wasn’t racist by the standards of the day and it’s fundamentally dishonest to judge behavior and policies of 200 odd years ago by today’s differing standards…just like it will be dishonest to judge today’s behavior and policies by whatever standards exist in 2221 and later. Times, social mores, and attitudes change…as well as laws so let us just judge behavior by the prevailing standards of whatever time period we’re talking about.

Lessee…what’s new.

Last Friday morning we headed up to the Gainesville area for the Mid Year Elks Convention. We weren’t attending it but Connie as a junior delegate or alternate delegate or whatever she is (arguably both according to Neil but her mileage may vary) needed to attend a single meeting on Saturday morning so we made the 200 or so mile drive up on Friday mid day…and I gotta tell ya the idiot drivers were out in force. The whole way up I-75 it was like rush hour on the beltway in DC…too many people following too closely with a series of idiots weaving back and forth much faster than the traffic flow in general so they could get there 2 minutes early…and the idiots included at least 2 unmarked police cars who were at least 20 miles an hour faster than traffic with no lights on and no use of blinkers before merging into a space about 1.5 car lengths long at 90 mph.

On the good side…Saturday was also Neil and Connie’s 45th anniversary so in lieu of celebrating on Saturday they moved their dinner out to Friday night and headed over to Mark’s Prime Steaks and Seafood for dinner. They had Happy Hour in the bar before checking in for their reservation at 1830 and had a great dinner…petite filet for Connie and lamb chops for Neil…both were excellent but even Connie agreed that the lamb chops were better. They split a side of lyonnaise potatoes and had enough of them, the steak, and the lamb to make hash with eggs for dinner on Sunday evening. A nice glass of wine for each of them and they split a creme brûlée for dessert before heading back to the hotel. They were up early the next morning for a pretty decent pair of breakfast sandwiches from the cafe downstairs then she was off to her meeting. She was done about 1030 or so and we were all back home by early afternoon.

Let’s see what’s in the news…

I reckon everybody has seen the results of the Rittenhouse trial out in Wisconsin…acquitted on all counts…but that seemed like it was an easy conclusion with the evidence that was presented during the trial. Nonetheless…the outcome is being labeled as “no justice”, “a travesty”, and “clear proof that the system is biased against non whites and stacked in favor of whites” by our friends in the media and far left. Unfortunately…it seems that those folks don’t believe in having the justice system work the way it is designed and supposed to work but are only interested in the outcome they demand.

Let’s face it…the kid was crucified and convicted in the media and by the woke lefties long ago…and also by the President, administration, and most of the Democrats in Congress. Never mind that folks in authority…like the President for instance…should refrain from prejudging situations.

Let me say up front…the young man was a complete idiot…as are most teenagers…in going over to the demonstration and in taking a weapon with him. However…neither of those actions was or is illegal…and he had homes in both Kenosha and across the river in Illinois so it really isn’t like he came from a long distance to insert himself into the riot. Nonetheless…his actions were stupid but being stupid…again…isn’t illegal.

The issue came down to the fact that he shot 3 people, 2 of them fatally…and whether that was justified or not. By longstanding common law and US law…he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of his peers…and that guilt must evaluate ONLY the evidence produced during the trial…and that guilt must be based on each and every stipulation of the elements of the offense. The 12 jurors…including 7 women and 5 men and which included 1 black man…unanimously found that the prosecution had not met its burden…and if that is true then acquittal is required. Note…acquittal doesn’t mean not guilty…it means the the prosecution didn’t prove it’s case beyond a shadow of a doubt.

There’s this lawyer who publishes YouTube videos under a channel named Legal Eagle…in which he explains the law and what it says but evaluates it for particular cases. From reviewing his videos, law firm page, and wikipedia page he appears to be left of center but not severely left. However…he rarely takes an official position on the cases he examines one way or the other…he just explains the law and why what happened…happened. Go and take a
gander at this video
…it’s about 25 minutes long but I’ll wait. He discusses a bunch of details about self defense, the differing laws in different states, provocation, whether that invalidates self defense claims and a lot more in way more logical and understanding the legal system than I can do.

For those of you who didn’t watch the whole video…here’s the Cliff Notes (are those even a thing anymore?) version.

The prosecution charged him with various counts of homicide and unlawful possession of a firearm and violating curfew…but did not charge him with any of the lesser included offenses in the various homicide counts. Prosecutors frequently decline to charge the lesser included offenses if they think they have a strong case so as to prevent the jury from acquitting on the worst charges but convicting on a lesser charge with a shorter prison sentence. It’s a gamble on their part…but you pays your money and you takes your chances.

Rittenhouse said that it was self defense. The definition of that term differs by state and includes various requirements as to provocation, duty to flee, stand your ground, reasonable assumption by the defendant, and a whole bunch of other things that…again…differ by state. Self defense is what is known as an affirmative defense…in other words the defendant says “I shot him but it was self defense” which means it can’t be an illegal homicide.

In Wisconsin…and again this differs by state…once self defense is claimed then the prosecution has to prove…again beyond a reasonable doubt…that it was NOT self defense or else the defendant cannot be convicted. As discussed in the video…and again I think you should watch it regardless of your position on his guilt or not…if it is reasonable that he feared for his life then his actions were justified. In the video…he states that if the survivor of the shooting had instead killed Rittenhouse with the handgun he pulled and pointed at Rittenhouse then he would also have been able to claim self defense and given the other evidence it would have been reasonable to conclude that he feared for his life. It’s as simple as that.

The woke articles and complaints about the system being rigged for white defendants and rigged against black/brown/non white defendants is just so much BS…none of the people in this case were non white…and this case was solely about a single instance.

So…back to the trial…the prosecutor was an even bigger idiot than Rittenhouse was…he did lousy witness preparation, he failed to keep the defense from attacking prosecution witness credibility, and just generally did a lousy job while assuming he had an airtight case.

After the evidence was finished but before jury deliberations…the judge dismissed the illegal weapon charge and the out after curfew charge entirely…the first one because weapon was actually not illegal under Wisconsin law and the second because while he was violating curfew all of the rioters were also violating curfew and none of them were charged.

He did allow the prosecution to include the lesser included charges in the homicide counts after the fact…which seems to me to be fundamentally unfair. Either charge them at the beginning and risk the jury convicting on one of those instead or stick with the higher charge and take your chances.

So…jury deliberations. I’ll grant that only the jury and anybody who watched the entire trial on TV saw all the evidence…but that which was shown on the news sites clearly to any unbiased or “my mind’s made up, don’t try to convince me with the facts” person demonstrated that a reasonable person could conclude that Rittenhouse reasonably feared for his life in all 3 shootings. In one…a person attacked him with a skateboard and tried to take his weapon, in another the attacker said “I’m going to kill you”, and in the third the attacker pointed his weapon at Rittenhouse…even the prosecutions own video showed that and the surviving attacker admitted he pointed his weapon at Rittenhouse. 

Therefore…under the law and not the demands of the media and left…the jury obviously had to acquit…but again that does not mean not guilty…it means the prosecution failed to surmount the “beyond a reasonable doubt” bar for each and every element in the “it was not self defense” requirement.

As I said…the kid was beyond stupid…but that isn’t illegal. His attackers were also stupid…at least 2 of them for using a skateboard to attack a guy with with a rifle. However…they were also at the riot and the rioters were destroying property…again stupid on their part.

