Polar Bears

Yep…that’s the subject of today’s post…but before I get to that just a few of the idiotic, stupid, ridiculous, moronic, they’re on crack statements I found in the news the past 2 days.

I’m not going to defend any of these morons…just ain’t happening…because they’re…well…morons.

AI (artificial intelligence) has been deemed to be racist. The only evidence provided was that facial recognition software doesn’t do as good a job on brown skin as it does on pink skin. The reality is that despite the best efforts of the programmers…brown skin simply has less contrast than non brown skin and thus is harder to recognize. I’m sure the developers are doing their best to improve things…but much like the demands of some in politics…you just can’t rush or legislate scientific progress.

The tech industry has “put extinction of humanity” on the table. No justification at all for this one.

Hurricane Ian was a deep state government run plot targeted against a Red state. No evidence how the deep state actually figured out how to generate and direct the path of a tropical storm provided…but like I said…morons.

Half of Americans that make over $100,000 salary per year say that they are living “paycheck to paycheck”. While this is probably true…the purchase of $70,000 to $90,000 Teslas and Hummers and other luxury vehicles…combined with sending their kids to private only schools that charge $25,000 a year for tuition and their insistence that every one of their children have $150 Nike sneakers, the latest iPhone 14 Pro, and designer clothes just might…I think…have something to do with that. The real answer is that if you have $100,000 income and are living paycheck to paycheck…you’re simply doing something wrong.

President Biden announced on Thanksgiving (or maybe the day before) that he was going to ban semi-automatic weapons…yeah, that’s what he said. Not content with the gun hater’s usual claim of “military style assault weapons” when really they mean “scary looking weapons that shoot the same ammunition as hunting rifles or target practice rifles”…he’s going to ban semi-automatic weapons. I guess that he really doesn’t understand that with the exception of revolver handguns, pump action shotguns, double barreled shotguns, and bold action rifles…which probably total 10% or 15% of all the legally owned weapons in the US today…every other weapon is a semi-automatic weapon. I guess he also doesn’t understand that the SCOTUS has already made numerous decisions on gun laws…and that he doesn’t understand “shall not be abridged”. Seems like politicians and fringe party supporters on both sides…they want zero restrictions on constitutional rights they like and maximum restrictions on ones they don’t like as much. The left talks about common sense gun laws and the right about common sense voting laws…and I have to admit that some of the suggestions on both sides really do make sense. So…rather than just use their argument as a cudgel at election time…how about the more centrist pols in both parties get together and put some of those common sense gun and voting laws into a single bill…get it passed…and get it signed. Unfortunately…both of our political parties and the vast majority of our politicians aren’t interested in doing their jobs and compromising…their most important wants are to make the other side look bad and to be automatically against whatever the other side wants.

Our former President announced today that due to the “criminal voting operation” in AZ that Ms. Lake should be installed as the governor of the state…despite the fact that she’s behind by 17,000 votes out of 2.5 million cast…and despite the fact that no evidence has been introduced that points to any voting irregularities.

President Biden has announced that he is going to outlaw “resort fees” in the US…these are those fees that hotels use to artificially inflate their prices without raising the price of the rooms that are for parking, the gym, the pool, and assorted other amenities at the hotel. While I…well, Neil and Connie do, bears aren’t allowed in almost all hotels…think resort fees are an abomination…this is another one of those useless announcements and clearly would not be held to be legal…companies selling services like hotels are free to charge whatever they want and that the customers will pay.

And in another stroke of stupidity…especially for a Democratic President because that party *always* defers to union demands and thinks that unions are the best thing since sliced bread (note, I think unions have some uses but they’re not the panacea that his party claims nor the abomination that the other party claims…the truth is a lot more nuanced than that and unions have both good and bad points). Anyways…the White House sat down with the unions and the railroads a few weeks back after the direct negotiations went nowhere…and again both the railroads and the unions have some reasonable asks in their demands…and essentially directed both sides to do what the White House said and sign the contract the White House told them to. Naturally…this did not go well with either side but more so with the union side…and the union refused. So now the President…the great protector of union jobs…is demanding that Congress pass legislation to impose a settlement on the unions and railroads. The real problem here is…well, the same as the overall political problem…neither the unions or the railroads are interested in compromising and seeing what of the other side’s wants they can accommodate but are demanding essentially “my way or the highway”…unfortunately with both sides doing this it’s what ya call an impasse…and it’s really rich that the “pro union” party is demanding that Congress impose a settlement.

Connie’s birthday is Friday……and it seems that the Air Force and Northrup Grumman have decided to give her a nice present…because that’s the day for the public rollout of the first B-21 Raider bomber…this is the next generation of the bat wing B2 stealth bomber that we currently hav in service. It looks pretty much the same but apparently it’s more stealthy and all that…and it gives the Air Force a nice new toy to spend billions of dollars per copy on. They’re planning to buy at least 100 of them and are planning for up to 250…but this is the same Air Force that originally wanted to buy the same number of B-1 bombers and stopped at 23 (I think) and at least 750 of the F-22 tRaptors before cancelling the program at 187…both of these were cancelled based on costs. The Navy doesn’t do much better…they originally wanted 32 of those and stopped at 3…and the Army has had similar grandiose plans that eventually became too expensive to accomplish. And it isn’t just the Defense department…NASA has so far spent over $23 billion to develop the Space Launch System that costs over $2 billion per copy and has essentially no reusable parts while SpaceX has launched the Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy close to 200 times with reusable boosters and capsules at a cost of about $50 million for a reused booster launch. Granted…the SLS does have a larger payload than a Falcon 9 but it’s only about 50% more and it seems like using 2 SpaceX launches and docking the parts once in orbit is way, way cheaper. Anyway…the B-21 rollout is a nice thing for them to do on her birthday…I guess.

Ok…polar bears…and yes, the reason for this topic will…eventually…become clear.

Way back in Neil’s Navy days…heck, it was actually so long ago (1984) that not only was it in the last century but it was actually in the last millennium…he worked at the office that bought heavyweight torpedoes that submarines shoot at enemy vessels and they were in the process of operational testing of the latest version…something called the Mk 48 ADCAP or advanced capabilities version…essentially an upgrade of the 1960s designed torpedo that used the same engine, fuel tank section and warhead but replaced the antiquated sonar and homing algorithms section with advanced computer controlled software and added some more sophisticated warhead detonation techniques to make it more lethal. As part of this testing…he supervised shooting a lot of these test torpedoes at an acoustic range down in the Bahamas…but because some other Cold War adversary countries operated submarines in the Arctic they needed to do some testing up under the ice in the Arctic Ocean. The Navy does an Ice Camp every other year and for the year he was involved one sub each from the Atlantic and Pacific fleets were sent up to the area about 300 miles north of the Alaska-Canada border where the camp was setup and a temporary acoustic range was constructed to track the subs and the torpedoes. I’ll have to dig through his archived photos and see if I can find some from his trip there.

Now naturally…once you get out on the ice pack north of Alaska…there are polar bears and that required that people going to the ice camp get some polar bear training.

You’ve probably heard of polar bears…they’re those white bears that eat seals up in the Arctic…but there are probably a bunch of facts about the that you’ve never really heard of.

  • Despite polar bears being white, Alaskan brown bears being brown, and grizzly bears being either black, brown or blonde depending on the individual…they’re actually pretty much the same animal genetically…but the 3 populations essentially developed in separate geographic areas so they’re basically sub-species of the same bear species…and they can all successfully mate and produce viable offspring that can reproduce with the other sub-species.
  • You probably think that polar bears are white…and I gotta admit that they do look like they’re white…but actually their skin is black and their fur is translucent like a frosted light bulb…the black skin helps them absorb the maximum amount of energy/heat from the sun and the fur color helps hide them from the seals as well as being a really good insulator.
  • You probably also think that polar bears can’t move very fast…but I gotta tell you they really do.
  • They’re also really good swimmers and can easily swim long distances…best guess is that they can do 100 kilometers or 62 miles in 4 days easily and at least one female is known to have swum 400 miles in 9 days at a pretty much constant 2 miles an hour speed since it was being tracked by a radio collar…this was a swim in open water during the summer from the coast of Alaska out to the sea ice.

As part of Neil’s polar bear training…he learned that up in the Arctic you never, never, never go anywhere unarmed…and usually you carry two weapons. The weapons of choice are .44 Magnum pistols (what Clint Eastwood used in the Dirty Harry movie series…the most powerful handgun in the world although the .50 Desert Eagle is actually more powerful) and 12 gauge pump shotguns using these special $40 apiece sabot rounds like an M1 Abrams tank shoots.

He also learned that a polar bear outside of 20 yards is not going to charge you…one inside 10 is…and one between 10 and 20 might…and that firing a warning shot for those in the 10-20 range might precipitate a charge and might scare it off. However…the training emphasized that your .44 Magnum (which Neil carried up there) only has 5 shots in it…and the shotgun only has 5 shots in it…and that if you fired a warning shot you only have 4 left…so the instruction said that whether you fired a warning shot or not was a personal decision…but he personally recommended against it.

He also learned that if you shoot at the polar bear…killing the bear is NOT the object of opening fire. The object of opening fire is to stop the charge…because if he/she gets to you…well, you lose and die. To wit…the recommendation was not to shoot the head at all…the way the bear’s skull is built means that any round will just bounce off of it. So…instead you shoot at the shoulder because if you hit there it can’t run and will fall down…thus stopping the charge which is the goal of the exercise. If you knock the bear down…you should walk around the back side and empty the rest of your rounds into the back of the head to try and kill it…then go back to camp and get more ammo. Under no circumstances should you closely approach the bear…because…many people have been killed by dead polar bears.

To emphasize the suggestion above…the instructors then played a video of some biologists from New Zealand that had been up in the Arctic back in the 1960s. They flew in via helicopter and landed on the ice to do whatever New Zealand biologists do up there…the pilot stayed in the chopper (smart man) while the 3 biologists each armed with a 6 round fully loaded .44 Magnum pistol got out to do their work…and then discovered a polar bear…who eventually charged the 3 scientists. To stop the charge…they fired all 18 rounds at the bear…and it successfully stopped the charge…but did not put the bear down. It got to within 15 feet or so (guessing based on Neil’s recollection of the video) before turning to run away because I guess those rounds hurt. 

Now every body thinks that the ice out in the ocean up there is flat…but nah, it’s not. There are these things called pressure ridges that might be 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide with almost vertical sides. The bear in the video turned and ran away from the scientists…and in the video it bounded up a nearby pressure ridge in 2 bounds with the third landing over the top in 2 or 3 seconds before it ran off. The video reported that the scientists climbed up the ridge to look for the bear and it took them 5 minutes or so to climb up and over (as compared to the 2-3 s seconds it took the bear). They did not sight the bear…but because leaving a wounded animal to suffer is a Bad Thing© as they say…they got back on the helo and followed the blood trail on the ice to find and dispatch the bear. They found it…dead…5 miles away…with somewhere between a dozen and 15 gunshot wounds…the scientists were pretty good shots as it turned out.

