Like Sands Through The Hourglass…

Or…mebbe just SSDD if you’re familiar with that particular military acronym…or mebbe Groundhog Day…or maybe just Quarantine Day…lemme see…109, that’s it…I had to go and look at the calendar and do the math.

What’s going on ‘round these parts.

Nuttin…bupkus…nada…squat…any of those pretty adequately describes it.

The Elks is shut down again…the governor down here in FL authorized bars to reopen as long as social distancing was followed. Naturally…some morons, mostly the young…packed the bars and the virus cases “spiked”. More on that later, but they did go up. So now they’re closed again. We did get out one night to the lodge in between the opening and closing but that was it.

We saw a pretty neat thing this week on the interwebs…Neil’s Internet acquaintance Gary from Everything Everywhere was where he saw it first but on doing a bit of research it seems Gary is right.

When you talk about Presidents…the 10th who was John Tyler…the one that begat the slogan Tippecanoe and Tyler Too…is not one of the most revered one although he gets a worse rap from the progressives these days than is deserved…but this really has nothing to do with his policies but rather his family. He was born in 1790, died in 1862, and was the 10th President from 1841-1845. It turns out that his grandchildren are still alive today in 2020…158 years after his death. There is a tradition in the men of the Taylor family that they mostly have had 2nd wives much younger than themselves after becoming widowers. So John’s 2nd wife Julia gave birth to a son named Lyon Gardiner Tyler in 1853 when he was 63. Lyon grew up, married, she died, and his second wife gave birth to Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. in 1924 and Harrison Ruffing Tyler in 1928.

As well as we can figure out…both Lyon Jr. and Harrison are still alive in 2020. Neil and Gary independently did some research after seeing the various web articles  and both of them found articles interviewing Harrison in 2018 with reference to his living brother Lyon Jr. Nothing newer than that turned up…but given the previous press coverage and the singular nature of them still being alive it seems like there would have been some coverage of their deaths…and Gary searched for but did not find an obituary for either of them…so it appears they’re still alive.

Think about that…a single family where the grandfather and his grandson have encompassed just about the entire history if the United States…pretty darned cool I think.

Anyway…let’s see what else is in the news starting with the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Fauci…as you’ve probably seen he’s reversed course several times since January on masks and various other virus related things…as well he should because your best professional opinion based on science should change as you find new information. Anyway…he was testifying before a House panel this week while wearing a mask…and based on the spike in cases in some states…he stated that masks should be worn at all times outside or inside unless you are at home with known non carriers. After his testimony was over he stood up behind the witness table …and clearly thought that he was no longer visible on camera but it turned out that was inaccurate as you can see from this captured still from the video.

FauciMask

So…is that “do as I do” or “do as I say”…sure seems like he’s violating his own recommendation to me.

Remember a while back there was the whole brouhaha over the anti malarial drug HCL or hydroxychloroquine…you know, the one the President recommended and then was belittled by the press and left because “it doesn’t work”…and then a bunch of studies came out that supposedly proved it did not work despite some colloquial evidence that it did have some effect…and even Dr. Fauci stated that it had no effect on the virus? Yeah…I remember too.

So imagine my shock when I saw reference to two studies released this week…one from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit published in the peer reviewed journal International Journal of Infectious Diseases and the second one from the John Hopkins Medical System published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, another peer reviewed journal. Both of these studies showed that HCL cut the death rate by half and the first one found no serious heart abnormalities…you know, those deadly effects that the WAMM and Dr. Fauci said were the reason it should not be used.

Now I’m not saying that HCL is the panacea that the President said it was…but then based on the anecdotal evidence since March it really isn’t the completely ineffective snake oil that the WAMM has said it is either. Used appropriately…and apparently in combination with zinc and another antibiotic it appears to help in some cases. And since it has been around for 100ish years and is a widely used antimalarial drug…it clearly has been deemed safe by the FDC for usage and is not the killer drug the WAMM claims…could it be that the primary reason for it being “bad” is TDS? Who knows? 

It also turns out that the CDC numbers for cases are based on two different kinds of data…one for actual virus tests that show actual ongoing infections and the second based on tests for antibodies that one has after you recover from the disease.

Various states have been combining these two types of data in various ways to get their numbers for “cases” and “deaths”…and while actual cases are still going up based on hospitalizations and ICU occupancy rates…some of the “spike” is certainly attributable to people that had the disease, recovered with no or mild symptoms, and how show antibodies when tested. Further…the CDC also announced this week that “A positive test result shows you may have antibodies from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. However, there is a chance a positive result means that you have antibodies from an infection with a virus from the same family of viruses (called coronaviruses), such as the one that causes the common cold.” In other words…there is some instance of false positive cases since apparently colds are a member of the family of viruses known as corona viruses…they’re so named because microscopically they appear to be roundish shaped with spikes coming-out resembling the spikes on a crown. This means that some of the “spike” is likely attributable to these false positives…but how much (as well as how much is due to the post infection antibody testing) is unknown.

If you read in the news…you’ll probably see that Texas, Florida, Arizona, and the Peoples Republic of California are the current hot spots where these spikes are happening…and you’ll also read how the governors of Texas Florida, and Arizona are completely responsible for the “spike” because they reopened or partially reopened their state…but you’ll also read how the governor of the PRC is showing tremendous courage in battling the spike. What I want to know is…why is it that states with Republican governors are doing so poorly according to the WAMM while states with Democratic governors are showing tremendous courage according to the WAMM? Could it be that they have an agenda?

As I’ve said before…governors and Presidents have to weigh a variety of factors in making decisions. In a perfect world…we would all wear masks and stay home hoping that eventually there is a safe, effective, and widely available vaccine against the virus. In an imperfect world…they have to deal with a bunch of other pesky problems besides public health…the economy, unemployment, not bankrupting the state or federal government, dealing with protests, dealing with people who want to abolish the police. As a result…sometimes they have to take into account “the needs of the many over the needs of the few” and make decisions that can best approach the entirety of a situation.

Masks…you should wear them even though they’re mostly effective in preventing you from infecting other people if you are infected and non symptomatic rather than protecting you from other people although they do provide some protection against the latter. They’re all well and good…but then they’re well and good for everybody. Why is it that Presidential rallies in a sparsely and partially filled auditorium are “hotbeds of infection” while mass protests while unmasked outdoors and mass parties in occupied portions of Seattle have been conclusively shown to not result in infections…at least according to The NY Times and other WAMM articles.

You might have also seen on the news a report from Michigan that has a headline like “White Couple Pulls Guns and Threatens Black Woman and her Daughter in Chipotle Parking Lot”…along with selectively edited portions of the video. And if you just look at the video in the article…you might conclude that the couple went out of their way to threaten this woman and her daughter. However…before coming that conclusion…google a bit and find the entire video and you might come to a different conclusion. I did…and it appears that the woman’s daughter and the wife in the couple bumped into each other sometime before the video starts…and the mother is screaming and demanding an apology and calling the woman a racist. The woman calmly tells her that nobody is racist but clearly neither woman is listening to the other. The woman’s husband comes around the car and gets her inside so they can leave…then starts to back out of the parking space. At this point…the offended black mother goes and stands directly behind the car to prevent them from leaving and bangs on the rear windshield of the car. Following that…the white woman who appears terrified in the video gets out of the car and pulls her weapon…for which she has a concealed carry permit and broke no law by being armed…and tells the black woman to back off while simultaneously backing away fro the confrontation and telling her husband to call the police.

The police show up…nobody gets arrested…and everybody leaves. But then the black woman puts the video up on the internet and now the couple has been charged with assault and the man fired from his job…even though his college employer requires showing just cause before terminating someone. 

I can’t figure it out…unless there’s a whole lot more than is visible in the video I don’t see them getting convicted of assault…my personal opinion is that the DA is just kowtowing to the WAMM and filing charges hoping that (a) the riot won’t start and (b) that they can scare the perps into pleading guilty to some lesser charge so the DA can claim to be tough on racists.

I’ve been keeping a running list of the monuments, statues, and whatnot that the WAMM is demanding to be destroyed, names changed or whatever.

Stone Mountain…well, that’s gotta come down since it glorifies slavery.

Mount Rushmore…it’s bad too because in addition to slavery it glorifies the repression of Native Americans by white people.

The Emancipation Memorial in Washington DC…this is a statue that was paid for by freed slaves and depicts a standing Abraham Lincoln with a hand out to help a slave with broken chains rise from his knees. While I’ve never seen this in person…from photos it looks to me like a celebration of Lincoln helping them raise from slavery…but apparently I’m wrong. According to the WAMM…it’s racist because it neglects the contributions that blacks made to eliminating slavery. While it is true that some freed/escaped slaves fought on the union side as well as free black men from the North…and they fought extremely bravely as has been well documented…the majority of the Northern armies were not black and I just don’t see how a statue of Abraham Lincoln can possibly be considered racist.

Splash Mountain in Disneyland and World is being “re-themed” because it’s racist as well. As best as I can figure out…the song Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah which was composed for the 1946 Disney Movie Song of the South was based on a minstrel song from the late 1800s/early 1900s and therefore it is both racist and glorifies the Southern cause.

Gone With The Wind is back though…albeit with an anti racist screed attached to the front end of the movie…and at least according to some is still “an enjoyable movie” despite it’s depiction of the antebellum south.

A statue of George Washington in Baltimore was defaced with red paint and the mob wants it removed because he owned slaves and kept them until his wife Martha died. Another statue of him in Portland was burned and toppled by the peaceful protesters.

Teddy Roosevelt, Columbus, and Ulysses S. Grant…yeah, they’re all being demanded for demolition as well.

Jefferson Memorial, two parks in Chicago named after Washington and Jackson, John Wayne Airport in LA…again…all being demanded for removal.

Yale University…the local rag up there is demanding it be renamed because it’s namesake both owned slaves and was a shipping magnate who imported them.

I have to ask myself…WTF are these people thinking? And I’m still waiting on them to demand that the capital be renamed and that Harvard be renamed as well.

Speaking of Harvard…one of the ringleaders demanding the removal of some of these statues is a Harvard alumni who has a photo on his twitter/Facebook/instagram/whatever stream of himself standing in front of the founder of Harvard…who was…you guessed it…a slave owner.

Just in case you thought that getting rid of statues of Lincoln, Washington and Ulysses Grant was the dumbest idea ever…there’s one statue that has been damaged in the Floyd protests that makes those ideas pale in comparison.

In Portland…why is it that Portland keeps coming up in these crazy ideas…anyway there’s a statue that was set on fire and the base damaged during overnight riots which were deemed as peaceful protests so that the statue is being removed.  This statue is 120 years old and has been standing there since it was donated by a former mayor of Portland in 1900. 

The statue was previously damaged during the Occupy protests several years ago…again by some of those peaceful protesters…but had been repaired but now the base is fire damaged so the statue has been removed for safety reasons…with a decision on it’s final resting place to be announced later.

So what is this racist monument that must be destroyed? Oh yeah…I forgot to tell you…it is a statue of a mature bull elk that commemorates the elk that used to roam through the Williamette Valley which is where Portland is located.

Yeah…that makes sense. Complete sense.

There’s this private Baptist university in Abilene Texas named Hardin-Simmons University…and I’m pretty sure that they just cost themselves a whole passle of cash.

There is a now former student enrolled there who posted on her Tik-Tok account a series of pictures denoting the reactions of people to black on white, white on white, black on black, and white on black killings. Essentially she posted that in the first three cases people are calm and in the last case they riot and set things on fire.

Now whether this former student is right or not is not relevant to the issue…although to be fair there is a lot of validity to their point, which is that people only riot when white people kill black people and not in any of the other scenarios. However…it is. her opinion, she was off school grounds, and in no way suggested that her opinion was shared by her university. She was wearing a university t-shirt…but that hardly suggests the university endorsed her opinion as t-shirts are available through Abilene.

No matter…the university responded by…apparently since it was not specified exactly what happened…by kicking her out of school. It might be that she withdrew on threat of expulsion but according to the school she “is no longer enrolled”.

I fully support her idea to post her opinion. I also fully support her university’s right to have a different opinion. However…I think that they don’t have the right to discipline her for out of school social media posts…and a recent federal court decision would also tend to support that they don’t have that right (the court decision overturned a school district’s claim that “any student behavior can result in discipline despite being off campus and not school related”).

Now it is a private and religious university…and I have no idea for sure…but given the widespread availability of student loans then I would guess that the likelihood of the university having zero students who have a federally guaranteed student loan is pretty much nothing. And ya know…if they have accepted federally guaranteed student loans…then they’re subject to Title 9 restrictions which forbid discrimination based on a whole bunch of things…and I bet that her lawyers are already working on the lawsuit and Hardin-Simmons will be writing her a big check.

Several of our Democratic Senators have announced that if the win the Presidency and take over the Senate in the November elections that they abolish the filibuster in the Senate because they “will not allow their progressive agenda and the Biden administration to be stymied by the racist filibuster”. 

The reason that the filibuster exists is to get the Senate to act like a more reasoned body than the House and have legislation that has bi-partisan support. For decades it required a 2/3 majority but it was reduced to the current 60 votes. The last time the Democrats had a majority in the Senate…they eliminated the filibuster for federal judge appointments so that President Obama’s judges could be approved and be seated…and the Democrats were perfectly fine with that. Then Minority Leader McConnell told them that they would be sorry they did that because they would not always be in the majority and what goes around comes around. Time passed…and the Republicans were now in the majority…and they started approving federal judges based on the no filibuster rule. Then along comes a Supreme Court vacancy…and the Republicans invoked the rule to approve Republican nominees to SCOTUS. This was deemed the “nuclear option” by the Democrats who claimed that they only invoked it for non SCOTUS nominees…and that they would never have done it for SCOTUS nominees, no sir, never. Truth is…they didn’t have a SCOTUS nomination or else they would have obviously done it for SCOTUS as well. Don’t believe me? OK…how about Harry Reid? Former Senate Majority Leader Reid is on record that he would have done it for SCOTUS as well but they didn’t have a SCOTUS nominee that they needed to invoke it for.

Me…I think the filibuster is a good idea…especially in these times where making the other side lose is almost more important than having your side win in politics…it keeps Senate deliberations and passage of laws more to the center as compared to the much more political House side. 

Mr. McConnell has again warned the Democrats against abolishing it…with the same warning that they won’t always be in charge he used last time…we’ll see what happens. The Democrats will have to control the Senate to change the rules but once gone they won’t be coming back…and despite the left’s insistence that the country is going blue they won’t always be in charge.

Those same Senators also think we should increase the number of seats on SCOTUS…so that a Biden administration can pack the court with progressives…or as they refer to it “a correctly ruling court”. Another bad idea…what this all comes down to is strict vs loose construction of the Constitution…whether it says what it says or whether it says what you want it to say this week.

A couple of images for ya…no new wildlife ones although we did spot a Little Green Heron in the pond yesterday while Neil was roasting garlic out on the lanai but it flew off before he could get the camera out.

Alex graduated from pre-school this week and things are a lot different than back in the day. We didn’t have pre-school back then and in kindergarten you learned to recognize a few colors and shapes but that was about it. Today…after pre-school he can read, count, do multiplication and other complicated math and he’s pretty good at chess too.

IMG 2520

IMG 2523

He’s getting all grown up…quite a difference from this one which when he was less than a week old.