In my view…the system worked as designed…which has nothing to with guilt or innocence…it has to do with that whole “beyond a reasonable doubt” requirement that the prosecution is required to meet for conviction.

The trial down in Georgia of the three guys that shot Arbery turned out differently…we always thought that they had a higher probability of being convicted than Rittenhouse…but I really don’t like how the left and media made Arbery out to be such a choirboy who was just jogging along. Arbery deliberately drove to a well to do neighborhood and was seen on video entering a house under construction and looking around for something…and jogging in a different neighborhood in basketball shoes that were not tied up is not how one jogs…so there’s at least some reasonable idea there that he was up to no good and not quite the choir boy the prosecution, media, and lefties portrayed him to be. However…again the system worked as designed.

In wildlife news…we continue to see the return of said wildlife to the pond out back as we get into the drier winter season here in Florida…it got down to 52 the other night and we actually had to close our windows before bedtime.

Here’s the same…we think…gator we saw on our side of the pond the other day. Almost two years into living on the pond here and we’ve seen precisely 2 of them on our side of the pond within a week. It was further up the bank than the last time so this shot was taken through the lanai screen. It is only 4 to 5 feet long so not really a serious threat but Neil was afraid it would skedaddle if he tried to get out the door for a shot.

Z72 1335

Tricolor heron, no mating plumage yet but it’s a bit early for that.

Z72 1337

Florida soft-shell turtle…first one we’ve seen of both it and the Tricolor this season.Again…through the lanai screen because despite being across the pond from us they are pretty skittish and rarely stay put if you open the lanai screen door.

Z72 1327

Better shot of the Tricolor Heron.

Z72 1340

Great Blue Heron…we’ve seen these for the past month or so.

Z72 1357

Great Egret.

Z72 1368

And finally…another Great Blue Heron in a strange pose. We’ve never seen one holding its wings out to dry like an Anhinga does…and never seen any heron holding their wings out to dry at such a low and awkward looking angle.

Z72 1372

Yeah…we like this time of year.

Interesting things found on the net.

PecanPie

NoStickShiftVehicles

And those math wieners are at it again.

Apparently there is a thing called a cyclic number which an integer in which cyclic permutations of the digits are successive multiples of the number. The most widely known is the six-digit number 142857, whose first six integer multiples are cyclic permutations of its digits…although it appears to have no useful purpose. If one makes the reasonable interpretation that there are no leading zeros in a number…i.e., it is 1,000 and 01,000 isn’t allowed…then this is the only cycle number. If one accepts that leading zeros are allowed…then there are other examples but all of them (10 to the xth power  − 1) where x can be 17, 19, 23, 29,47, 59, 61, or 97…but again this appears t one a singularly useless concept.

CyclicNumbers

And just in case you haven’t forgotten about π there’s the Chudnovsky algorithm which can be used to calculate the digits of π…and it was recently used to calculate them out to 62.8 trillion digits…despite the fact that 15 is way more than enough. As I’ve previously noted…NASA uses 15 in their calculations for space missions…because while 15 digits is only an approximation it is off by less than the diameter of a hydrogen atom for a circle the size of the known universe…and if that’s true then 15 is way more than enough for any possible need and in fact 3.14159 is really good enough. Anyways…here’s the algorithm.

ChudnovskyFormula

How or why this was developed by the Chudnovsky brothers in 1988 based on work by Srinivasa Ramanujan in the late 1800s or early 1900s is unexplained. Old Srinivasa’s formula is

Screen Shot 2021 11 25 at 10 29 01

How the Chudnovskys derived their formula from his is likewise unexplained.

PepsiPfizerMerge

QueenElizabeth

YouWillBeCured

And finally…

DoILookFat

Cyas.

Posted in Photography, Travel, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Random Stuff

Yup…pretty much just some random stuff today as nothing else is really going on. 

Neil’s new laptop arrived…14 inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro with 32 GB RAM and 2 TB drive…and it’s pretty wicked fast compared to the old one. Of course…that necessitated the purchase of some new USB C external drives and thumb drives since all of our current devices can use them…but that’s just fine with the IT department.

We went out to Bonefish for Date Night this week…decent dinner and great wine sitting at the bar before heading home. Elks board meeting tonight and then Ladies of Elks Bingo at the lodge on Sunday but other than that pretty much nothing really happening.

Oh yeah…we got a new grill for the lanai. When we moved into the house in Feb 20 our CharBroil infrared grill was about at the end of its useful life…3 years or so is about all you get out of a grill. So after we moved in in late summer we got a supposedly much longer lasting and much more expensive Sea-B-Que from Dickinson Marine…it’s designed for use on boats and according to their propaganda…and several people who recommended it to us…they last practically forever. So we sprung for the extra money and got one hoping it would last longer.

Not. So. Much.

In fact…extremely Not. So. Much

Neil had been noticing over the past couple of months that he only got flames from the burner on the left side which is opposite of where the gas connection is, so he figured the burner was clogged with rust or something. Took the grill grates off and discovered the entire burner assembly had failed…so it lasted less than a year for all the extra cost.

We went back to the CharBroil infrared model we had before…it’s less than half the price of the Sea-B-Que and will last well over 3 years based on our experience. Tossed the old one out with the garbage Monday evening…they pick up stuff like that on regular pickup days here…and by 0900 Tuesday morning somebody had opened up the top and checked it out to make sure that they didn’t want to steal/requisition/repurpose or whatever you want to call it. Neil had already dismantled it to see if the gas valve was aa standard valve and if so he would have kept it as a spare for the CharBroil but it is designed differently so out it went. 

In other exciting news…we used to have garbage pickup on Tuesday and recycle on Friday…that got changed effective Nov 1 to both on Tuesday by the county.

Ok…let’s see what’s happening in the news this week.

You probably read about or heard about the Rittenhouse trial out in Wisconsin…he’s the now 18 year old who went over to Kenosha in the aftermath of a shooting there by the police to protect businesses from rioters. Now…he was an idiot for going over there and playing vigilante…but being an idiot isn’t illegal. However…he ended up shooting 3 people and killing 2 of them…and from everything we have been reading in the media ever since one would have believed that he deliberately targeted and gunned down 3 innocent peaceful protestors.

Once the trial started though…not so much.

The prosecutor clearly did not do a very good job of reviewing the evidence or or preparing his witnesses. The kid claimed self defense…and under the law there the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not self defense. 

Of the 3 people who were shot…there is actually video that shows each of them were the aggressor in the encounters and in fact shows that the kid was trying to get away from them. One prosecution witness reported that one of the two dead people actually threatened to kill the kid and tried to take his gun away while the other dead guy aimed a handgun at the kid. The surviving shoot-ee admitted that he pulled his handgun and aimed at the kid…but he “wasn’t planning to shoot anybody”. Seems to me that if you aim your handgun at another person and admit that he wasn’t aiming at you first then he’s got every right to defend himself.

The defense clearly…at least to an unbiased observer…has demonstrated reasonable doubt about the prosecution case but I guess we’ll see what the jury does.

The prosecutor also tried…in the presence of the jury…to suggest that the kid not answering police questions during the investigation was tantamount to guilt…and also tried to bring up items…again in front of the jury…that the judge had previously disallowed. That earned him a tongue lashing from the judge.