This is why your only goal in the charge is to stop the charge. If the bear had enough time and health that despite being wounded seriously enough that it eventually died to bound over the pressure ridge and run 5 miles before it collapsed means just one simple thing…if the charge is not stopped and the bear gets to you…then you’re dead and the fact that the bear might bleed to death later doesn’t really change that fact.

In short…polar bears are bad asses…much like grizzly bears and brown bears…Neil’s seen 2 of the 3 in person and Connie’s seen grizzlies and they hope to eventually get up to Churchill in Manitoba to see polar bears…but I digress.

I thought about pulling up some old shots from their Alaska trip of brown and grizzly bears but decided not to…call me lazy I guess.

Interesting things found on the net.

StopThatDoris

So…looking up at night…assuming you’re in a dark area of the world without light pollution and no moon…just how many cars can you see. Well…if you discount the Andromeda galaxy (our closest neighbor galaxy) because you really can’t see it with the naked eye…you can see a maximum of about 9.100 stars…all of which are in the Milky Way galaxy in which we reside…but how many is this actually. Well…it’s about 0.0004% of all the stars in the Milky Way…and you can see zero stars (with the naked eye) in any other galaxy. To illustrate how few this actually is…these are all the stars you can see…most of the stars in the Milky Way are in the central core and you can’t see any of them.

TheStarsWeCanSee

Out in Arizona just outside the city of Page there’s a place called the Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River…you’ve seen plenty of pictures it and Neil/Connie were there back in their RVing days…but this shot sorta shows you how tall it really is. The river is about 1,000 feet below the rim which is reached by about a 1.5 mile round trip hike from the parking lot. Neil’s actually stood right at the edge just about where this shot was taken from and there is no fence at all…nothing except common sense preventing you from walking right off the edge (note, he stayed a few feet back because he’s got plenty of common sense). In the main shot…you can see the little white dot the arrow is point to and the inset shot shows the about 18 or 20 foot both that the little white dot actually is. And it’s pretty much a straight down drop…if you fell off you would bounce off the cliff about halfway (500 feet) down before hitting the river. It’s a pretty cool place and if you’re ever in Page AZ…I highly recommend stopping by.

HorseshoeBendBoat

They need to give the subtitle person a pay raise here…

SubtitlePersonPayRaise

And finally…I did promise you I would get back to why the polar bear was the subject of this post…so saving the best for last.

The largest polar bear ever recorded…was shot at Kotzebue Sound in Alaska in 1960. They didn’t weight it at the time but later calculations estimated it’s weight at 1,002 kilograms or 2,204 pounds and once it was mounted in a standing position it was 3.39 meters or 11 foot 1 inch tall. Now I’ll grant you that it’s mounted on a pedestal for display…but looking at the right side of the image the pedestal is only about knee high on the man standing there…so that’s one big dadgum bear…heck, he even puts me to shame. Back when Neil flew through the Anchorage airport on the way to Deadhorse where he got on the flight out to the ice pack (Deadhorse is the actual name of the town that most people think of as Prudhoe Bay…it’s on the northern coast about 2/3 of the way from west to east)…there was a different mounted polar bear in the terminal except that one’s arms were raised over it’s head rather than being down like this one…and standing on the floor he was not tall enough to reach the forward paws…and that one is smaller than this one is.

By contrast…the world record grizzly bear was shot near Fairbanks and was about 1,200 pounds and 9 feet tall and the world record brown bear is about 1,500 pounds but height wasn’t specified…and the brown was taken by a bow hunter which is pretty darned amazing as well.

UntitledImage

Pro tip…don’t mess with no polar bear…because he’s the meanest SOB in the valley.

Cyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Learn Something New, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | 2 Comments

Gridlock

Yeah…that, and the “it was fine when we did it but not when you do it” attitude of our politicians is about it.

Before that though…and update on us.

When last I posted, I neglected to talk about Connie’s performance with the Fort Myers Mastersingers and the Gulf Coast Symphony. On Sunday 11/13 the symphony did a benefit concert to raise money for folks that were rendered homeless by the hurricane. Neil had a nice seat in the orchestra section and Connie had an afternoon dress rehearsal. Since it’s about 30 miles down to there from the house…he went along with her and sat in the Green Room (backstage area where performers gather before a performance…and in this case it was actually painted green) but it was cold enough in there to hang a side of beef so he was glad when the rehearsal was over. We headed over to a nearby place to grab dinner…the University Grill as the concert hall is on the campus of Florida Southwest University…Neil had a couple of Old Fashioned cocktails and Connie a single glass of wine as she was singing. Neil had a gourmet burger and I can’t remember what Connie had. Once dinner was done we headed back to the concert hall…Connie had her performing dress and heels in the car so she changed in the concert hall and he put her other stuff back in the car…then he headed out to the lobby to wait on doors opening.

The concert was…mostly…a pops type concert with a lot of Broadway tunes and included both the Mastersingers and a pair of local singers…a soprano and a tenor who both sang movie/Broadway tunes. The Mastersingers selections were a variety of slightly more classical pieces and the concert was topped off by the 4th movement…well, parts of it anyway…of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony which is also known as the Choral Symphony and includes the text of the poem Ode to Joy by Friedrich Schiller. You’ve heard both the tune and the singing a bunch of times but may not recognize the words…but then they’re in German so that’s not really surprising I guess.

The entire symphony takes ab out 70 minutes to perform and the 4th movement which is the only one the soloist (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass) and chorus participate in is about 25 minutes out of that…so since the audience was mostly not a classical music audience but a pops audience they severely limited (i.e., cut out the preparatory parts) the movement down to about 5 or 6 minutes…essentially they started the movement at the point where the entire chorus (there were no soloists for this part) comes with the triumphant ending section which still takes about 5-6 minutes. 

A good time was had by all…and money was raised for those hurt by Hurricane Ian…and we headed home afterwards.

The remainder of the week…as I previously discussed last time…was pretty much a bunch o’ nuttin’. Connie had another Mastersingers concert on Wednesday night…mostly it was the sub-group attached to them called the Intermezzo Group which is composed of folks with Alzheimers so they sing mostly simpler songs. The Mastersingers helped them in a couple of songs…and the concert was at a local Presbyterian Church that is completely round and has brick walls. The Intermezzo group was up near the sanctuary area and the Mastersingers were around the rest of the outside of the circle…and with the 3 dozen or so Mastersingers there and the brick walls the sound was pretty darned spectacular…especially in the couple of songs they did that were sort of a round kinda thing (like row, row, row your boat of kid’s groups) with a lot of contrasting layers.

We had dental cleaning appointments on Thursday…yay.

Sunday was Neil and Connie’s 46th wedding anniversary so they went out to a place down south a ways named Deep Lagoon. They had cocktails, wine, and essentially a series of small plates from the appetizer menu…raw oysters, bacon wrapped scallops, lobster bisque (Neil) and clam chowdah (Connie) before finishing dinner with oysters Rockefeller with spinach and cheese and garlic. They sat at the bar…naturally, they almost always do that because you meet a much better class of bum sitting at the bar as Neil says…and then headed home where we had a couple of chocolate lava cake sort of things heated up in the microwave to make them lava like again then he added chocolate and butterscotch syrup and whipped cream. They both thought it was an excellent dinner and an even more excellent anniversary celebration.

Ok…on to gridlock.

With the Republicans in charge in the House and the Democrats in the Senate without a filibuster proof majority…and a Democrat in the White House…we can look forward to no real changes in anything for the next two years. Of course…the House will investigate Hunter Biden and the Democrats will claim that it’s just a political witch hunt…which truth be known it’s probably not…and the Senate will try and impose ethics requirements on the SCOTUS…which truth be known probably isn’t within their constitutionally granted powers and would not be approved by the House anyway…and both sides will spend the next two years pointing fingers and blaming the other side.

Meanwhile…fixing the issues facing the country…which include the imminent bankruptcy of both the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, the economy, foreign policy, abortion, and the myriad of other political issues that neither side agrees on but are of importance to the majority of voters who are mostly in the center instead of being out on the fringes…just ain’t gonna happen.

I see today that the likely incoming Speaker of the House says that he will bar some of the most strident Democrats from their desired committee positions…and naturally the Democrats are all butt hurt over that. Seems to me that the Democrats did the exact same thing to Marjorie Taylor Green (who is admittedly a total moron and idiot) and with the Jan 6 Select Committee…but Democrat leadership says that isn’t the same thing…the Republicans are engaging in political bias and islamophobia while they were just taking committee assignments away from insurrectionists…and the Republicans say the exact opposite things.

In reality…the Republicans are playing politics now that they’re in the House majority…just like the Democrats did when they were in the majority…and in reality neither of them are paragons of virtue. Denying duly elected people committee memberships is just stupid…but at least in this particular situation the Republicans are just responding in kind to what happened when they were in the minority. That isn’t right…but it’s the way politics is these days.

I’m pretty disgusted with the whole lot of them…very few of them are either honest or care about getting things done or doing their jobs…and that goes for both sides who are essentially held hostage to the extreme members of their caucus. Most people are more towards the middle of the spectrum politically and either left of or right of…but are mostly center. Unfortunately…the wacko extremists on *both* sides rule the roost and the primaries and we end up with shitty candidates from both parties in the general election to a large extent.

No photos this time…but a couple of Interesting things found on the net.

AskNot

We are gathered here today for…

WeAreGatheredHereToday

Count me in!!

CountMeIn

Thanks Captain Obvious.

ThanksCaptainObvious

ThanksCaptainObvious2

This kid gets it.

ThisKidGetsIt

NinjaTurtleSearch

So…what’s in the bag then?

SoWhatsInTheBag

Cyas.

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

Another Month Gone By

…and heck, I really wish I had something to report on life.

Unfortunately…the Fun Stuff© bank has been pretty empty the last while but as they say…it is what it is…and I got what I got…so here ya go.

After surviving Ian…we then had another storm…Nicole…but it came in over on the eastern coast of Florida, passed north of us, back out to sea in the Gulf temporarily but it paralleled the coastline and then made landfall again north of Cedar Key someplace before heading on up into GA, the Carolinas and essentially petered out. It was pretty much a bust here in North Fort Myers though…winds got to maybe 25 or 30 and we had a little rain but…again…not nearly what one would expect for a storm…this one was Cat 1 and then Tropical Storm once it made initial landfall. Daytona Beach and surrounding areas got pretty beat up at least along the beach though but Neil’s blogging buddy over in New Smyrna Beach had pretty much nothing where they are.

