…the more they stay the same.
That’s it in a nutshell.
My original title was going to be “Unity…Not!”…but I decided that was more appropriate.
However…before I get into all of that let’s catch you up on the latest happenin’s round these parts.
First up…it’s cold. Well…not cold as in Alaska cold or even as in Tennessee or North Carolina cold…but it’s definitely cold for Florida, especially the far southern reaches of the states. We had a cold front come through the other day and have had overnight lows in the low 40s ever since although it’s supposed to warm up a bit and have lows in the 60s starting tomorrow. Highs have been mostly in the 60s two low 70s but we’ll be up in the low 80s by Monday and remain that way for awhile. That’s a much more reasonable temperature for us. We aren’t necessarily against cold weather…just against shoveling snow and we only want cold weather by choice and not by the fickleness of the weather gods.
Good news…we won the Vaccine Lottery Bingo this morning…the local Publix supermarkets have it and every 3 days or so they open up some appointments starting at 0600. We been getting up early those days and getting in line but to no avail…until this morning when Neil’s iPad hit the magic number or something…we had 2 laptops and 2 iPads working on trying to get in…so we got ourselves scheduled for the first jab next Wednesday Feb 10 and the second jab a month later on Mar 10. It’s one of those take what you can get things…and even after we got into the “actually make the reservation” queue from the “waiting on an open spot on the server” queue you would select a store, date, and time and by the time you did that it told you the time had been taken by somebody else and to try again. Took 3 or 4 tries before he got an actual confirmation then since he was in he went ahead and made one for Connie as well. It’s at a different Publix…naturally…and a different time…naturally…but as I said it’s a lottery so one takes what you can get.
As everybody knows…we sold Big Red back in mid January and started looking for a second car. We occasionally have to be different places at the same time and also wanted the ability to self rescue if one of us was out and had troubles so that they needed a ride home. Since it was going to be Neil’s car…he got to pretty much get what he wanted although he was smart enough to make sure that it wasn’t something Connie hated. We looked at the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF which is the 2 seat sports car in hardtop vs convertible but it got eliminated pretty quickly for a couple of reasons. First…it was uncomfortable to drive for more than an hour or so according to all of the reviews which we couldn’t verify since we didn’t actually test drive one due to the other two reasons. These were the lack of space…you could probably fit a couple six packs of beer in the trunk before it was full…and the extreme low slung nature of it. In the seats your but was about 12 inches off the ground maximum and while it was possible to get in and out…the likelihood of Connie getting out if she had on a skirt and heels was essentially zero…Neil would have had to crane her out every time…so we crossed that off the list. We looked at a couple of other Mazda models as well as a couple of Kia models…and as it turned out the first choice for both of them was the Mazda 3 Sedan. So…let me present to you the newest member of the household…Sporty Red.
Sporty Red is pretty low compared to Li’l Red…your head is about at the level of the taillights on Li’l Red…but it’s high enough so as not to be uncomfortable. Since we wanted something sporty…we got the high end Turbo 2.5 Premium Plus model…bigger engine, turbo, leather seats, all wheel drive, sun roof, auto everything, cameras out the wazoo…and naturally we got the red one…Soul Red Crystal Metallic to be exact. We picked the black leather rather than the white/tan one and since we already had the tag from Big Red we just used it for the new registration.
Neil ordered a new camera lens…a lighter better quality version of the Bird Lens…but I’ll relate all of that and his dilemma about what to do and when regarding upgrading our photo equipment in another post so this one doesn’t drag on and on.
Other than that…SSDD as we used to say. Nothing else going on. We’re still staying home mostly but do venture out to the Elks Lodge every couple weeks for tacos and Show Me The Money as well as bingo on the 1st and 3rd Sunday afternoons.
We did a little rearranging in our living area…we had put the blue double wide recliner from the rig back against the wall near the lanai door and a rattan love seat over in the TV seating area since the blue matched some art we were putting over there. On further review as the replay official says…we decided to move the double wide recliner to the TV area as it’s much more comfortable for visiting. We also got a floor mount portable fireplace for both ambiance and a little heat boost without turning on the main furnace and have been glad to have it this week. So the only thing we’re missing is the bed for our spare bedroom…got the mattress and box spring back in December but when we ordered the bed back then the delivery date was Feb 22…which will be just in time (actually 3 weeks early) for our friends Bill and Linda to have a place to sleep when the visit next month. We’ll all be immunized by then and they were coming down anyway to visit grave sites and Linda’s college roommate but it will be great to see them again for a couple of days.