IMG 1282 2

Ok…on to interesting things found on the net.

Anagrams…you know what those are, right? They are when you take a word and see what other words you can make if you rearrange the letters…similar to but not really the same thing as an acronym. Anyway; Neil found these on his Ugly Hedgehog photography forum.

Anagrams

Man first

Neil’s friend Bill sent him this one showing you how to extend the range of your electric vehicle if you are on a road trip and can’t find a charging station. A Honda 2000 portable gasoline powered generator…identical to the one we have in our garage to keep the freezer frozen, the beer cold, and the internet running in the event of a weather related power outage here in Florida…it will do the trick for ya. Sorta blows that that whole electric vehicle green emission free carbon free thing out the window though.

 

EVRangeExtender

DontMessWithOldPeople

GrammaUnfriending

BearskinRug

Cyas.

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

And The Hits Jus’ Keep On Coming

Yup…the WAMM (woke and media mob) is just keeping on with their demands, misleading headlines, tear it down mentality and such. But before we get to that…

Not much new going on around here. We got some groceries from Walmart…had a Sunday morning pickup and it was pretty easy. We got most of what we ordered with only about 3 out of stock things and a couple of substitutions…although why they thought that oranges would be a good substitute for grapefruit I dunno…but I guess they’re both citrus so mebbe that was it. Neil went on a couple bike rides, we grilled a lamb roast, did some laundry…and that’s pretty much about it. 

Oh yeah…Neil finished the garage and we can park the car in it but I think I mentioned that last time.

So last week we lost Aunt Jemima, the Cream of Wheat Chef and Uncle Ben’s…and Snap, Crackle, and Pop are on the chopping block…so let’s see what else is going on in the erase history movement.

Hmmm…the great grandson of Nancy Green says that erasing Aunt Jemima is erasing his family history and is wrong.

Eskimo Pies…yep, they’re gone too…I don’t think Inuit Pies has quite the same ring to it.

The University of Florida…ya know that team know as the Gators…they have…or at least they used to have…a cheer called the Gator Chomp where they put their arms out and moved them up and down in a parody of an alligator opening and closing his jaws while chanting “Gator Bait”. This has been deemed racist because according to those doing the deeming it recalls a time when black children were skinned alive and used for bait to catch alligators. A NY Times article from 2014 found that there was “evidence” that this happened but did not provide any in their article. Snopes.com which is a pretty reliable truth or lie research site on the internet…they concluded that despite widespread dissemination of representations of this from the 19th and 20th centuries that this does not mean that it actually happened and that no evidence of it was found in press reports of the time…and that while might have occasionally happened there is no evidence that it was widespread…but that it was both plausible and possible. So…maybe it happened and maybe it didn’t. Despite this lack of evidence…the Gator Chomp has been ruled and deemed as racist…despite the fact that it was invented by one of their football players during their first National Championship season in the mid 1990s…the player…who just happens to be black…said after an unexpected victory “If ya ain’t a Gator…you’re Gator Bait”.

Doesn’t seem all that racist to me.

Both of Mohammed Ali’s adult children say that he would not b a supporter of the current BLM…because he (a) thought that all lives mattered and (b) never met a person he didn’t want to be friends with. Sounds to me like he was a frustrated RVer…who as we all know don’t believe anybody is a stranger, they’re just friends he hasn’t met yet.

Morgan Freeman…yeah, I don’t think he’s a big fan of BLM either although I haven’t seen a quote from him on it. However…he is on record as being against Black History Month because he believes it is just part of American history.

I saw the following statistics on a page about the Civil Rights Act of 1964…and although we can read in the news how all Republicans are racists…ya wanna know how the vote on that bill went in Congress? In the House…final vote was 69% of Democrats in favor and 82% of Republicans…and in the Senate it was 61% Democrats and 80% Republicans…so just who’s the racist? You did know that it was the Democrats in the South after the war that invented the KKK…and that the Reconstruction efforts were led by Republicans…right? Go ahead and look those little tidbits up.

So in addition to the Confederate statues being destroyed…and Confederate Speakers of the House having their portraits removed from the Capitol…they’re also going after Teddy Roosevelt and Father Junípero Serra who founded the missions in CA back during the Spanish colonial days. They’re too racist apparently…along with Christopher Columbus, Andrew Jackson, and countless others who the WAMM has decided are evil. Me…I’m still wondering when they’re going to rename that tall statue on the Mall in our nation’s capital to the Obelisk of Wokeness…as well as rename the District itself…since both of the people who contributed to the name are racists as well if you want to get right down to facts…and Washington was even an actual traitor as opposed to the not actually traitors that the Confederates who seceded from the union can be argued to be.

You probably read on the news about the book that John Bolton wants to publish…and how the administration took him to court to prevent publication since he had not completed his required review by the Intelligence community and received written approval to publish his book.

See…it is supposed to work like this. If you have a clearance when you get debriefed you sign a statement agreeing not to divulge classified information to anybody else…and it notes the felony nature of this act and specifies the penalty. What the rules say is that if a person from the Intelligence community wants to write a book…he has to submit it *before anybody else sees it* to an office in the Intelligence community and receive written approval to publish…this usually entails several back and forth negotiations on the contents to verify that no classified info is in the document…but it is supposed to happen entirely between the author and the reviewer. Mr. Bolton…well he gave his book to both his publisher and his lawyer before doing any of this…and that is 100% illegal as (a) they don’t have a clearance, (b) they don’t have need to know even if they did have a clearance, (c) they don’t have proper classified material storage facilities, and (d) just because Mr. Bolton says there is no classified material in the document doesn’t make it true…he is not the person in which that determination resides. Now Mr. Bolton claims that he received oral approval…but the rules say it must be in writing and he’s not been able to produce either the letter or a reviewer who will admit he told Mr. Bolton it was OK orally.

So…Mr. Bolton is legally liable for a felony and in my opinion should not have been allowed to publish…but the judge decided that the cat was out of the bag as 10s of thousands of copies had already been distributed to booksellers that he the judge would just ignore the law and allow him to publish the book. He will still be liable to prosecution for violation of his agreement, providing classified material to unauthorized people, and for civil forfeiture of the entire proceeds from the book. 

But hey…he’s got an ax to grind against the President so his friends in the WAMM are perfectly ok with that.

Hmmm…oh yeah, SCOTUS. Chief Justice Roberts has set himself up for a no win situation later on. As you probably know…SCOTUS this week sent the whole DACA process back to the administration to try again because their changing of the rules was “arbitrary and capricious” since the administration tried to end DACA via regulation instead of Executive Order…which would have been upheld. One of the reasons that it was arbitrary was that the admin didn’t follow the requirement to have draft rules and get public comment before imposing them…but then again the Obama admin didn’t bother with those niceties when they set up the rules to allow DACA…but since he issued an Executive Order to do it it was perfectly legal.

Now I feel for the DACA folks…that’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals…and it essentially prevents deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents when they were toddlers. These folks don’t know any life outside of the USA…and have little attachment to Mexico or Guatemala or wherever they came from south of the border…but the fact remains that  they are still illegal immigrants. Congress had refused for years to do anything about their not-of-their-making situation…so President Obama did what he thought was right.  Now President Trump wants to do what he thinks is right…and is being pilloried by the WAMM for it. Me…I don’t think kicking them out is the right answer…but then just giving them a free pass to citizenship isn’t the right answer…our Congress critters need to solve this problem but they’re too busy blaming the other side for everything to actually do their job.

It is the other SCOTUS decision that will put Justice Roberts in a bind in a couple of years. The case was about whether LBGTQ people could be discriminated against on the basis of their LBGTQness or whether that would be sex discrimination which is already illegal. The majority opinion said that it did and essentially equated LBGTQness with gender and hence discrimination was illegal.

There are two problems with this decision. First…it seems awfully close to the court performing a legislative function in making that determination and that really isn’t their job…interpreting the law is their job. Second…and this is what will cause the problem later…they’ve set themselves up for a case where they will have to determine whether Freedom of Religion or Right to Privacy takes precedence. I’m quite sure that there are only two genders…science tells us so and that there is no such thing as being able to change your gender. I don’t care a whit who you want to have sex with…if you like men that’s fine and if you like women that’s fine too no matter what your gender is. I also don’t care a whit if you want to dress up as a man in women’s clothes or vice versa…that just makes you a transvestite…or if you want to get your willy chopped off, get breast implants, grow your hear long and wear heels and makeup…just don’t tell me that doing all that makes you a woman or makes you a man if you go the other way. Frankly what clothes you wear and who you boink should remain in your personal purview.

However…religious organizations will still fire individuals who don’t meet the strictures of their faith…and inevitably that means that some LBGTQ person will get fired because LBGTQness is against the tenets of their faith. This means that the fired person will sue and eventually the case will get back to SCOTUS to decide which of those constitutionally guaranteed rights is paramount.

I can kinda see why Justice Roberts really wanted it to come out this way…after all his primary consideration after the law is the legacy of his Court…and if they had ruled for the right to discriminate against those people…or for the right of the administration to end DACA (which they actually said was absolutely within their rights but that they just didn’t do it the right way)…either of those outcomes would have been pounced on by the WAMM as proof that the court was just a bunch of Republican stooges…heck, they’ve already said that before but in an election year Justice Roberts just didn’t want that. But I can’t help but wonder if he really thought through the entire sequence of ‘what will happen now’ in his zeal not to make a politically unpopular decision in an election year.

You probably won’t see this on the evening news…in
Uniontown PA
…a black guy by the name of Daylan McLee rescued a cop from a burning patrol car after an accident in front of the apartment. He’s a guy with dreads and visible tattoos on his body and has had some run ins with the cops in the past…some of them his fault and some maybe not so much…but he said that he won’t let the actions of a few allow him to blame all police…so he did the right thing and saved the cop’s life as the cruiser burned. He has several ongoing lawsuits against those who he says have wronged him in the past…and his lawyer naturally claims it is all based on racism…but here’s a guy who did the right thing anyway.

Good on’ya Daylan…

One final example of race baiting clickbait headlines before we move on for today.

This
article
…would take you to an article with the headline “Video shows Florida officer immediately draw gun on woman, aim at her for over 4 minutes” and if you read it a bit you’ll see that the woman in the article…they make sure to specify that she’s a black woman and a white cop…well she says “I feel like something needs to happen to the Tampa PD officer who held that gun on me for four minutes. The Tampa PD, they are bullies, and the way they treat people is bad.”. 

But read a little further and you’ll see that she ‘borrowed’ the car from a friend…and that it was a rental car…and that it had been reported stolen by Hertz so the officer performed a felony stop of the vehicle. Noting that there were 2 people in the vehicle and that he was a single cop…he stood behind his car door and 100% in accordance with policy drew his weapon to cover the occupants, directed them to make their hands visible and to remain in the car, and called for backup. Some 4 minutes later, backup arrived, he put his weapon away and the women occupants were taken into custody. After investigation…it was determined that the occupants did not steal the car and they were released and the car impounded…when they could have been booked and taken to jail on auto theft charges…but the cops did the right thing, exonerated the women, and released them.

Me…I think they need better friends…what did they expect when they were driving a stolen car? The Tampa police chief has reviewed both the body cam video and the women’s dash cam video and determined that nothing improper was done…and according to the police the women were happy with the explanation they were given for both the stop and the detaining when they were released.

But now…she wants to have some butthurt and blame the police for doing their job…and “something needs to happen to him”. I agree…he should be given a commendation for following procedure, doing his job, protecting himself and the citizens, and doing things the right way.

And finally…you’ve probably seen the case of the guy in Atlanta who was passed out drunk in the Wendy’s drive in and was eventually…after a fight with the police during which he took one of their tasers and fled…and while fleeing turned around and fired the taser at the cops before he was “murdered by being shot in the back by the police” according to the WAMM. So this fellow had several strikes against him…DUI, resisting arrest, fleeing, stealing a law enforcement weapon, and firing that weapon at the pursuing police.

Now I’m not saying the cops should or should not have shot the man…but I think that getting a conviction on the 11 counts including felony murder is going to be a long shot…in fact I think the DA deliberately overcharged him trying to scare him and his lawyer into pleading guilty to a lesser charge but that’s just me. However…remember what I told you a few posts back about the #1 goal a cop has when he goes to work today.

That goal is to be alive at the end of his tour to go home to his family.

Now consider the photo below…you’re the cop chasing this guy in the dark, you know he’s in possession of one of your weapons, and he is a fleeing felon.

FleeingSuspect

Now if you’re that cop…your adrenaline is pumping, you know this fellow has a weapon…and he’s pointing/firing it at you…are you justified in fearing for your life of the life of others in which case shooting him is justified…or are you not justified? Remember…you’ve got a split second to make a decision.

Me…you can’t tell what that weapon is…and while he told you he had no weapon and you patted him down you weren’t arresting him at the time of the pat down so maybe you missed the gun in his pocket.

It’s a lot grayer of a situation than the WAMM would have you believe.

One image this time…a nice reflection shot of our pond on a calm day. I need to nag Neil…nag, nag, nag…to take Connie out early some morning and see if we can get some socially distant photos for here…there’s a little hiking nature area just a mile or so south.

D75 5993

Ok…on to interesting things found on the net.

Looks like the tiger printer is getting low on ink…or maybe it’s just a normal tiger, golden tiger, white tiger, and albino tiger in the same portrait.

TigerPrinterLowOnInk

Retirement unemployment.

LostRetirementJob

This seems appropriate given the current wokeness outbreak.

TheMagicWord

Truth hurts sometimes.

TheTruthHurts

SocialDistanceSupportAnimal

And finally…this pretty much describes the weather this month so far in Fort Myers…and it will be like this through September or early October at least.

HeatIndex

Cyas.

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

They’re Running Out Of Things To Be Offended Over

Not much going on…we got our UPS for the TV and internet stuff in and installed and the second one for the file server is on the way…and we also got our grill cover. Neil finished the garage cleanup…got everything sorted and stored and we can now keep Li’l Red inside instead of outside.

Now this week…we’ve gotta get rid of Aunt Jemima syrup and pancakes, Uncle Ben’s Rice, the chef on the Cream of Wheat box and even Snap, Crackle and Pop.

Where will it end.

Now I know that Aunt Jemima has used a black woman in their marketing for over a century…but now it’s bad. Only…maybe let’s consider a couple of facts about that.

Did you know that Aunt Jemima was a real person? Yup…a former slave named Nancy Green moved to Chicago after the war and started a food company making…you guessed it…pancakes. She became pretty successful at her company…in fact she was so successful that the General Mills company bought her out and used her image in their marketing…she went on to become in addition to the company spokesperson a storyteller, cook, and activist as well as the first of numerous black women who headed the marketing. She died in 1923 as one of America’s first black millionaires…and remember in 1923 a million bucks was a whole lot more than it is now. 

Her likeness was found in pretty much every household in the south and I assume up in Yankee land as well…because we all used her syrup even if we made our own pancake batter from scratch with Bisquick since it was (a) cheaper than her pancakes and (b) we had it anyway for making biscuits…although to be honest we made them from flour, Crisco, baking powder, baking soda, and milk as often as we made them from Bisquick and milk. Back in the day…actual maple syrup was pretty rare and pretty expensive outside of the arctic Nawth where it was produced so hers was what we used down in the no longer PC term Dixie.