Our reaction to the second storm was pretty much the same as this pizza place though (this image goes better here but it’s really part of the “interesting things found on the net’ section)

HurricaneOfTheMonth

As I may…or then again, maybe not…talked about before…Connie is going to be in a choral tour group to London next summer. They’re going to do a concert led by John Rutter who is like the Arthur Fiedler of the choral world…she says he’s a big deal but to Neil he’s just another Tunesmith©. In combination with that we’re working on some Fun Stuff over in the UK…looks like Wales, Yorkshire Dales, and Lakes Districts as of now…and we’re going to…we think…work in a Saint Saëns Symphony #3 “Organ” concert as well.

Our Elks lodge has been closed for over 2 months now. It wasn’t Ian that did it…membership voted to move because of the high rent they were paying. The story to members of the whys and wherefores kept changing along with the financial concerns…but they’re moving into a new location highly recommended by and promoted by one of our local politically minded members. In addition…it doesn’t appear that everything was carefully thought out ahead of time as the new building remodeling is done but they’re still waiting on permits and liquor licenses and such before reopening. We haven’t been involved in any of it but at least from the sorta outside it doesn’t seem like things have gone as smoothly as they could have. Hopefully not too much longer…Ian may…or then again may not…have contributed to the delay.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and we’re having smoked duck breast with maple cream cream sauce and a couple of side dishes and desserts that we picked up from some of the cooking shows we watch.

Connie went to the Ladies of Elks district meeting yesterday and was officially elected and/or sworn in as the Senior Delegate. That means she gets to vote on stuff at the statewide meeting and probably some to her stuff that I don’t know about. Here’s a snapshot of her…and her spiffy new (well, additional really) gavel. She’s already got her local chapter’s gavel as she’s currently the President…so I guess she can pound on the desk with both hands now.

IMG 2698

Now that the weather is getting a little cooler…the wildlife is starting to make a little more presence at the pond out back…and Neil even saw a Roseate Spoonbill around the corner on his bike ride the other day but he had no camera so no picture of that.

We thought that after Election Day the other week that all of the name calling, blaming the other side, misinformation, and outright lies would stop…but nah…it didn’t happen. I guess it will never end…and Neil still thinks that his idea for elections should become a constitutional amendment. He says that whenever there’s an election that in addition to the various candidates that “None of the above” should be on the ballot…and if None wins then there has to be a new election…and none of those original candidates can run again. That way we might get rid of some of the idiots on both sides and maybe…just maybe…get some government people that believe in doing their job and compromising to get good things done for we, the people. All I’ve seen so far is that being against whatever the other guy wants and making the other guy look bad is the primary goal of just about every one of our ‘leaders’.

We did get a couple different Tricolor herons…

DZ97199 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 7083 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

And a Great Blue Heron this norming…it was about 60 degrees so it was sorta fluffed up and hunched down to stay warm.

DZ97195 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

And one of our resident gators showed up yesterday.

DZ9 7124 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

That’s about it for wildlife though.

Interesting things found on the net.

In our ever popular Bad Ass of the Week category…

An
8 year old named Deepak in India
was playing in the back yard when this snake bit him…(well, not actually exactly *this* snake but the same species).

Cobra

Yep…a King Cobra. Luckily it was a dry bite which means that the snake doesn’t inject any venom…this is apparently a thing for snakes since venom is produced very slowly and they don’t want to waste any. Anyways…what makes the kid a Bad Ass is that he bit it back and killed it.

The second entrant for this category today is this pig…

OnlyInAustralia

And the third entrant…

BadAss2

MoreFoodFromTheOcean

 

Tobleronistan

They recently renamed a school in New Orleans and…amazingly enough…they asked the public to vote on it (why would they do this after recent history of public choosing names I dunno)…and these were the top vote getters. It didn’t say what the school board actually chose.

RenameTheSchool

At the Coventry Cathedral…in the UK I presume…they want to be inclusive and welcome all their visitors…it says so right here on their sign.

CoventryCathedralWelcome

And only in Russia.

AnOrdinaryDayInRussia

PrehistoricGoogling

And finally…just in case you have trouble finding the state of Kentucky on the map…somebody has put together a little explanation of how to do so.

FindingKentucky

Cyas.

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

Dun……Dun……

In the internet world the people are represented by two separate but equally important groups…the idiots who say stupid things on the internet and the folks with a clue who are responsible for ridiculing them. These are their stories.

You’ve probably…well if you’ve watched the boob tube anytime since 1990 and seen any of the various incarnations of Dick Wolf’s show…seen and heard that line…and you’ve probably read about how their stories are “ripped from the headlines”.

So…today’s post will offer up a few of those loony tune stories…and being an equal opportunity user of the clue stick…race, gender, political party or any other way you can categorize people is irrelevant…today’s stories are just about idiots. As Neil has noted on several occasions…you just can’t make this sh** up.

Storm wise…we’re pretty much back to normal. Our two downed trees are…mostly…gone…and the remains removed. The landscaping folks still need to do the stump grinding part and the putting down sod part of the fix but they’re concentrating on getting the heavy debris and dangerous trees gone first then they’ll be back around to do the rest. We also need to still get our lanai screen fixed but that’s probably going to be awhile since about 100,000 of our closest friends need the same sort of repair. And since we lost almost all of our shrubbery out front…we’re going to put in some earth tone gravel instead of mulch out there and either new, more storm resistant plants or perhaps just some lawn decorations of some sort…we haven’t fully decided yet. Of course…being in a community with an HoA…we have to get approval for all of that…so Neil submitted the online application today for the gravel and new shrubs, of which there’s an already approved list to choose from.

Ok…on to our idiots of the week…each and every one of these stories came straight from the keyboards of our ‘journalists’…and believe me, journalism is today almost an extinct profession. Back in the day…Walter Cronkite told us the news without commentary because in his words “that’s the way it is”…and the man never, ever let his personal biases impact on his reporting of the facts and news. He was actually pretty darned far left politically and was pretty socialist in outlook…but you simply couldn’t tell it by his wording on the CBS Evening News. Today…journalism is about dead…almost every one of the so called journalists we have today are really political commentators on one side or the other and the facts aren’t really relevant to them professing their desired point of view and/or outcome. Add in the tendency of media on both sides to deliberately mis-state whatever facts they actually provide or to insinuate they’re really worse than they actually are by their choice of wording…and I guess almost everybody would agree that journalism is a lost art.


This person
…reports that they make $350K per year but because they have $88K in student loans, $170K in car loans, and a 4,500 per month mortgage that they’re living paycheck to paycheck and simply need help and financial advise to survive. Now I dunno about you…but I find it hard to feel sorry for a person with a $350K annual income who says they’re broke. A pair of cars costing $85K each…mebbe they shoulda got cheaper cars instead of Teslas? And how about buying a cheaper house…or perhaps establishing and sticking to a budget?

Out in Michigan…
this mother
…apparently had some discussions with her local school board over their remote learning during the pandemic. Her son has special needs and his GPS went from 3.5 down to 1.5 during the shutdown…so she was advocating for returning to in-person schooling. According to the article…the author has seen the zoom recordings and emails and finds nothing threatening in them…but nonetheless the school board retaliated by contacting her employer and the Justice Department for her ‘threats’. 

I know you’ve all read about those horrible conservatives trying to suppress the vote…but it turns out that the
State Supreme Court in Delaware
has tossed out…unanimously…a new state law that allows same day voter registration and extends vote by mail to every registered voter. The court said simply that the law violates the state constitution…so don’t you think that perhaps the legislature would have thought about that and researched it before passing an unconstitutional law? Naturally one party in the suit there is happy that the court followed the state constitution and the other side (that lost) is decrying the limitations on the right to vote. Seems to me that any legislature that passes and any governor that signs a clearly unconstitutional law…well, they are just morons.


Out in the PRC
…a man named Phillip White has filed a class action suit against Winston-Salem NC based TW Garner Food Company who makes a product you may have heard of…Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Turns out that this stuff is actually made in NC…but because it’s got a star on the label as well as a lassoing cowboy…not to mention the name…anyways old Phillip has been woefully wronged by the fact that it’s not actually made in Texas…but he thinks if they give him a lot of money he can be made whole.

Over in
Italy
…the incoming government has stated they will crack down on border security and illegal immigration…because it’s the law of the land over there. The Pope however…has declared this action to be criminal according to the article. Seems like following the law is the exact opposite of criminal…but what do I know.


Another one for out in the PRC
…and this one is obviously designed for people that already have everything and have way too much disposable income…digital license plates. Yes…apparently your standard painted metal plate is no longer adequate for the Tesla crowd…so you can now have a digital license plate…for the mere price of another $215 a year in addition to your normal license fees.


CVS
…yes, the drug store chain…has decided to reduce the price of menstrual products by 25% to…you guessed it…but then actually you probably didn’t actually guess it…combat the dreaded “tampon tax” that Texas has…or at least one might think that based on then article headline. On actual reading of the article…it turns out that in the state of Texas menstrual product purchase incur sales tax just like most other things you buy in the state. Now this isn’t a “tampon tax” at all but just your normal everyday sales tax. But never mind that…something called the Texas Menstrual Equity Coalition…anyways they want the state to stop charging sales tax on these products and instead classify the products as “wound care products” on which one does not pay any sales tax. Now I understand that in some cases a state may choose to not charge sales tax on certain classes of goods…and really that is a matter that individual state legislatures are have authority in…see the section in the Constitution about ‘all others not granted to the federal government are retained by the states’…but really…classifying menstrual products as ‘wound care’? Now granted Ima boar and now a sow…so I have essentially no need for these products…but I’m pretty sure that most humans of the feminine persuasion would not classify their ‘that time of the month’ as a wound. Pain in the butt…sure…but not a wound. Mebbe there should be a counter organization established in Texas…maybe the Texas Condom Equity Coalition…I dunno.

And the last one for today come from the
state of PA
…and I really have trouble understanding why they have such a hard time following the actual law. Now…like it or not…state election rules are (according to the constitution) delegated to the states to establish with the exception that Congress may levy additional requirements (which they have not done in this case). And like it or not…the state legislature established long ago a requirement that mail in ballots must be properly dated and signed on the outer envelope. For state elections officials to follow this law is…completely legal in this case…and the requirement is not aimed at voter suppression…it is simply a requirement that your mail in ballot be signed and dated or else it will not be counted. Now despite this requirement…during the pandemic somebody decided that the requirement was an extraneous administrative requirement and therefore was not required to be followed. I’m not sure how whoever decided this figured that they personally had the ability to direct elections to NOT FOLLOW THE LAW…but they did. Naturally…lawsuits ensued and both the state Supreme Court and the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the state was not required to FOLLOW THE LAW…which seems insane to me. If the law is constitutional then it must be obeyed until it is repealed…that’s the way the law works. And naturally…this decision was appealed to the US Supreme Court who ruled that the case is moot and that the state should…umm…follow the darned law as written. Not to be dismayed by this…the acting secretary of state in PA has directed local elections officials to disregard both the US Supreme Court, the law, and the US Constitution which says that election laws are to be established by the legislature. Nuts I tellya.

