Rig For Sale

Connie and I have completed…well, almost completed…our move out of the rig and into our new sticks and bricks home in North Fort Myers Florida so our 2012 New Horizons Majestic 39 foot fifth wheel and RAM 5500HD tow vehicle with Classy Chassis hauler bed are for sale. We’ve greatly enjoyed the lifestyle…but it is now time to move on to whatever comes next…likely some international travel for a month or so at a time.

If you’re looking to get into the full-time lifestyle…or are already there and are looking to upgrade your experience…New Horizons makes the best custom rig on the market for the full-time lifestyle. They don’t come up on the used market very often but the build quality and features makes them very attractive compared to other used rigs.

I’ve posted a page here on the blog at
Majestic
 with details, pricing, photos, and contact information. Please pass this along to any of your friends or neighbors looking for a top quality rig…unless you grab it for yourself first. I’ve put a teaser photo below but there are many more along with full details at that link.

Thanks.

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Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Just When You Think Politicians Couldn’t Get Any Stupider…

…but that would be an oxymoron because…sure they can because let’s be honest with ourselves…they’re politicians and you can tell they are lying if you see their lips moving.

First up on the hit parade this week…the Iowa caucuses to determine the state’s delegates to the respective Democrat and Republican presidential nominating conventions.

On the Republican side…the President was unopposed except for a couple of fringe candidates…and they used the tried and true method of after the second round of caucusing the precinct captains recorded the votes on paper and called them in to state party officials…and the President won. None of that was surprising.

On the Democratic side however…things went awry. First up…back in 2019 the state party officials decided to build themselves an app for a phone to send in the votes electronically. There was paper involved at the precinct level but the primary way to report results was this app that was specially written for the caucuses. Let’s count the ways that things went wrong with this app.

  • The app was written by a company named Shadow Inc…a bare boned coding operation owned and operated by the folks that ran Ms. Clinton’s IT back during the 2016 election…ya know, those brilliant programmers. According to the company bio page…some of them had actual IT experience and a bit more of them worked on her campaign but at least one was a teacher and another worked recently at Starbucks. The company’s founders and backers are directly linked to a progressive non profit named Acronym. Nothing wrong with any of that on the surface until you see the other things they did wrong.
  • The app was still being coded Sunday…the day before the caucuses.
  • No security audit was done on the code…and it was written for the Android operating system which has known software bugs and security holes.
  • No full functionality testing was accomplished…you know…something on the order of “get all precinct captains to try and report a full set of test results in the same hour”…in order to see if the back end of the system actually worked.
  • Numerous precinct captains were not a able to download the app until they were…at the caucus site
  • No training was done for the users
  • No verification was done that the precinct sites actually had…ya know…phone signal which was required for the app to work.

So…when the app failed…the precinct captains tried the backup report via phone method…and where then left on hold for 2+ hours before they gave up, hung up, and went home.

As of this moment…Friday after the caucuses…full results are still not available.

Not to be outdone though in stupidity though…there are some Republicans claiming that the “failure” was actual a “rigging of the results” by the Democratic National Committee…but then they clearly want Mr. Biden to win as his changes of winning the November election are likely better than the far left candidates who will get little support from the majority of the country’s citizens who are in the political range of center right through center left. Since…by the partial tallies so far released…he came in 4th place…this alleged rigging didn’t work very well.

Nonetheless…Mr. Biden’s campaign is being touted by the media as “dead and buried” or “on life support”…despite the fact that he was never expected to win either Iowa or next week’s New Hampshire votes…but is heavily featured in the following week’s primary in South Carolina.

Also…the death of the Iowa caucus process is already being also touted by the media. Now I have no idea of how the process works…but I’m guessing that the caucus can’t be replaced by a primary (which the state would pay for) without some sort of legislation in the state. I’m also not sure that the date could even be changed without approval of the state. Sure…the DNC would get a vote on it but whether they get the only vote is too far down in the weeds of things I care about to make a guess.

