And Then There Were Three…

Looking back at our past posts in the blog for this week…it turns out that Aug 9 has historically been either a middle of a disaster day, a do nothing day, or a rainy day…albeit with a few decent Fun Stuff© days as well. We spent a rainy day in Elizaville NY in the campground laundromat our first year on the road, stuck in Graham WA in ’13 with Neil’s broken foot, stuck in Barnsville MN in ’14 battling norovirus or whatever it was Connie picked up on her train trip and then gave to Neil on her return, we did have a good day in ’15 on our boat trip out to the glacier in Valdez AK, again in ’16 we were in KY doing bourbon distillery tours, transiting to Salem OR in ’17, watching a cool sunrise in Dalhousie up in Canuckistan in ’18 and hangin’ out with kidney stone in Cody WY in ’19. 

Before we decided to exit the full time RV life this past fall…we had already decided to modify our travel style and take a 2-3 week break about halfway through travel season…departing FL after easter sometime and arriving back November 1 after hurricane season was over so sometime in the late July/early August time frame we were going to just take a break and sit a spell as they used to say on The Beverly Hillbillies TV show…our enforced stop for a month in Cody last summer was so nice that we figured picking a nice spot and settling there for awhile with some day trips for Fun Stuff©, hikes, waterfalls, wildlife and what have you would suit us.

Then we got back and Connie said she was done…so we were done. Truth be told…he wasn’t all that unhappy about it but would have probably traveled one more season before hanging up the keys…but then the corona happened and we would have had to head west someplace to get into areas that weren’t virus hot spots…and we would have had to know where those were ahead of time although places like WY, SD, ND, MT, ID, and the like would have been pretty good guesses. We think that things turned out for the best overall though.

Nothing new going on here…like that surprises any of you I guess. We headed over to St. Therese for 4PM mass yesterday afternoon since Connie was cantoring…and Henry was already there sitting in the cantor chair and had rehearsed the music with Marge…turns out that he hadn’t looked at the schedule and didn’t realize he was off this weekend and she just assumed he was the right one and didn’t look at the schedule either. Fortunately…we had looked at it and Marge told him that Connie was on the schedule…after she finally looked and verified…Henry looked sort of peeved when he left in Neil’s opinion but it is hard to tell when you’re all masked up…I guess it woulda been easier if he had the Krispy Kreme box face shield that I had a picture of last time but with your standard white paper mask you can’t tell for sure. Anyways…she was typically outstanding…afterwards we got home, had a cocktail and then ate leftover smoked chicken and corn casserole for dinner. We got ourselves a new grill when we got here…a pellet grill which uses small pellets of various woods instead of charcoal or gas. They’re fed into a combustion chamber by a screw auger thing from the supply bin. The nice thing is that you can set it for low or high smoke at 165F and 225F along with smoke for smoking your meat…or you can set a temperature setting and it gets really hot. After using it a half dozen times…we can say it’s great for smoking, great for doing things like a roast, pretty good for regular grilling of chicken or pork…and pretty darned lousy for steaks. It just doesn’t get the grill surface hot enough…even on the max temperature setting…to really give you that nice sear on your NY Strip. Over all we like it a lot…but we’ll keep a regular grill running on gas for our steaks or quick burger cooks…the pellet grill takes longer to warm up to higher temperatures than the gas grill does since it has a relatively small firebox. Our CharBroil infra-red grill is on it’s last legs…the grill is rusting through in several places and the burner has a lot of internal rust particles he can’t get out so the flames aren’t as big as they used to be. We thought about just replacing those components but that’s about 3/4 the cost of an entire new CharBroil…so we’re thinking about spending a few more bucks and getting us a Sea-B-Que instead…it is just slightly larger in grilling area than the CharBroil is but it has more BTUs of heat output which will better sear your steaks and it is made of stainless steel instead of regular steel. As you can guess from the name…it was originally built for boat owners and there is an available mount for it that goes into a rod holder on your yacht…but it comes standard with just legs…and since it was designed for boat usage the stainless has a much lower rusting problem. We’ll have some more smoked chicken today…this time as part of the filling for chili releno’s which are roasted Poblano peppers stuffed with cheese and your protein of choice. Usually we dip them into corn meal and fry them but Neil thinks today he’s gonna make a cornbread like batter to fry them in instead so they have more of a coating. We’ll pair them with something tasty…but exactly what is still under dynamic observation as we like to say ‘round here.