With the case by the prosecution going so well…the media shifted to attacking the judge saying that he is biased. Some of their examples…when told that lunch was being delivered by an Asian restaurant he quipped the he hoped it wasn’t on one of the ships over in Long Beach or LA or else it would be a long wait…and on Veterans Day he asked if anybody in the courtroom was a veteran and led the courtroom attendees in a round of applause for the single veteran who was there, this supposedly gave extra credibility to the man who was an about to testify defense witness…then the judge’s ring tone is God Bless the USA.

One of the prosecution witnesses was asked if he ever had words with one of the dead men…and he admitted that he never exchanged words. At that point…the DA asked him how he could have anything to say about what the dead guy was thinking…the witness then testified that the dead guy said “F&%^ you to the kid and pulled his weapon. Duh…really bad witness prep there Mr. DA.

The prosecution’s own medical expert confirmed on the stand that the dead guy in the video shown reaching for the kid’s rifle had gunshot residue on his hands meaning he grabbed the barrel. Again…great witness prep.

From reading the testimony of the various witnesses in the media…it is pretty clear that the prosecution lost the case easily…so at the last minute they got the judge to allow the jury to consider lesser charges while deliberating…even though they were not originally included. The DA thought he had such a great case that he didn’t charge the lesser offenses…in order to not give the jury an out…but then when his case went south he wanted them added back in. I’m really fine with lesser included charges being included or not as the prosecution wants…but they should have to stick with their decision and not change the rules in the middle of the game.

Ok…enough on the trial…how about the Pentagon.

GM is actually making a
military prototype of their Hummer electric vehicle
at the request of the Pentagon in the President’s quest to divest all carbon fueled vehicles from the government. Yeah…and electric only military vehicle. Because we all know that there would never be any electrical outages in a war zone and that there’s a plethora of charging stations in likely conflict spots like the Middle East in the sandbox.

A professor at
Arizona State
is calling for an “end to white supremacy language” in grading criteria in favor of an effort based system which will “redistribute power”. In his proposed system…getting the right…or wrong…answer isn’t what a student will be graded on. Rather…students should be graded by “how much labor they put into their work”. Nuts, eh?

A recent
editorial in the Wall Street Journal
…quotes from a NY Times article that says Democrats will keep losing elections until they have an “honest conversation in the Democratic Party about how to return to the moderate policies and values that fueled the blue-wave victories in 2018 and won Joe Biden the presidency in 2020.”…and this from the decidedly liberal and left wing paper in NYC. The problem is that…just as happens on the other side…the fringes of the party are responsible for platforms and candidates that are far out of touch with mainstream America…progressives and Tea Party people do not represent the majority of the population but they are the people in charge of platforms and who vote in primaries on both sides and this results in candidates that can’t win the regular election.

A
video by a Washington Post staffer
last week teamed up with a NY Times editorial board writer and wondered why Democrats who have a super majority that can override a governors veto or a complete control of the legislative and gubernatorial branches of government aren’t doing more to solve the long standing goals of the party…they have that advantage in 18 states. Democrats in DC frequently blame the GOP for foiling their progressive vision…so how are they doing in the states the Democratic Party controls? Housing is one of the bedrock things in their 2020 platform…so let’s take a look at the Peoples Republic of California. The Democratic leaning editorial staffer says that you can’t say you’re interested in housing unless you’re willing to have affordable housing in your neighborhoods.…yet CA has the worst housing crisis and the most homeless encampments of any state in the union…and local governments frequently vote against multi family housing units because it will result in declining home values…an argument made by the well off people who already live in that neighborhood. 

Taxation…the platform says that the tax policy has been rigged against the American people…so let’s look at Washington state…another Democratic stronghold. Looking at the percentage of income paid in taxes by income bracket…the percentages are far higher for low income people. 

Schooling…Democrats want to fix the education system…so let’s look at Cook County in IL…this is where Chicago is. If they were really interested in fixing it…how about a single school district for the entire county which takes the property taxes and distributes them fairly to all schools in the county. Sounds good, right? However…the county has divided itself into more than 140 school districts…and by law the property taxes in a district must be distributed to schools within that district. So…the more well off districts pay more in school taxes which goes to make the schools in their neighborhood better…but the poorer neighborhoods continue to fall further and further behind. What are Democrats thinking here?

And it isn’t just states…let’s look at the federal government in DC. Again…we see folks like Schumer and Pelosi giving speeches how the “rich need to pay their fair share”…while completely ignoring the fact that almost all of the income tax collected by the IRS is paid for by people in the higher income brackets. However…let’s look at the actions of Democratic leadership rather than their words.

Ever since the 2017 tax law changes…which limited the state and local tax (SALT) deduction on federal taxes to $10,000…the Democrats have been complaining about how unfair it is that large, blue, Democratic states like NY, CA, OH, and IL aren’t allowed to fully deduct their SALT taxes. Personally…I feel like it’s perfectly fair. I have no issue with those states charging whatever tax rates they want…but then the residents of those states are responsible for paying them. Allowing the residents of those states to deduct their high tax bills from their federal taxes essentially means that they’re transferring the liability for the high taxes in those states to taxpayers in lower tax states…it seems fair to me that things that benefit those states should be paid for by those states.

In the currently under negotiation by the House Build Back Better bill…the Democrats are
trying to insert a repeal of the SALT tax limitations
to allow their blue, Democratic, heavily taxed states to be subsidized by the rest of us. In fact…this $285 billion tax cut is one of the largest expenditures in the proposed bill. So…let’s look at who it benefits. From the article…here’s a chart that shows by income bracket where those benefits would be going.

0c95afd0 47b2 11ec affc 01f7510c8ef1

Taxpayers in the bottom 40% will receive zero benefits from this provision…and the Tax Policy Center says that people in the top 5% will get 70%  the benefits of this provision. So…in other words…it only benefits rich people living in CA, NY, IO, OH, and WA.

And…the provision is being pushed by representatives from the aforementioned high tax states who complain that not being allowed to deduct their SALT is an “undue burden” and “is pushing some high income residents to leave their state”.

Another example of “rules are for thee, not for me” by our progressive friends. I’m not pointing the finger only at the Democrats though…the other side does plenty of stupid things as well…for instance the article this week about Michael Flynn and Sidney Powell urging the Defense Department to investigate to help them overturn the election. In the first place…the Pentagon has no authority to either investigate or overturn elections and those two people have no authority to ask the Pentagon either. However…they may or may not have actually done it…it’s in a new book by long time ABC White House chief correspondent Jonathan Karl. I have no idea about his political persuasion…but hopefully he has some evidence or reporting or investigative journalism to actually support that claim and it isn’t just to help sell his book.

Ok, on to interesting things found on the net.

Our friends the mathematicians…they’re at it again. 

Apparently…somebody thought it was necessary to investigate the value of Pi to determine how often a digit appears multiple times in a row…and after deep and careful research they’ve determined that the digit 9 appears six times in a row starting at the 762nd decimal place and again at position 193,034. I’m not sure why they only did the research for 6 consecutive digits and not 4 or 5 or 12…and I’m also quite sure that you only need 15 decimal places when using Pi in a calculation. That’’s what NASA uses to calculate the trajectories of space missions and is enough precision so that if you used15 decimal places and calculated the circumference of a circle with a diameter equal to the size of the known universe the calculation would be off by less than the size of an atom of hydrogen. However…calculate it they did.