I’m actually just fine with mail in ballots…and frankly don’t care if a state allows everyone to use one regardless of reason…but making sure that the ballot is properly executed in accordance with state law and that rules are in place to ensure that each citizen votes once and only once…seems perfectly reasonable to me. State elections officials telling their subordinates to simply ignore the law rather than getting the legislature to repeal or change the law is just nuts…but then at least to those of us in the middle the far left isn’t interested in following the law as written but in getting their way…but then to be fair the far right seems to have the same view. Me…I think the law is the law and the constitution is the constitution and they say what they say…and if you don’t like what they say there are legally established methods of changing either the law or the constitution…and insisting that it’s “too hard to do it the right way” is just insane.

See…I toldya ya couldn’t make this up…

Ok…on to interesting things found on the net.

IranianMarineRadioComms

So…guess what this…

MusicalNoteSkiers

Yeah…I know what it looks like…but it is actually not a picture of some musical notes…it’s a drone shot taken from directly overhead of some cross country skiers either early in the morning or late in the afternoon so there shadows are really long. Once you know that…then it’s pretty easy to figure out that’s what it really is.

Well…except for the guy who actually wondered what the music the notes the skiers were making would sound like…which
you can find here
.

Somebody…had a really, really bad day here.

AReallyBadDay

Lockers in a Roman Catholic school.

CstholicSchoolLockers

And over in Utrecht, The Netherlands…there’s a building named the Stationsplein which has…
12,500 parking places
…for bicycles.

FaceLift

GrilledChicken

Neil thought this one was interesting…it shows all of the river basins in the US and the areas they drain…the Mississippi and it’s tributaries are by far the largest.

USRiverBasins

This is the control room of the German submarine UB-101…it was a WWI class boat ab out 175 feet long and 500 tons in displacement. The little hatch is the opening to the periscope well where the CO went to aim his torpedoes. There aren’t that many valves in a nuclear submarine control room…and today the valves are numbered and color coded to help identify what is what.

UB 101SubControlRoom

SelfEmployed

CommasSaveLives

And finally…one from our recent storm down here in FL. Our trusty weather woman…Kyla Galer from station WBBH in Fort Myers was out in the story doing her live shot thing…and decided she needed to keep her microphone dry.

UntitledImage

An anchor back in the studio for another station WZVN…Jeff Butera…tweeted her picture and wondered just what that was on her microphone.

Kyla’s response…it’s a condom…nothing better to waterproof your microphone.

Cyas.

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

Finally!!

Yep…Neil finally got off his recliner and worked on processing photos from our last trip…so I can *finally* update ya’ll on that trip.

Quick hurricane recovery catchup first though.

Power continues to come back in the area…but recovery is essentially in two different categories. There’s the ‘we can fix this pretty easy’ category and based on reports we see on the news most of these people should be back by the middle of next week or so. Then there’s the ‘there is no infrastructure left or there are no habitable homes and businesses in the area’ category (like the barrier islands…in those cases the poles and wires are all down and the substations are damaged or destroyed. Power companies keep some spare parts for all of that of course…but they don’t have enough to rebuild 50% of the substations or replace 50% of the poles immediately…and you can’t run down to Home Depot and get those things. They’ll be shipped in from other states or the people who make the components but that will be a longer term fix and those areas are basically uninhabitable anyway currently.

Water is up though all of Lee County but we’re still under boil water notice…that means you can shower but anything you’re eating off of or using water for cooking needs to be boiled first…this is more of a pain in the butt than an actual problem.

Sewer is up but not all lift stations are fully back up…so we’re still being asked to minimize sewage usage and only do laundry as necessary.

Groceries and gas are available…not everywhere yet but there’s enough stores open that feeding yourself is pretty easy…we went to Publix the other day and it was reasonably crowded but not packed and register lines were short to non existent…but then they had more registers open than normal. Food supplies on the shelves were pretty good…some were sold out but plenty of toilet paper, bread, and bottled water on them and that’s what usually runs out first in the panic buying phase.

Here at Casa de Gunther…we’re basically back to normal…power, water and sewer all working and we have plenty of food, wine, and chocolate. Removal of our dead tree is on the schedule of the landscaping folks so that just leaves the lanai screens and we’ll be a bit before that happens I think. The only drawback to that delay is we can’t open up our lanai doors for breeze but there’s two large windows adjacent to them that we can open so we’re about 80% on the breeze availability scale. We can grill and cook outside if we want and Date Nite is on for this evening as eateries are coming back online with the power restoration.

Ok…back to our previous trip.

We left here 2 weeks ago yesterday and headed up to Daytona Beach for the semi-annual Ladies of Elks convention. That’s mostly meetings for Connie but there was a dinner on Friday we had tickets to and the delegates reception on Saturday that she was also invited to with Neil as her +1. He however…didn’t have much to do so he planned a trip on Friday out to Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island NWR again…about 40 miles away. He originally had a trip over to a Lake on the schedule for Saturday morning but that is ab out 80 miles away and the other side of Orlando so he decided to punt that one rather than deal with the traffic…which meant he got to sleep in on Saturday a little later.

We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel right on the beach.

IMG 3388

It was pretty nice and the convention rate even covered the $15 a day parking fee at the self park lot across the street. 

The dinner Friday night was OK but not outstanding…pretty much what you expect from most banquet dinners. They both had the beef short ribs which were better than expected but the mashed taters and gravy were just OK. Desert was chocolate cake which was also pretty good…so I’ll reverse my previous ruling and call it a better than average banquet dinner.

Saturday evening came and we headed down to the Hospitality Suite area for cocktail hour before the delegate reception. When Connie got into the elevator one of her high heels got stuck in the crack between the elevator and the floor and she landed on one knee…and worse than that spilled her wine. There was a bellman in the elevator who helped catch her and along with Neil got her back up…he said it was only wine so no worries. She was then…naturally…embarrassed and unhappy so they sat down on a couch for a bit waiting on the reception to start.

IMG 4070

As you can see from the photo…she’s less than fully happy at this point. Neil stuck his ‘formal hat’ (i.e., what he wears in lieu of his baseball caps when they’re not appropriate) on her and told her it actually looked pretty good on her…she wasn’t convinced but on further review he still thinks it looks good on her.

Once the reception started we grabbed some food and a complimentary cocktail and sat down with a couple of friends. The hostess of the reception is the new state president of the Ladies of Elks…and every year the president picks a couple of colors and a symbol to represent her time in office…in this case the colors (for the outgoing president) were fuchsia and yellow…hence the reason she picked this dress for the reception. The incoming symbol was a rocket ship…which as you’ll see in a minute was quite apropos.

Shortly after we sat down to munch on the terrace overlooking the beach…Neil spotted a fire in the sky to the south.

IMG 4071

Yep…it’s a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch at about a minute and 15 seconds after launch (he’s watched a lot of these recently)…at that point it’s going about 3,000 miles per hour at an altitude of 100,000 feet or so and climbing on the first stage booster. We asked…well Connie did anyway…the incoming president if she arranged this just for us, she said no but would take credit for it anyway.

Connie got another shot…this one is zoomed in more and about 15 or 20 seconds after the one above so it’s probably getting on towards 7,000 mph and 200,000 feet, by this point it was almost due east of us and maybe 30 miles or so offshore.

IMG 3401 2 Edit

Shortly after that…a couple things that happen in quick succession about 2:15 after launch. First stage engine cutoff, stage separation and ignition of the second stage followed shortly by ejection of the two fairing halves that cover the payload…about 15 or 20 seconds for all of that to happen. She got a shot of that too.

IMG 3413 2 Edit

Looking at the above shot you can see the cutoff location of the booster just at center as the rocket travels to the left…then the exhaust of the second stage after it ignited. At the far left of the exhaust trail you can see…starting from the4 front…the second stage engine exhaust, the two really faint dots immediately to it’s right are the fairing halves, and the single brighter dot right of them is the booster as it starts to orient itself for recovery on the drone ship off of Jacksonville. The booster coasts up to about 65 miles high before starting back down and does a first reentry burn to slow its from 7,000 mph or so down to about 5,500 then air drag slows it most of the rest of the way down as it reenters the atmosphere’s denser sections. Then about 20 seconds before landing it fires one engine (out of 9) again to bring it from about 300 mph at 4,000 feet or so to a landing on the drone ship…it’s then returned to report and after a brief maintenance period it’s used again. This is what makes a SpaceX launch so much cheaper (about $150 million less the payload) than anything else that is launched…the Atlas rockets that the ULA uses are ab out $300 million less payload or the $2.5 billion or so (less payload) that the SLS or Space Launch System being developed by NASA costs. The SLS is the Artemis you see on the news which uses a single tank like the space shuttle did plus a solid booster on each side with all the payload atop the fuel tank. Cost and reusability are the reason for SpaceX’s cheaper cost per launch and for the 40th or so launch they’ve had this year with a 55 by the end of the year…in fact they’ve launched 2 in the last 3 days and have another one scheduled for this evening.

The fairing, 2nd stage, and booster are kinda hard to see in the shot above so here’s a better crop…sorry all of these are such low resolution but they’re all iPhone shots and are fairly well zoomed in…and phones are excellent for a lot of images but telephoto lenses they’re not. You and see the 2nd stage at left better…the two fairing half dots one over the other just in the middle, and the booster at the right…all clustered towards the left hand end of the exhaust plume.

IMG 3413 2 Edit copy

That was the excitement for the evening though. We finished the reception and a good time was had by all…and Connie was in a better mood afterwards.

OK…shifting back one day to Friday morning…they got up at about 0530 and Neil left just about 0600 so that he would be at the wildlife drive just about for 0712 sunrise which is when it opens. He stopped by a Krispy Kreme donut place they had spotted on the way into Daytona Beach and grabbed himself a pair of glazed donuts…the Hot light was on which means the donuts are still hot from frying and a hot Krispy Kreme glazed is guaranteed the best donut you’ve ever eaten in your life…war, soft, and very light compared to most glazed donuts…something about the way they make the batter I guess. He got a cup of coffee as well and poured it in his travel mug which he had previously charged with creamer and headed on down the road. He arrived right on time and set off on the drive.

Right away…wildlife started showing up…first up was this Little Blue Heron.

DZ9 6809 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Followed shortly but this Tricolor Heron…I wouldn’t have put this one in since it was sort of hiding behind some reeds…but it’s the beginning of this sequence where one of his friends/competitors/whatever decided that it wanted to be where the first one was.