Moving along chronically…Tuesday night was the State of the Union address by the President. Naturally…the Republican side claims it was the greatest speech in the history of SOTU speeches…and the other side claims it was a “reality show speech” or “campaign address”. Setting all that aside though…because that happens every year where the non presidential party says it sucked and the other side says it was great…there were several examples of stupidity involved.

  • On arrival at the dais…Ms. Pelosi offered her hand to the President to shake which he ignored. Not really surprising as he’s really not a politician and clearly doesn’t like her but he didn’t shake hands with the VP who sat next to her either so maybe he just thought it unnecessary.
  • Ms. Pelosi ignored the traditional “I have the high honor and privilege of introducing to you the President of the United States” greeting. I’m surprised that a smart politician like her…even though I don’t like her politics she is usually a pretty good politician…did something like that.
  • When the President talked about prescription drug prices…numerous Democrats started chanting HR3…which is a bill for free prescription drugs sponsored by the late congressman from Baltimore. Not surprising…anymore than the Republican yelling “you lie” during one of the previous SOTU addresses. However…at least one congressman sitting in the speaker’s box was involved which put the disrespect on national television
  • The father of one of the Parkland shooting victims jumped up and protested when the President talked about the 2nd amendment…granted he was not a congressman but he was invited by one.
  • Ms. Pelosi ripped up her copy of the speech before the president left the dais afterwards…again on national television.
  • Numerous Democratic women wore white to the speech in silent demand that the ERA…which was recently ratified by the reburied 38th state and they are furious that it is not part of the constitution now…despite the fact that two different deadlines for passage passed 30 years ago and the Supreme Court has ruled that the ERA is dead unless the proponents start over.
  • Awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Limbaugh…this is usually reserved for persons of more impact on the country and not given as a political sop to one of your supporters. It is the Presidential Medal of Freedom though…so the President was within his rights to do so…but it was not a smart political move…but then as I said the President is most definitely not a politician.

What are these people thinking? One would expect that at least some of them would demonstrate some political savvy and not do or say stupid things.

Moving along to the final political event of the week…the conclusion of the Senate trial of the President’s impeachment articles…but these comments are about the process…not the actual articles…although the actual charges do deserve a few words. Let it be known that (a) we are not real fans of the President ‘round these parts, (b) but he did win despite the fact that he says and does things that are not politically smart or even always correct/true, and (c) the Democrats have never accepted the outcome of the 2016 election but as the previous President famously said…”Elections have Consequences.” While we think his actions were dumb and not a good political idea…they were not illegal. The Constitution does say that he can be impeached for “bribery, treason, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”. While later political writings by the founding fathers did offer reasonable assurances that they intended it to be a political process and that an actual crime may (or may not, depending on who, which writing, and how you interpret what they actually wrote) or may not be required. However…the actual words in the Constitution…which in our view are the only ones that count…and also in our view the Constitution says what it says and not what you want it to say…they seem to indicate to me that an alleged crime is actually required and in most previous federal impeachments not to mention both Presidential ones…an actual crime was alleged in the articles. Nonetheless…the comments below are more about the process and political stupidity involved and not the actual articles.

Essentially the charges come down to the President wanting the Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and his father the former VP and current presidential candidate in return for military aid. The previous administration refused to provide them military aid…and even went so far as to demand the firing of one of their prosecutors that…according to the previous administration…was corrupt and refused to investigate corruption in the Ukraine. The view that the prosecutor was corrupt is substantially correct…but the nuance is a bit finer than that and I’ll admit that I’ve not investigated it fully myself…but the fact remains that the previous administration successfully bullied a foreign country to do something the administration wanted. In the end…what the President did was largely equivalent to that…he tried to influence a foreign country to do something he wanted…just like Presidents have been doing ever since we because a world power since at least the first world war. And…according to the law as Neil understands it and he used to be in that business…the aid was released before the end of the fiscal year which is the legal requirement…so the administration did not break the law as the GAO claimed. However…what the it comes down to is that the President tried to pressure a foreign country. The fact that the pressure also might benefit him politically…well, despite the claims of the Democrats and media…isn’t actually against the law. In fact…neither of the articles of impeachment charged him with anything actually illegal…distinctly different from the previous two presidential impeachments.