And ya know…if the brand started today and General Mills used her likeness to honor a black woman who achieved quite a lot…it might even be considered a good thing.

But nope…she’s gotta go…along with pretty much every other black person used in any marketing campaign? I guess having a self made black female millionaire spoil the narrative.

When do we get rid of the Nike Air Jordan logo? Do bald white men feel slighted because of Mr. Clean? Do gas station attendants quake in their safe places because of “the man who wears the big, bright Texaco star?” Or how about white women…do they tremble in their aprons over Betty Crocker?

There was this long discussion over the matter on Neil’s photography forum in the non photographic section…the thread is entitled “Cat True Facts” but other than a link in the first post it’s all about the left running out of things to be offended over…and how if marketing folks refused to use blacks in their marketing campaigns that would be bad…and how that would be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Heck…even the. Land O’ Lakes logo is apparently being changed…they’ve ditched the Native American portion on their logo.

What’s next…Black Label whiskey? Dark rum? Red and white wine? Brown mustard? Egg whites?

Anyways enough on that.

I see in the news that the University of VA…known as UVA in the state…is changing the logo for their athletic department for the second time in 2 or 3 months. The university teams are known as the Cavaliers and the logo consists of a large upper case orange V with blue outline and two crossed cutlasses in blue below it. This has been their logo since at least when Neil was in high school. However…they changed the logo back in April or so so that there were sinuous edges on the handle portion of the cutlasses to honor the sinuous walls that are on the campus. These walls were designed by that well known slave owner Thomas Jefferson who just happened to be a big wig in VA politics…and they were designed in the sinuous manner for the simple reason that you need a lot fewer bricks that way. The wall is actually longer than a straight one would be but you can build thinner…and hence less costly…brick walls if they’re not straight. Now…where did Cavaliers come from? Good question…and the answer is that back in the 1600s there was a revolution in England over whether the king had sole and ultimate power or whether they would have the parliamentary form of government that they have now…and naturally there were two sides in this revolution. The Virginia Cavaliers was a pro royalist organization in the Virginia colony and most of the upper crust of the colony’s society was part of it…so when the university was founded later it seemed naturally to use Cavaliers for the mascot. Nothing in any of that seems racist to me…but apparently the WAMM has decided that the honoring the sinuous walls is racist because “the walls were only built to keep the hide the noise and view of the slaves outside the walls from folk inside the walls”. Seems pretty flimsy to me…but the university caved to the WAMM and has redone the logon…again…keeping straight lines on the edges of the cutlass handles. Whatever.

I see that Mr. Putin says that not only does Russia have “hypersonic” missiles that are “completely un-interceptible” but they also have hypersonic defense weapons.

Now I gotta tellya…”hypersonic missiles” is just a bunch of marketing BS. According to the definition…hypersonic means they go more than 5 times the speed of sound…and according to the hypersonic missile hysteria they are glide based vehicles that maneuver during flight to keep from being intercepted as well as flying at a “much lower altitude” . That sounds pretty good…until you realize that it’s all a bunch of hooey. The fact is that every ballistic missile is hypersonic…they travel at about 15 times the speed of sound pretty much from about 30 seconds after launch until they go boom at the target…so so much for hypersonic indicating a new capability. Moving on to flying at a much lower altitude…they’re still above about 98% of the atmosphere…up until the past year or so this was known as a depressed ballistic trajectory…and pretty much any ICBM or SLBM these days is capable of doing so albeit at a reduced range compared to a purely ballistic flight…but in either case they’re still essentially out in space…so so much for gliding. Finally…that new maneuverability…well warheads have been capable of maneuvering since about 1970…you might have heard that ballistic missiles since about that time have what is known as MIRVs or multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles…which means that a single missile can make multiple targets go boom. Now there are some limitations for MIRVs…you can scatter the warheads over a much further distance parallel to the missile flight path than across the flight path…but since they were all dumped off of a ballistic missile they’ll all hit the same place…that’s just physics for ya…unless you maneuver the various warheads to the right/left/short/long of the ballistic point to hit various targets.

Now it is certainly possible that gone could make faster missiles that remain in the atmosphere…and they would provide shorter reaction times than slower missiles would…duh…but in order to really maneuver much they need to be in the atmosphere so as to give the control surfaces something to act against to do this maneuvering. Remaining in the atmosphere means more air friction…which means more heat…and there’s a reason that a ballistic missile gains most of it’s speed after it leaves the atmosphere behind…that reason is to protect it from the heat…just like the heat shield on a space capsule does or the tiles on the space shuttle did. The fastest aircraft known is the SR-71 blackbird…holding the speed record of 2,193 mph…and the limit on the speed is both power and heat load. As you go faster…the amount of power needed and hence fuel needed increases geometrically…every mile per hour increase gets harder as you go faster…and the drag against the air generates more heat. Materials science just hasn’t caught up and trying to achieve any airframe that will go faster than about 5 or 6 times the speed of sound while remaining in the atmosphere and not melting simply becomes a heat/fuel/power problem.

The military has been working on making both aircraft and weapons go faster ever since the Wright brothers…but physics and engineering is the same for everybody. The likelihood of either side getting a lasting advantage through this hypersonic weapon crap is pretty small…but it is used as the bugaboo to get more defense dollars on both sides.

Interesting things found on the net.

If you go to Vienna Austria…be careful not to fart in front of the police. Apparently a fella there was fined 500 Euros because he farted inside the paddy wagon after he was arrested at the riot and drove the cops out of the vehicle due to the aroma…so if you get arrested in there make sure ya don’t lift yer butt cheek and let ‘er rip but go the silent but deadly route.

Apparently…the International Space Station is getting a new Universal Waste Management System later this year…that’s NASA-speak for toilet…I have no idea how the gentler gender will use this thing as it looks pretty painful…maybe it works like that You Go Girl funnel thingy that is marketed for female hikers. 

ISSToilet

I found this picture which compares the size of the tallest mountain on earth…well, it’s not actually not the tallest mountain as the volcano in Hawaii is taller from the ocean floor than it is, but I digress…anyway Mount Everest compared to the Olympus Mons which is a shield volcano on Mars and is actually both the widest and tallest mountain in then solar system. Because of the diameter, height, and diameter of the planet…if you could stand at the base you would not be able to see the summit of the volcano…and if you could stand at the summit you would not be able to see any of Mars except Olympus Mons. Mars is also home to the deepest canyon in the solar system…the Valles Marineris…it is over 2,500 miles long, 120 miles wide, and 23,000 feet deep so it pretty much dwarfs the Grand Canyon which actually only comes in 4th place for canyon size on the earth…there are canyons in Nepal, Australia, and Tibet that are larger than it is. 

EverestVsOlympusMons

This one is self explanatory.

Ruin the photo

As is this one.

AtheistQuandry

Although I have to admit…I wonder how many of today’s so called atheists actually know that the word means…I’m guessing not many. Most of them have just rejected religion and hence the concept of a god with either an upper or lower case and I’m convinced that most “atheists” are just rebelling against what their parents are or believe in…but that is not what the word actually means.

What it actually has to do with is…just why do we exist and how did we get here.

Ranging back to Neil’s Religion class in the parochial McGill Institute in high school…his teacher was a catholic priest named Father Hay who he was somehow tangentially related to but can’t remember the details…anyway the first day in class the good Father asked us if we existed.

We all agreed that we did exist and after a bunch of logic trees led by Father it becomes pretty obvious that if we exist today…well actually it was that day back in the early ‘70s…then something must have always existed. Logic tells us that if there was ever a time when nothing at all existed…then nothing could exist now since there would have been nothing make existence come into being…in short you can’t get something from nothing. So…if something exists now then something had to always exist. After another series of logic trees one comes to the conclusion that whatever existed back into the infinite before has to be either material or not material…or saying it another way either material or spiritual.

Those that come down on the spiritual as the thing that always existed are known as theists since they believe in theism…which is the belief that a God or gods exist outside of the material realm. This being has been called many, many names over the years and while we are Roman Catholic I’m not going to force the belief in a single God on anybody since there’s no actual proof…that’s why it is called faith.

On the other side of the equation…the folks that believe the universe has always existed are a-theists meaning not theists which got shortened to atheist…and I’m willing to bet that few if any of today’s self professed atheists have actually thought this through.

On the other hand…there’s pretty reliable evidence that the universe is 13 billion or whatever years old and is still expanding. At some point in the indeterminate future…all the energy in the universe will have been expended, all stars will have died and gravity which is an immutable constant will start to slow the expansion of the universe…eventually causing it to stop and start to contract…and after an amount of time approximately equal to the time from the Big Bang until expansion stops the universe will collapse into itself in one giant ball…and at least according to the theory there might be another Big Bang starting the process of the universe all over again…in fact according to the theory there have been an unknown number of Big Bang/expansion/end of the universe cycles going backwards in time.

Anyway…just a thought brought on by that last image.

This one brings to mind the logic jar we used to have when Neil worked for ISD in the SecDef’s bureaucracy…if you tried to inject logic into any discussion or decision you got fined and the money went into the jar…about once a quarter we took the proceeds down to the pub on the first floor and drank them.

 

OldPeopleJars

Even better than “You want me to stop this car?”

MomBeatYourAss

WalkingToSchool

And here for ya…a bit of humour…note the British spelling…from our friends across the pond.

All of these were gleaned from actual advertisements in UK newspapers.

FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER.
8 years old,
Hateful little bastard.
Bites!

FREE PUPPIES
1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbor’s dog.

FREE PUPPIES.
Mother is a Kennel Club registered German Shepherd.
Father is a Super Dog, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

COWS, CALVES: NEVER BRED.
Also 1 gay bull for sale….

JOINING NUDIST COLONY!
Must sell washer and dryer $100…

WEDDING DRESS FOR SALE .
Worn once by mistake.
Call Stephanie.

**** And the WINNER is…. ****

FOR SALE BY OWNER.
Complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica, 45 volumes.
Excellent condition, #200 or best offer. No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything.

And finally…from the Greatest Living Scottish Thinker Billy Connolly…he is actually a comedian comes this.

“If women are so bloody perfect at multitasking, How come they can’t have a headache and sex at the same time?”

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | 2 Comments

Hypocrites, Misleading Headlines…And What the Heck Were They Thinking

Of all the things in the world that really get on my nerves…hypocrisy and hypocrites are right at the top of the list. Well…actually that’s not completely true as warm beer, weak cocktails, and ruint, err well done, steak are at the top but hypocrisy is right up there…along with stupidity..

To wit…a few examples gleaned from the news…along with an uplifting item I saw on FB.

However…before I get to that part lemme catch ya up on doin’s ‘round these parts. When last we left our heroes…the pond out back had risen considerably in level due to the ongoing rain and the Elks Lodge was about to open back up. We had a bit more rain but the past couple days have been mostly sunny…but the level in the pond has continued to rise a little…looks like most of the pond water is actually run off from the land and not storm sewer drains.

Thursday afternoon…we headed out to the Elks for tacos. David…one of the big wigs there…makes the meat and he cooks a pretty mean taco meat. Toss it in some crispy tortilla shells, add on lettuce, cheese, jalapeño peppers, and some sour cream…and then sell the whole thing for a buck apiece and for a more $5 we had dinner…way better than that 5 Dollar Footlong from some other place. To go along with it…Neil had 3 almost alcohol free Ultra brews in the bottle and Connie had some Merlot…and just mebbe she had jus’ a smidgen more than she shoulda had; but she weren’t driving so no real harm done there.

We stayed for the first two rounds of Show Me The Money…that’s like bingo for dummies or mebbe bingo for people with a short attention span. Instead of numbers you get 3 cards stapled together and the dealer pulls cards from a deck and if you match the card you cover it with a penny or a can pop top…and when you cover all 3 you yell Show Me The Money and ya win the prize. There are 3 rounds with 3 games each…Connie won the first game of the first round in 3 cards…like that will ever happen again. She won $25 for her victory and since each round costs $5 she made a profit. Now if they would only start bingo back up she might be happy.

Our friend Gail gave us a housewarming present…after careful evaluation of it…Neil says we’re just gonna call it a thing as neither of us are really sure just exactly what it is.

IMG 3646 1

Yesterday we tried out our new pellet grill for the first time…we had a skinless boneless turkey breast half in the freezer and after brining it overnight we smoked it at 160F with heavy smoke set and then at 225F with heavy smoke for the last hour of our 4.5 hour smoking period (so it would get done in time for dinner). It turned out pretty good…but was a little light on the smoky taste and a little drier than smoked turkey’s we’ve had in the past…we think a bone in and skin on full breast would be a better choice for smoking turkey as it (a) would take longer and hence get more smokey taste and (b) the fat in the skin would slowly melt and baste the whole thing while it was cooking…leaving nice crispy smoky skin to nibble on. Since it took longer than expected…we had a snack of sliced Parmesana Regiano cheese with a drizzle of the good…meaning expensive because it’s aged a long time and gets thick like honey from evaporation…Balsamic Vinegar. To go with the turkey we had some leftover pasta, leftover winter squash, and leftover ciabatta bread that we toasted with some garlic and butter on it. All was quite yummy…the turkey had a text that was more like ham than poultry but we think that’s because it dried out a bit due to the lack of skin and bone to protect the meat. We do have some leftover turkey that Neil is going to make turkey gumbo out of this evening.

Neil also continued work on getting the garage square away…he put together his third set of shelves and thinks that either tomorrow morning or Wednesday morning he’ll have the garage done so we can pull the car inside…that will help keep it cool since it won’t be out in the summer sun.

We also briefly lost power yesterday afternoon…although lost power is really a misnomer in this case. We had a lightning strike nearby…we could see the flash from our living area…and maybe a 1 second power loss before the grid picked up the load from some other generation facility. Long story short…no real damage except it made our file server and internet stuff reboot on the power failure…which reminded Neil that he needs to order some uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) for them…he’ll get to that today.

OK… moving along to the news. 

Do you remember how a whole bunch of folks got in trouble over the past few years for appearing in blackface…VA Governor Northam, VA AG Herring, Jimmy Fallon, Megan Kelly (although she wasn’t in blackface but merely had the audacity to suggest that a discussion of whether it was always or only sometimes racist was in order and whether when it happened made any difference), Prime Minister Trudeau of Canuckistan, Robert Downey Jr, Julianne Hough, Gucci, Drake, Katy Perry, and Sarah Silverman…just to name a few. Now it didn’t matter that most of their offenses were multiple decades in the past and at least some of them were either dressing for the theme of an event or in an acting/comedy role…for years now we’ve been told that blackface is always, forever more, 100% racist and never, ever acceptable.

Except this week we found out that…at least according to the Woke  and Media Mob (hereinafter referred to as WAMM) that it is perfectly acceptable if you’re an “influencer” and are doing it “in solidarity with BLM”. There’s even articles on the web explaining how to properly do your makeup to achieve the correct look…and one by that luminary white girl influencer Tania Saleh where she says “I wish I was black, today more than ever”.

So apparently…just like only some black lives matter…only some blackface matters.