Neil did get a few pictures for me to show you…
Ragnar showed back up for the first time in quite awhile…we have a total of (we think) 3 gators that apparently move back and forth between the ponds in the development. Ragnar is the biggest and he’s about 10 or 12 feet long Neil figured out. It’s not visible in this photo but on the berm above him there’s a sign on a 4×4 post that it’s a nature preserve area and people are to keep out. If he had a laser range finder to know the exact distance of the photo then figuring out the length is simple as he knows the angular view of the 500mm lens and a little trigonometry would tell you the answer…but he doesn’t have one of those. What he does have is the knowledge of the size of a 4×4 post and since it is about the same rage as the gator he just counted how many post widths long the gator is and a little simpler math gives the answer.
The other two are smaller…one about 7 feet named Lagatha and a really short one in the 4 or 5 feet range named Loki. They stay either in the water or over on the berm on the other side of the pond although occasionally they get within 10 feet or so of the bank on our side but we’ve never seen them out of the water on our side. The area around the pond is a nature reserve…one of those Florida land use rules…and people aren’t allowed over on the far side of the pond. Past the berm is 15 or 20 feet of woods then the sidewalk and Magnolia Landing Drive which is the main drag through the development.
And we had a new visitor to our pond…there are plenty of them in the development but this is the first one seen at our pond. These are wood storks…a beautiful bird when flying but with a face only a mother could love. They’re about 4 feet tall…somewhat larger than the Great Blue Herons we see a lot of and eat mostly stuff they dig up out of the mud.
The Red Cockaded Woodpecker came back and sat on the same tree having brunch yesterday…and Neil was able to get some shots of it without the leaves in the way like last time. Unfortunately…you still can’t see the red cockade that gives it the name and he still had to take them through the lanai screen as trying to sneak out the front and around would have most likely scared it away. He’ll give it a try next time anyway but didn’t want to lose the opportunity to get a clearer shot of it.
OK…let’s talk about that the more things change thing.
The President talked at his inauguration about wanting to have unity and bipartisanship in order to try and make both sides happy. Unfortunately…his rhetoric and his actions…as well as the actions of his fellow party members in the Congress…don’t match in the slightest.
I realize that he won the election and the Democrats now have the majority in the Senate since the VP can break the 50-50 tie… but they’re forgetting that 74 million people voted for the other guy, they lost seats in the House, and the only reason they won the Senate majority is because the former President poisoned the well and told his voters to stay home.
I also realize that a lot of things the former President were not the right things to be doing…and he does bear some responsibility for the riot at the capitol. However…let’s also realize that the vast majority of his supporters did not storm the building and do not believe that the election was stolen…they recognize that he lost but this is a different thing than stolen. Just like the BLM protestors…most of his supporters are non violent but the bad actors on both sides give the entire side a bad name.
Unfortunately…the elites on the left refuse to recognize these things…and seem intent on cancelling everyone and everybody that doesn’t agree with them.
A few observations.
The President wants another $1.9 trillion corona relief bill. While I agree that some relief is probably necessary…there is way too much give away and things not related to the coronavirus in the bill as proposed. Specifically…increasing the minimum wage is not related but it was in there until it failed yesterday. There’s also something on the order of $400 billion in state bailouts. While there is some justification for helping the states with lost revenue due to the coronavirus…the total of this to date is estimated to be $20 billion. Being generous…let’s up this estimate to $50 billion to take care of local government revenue shortfalls due to the coronavirus and any potential bias in the number depending on who came up with it. If the President’s bill included this $50 billion…it would get some bipartisan support…enough to pass with a bipartisan label attached. Instead…the vast majority of this state bailout is aimed at blue states with large budget issues due to pension shortfalls and too many freeloader or otherwise not paid for programs. In other words…the failure of blue states to rein in their give aways to union demands and the establishment of vast social programs in their states is now being transferred to the rest of the states who were more frugal in the management of their budget. I’m happy if NY, OH, MI, and IL want to spend like drunken sailors…but do it on your dime, not mine. Federal tax dollars from citizens in states that didn’t spend themselves into bankruptcy should not be used to bail out those that did. Progressives forget that the primary reasons for national government to exist are national defense and border control.