Oh yeah…and then there were three…I didna ferget…nosiree Bob I din’t.

We’ve previously introduced you to our resident A. mississippiensis or American Alligators that live in the pond out back. First up…we had Ragnar who is about 7 or 8 feet long we think…since we ain’t brave enough, stupid enough, or willing to violate the “don’t over there” postings around the ponds here in Magnolia Landing. We regularly saw him…although whether it’s really a him or a her is completely unknown. Generally crocodilian males are larger when fully mature than females…but since they both grow continuously throughout their life. And they ain’t got any external man-bits or lady-bits all they got is a vent inside which are the actual bits. So’s…ya gotta roll ‘em over, grease up their vent, and slide your forceps in there to figger out what they got.

Here’s a shot of Ragnar who we just arbitrarily decided was male.

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Later on…we seen a smaller one which we decided to call a female although it could just as easily be a youngster instead but we decided smaller meant female…and it also has a shorter snout proportionally…and named her Lagatha. This is about the best shot we got…she rarely comes up onto the bank…she’s only about 4-5 feet long.

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Then…the day before yesterday…after we’ve not seen either of them for over a month since the pond got full when the rainy season started…Neil briefly spotted a gator up on the bank just above Ragnar’s Beach as we named it over on the other side of the pond. He originally thought it was Ragnar who had returned so ran out and got a picture. However…in order to get the entire leviathan as they say on Swamp People in the viewfinder, he had to use something less than maximum zoom on the bird lens…it was bigger through the lens than Ragnar was in about the same spot so he decided to do a little ‘vestigating to see what he could see. He went back and looked at all our shots of Ragnar and counted the number of fins/scales/body sections on top of the tail from just at the rear of the back legs to the end of the tail…then did the same on the one he saw. Ragnar has about 27 or 28…depending on how you count them as sometimes they’re not fully visible in the shot and you just count the empty space where one should be or whatever. The one from the other day has 34 or 35…again depending…so we decided this was our third resident which we promptly named Loki. It is about 9 or 10 feet long and getting that big it’s either gotta be a really old female or a middle aged male. Ima not goin’ over thar with my forceps to find out…so we’re calling it a he.

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And a closeup of Loki…or at least as close up as he could get.

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They’re still rioting almost every night out in Portland…the mayor and the Feds came to an agreement that the Portland PD would actually be allowed to do their jobs and protect federal property from vandalism so the federal law enforcement has stood down from that duty but are still in town just in case. The Portland PD only declares a riot when there are fires set or violence starts…at which point they break out the pepper spray and tear gas and do the the exact thing that the federal law enforcement was doing before…but at least the PD is being allowed to do their jobs…and the chief out there has stated publicly that the violence, burning, and rioting is doing their cause more harm than good at this point. Still…the WAMM will be the WAMM…and looters will be looters I guess so the riots continue.

Down in LA…there’s this guy in jail with a life sentence as upheld this week by the LA Supreme Court. His crime was an “attempted simple burglary”…although how it was either attempted or simple after the stolen item was found in his vehicle…he claimed that he ran out of gas and went into an open garage in the middle of the night to see if he could find some gas to steal so that he could drive home but found no gas and went back to his car…and has no idea how the gardening tools in his car got there. Anyways…he was convicted and since this was his fourth felony conviction he …under the law mind you…was given a sentence of “at least 20 years” so they gave him…again under the law of the state…a sentence of 20 years to life.

It turns out that he was arrested at age 38 in 1997 after a homeowner testified that he was the guy in his carport/garage and identified the hedge clippers found in the perps vehicle…so as a result of 4 previous convictions including attempted armed robbery he was justly sentenced under the law.