Next up…remember when university professors were encouraged to allow controversial matters to be discussed in class to broaden the education of the students…although those of you who went to college from about 2000 on after safe spaces were mandated probably don’t remember this. A prof at UCLA…who has taught there for 39 years and at his previous job co-taught a black studies curriculum at a school in the Detroit area…we’ll he’s been suspended without pay and is under investigation for “potential violations of the school guidelines” although just what these potential violations are were.

His crime…well, due to the corona virus he is teaching an online only course where he posts videos, the students view them and then they have email discussions about the lectures…and it’s some sort of accounting course he’s teaching. From the beginning of the quarter…there was always only going to be a single final exam which would provide the totality of each student’s grade. The prof got an email a couple weeks back from a self identified white student who wanted to support his black classmates who were out protesting the death of Mr. Floyd and the student wanted the black students to either be exempted from the exam, given special grading criteria, or have a no-penalty exam where their grade could not go down because of the exam…in a course with a single exam providing the only grade. Now the prof’s boss had…before this email series started…sent out an email telling teachers not to change their grading criteria for either the Floyd protests or the corona lockdown…but to follow the university guidelines on what constituted a valid excuse.

The professor and the student had a back and forth email discussion in which the prof asked several questions…first, he had no idea of the race of students since it was an online only course; second, how about mixed race students and should they get a half pass on the grade; third, what about asian or white students who were in crisis because of the Floyd situation, should they not get a pass too; and finally the university had guidelines the prof was following. Apparently the original emailing student was happy with the responses…but somebody else started an anonymous petition to have the prof disciplined and fired because of his “extremely insensitive, dismissive, and woefully racist response to his students’ request for empathy and compassion during a time of civil unrest”. So UCLA…based on this anonymous petition…suspended and is investigating the prof.

Uncle Joe is currently choosing his VP running mate…and one of the potential choices is a lady named Val Deming…she’s a black congresswoman from FL who previously served as the chief of police in Orlando. She came out against the defunding or abolishment of police departments…and apparently this is enough for the WAMM to decide she needs to be eliminated from Uncle Joe’s short list…so the attack articles came out. An article in one of the FL east coast newspapers says she “supported police violence and excessive use of force” while serving as the Orlando chief…and cites a study that found 534 instances of police brutality/excessive use of force during her final year as chief…and this is 20% more than “the equivalent size and racial makeup city of Baton Rouge LA”. This didn’t pass the smell test…so Neil was able to figure out with 2 minutes of googling that Orlando has a population 20% greater than Baton Rouge does…and hence 20% more crime, 20% more arrests, 20% more resisting arrest incidents, and therefore 20% more of what the paper defines as brutality/excessive use of force. Seems to me that if the criminals weren’t resisting arrest and/or fleeing from the police…there would be less use of force. But no…Ms. Deming is pro-police brutality…except that maybe brutality/excessive use of force is in the eye of the newspaper doing the study…there was zero information about what the force was and who other than the journalist determined it was excessive.

You probably saw the headlines about the “senior Tulsa police department officer” who…according to the headlines…told a radio show that “the Tulsa PD should be shooting 20% more blacks than we actually shot”. Yeah…that’s a great headline for riling up the WAMM…but then if you read what he actually said you’ll see the headline is pure, unadulterated BS. What he actually said was that if you looked not at the 13% of blacks in the population but looked at the percentage of crimes that were committed by the various races and the amount of times each race was shot by police that blacks got shot 24% less than statistics would have led you to believe.

You might have seen the story this week about how HBO Max has pulled Gone With The Wind from distribution because of it’s racist depictions. Now first off…it’s a story about the pre Civil War antebellum south so naturally there are slaves and slavery depicted in the movie…and it could probably never be made today.  So this author on one of the tech sites Neil looks at decided to take on HBO Max over their statement…the site usually offers a click bait section from an article on some news site, references the original url to read the whole thing, and then does some ‘analysis’ AKA ranting on the other site’s article. In the analysis…the secondary site author says “If it was so racist, why did you ever have it available for streaming? Even Disney recognizes some of its racist past and has refused to ever make “Song of the South” available on any platform.” He then goes on to say  that it has always been a racist movie…and then in an incredible display of ultra woke-ness…he says that he and his wife saw the movie (10th time for him) over the past weekend and enjoyed it immensely despite of it’s racism…and that enjoying it is perfectly fine…as long as you embrace and acknowledge it’s racism.

So…if you’re a liberal and embrace it’s racism…it’s ok for you to watch. However…if you are a non card carrying member of the WAMM and enjoy the movie…you’re a racist. Me…I never thought it was a very good movie anyway.

Did you see on the news about the CHAZ or Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. Apparently…there has been a 6 square block area in the center of Seattle that has been occupied by Floyd protesters, Antifa, born again hippies, and who knows what other assorted other members of the WAMM. The police precinct in the center of the area has been evacuated and abandoned by police…and the chief of police said publicly “it was not my decision” and the are essentially given to the protesters. The mayor of Seattle says they are “performing an act of patriotism” and has stationed porta-potties and trash dumpsters at the borders for them. The entire area has been barricaded by the protesters with armed guards in military clothing and carrying “long guns” is the way the news describes them to protect the occupants of the CHAZ from police brutality. The chief of police has also publicly stated that “we have had rape and robbery 911 calls from inside the CHAZ that we have not been allowed to respond to”…and there is some evidence that the occupiers are demanding protection money from businesses inside the zone although are conflicting reports on this. The barriers around the CHAZ have signs that say “you are now leaving the USA” and “this is the property of the people of Seattle”.

Several things come to mind here.

I thought that secession was off the table after the Civil War…although it can be argued that the Constitution does not prohibit secession and the 10th amendment grants “all other rights to the states” which would presumably include secession…but I digress.

The “long guns” that the CHAZ security forces are using look suspiciously similar…in fact identical…to those “scary looking guns” that the WAMM usually identifies as assault weapons even though they are not. However…they’re called “long guns” by the WAMM and the WAMM emphasizes that they are breaking no laws as open carry is legal in the state of WA.

Can you imagine the outraged howling we would be hearing from the WAMM if a group of…say right wing nationalists or gun rights supporters…or god forbid President Trump supporters…were to take over 6 square blocks, declare themselves independent of the USA, and post armed guards with assault rifles at the border? Can you possibly imagine that the mayor of Seattle would not have called in the National Guard to evict those criminals? They’re taking over our city…and they have ‘assault weapons’.

Over in France…a nuclear powered attack submarine is undergoing overhaul to extend it’s life through 2030…it was launched in 1993. As part of the overhaul…duh…all weapons were naturally removed…and even the nuclear reactor has been de-fueled as getting a new reactor core is part of the overhaul…and new reactor cores are for all intents and purposes non radioactive, it is only after they are taken critical that some radioactive fission products exist inside the core. As happens frequently in overhauls…a fire broke out since a lot of welding is going on…but as does not generally happen frequently they apparently did not have adequate safety precautions in place fo a potential fire and a large portion of the submarine was damaged. The French are falling all over themselves saying there was no nuclear accident and no radiation was released…not surprising since there was no nuclear fuel on board…and that the smoke is not radioactive…again not surprising. It apparently took from mid morning to late afternoon to put the fire out…so based on Neil’s experience in submarines and overhaul the damage is probably considerable. His guess is that it will be cheaper to scrap the ship and build a new one than to fix the burned up one.

I’ve seen a lot of articles this week about defunding and/or abolishing the police and naturally the discussions around them…and also on the random topics area on Neil’s photography forum…are dealing with…well, debates is far too polite a word for what is going on…racism, slavery, the Civil War, police use of force and other things in the same vein.

Several thoughts here.

There is a lady running for County Commissioner over in Miami-Dade county on the east coast of FL (Miami, Hollywood, Miami Beach, and Fort Lauderdale area)…she said this week that this whole defund the police and/or abolish the department is completely nuts. She agrees that we need police to serve and protect but should try to improve rather than abolish them. Sounds like a brilliant idea, right? Well, not according to the Minneapolis city council and various other state and local governments who are steaming ahead with this dumbest of ideas. Oh yeah…I forgot to tell you who the lady is…she’s a black woman named Sybrina Fulton…it might not surprise you that a black woman disagrees with the idea…but she is also the mother of Trayvon Martin who was killed while attacking neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman. It seems to me that there are some black people…even those who have had family members killed by whites…who recognize the lunacy of abolishing the police. I have no idea what her other platform issues are…but at least she’s not gone completely off the reservation.

As part of the overall discussions about slavery…a common theme on both the articles, their comments, and the discussion board is that the Civil War was “solely” about eliminating slavery. While that is a nice easy to remember meme (did they have memes in the 1800s?)…the actual list of causes for the Civil War is a lot more nuanced than that as is easily determined by a little research as long as you don’t have a predetermined conclusion.

If the Civil War was solely about the elimination of slavery…then I wonder about the following facts.

Since somewhere between 75% and 94% of southerners did not own slaves depending on which statistic you choose to believe…but in any even a majority did not…just what were most of the southern troops fighting for? One could argue that preserving the free labor of slavery kept the poor white folks from getting the job to pick the cotton…so perhaps they were not fighting to preserve slavery…and if not then why did they fight?

Why did the 4 northern states that had slavery fight…surely not to eliminate slavery since it would eliminate the free labor they enjoyed as a result of slavery? I not to eliminate slavery…why did they fight?

Even that notorious southern sympathizer Abraham Lincoln said that the Civil War was not to either preserve or eliminate slavery…but to preserve the union. He wrote ‘I would save slavery if it would save the union, and I would eliminate slavery if it would save the union, and I would free some slaves but not all if it would preserve the union. My sole purpose in the war is to preserve the union. He even refused to meet and negotiate with a peace delegation sent by Jefferson Davis before the attack on Fort Sumter because making peace with the south would have not preserved the union.

Again…all of those facts are a bit more nuanced than I made them sound but it was done in the interest of brevity…but they do serve to illustrate that the Civil War was a lot more nuanced than you think. Sure…slavery played a part…and even a significant part…but it was not the only driving factor. The fact that the secession legislation by the various confederate states said it was to preserve slavery is another one of those memes that is used to fire up the populace…on both sides the relatively uneducated common folk really would not understand the tariff laws that were economically devastating to the south and played a role similar in amount to slavery itself.

Finally…there’s a lot of goings on about tearing down statues of Confederate soldiers and generals and renaming military bases that bear Confederate names…which is really dumb because those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it as a famous man once said…and like it or not the Confederacy and slavery are part of the history of the USA. The primary rallying cry of those that want to tear down the statues is “they were traitors and we should not honor traitors”…unfortunately there are a couple problems with this. First off…all Confederate soldiers were issued a federal pardon for any and all potential crimes they might have committed by that noted southern sympathizer Lincoln…and an act of Congress declared that Confederate veterans were US veterans and were entitled to and received military pensions from the US government. Second…as I said the actual legality of secession has never really been adequately legally settled (other than by the Union winning the war…which isn’t a legal settlement but a military one)…so if secession was legal then Confederate soldiers were certainly not traitors…go and google the definition of treason (which you have to commit to be a traitor) and you’ll agree. Third…and this is the one that really gets the WAMM crowd…let’s assume that the Confederate soldiers were actually traitors…and as such we should get rid of all statues of traitors, rename all streets and military bases that have traitor names, and generally expunge the traitors from existence. Yep…good idea…but wait, there’s one additional problem with that. If we’re going to get rid of memorials to traitors…then there is this monument in the nation’s capitol which we’ll have to rename as well…and in fact we’ll have to rename the nation’s capitol as well…because when you get right down to the actual facts…George Washington was a traitor. He was a British subject and citizen…and rebelled against his lawful king…and waged war against his country. That’s pretty much the definition of treason. 

The redeeming factor…George won the war. However, if he had lost…he woulda been hung by the neck until dead with the rest of his traitorous cabal…otherwise known as the founding fathers.

As I said…a lot of this is really pretty nuanced. Yes…there’s still racism in America…but there’s been racism in the world since God took the sun critical for the first time…and no race is innocent of racism. Yes…we had slavery in America for a centuries…and it was legal…and both north and south supported and profited from it. Most of the slave in the south that were not born there…well, they were captured in black on black warfare in Africa and transported to America by ships primarily owned by British or northern companies. Remember…it’s nuanced and hard to fix.

Me…I’m not convinced that racism will ever go away. I would like to see it happen…but I’m not holding my breath.

OK…on to some more interesting things.

Did you know that in Las Vegas the churches accept casino chips in their collection plates. The problem with this is that all the churches get chips from the dozens of casinos in town and don’t have the staff to sort them out and turn them in to the casinos for cash. The solution…an enterprising monastery in town who provides this as a service. The monastery collects the chips, sorts them out, cashes them all in, and then distributes the proceeds to the various churches based on how many chips from each casino a church submitted. 

The men that perform this task…are known as…the chip monks.

There were these three storks that met up in the sky one day on their rounds delivering babies and they got to talking…the first one said “I’m bringing a beautiful baby girl to that house over there”. The second one said “I’m bringing a healthy set of boy twins to that one over there”. The third one…older and wiser than the other two…said “I’m not delivering any babies…I am just going to go visit the convent to give them a scare.”

Interesting things found on the net.

This seemed appropriate as the bars reopen.

AnyLiquorInThisDrink

With the ongoing looting and violence…I can just imagine this from the late Billy Mays.

LooterBeGone

And if we abolish the police…this will happen when you dial 911. Remember…when seconds count…help is just minutes away.

ThoughtsAndPrayers

 

Since we live in Florida with lots of old people…and by the way old is a state of mind…it has nothing to do with mileage on the body.

TurnSignals

Of course it’s ours…why would you think it is not?

OfCourseItIsOurs

This was posted in a discussion on Neil’s Ugly Hedgehog photography forum on how close you get to the animals on safari in Africa. I guess this lady (a) had to go and (b) knows the answer to the question…or she will soon. Her husband probably took this photo…and said “Look honey, there’s a lion.”

Added later…already used this one…sorry ‘bout that but it is already posted so Ima leaving it in.

HowCloseDoYouGet

And finally…got this one from FB and while I usually don’t bother much with that platform…I have no idea whether Denzel Washington actually said this or not, I’m guessing no as the image appears to have been lifted from an interview on shortlist.com about his film The Equalizer with the text added later…but the sentiment is pretty much on the money. The world should be color blind…but it isn’t…and I don’t really believe it will ever be.

StopRacism

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | 2 Comments

I Guess I Just Don’t Understand

According to the what you read in the media, protesters, and pretty much every Facebook or Twitter feed…you would believe that every law enforcement officer out there goes to work thinking to himself “hey, I hope I can shoot a person of color today or beat a protester with my baton and then spray innocent peaceful protesters with tear gas.”

What are these people thinking? Most cops more likely go to work every day thinking 3 things. First…I hope I live to see my wife and family after work today. Second…I hope my partner and fellow officers do the same thing. And third…especially in these times…I hope I don’t have to arrest a person of color today because if he/she resists arrest I might have to use force and I know that somebody with a camera will video it, selectively edit the video to remove his/her conduct which resulted in my using force, post it on the internet, and I’ll get criminally charged for doing my job…and my department will more likely than not refuse to back me up even though I was following orders and policies.

Despite what you read…cops shoot very few people. Last year in Chicago…there were 550something homicides…and exactly 3 of them involved the police shooting somebody. I’ll get to the rest of them in a minute.

