Quarantine Day 133

Yup…another day quarantined by the Corona so let’s see what might be going on.

Really not much at all…since my last post we went to Mass today and Connie was the cantor again…the folks getting fully initiated into the Roman Catholic Church at St. Therese today included one young lady who was baptized and then along with another 3 received Confirmation and their first Communion. That means she had to do the Litany of the Saints as part of her cantoring duties…but she was as Neil puts it typically outstanding.

There was one minor bauble in her performance…caused mostly by (a) the lack of any ability to actually practice before hand since there is not choir practice right now, (b) the we aren’t really sure which version is going to be in the ceremony since the bulletin, her notes, and what she’s familiar with for the Litany from before were all different, and exacerbated by (c) the pretty free form ceremonies that Father Jan does as opposed to his predecessor. But in any event…unless she had broken out into a cover of Ina Gadda Da Vida any faux pas on her part would have paled in comparison to the mistakes of the altar server (he’s an old guy who also happens to be the sacristan which is the person that is in charge of decorating the sacristy around the altar and sundry other important Mass related duties) and the head Eucharistic Minister…she would actually have been appointed as a Deacon (probably) if she was the correct gender for that…but that’s another discussion for another day…anyways she wears the robes of a deacon and marches in and out with the priest and altar server at the beginning and end of Mass…but there’s that whole patriarchy thing where she can’t actually become a deacon…but I digress. What I was getting to was that the altar server and the other member (besides the priest) of the Mass celebration triumvirate were both pretty high in the hierarchy of lay people within the parish management. So…after the readings, sermon, baptism and confirmation we got into the Eucharist portion of Mass…that’s where they bring the bread and wine to the altar so the priest can consecrate it…and…you guessed it…there was no wine. Father Jan did not look amused…but the lady ran back to the back and got the wine so we could go on. As I said…any and all errors that the cantor, reader, master of ceremonies for the initiation, or organist might have made simply disappeared into minutia after that. Neil’s been going to Mass for 66 years now…and has served as an altar server…and he’s never, ever seen them forget the wine.

After Mass we headed down to the Winn Dixie to pick up a few groceries…the Publix is closer but their produce section sucks and we needed a bit of that…as well as more wine which we got.

And that’s about it for exciting stuff on our end…so let’s see if there is a anything interesting in the news.

Out in Portland…there were naturally more protests…all non violent of course…well, except for the explosives, rocks, and other objects being thrown at the police and the attempts to read down the fence around the federal courthouse. At that point…the federal law enforcement folks went inside until the Portland Police…who have been essentially ordered to stand down by the mayor…declared the demonstration to be a riot and ordered the rioters to disperse. At that point the federal cops assisted the Portland cops in clearing the rioters and arresting a bunch of them.

Naturally…the protest leaders have declared…once again…that they were entirely peaceful and that the violence was instigated by the police. Bzzzzzzzzt…wrong answer.

It seems that the Postmaster General has been summoned to testify before some House oversight committee over his plans to “delay mail” which is obviously an attempt to undermine the mail in balloting for the election…at least that’s what you might think if you just read the headlines. If you get into the article…you’ll find out that since the USPS is essentially going broke…and it is really the fault of Congress since the USPS has to fully fund their pension obligations each year which is different from every other company or corporation…he has essentially mandated that there is no more overtime authorized. Before this statement…when a mail carrier left to go on his route if there was more mail that had not been fully sorted yet…the carrier went out and delivered, then on overtime came back to the distribution center, picked up the additional and now sorted mail, and made another run to deliver that mail. Under the no overtime policy…that not yet fully sorted mail that gets sorted after the carrier leaves on his route…well it will just be delivered the next mail delivery day but it will be fully sorted, postmarked if applicable, and sorted into the carrier’s deliveries for tomorrow. Sounds like a great cost saving idea to me…and yes it means that some mail might not get to the destination until a day later but that doesn’t seem like a huge hardship. 