The state Supreme Court upheld the sentence this week since the judge…umm…followed state law in issuing the sentence by a vote of 5-1. The sole dissenting vote was by the minority female Chief Justice (her identifying characteristics are only mentioned here since the WAMM article about it specifically pointed them out)…who decided that since all of his previous convictions involved theft and that petty theft is “frequently driven by the ravages of poverty or addition or both”…that the sentence was unfair. She didn’t say the law was unconstitutional…just that the sentence was unfair…and thus in her view deserving of being overturned and state law ignored…in other words she wanted to legislate from the bench.

Sorry lady…if you don’t like the law then get your cohorts in the WAMM to file suit over it and if/when it ever comes to your court then you have a vote on whether the law is constitutional or not…but in the absence of that you as a judge are required to follow the law.

In corona news…there’s apparently some moron woman named Ms. Koloma out in Orange County in the Peoples Republic of California going around and entering stores that have either a state, local, or store mask requirement. She’s got a badge that says FTBA on it and says she is from the “Freedom to Breathe Agency”…which doesn’t exist…and she threatens store employees that they are in personal legal liability to be sued for enforcing a mask order and that the employee can be sent to prison for 5 years and fined $10,000. This organization also distributes fake “face mask exempt” cards and the woman and her companion insisted to store management that they had medical conditions and religious beliefs that prevented them from wearing a mask but would not identify any particulars about either of those.

Sorry lady…again you’re nuts. If state or local officials institute a mask requirement…then it is a requirement and you can be arrested/cited for it. You may not like that…but it is legal. For a business…if the owner institutes a requirement for his place of business…and properly posts notice outside concerning that requirement…then again it is legal. You don’t have a right to enter any business…you enter at the permission of the property owner and he/she/they can institute pretty much any requirement that they want to. It is their place of business…not a government owned or public area.

I really can’t decide what is stupider…that she thinks she can ignore requirements…or that she can make up her own non existent agency and threaten employees with prison…or that anybody would actually believe her. Her organization…of which she is the founder and leader…has already been officially warned by the Justice Department to cease and desist.

We have a new, late entrant into the VPStakes for Uncle Joe…apparently Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer is in the running and met with him for an in person interview. So much for all the articles you see that claim the field has been reduced to 2 or 3 with every article touting that the finalists include their prescribed candidate. I don’t think anybody knows yet…but Uncle Joe’s number 1 political advisor has always been his wife Jill…who is known to have a long memory and I really don’t think she will forget the way Ms. Harris trashed and lied about her husband’s record during the early debates. I guess we’ll hear the winner in a week or so at the convention.

NYC is apparently housing homeless people in luxury hotels…at government expense…and they are sitting out front drinking from their paper bagged jugs of wine and doing drubs…and apparently the residents of the generally well to do neighborhoods where luxury hotels are typically located aren’t too happy with that sort of behavior…and apparently hizzonor the mayor doesn’t intend to do anything about it.

Negotiations between the House, Senate, and White House on another corona bailout bill have broken down…or at least stopped for the weekend depending on which article you believe…so the President issued Executive Orders to extend the unemployment benefits that expired last week using previously unspecified corona relief funds, extended the eviction moratorium, and suspended the collection of social security taxes (AKA payroll tax) through the end of the year. Naturally the Democrats are incensed over these and will be filing suits in…three…two…one. 

I don’t know whether extending unemployment using previously authorized but unallocated funds is legal as the White House says since they are appropriated but unallocated…or completely illegal as the Democrats say they are since “only Congress has the power of the purse”…it probably depends on the specific language in the previous bill appropriating the funds as well as previous court decisions regarding this issue that I’ve not researched…but telling an Executive Department agency to issue regulations to extend the eviction moratorium seems perfectly legal to me…and while the President has wanted a payroll tax cut for months he didn’t actually cut it as he doesn’t have that power, he just suspended it and employees will have to pay the interest free loan back next April 15 according to 2 articles I read. However…all that aside…if the various sides can’t come to an agreement on another bailout and what it should include…does it really make sense to sue the administration over their doing something to move the ball down the field? It makes perfect sense…from a political and sound bite standpoint…for the Democrats to rail against the “completely inadequate response of the White House” who just refuse to go along with our demands. However…it makes zero sense from the point of view of helping people affected by the problem.

