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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Spotted this Blue Jay as well.

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

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

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

Interesting things found on the net.

CoViD Lessons NineImportantFacts

West VA riding mower for sale

Eye test…tell me what you see.

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

It is all about attitude.


T1 408917 pigeon smarter










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