So…how is this policy going to “undermine” the election when states “are relying heavily on absentee mail in ballots to be received and counted in a timely manner”? Simple…it isn’t. Ballots in most states have to be postmarked by Election Day…which will happen as I’m sure the Postmaster General will authorize overtime on Election Day if necessary to ensure that all mail is properly postmarked…and there is at least a 7 day grace period for delivery (more in some states). So this summoning…yeah, it’s just political crap.

I read this week that AOC is “the most effective and hardest working politician of her generation”…so far she’s managed to kill 25,000 jobs that Amazon was going to put into NYC and managed to get herself on the news more than most far more senior congress critters…but hey, her supporters in the WAMM say she is so what do I know. Bzzzzzzzzzzzt…wrong answer again.

You probably read in the news about the young black female teenager in Michigan that was “sent to prison because she didn’t do her homework”…at least again if you only read the headlines or believe the WAMM. What actually happened was she was arrested for assault on her mother and at her juvenile court trial she was sentenced to probation including a requirement that she attend school. Much like the fines and restitution in FL for felons…attending school was part of her sentence and was…ummm…required is the word I’m looking for here.

So…she didn’t do her schoolwork…which was online and at home…so the judge revoked her probation and sent her to Juvie…exactly where she needs to be. She is in a program designed to help with her psychological issues (she has ADHD and something else as I recall) and is making great progress in Juvie according to her counselors and evaluators…so the judge declined to let her out since it is not yet clear that she won’t assault her mother again. No matter though…according to the WAMM she’s been “sent to prison for not doing her homework”.

I keep reading on the news what a great job that CA and NY are doing with their approaches to the Corona…and that FL and TX are doing wretchedly…only it turns out that if you rank the states by deaths per 100,000 population FL and TX are nowhere in the top 15 while NY and CA are (statistics from statista.com). It is true that if you rank by cases per 100,000 population FL is in the top 5 but NY is still above FL in the rankings. So…what’s the difference? It couldn’t be that NY has a Democratic and FL has a Republican governor…could it?

Speaking of Corona…I saw an interesting perspective on the whole quarantine thing this week…it comes from Mike Rowe who was the host of Dirty Jobs for many years, currently narrates Deadliest Catch and several other Discovery Network TV shows, and runs a foundation dedicated to the idea that a college education for everybody is not necessarily the best thing for everybody. His thought is that blue color jobs…plumber, carpenter, welder, and many others can provide a nice income for a lot of people and we need those jobs to be done. He isn’t against college education at all…just of the mind that for a good many people a cheaper education that provides them with a great job and doesn’t saddle them with $100,000 or more of college debt might be a better solution.

Anyway…he posts on Facebook…and is one of the few FB pages I read. He was taken to task recently because he headed out with his Dirty Jobs crew on a reunion tour of sorts. Now mind you…they took appropriate precautions, were all tested for corona with negative results, and are doing most of their reuniting with old Dirty Jobs people via video calls…but he was taken to task by a reader for his “unconcern with the corona”.

It’s a really great post…you can read it
. In it…he says that he’s not ignoring the virus at all. He goes on to talk about a PhD epidemiologist named Michael Osterholm…who 10 years ago published a book predicting a corona virus (not THE corona virus but some virus in the corona family which includes the virus causing our current problems as well as flu viruses) that would turn the country upside down. In his book “Deadliest Enemies”…he described the “utterly irresponsible way in which the media would report on the situation, the completely opportunistic and shamelessly political way our leaders would likely react, and the unprecedented chaos and confusion that would arise from all the mixed messages from the medical community. “. He predicted that there could be as many as 100 million cases in this country and up to 480,000 deaths. He seems pretty prescient to me for a book written ten years ago.

Mike goes on to say that reading the book and talking to Dr. Osterholm enabled him to get past the first 4 stages of grief quickly and get into acceptance. He’s accepted that the virus will be with us a long time…that he might get it…and that somewhere between 0.6% and 1% of those infected might die. His point is that we accept 40,000 deaths a year from car accidents along with many other large scale causes of death…and is choosing not to ignore the corona but to take reasonable precautions. Just like one wears a seat belt with driving or riding in a car and avoids driving after consuming alcoholic beverages…one can respect corona, take reasonable precautions like masking up in public, washing your hands a lot, minimizing the number of trips outside of home, and practicing social distancing…and continue to live your lives.