But then…as we all know…doing their jobs, executing the business of the country, and working for the people who elected them is completely out of the question…politicians of both sides are most interested in making the other side look bad, to a lesser extent getting their way, and to almost no extent doing anything that doesn’t benefit them politically.

In Denver…prosecutors are “Investigating police officers who handcuffed black girls” according to the headline from the AP. What actually happened was that the police saw a car with plates that matched those of a reported stolen vehicle so they initiated a felony traffic stop. That always involves drawn weapons, detaining everyone in the vehicle, and handcuffing them while detained while they figure things out. This particular car contained a black female and 4 black children ranging from 6-17 in age…but the race and gender was not known until after the stop was initiated. So the cops detained them all, handcuffed the mother and the older two daughters, investigated, determined the car was not the stolen car originally thought, and released everyone with an apology and explanation.

Naturally…the district attorney found this “very disturbing” so he’s conducting an investigation “…determines that the officers involved committed a crime, I will not hesitate to file charges and prosecute them.” So apparently in the Denver suburb of Aurora CO…cops are also not allowed to do their job any more. Guess we need to send out some counselors to conduct felony traffic stops in the future.

Yes…getting handcuffed might be temporarily traumatic for the 17 and 12 year old daughters…and might cause them to cry…but it was a…felony…traffic…stop. Sounds like the cops took the appropriate approach to detain, question, investigate, and release them in this case.

The President has banned TikTok from the US…it is some sort of really popular social media thing that is owned by the Chinese. Given their form of government…it is highly likely that nothing they do is not monitored by the government…and while I don’t really have an opinion about whether TikTok should be allowed in the US…he is the President so gets to make those sorts of decisions. And naturally…the Democrats are against this as well…claiming in an article in Business Insider that “CIA analysts told the White House that though it is possible for the Chinese government to access TikTok user data, there is “no evidence” that it has done so, per a New York Times report.” However…knowing how the Chinese government works…the fact that we “have no evidence”…or that the NYT would be aware of what the Intelligence folks know since the NYT has no security clearance…means pretty much nothing. I would be very surprised if the Chinese government was not only fully capable of monitoring TikTok but had done so routinely for anyone they thought appropriate. Remember…theirs is a totalitarian government where the peasants exist only to keep the elite well fed and maintained…and dissent is most definitely not allowed.

Interesting things found on the net.

It’s really amazing what people will argue about…and how quickly forum discussions can diverge radically from the original question, claim, or statement. As I’ve mentioned in the past…Neil frequents a photography forum called Ugly Hedgehog…apparently nobody really knows the origin of the name but several explanations have been postulated…why not…names are just that, names…we are all cute and cuddly except for the ugly people and hedgehogs are cute and cuddly.

Anyways…among the many photography related topics there is a section of the forum named Chit Chat where…naturally…non photographic subjects are welcome. One of the members posted a topic named “Celsius or Fahrenheit” and in the opening post he opined that certain sections of the world had increased by 2 degrees F in average temperature over some specified time period…but that if you considered it in degrees C you got 3.6 which made the problem much worse…this is clearly not correct as you are just changing the units of measurement, not the actual increase. It is also not necessarily even scientifically correct as this amount of variation could be due to the effects of carbon dioxide and man…but it could just as well be normal variation of the long term earth temperature as the planet exits the Little Ice Age (or the last full Ice Age, both are relatively recent on a planet existence time frame)…or it could just be random variations caused by increased solar radiation, more volcano eruptions, less volcano eruptions, cow farts, or whatever. Remember…no matter what the global warming crowd tells you…there is no such thing as settled science. Scientific investigation goes on and things that were previously obviously true become true…man will never fly but now we have airplanes…life in space is impossible but now we’ve landed on the moon and routinely put astronauts in space…atomic weapons or power is impossible but now we have both…the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean is unreachable but now we’ve been there. See…settled science does not exist. We’ve also only been able to measure temperature since the invention of the thermometer about 225-235 years ago so knowing what the temperature profile of the earth was say 10 million years back is educated guesswork based on currently understood science and not an actual fact. Add in the fact that determining the “average global temperature” is fraught with error mostly in determining just exactly what that term means…but I digress, this really doesn’t have anything to do with climate change beyond the original statement.

