It’s…er…Was I Guess…Alex Time

Yup…we actually did something these past two weeks. 

After my last post…Connie and Neil completed their transition to the Fort Myers Elks Lodge. They attended the lodge meeting where their transfer was approved and their new membership cards should be available tonight when we head over there for music and Happy Hour.

After that…we left last Friday morning for a quick trip up to Midlothian VA outside of Richmond to see Alex and his parents Bryan and Jen…and to drop off some stuff at our storage unit like we usually do. We generally leave our Christmas stuff in our storage unit over the summer travel season and since we’re going directly from Fort Myers to Texas for the NHOG rally Virginia just isn’t on the way so we took it up with us.

It’s about 900 miles up there from here so we blasted out of the campground shortly after 0600, stopped at Loves for breakfast and coffee and hit the road. Up I-75 to Ocala FL, then US301 to pass west of the Jacksonville beltway and onto I-95 just north of Jacksonville…and 600something miles later we pulled over for the night in Fayetteville NC. We had a pretty good meal at the local Holiday Inn bar…our original  plan to go to a local seafood place was dashed by the large crowds waiting for a seat…too bad as it really smelled good. Up pretty early…although not quite as early as Friday…we pressed on the last almost 300 miles and arrived there in late morning. We stayed at the kids house sleeping on the pull out…it’s not all that comfortable but it does have the advantage of being free instead of $160 a night. 

We spent the rest of Saturday and through Tuesday there doing Alex things mostly…our original idea was to take them out for Bryan’s birthday on Monday but he preferred to eat in so we just did that instead. We did take Jen and Alex out to a Mexican place named Chuy’s…it’s a chain but it turned out to be pretty good so we would definitely go there again.

Connie and Alex playing cards.

IMG 2939

Alex ‘splaining something to Neil.

IMG 2936 2

Alex and his shield.

IMG 2945

Connie had to be back for a Ladies of Elks meeting Thursday afternoon…so we pretty much got packed up Tuesday afternoon and the car loaded before the aforementioned dinner out. Then Jen’s dad called and wanted to bring us over some ground venison to take back…he did and we had a nice visit with him as well, haven’t seen him in about 18 months so it was great to catch up with him and hear the news about a situation he’s involved in with a society up there…it has a rental property with occupancy issues and he finally convinced them to kick the tenants out as it’s just not safe  as well as being a lawsuit risk.

With the venison in hand…it was already frozen…we modified our plans slightly and after getting up at 0500 Wednesday morning we quickly packed the car…kissed Jen ‘bye…and made 3 quick stops on the way to the freeway. Dunkin Donuts for coffee and breakfast, the Shell station for gas, and the Kroger grocery store for dry ice to keep the venison frozen until we arrived. Then it was onto VA-288 and then I-95 south…and again 600something miles later we stopped in Macclenny FL at the Travelodge there…Macclenny is right near the intersection of I-10 and US-301 where we needed to head south to Ocala to get on I-75 home. She passed on a hotel east of US-301 because it was $160 and went for the $63 Travelodge instead…then all she did was gripe about the hotel. First up for her was to wash her hair and…according to her…the hotel ran out of hot water halfway through. Gripe, gripe, gripe. Turns out that it wasn’t actually a lack of hot water…somebody in a room further up the line turned on the shower and sucked it all up so none made it to our room…as when Neil went in after her there was hot water available but just not a strong stream.

Luckily…although she was unhappy with the hotel…dinner turned out to be really good. We walked across the street to Bootsie’s Bar and Grill…hey, it was close…with the intent of having Happy Hour then either eating there or heading a mile or so in the car to a local seafood place. We quickly met Tabitha the PM bartender and the single other customer that was there early on a Wednesday evening…Tabitha turned out to be a hoot and a delight so we had a second cocktail/beer and then ordered a couple of cheeseburgers. We weren’t expecting much…but they actually turned out to be really, really good burgers and we enjoyed them with another cocktail/beer before wandering back across the street with happy smiles on our faces from the good food and conversation. Again we were up early the next morning…and after taking a look at the free continental breakfast…it didn’t look very appetizing…we hit up the Golden Arches for breakfast and hit the road. We got home in time to have lunch and unpack the car before Connie headed off to her LoE meeting in the afternoon. After dinner we watched the tube for awhile and then went to bed…happy to be again in our bed at home with our stuff. Visiting the kids and Alex is nice…but it’s just not home and we were ready to be back.

Friday Gordon the mobile RV tech came by and he and Neil replaced our awning canopy fabric…after 7+ years on the road it was worn out, dry rotted, and the seams all coming apart so it needed a new one. They got the old one off and new one on a lot easier than they expected it would be and were don’t before noon when Connie arrived home from the grocery store.

Let’s see…what else went on.

Politics…there continues to be ongoing idiocy from both the almost countless at this point number of contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, from the President himself, and from the right wing as well. I can’t understand how any of them think…anybody with 3 working brain cells easily recognizes the lunacy from all sides.