SixNinesInPi

Then there’s how you calculate Pi. As everybody knows…it is the ration of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and is an irrational number that never repeats and goes on for an infinite number of decimal places. There are numerous ways of calculating an approximation of Pi and in a recent post I reported how it had calculated out to 32 trillion decimal places or something like that (not withstanding the fact that 15 is plenty). Anyways…there’s another way to calculate that I saw yesterday…it’s known as Wall’s Formula and was published in 1656.

WallsFormulaForPi

Me…I just push the Pi button on my calculator or I ask Neil who quickly reports the it is 3.1415962653589 because that’s how many digits he memorized in college. Similarly…he knows that the constant e is 2.718281828459045…again because that’s how many digits he memorized.

Have you ever wondered what the longest word in the English language is? 

Me neither…but if’n you were go guess…what would you guess. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ok, whatcha got? Neil had no idea but figured it might be something the 30 or 40 letters long range…but I guess you’re both wrong.

The longest word in English is 1,909 letters long and is the expansion of the chemical formula for the compound C1289H2051N343O375S8…yeah, those numbers are supposed to be subscripts but I can’t figure out how to make it happen so I just made them smaller instead.

What is C1289H2051N343O375Syou say? Why it’s a protein with 267 amino acids in it…but it turns out that whether it’s really the longest depends on how you define the word “word”. There’s another chemical compound with the short name titin which is the largest known protein and that one has 189,819 letters in it but according to wikipedia there’s some dispute about whether either it or C1289H2051N343O375Sis actually a word. The longest word in any major English language dictionaries is the 45 letter long

pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

which is a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles from a volcano, otherwise it would just be known as silicosis.

A computer study in 2009 of a million examples of normal English prose reported that the longest word one is likely to encounter on an everyday basis is uncharacteristically which is 20 letters long.

And a few the need little to no explanation.

LetYourWineBreathe2

CurseWordSupply2

RoughNeighborhood

MenDoRemember

ChocolateAdventCalendar

Neil says his is already up to the year 2350 or so.

GardeningTip

TextWithWife

And Neil’s fave of this bunch.

IAmWhoIAm2

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, Technology | Leave a comment

Test Post — Mostly You Can Ignore This One

As the title says…this is just a testing post. Now that…hopefully…rather covid is starting to die down…and since Neil got his new laptop setup…and because I wanted to test the post by email feature of WordPress I am doing a test here.

Editor Note: Sending this via email again. It posted correctly the first time but I went in to it via MarsEdit and added some notes then saved it back to the blog. That made the post disappear from published, it went into Drafts but the image links were busted so I deleted it altogether and am resending via email to add in the notes.

Images did not post correctly…they appear to be half sized over what I had intended…I will figure out what happened and try it again hopefully.

If he’s carrying his laptop on a trip…he can use his normal MarsEdit program to compose posts with images and such…and can use Lightroom on the laptop to suck in images from our cameras and do post processing…so that part is easy and doesn’t need posting by email.

On the other hand…on some trips he might just have his iPad and not a laptop…which makes things a bit harder. I’m doing this post via laptop just to check out the features but will eventually do another test one from the iPad. That requires a more complex process to get the photos onto the iPad and backed up to external storage media. Once that’s done I’ll test using the Internet version of Lightroom to suck in and process the images. It’s not as fully featured as the Classic version of Lightroom…but it has the advantage that you can use it on an iPad. Once the images are processed…they get exported to the Camera Roll or the Files app on the iPad…not sure which will work better yet as I haven’t tried it…and then I can create an email, insert the post text and images, and send it off to be published.

You’re probably wondering why the long winded drivel above is in this post since it’s just a test…the reason is to have the opening text long enough so that the photos end up bing below the sidebar entries…if it’s not then the images extend into the sidebar and look crappy.

But…

I think this is enough text so here are some test photos. Nothing really new, all of them were from a trip up to the Venice Rookery in early 2020…Neil recalls that we were masked up so probably March or so. I sucked them into Lightroom on the laptop and did some editing of the RAW files before exporting just to fully test how a normal post would be done.

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret with mating plumage

Black Crowned Night Heron

Great Egret Mating Plumage again

Red Wing Blackbird

Great Egret close up

Green Heron closeup, cropped from the image below…it got kinda noisy so I’ll have to fix that with some noise reduction for an actual post. Easy to do but I didn’t bother for testing purposes.

Original shot of the Green Heron

That’s it…sorry, no Interesting Stuff found on the net today.

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Photography, Site Maintenance, Technology | Leave a comment

Pro Tip For Living In Southwest Florida

…or for that matter just about anyplace south of Tennessee probably although that far north the issue would be a different critter. On the other hand…it also applies for Central or South America as well as Africa and most other places around the world…especially Aussieland because everybody knows that everything there wants to kill you. (Editors note: If ya don’t believe me on that…check out
shark attack
 and
most deadly
 and
even more deadly
 or even the
land of nope
. It’s no wonder Aussies drink so much.) But then…probably Alaska, Siberia, northern Canuckistan, and out in the ocean as well…but again different critters.

And yeah…almost a month between posts and then twice in 3 days…deal with it.

We journeyed up to Sarasota yesterday for the opening concert in the Sarasota Symphony Masterworks series which we have season tickets to. We did move to better seats this year closer to both the stage and to the exit for making a quicker exit not requiring going down stairs with limited visibility with Connie in high heels. She’s happy because closer to the stage means she can see the soloist and orchestra members and make out facial expressions. The concert itself was pretty darned spectacular…as usual for the first one the orchestra played and the audience sang the Star Spangled Banner…Connie did her usual professional vocal coach trained thing with full volume, descant and all the normal trills and fanfare…she got 3 compliments from the ladies in front of us. 

The highlight of the program was the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto by a 26 year old named Blake Pouliot. Based on his bio in the program we thought he was one of the second tier soloists…but he was hands down the best violin soloist we’ve heard since Joshua Bell years back. He was clearly feeling the music…tapping his heels in time with the orchestra parts and singing to himself (silently probably but we could read his lips) to the music. Truly excellent performance of a concerto with a lot of fireworks in it…it was actually declared to be “unplayable” by the original violinist it was dedicated to. Fortunately…others differed in opinion and it’s a great showpiece today of soloist technique, artistry, and fireworks.

That was followed up in the second half with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition…the original piece was a piano composition composed after Mussorgsky attended a posthumous exhibition of paintings by his friend Viktor Hartmann. There’s a Promenade section that opens the piece and evokes walking into the exhibition then a series of 10 paintings by Hartmann are depicted in sound with sketches of the Promenade as if one was walking through the exhibition hall. This is one of Connie’s favorite pieces and she was really happy with the way it turned out…especially the Great Gates of Kiev at the end of the piece. She likes it to be suitably majestic…neither too fast or too dirge like…with dramatic reductions in tempo…but only in the places she wants them. 

After the concert we stopped by Longhorn Steak House for our usual dinner after the afternoon concert and happened to sit next to the head of public relations for the orchestra and her husband…we had a nice chat with them while eating.