That’s pretty much what we’re doing…masks aren’t the panacea that one side says they are or the complete waste of time that the other side says…they do provide some protection as does social distancing and avoiding crowded bars.

I do find it odd that with all the governor requirements to wear masks and the…let’s call it over enthusiastic…lecturing by some to wear them…that if you actually read the box that the common ear loop masks come in…it says “this mask will not prevent CoViD-19. Yeah…I know it’s just legalese BEP that the corporation counsel forced them to put on there…but if it were settled science that they are a surefire a way to prevent infection…would that legal disclaimer really be necessary? Dunno…but we wear ours whenever we’re out because as I said they do help.

Speaking of Mike Rowe…if you are a podcast listener you ought to give his a try…it is named “That’s the way I heard it” and is…according to Mike…the only podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span. Most of the episodes are 15 minutes or less in length and almost all of them tell you something interesting about a famous person that you probably didn’t know ahead of time. He spins the tale of the person…telling a story about their life…and at the very end identifies the individual and while Connie and Neil figure it out about half the time…there are still episodes where the person is a surprise. He sprinkles a lot of words that serve as teasers into the audio…although you don’t really realize they are teasers until you know who the person is…for example a recent one on Mick Jagger was entitled “Looking for Satisfaction” or something like that. Anyway…they are a great listen and if you’re into the whole podcast thing give them a try at
 or iTunes or however you get your podcasts…they’re even available in your browser.

Ok…on to some images…another in a series of blasts from the past…in this case from the summer of 2013…our second year on the road in the RV.

That year we went to the northwest US and up into Canuckistan to Jasper and Banff National Parks. This series of images…well they’re all Connie’s fault as she sent Neil the first one a week or so back and said “been there”. Take a gander and. See if it reminds you of anything…this isn’t one of our images.

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No? Ok…keep that photo in mind while I tellsya the story.

The general location is Lake Louise AB which is located within Banff National Park. I’m sure you’ve all seen the famous photos of the Fairmont Hotel located at the NE end of the long narrow Lake Louise and the glacier at the far end roughly a mile away. If you’re standing in front of the Fairmont…looking off to the right is another smaller and higher lake named Lake Agnes…and on the shores of Lake Agnes is the Lake Agnes teahouse. It is about a 6 mile round trip hike up to the teahouse with about 1,000 feet of elevation gain on the way up. Connie had heard about it and wanted to hike up, have lunch, and come back down…so we did just that. An interesting side digression…back then she was still working…even though we had retired…for Northern Virginia Community College doing the scheduling for the internships for their medical laboratory students. She did all of this on the road up to about 20 hours per week and the agreement with the college was that if she read and answered an email then she got 15 minutes worth of pay. Her work was mostly done sitting in the rig on days when we weren’t doing anything else but she was always pretty anal about answering mails right away. So…by the time we hiked up, had lunch, and hiked back down…she had made enough to more than pay for our lunch…and it was an expensive lunch as there are no roads to the teahouse. Everything they cook and serve has to be brought up on horse or mule back so…just like on Mount Fuji in Japan…the higher you go the more things cost. Lunch…which was a pot of tea, a couple cups of soup, and a sandwich that we split was something like $40 with the tip but the walk and views were worth it.

Lake Agnes also runs long and skinny from NE to SW and the teahouse is located at the NE end right where the lake outlet spills over the waterfall and starts it’s trip down the mountainside to Lake Louise.

Looking almost due north from across the waterfall next to the teahouse.

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This bird was on the rail near our table and was highly interested in our lunch.

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Looking to the almost due east down towards Lake Louise…you can see the Fairmont through the trees at image center.

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A zoomed in shot from a bit farther to the right…just about where the first shot above was taken from to better show the hotel and Lake Louise.

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Looking NW from across Lake Agnes…the teahouse is just out of frame to the right.