So…what is impeachment anyway? You have to remember that under the Constitution it is not a legal process…it is a political process…and that view by the founding fathers was further explained in numerous writings by them outside of the Constitution back in the 1700s.

So…under this political process…the House conducted what one can only describe as a hasty impeachment…because he needed to be removed from office immediately before he rigged the 2020 election. Never mind that House and Democratic leaders have been saying they would impeach him since the day after the election in 2016 and have never accepted the fact that he won. Never mind that a year ago Ms. Pelosi said that an impeachment was doomed to failure unless there was…bipartisan support for it. Never mind that the House didn’t bother issuing subpoenas for witnesses they wanted to hear from…and never mind that it was a pretty one sided process in the House. Remember…it is a political process and the House majority is Democratic. 

Once the “we have to impeach him now” process was concluded…the vital speed that was “urgently needed” came to a complete halt as Ms. Pelosi sat on the articles for a month before sending them to the Senate. Supposedly this delay gave her”leverage” over Mr. McConnell to force him to ensure that the Senate would hold a “fair trial”…and the only definition of fair trial the Democrats were willing to accept was to allow the House managers to call witnesses but not the defense team. The Republicans who control the Senate…and remember this is a political process…determined to use the same trial rules that were approved 100-0 before the Clinton impeachment and determine the need for witnesses after the presentation of the case by the prosecution and defense teams.

Naturally…and obviously…her leverage was zero and the trial was conducted as a political trial by the Senate just as the indictment was politically conducted in the House. Democrats raged frequently the past 3 weeks about how the Republicans were putting party over country by voting in block…even though the Democrats in both the House and Senate likewise voted in a block…but at least according to the Democratic leadership that was principled resistance and recognizing that the overwhelming evidence and proven guilt was the reason for their votes.

Speaking of overwhelming evidence and proven guilt…the demand for new witnesses was rejected…it is a political process after all. The chief witness…Mr. Bolton…who the Democrats wanted to call was going to prove that the President pressured the Ukrainians…but then he already admitted that in the transcript so no new evidence there. Mr. Bolton was going to quote from the new book he is flogging…which is incidentally been classified by the White House and the March publication date is in doubt to prove this point. No new evidence other than “I said it in my book” was to be presented…and let us not forget that until a month ago the Democratic Party thought that Mr. Bolton was the devil incarnate.

Just in case you have any doubt that this whole impeachment thing was a political process…here are a few statements that were made in the past month or two

  • We need new witnesses.
  • We do not need new witnesses…we have 28,000 pages of evidence and have the transcripts of 20+ witnesses who testified to the House to review.
  • It is the House’s job to indict and investigate…not the Senate’s job. Their job is to evaluate the investigation completed by the House and pass judgement thereon.
  • Each Senator takes an oath to do impartial justice…and unless you vote to convict you’re not impartial.
  • Every Senator has an open mind
  • Every Senator already has his/her mind made up…but those on my side are impartial and convinced by the overwhelming evidence that he is guilty and those on the other side is just partisan
  • Every Senator already has his/her mind made up…but those on my side are impartial and convinced by the overwhelming evidence that he is stupid and foolhardy but it doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment so they voted innocent and those on the other side is just partisan

If you go back and look at the Clinton impeachment then all of these same statements were made by many of the same people who made them these past 2 months. The only things that changed was the party of the President, who had the majority in each house of Congress, and the people who said them. While I did not do an exhaustive level of research on it…Mr. McConnell and Mr. Schumer could have just swapped their speech notes from 20 odd years back because they both contradicted what they said back then.

As I said…a political process…and now it is done. Except that it is not done and the House is going to continue to investigate and is likely (according to Mr. Schiff) to file new impeachment charges “if the President is reelected”.

Ms. Pelosi’s words about a bipartisan impeachment from a year back proved prophetic…if only she had not let her more rabid left wing anti-Trump members railroad her into doing something that was (a) doomed to failure and (b) likely will cost her party in the 2020 election.