Then an hour plus ride home and we were still back just about 1900 for the evening.

So…the pro tip.

The other day…right after my last post by an hour or so…we noticed this Great Egret over across the pond out back of the lanai.

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In order to understand the Pro Tip© I’ll need to do a little setup…so here’s a shot towards where it was sitting from right inside our lanai.

IMG 3908

Neil was standing about 3 or 4 feet from the back screen of the lanai and the exit door is to his left. The Great Egret was sitting in the tree just above the white sign across the other side and about 8 or 10 feet to the left. From the screen on our lanai straight down to the edge of the pond is about 15 feet.

So Neil snuck out the left side lanai door and keeping the tree to the left of the out the lanai shot above between him and the bird snuck over next to the palm grass thing around the tree and got a couple of insurance shots…ya know, you get one from farther away and then take more as you close in so that you don’t miss the opportunity if it gets skittish and flies away. After getting those shots…he decided to walk around the front of the tree between the tree and the lanai and down to the edge of the water to get a slightly closer shot…his destination was right between those two clumps of weeds you see just about at the center of the out the lanai shot. He was watching the bird in case it flew so he could grab more shots as it departed and got to within about 8 or 10 feet of the water when he spotted this.

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Yep…a little gator about 3 feet long or so and he didn’t see it until he was probably 6 or 8 feet from it. We’ve never…ever…seen one of the alligators out of the water on our side of the pond. They frequently patrol in the water near the bank on our side but I think they’ve figured out that people don’t go on the other side of the pond…it’s illegal to do that but the gator just knows they don’t go there. This little guy is probably only a few years old and I guess he didna’ learn that yet.

He quickly backtracked…

So the Pro Tip©…watch where you’re going while you’re sneaking into a better photo position. Depending on where you are…there could be gators, water moccasins, rattlesnakes, lions, tigers or what have you that ya just might be getting too close too. Down in Aussieland…it’s all of the above plus more since almost all of the wildlife and many of the plants there just want to kill you.

He wandered around in a semi circle around the li’l gator and got a couple more shots…it was clearly watching him closely but wasn’t concerned enough to move, didn’t feel threatened enough to defend itself, and clearly recognized that trying to eat Neil would have been biting off more than it could chew.

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He doesn’t walk out there without shoes on and does watch for snakes…and did in this instance as well…but the gator wasn’t really visible until you sort of got over the crest of the bank…it was lying there about 2 or 3 feet out of the water right above the two clumps of grass at center of the out the lanai shot above.

Interesting things found on the net.

It’s a bit past Halloween but here’s one on that theme.

OriginOfGhosts

And in recognition of Falling Back last night as we exited Daylight Savings Time.

Resetting the clocks at Stonehenge.

StonehengeDST

I think there’s a Simon and Garfunkel tune that goes with this.

DSTDarknessOldFriend

Random other stuff.

AnyAlcohol

RoastedUnicorn

WhatHappensInVegas

PickDogUp

HowManyCookies

Remembering William Shatner’s so called trip to space a week or three back…Neil saw an edited shot of him and his three cremates and 3 of them were in red shirts while Shatner had a gold one. The thing is…red shirts on Star Trek were doomed to be killed…any other color shirt and you survived.

DreadedRedShirt

Three Little Pigs family portraits.

ThreeLittlePigsFather

And finally…the second scariest dinosaur…I can’t tell you the scariest one as that would take this into the non PG category…but if you ask in the comments I might tell ya since those are a bit more work for blog viewers to see.

ItsAThesarus

Cyas.

Posted in Photography, WIldlife | Leave a comment

Groundhog Day

Yep…just like in that famous movie…we keep reliving the same thing over and over. The covid flared up in case numbers but is now coming down again in Florida and especially over here on the SW Gulf coast…but it’s still spiking up and down as one looks around the country and nobody here at home really feels like much traveling is in the cards yet. International travel is still pretty iffy and has a lot of requirements so that’s out too.

Local Fun Stuff©…well it’s been hot and humid for going on 6 months and that means it’s too miserable to really go outside and do anything strenuous for any length of time…and in the summer there isn’t nearly as much wildlife to see and photograph and a hot, sweaty hike all by itself is kind of uninteresting.

So…Neil’s been settling for a bike ride every other day except for the past 3 weeks due to having some abdominal pain. That started a bit before my last post back in October. We originally thought it might be a bit of diverticulitis since his colonoscopy back in January revealed that he does have some diverticulosis which when it gets infected causes the former…Connie’s had it several times over the years and the location and type of pain sent us down that path. He contacted the GI guy and was on first an antispasmodic for 2 weeks then a week long regimen of double antibiotics…then a CT scan which revealed no diverticulitis and also eliminated other possible GI related issues…so the GI guy says to go back to the primary care guy. He’s had a similar pain a couple times over the past 25 years or so…back then it was diagnosed as mostly some scar tissue from vasectomy surgery back in the late ‘80s and what one retired navy physicians assistant said was sort of a pre-hernia condition. The PA said that a surgeon would recommend fixing it that way but with 2 instances in what was about 15 years at that time he didn’t think it was worth it…Neil agreed and did the Advil regimen for a couple weeks and it resolved itself. So…he’s trying that again and hasn’t biked in a couple of weeks but thinks he will start again this week but keeping it easy and low pressure. If that doesn’t help…he’ll try the primary care guy and see what gives.

We do have some updated IT gear in the house…3 of them although only 2 are actually here so far. Back just after my last post the SSD (solid state hard drive for those that might not know what that means) in his laptop died. It was a third party one that he installed himself to get more capacity. Not much of a worry…the folks at Otherworld Computing sent out a new one under warranty. He reinstalled the original Apple SSD back in temporarily while the bad one went in for evaluation and replacement and restored from backup…when the replacement arrived he cloned the original restored Apple one back to the replacement then swapped it back into the laptop.

He has been waiting on Apple to release updated Apple silicon MacBook Pros ever since Connie got her new M1 MacBook Air earlier in the year…despite it being the lowest end model with Apple’s new system on a chip it ran rings around his high end 2015 model MacBook Pro. However…he wanted the larger screen model and more external ports so has been waiting on this release. Add in the fact that most of the keys on his current one no longer have legible markings (good thing he touch types) and it was clearly past time for a new model. Apple released the upgraded models last month so he’s got a new one on order…at last check it was still noted as being “in transit” in Shanghai with no status updates since 3 days ago…very unusual for UPS…they’re usually much more informative on status. It isn’t anything to do with the container ship backlog over on the west coast…they get shipped on airplanes and generally go straight to the UPS hubs in the midwest rather than to the coast. It’s supposed to be here by Thursday according to Apple…UPS’s status page says “check back tomorrow for a delivery date update”.

We also upgraded our router…taking the single Archer model we had out of service as it only has 802.11ac wifi capability and once Neil’s new laptop gets here all of our devices except the iPhones will be capable of the faster and better 802.11ax standard. So…we upgraded to a mesh router system from Netgear named Orbi that supports the faster standard and since it has both a main router and a satellite wifi point that allowed him to switch the iMac file server and photo processing computer back in the office (editors note: we always call it ‘back in the office’ despite the fact that the office is actually in the front of the house facing the street…we figure it’s because we live in the great/family/kitchen room on the rear side…that’s our story and we’re asticking to it.)…anyways…he put the satellite Orbi in the office back there and that allowed him to put the iMac and printer on ethernet cables rather than wifi. Their network traffic still goes over wifi to the main router…but the Orbi has a separate 802.11ax channel between the two Orbi units so effectively those two slower wifi devices get upgraded to faster wifi since individually they’re on gigabit ethernet.