DZ9 6816 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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He then turned to the right…and although this is a not a great shot overall since it’s completely behind him…Neil likes the symmetry between the bird and the reflection.

DZ9 6845 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Another Tricolor and then a Little Blue a little farther along.

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And another Tricolor…guess he had an itch he needed to scratch.

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He stopped at the parking area and got a couple of nice sunrise shots…these are about 20 minutes after sunrise. All of these were taken within about 5 minutes or so but he varied the focal length and the processing a bit to get some different looks…the last one is the most true to the morning one but he likes the other interpretations as well.

DZ9 6886 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 6882 NEF DxO DeepPRIME Edit

DZ9 6882 NEF DxO DeepPRIME Edit Edit Edit

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Leaving the parking area he spotted a couple of Reddish Egrets off to the west. They were hunting but not in the usual manner for a Reddish. Usually they spread their wings to provide some shade that attracts the fish…it makes them look like they’re dancing and you’ve seen some of his shots of that behavior before. Here’s what that behavior looks like.

Z72 3240 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Not this pair though…they’re hunting much more like a Great Blue or Great Egret does. Neil thinks it’s because of the low light just after sunrise so there’s no way for it to cast the normal shadow so it reverts to a different hunting style temporarily.

DZ9 6925 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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This one isn’t using the normal feeding behavior…it’s just scratching an itch.

DZ9 6956 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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Stopping at the second parking area where the bathrooms are…he spotted a Green Heron just about 10 feet away off of the path. Pay carefully notice to the obvious fact that Green Herons are pretty short necked for wading birds…they’re almost always seen looking like this…but jus’ hold on a sec’.

DZ9 6987 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

After leaving the parking area he spotted this Great Egret…unfortunately back lit but it is what it is…and he got a little feather glow around the edges.

DZ9 6973 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

So…a sec is up…and here’s another Green Heron…different individual but same species. This sequence took about 2 seconds to happen…thank goodness for 12 frames per second on his Nikon Z9 body so he could pick the climactic moments in the breakfast grab.

DZ9 7036 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 7057 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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DZ9 7057 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Hmmm…Green Herons actually have pretty long necks but they keep them retracted most of the time but the length makes this strike sequence to catch prey a lot easier. Neil couldn’t tell if it was successful or not but it flew off right after this and a Tricolor Heron took over the spot…so it must have been a prime buffet location I reckon as this was about 4 or 5 feet to the left of where the Green Heron left from.

DZ9 7074 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

He left that spot and drove around the corner. Stopped the car and started to get out to look at something to see if was anything.

Pro Tip…when stopping the car on the road through the swamp and you’re about 2 feet max above water level and the driver’s door is about 3 feet from the water…always, always, always…look before you open the door.

He didn’t do that…and when he popped the door open and put his foot out there was this tremendous splash right next to his driver’s door…twas a gator and based on the splash size it was probably 7 or 8 feet long…he probably scared the crap out of it because it certainly scared the crap out of him. 

Finally…a bit down the road he spotted this Moorhen.

DZ9 7020 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

That left about 3 miles or so on the drive…but the sun was now well up…the golden hour light was gone…and there wasn’t anything to see in those miles because there never is on that part of the drive. He’s not sure if there’s never anything there or if it’s just a matter that it’s 90 minutes or so after sunrise and they’ve all eaten and gone to roost for the day…but he’s never been willing to pass up opportunities on the early part of the drive on the off chance that he’ll find something later on…bird in hand ya know as they say.

He finished up the last of the drive and headed back to the hotel for shower, lunch, and nap before the dinner on Friday evening.

In between all of the Ladies of Elks stuff we observed that Ian was heading up across the west end of Cuba and as of Sunday morning it was aimed at the coast north of Cedar Key but almost every update moved the landfall prediction east and south…so we decided to punt the trip to Tuscaloosa for an organ symphony concert, NC to visit friends Bill and Linda, VA to see Alex and the kids, and NJ for Connie’s 50th high school reunion…and instead head home to put the hurricane shutters up…and the rest of the storm I’ve already reported on.

Interesting things found on the net.

This just in from this morning…apparently banning gasoline powered cars and natural gas and all the other dumb ass laws I talked about last time (or maybe the time before…whatevers)…out in the PRC they’ve also banned parking spaces

Yep…parking spaces…according to another new law cities, counties, or towns are prohibited from requiring developers to provide a minimum number of parking spots for any new construction…but only if the building is within a half mile of a transit station or bus line…or in other words just about everywhere that’s not out in the country. I guess that promoting mass transit is a good idea in theory…and it is for trains or subways but taking the bus (or buses) to work and back would easily turn a half hour to 45 minutes each way commute into 2-3 hours and nobody is going to want to do that instead of drive. Besides…since they’ve banned gasoline powered cars and expect everybody to buy a Tesla…where are those people supposed to park? But…it’s the PRC…and you can never, ever accuse them of thinking before acting because making a politically correct policy decision without researching the facts is way more important than actually governing the place in any manner that makes sense.

So…last time we talked about Jerk, Snap, Crackle, and Pop…so today we’re going to talk about a Shake…and well…this wasn’t actually found on the net, Neil learned it from his days dealing with nuclear power and nuclear weapons in his days in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club driving submarines.

Ya need a brief discussion about nuclear weapons first though. They contain either uranium or plutonium and that material is generally shaped into a sphere and surrounded with high explosives. The explosives are set off at exactly the same time so that the bang compresses the fissile material equally toward the center…and at the same time the force of the explosives starts moving outward toward the casing of the bomb…with about a quarter or maybe half inch between the explosives and the inner side of the case. But remember…physics happens way, way, way faster than shock waves do. Shortly after the bang goes off the uranium or plutonium reaches critical mass and the fissioning process starts. Each fission produces additional neutrons which go on to cause more fissions…and the time between each fission cycle in the chain reaction is about 10 to the minus 17 power seconds. When you do the math…it turns that in about 30 nanoseconds the entire fission process is complete…and all of the energy of the explosion has been produced already but the bomb case is still intact because in 30 nanoseconds (10 to the minus ninth seconds) the shock wave from the high explosive has only traveled about about 0.007 millimeters or the thickness of a couple sheets of paper. See…told ya that physics happened really fast. 

Now a lot of this energy is gamma rays and neutrons and other radiation types so the casing of the bomb actually gets broken and/or vaporized by the light speed radiation rather than by the excruciatingly slow (compared to the speed of light) speed of the shock wave from the high explosive.

The physicists who figured all of this out decided to have a little fun…so they invented a unit of time called a Shake…and defined it as 10 nanoseconds. When asked years later why they did this…one of them replied that it was so when somebody asked them how long the ‘nuclear part’ of the bang took they could say it only took “Three Shakes of a lamb’s tail”.

BTW, the pressure at the center of the uranium or plutonium sphere (which is normally hollow) approaches 100 million degrees and the pressure is about 1 million million million PSI…so if this was a hydrogen or fusion bomb then just before the high explosive goes off some Deuterium and Tritium (which are hydrogen isotopes) gets injected into the hollow center and the really high pressure and temperature causes those to fuse into helium…and the fusion process is about as much faster than the fission process as fission is compared to high explosives…again physics happens really fast.

In summary…the high explosive in the bomb is probably 100 pounds maximum…no idea really but it isn’t much In a fission only bomb like was used during WWII…all of the energy comes from fission. But in a hydrogen or fusion bomb…just as the high explosive is used to compress the plutonium so it will fission the heat from the fission is used to compress and heat the hydrogen enough to make it fuse. And there’s generally some lithium surrounding the sphere (or pit as they call it) to enhance both fission and fusion output…the total output of a fusion bomb is about 90% or more due to fusion and only a small amount from fission.

This is what a hummingbird’s nest and eggs look like.

HummingbirdNestEggs

If only there was a product that might help in this situation.

ProductThatMightHelp

Didja ever wonder why Greenland looks so big on the map? It’s because the earth is round and most maps are produced using what is called a Mercator projection to put the round earth on a flat piece of paper. The Mercator projection means that as you go north from the equator the number of physical inches on a map that represent any given number of miles goes up. To illustrate this…each of the 3 circles on the map below are 500 miles in diameter. In actuality…Greenland is only about 4 times the size of the state of Texas. And now…ya’know.

500MileRTadiusMercaturProjection

Quick question…if you’re standing at the northernmost point in the country of Brazil…are you closer to the southernmost point of Brazil or to Canada. Almost everybody would say the southernmost point of Brazil…but then almost everybody would be wrong. It’s 4,279 kilometers to Canada and 4,393 kilometers to the south end of Brazil.

BrazilCanadaDistance

KilledByBears

And finally…but I mighta used this one already…

GermanyIditarod

Cyas.

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

Very Strange…Very Strange Indeed

Before I get to that though…an update on our status here at the home front.

Power is back on…we were out for about 75 hours; and water was out for about 24 although we’re still under a boil water notice that should end early this week. No worries on water…we filled both tubs after bleaching them and had 6 gallons of bottled so we’re just fine there.

Funny story…Neil poured the last of our generator gas into the generator Saturday afternoon and then tried to use his siphon to get some from the full tank in the car…only to discover there’s an anti-siphon device installed so that meant we needed to go find some. Connie checked Gas Buddy and found several stations open down about 12 miles from the house so we headed down there to get some. Neil said that…like the umbrella theory…us going to get some would result in the power being back on. We got down to the station…and they were amazingly organized. All but one entrance was blocked off, one exit only, and there were 3 employees at the RaceTrack outside to direct people to pumps and tell them cash only…and there were 20 pumps. We got our 5 gallons and headed home, after parking in the drive Neil stayed behind to put the windshield shades up…Connie goes inside and comes back out saying “we got lights”…so he was right on the money.

A lot of the county still doesn’t have power and it’s transmission infrastructure in addition to substation to houses wiring…so it will probably be most of a month to get power restored to all the places that still exist. Many damaged manufactured homes we saw on our trips out so far, and the barrier islands like Captiva, Marco, Estero, and Sanibel are essentially a raze and rebuild situation. Pine Island and the Sanibel/Captiva pair aren’t even accessible since the bridge to Pine Island is out (but expected to have a temp one in place by the weekend or so) and the causeway to Sanibel and Captiva has about a half mile that is not only no longer a road but no longer the island the causeway was built on top of…there’s a new inlet about 200 or 300 yards across in that mid island that was causeway connecting to bridges on either end to the mainland and Sanibel.

Ok…on to the strangeness.

Back when Neil was driving submarines for Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club…he developed a couple of thumb rules for good submarining.