So…BLM. Now I understand what it says…and I sympathize with Mr. Floyd up in Minneapolis who was killed…and I understand the protests. However…the cops involved have already been convicted in the media…protesters are demanding first degree murder charges, and one has been charged with second degree murder. Now I went and looked up the Minnesota statute on murder…and here is what it says consists of second degree murder.

  • Killing a human intentionally but without premeditation
  • Killing a human while participating in a drive by shooting
  • Causing someone’s death without intention while in the commission of a felony other than criminal sexual conduct or a drive by shooting (those would be first degree)
  • Causing a death unintentionally while attempting to or intentionally inflicting great physical harm when the accused is restrained by a protective order and the victim is under the protection of that protective order.

It looks pretty clear to me that of those 4 specifications…only the commission of a felony one has any relevance to the Floyd case at all…and even that is questionable and proving it beyond a reasonable doubt is questionable…but for the fact that the media has already convicted him and the chances of getting an unbiased jury of his peers is essentially zero.

Looking only at the facts of this case…Mr. Floyd was a convicted felon who was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. He passed a counterfeit $20 bill in a local store and the police were called. Given that the bill has been described by witnesses as having running ink and looking like Monopoly money…it is unlikely that Mr. Floyd was unaware it was counterfeit. He was detained by police, handcuffed, and taken across to the squad car and placed in the back. Apparently he was beating/kicking the windows and the police opened the door to try and calm him down…at which point he got out and was struggling with the police who took him to the ground and additionally restrained him using approved and authorized techniques…and while those may have been techniques that should not be allowed is a debatable question the fact is that they were approved and authorized. At some point…Mr. Floyd died although he was not pronounced dead until over an hour later at the hospital. The autopsy showed no evidence of traumatic asphyxiation and found the cause of death to be cardiac and drug/alcohol related. Given all of that…I think that meeting the beyond a reasonable doubt criteria for some underlying felony would in a fair jury trial be pretty tough…which means that second degree murder is out as well. Frankly I think that the state Attorney General has overcharged hoping to get him to plead to a lesser charge so that the AG can declare victory…but we’ll see.

OK…another thought on BLM. After the whole movement started…people in the middle and right politically started additional hashtags…All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter…meaning everybody and police respectively. Until yesterday…I thought those hashtags were completely correct…but according to the Vox-splaining and Guardian-splaining (those are both very close cousins of man-splaining…google it if you don’t know the term) anybody that says that is racist and is viewing things from “white privilege”.

Gee…I never knew I was racist…I’m really glad somebody ‘splained it to me.

Bull crap…I am not racist and just because somebody has a deluded opinion that I am doesn’t make it true. 

There are obviously some bad cops…but I do not agree that they’re all racist murderers…the vast majority of them just want to do their job and go home at the end of their tour tonight. There are also some bad protesters, and some bad activists…but again not the vast majority. 

Oh yeah…those 550something homicides in Chicago…the vast majority of them were young black males who were killed by other young black males. FBI statistics bear out the facts that victims are for the most part killed by criminals of the same race and that murders are committed by blacks at a higher rate than by whites. The reasons for the higher rate are nuanced and subject to a lot of interpretation…but facts are facts.

But back to BLM…mebbe somebody can ‘splain this one to me.

If Blacks Lives Matter…why is it that only some matter and some don’t?

  • Mr. David Dorn…a black retired St Louis MO police captain was at his friend’s pawn shop during the riots and was attempting to protect his store and stock…well he was shot in the head by a young black looter over a used television set.
  • Homeland Security Officer Patrick Underwood…again, another black man…was murdered by rioters in Oakland CA
  • In Chicago…93 people were  murdered between 1/1 and 3/31 this year…the vast majority of them were young black males murdered by other young black males

If Black Lives Truly Matter…where are the protests over these deaths? Where are the protests over the 18 murders in a single day in Chicago…a city record…which again were mainly black men murdered by other black men?

Could it be that those young black men who were murdered don’t fit the agenda of the “police are murdering racists” crowd?

What happened to the outrage over the death of Mr. Arbery down in New Brunswick GA a few weeks back…it was all you read about in the news and Benjamin Crump was all over it…but it just disappeared after the incident in Minneapolis.

And now we have this movement afoot to “abolish the police”…in fact 8 of the 12 Minneapolis City Commissioners which is a veto proof majority…have pledged to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and instead send nurses and social workers. I wonder if those commissioners talked to the grandmother down in the hood or the single mom trying to raise her kids to be honest citizens to see if they really wanted to have the drug pushers on the corner, the whores standing on the street, and the drive by shootings and gang fights…I bet they didn’t.

I’m sorry for Mr. Floyd…I really am. However…I’m also sorry for the hundreds of businesses…primarily minority owned…that were looted and destroyed in the riots. I’m also not implying that all of the protesters are rioters or looters…in fact most of them were likely not. However…the police have a hard time figuring out who is the rioter and who is the non violent protester when rocks, bullets, and Molotov cocktails start flying out of the crowd at them. 

One more thing…late breaking news. As you might be aware from the news…Mr. Flynn who pled guilty to lying to the FBI when he was actually determined by the Justice Department to have been entrapped and the DoJ was unable to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Well…a couple months back when all that came out…he applied to withdraw his guilty plea and the DoJ decided to dismiss the charges. This went to the judge…who decided that he and he alone would punish Mr. Flynn for his wrongdoing. Since he wanted to appear “impartial”…he enlisted another retired judge to evaluate the submission and determine whether Mr. Flynn should be charged with perjury and found guilty of criminal contempt of court by the trial judge so he can be sent to prison. Unfortunately…the “impartial’ retired judge he selected had written an op-ed before he was appointed saying that Mr. Flynn was a traitor (he’s not…both of these judges need to go and read up on the definition of treason) and should be sent to prison. The DoJ appealed to a higher court to attempt to force the trial judge to dismiss the case as requested by the DoJ…this is done routinely just as defendants frequently and routinely plead guilty to a lesser crime that they might not have actually committed so as to get a lesser sentence or as part of a plea deal. The higher court gave the trial judge until today to respond back to the higher court and just about 1400 today the impartial judge who already branded Mr. Flynn a traitor…well, amazingly enough he announced that Mr. Flynn was guilty of perjury. No trial, not jury…just this retired and obviously biased judge saying he’s guilty. I wonder what the higher court will say now…and what the trial judge will say.

OK…enough of that. Let’s get on to something more interesting.

As you know…the spring is pretty much the dry season down here in FL then about mid to late May it turns into the rainy season…and while it doesn’t rain every day it rains a lot of days late in the afternoon with some thundershowers…you can go from cloudless blue sky to pouring rain to cloudless blue sky again in an hour. As a result of the dry season…ponds and such get pretty low in water and then they fill back up when it starts raining…and I gotta tell ya the one out back has filled up at least 3 feet from what I can see. Here’s some before and after photos.

This one was taken back in early May…notice the reeds and grass at the close end of the pond across the narrow end and how far the trees just to the left of center are from the water line.

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This one was taken Monday…the grass and reeds that were out oof the water in the first shot are now completely flooded and the waterline has moved probably 20 feet back down the long axis of the pond. The trees across the way are now just 4 or 5 feet from the edge of the water.

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Here’s a shot taken facing across the pond from just about where the bank goes out of sight on the right side…90 degrees from the shot above.

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You can’t see it in the shot above…but just about in the center running vertically there is a concrete structure that forms part of the drainage system…in the shot below you can see it with Lagatha on top. This shot was taken in April sometime…and by the time it started raining the concrete ledge there just in front of Lagatha was 18 inches out of the water. The same concrete is in the shot above…slightly left of center running from 7 o’clock to 1 o’clock and is under the surface about 2 feet from what Neil can tell.

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I’ll sure be glad when we get out of the current weather pattern…the afternoon rains happen a lot here but the past 10 days or so we’ve gotten an awful lot from Tropical Storm Cristobal that made landfall over by New Orleans which is 500+ miles west of here. It sort of sat offshore of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico a couple of days after it made it’s way over from the Pacific side and with the size and counter clockwise rotation it sent a lot of moisture our way.

We got our new pellet grill yesterday…so today we assembled and tested it and also hung some pegboard in the garage…Neil thinks that in another 3 days of a couple hours work early before it gets too hot he will have the garage squared away and we’ll be able to put the car in. 

The Elks Lodge is opening back up today…they’ve deep cleaned and arranged the tables for social distancing so we’ll plan on going down for tacos tomorrow afternoon. 

And since it hurricane season…Neil tested our portable generator, we’ve got some bottled water for emergency supplies, and will get somer more batteries for our emergency lights…our stove is electric but we’ve got the propane gas stove and grill and the new pellet grill out on the lanai so we can cook and keep the beer cool if we need to. All of our power lines here are underground in the neighborhood and the local power company does a good job at keeping the transmission lines clear…the neighborhood did not lose power in either Hermine, Michael, or Irma so we’re really not all that worried. The pond would have to come up another 8 or 10 feet to get to our lanai and we live in a concrete block home so we’re really pretty safe here. All of the flooding and damage from Irma…which was the worst of the bunch to his this area recently…was south of us and mostly on the other side of the river.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

Our friend Bill sent us this…and while we’re not RVers any longer…you have to ask yourself “What could go wrong with this 50 amp power hookup?”

WhatCouldGoWrong

If she hasn’t…she will soon.

SheWillSoon

A little risqué…but what a great word.

Exhaustipated

Ya’ll young’uns probably won’t get these two.

FolsomPrismBlues

ShotAManInReno

Google “The Man in Black” if you don’t get them.

This one caused quite a stir on Neil’s Ugly Hedgehog Photography forum…apparently some of the high and mighty there (a) didn’t see the humor in the double entendre and (b) have no life.

ImSoOld

Of course…those same grumpy old people also have a problem with the comments in the Boudoir Photography section on the forum…you have to specifically click the box to get that forum but it concentrates on bedroom and erotic photos…but not porn…just necked (or mostly so) people. A lot of the shots are quite nice but they are primarily female models and there’s this one older guy that typically comments “Nice t***s” for the really attractive one…and every time he does the PC police get all riled up about it…even though he’s admitted he keeps doing it because they keep griping about it.

There was also this long thread about the Post Office…one of the forum categories is General Chit Chat which is for non photo related stuff…unfortunately it all too often descends into political arguments…this one poor fella started a thread about why the USPS could not tell him where his package was even though the tracking info said it was in his local station for delivery…and then the resident Trump hater started in with the President’s “completely misguided attempt to destroy the post office by privatizing it and appointing a postmaster general with no post office experience”. Several of us tried to tell him that the USPS was screwed up long before the current administration, that the USPS Board of Governors actually appoints the Postmaster General and not the President, that the Board had been allowed to reduce from it’s legally specified 11 members down to a single member because the previous administration appointed no governors in 8 years in the White House, and that maybe it was time to let a business man instead of a postal veteran try and fix the problems. We also tried to tell him that the primary reason they were in trouble was that when the USPS was turned into a government owned agency and not a cabinet department they lost government funding but not government control…the USPS is not allowed to charge what it actually costs to deliver a letter, they are required to fully fund their pension obligations annually despite no private/public company being required to do that…they should be required but they are actually not…with union work rules, pay rates, and pension plans largely left over from the Cabinet Department days…is where the problem lies. I gotta tell ya…there’s a lot of things wrong at the USPS…just ask Neil’s brother or Jen’s mother and stepfather…but few of them come back to rest at the feet of the current administration.

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

Quarantine Day 80

There was a day 79 post but I deleted it…even though it was factually correct I decided it might be a bit too much of a rant.

The quarantine down here is starting to break up…bars (which means the Elks Lodge for us) can reopen starting on Friday. We’ll likely start going out a bit but I think we’ll hold off on getting completely back to normal until we see if there is a spike in cases.

Let’s see…hmmm.

We finally got a haircut and Connie got her bangs trimmed on Tuesday and Wednesday…we really needed them. Also got a couple of items from Home Depot…picture hangers, some pegboard for the garage, and a new stopcock valve for the master suite toilet…it sounds like a foghorn every time you flush it. We also ordered a new pellet grill for the lanai…for those of you who aren’t familiar with these they’re a relatively recent take on the backyard grill. Whereas before you basically had a choice of propane or charcoal…with the former being much more convenient and the latter being much better tasting according to some but Neil’s never really been sure on that front. A pellet grill uses wood pellets for fuel out the size of cat litter pellets. There’s a screw feeder arrangement that feeds them into a burning chamber under the grill surface and you set the desired temperature and amount of smoke you desire on the control panel. They get hot enough to really give you a nice sear on your steak…and also low enough so you can use the smoke and low heat to make your traditional smoked meat BBQ. The pellets come in different flavors…we ordered mesquite based ones as well as an oak/apple mix.

The big news this week is obviously the death of Mr. Floyd up in Minneapolis and the ensuing riots…let me see if there’s anything else comment worthy in the headlines.

Nah, not really…corona and Floyd and cops murdering innocent protesters and it is all the President’s fault…so nothing new there. The only new news today is the release of the autopsy report on Mr. Floyd…which says he died of a heart attack brought on by fentanyl intoxication, heart disease, and methamphetamine use…and oh yeah, he was CoViD-19 positive as well although that was from a month ago and he was not symptomatic so apparently he had a mild case and recovered previously. Hard to see how the MN Attorney General gets second degree murder out of that…but we’ll see what happens if/when there is a trial. Naturally the “independent” autopsy found that Mr. Floyd was murdered…exactly what the guy who paid for the independent autopsy wanted it to find…and that doctor is (a) the host of an HBO show named “The Autopsy”, (b) a high profile investigator of high profile deaths, and (c) the same guy who found that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered. Yeah…right.

The DoJ and the judge in the Flynn case are still arguing over the DoJ’s dismissal of the case…the judge thinks that he should be able to single handedly determine that Mr. Flynn committed perjury when he submitted his guilty plea, find him guilty of criminal contempt and keep him in jail. From my reading of the various facts in this case…and you have to really read articles that cover both sides and try to nugget out some real facts instead of the BS that both sides put out…sort of tell me that the FBI overstepped their grounds and got close to or across the line of being a legitimate investigation and that they got close to or across the line on entrapment. This…along with some threats to prosecute his family…convinced Mr. Flynn to plead guilty to a lesser charge…which happens all the time. Then when more evidence of malfeasance on the FBI’s part came out Mr. Flynn got new lawyers and withdrew his guilty plea…again this happens often. Then the DoJ…based on the loss of credibility of most of their original evidence…decided they could not win this case and wants to dismiss it.

The judge however…thinks differently. While he may be technically correct that Mr. Flynn lied under oath when he pled guilty…defendants plead guilty all the time even when there is significant evidence that they are not to get a lesser sentence or as part of a plea deal.

Me…I dunno, seems like if the prosecution and defense sides both want the case dropped then it’s not legal for the judge to determine that a “trial by a jury of his peers” is appropriate and substitute his and only his judgement to put the defendant in jail…especially when the “expert” the judge picked to help him published an op ed opposing the DoJ before he was appointed to help the judge…it doesn’t sound like unbiased to me.

I got no new photos so here are a few from the past.

Waterfall in the youper (upper peninsula) of MI…about 40 feet high.

DSC 7553 HDR

Osprey with lunch over our rig in Seminole.