Apple also updated their iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and HomePod software last month…and released updated macOS 12 Monterey which supports both the new Apple silicon hardware as well as older Mac hardware back to prior to 2015. The IT department here at Casa de Laubenthal went ahead and updated everything but the Mac mini connected to our TV out in the entertainment center and the iMac file/photo processing computer. The former will eventually get done but it mostly serves as a network backup destination for our laptops and for the iMac he was waiting on the upgraded RAID software before doing that one. 

Based on the performance increase of the Apple silicon chips over the preceding models that run on Intel chips…basically the high end MacBook Pro introduced 2 weeks back is the best performing laptop of any brand by a wide margin and betters most desktop computers as well…the new chip is just that good…in fact several publications including some that have been traditionally anti-Apple oriented have said that the new laptop outperforms the current Intel powered Mac Pro professional workstation. Anyway…he’s probably going to upgrade the iMac to the Apple silicon powered one when the second generation iMac ships hopefully early next year. Apple has released the Apple silicon iMac already…but it’s only the low end model with a 24 inch screen and he needs the larger screen for photo processing. It’s a want more than a need of course…but he can afford it so why not is his thought.

Connie’s started back at choir…the middle of last month they started up Tuesday afternoon rehearsals and they’re back singing again. The good news is that she really likes that…the bad news for her is that since she is also a cantor and since St. Therese shifted back to 3 masses on Sunday and one on Saturday she is doing 2 masses most weekends. The bad news for Neil is that unless she is cantering at a non-choir mass he doesn’t get to sit with here like he’s been doing for over a year. For choir masses…he will return to sitting over near the choir in what he and the other choir spouses call the ‘choir groupie section’.

We continue to mostly minimize contact with outside people as much as possible…the Elks is pretty much the same group all the time so we go maskless there…in fact most places in our area have gone to no mask required…and while we’ve returned to eating out for Date Night on Mondays instead of Neil getting takeout we still are trying to eat al fresco in the quasi-open air seating area or maintaining social distancing if we eat inside.

Several interesting news items this week to talk about though.

There was an
article this week
 from 9News which is a TV station down under that talked about the coveted “Bird of the Year” award in Aussieland. Now I’ve never heard of this coveted award…but apparently it’s a thing down there and is sponsored by the New Zealand’s Forest & Bird association…and this year’s edition (it’s a public vote thing) attracted a record 56,733 votes. Last year’s winner was the kakapo…a fat, flightless, and nocturnal parrot…in fact the kakapo is the world’s heaviest and largest parrot family member. It was on the critically endangered list back in the 1990s but has recovered from near extinction to just endangered. Anyways…that was last year’s winner. The winner of the 2021 edition of the award was announced in the article…and here’s a portrait of the winner.

Long tailed bat 2021

Yes…your eyes do not deceive you and you do not need an emergency eye exam…this year’s winner is that famous Aussie bird of prey…the long tailed bat. Now never mind that this is a BAT…a mammal that gives birth to live young and does not lay eggs…it’s still the winner of the coveted Bird of the Year award.

You probably read about the COP26 climate conference over in Scotland this week. Mostly it was a bunch of greenies and progressives demanding that we end using coal, oil, and gas and shift completely and immediately to renewable energy sources despite numerous technical, physics, and economic challenges to doing so. I don’t really want to get into a long discussion about climate change…but suffice it to say that yes, climate is changing but despite what some claim it is essentially impossible to determine whether this is random variation that has happened ever since the earth was formed or what factors might be causing it. It is not “settled science” as some say since there is no such thing as settled science. Also…yes, use of fossil fuels does contribute to some extent to changes in climate…but how much, how much can really be done about it, and whether those things are either physically possible to achieve or economically possible to achieve is subject to a lot of debate. That’s not the real story here though…or the reason for this section…

The first bit is the sheer hypocrisy of those attending the conference. In their zeal to be woke and claim to be “fighting climate change tooth and nail”…everybody that was anybody decided that they needed to show up. The hypocrisy part is in how they got to Scotland for the conference. Attendees used in excess of 400 private jets to fly in because their time was too important to waste on things like commercial airliners or trains or electric cars or whatever. Yes…some of the attendees were coming from overseas so airplane travel was probably necessary…but one would think that the political optics would have pushed them to use commercial transportation rather than private jets. Commercial aircraft cause the same issues as private ones do…but the impact is spread out over many more passengers per flight. This is just another case of hypocritical “rules are for thee, not for me” attitude that progressives tend to demand.

The other issue about the conference is that…and I never thought that I would type these words…Neil actually agrees with one thing  one of the greenies said this week…but he says it’s ok because the very next thing said was completely the there’d of the loony spectrum.

You’ve probably heard or or read of Greta Thunberg…she’s the 18 year old Swedish Aspergers foul mouthed climate activist that’s been the star of the green movement for more than 3 years…but her accomplishments have been far outweighed by her press and the media darling adoration she has received. Anyway…she said earlier this week that the current in vogue by lots of big companies and ‘community leaders’ of using carbon offsets…essentially donating money to causes to offset their use of carbon fuels for their limousines, Hummers, and private jets…anyway Greta said that carbon offsets are a “dangerous climate lie” and is “hypocrisy…risking human rights transgressions and to harm already vulnerable communities.” All of those are absolutely correct…and that’s the part I never thought I would type…that normal people like Neil would actually agree with her.

Of course…the next thing she said after “storming out of a session” was that the entire conference was “greenwashing” as she accused banks and fossil fuel firms of “trying to scale up offsetting and give polluters a free pass to keep polluting.”

Then
there is this
…Dr. Fauci was testifying Thursday at a Senate hearing into the origins of the COVID-19 virus and pandemic. Dr. Fauci denied…again…that the NIH promoted or paid for what is known as “gain of function” research. “Gain of function” is a currently controversial method of trying to modify viruses in the lab to get them to mutate and gain function in effect or propagation to help prevent or predict natural mutations that might do the same thing…kind of a heads up thing on potential future virus variants. The good news is that sometimes it works…the bad news is that there is a distinct possibility that the lab modified virus might escape from the lab. That doesn’t mean the lab was trying to weaponize it or that it was deliberately released…there is still a lot of controversy about the origins of this particular virus and I doubt that we’ll ever get a definitive answer. There is considerable evidence that it could have been accidentally released due to improper lab biosafety precautions that infected a worker and they carried it home to the community in Wuhan…and there is considerable evidence that it could have naturally mutated…but there is no smoking gun or incontrovertible evidence of either alternative.