Post acquittal…Mr. McConnell had a press conference as did Mr. Schumer. Mr. McConnell called a spade a spade and said it was political, touched on the testimony and evidence that was presented, talked about the 90 times the charges were “proved” or the evidence was “overwhelming”, asked why if that was true then why did the other side demand more witnesses which would indefinitely delay the matter, stated that Mr. Schumer had admitted that the primary reason was to stall things in the Senate as long as possible for political gain. Mr. Schumer sounded like an even more so than usual Grumpy Bernie Sanders and whined about the overwhelming proof and proved…again…while deriding the Republicans for voting as a block while defending his side voting as a block. 

Dumb…and their other brother dumber…and mebbe their twin dumbest as well.

Interesting things found on the net.

OldWolf

MemoryFoamInsoles

I’m not trying to downplay the latest coronavirus…which is actually just the flu but a family of viruses that has spikes around the edge that look like a crown so the family is named coronavirus. Anyway…it is just a version of the flu…and while it is fatal in some cases…the overall death rate is (depending on which article you believe) either half of the normal seasonal flu death rate or up to about 1.7 times that rate…but it is only in the low single digits. Caution is needed…but the hype in the media is just that…hype…and the overly aggressive quarantines are probably not really needed.

TheDutchAreVeryAfraid

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LockedOutAgain

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging | Leave a comment

Long Time No Type I Guess

Actually…I know since our last post was on 1/18 just after we closed…and I gotta tellya…this movin’ out stuff is hard. We been pretty much running ourselves ragged getting furniture, deliveries, internet and cable, and schlepping stuff from the rig over to the house. We’ve hardly had a day off since we closed and there’s still a lot to go.

The good news though…is that we’ve made significant progress on getting the new digs setup. We have received our new Sony 65 inch OLED TV and sound bar and gotten it configured and setup with cable. We’ve got our internet connectivity active…we sprung for the gigabit ethernet and I gotta tellya again…after the limited speed and monthly bandwidth we have dealt with in the rig…speed of 1 gigabit (Neil got 900 MB when he measured it so it’s not quite gig speeds) and a monthly bandwidth limit of 1 terabyte is really nice to have. He downloaded the latest macOS version over the the other day and the 5.8 GB download took about 3 minutes instead of the 25-30 it would have taken in the rig on our MiFi connection. 

Our bedroom is completely setup…we ordered some built in cabinets for one side of the walk in closet in there and are still thinking on whether we might need a dresser in addition to those. Our recliners are due to be delivered this week hopefully and once we get those we will have enough over at the house to move in and sleep there instead of in the rig. Still need our TV stand but it’s coming the end of this month and it can just sit on the floor where the stand will eventually be in the meantime. Our garage second fridge and chest freezer will also be in late this month.

The spare bedroom will need a bed and furniture but we’ll handle that later once we get moved The office computer desk and chair are in and assembled, our new desktop computer to serve as the home file server is on order, and we’ve got a trip to Midlothian to get the stuff out of our storage unit the first week of March.

We’ve tentatively scheduled the Big Move© to start on Presidents Day weekend Feb 15 and since we have that whole week pretty much unscheduled on our calendar it should be enough…although realistically we expect to be done by about Tuesday.

We’ve discovered a lot of wildlife in the pond behind our house…should be able to get nice pictures once we get moved in. So far, we’ve found the obligatory gator like pretty much every water hole in southern Florida has, turtles, various herons and other wading birds, and an osprey.

This is Ragnar…he (or maybe she, you can’t see any reproductive organs and it’s not legal to wander around to that side of the pond to look anyway…and bull and female gators look the same externally.

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This is our dining room set…we went with the glass top and rattan-style chairs as being much more Florida like than the heavier stuff you would have up north.

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And naturally…we got matching counter height chairs to go at our bar where we’ll eat most of the time unless we’re in the recliners.

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Our new bed…a soft sided waterbed. It’s not quite as comfy as the old hard side one with just a mattress cover over the bladder but with the pillow top, soft sides, and about 1/4 of the water of the old hard side style it is the second nicest place we’ve ever slept…better than our Sleep Number air mattress and way better than a standard spring and foam mattress. The nightstands and headboard are from the same set in the local furniture store and the lamps look like Royal Palms…again very Florida looking…we got 3 of them at Bed Bath and Beyond…two for the bedroom and the third for the chair between our new Lazy Boy recliners.