Where was I…oh yeah, 3.6 degrees C is much worse than 2 degrees F. Naturally there were a lot of comments on this…and almost immediately they completely diverged from the topic at hand. The first couple basically said “BS…it’s the same amount of change just measured differently” but then we got one that said “It’s about time that America adopts the metric system to come in line with the rest of the world. . .”. How the Celsius temperature scale really isn’t part of the metric system at all but in general is used by countries that have adopted the metric system so there’s some correlation but they are actually two different things. This statement generated a whole ‘nuther set of comments for and against both Celsius being part of the metric system, how much better the metric system was than the system used in the US, and how backwards the US was for clinging to the past…not to mention arguments both for and against the US converting and how much or little it might cost. Then there was a group that basically said “some of us are capable of telling the difference between apples and oranges”…followed by the best comment in the entire thread.

“There are countries that use the metric system…and then there are countries that have been to the moon.”

Then there was another side argument about the flaw with the lens in the Hubble Space Telescope and how it was flawed due to an incorrect conversion between metric and US measurements…which is easily disprovable by a quick google search…it was simply ground incorrectly because of something called a reflective null corrector…and various claims fosr and against that.

We also got into the pros and cons of metric vs SAE tools, not to mention Whitworth threaded fasteners…and one wag pointed out that even if you went to the Home Depot and bought a set of metric sockets, while the individual sockets were things like 9mm, 10mm, etc…the ratchet that was used to drive the sockets was still either a 1/4”, 3/8”, or 1/2” drive.

True…metric/SAE units conversions have caused problems in the past…for example the US Mars mission that crashed instead of landing due to the software being written both by US and British coders and a conflict between unit systems…and an instance where a Boeing 767 ran out of fuel in Canada due to incorrect conversion (although this was actually a not recognizing the units rather than a conversion error when you go read about it) so that the plane had to conduct a dead stick glider landing onto an abandoned RAF airstrip named Gimli that had (a) been converted into a drag racing strip and was (b) in use for a drag racing competition when they landed from behind everybody because they were looking down the track.

Second best comment in the thread was the one about tires in the US…”And yet, here in America, we size tires by P (for passenger), 265 (rim width in millimeters), 70 (tire sidewall is 70% of rim width, by 16 (rim diameter in good old inches) which rocket scientist came up with this formula?”

Eventually the discussion descended into minutia and arguments over semantics and definitions. Neil tends to stick with the “apples and oranges” definition…know your units and be able to convert them…but then he was an engineer and sailor and was used to converting times, distances and such as a normal part of doing business…in fact he is even familiar with a term called a barn which is a measurement of area (it is 10 to the minus 24 square centimeters) and a unit of time known as a shake…1 shake is 10 nanoseconds…the term was invented by nuclear bomb physicists, it turns out that when you have a nuclear explosion the whole nuclear part of it is over within 30 nanoseconds and after that it is just the released energy exiting from the still intact at that point outer steel casing of the bomb since 30 nano seconds is essentially non zero compared to the milliseconds it takes the blast from the conventional explosives that start the nuclear bang to reach and break the outer casing of the bomb. Anyway…the physicists invented the shake so that they could go to the local bar and when asked how long a nuclear explosion took they could honestly answer “three shakes”, a reference to the old nursery rhyme about three shakes of a lambs tail.

Things to ponder.

Too many people these days are too judgmental. I can tell just by looking at them.

I look at people sometimes and think…really? That’s the sperm that won?

If the past few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that stupidity spreads faster than any virus.

Can we still order Black Coffee?
Are Brownies being taken off the shelf?
Is White Castle changing its name?
I’m sure Cracker Barrel is screwed.
Can we still play Chinese Checkers?I’m going to miss Snow White.

Are we the only country stupid enough to start a second civil war because we are offended by the first one?

And the best of the bunch…

So I think we can all agree that switching from ass whoopings to time outs didn’t have the outcome we had hoped for…





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, Critters, Homebody, WIldlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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