The additional bad news is that Congress…some years back…passed legislation making it illegal for US government funds to be spent on gain of function research. I guess that is the reason for Dr. Fauci’s continuous and repeated denials…or else the fact that he doesn’t want to admit that he lied to Congress under oath before when he denied it was being done. Additionally…while he is currently the COVID Tzar…he technically works for and is paid by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)…and the NIH has admitted that they do and did pay for gain of function testing at the Wuhan lab…but the NIH claims it wasn’t against the law because they gave a grant to a non governmental organization who then used the grant to pay for the gain of function testing, Whether that dodge is also illegal is still under investigation. When challenged by Senator Rand…Dr. Fauci attempted to explain away the definition of gain of function by pointing that the definition on the NIH website no longer said that…it had been changed earlier in the week. Dr. Fauci has repeatedly denied that the pandemic started as an accidental escape from the Wuhan lab…and I have no real proof either way…but if one looks at the preponderance of the studies, evidence and the interpretation thereof with an unbiased eye…it appears that the accidental release has a higher probability of being correct than the naturally mutation theories. We’ll never know the truth…partly because it’s almost impossible to determine for sure but also because even if the government was internally sure that it was an accidental release the official US government position is that it was a natural phenomenon and they’ll bury any conclusions that are contrary to that position.

Neil did get a few photos for ya out back…the wildlife is starting to return as the weather gets cooler…and we’re able to turn the A/C off and get the windows and doors open most days now…yay for that.

This is a Red Shouldered Hawk from our time out in Cody WY in 2019…Neil’s reprocessed it with a new version of Lightroom which includes some AI ability to automagically figure out the actual subject of a photo and select just it…I have no idea how it works but it does. This allowed him to blur out the background more than in the original shot from when I posted it back then…giving that nice creamy bokeh background make your subject stand out.

D7500 2290 Neural

Our neighborhood Green Iguana is back…though it probably never left but just hid in the shade a lot.

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As is our favorite pretty much human habituated Great Blue Heron…again the Select Subject feature in Lightroom made processing these a lot less time consuming than before.

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OK…that’s enough headlines, let’s see what we can find in the category of…

Interesting things found on the net.

This is what is known as the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C…it’s a two stroke, turbocharged, inline, low speed diesel engine built in Finland for use in large container ships that run on heavy fuel oil. This is the largest version which has 14 cylinders and is 44 feet high and 87 feet long…producing 107,390 horsepower. The cylinders are 38 inches in diameter and the piston stroke is 100 inches…maximum speed is a whopping 120 rpm. Engine displacement is 1,828 liters per cylinder or almost 112,000 cubic inches.In other words…it’s a danged big engine. Fuel economy sucks though…it burns about 10.5 tons of fuel per hour or about 277 gallons per hour. Container ships speed range from 10 to 25 knots but average around 18 or so for fuel economy…which when you do the math results in about 22 mph so the ship gets about 0.08 miles per gallon. Like I said…it sucks but it’s still overall the cheapest way of transporting large quantities of anything.

WartsillaEngine

There are 14 axles on that trailer so assuming that it is a dualley that’s 56 tires carrying a load of 2300 tons of engine plus the trailer which has got to be at least another 40 or so tons…that would be 42 tons per tire…so I’m guessing there’s a lot more tires under there than that.

In astronomy…you’ve probably all seen the image known as the Hubble Deep Field…

NewImage

This image was taken back in 1995 and included 340 separate exposures. It covers an area about as large as a tennis ball at 100 meters distance and almost all of the 3,000+ objects are complete galaxies. It’s an impressive shot and shows how much is really out there in the universe. However…the folks at NASA and JPL decided that isn’t good enough so they tried again…and the result is the Hubble Extreme Deep Field image.

The Extreme Deep Field image is smaller in area and is about the size of a marble at 100 meters…this image contains about 5,500 objects and every one is a galaxy. Wow. However…the overpriced and designed to be relatively short lived compared to Hubble James Webb Telescope to be launched next month will be…assuming it survives it’s launch and the extremely complex path to deployment a million miles from earth and including something like 340 single points of failure. It’s being launched down in South America by the French Ariane 5 booster because NASA doesn’t have a booster with large enough satellite fairing for it. The Webb telescope is way over budget…it started at $500 million and is now over $10 billion…and something like 10 years behind schedule…so far behind in fact that it’s been completely redesigned twice over the years since it’s inception. Hopefully nothing goes wrong.

Since it was Halloween last weekend…here’s a couple for the albeit a little late.

HappyHalloween

BestCandy

Some of these require a little more thought…

RightHandMan

Physics 1, anatomy 0.

PhysicsOne AnatomyZero

IkeaLogCabin

GPSVoiceToMale

UnnecessarySign

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Nature, Photography, Technology, WIldlife | Leave a comment

It’s Like Deja Vu…All Over Again

Yep…either that or Groundhog Day…it just seems like it’s the same old same old day after day. The title by the way…comes from a guy who had a lot of strange sayings…Yogi Berra.

Although…we did have a couple of newsworthy items…all it might depend on your definition of newsworthy. 

Last week…Connie’s choir rehearsal started up again for the season. She’s been sining alto for many years because she can actually read the music and sing the non melody line in the various 4 part harmony music the choir does…and altos are pretty rare in her choir…for a half dozen years or so there have really only been about 5 of them compared to 15 or so sopranos…but at least they’re not as minuscule a number as the men in the tenor and bass section, there might be 5 or so men total most of the time. And very few of them…men or women…can read music or sing anything but the melody line. In fact…most of the so called sopranos aren’t really sopranos at all but simply can’t do anything but sing the melody line.

Connie…on the other hand…is really sort of a mezzo soprano actually…she’s got a much better range than most singers do. So…the last time there was choir which was over a year ago…she was singing alto most of the time but came over and sang the soprano descant parts as well…that’s the part that goes really high and has the elaborate runs and such much like a coloratura soprano would sing…then back to the alto section for most hymns. Her director Marge decided that the soprano section really needed the help…so asked Connie to move over permanently and sing soprano and descant parts exclusively.

The good news is that she’s happy…the bad news is that now that choir is back in session Neil can’t sit with her when she’s cantoring unless it’s not at the choir mass…that means he will have to go back to what he and a couple of other husbands always called the choir groupie section of the congregation.

Neil’s got some sort of intestinal thing going on…not sure if it’s diverticulitis or a hernia or just old age at this point. He started hurting on his left side down low 3 or 4 weeks ago and is on his second round of “let’s try this drug before we do an office visit or more testing” this week with a double whammy of those scorched earth kill everything in your intestinal system antibiotics. Fortunately…they usually don’t tear up his stomach as bad as they do Connie’s…but it’s still uncomfortable and makes him feel crappy. The pain has subsided to just an ache/tender at this point rather than acute pain. We’re not sure why the doc didn’t have him come in before trying the drugs…maybe it’s the corona and minimizing office visits thing…or maybe it’s he fact that his PA is no longer there and he has to see all of his own patients…or maybe something else entirely. The bad news is that one of the antibiotics is Flagyl…which means no booze…which means no cocktail hour for him. Bummer.

He also had a crown prep last week and goes back on the 29th to get it installed…the filling there has been slowly deteriorating over the past couple of years and the dentist said it was time to replace it…and it was too large to put a new one in so it gets the crown instead. 

Things are pretty much same-o same-o outside of the above…so let’s see what else is going on.

As I said…it’s starting to be like fall with cooler weather and lower humidity…we’re able to open up for at least an hour or two about half the mornings now and are able to get out on the lanai and grill without being soaked through when we come back in although it’s not nice enough to actually eat out there yet…but we’re getting closer. 