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This rattan bench will go behind the table between the recliners and sorta behind and in between the recliners. We had one like this in our house in Fairfax and it is the best option we’ve ever had for storing laptops and iPads.

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A better image of Ragnar…he/she is about a 6 or 7 footer I reckon.

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Tom…our neighbor two doors down and the self declared “Mayor of Long Pond” since he was the first one living on the street…gave us this patio furniture. Still in great shape and that’s 500 bucks we don’t need to spend right away.

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We saw this bamboo sailboat art in the Lazy Boy store and all agreed that we needed to have it.

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Let’s see…what else is new?

Father Tom who has been the pastor at our local St. Therese parish ever since we started going there retired this past weekend so we went to a dinner honoring him at the Herons Glen country club (the next housing development north of Magnolia Landing) last week. His replacement Father Jan arrived this week and I guess we’ll meet him next Sunday.

We went to Sarasota for an orchestra concert yesterday and have another one on Thursday…we didn’t like one of the concerts in the Masterworks series we get season tickets for so utilized their ticket swap process to get evening tickets to a Beethoven Eroica Symphony #3 this week. We normally go on Sunday afternoons so we don’t get home so late…by the time we get out of the concert hall parking and drive back to Seminole it will be midnight. We did that the first two years we were season ticket holders but switched to Sunday afternoons as just a better idea all ‘round.

We have tickets to the Valentines Day soiree on the 8th…it’s a week before the holiday but I’m not responsible for the scheduling.

OK, on to interesting stuff found on the net.

ClassyPeopleWine

This mathematical formula is correct.

FormulaIsCorrect

Definitely not PC…but funny nonetheless.

YouAreHomeEarly

GinAndTonicDiet

WifeOfTheYear

SmallBoobs

CleavageIsLikeTheSun

And a few more winter related ones for those readers who are stuck up in the cold northlands…which by Neil’s definition is (a) anyplace where there is ever non liquid water falling from the sky and/or (b) anyplace where the low overnight temperature starts with a number lower than 5.

CatWhoDidThis

GiveMeMyArms

CoalDigger

SnowJob

HotFlash

OfCourseTheyreFake

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, RV | Leave a comment

And We Are Homeowners Again

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

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

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

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

Here’s what it looks like currently…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting stuff found on the net.

MarinesArrangeMeeting

Good idea.

PotholesAssholes

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

99SquaredReciprocal

MoppingRain

Prostate exam

NoBrains

Cyas.

 

Posted in Homebody | Leave a comment

Life Here in Sunny Warm Southwest Florida

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2020 01 09 at 4 32 56 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This is a Japanese tour bus stopped on the highway.

JapaneseSnowPlowing

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

GoingToTheSunRoadSnow

MOSQUITOS SNOW

CABIN FEVER STAGE7

SNOW SHARK

BUS PLOW

GIRAFFE SNOW

Snow Road

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

Interesting things found on the net.

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

IfOnlyItWorkedThisWay

Hindsight

Who eats this stuff?

DeliciousBreakfast

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody | Leave a comment

Newsless Media…or…The Eye Witless News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OK…movin’ on.

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

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

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

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

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

IMG 2819

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

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

NewImage

NewImage

Interesting stuff found on the net.

This buoy…

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

I think my wife loves me.

ThinkMyWifeLovesMe

NeitherTimeNorCrayons

ManagementPotential

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging | Leave a comment

And So Long 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2019 12 31 at 11 19 35 AM

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

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

Screen Shot 2019 12 31 at 11 26 31 AM

Screen Shot 2019 12 31 at 11 26 37 AM

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

IMG 5742

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting things found on the net.

In the RV vein…there is this.

AirplaneRV

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

RockBottom

Thanks Captain Obvious.

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ExerciseWineNaked

And finally…Christmas Redneck Style.

XmasRedneckStyle

Cyas.

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