  • All ships are 100 feet tall…except for those that aren’t
  • All ships go 12 knots…except for those that don’t
  • Merchant ships never change course…except for when they do
  • Warships never go in a straight line…except for when they do
  • All ships have a turns per knot ratio (which allows you to determine the speed from shaft speed) of 10…except for those that don’t

That’s the short version of the rules…if you’re interested in the why’s and wherefore’s of them…let me know in the comments and I’ll get him to ‘splain ‘em to ya…cuz bears know bupkus about submarines ya know.

So what does this have to do with hurricanes? Glad ya asked.

Everybody knows several things about hurricanes.

  • Because of the counter clockwise rotation of the storm (in the northern hemisphere, it’s the other way south of the equator) the right front quadrant of the storm is always the strongest because the wind speed and forward motion speed add in that quadrant…so you want to be in any other hemisphere
  • Maximum winds of the storm…whatever they are…are found near the eye wall
  • Hurricanes have a metric butt load of rain involved…like somebody is standing over your head with a bucket

Well…not so much as it turns out each of those rules should have the exception that Neil had in his submarine rules appended to the end of the statement…and in Neil’s previous experience in 10 or so of them all of those were true…but it turns out that ol’ Ian was the exception in a lot of ways.

I know you probably saw on the news that it was a cat 4 bordering on cat 5 storm with winds of 155 miles an hour…but having been practically right in the center of it the winds weren’t nearly that bad overall…bad yes, but not 155. As the storm was coming in the central pressure was about 930 millibars and the max winds generally follow the pressure and 930 translates to about 135 miles an hour. And the wind speed sensing radar (SWMR or something like that) indicated about 135 as well. And post storm it was reported that in North Fort Myers where we are the maximum wind recorded at ground level was around 90.

So…what happened? Couple things probably involved…but Ima not a weather guesser so this is just what I think happened.

First…as the storm approached the west coast of FL it was going just slightly east of north…about 010 degrees…and the coastline here is about 330 or north northwest which means the storm track was fairly parallel to the coast…and that meant that the eastern half of the storm was over land well before the actual landfall (which is defined as the point where the center of the open mostly circular eye crosses the coast)…and since cyclones generate their energy from the hot water they’re transiting over the eastern half of the storm (normally the worst half as the storm goes north in the northern hemisphere) essentially was getting no power…and this cut the wind speeds down. The drawback to getting the winds down was that the counter clockwise motion of the storm pushed a bigger storm surge into the coast through a narrowing gap as it approached than one would normally be expected…and it is actually the storm surge that did the majority of the damage near the water.

Neil was outside several times during the peak of the storm and he thought it was never over about 60 or 70 at our house…he went out side to check things in relatively low rain and wind times so it was safe…because with the shutters installed we couldn’t see outside at all.

So…how close was the storm to us? Most folks…including Neil…thought that the eye wall area was pretty narrow as one went from the hurricane force max winds just outside the eye to the essentially calm interior of the eye…but actually the eye wall is perhaps 10 to 20 miles wide in total…I’m sure that a meteorologist could ‘splain the definition more technically but as I said Ima not so I just take their word for it.

Here’s a screenshot our friend Bill sent us of the storm as it came by…I’m not sure whether this is the wind measuring radar or the rain measuring radar but it’s not really material to the discussion. Our house is at the bottom of the red pin…and is located just north of the S in Fort Myers Shores at center. We were not actually inside the eye…Neil went out and looked and did not see the normal blue sky one can find if you’re actually in the eye but it was definitely much less gray and lighter looking west as compared to east. From our house directly west to the beach is about 9.5 miles and the local weather guessers reported that the eye wall was about 10 or 12 miles wide so we were in it as you can see. Landfall was on the island of Caya Costa which is 21 miles west southwest from our house…it’s not visible on this image but it’s about at the F in Fort Myers Shores. And we had winds of 60-70 by Neil’s guess and the report was a max of 90 or 95 in North Fort Myers which essentially starts at about the bottom of the Y in Fort Myers Shores and goes north from there to just south of the bottom of the second A in Punta Gorda. And over to the road on the map east of our house (that’s I-75).

So…there’s always a lot of wind…except for when there isn’t…and while it might have been cat 4 somewhere around the eye it certainly didn’t look like it from our perspective. 

IMG 2381

Next…rain.

It certainly rained…but it never rained very hard and certainly not continuously…we have had many, many thunderstorms in the time we’ve been in the house and in the 8 winters in the RV before that where the rainfall was 3 or 4 times as heavy. Every time he went out…it seemed more like it was wind blowing some rain but in the absence of the wind he would have called it a sprinkle or drizzle based on how much was falling. So…there’s always a lot of wind involved…except for when there isn’t.

The good news is that we identified a couple of flaws in our hurricane preparation steps…and we’ll be attending to those by making ourselves a checklist of things to do before the storm comes and by adding some additional things to our list. Nothing seriously wrong with what we did or had…but we can make some slight improvements pretty easily.

We’ve been in text contact with our various friends from the Elks, Ladies of Elks, choir, and chorus and all are pretty much ok as well…some minor damage but only one person we know has been evicted from her home. She is the choir director at church and lives in a manufactured home about 5 miles south of us. She lost her roof but her sister in law lives there as well and they went into her concrete block hurricane shelter out back of her home during the storm…and SIL did not lose the roof so they are staying at SIL’s house for the time being. We offered both of them (ladies 12 or 15 years older than we are) a shower and meal if they needed but they’ve got water and apparently enough to eat for the time being.

As I noted last time…we have a tree down and most of our shrubbery is also down…we never really liked most of the shrubbery anyway so are going to think on what we want to do out front. We’ll keep the date palms because we like them but whether we get more shrubs or just some statuary or garden gnomes is still up in the air as we don’t know what we want to do. Connie really likes this one low green and yellow succulent thing for the way it looks…but apparently they have really shallow root systems as every one in the neighborhood has vanished down the street or into the next county. No roof damage at all…thank goodness for tile roofs I guess…and only screen damage to the lanai as I talked about last time. Our hurricane deductible probably will be more than the repair cost for the screen but once we know that for sure we’ll get on the list to have it replaced.

Pro Tip©…we discovered that when you have a 45+ year old radio/cd/cassette tape player (Connie got it when she went to college in 1972) that has both batteries and a cord…one must unplug the cord from the back before it will work on batteries. We pulled it out and put new batteries in it…and it didn’t work so we only used it when we were running the generator after the storm…but when he was bringing all the stuff we had out in the garage back in the cord got snagged and pulled out…and the radio came on. Neither of them had any idea that was the case. Getting and testing a new radio was part of our ‘add this to the hurricane kit’ list…but apparently we don’t really need to do that, just pull the cord out next time. 🤣

Neil still hasn’t processed the photos from our trip to Daytona…I’ll yell at him for ya and mebbe he’ll get his butt in gear and do them for next time.

One point of politically correct woke for ya…apparently Oregon and 4 other states have a constitutional amendment on the ballot next month to…believe it or not…outlaw slavery. Seems like they’re about 150 years too late in the first place and the 14th amendment to the Constitution…which by definition overrides anything in any state constitution…slavery is already illegal. No matter though…I figger the lefties just want to make a political statement. I think we all agree that slavery should be outlawed…but since it was already so passing a state constitutional amendment is just a political gesture with absolutely zero meaning other than to make liberals happy.

And out in the Peoples Republic of California…or PRC…they have several new laws. Human composting for your body after you die is now an official option. The word Squaw is now illegal as well…and must be removed from about 100 geographic features and place names across the republic. Jaywalking is now legal unless a “reasonable person would realize there is a likely probability of a collision”…and all traffic lights on state owned roads must have pedestrian crossing signals regardless if there are any pedestrians that cross there or not. And rap music cannot be used by prosecutors or defense attorneys as evidence in criminal cases. Immigration status in criminal trials may not be mentioned unless approved by the presiding judge. All new natural gas installations are illegal as of 2030…so I guess there won’t be any restaurants since electric stoves aren’t hot enough or adjustable enough to provide restaurant levels of food prep. Illegal aliens can now get official state ID cards. Gender based pricing is now illegal. There are three new state holidays…Juneteenth, Lunar New Year, and Genocide Remembrance Day. Solitary confinement in prison is essentially outlawed…no more than 15 days consecutive and 45 out of 180 and prohibited entirely for younger than 26 or older than 59, pregnant or recently pregnant, or with either physical or mental disabilities. The reparations task force has received an additional year to finish their demands. They also have a new Feather Alert system similar to the Amber and Silver alert systems that applies to native Americans.

Ah…what a great place to live…not. 

The FCC announced yesterday a new rule that requires that all low earth satellites be de-orbited 5 years after their useful life is over (the former requirement was 25 years). This is supposed to reduce the amount of space junk that is up there and is actually a pretty good idea…but there are a bunch of issues with their rule. First and foremost…it is really NASA’s responsibility and not the FCC to issue this rule. Second…apparently there’s no grandfathering of previously launched satellites and there is no way to de-orbit them except to wait for them to decay on their own. Thirdly…there is no program in place or plans to put in place a way to de-orbit these older birds…I can see that requiring newly launched birds to have maneuvering capability (which many do not currently) and to reserve sufficient fuel to de-orbit them on command later…but issuing this requirement after launch for existing satellites is just plain stupid…but then our government (both parties) have done many, many stupid things before so I guess this is really not anything new. The biggest problem is that in all actuality this should be a NASA rule and not an FCC rule…while the FCC can probably make a case that for communication satellites they have some jurisdiction since Communications is part of their name there are many launches that have nothing to do with communications and NASA seems like the right organization to figure these sorts of things out. And naturally this does nothing for the other half to a dozen countries that have launch capability.

Meanwhile…interesting things found on the net.

Strange things ya see when ya wear your hat in the bar.

HatsInTheBar

This is hands down…the best autocorrect evah…found this on the Reddit Am I The Asshole subreddit.

EagleTesticle

This one is similar to one I did before but goes farther…it includes all the water on earth, liquid fresh water, and fresh water in lakes and rivers…kinda sobering how little of it there actually is.

AllTheWorldsWater

Strangely enough…the shot below shows the amount of water in our oceans as compared to the amount of water in Europa’s oceans (Europa is the smallest of the 4 Jupiter moons discovered by Galileo)…Europa has 2 to 3 times more water in its oceans.

EuropaWater

After seeing this…you’ll never think of Australia the same way again.

WorldIsACat

How fast was this little guy going when he hit?

HowFastWasHeGoing

First World problem.

FirstWorldProblem

Our closest neighbor galaxy is the Andromeda galaxy which is about 2.5 million light years away. A light year is about 10 trillion kilometers or 6.2 trillion miles…so it’s a far piece…about 15 million trillion miles away. You can’t see the galaxy with your naked eye because it’s pretty faint being so far away but it does show up on long exposure telescope pictures…the composite below shows how big it would be if you could see it…about 6 times bigger than the full moon.

AndromedaGalaxy

And a couple for the math nerds.