In line with the cooler weather…the wildlife has started to return to our pond…and today’s missive includes the first 3 birds of the season…a Great Egret and a couple of different Great Blue Herons…photos below.

The Great Egret showed up first about 10 days back.

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Then a week ago the Great Blue Heron

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Then yesterday a different Great Blue showed up and he (Neil thinks it was a he anyway) seemed pretty acclimatized to humans as it let him walk up within about 30 feet and just ignored him. It was trying to eat an already dead fish…but his eyes were bigger than his beak and neck I guess as it never was able to get it down and finally gave up and moved on.

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Hopefully the critters will continue to return so we’ll have more photos to share.

Interesting things found on the net.

You might remember from back in high school chemistry that things were measured in moles and that a mole of any chemical contained the same number of molecules…it is called Avogadro’s Number which is 6.023 times 10 to the 23 power. Anyway…you might have wondered just how big that number is. Well…if you had an Avogadro’s number of dollars and spent them at the rate of 1 billion dollars per second…it would still take you 19 million years to go broke.

Then there’s this…we’ve talked before about the Fibonacci sequence which is a sequence of numbers such that each one is the sum of the two before it…you know 1 then 1, then 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…and so on. Anyway…if you take the fraction 1 divided by 89 and then look at the result…here’s what you get.

OneDividedBy89

Much like the Pythagorean theorem, the Golden ration, Pi, and many other numbers…this Fibonacci thing keeps showing up throughout nature and science. 

Do you play chess? Most people have at least some familiarity with the game…but have you ever wondered if every possible chess game has already been played. Me…I never wondered that but darn it all…those geeks in the math world have thought about it for us and figured out the answer. 

The modern version of chess has been around for about 500 years and if we assume that about 1% of all the people who have lived in the past 500 years played a game a day for 50 years…when you do the math that’s about 10 million million games played or 10 to the 13th power. However…each move in a chess game opens up about 38 additional legal moves and the total possible number of moves is about 10 to the 126th power assuming the average game takes 40 moves. That number is more than the number of particles in the visible universe…so the answer is no, every possible game hasn’t been played.

Jen…make sure you ‘splain that last one to Alex.

GangViolence

FolsomPrismBlues

SilentBreathingMode

FrightenNewGeneration

FineDoWhatYouWant

HighwayToHell

CreationOfMosquitos

And finally…

Apple TermsAndConditions

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Homebody | Leave a comment

It’s Starting To Feel Like Fall

Well…fall for southern Florida at least…there won’t be any leaf colors to be had but temperature and humidity wise we’re starting to see some changes for the better.

No post for 17 days…but ya know why doncha? It’s because you can only say nothing’s going on so many times before running out of ways to say it. Nonetheless…Ima gonna give ‘er a try.

We did have 3 somewhat momentous occasions since 9/11…a trip to the dentist for our semi annual cleaning, Connie got trained up as a volunteer bartender at the Elks Lodge, and we went to the FLoE (Florida Ladies of Elks) convention up in St. Augustine this past weekend.

Dentist…not much to say there. Cleaned and all is good but one of Neil’s fillings needs to be replaced and it’s too large so he’s got an appointment for a crown in a couple weeks and we’ve got appointments 6 months from now for our next cleaning.

Connie the bartender…well, she’s been doing a bang up job muddlin’ here at home but sometimes the Elks need some bartending help. There’s a paid one most of the time but whenever she’s not available one of the Elks members fills in as a volunteer…unpaid except for whatever tips they collect but that’s like 20 bucks tops. There are only 3 or so of them now so Connie volunteered to get trained up and help out. She spent parts of 2 nights learning the routine and last week she essentially went solo as the paid bartender just stood by in case she needed assistance and gave her the go ahead to work solo when it might be necessary. 

Oh yeah…there was Italian Night as well so I guess that makes 4 momentous things. Dinner was $20 and included spaghetti and meatballs, Italian sausage, shrimp scampi and tiramisu for dessert as well as a glass of house wine. All the food was cooked by some of the female Elks or spouses of Elks with the lodge picking up the cost of the ingredients…so a decent amount went into the charity kitty the Elks use to fund their various good deeds.

Last weekend it was the Florida Ladies of Elks…or FLoE…convention up at the Embassy Suites St. Augustine right on the beach. We drove up Friday morning and got there early afternoon. Connie had a practice for the passed members memorial service, then in the evening it was the banquet. For a banquet meal the food was actually pretty good…salmon for Connie and airline chicken for Neil and it actually wasn’t over cooked like most banquet chicken is. Neil had never heard of airline chicken but essentially it’s a boneless breast but they leave the upper section of the wing and its bone attached…the upper section is the one like a chicken leg and is roughly comparable to the upper arm on a people arm. Dunno why they leave that bone in but obviously it’s something that the airlines used to do back in the olden days when they actually gave you food on the plane…hence the name.

The other thing about the banquet was that Neil apparently inherited a harem…while we were sitting out at the free Manager’s Happy Hour before dinner a couple of the ladies were talking about how they always went out with this couple and referred to themselves as the man’s harem. Once we got into the banquet Neil was the only non female at the table so the group volunteered to be his harem for the evening since that other guy wasn’t around. 

Here’s s shot of them all…there were actually two more that came to the convention together but one of them started feeling disoriented after an afternoon on the beach and happy hour…it seemed like she was just dehydrated so Neil and her friend took her back to their room so she could rest. She was better by the next morning so all was good there.

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Saturday Connie had meetings all day and then the Delegate Reception in the evening. While she was gone Neil sat in the room until lunchtime…he was originally going to go and take some pictures of the lighthouse and fort a couple miles away…but by the time they finished breakfast the sun was well past the golden hour that photographers love so he blew it off. About noontime he walked across to the Circle K and got lunch then went down to the pool area and took a nap in the shade for a couple hours. Connie found him after the convention sessions, memorial service, and installation of officers and they met a couple of her friends from our LoE group for the Manager’s Happy Hour before the reception…no reason to turn down free cocktails ya know.

Sunday we were up early for 0800 Mass a couple miles south on the beach and then we headed home, arriving back about 1400.

And that’s about it…you’re now up to date with all the happenings.

This morning when we got up it was cooler outside than inside…first time that’s happened since April or so…so we opened up the front and back doors for a couple hours to get some fresh air. Dinner tonight will be leftover BBQ ribs from last evening’s Date Night feast.

And that’s about all the news fit to print. Still no wildlife to speak of although the sightings are starting to pick up a bit as the weather cools off…we’re really looking forward to being able to turn the A/C off and open the windows for fresh air. That will happen sometime in October and then we’ll essentially be open most of the time until the late spring.

We briefly considered flying over to the UK late this month for a Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony concert but decided to pass based on the testing requirements. At the time we were thinking about it…the UK required a negative covid test within 72 hours of arrival and the US required another one before coming home…and at the cost it just wasn’t worth it for a single concert. 

Interesting things found on the net…these are some old ones since Neil’s laptop drive crashed. Luckily it’s under warranty and even as I type the new one is winging it’s way back to us…but he doesn’t have easy access to all the good ones he had for ya…well, actually he does but he’s using a temporary drive in his laptop and doesn’t want to rebuild it twice so had to use some old ones.

BeenWorkingOut

OnlyAPhase

VikingCruise

Cyas.

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