At least we’re not alone in having stupid politicians…the UK’s aren’t doing much better this week. As you probably know…there’s the ongoing brouhaha over the UK leaving the EU known as Brexit. Back in 2016 there was a popular referendum on whether to leave or not and leave won…so the government has been negotiating for the past 2-1/2 years with the EU on a divorce settlement. Turns out that each side has their own non-negotiable demand…and those two demands are fundamentally opposed to each other.

As of today…the UK will be leaving the EU on March 29 regardless of whether a deal is reached or not. The fundamental difference seems to be whether there will be a hard border between the UK Northern Ireland and the independent Republic of Ireland who share the island of Ireland. A hard border means that customs and immigration will be there, a soft border means that the UK will remain trapped in a customs union with the EU indefinitely. There’s also the issue of what is known as the Good Friday Agreement…that’s what ended the sectarian violence years ago…which says there can’t be a hard border between the two. 

So this week…the UK Parliament voted down…again…the deal that was negotiated which says no hard border and a customs union…primarily because there’s not an ending date for the customs union and it essentially ties the UK to the EU rules even though they’re no longer members. Then they voted against a no deal exit on March 29…even though that vote has no legal validity since the departure is a done deal at this point unless it’s extended or cancelled…t this point the UK will exit on the 29th unless a delay or cancellation of the departure is approved. Parliament then voted to extend the date past the 29th…even though again this has no legal validity as the existing treaty says that’s the date for departure. The UK can request an extension but it needs a unanimous vote from the other 26 member countries of the EU…and at least two of them have said publicly that they won’t approve an extension unless there’s some prospect for an agreement that Parliament will accept…and that gets back to the fundamentally incompatible demands. The EU’s chief negotiator says “we have a deal…and we’re not reopening negotiations”…so basically nobody knows what will happen. The side that lost the referendum back in 2016 is demanding that there be another referendum…basically they want to re-do the election that they lost, much like the Democrats here want to re-do the 2016 Presidential election that they lost. Most of the “remainer” crowd is in favor of another referendum but that was defeated soundly in Parliament. Most amazing is that the reason for the demand for another resolutions is that…according to the remain proponents…only old people voted to leave, and they’ve all died off now and been replaced by younger, more liberal, more forward thinking millennials who clearly see that socialism and the EU is the superior choice and we should just step aside and let them run the country…very similar to the attitudes of liberal millennial in the US.

AOC has now kinda sorta recanted her “say no to Amazon” blather of some weeks back…now she says they’re welcome to return if they “get community involvement” in the process and “meet the community’s demands”. Strange…I thought that Amazon negotiation with the city and state was community involvement…apparently she thinks that Amazon should give up the tax credits they were going to get, fully support unionization of the jobs in the campus, and invest in local schools as well. Somehow…she thinks that Amazon getting $3 billion in tax credits while paying another $20something billion of actual taxes was a bad deal for the city and state…and that the $3 billion could be spent on other things…apparently she doesn’t realize…or care to admit…that there’s no actual $3 billion available, it’s just a break on the taxes that Amazon would have paid later on…not to mention the number of jobs both at the campus and in ancillary businesses to support the workers at the campus.

Jussie Smollet has been indicted for 16 felony counts over his fake “hate crime” in February…he’s still claiming he’s innocent of course and his lawyer is decrying the “over reach” of prosecutors to actually have the gall to charge him for his criminal acts.

The liberal media is all up in arms over the “limited sentence” that Mr. Manafort received the past week or 10 days…it seems they don’t understand that despite all their claims of how he should have gotten 20+ years the actual crimes he pled guilty to have much lower sentencing guidelines…even though his plea agreement with Mr. Mueller was tossed out and Mr. Mueller recommended the longer sentence demanded…the actual crimes he’s guilty of have lower sentences…maybe the armchair lawyers need to go and read what the laws actually say. Probably not though…they don’t bother reading the Constitution so it’s unlikely they’ll do anything to educate themselves  at all…mostly they want to just scream “collusion”…even though there’s no such crime as collusion. Mr. Manafort’s crimes…well, they all took place long before he joined the President’s campaign staff.

Neil’s guess about the whole long standing Mueller investigation will be that…yes, the Russians had an interest in who won our election. That’s like saying water is wet…just like w have an interest in who wins the Russian’s election…and we have an interest in ignoring the actual results of the recent one in Venezuela and want to overturn it for an opposition candidate that we like. While I agree with most that the duly “elected” President of Venezuela is a crook who rigged the election…it’s been ratified by their judicial system (which is likely biased I also agree)…and hence should we accept it or try to get rid of him. I’m not in charge of the US foreign policy…and we should do what’s in the best interests of the United States first…it does seem kind of weaselly to me that we decry the Russian’s “interference” in our election while thinking it’s OK for us to have an interest in and support anti-Putin politicians and the opposition in Venezuela.