DSC 1449

Harriet the eagle taking flight from the pond near the nest.

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Lake Superior shoreline at the National Seashore there.

DSC 7757 HDR

The chicken sculpture about 20 feet tall that is one of the few tourist attractions in Chicken AK…a small town about halfway between Tok northeast of Fairbanks and the border of Canada…Chicken is where you stop overnight while you’re heading across the Top of the World Highway to Dawson City Yukon.

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Sunset in Gulf Shores AL near Mobile where Neil grew up.

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Cliffs of Mohr in Ireland

DSC 6421

OK…on to interesting things found on the net.

Sort of a ruff on the website on the web named Will It Blend?…which attempts to see if various things like cell phones or computers will blend into dust or clog the blender. Anyway…if you could blend all of the humans on earth so that they filled the smallest amount of space they can…

WillTheyBlend

SizeMatters

HalfEmpthOrHalfFull

Cyas.

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Quarantine Day 64

Ok…something other than political stupidity in the news today…but there is just a slight political tie in.

You’ve probably seen news reports about the President blaming the FBI for lying about him…while that may or may not be true…there is truth behind a statement that the FBI lies when it behooves their interest.

To wit…today’s stupidity is about privacy…or the lack of privacy…in your electronic devices.

As you probably recall from the terrorist incident out in San Bernardino…the couple that killed their co-workers had a couple of iPhones which the FBI was unable to crack…their words…and they demanded that Apple provide them access to the phone contents.

Brief technical aside here…Apple does not have access to the data that is stored solely on an iPhone…by the design of their hardware and software that information is private to the device owner and is fully encrypted and protected against just trying random passwords until you guess the right one. They do have access to some data that was uploaded to the iPhone associated iCloud account. While it is likely technically possible that Apple could…if provided the physical phone that was seized by law enforcement…crack the encryption on the phone it would require developing a special version of the iOS software that the phone runs be developed to include the back door that would be used to gain access to the phone.

Now there’s been a long standing battle between Apple and phone makers on one hand and the government on the other hand about encryption…essentially the government has stated numerous times in court that critical evidence from iPhones was unavailable to the government and demands that Apple and other phone makers be forced by law to include a back door into their operating systems for “law enforcement use when authorized by a warrant”. Apple and other phone maker’s stance is that the 4th amendment protects you from unlawful search and seizure, that numerous court decisions have made it perfectly to plead the 5th and not divulge information that is in your head, that smart phones are an extension of the “information in your head” and are thereby constitutionally protected against disclosure without your consent. Apple has further stated that a back door to law enforcement essentially provides an open security hole for law enforcement usage…but that that security vulnerability would be quickly figured out by hackers and utilized for nefarious deeds. Indeed…much like the pro/con gun debate…if Apple were to develop a way to open phones but require that they be submitted to Apple and only the resulting information gained be provided back to law enforcement…well that would be good enough for the first case but the FBI would quickly demand that the FBI be able to extract the information themselves, and then the state police and then the NYC police and eventually constable Billy-Bob down at the county sheriff office would have the ability…and it would quickly find it’s way into criminal hands.

The trouble is…Apple is 100% correct…a vulnerability for law enforcement is a vulnerability accessible to everyone…you can either have encryption or you can not have encryption but much like pregnancy there isn’t any such thing as a little bit.

So anyway…FBI lies. Back during the San Bernardino incident…the FBI stated in court several times that it was “impossible”…again, their words from their legal filings…to access the iPhones of the terrorists unless Apple was forced to create the back door the FBI wanted. Unfortunately…this statement is a lie…and it was a lie when the FBI made it.

All computers hardware and software have vulnerabilities…that’s just a fact of life. While we would like them to be perfect…it jus’ ain’t so. At the same time that the FBI was making their “impossible” claim in court…they were negotiating with an Israeli security company to open the phone for them…and sometime after the FBI lost their court case they paid something close to $1 million bucks to said security company to crack the phone for them.

Fast forward to this week. You may remember back in December 19 a Saudi pilot who was training at Pensacola Naval Air Station went on a terrorist rampage shooting people on the base and was killed. On investigation…the FBI recovered several iPhones belonging to the shooter…and again issued a subpoena to Apple who provided every bit of information that Apple had…but as in the San Bernardino case they declined to put a back door into the iPhone software to allow access. On the day the iPhones were recovered…they were identified and the FBI already knew of methods to get into them…and likely had already purchased the GrayKey device used to crack them. Nonetheless…the FBI again…and again with the support of the US Attorney General…demanded that Apple be forced via legislation to provide a back door “for legitimate law enforcement use”. Again…another straw man…the FBI and DoJ knew that Apple had provided the information they had and that the FBI could crack the phone without Apple’s help…but in the “never let a good crisis go to waste” mentality most politicians have they will try and try again to get encryption essentially banned.

So this week…the FBI announced that they had definitively linked the shooter in Pensacola with muslim terrorist organizations…and again stated that Apple provided “no help”…again their words even though Apple provided all the information in Apple’s possession and offered technical help but would not built the back door the FBI was demanding despite the FBI’s ownership of one of the GrayKey devices.

What actually protects the iPhone encryption is that by design it prevents anyone not knowing the password from just trying passwords until they guess right…it does this by lengthening the time between attempts for each failed password and irrevocably wiping the encryption key after 10 failed attempts…and without the encryption key you’re just not going to crack the encryption as the key is long enough to make the brute force technique (the only one that will work if you don’t know the key) take thousands of centuries to find the correct password. All good criminals and terrorists know this…because Apple (and Google who writes the Android software used by essentially all other smart phones whose names don’t start with a lower case i)…tells folks they should set it that way. I don’t know if auto erasure is selected by default on installation but it should be in my opinion.

So…with this GrayKey device…it essentially bypasses the 10 bad attempts and it gets erased limitation in the software. I have no idea how it does this…the company that makes it is very secretive about their technology and they only sell to law enforcement agencies but these things have ways of making their way into unauthorized hands.

What the GrayKey doesn’t do is crack the phone…it simply allows the cops to keep trying passwords until they guess right. If one uses the default 4 digit number passcode…it apparently takes from December until May to try passwords and get into the phone…all of Neil’s devices have much longer passcodes and he’s tried but so far failed to convince Connie that she should make hers longer as well.

So…again this week the FBI lied when they stated that Apple had provided “no help”…they provided plenty of help but just didn’t provide the FBI a probably unconstitutional tool.

Think about your smart phone…it’s got your bank account data on it if you log into there passwords, maybe scantily clad pictures of your wife/significant other and all sorts of other stuff the government has no right to. If that stuff were in your head…they can’t force it out of you and Apple’s position (along with most other tech companies) is that your smart phone or device is an extension of your head and you’re entitled to privacy. In any event…even if you aren’t a criminal you have a right to your private information. Yeah…the government can get a subpoena for it…but they have to go through proper channels in order to do so…do we really believe that they would always go through those channels? Me…I think that they would do what they thought was right…and assuming a case where a terrorist had planted a bomb that would go off in 2 hours they would do whatever it took to get information to save lives and worry about the rightness or court admissibility of that information later. While in the bomb in 2 hours case I might be convinced that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few and agree with that assessment…where does one draw the line? We’ve got a strong feeling about the Constitution ‘round these parts…and I’m certainly not willing to substitute the wants or justification of a single law enforcement person over the thoughts of the founding fathers.

Apple and tech companies are rightly opposed to putting in these sorts of back doors…because they will get discovered by bad people just like the many other hardware and software vulnerabilities that inadvertently exist are discovered…there is entire industry out there of people who search for these vulnerabilities…some of whom do the right thing and responsibly notify Apple or whoever so they can get patched and others who sell them to the highest bidder for real money…for instance a zero day root vulnerability of iOS, Android, macOS, or Windows can fetch the discovered upwards of a million bucks from these people…who then turn around and sell them to law enforcement as well as criminals or countries who want to use them for their own purposes. A great example…you probably heard about the Stuxnet virus that was used to disable the centrifuges the Iranians were using to enrich their uranium to weapons grade stuff back in the 2017-2018 time frame. That virus was almost assuredly written by some 3 letter named agency or a contractor who they paid to write it…and was introduced into the centrifuges through a previously unknown vulnerability and the centrifuges quit working…I suspect they simply had their speed increased until they destroyed themselves but have no real idea exactly what the outcome was.

In summary…in both of the high profile cases the FBI and DoJ tried to use the “terrorist” threat to weaken encryption…and they’re still trying today…they would be very happy if Congress were to essentially outlaw encryption by requiring the vendors to put in a government mandated back door. And in the long run…that simply won’t work because the bad guys will find ways around it. The simplest thing for them to do…and likely what any halfway professional terrorist would do if this back door was mandated…would just be to use offline encryption and then only put the encrypted stuff into the phone. Sure…it would make their communications a little more difficult…but encryption is just math and trying to outlaw it would be like passing a law to prevent the sun from coming up in the east…jus’ ain’t gonna work.

So mebbe the President ain’t all wrong when he says the FBI doesn’t always tell the truth…

On to interesting stuff found on the net.

ImSoOld

RewritingHistory

ThatCantBeAccurate

This is getting serious.

ThisIsGettingSerious

The power of the human brain.

PowerOfTheHumanMind

KillGermsTheCajunWay

QueenCanTakeHim

NewHummingbirdSpecies

Cyas.

 

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

Quarantine Day 59…New Wildlife To Report

Well…not actually *new* wildlife, just a whole ‘nother side of the wildlife we already know about and have shown before. But ya’ll are gonna have to wait jus’ a bit for that.

There are a few ongoing stories in the news that need a little commenting on…although I gotta admit reading the comments on the articles is usually more entertaining than the articles themselves…folks on both sides of whatever argument the article brings up say blindingly stupid things and tie themselves into knots insulting the other commenters.

First…the corona virus. Now naturally…if you read the news it is all the President’s fault, he has completely botched the response, he’s opening the country against medical advice, and will be responsible for 100s of thousands of additional deaths due to his incompetence.

The trouble is…the reality is probably a lot more nuanced than what you read in the news…but that’s not unexpected since there is very little politically unbiased news these days…the Wall Street Journal is about the only one left and they don’t really cover all the news one might like to read…so you read a bunch of different web site and try to sift out the bull dung and keep just the few kernels of fact that are presented…then take the bits of fact from here, there, and wherever and try to figure out the real facts and come to your own conclusions. Real journalism…where the journalist just tells you the facts…is sorely lacking these days…and I don’t think the conservative view that the overall main stream media is leftist is far off the mark. Fox and the National Review tend to skew the other way but the headlines are largely lefty and Democratic leaning.

Whatever.

I’ll be the first to admit that the President’s response hasn’t been perfect…he’s said some dumb things, and he’s given a non technical version of several other things that have been ridiculed by the press generally…but the reality is that no government in the world has been adequately prepared for the virus or has taken foolproof actions.

It is important for public health to try and flatten the curve and not overwhelm the medical system…but flattening the curve doesn’t mean not losing any lives…it means losing them at a lower rate so that the medical system can keep up and perhaps lower the death rate of the seriously ill but not terminal ill patients. To this end…closing a lot of businesses, states, and whatnot temporarily is the right idea. However…any President has more to worry about than public health…he’s gotta worry about the economy, world situations, keep the peace, deploy the armed forces where necessary to either assist with public health or confront potential adversaries, protect our national interests…in other words a lot of stuff.

What is not correct in our view is the one size fits all approach to quarantining. Yes…NYC has had severe problems, 325K cases and a lot of deaths (28,000)…but then NYC is a crowded, densely populated area where it’s hard to not get exposed. On the other hand WY has 688 cases and 7 deaths and SD 3700 cases and 39 deaths…those two states clearly have not had a serious outbreak but the entire country is pretty much shut down, millions are off work and not collecting paychecks, and that lack of money flows back into paying rent/mortgage, buying food and all the other normal uses for your paycheck. The President has to consider all these factors and make the best overall decision for the country.

We can’t stay closed until we have a widely available vaccine for this virus…that will take a long time, somewhere between 6 months and 3 years depending on who you believe, how much money gets tossed at the problem, and how much streamlining of the approval process the FDA is willing to approve. So given that…we need to figure out how to get the economy restarted and people back to work. I won’t pretend to have all the answers but a cookie cutter approach simply won’t work. I’m not even sure that the federal government has the authority to make national decisions in any event…if you read the constitution public health really falls into that ‘all other powers are reserved to the states’ clause there which is why governors in different states are trying to…again…make the best decision for their state given numbers of cases and all those other factors.

Nonetheless…it’s all the President’s fault…even though in reality it’s not.

I’ve seen several reports in the media this week that tout what a great job Governor Cuomo of NY is doing and what a horrible job Governor Desantis of FL is doing…one is a Democrat and one is Republican so let’s look at the overall epidemic for both states.

NY has a population of 20 million of which 18 million are in the NYC metropolitan area. The state has roughly 325,000 cases and 28,000 deaths for a death rate of 0.86 percent with almost all of the cases and deaths in the metro area, the remainder of the state has been relatively unaffected. Now that rates is actually a bogus number…we wont’ know the true number of deaths or the true number of cases until way after the crisis is over (if even then) because the number of cases only counts confirmed cases by diagnostic test. It does not include the unknown number of minor to no symptom cases that never got a test but recovered on their own  which would drive the percentage down…but it’s the best guess we can get currently.

FL has a population of 22 million but it’s more spread out over the state, about 7 million live in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties and it approaches 10 million if you count the next two most populous counties. FL has 42,000 cases and 1,800 deaths for a death rate of 4.2 percent, about 5x that of NY.

What the numbers don’t include is the fact that FL has a much larger percentage of old people with preexisting health conditions…particularly in the most populous 3 counties. In actual numbers though…looking at the state population NY has lost 0.14% of their population while FL has lost 0.008%…an order of magnitude smaller than NY.

One can measure the statistics a whole bunch of ways…but all you see in the media is what a great job Cuomo is doing and what a horrible job Desantis is doing. Again though…the reality is that neither of them is as doing as good as their proponents say or as bad as their opposition says…but the miscues by Mr. Cuomo get pretty much ignored by the media.

Speaking of corona…today…May 14…is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Chuch as the feast of Saint Corona…who…I kid you not…is the patron saint of epidemics. Saint Corona lived in the 2nd century CE and was martyred by the Romans for comforting a previous martyr during their death. She was tied between two palm trees that were bent to the ground and then released to tear her apart. King Otto the 3rd of Germany brought her remains to Achen Cathedral in Achen Germany in the late 900s where she was buried in a tomb under the cathedral until she was moved to a shrine in the 20th century. Achen Cathedral…for those of you who aren’t up on your ancient history…is also the burial place of Emperor Charlemagne…who just happens to be Neil’s 33rd great grandfather…so as Connie said today she married into royalty.

OK, moving on.

As you may have seen…a woman named Tara Reade has accused presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexual assault back in 1993. While this will remain a he said/she said story since there is no conclusive evidence or video to back up her claims…she does seem to have a much better case evidence wise than Ms. Blasey Ford did against Judge Kavanaugh. She has contemporary witnesses who corroborate her claim, there is legal evidence from her divorce in 1997 or so by her husband who said that she told him she was assaulted, and employment records bear out her employment by his Senate office and she was abruptly demoted and then terminated in 1993.