From your calculus…you’ll probably remember that velocity is the derivative of the position vector with respect to time and that acceleration is the derivative of the velocity vector with respect to time. Going a bit further…continuing with the next 4 derivatives are named Jerk, Snap, Crackle, and Pop. There’s a similar concept in nuclear physics called a shake that I’ll talk about next time.

And the second math one…and I cannot for the life of me understand why anybody would actually care about these enough to figure them out…much less name them…and even less wonder what they might be useful for…but then Ima bear and not a math nerd so mebbe that’s the problem.

Anyways there’s this concept called a Perfect Digit To Digit Invariant (PDDI) which is also called a Munchausen number. A PDDI is a number such that when you take each digit and raise it to the power of itself and then add the results you get the number. There are (apparently) exactly 4 of these numbers…0, 1, 3435, and 438,579,088 (and the latter only works if you use the convention that 0 to the 0th power is 0 which not all mathematicians agree on.

PDDI Invariant

What else they’re good for…who knows, I couldn’t find anything other than nerdery.

And finally…sodium citrate is a chemical that is used to make edible things smooth and creamy…it’s primary use is to make the cheese sauce for your tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant. And it so happens that the chemical formula for sodium citrate is…

SodiumCitrate

Cyas.

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We survived Ian

Just a quick post to report our status…no pics because it’s just too hard from the iPhone…except for the two below that are on the phone already.

We are fine…no power or water but we have bottles of water, propane for the camp stove, liquid fuel for the backup backpacking stove, and gas for the generator to keep the freezer cold and phones and flashlights charged. And we have plenty of wine. Minor damage to our lanai screen and trees and shrubs took a hit.

The large screen panel at left to center and the smaller one right of the corner are the damaged ones along with one small one above the latter that you can’t see. This is looking SW toward the back of the lanai.

This is our downed tree…taken from just by the date palm at left above and looking the other direction. It’s laying in the pond but was originally blown over by the easterly winds and leaned on the lanai then as the eye passes and the wind reversed it went the other way into the pond. Looking about NNE.

Much of the rest of SW FL is pretty much trashed. Sanibel and the other barrier islands will be a tear down and rebuild or gut to the studs and redo…and many areas near the beach or river still have 3 feet of water. Everything is essentially closed and we are down to only about 75% of the county withouyI power.

Other than power and water and tree and shrub damage our community is pretty much ok…and yesterday the power guys were working on the substation servicing us so hopefully🙏 power soon.

We were within about 15-20 miles of the eye and were inside the eye wall as it passed to our west…winds maxed at 80 or so and we had relatively little rain…numerous everyday thunderstorms have dumped more here and Neil says it was way less rain and wind than any other hurricane he’s been through. He doesn’t think it was anywhere near the 155+ they said…based on what we saw and the central pressure reported seems like 130ish max is a better guess…but what do I know.

Oh yeah…the humans are fine too…as is Kara. He does have pics from our trip to Daytona last week…but with no power he can’t process them.

Connie is bummed that we will miss date nite today…he offered her McD’s as that’s the only thing open anywhere close…she declined so he’s doing chicken. She’s a lot less bummed than yesterday since we have phone signal back at least.

CYAs.

Posted in Travel | 2 Comments

We survived Ian

Just a quick post to report our status…no pics because it’s just too hard from the iPhone…except for the two below that are on the phone already.

We are fine…no power or water but we have bottles of water, propane for the camp stove, liquid fuel for the backup backpacking stove, and gas for the generator to keep the freezer cold and phones and flashlights charged. And we have plenty of wine. Minor damage to our lanai screen and trees and shrubs took a hit.

The large screen panel at left to center and the smaller one right of the corner are the damaged ones along with one small one above the latter that you can’t see. This is looking SW toward the back of the lanai.

This is our downed tree…taken from just by the date palm at left above and looking the other direction. It’s laying in the pond but was originally blown over by the easterly winds and leaned on the lanai then as the eye passes and the wind reversed it went the other way into the pond. Looking about NNE.

Much of the rest of SW FL is pretty much trashed. Sanibel and the other barrier islands will be a tear down and rebuild or gut to the studs and redo…and many areas near the beach or river still have 3 feet of water. Everything is essentially closed and we are down to only about 75% of the county withouyI power.

Other than power and water and tree and shrub damage our community is pretty much ok…and yesterday the power guys were working on the substation servicing us so hopefully🙏 power soon.

We were within about 15-20 miles of the eye and were inside the eye wall as it passed to our west…winds maxed at 80 or so and we had relatively little rain…numerous everyday thunderstorms have dumped more here and Neil says it was way less rain and wind than any other hurricane he’s been through. He doesn’t think it was anywhere near the 155+ they said…based on what we saw and the central pressure reported seems like 130ish max is a better guess…but what do I know.

Oh yeah…the humans are fine too…as is Kara. He does have pics from our trip to Daytona last week…but with no power he can’t process them.

Connie is bummed that we will miss date nite today…he offered her McD’s as that’s the only thing open anywhere close…she declined so he’s doing chicken. She’s a lot less bummed than yesterday since we have phone signal back at least.

CYAs.

Posted in Travel | 2 Comments

Random Thoughts

So…I guess ya heard that the queen died last week and there’s a new sheriff in town over in the UK…and it seems to me that the monarchy has probably changed for the worse with her death. She was polite, courteous and non political and her people generally liked her…and I don’t get the sense that Charles is held in the same esteem as she was. There was some unpleasantness towards Harry and his wife even though they were in the country and he ended up not being able to get to her bedside before she died…then was forbidden to wear any military uniforms as part of her funeral proceedings despite his two deployments in the Middle East and his ongoing charity work for disabled veterans.

I guess you also read about how the governors of FL and TX bused or flew a bunch of illegal immigrants to Marthas Vineyard, Chicago, DC, and NYC…and how unconscionable this ‘political stunt’ was against the poor immigrants…despite the fact that they crossed the border illegally and despite the fact that TX and AZ are bearing the brunt of almost 2 million illegals detained this year. Seems our friends on the left are eager to just let the border be opened up…but not in their back yard…no, don’t want them sent to where the progressives live.

And we continue to hear complete blathering from both sides in the former President vs the DoJ/FBI issues. Yes…he was probably wrong to keep the documents he did…but it’s certainly possible that he declared them to be unclassified…all the POTUS has to do to declassify anything is say so. There are some additional administrative requirements that should have been carried out afterwards…but if those weren’t carried out it’s an administrative problem and not a legal problem. Having seen the repeated claims of complete and undeniable proof of various misdeeds that’s been leaked to the media by various anti Trump folk and the investigating committee…I think it’s not entirely clear that whatever ‘evidence’ they have is either admissible in court, proves anything at all, or implicates him in an actual crime. I’m certainly not going to say he didn’t break any laws…but that whether he did cannot be determined by The NY Times or various other media sources…and it can also not be determined by the investigating committee since they have no power to indict or convict anybody. The decision to indict rests…despite claims to the contrary we’ve seen in the media…with the Attorney General Mr. Garland. The likelihood that charges will be filed without his specific approval is just about zero…Neil worked for the government and understands how it works. Mr. Garland is going to have to balance a whole passle of factors…any charges will be immediately decried as a political ploy and there would be a lot of truth in that objection. Add in the fact that the ‘evidence’ may…or then again may not…be either admissible or convincing to a jury…and you really don’t want to be the Attorney General that  brought charges against a former President and lost the case. We’re not fans of the former President…he was a better choice than Mrs. Clinton but in reality it was a choice between two bad alternatives…sort of like saying would you like to be hung or electrocuted if you’re on death row.

But the biggest problem is that any charges that are brought must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt by an unbiased jury of his peers…and looking beyond the evidence and reasonable doubt argument…finding an unbiased jury I’m going to say is pretty much impossible. For better or worse…I’m thinking that pretty close to 100% of the people in the country have already made up their minds about the man. His supporters on the right won’t believe any of the evidence and will vote to acquit…and his detractors on the left will vote guilty before the trial starts. So…my personal guess is that eventually the whole thing will just blow over and die down. The DoJ or state prosecutors are much more likely to be able to have convincing evidence of some sort of financial crime…but there’s still the jury problem to some extent and the evidence problem to some extent because it isn’t enough to prove that his company broke the law…the prosecution has to prove that he personally directed and ordered the breaking of the law…and that might be a bit harder than the left thinks.

The Russians are still getting their butts kicked in Ukraine…and now they’ve warned the US that if we provide the Ukrainian forces with long range missiles that can reach Russian territory that it will be “a red line and make the US a party to the conflict”. You know…only the Russians are allowed to invade other countries…it says so right in their laws I guess. 

Connie and Neil got their new estate planning paperwork signed/notarized/executed today. Their old wills were written back in 2009 or so before they went on the road in the RV and were out of date. They were still valid but some things with probate issues now that they’re Florida residents made putting together a better plan a sound idea both tax wise and post life wishes wise. Plus…their financial folks added a new department late last year to do estate planning as part of their normal client services so the net cost of redoing things basically came down to paying an hour of a Florida lawyer’s time to review the paperwork and draft a different deed for their home here…and the net effect is that probate here in Florida is now a non issue for them.

The Elks lodge move to new digs is going…well, do the words Chinese fire drill or as we used to say in the Navy Charlie Foxtrot mean anything to you. Things are progressing but in our view at least there’s some wool being pulled over the eyes by some people and some dubious statements being made…but it’s Elk biz so I’m not going to put it all in here. It’s not worth arguing with them over though…as Neil is fond of saying “their minds are made up, don’t bother them with facts or differing ideas”.

Out west…well the water problem is getting really bad…and despite what some claim it isn’t solely because of climate change. Part of the problem is that people insisted in turning a desert into a tropical wonderland with tens of thousands of acres of grass, golf courses, and pools. I understand the people that live out west need water…but some of the ideas we’ve seen in the news the past month or so are ludicrous. One group wants to pump 100,000 cubic feet per second from the lower Mississippi River out to California…and they claim that this is less than 1% of the flow in the Mississippi. However…they used the maximum spring flood season flow to make their request seem less unreasonable. In reality…that much water could almost surely be diverted without harming the Mississippi River’s other uses but the trouble is that it would cost good knows how many hundreds of billions of dollars to build a sufficient pipeline to get it there and the operating costs of the pumps that would be required to pump the water from sea level up to 5,000 feet or whatever it is to get across the lowest pass in the Rockies is just being ignored along with the ‘how do we generate that much additional electrical power’ problem since the left is insisting that we need to shut down all fossil fuel powered generation and enter the renewables age completely. They seem to believe that they can legislate scientific progress in battery or other storage technology and still haven’t solved the problem of what do you do when the wind doesn’t blow or it is after dark…not to mention the fact that it isn’t the west’s water to divert. And we see that AZ and NM and CO have been been ordered to reduce their consumption from the Colorado River by up to 35% or 40% in 2023 while the PRC has been ordered to reduce their consumption by the massive amount of ZERO. Yep…no cuts for the progressive bastion out on the left coast.