It’s not like the Russians actually did anything to the voting process after all…they just published Facebook and other social media posts that supported who they preferred to deal with after the election.

I’m sure that the President…like both others before him and his opponent in 2016…did some slime-worthy things to get elected. I’m not so sure that (a) any of them were actually illegal, (b) that a prosecutor can prove any of them beyond reasonable doubt, or (c) that any of them rise to the impeachable definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” as specified in the Constitution. Just like President Clinton before…every body pretty much knew that he was a hound dog who had many women through his political career besides his wife. Just like his wife…who arguably violated both classified material and record retention laws with her private mail server. Most politicians who are successful have skeletons in their campaign closets…but proving they did it and even proving it was illegal is problematic.

However…the likelihood of common sense breaking out and Congress…or any of the other politicians involved…actually running the country and doing their jobs is pretty remote I guess…it’s much better to try and trash the other side than to try and reach some compromises with them that will actually make things better.

In one last note from the news this week…the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that flipping the bird at a cop is constitutionally protected free speech. Turns out this…amazingly enough not a millennial but a 61 year old…woman was pulled over by a cop for speeding. He decided to show leniency and gave her a ticket for a lesser offense that was cheaper to pay and involved fewer points. As she drove away…in response to his kindness she flipped him the bird out the window. In response, he pulled her over again 100 yards down the road and then gave her the speeding ticket…she then sued him. The court held that any reasonable offer would know that a citizen who raises her middle finger was engaging in 1st amendment protected free speech. They stated that it violated no law and that it was “an ancient insult that did not give police a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation”. The cop’s claim that he was protected from liability through qualified immunity was also denied. Seems to me that while she was technically right and legal in her action…rewarding a cop who gives you a break is just the wrong thing to do…me…I would thank him for letting me off rather than piss him off. Dumb I tellya.

Interesting things found on the net.

Another couple of those ya gotta’ wonder signs.

StoryBehindEverySign2

StoryBehindEverySign3

Wine for old people.

WineForOldPeople

Fun fact about Apollo 13…everybody knows this was a spectacular failure of the Apollo program and how they made it back by the skin of their teeth after the service module oxygen tank basically blew up. After their problem…they looped around the back side of the moon at an altitude of 254 miles…which made their distance from earth of 248,654 miles…which makes them the record holders of the “farthest humans have ever traveled from earth” record. Here’s a shot of the moon as they passed.

Apollo13FunFact

Meanwhile…in Canuckistan.

MeanwhileInCanuckistan

There’s this bird in New Zealand known as a Kea…it’s a large parrot found in alpine regions. This is what it looks like…pretty uninteresting, eh?

KeaPerched

In flight however…it’s completely different and quite magnificent.

Kea

KeaUnderside

Everybody knows about the Great Red Spot on Jupiter…it’s essentially a large hurricane as seen below in a shot with the shadow of the Jovian moon Io passing over it.

JupiterGreatRedSpotGanymedeShadow

The question is…just how big is the Great Red Spot. Well…here’s an image of it and the earth to scale.

JupiterGreatRedSpotEarth

Then there’s the sun…which is even larger than Jupiter…in fact one million earths would fit inside the sun. Understanding a million is one thing…but…again to scale…what would a million earths inside the sun look like.

OneMillionEarth

Those really give you a better appreciation of and ability to visualize the relative sizes.

Here’s a Jim vs Joe comparison…I think it came from Mike Rowe’s web site (he of Dirty Jobs fame). Mike is a great believer in hard work and while he thinks that college is a good thing…he’s of the opinion that not everybody needs or wants a college degree, and that there are plenty of good paying jobs that don’t require a college degree.

JimVsJoe

Ran across this article on the Guardian…guess I can post the link here since the new EU copyright rules haven’t gone into effect yet…apparently there’s a woman in the UK named Amber Butchart…she’s a fashion historian and works as a buyer for a vintage clothing shop…normally spending her days evaluating antique dresses, corsets and the like for sale and putting appropriate values on them. Anyways…in her guise as a fashion historian she has great knowledge about fashion of old of course…and this includes underwear. She’s able to identify the time period that underwear came from…all the way from the corsets of Victorian days through the cone bras that were popular in the 60s along with the various flavors of panties, thongs, boy-shorts, hi-briefs and the various other kinds of underwear that women wear. She can use materials, design, and construction details to date underwear to the time it was produced…and hence if the underwear happened to be found on a dead body she can assist in determining when the person died or was murdered or whatever. She’s frequently engaged by the police departments in both her local area of Surrey as well as throughout the UK to help date bodies that are found. This is apparently particular valuable if there are only skeletal remains in figuring out when the person died in hopes of figuring out who they  were.

Her official title is Consultant Forensic Garment Analyst…but she’s better known about the various law enforcement agencies she supports as…you guessed it…the Fashion Police.

Finally…a couple of quick funny ones.

ScienceAndMorons

GenderReveal

What’s this…a face plant of course.

FacePlant

Cyas.

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About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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