As I said…another he said/she said story but there are two significant differences.

First…assuming both her claim and Ms. Blasey Ford’s are both true…there is a world of difference between sexual contact between two drunk high schoolers and sexual contact between a sitting 50 year old US Senator and a member of his staff in the workplace.

Second…where is the outrage. The Me Too crowd, Democratic National Committee, and senior Democratic leadership have been conspicuously silent regarding demands for an FBI investigation, no televised congressional hearings have been conducted, and there has been no “believe women” outcry. Numerous Democratic leaders…including those who publicly demanded the summary execution of Judge Kavanaugh…have come out in support of Mr. Biden. He of course has denied that it ever happened…exactly as Judge Kavanaugh did…and Democratic leadership and potential vice presidential selections are lining up saying “I believe him and don’t believe Ms. Reade”. 

How is this not simple hypocrisy? I dunno…maybe somebody can ‘splain it to me.

Finally…there’s the “innocent man of color who was brutally murdered by those crackers in GA…Ahmaud Arbery. Again…if you read the news it is hard to figure out the actual facts and there are a bunch of demonstrably inaccurate claims by both sides. But briefly…

In the state of GA…the law allows citizens arrests to happen under certain circumstances…and depending on how you read and interpret the applicable law…the armed citizens may or may not have crossed the line by detaining Mr. Arbery. Depending on who you believe, which videos you’ve seen, and your political persuasion…Mr. Arbery may or may not have been jogging either 2, 13, or 20 miles from his home (again depending on who you believe) and was simply minding his own business…or he may have been casing the joint for a later burglary.

However…Mr. Arbery did legally trespass, and potentially break and enter depending on the state of the door…into a house under construction shortly before the confrontation. There was also previous videotape from earlier instances of someone trespassing into the same house under construction at various times between October 2019 and Mar 2020 when the confrontation happened…and while this video has not not been forensically examined…it is on the Internet and the individual in it has clothing, size, physical characteristics, and tattoos almost identical to Mr. Arbery.

Mr. Arbery is also a convicted criminal…he tried to carry a firearm into a high school basketball game back in 2010 or so…and was on probation at the time of the confrontation for burglary.

Now…none of that proves anything…but you can clearly see from the video that while he had no firearm of his own during the confrontation…he did charge the armed citizens and had his hands on the firearm trying to take it away from them at the time he was shot…so he was legally armed during the confrontation. The armed citizens were also legally armed and conducting a citizens arrest that arguably was legal under GA law…but the nuances of citizens arrest are far too complex for me to try to (a) figure out and (b) explain them clearly.

Another he said/he said story…naturally the left and folk like Ben Crump and Al Sharpton are calling it the “illegal lynching of an innocent black jogger” while the far right are calling it “apprehending a criminal” but all of that will get worked out in court at some point. There is also the alleged suppression of prosecution by several DAs in the area when actually it appears that they recused themselves because they know and used to work with the armed citizens.

Having looked at the video…at least the parts easily available on the interwebs…it appears to me that Mr. Arbery did charge the guy with the gun…and initiated the physical part of the confrontation…instead of just continuing on his way. Did he panic because as a criminal on probation he didn’t want to go back to jail? Was he afraid for his life? Who knows, certainly not me.

So what should you take away from these comments about the sad state of our media. Simple…don’t read a single source…read both ones that you agree with and those you don’t agree with and try to ferret out the nuggets of fact from the chaff of political bias…and form your own opinion.

OK…moving on.

We’ve really not done much ‘round here since my last post…Neil is trying to get at least an hour or so a day trying to clean/organize the garage so we can actually use it for a garage should we desire to. I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep it empty enough to store both cars in it once we sell the rig and truck and Neil gets something to drive…guess that will depend on what he gets and how much he can reorganize the stuff out there.

He’s been biking pretty much every other day or so…at least until this week since his bike is in the shop getting the broken spoke replaced (the odds he could properly get the wheel trued up after replacing the spoke are essentially zero, not to mention he doesn’t have either the parts or the special tool for removing the gear cassette from the rear wheel)…and it’s getting an annual tuneup and chain/gear cassette replacement while it is in the shop. Hopefully it will be ready as scheduled tomorrow and he can go pick it up.

We continue to have really good meals…there are enough groceries available in the store and he’s imaginative enough to keep us from getting bored with what we eat.

Connie is working on getting our wall artwork sorted out and distributed around the house leaning on the wall where it will be eventually hung…once she’s done they’ll see if he has any suggestions for improvement but otherwise he is largely leaving the arrangement up to her.

OK…wildlife…yeah, I know it was a couple thousand words back…but work with me here.

We’ve previously had some shots of the turtles in our pond out back but today’s shot is of one of the females…we now know them to be Florida Softshell Turtles…laying her eggs. We noticed something tossing sand up in the air and took a look with our spyglass and spotted her so Neil headed out to get a shot.

D75 5955 Luminar4 edit

Ya can’t see the eggs poppin’ out…or is that poopin’ out, I dunno…but trust me, they’re there as that’s pretty much the only reason she would crawl up almost into the woods about 8 or 10 feet above water level and toss sand into the air. After she was done…she scraped some sand over the top and headed back for the water about 25 feet away. Before she was there the birds where there digging up the nest with their beaks to eat the eggs…Neil spotted a couple of mockingbirds and a crow/raven/grackle…he wasn’t sure which and didn’t have the camera out any longer so he could get a shot he could carefully compared to his Peterson’s Birds of North America.

And while we can’t have any new Fun Stuff©…here are a couple of shots of old Fun Stuff© to satisfy your craving.

This is a lighthouse in New Brunswick from our trip there in 2018…he got himself a new photo processing app to go with Lightroom and it allows you to easily replace the sky…so he replaced it with a less boring sky than the original shot had.

D71 5676 Luminar4 edit Luminar4 edit

Here’s what it looked like before…but he figured taking some of the cars and folks out of the image as well as replacing the boring overcast sky with how it might have looked the day before or the day after he was there.

D71 5676

This is…I think…it’s really hard to tell them apart unless they are sitting side by side and then overall size is the clue as female bald eagles are larger than males…M15. There is a section on their website
here
 that details how to tell them apart…but again unless you’re either an expert ornithologist or they’re side by side the differences are very subtle. M15 is Harriet’s second mate after Ozzie passed away…guess that makes her a cougar…and this is the 5th year they’ve been together and the first that they tried again after losing both of the eggs from the first mating/hatching…one never hatched and the other died to an injury in the nest possibly inadvertently inflicted by one of the parents. 

D75 4771

We have found some great entertainment while under house arrest…Alton Brown and his wife Elizabeth have a live YouTube show every week on Tuesday at 7PM EDT called Quarantine Kitchen. They drink, sing, drink, cook, drink, and eat something…this week it was pizza…but they used kale pesto for the sauce and kale and onions for the topping (she’s supposedly a vegetarian). Check it out if you’re bored. We get it on our Xfinity X1 account since it has YouTube built in, just search for Alton Brown YouTube Channel with the voice activated remote (which is pretty cool) and it shows up…but it’s also available on your Roku, Apple TV, or other electronic device of your choice that can connect to YouTube.

OK, on to Interesting Stuff found on the net or in our email.

For those of you who may…or may not…be religious…here are a couple of pointers in how to remember the differences between religions

**Protestants do not recognize the authority of the Pope

**Jews do not recognize the divinity of Jesus

**Muslims to not recognize the non-infidel-ness of any other denomination

**Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store

 

WasIAdopted

Quarantind Day1Day14

SaladFailure

SpiderDead

OldPersonHighSchool

FirstOneHomeWins

PullMineUp

TrySomethingNew

LastPieceOfThePuzzle

OpenTheWine

PeeOnElectricFence

And since we always have to have an Official Whatever of Whatever We’re Talking About…if you rearrange the letters in corona you get…

RearrangeCorona

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Homebody, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | 3 Comments

Quarantine Day 51…or…How The Heck Did It Become Italian

[Editor note: had some issues posting this yesterday and some of the images got turned into some kind of a gallery of icons instead of images…should be fixed now.]

Yeah…really not much going on these past 2+ weeks…the highlights were Friday April 24 when we drove Big Red down to Wally World for some groceries at the pickup and Tuesday May 5 when we drove Li’l Red over to Seminole to check on the rig then stopped by Winn Dixie for a few things and 80 bucks at the liquor store and 321 at the Winn Dixie came back home.

At least yesterday was both Cinco de Mayo…and Taco Tuesday…more on that in a bit though.

You’re probably wondering where in the heck that “or” part in the post title came from…those of you of our vintage will recognize it as a riff on the tagline from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons but beyond that just where did it come from.

So…this was part was originally about 5x as long but I cut it down as it woulda bored the quarantine right outa ya. It started out with Neil making some carne asada a couple weeks back, just after the last post. As a side dish…he figured that Mexican Rice would be pretty tasty but as fate would have it (a) he didn’t have a box of Zatarain Mexican Rice in the pantry and (b) waited too late to make it up from scratch. Thinking quickly…he did spot a box of Zatarain Jambayala which as an aside ain’t bad…it isn’t as good as scratch made but it is a heck of a lot easier and is almost as good if you spice it up with a few additions like Andouille sausage and canned green chillis along with some onions. Anyway…Jambayala ain’t too different from how he makes his scratch Mexican rice except ya use Mexican spices rather than Cajun so that’s what he did and it went pretty great with the carne asada…but there was leftover rice that went into the fridge. A couple days later…we ate some of it in tortillas with hot sauce for lunch and it was still Mexican…then a couple days after that he mixed it up with some leftover chicken stuff he made…but it was just sautéed chicken and some green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and a bit of pizza sauce to give the veggies some body…the original chicken dish tasted a bit like pizza. The goal when he mixed those leftovers with the rice leftovers was (a) to have enough for dinner and (b) get rid of all the remaining leftovers in the fridge…oh yeah, he tossed in some extra steamed corn he also had leftover. We sat down the other night to eat the rice/leftover extravaganza and were amazed that it tasted Italian instead of the original Mexican or the pizza like from the chicken leftovers.

Anyways…it was mighty tasty no matter why/how it ended up the way it did.

Neil decided to reorganize his Lightroom Catalog and photo processing workflow…turns out that doing things on the iMac back in the office has a bunchy of advantages over the laptop on his lap in the recliner…it’s a lot faster as the photos aren’t out on a network drive and the iMac is newer and hence faster than his laptop…the iMac has a much larger screen which makes things easier as well…and sitting in the office chair with the keyboard on the desk is a lot better on his neck and back which tend to get stiff from looking down towards the laptop screen. To that end…he bought himself a RAID external drive for the iMac…so it now has 12 terabytes of main external storage…moved all the Lightroom stuff over there, redid his whole on and off site backup scheme, and is in the middle of doing a complete reorganization of his photos, collections, and keywords to make things easier to find.

Oh yeah…Cinco de Mayo, we celebrated this with some Mexican food and since it was also Taco Tuesday we made it fish tacos made out of some tilapia filets from the freezer, some onions and green peppers sautéed together, and a sauce of onion dip, cumin, wine vinegar, mayo, and cilantro…then Neil poured hot sauce on his while Connie had some salsa…all served on toasted yellow corn tortillas…quite yummy.

There were a couple of SCOTUS decisions this week that were unusual and merited a comment.

First up…a 6-3 decision sending the case in NY back to the circuit court for rehearing. NYC back in 2016 passed a law that mandated that while firearm ownership was legal by a previous SCOTUS decision…it could only be in your home or moved to a half dozen or so approved gun ranges for target practice…but specifically barred both other gun ranges or transporting it out of NYC to say your vacation home and back. The city got sued over this, lost in court, lost at the circuit level and it was headed to the Supreme. Now the anti gun crowd didn’t want to have a SCOTUS decision against them…so they (a) got NYC to rescind the specific clauses in the law that were called out as unconstitutional in the original court decision and (b) got the state of NY to enact a state law that prohibited the now defunct clauses from being reinstituted. This allowed them to petition SCOTUS that the entire case was moot and should therefore be dismissed…while the pro gun crowd wanted to proceed and get a SCOTUS decision. The court…rightly I believe in this case…determined that the specific case was moot but did not dismiss it entirely…just sent it back to the circuit court for rehearing to see if the law was still unconstitutional as now written. Neil thinks that the real reason they did that was to prevent having to issue a decision during an election year…but whoever loses in the circuit rehearing will appeal again and in a year or two it will be back up to them. The strange thing about this decision…well there are actually two strange things…first is that the liberals and conservatives were split between both sides in very strange combinations rather than being a majority of one and a minority of the other. Naturally though…the anti gun crowd and media are all over this as a “tremendous victory for gun control” when in fact it is not a victory of any sort for either side…the court just said the question isn’t one that they need to decide until the lower courts rehear the case. The pro gun crowd also lampooned the decision as a “retreat from the meaning of the 2nd amendment”…again an exaggeration as the court rightly said that the petition before them as written and previously heard in court no longer existed…in other words, go back and try again.

Second…another 6-3 strange combination of justices decision that requires a unanimous guilty verdict in a criminal trial. Previous to this…OR and LA had laws that said that a majority was all that was required. The specific case in question was a 10-2 guilty verdict in LA in a murder trial…although LA has changed the law since then to eliminate this possibility anyway but it was still in effect in OR. The majority stated that while the Constitution was not clear one way or the other in it’s wording they examined what the term guilty meant in criminal trials in the 1780s and used that to make their decision. Kind of a strange mix of both liberal/conservatives in the majority as well as the strict/loose construction of the document thought…the majority used the strict interpretation of the word guilty but then examined the general legal principles in place in the late 1700s to determine what guilty actually meant.

Let’s talk sexual assault…this part is not political at all but merely an observation on observed facts.

Remember back last summer when Justice Kavanaugh was nominated for a seat on the SCOTUS…and Christine Blasey Ford came out of the woodwork to claim he sexually assaulted her when they were in high school? Remember how there was no real evidence either way other than he said/she said…and the witnesses she claimed she told about it back then had no recollection? Remember how she could not remember the date of the party in question, how she got there or home, or where it was but was definitely sure she was assaulted despite her having consumed booze while under age? Remember how Ms. Ford is a democratic and social activist? Remember how the Me Too crowd and the media gave her live interviews on the evening news to explain her claims…and how Me Too, media, and Democrats demanded that you should *always* believe the woman in these cases and demanded that his nomination be defeated simply because she said he sexually assaulted her in high school…despite the complete lack of evidence, FBI investigation into him multiple times as he rose through the judicial ranks?

Yeah…I remember all of that too…and it all came down to he said/she said, no evidence to support her claims so the Senate looked on his record as an adult lawyer and judge and approved the nomination.

So now…in the past couple of weeks the shoe has shifted to the other foot. A woman named Tara Reade says that in 1993 then Senator Joe Biden…ya know, the guy running for President these days…sexually assaulted her in a Senate office building hallway by…well, this is mostly a PG blog so I won’t say exactly what he did but unless you’re blind you’ve read the particulars on the internet. The facts show that at the time she was in charge of interns in his office, was on his payroll, and was shortly afterwards demoted from her position. The facts also show that a woman from her mother’s hometown called in to Larry King’s radio show to talk about her daughter who was assaulted by an unnamed Senator. The facts also show that several of her friends who she said she told about the incident at the time agree that she told them…and that they were her neighbors/friends at the time.