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And looking SW from the teahouse you can see another glacier that dumps into Lake Agnes and Devil’s Thumb behind it.

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Now…looking back at the first image that isn’t ours…and was obviously taken much later in the summer than ours was since there is no ice on the lake.

You can see the teahouse at the far end of the left hand lake on the left side…it is the white building you see. The rounded mountain in between the lakes is the Beehive and you can see Lake Louise and the Fairmont to the right.

Yeah…I know…long story but the image Connie found brought back some memories and I figured they were worth sharing.

A few more photos from the same trip.

Ram Bighorn Sheep…these are actually different individuals as I recall…at least the photos were an hour or so apart and typically there’s only one fully mature ram with his harem in each group.

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Moose in velvet…this is actually about the best photo of a moose we’ve even gotten…they’re almost mythical creatures and while we’ve seen a lot of moose butts as they disappear into the woods this one was laying down in the weeds literally about 15 yards from the main highway leading east out of Jasper AB.

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Don’t let the color fool you…this is actually a black bear and not a grizzly…at least we don’t think so. It is too small, doesn’t have the hump, and doesn’t have the right facial structure for a grizzly.

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Another bull moose we ran across on a hike in Jasper.

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This is a Bufo Toad which is common down here in Florida. They secrete a ‘toxin’ onto their skin to repel predators but it is only mildly toxic to humans and if you wasn’t your hands afterwards then it causes no issues at all. You can see the size of it as compared to the toe of Neil’s bike shoe also included…this guy was dead on the side of the road and Neil didn’t touch it…but it had to be six or seen inches long in the body. It had not been run over…and he saw it as he left Magnolia Landing on his bike ride yesterday…it was almost right across from the entrance as he crossed US-41 and turned south…so I think it just hopped out onto hot pavement and expired the day before.

Speaking of bike riding…Neil (after yesterday) is up to 151 miles for the month at an average speed of 15.17 mph and an average distance of 12.64 miles…for the year it’s 771 miles, 15.07 mph, and 12.44 miles. He’s trying to do at least 150 miles a month with a stretch goal of 175…mad the stretch goal for June and it looks pretty good for July as well. He tries to get out every other day and mostly goes early in the AM before it gets too hot…once it gets to fall and winter he will be able to go later in the day if he feels like it.

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Oh yeah…we did go out to Smoke’n Pit BBQ down on Tamiami Trail but north of the river a few days ago…pretty decent pulled pork so we’ll have to try their ribs and brisket next time. Not as good as Dreamland in Tuscaloosa AL or Oklahoma City Joes (now Kansas City Joes) out in KC…but definitely better than average. Neil ran into a Crimson Tide fan when he was picking up takeout…we had a nice conversation after he noticed Neil’s Alabama ball cap, asked if we had ever been to Tuscaloosa, and when he said yes he asked if we had been to Dreamland. Those are the two best BBQ joints we been to…and it’s really not close…every other place we been has been competing for 3rd place.

Saw this sign at the cash register…thought it was pretty apropos for the current corona thing.

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OK…on to interesting things found the net…although actually she of them were found in our email instead. We have people ya know…our people are in charge of sending us neat things…and if you ever come down this way let us know and we’ll have our people get in touch with your people and mayhaps we’ll quaff an adult beverage or three or four. Jus’ lemme know when you’re in this area…and we can find some drinkin’ establishment to meet at…our available selections range from dive bars with great food to 4 star linen napkin sorts of places…although we’re partial to the former more than the latter but we are certainly comfortable with either.


The photographer had to wait for months to get his desired image of a jaguar and the shadow it casts.




I gotta admit…millennials and such fall right into this one.


Neil needs one of these for Connie…he’s threatened to push her off the side of the waterbed if she snores…but his bark is worse than his bite as he would never actually push her out of bed, he would just go to the recliner himself instead.


This seems apropos for the quarantine.




And finally…if the WAMM gets their way and we get rid of the police…



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.
This entry was posted in Blast From The Past, Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid. Bookmark the permalink.

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