And down here in Tampa…some guy drove a woman around to several gas stations around the county demanding she get him some money for drugs…and when she didn’t get it he crushed her car with an excavator. He has been arrested though…moron.

And out in the state of Hawaii…a contractor has filed a lien against Mark Zuckerberg. Seems he hired a contracting company to build him a cabin, tree houses, and house on his compound on the island if Kauai…then refused to pay the bill. His office claims that he’s paid all bills submitted but apparently the contractor doesn’t think so and there is a hearing in a couple of weeks to sort things out. I hate it when rich jerks refuse to pay their bills.

And we did have a wildlife sighting yesterday…our local Great Blue Heron decided to put in an appearance on our side of the pond so Neil got some nice shots.

DZ9 6763 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 6768 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 6782 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 6787 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 6807 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Interesting things found on the net.

Some thought required for this one.

ThatLookYouGet

ChargingATesla

Seems a bit harsh.

ABitHarsh

And as you can see from this chart that shows the transportation costs in calories per gram per kilometer traveled…believe it or not a human on a bicycle is the most efficient means of transportation by a factor of 3 over salmon which are in second place…and by a factor of about 4 over the next most efficient means which is an airliner.

BikeEfficiency

For the math nerds…here is another way to calculate the value of Pi.

WallisFormulaForPi

So sad…

SoSad

Those sneaky Chinese.

SneakyChinese

And again…what is it with those Chinese people?

RemoveChild

In an amazing display of evolution…elk and caribou up in the arctic have developed vision that extends well into the ultraviolet. So this means that the wolves…which change their coats to white for the winter…actually still look black to the prey since the fur absorbs UV light wavelengths. Up top is what humans see…below is what elk/caribou see.

WolvesInUV

And finally…this has to be the most amazing resignation letter…ever. Written by somebody named Chris Holmes who has the moniker of Mr. Cake…because he bakes and decorates cakes starting as a side hustle but is resigning to do it full time.

ResignationLetter

Cyas.

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

It Has Been a Very Interesting Week…Not

Interesting…well, no. Crappy…yeah…that about covers it.

Let’s catch up first since my last post.

We had a trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary on 8/23…and it turned out to be a complete bust. We saw exactly 2…count em… 2…birds. A hawk of some sort about 200 yards away right at dawn to our east so it was silhouetted and unrecognizable. Then a Pileated Woodpecker flew by…he was a bit closer at only 100 yards our or so…but then he/she landed on the opposite side of the tree so we never saw it again.

We saw 2 squirrels but they weren’t worth it. The sanctuary was deathly quiet…far quieter than we’ve ever heard it and we been going there off and on for going on 50 years. No song birds, no taunting birds we couldn’t see, no waders, no hawks, no floaters…nuttin. Connie got a few shots of the lettuce for which Lettuce Lake is named and if I can get Neil to process them I’ll add them eventually but basically they’re just swamp pants.

We went and voted in the primary after the fruitless swamp trip.

And…that’s about it for catching up…until last Saturday.

Starting Saturday…well, actually Friday evening…Neil started seeing some flashes like lighting up at the top of his right eye…he figured it might be his vitreous separating (a normal aging thing) and they looked actually like it looked in 2019 when his left eye did it so he wasn’t all that worried about it. This continued on Saturday and then on Sunday he got a lot more of them out on his bike ride and also a bunch of eye floaters in that eye…so he figured it was worth checking out. He left an email for them eye doctor on Sunday afternoon and figured we would hear from them Monday.

Meanwhile…Connie started having intestinal issues on Saturday and by Monday AM it had settled down to a localized pain on her lower right side. She figured it might be another case of diverticulitis…she’s had it 5 or 6 times over the last 20something years…but only once before (the first time) on the right, it’s usually on the lower left side. By Monday AM she was feeling worse and also running a slight fever but when we got the call from the eye doctor we decided to wait until Tuesday to do anything about her issues. The eye doctor called, said it might be the start of a retina detachment, and that he should get in the car and come down there…like now.

So…he did, the optometrist examined him and said it wasn’t the vitreous but she thought there were a couple of minor tears in the right retina…but retinas are out of her area of expertise so she quickly transferred him to the retina specialist (an MD opthamologist) and she quickly confirmed that there were a couple of retina tears. She was in surgery that afternoon doing LASIX but said she would meet him at the office with the laser tool in the afternoon…and that he should be there. She was concerned enough that it could result in the retina detachment that she went out of her way at the end of her day to come and fix him.

Strangely enough…between Connie and Neil we’ve now seen about 6 or 8 retina specialists…and all but one of them have been women. Nothing wrong with that but he was wondering whether it was just the luck of the draw or if women particularly chose that speciality. Turns out they tend to choose it because of family life, retina specialists have relatively normal schedules. Nothing wrong with that either way but it was interesting.

Anyway…what they do for retina tears is take a laser and essentially weld them back down…then scar tissue forms which doesn’t affect vision in the long run and it fixes the tear. Here’s a shot of him as he was going into the procedure.

IMG 4045

Essentially they put the same numbing drop and dilation drop in your eye that is used on your everyday eye exam. Then they come back and put some super dilation drops in to increase the pupil opening…normally it’s just a drop but in his case they came back and put more in 3 or 4 more times after he took this selfie so that they pupil is completely fills the iris…this allows the laser to get in better.

Then you sit down at the instrument…it’s very similar to the blue light thing that they use to measure the inside your eyeball pressure except with a laser instead…put this jelly stuff an a really thick…like 1/4 inch thick…contact lens on and focus the laser aiming point on the tear and then use this short duration but very, very, very bright yellow (or sometimes red but in his case yellow) laser pulse over and over again until it’s sealed. The whole process from sitting down in the chair to done takes maybe 6 minutes…then the doctor says you’re done, go home. She had to run to do mom duties for her 5 and 7 year old kids so the staff rinsed all the goop out of his eye and sent him on his way.

Within about 10 minutes or so his vision was good enough to drive home…he had taken Connie with him just in case but since she felt bad he drove and she helped watch out for him as they proceeded on home.

So…on to Tuesday. She called her gastroenterologist and told them her symptoms…their response was “you have a regular appointment in 3 weeks, just come in then”…she decided and he agreed that with 100.3 degree temp and pain that wasn’t a good idea. The two of them had did a bit of research and decided it was either right side diverticulitis or appendicitis but not being doctors they decided they really couldn’t tell.

So…off to the urgent clinic we go and after an hour or so we’re done. The PA there said she thought it was probably diverticulitis but because it was right side it could be appendicitis so sent her for a stat CT scan. Got to the CT scan place, they did the scan…and the radiologist said it was all inflamed and he could not tell if it was appendicitis or a diverticulitis access…so they sent her to the ER. We headed over to Gulf Coast Hospital…our preferred location in the Lee Health System and headed into the ER. They reviewed the CT scan…again…and the ER doctor said it was either the abscess or appendicitis but couldn’t tell for sure…so they admitted her and called for a surgery consult.

We got her into the room and they plugged her up with 3 different IV antibiotics…which they would do regardless of the eventual diagnosis…and we waited for the surgeon. An hour or so later…the nurse said it would probably be tomorrow (it was 1830 by this time) as the surgeon had 24 hours to respond on a consult. Luckily…Dr. Bass showed up about 3 minutes after that and said that after looking at her CT 5 or 6 times and getting another radiologist to review it with them…they were able to clearly see her appendix and it was completely normal…so it was essentially a left side diverticulitis infection. Neil waited until the end of visiting hours at 2000 and then headed home to eat dinner…long day so he just had a burger on the way home. 

They pumped her with mucho different antibiotics last night and all day today and by 1500 or so her pain was remarkably reduced, no fever, and she was feeling pretty good. The surgeon came back in about 1600 and told her that as far as he was concerned she could go home and continue oral antibiotics since the pain was almost gone but deferred to the internist from our primary care doctor…who had said the night before they would defer to whatever the surgeon thought.

He headed home about 1700 to cook…he had taken out some pork yesterday so it either needed to be cooked or tossed…he made carne asada and it was pretty good. While he was eating Connie texted him and said that the nurse said they would most likely release her in the AM tomorrow (Thursday). 

So…long story short…his eye is better and although it is still dilated a little more than the left eye that’s a normal side effect of the super duper dilation drops and she’s improving as well. Her scan and colonoscopy have showed she has lots of diverticuli which is just the way it is…she’ll just have periodic bouts of diverticulitis and this is only the 2nd time in 20something years she needed IV antibiotics to take care of it. Usually she just gets oral ones…and they want to give her Flagyl which really tears up her stomach and intestine…she says the cure is almost worse than the disease as she’s nauseous for 2 weeks. They gave her Flagyl but IV and it hasn’t really bothered her…Neil asked the nurse and she said that was because the IV one is absorbed differently.

*** We interrupt this blog post for late breaking news. Our reporter on the scene…that would be Neil…reporting live at 1104 Thursday morning. Connie has been uthorized to move bout the country by the doctors, her remaining oral antibiotic prescription is being filled at Walgreens, and we’re waiting on the hospital people to bring whatever she needs to go home. We now return you to your irregularly scheduled blog post.***

Anyways…you’re all caught up now…except for the photos below. None of them are really what we could call ‘keepers’ but it is what it is.

I might not have talked about it here before…but their best friend from college is named Joe Claxton…he was Neil’s roommate and went to high school with him…we always called him Jodi. Back in college…he invented this color combination named sky blue pink which is what you see near sunset.

So as Neil was driving home last night he saw the most spectacular version of sky blue pink he’s ever seen and he grabbed some iPhone photos. 

IMG 4046

IMG 4047

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The black stuff on upper right is the glare thing on the windshield top center.

IMG 4049

Yeah…I know they’re crappy shots taken through the windshield with a phone…but don’t worry, he was stoped at a traffic light when he got the three above so he was safe…he don’t mess with the phone while he’s driving.

Once he pulled into our neighborhood he stopped and got out to get a wide pano of the whole sky. This is about a 200 degree panorama shot from south at left through north on the right. It’s also about 5 minutes later than the ones before so the effect wasn’t quite as dramatic…too bad there was no place to pull over when he got the shot above so he could get a pano without the traffic light in it.

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Anyway…that’s about all the news fit to print I guess.

Interesting things found on the net.

Husband with a death wish.

DeathWish

GoldCreditCard

Cat job perks.

CatJobPerks

This is an example of kirie which is a Japanese art of cutting a single piece of paper into art. Just wow.

Kirie

And finally.

SeniorCitizensDay

Cyas.

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