Remember how Ms. Reade was interviewed on the news recently about these claims? Remember how the FBI investigated the claim to see if there was any evidence? Remember how the Me Too crowd demanded that she be believed and that Mr. Biden should withdraw from the nominating process? Remember how Mr. Biden has authorized access to all of his Senatorial records now owned by the University of Delaware by investigators? Remember how the Washington DC police conducted a criminal investigation to validate or dismiss the charges.

Yeah…I don’t remember any of those things either.

Now this is…clearly…another he said/she said case with no conclusive evidence either that she is lying or that he assaulted her. However…there are some troubling aspects that are completely different than in the Kavanaugh investigation.

No law enforcement investigation has been conducted at all…however, The NY Times has completed an “in depth investigation” and found “no evidence that it happened”. Trouble with the NYT investigation though…is that the article was (a) edited after publication on request of the Biden campaign, and (b) edited again later to make it sound unbiased as compared to the original posting. The NYT also somehow…despite their “in depth investigation” failed to find any of the witnesses who back up her claims. In fact…a more recent NYT opinion piece says that there should be an official law enforcement enquiry into the allegations…exactly the thing that their previous “in depth investigation” said was not needed. And let’s not forget that while Ms. Ford is a radical Democratic activist who politically opposes Republicans while Ms. Reade is a lifelong Democrat who has stated previously that she will vote for Mr. Biden for President if he is the nominee…she has no “he is in the other party” ax to grind.

Most astounding…is the complete lack of any demand by Me Too or any of the women’s rights groups that she be heard and believed unilaterally, completely different from the SCOTUS hearing time frame. Female senators who demanded a full FBI investigation into Justice Kavanaugh say there is no need for any law enforcement investigation as the campaign has categorically denied it happened and that is good enough for them.

Again…this is another he said/she said case…and while the FBI investigation of Justice Kavanaugh found no evidence to support his claim we simply have no idea whether her claims are backed by any evidence as determined by law enforcement. However…I think that there is a considerable difference…assuming for the moment that both allegations are 100% true…between the drunken sex by two high school age teenagers and a sitting US Senator and one of his staff.

Apparently…law enforcement investigations are only a good thing…and believing the woman is only a requirement…if the guy you’re trying to take down is a Republican but if he is a Democrat than his statement that “it categorically never happened” should be taken at face value and the woman is now lying through her teeth.

Do I think that Mr. Biden should withdraw from the presidential race? Not yet…I fear that he is declining mentally based on recent interview and debate performance compared to his days as VP and Senator but that’s a different question and I’m not sure that President Trump isn’t declining as well. However…Ms. Reade’s allegations deserve to be fully investigated as Ms. Ford’s were…and then Mr. Biden and/or the Democratic Party and/or the American people can decide the fate of his candidacy. As it is though…there will likely be no investigation because in the Democratic/media/progressive mind winning the presidential election takes precedence over everything else…I’m flabbergasted that the Me Too crowd isn’t all over this like they were back then. As I said though…Me Too apparently only counts if the man is somebody you oppose politically/economically/culturally.

I think that the corona has taken a toll on some long term friendships I know about. I have two travel blogging friends…names and urls deliberately not included…who have been buddies for probably 30 years or more…I’ll call them Tom and Jerry (not their real names). Neither has stated their political persuasion…but Tom has always struck me as a medium right of center guy and Jerry as a farther left of center guy. Both used to talk routinely in their blogs about the other one…but that has disappeared in the last couple of months. Tom has not said he knew anybody who died from the corona…but is a proponent of reading a wide range of web sites in order to determine for himself what he believes…and his belief is that there is something to be said for the “people die from the flu, car accidents, cancer, heart disease, and shark attacks but we just accept those risks”. Tom doesn’t think the shutdown is overkill…but thinks that government and Presidential leadership needs to take more than just public health into consideration…they need to consider jobs and the economy as well and figure out the right balance between social distancing/closing and not bankrupting the country’s economy. He also is a proponent of the anti malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine or HCQ. This is a drug that has long been approved for use in treating both malaria and Lupus and is known to be safe. There is a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence that it helps…in combination with antibiotics and zinc…to overcome the corona infection even though this is virus and technically these drugs aren’t supposed to help against a virus. There’s been a lot of debate on the interwebs about HCQ…with those opposing it saying that no full scale clinical trials have been done…not correct as they have been done, just not specifically against corona. Now both Tom and I understand the general importance of full scale clinical trials including double blind and all that stuff…but we both think that to dismiss HCQ as a potential treatment in the face of considerable…although anecdotal…evidence that somehow it seems to help is counterproductive. The vaccine for corona is somewhere between 3 and 18 months away depending on who you ask, how much money is thrown at the problem, and how demanding the FDA will be on full scale testing but short of the vaccine or herd immunity being high enough to stop the spread then tossing out treatments that seem to work seems…counterproductive. Jerry on the other hand…has lost 1 family member and 3 friends to CoViD and is completely at the other end of the spectrum. HCQ is “junk science” in his opinion and only a long term shutdown of the economy until we have all been vaccinated is acceptable…and Jerry has stated that his views have cost him long term friendships but that’s just too bad for the other guy as he’s not changing his mind.

I can understand both sides of this disagreement…again in normal circumstances full scale FDA approved double blind trials would be good but these are not normal times. I also see both sides of the “people die anyway” argument…yes, we haven’t outlawed cars because of traffic deaths but this is a new virus with no vaccine or human immunity in place. Looking at the death toll vs the flu argument…again there are valid arguments on both sides…but part of the trouble there is that nobody knows what the real death toll from CoVid is anyway. The death toll is the number of deaths divided by the number of cases…but neither of these numbers is really known with any statistical or scientific validity. For instance…people that die in car accidents but are corona positive either may or may not be a CoViD death depending on the state…and people who died in December/January from “unknown flu like disease” that may or may not have been corona related have not been counted. Similarly…how many cases have there been for the denominator…again, nobody knows. Since 85% of the cases have no/few symptoms…how many people caught the disease and recovered on their own but since they never got tested for the virus are not counted as “cases”.

All we can do is whatever we think is best…’round these parts we’re mostly staying in but that is in large part because the places we usually go…Elks, Legion, church, bars, and restaurants…are all closed. On the bright side…we have discovered that using Wally World pickup is actually a pretty decent way to buy groceries…although not so good for produce or meats as you don’t get to choose your own.

OK…let’s see what else there is to talk about…yeah, wildlife sightings.

This little guy hopped up right outside our lanai while we were computing out there the other day.

D75 5849 Luminar3 edit

Spotted this Blue Jay as well.

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This is our resident double crested cormorant…we named him “The C Man”.

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Tricolor Heron…although this is a different individual than before, somewhat smaller.

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We also had short term visits by a Little Blue Heron, a pair of female Mottled Ducks that wandered by, and Neil spotted a Swallow Tailed Kite up by the front gate on his bike yesterday…the latter is a hawk species easily identified as a large mostly white body with black upper wings…with a distinctive scissor shaped tail like a kite.Couldn’t get photos of any of those though.

Interesting things found on the net.

CoViD Lessons NineImportantFacts

West VA riding mower for sale

Eye test…tell me what you see.

Men usually notice the cleavage first, women and cops usually the donuts…but very few (including Neil) saw the mouse on the upper lefthand donut.

It is all about attitude.

OathOfSolitude

T1 408917 pigeon smarter

BurglerWorkFromHome

DaysUnderwear

IWasSoBored

NotAlwaysTheSolution

PeanutsCorona

RadarCanFixThis

SocialDistancingBaptism

WordChampSocialDistance

Cyas.

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

Quarantine Day 34

I gotta tellya…this whole quarantine thing pretty much sucks…we’re gettin’ pretty dadgum bored with da whole thing by this point…but hey; whatcha gonna do.

So…since my last post 11 days back…well, we had Easter. Connie found a nice Mass on the TV with some music to watch and we had my own personal cantor here at Long Pond Road. After that…dinner was lamb chops that Neil marinated in some Good Stuff© and grilled…they were so good that we had the leftovers the next night and then for lunch on Tuesday. Along with a nice bottle of wine…we had this more expensive (like $15 which is pretty expensive for us)…Pinot Noir that turned out to be so turrible we poured it out and opened a bottle of Connie’s favorite Malbec instead. It had spoiled or sumtin…if we had just not cared for the taste we woulda drunk it anyway but it was like it had been filtered through week old gym socks and then flavored with whatever dirt ya scraped off the bottom of your shoes…really nasty stuff. 

That’s about it though…we did get out Thursday this past week for the first time in almost 2 weeks…drove north on US-41 to the next freeway entrance, back south on I-75 to Bay Shore where we get off for Seminole Campground…then stopped by the Winn Dixie and got a bit of produce and some pastries so we could have something different for breakfast.

Neil’s been cooking some pretty decent meals…nothing overly fancy ‘bout any of em but while we’re not able to do anything fun we’re at least eatin’ decent.

Our two eaglets are going on 3 weeks old now…growing fast but still have the down they hatched with, we should start seeing some real feathers in the next couple of weeks I guess.

We ordered our subscription renewal for the Sarasota Orchestra for next year’s concerts…since the last 2 this season got cancelled we had a $200 credit so we told them to upgrade us to the front orchestra section…after some discussion and looking at the seating layout Neil gave them a 5 row deep and 9 or so seat wide section we would take but if not we would just keep our existing seats in row 19…the front orchestra season tickets are $200 more per seat and it’s not worth $400 if we’re only moving up a row or two.

Back last month as ya will recall we ordered a china cabinet via Amazon that arrived broken so we sent it back. Once that got credited to our card we ordered a different one from Rooms 2 Go…it will get delivered this week but they’ve got a local warehouse so it’s not really getting shipped a long way…the first one came from Malaysia and had clearly gotten something dropped on it along the way. We also ordered a new desktop scanner…with more space now one that has a sheet feeder is way more convenient than doing it with your phone…the phone works but it’s a bit of a pain if you need to scan a couple dozen pages. Also ordered a large hard drive for our iMac/file server and he’s going to reorganize his Lightroom photo management catalog and shift photo processing to the (a) much faster and (b) much bigger screen) desktop computer. Travelin’ photos will still get some initial processing on the laptop but it will be setup for easy export from the laptop catalog and import into the desktop one. He paid for and watched a 10 hour $28 Lightroom Importing video course and while a lot of it was review it also explained what some of the tools really did and how they worked…there are several that until somebody really explains how you should use them don’t really make much sense. He’ll need to go through and keyword all of the existing 75000+ photos in his catalog which will be a longer term project but again now has some ideas on how to use the available software tools in Lightroom to get that done more quickly than he was able to do them before. The new drive of course will mean new backup routines…but that’s pretty easy to setup. He’s also got to update our “We Got Hit By The Bus” folder that the human kids have access to…now that we’ve moved into the house and aren’t living in the rig the “where are things” and “what to do with our mangled corpses once they get extracted from the Amazon basin or wherever” documents need updating.

As you can see…not much is really happening…he gets out for a bike ride 2-3x a week and is still scouting out new routes he can take as just riding around Magnolia Landing gets pretty boring pretty quickly. Most days…the highlight of the day is either the “Official Long Pond Road Weather Report and Forecast” that Connie does while making coffee in the AM or the “Wildlife Report” that Neil does several times per day from the bayou out back. Heck…one day this past week Connie gave serious thought to dressing up to go out and see if there was anything in the mailbox for us.

Let’s see…what else is going on in the news.

The whole virus crisis is the President’s fault naturally…Ms. Pelosi griped yesterday that his delay had caused “thousands of lives to be lost” and his attempt to reopen the economy…ya know, that whole optimism and let’s not completely torpedo the economy unnecessarily thing he’s trying to do…would again cost thousands of lives.

Up in NY…Governor Cuomo said last month that the state only had 12,000 ventilators in hand including the ones that were in the state emergency stockpile…and demanded that the feds send him more…he stated several times that the state would need 30,000 to 40,000 and that they would run out of them by April 2. Turns out…not so much. Late last week he announced that the curve had turned in NY and that the worst was over as cases are apparently falling quickly there…and that they still had 6,000 or 8,000 ventilators in stock and were sending them to other states…like MD and CA who are also not of on hand ventilators.

All ya see on most media is how wrong Fox News anchors and commentators are…but then I kid you not this is what CNN had to say last week.

CantGetTheirStoryStraight

Come on guys…I understand you want to criticize the President…and that’s politics as usual…but at least admit that you’re really not looking for truth/facts here but looking to complain about whatever he did or didn’t do. I can’t and won’t say he’s done everything right…but it’s leadership’s job to keep morale up and be optimistic while taking care of the problem…and from what I’ve seen I don’t think any other administration would have done anything significantly different…they would just have been canonized by their media friends instead of condemned.

OK…a couple of pics for ya…this is Lagatha…who may or may not be actually a cow instead of a bull…the only way to tell an alligator’s sex is an internal examination of their ladybits or manbits…although once they turn into “Leviathans with a quarter sized kill spot” as the voice over guy on Swamp People says…anyway if they’re really big…more than 10 feet…then they are more likely to be male as generally females are almost always smaller than 10 feet.

Anyways…we call he/she Lagatha to go along with Ragnar who is 3 feet or so longer than she is…but speaking of Ragnar we’ve not seen him in almost 2 weeks so he might have moved over to another pond…apparently the gators in Magnolia Landing move back and forth between ponds at night sometimes.

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D75 5837 Edit

The shelf she is on is sort of on our side of the pond…it’s about 50 feet from the corner of our lanai and maybe 25 from the corner of our lot and Lagatha is the only one we’ve seen there…Ragnar generally hangs out over on the other side farther away. Lagatha is about 6-8 feet I guess…I didn’t go close enough to put a tape measure on her and she is much more skittish than Ragnar is. He doesn’t respond at all to movement on our side of the pond along the houses or to the lawnmower or gardeners doing their thing…but she is in the water almost immediately if she sees any movement…Neil tried to get outside and get a slightly better angle after the two shots above and at the creak of the door she was gone.

OK…interesting stuff found on the net…and in our email as well.

SeniorCentrYwister

BottomOfMyFreezer

This one needs a little explanation…first off…your eyes do not deceive you…this is actually a weasel riding a woodpecker.
Onward my noble steed
 as the article is headlined reports that amateur photographer Martin Le-May was walking through a park in London hoping to show his wife her first Green Woodpecker and they spotted this one. This is actually not a scene from the Lone Ranger bur rather a failed attempt at lunch. Weasels are voracious hunters and the woodpecker landed 25 yards or so away from Martin and his wife…when the weasel jumped on it and attempted to kill it. The woodpecker naturally took exception to being lunch and flew a couple of yards before landing again with the weasel on it’s back…when it landed the weasel was momentarily dislodged and the woodpecker took advantage by flying up into a nearby tree.

WoodpeckerRidingWeasel

HowIMetMyHusband

How you gamble during the lockdown.

GamblingTP

DaysWithoutSports

CatComplaint

TP rationing.

TPRationing

JakeFromStateFarm

You just have to have a positive attitude.

SaveTheHumanRace

And remember…Bad Things© can happen during the isolation.

IsolationBadThings

LikeAGoodNeighbor

Cyas.

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