Then there’s this whole kick Representatives off of committees thing…specifically Rep Greene of GA. You see…she won her election and while she is a supporter of the former President there is this whole free speech right in the US but she’s essentially been blackballed from doing the job her constituents elected her to do…and the gall is that the things the Democrats specifically banned her for happened years ago before she was a Congressman. Yes…she frequently speaks her mind and the progressives don’t like it…but fair is fair. Why haven’t the members of the squad been banned for things they say and do? Seems like a double standard to me…and nothing to do with that whole unity thing the President talked about. Yeah…I think Ms. Greene is an idiot…and I’m not sure whether she’s just dumb enough to believe the propaganda or has never actually looked at any of the evidence to see if there is any that indicates a stolen election…but she’s the state of Georgia’s idiot…and depriving her constituents of their duly elected congressional representation based on something she favorited on social media years ago is simply an attempt to cancel folks that the left doesn’t agree with. I don’t agree with anything AOC, Ilhan, and the rest of the squad say or do either…but you don’t see me fomenting for their banning. I keep asking myself why in the hell the Democratic Party (or the Republican Party for that matter) lets freshman congresspeople dictate to them…demanding committee assignments that are normally given to more senior members, saying and doing stupid things on social media and in the press, and doing their level best to make it all about them instead of the job they were elected to do. After all…AOC won her most recent reelection with about 74,000 votes…how does that make her the spokesman for the entire party instead of a junior congressman who should concentrate on her job instead of her followers and how many sound bites she gets on TV. In fact…just recently she claimed to be a sexual assault survivor and while I didn’t spend an inordinate amount amount of time looking…googling evidence for AOC sexual assault claims didn’t reveal anything on the first 3 pages of results except her interview where she made that claim. No police report, no article from 4 years ago reporting on it…nothing. I have no idea whether it really happened or whether it’s just another me-me-me story…or if it did happen what’s her definition of sexual assault…these days everything from a wolf whistle on up is liable to be so labeled.
The country is pretty widely divided right now…and it is essentially split down the middle but by the luck of the election draw the Democrats have all the levers of power. Instead of realizing that this will be fleeting…and the payback will be a bitch as Neil used to say in the Navy…it looks like they’re going use their bully pulpit to jam a whole bunch of far left socialist agenda crap down the throats of the rest of the country whether we like it or not.
Immigration…they’re essentially opening up the border as well as instituting a path to legality for the 11 million illegals already here…and spare me that crap about “undocumented”…they’re here illegally and putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t make it not a pig. Now I’m not advocating that the 11 million illegals be deported…in the first place the government has neither the facilities, infrastructure, or capable organizations to make this possible…it’s just not happening. So either we keep them illegal…or we figure out a way to offer them a path to being legal including paying back taxes and waiting for some time period. But we also need to fix the immigration system as a whole…after all we supposedly fixed this problem back in 1974 when President Reagan legalized 3 million illegals…but here we are 40 some odd years later and we’re having to do it again. I dunno…work visas, increasing immigration quotas, or something but I’m sure that if both sides were to…do their job and compromise then we could solve this and everybody would get part of what they want.
Just about every problem we have in this country could be solved if our elected government folks would agree that the other side has a point sometimes and try to compromise instead of continually bad mouthing and demonizing the other side. Both Democrats and Republicans out on the fringes are guilty of this…for every Taylor Green and Josh Hawley on the right there’s an AOC and Ilhan on the left…each making ridiculous demands that a majority of the country does not approve of and each thinking that defeating and cancelling the other side is the only acceptable solution. Gun control and rights, election security, immigration, abortion…every one of these could not necessarily be completely solved but could be improved. However…until both sides realize that their “I must win and you must lose” attitude means nothing will get done is the problem it just ain’t gonna happen. There are some Ds and Rs that are more middle left and right and both of those groups have a lot of ideas we agree with…solving the DACA issue, fixing immigration, and the like…but leadership is too scared of the wacko fringe to actually compromise with the other side since their own wacko fringe will then blame them for “caving in” to the other side and organize primary challengers to the leadership. Mr. Schumer is afraid that AOC will run against him in a couple of years…I think she will lose badly statewide as most of the state is not wacko left. Same with some of those on the Republican side…but as long as the wackos on both sides aren’t ignored and the media decides to make the news instead of reporting the news…we’ll never go back to the days when politicians could agree to compromises. Too bad…the assholes are ruining it for the rest of us.
Interesting things found on the net.
This one should need no explanation.
We all saw the photo of Bernie Sanders at the inauguration and the accompanying meme it generated…this is the best one I saw on that topic.
You may or may not be familiar with the Red Winged Blackbird…but I’m pretty sure you would recognize his call…the we weeh we weeeeeeeeeeeeh is readily familiar to probably the majority of us. However…this shot of a vortex caused by the call is (a) a pretty interesting image and (b) easily recalls the song to mind. I don’t know how this vortex was formed…probably at sunrise on a day when the air temperature was just barely above the dew point and the varying pressure in the sound wave caused some condensation…but it’s pretty neat.
How big is the air and water compared to the earth? This one is a follow on to one I did some time back. The air sphere is the size of all the air at sea level pressure.
Things that might interest only me
Antipodes…an antipode is the point on earth that is exactly opposite where you are located. Somebody figured out that only 15% of the land on earth is antipodal to other land which means that 85% of it is antipodal to water. Here’s a graphic to illustrate that. My question is…why would anybody pay money for somebody to figure out another completely useless bit of information…it’s kinda like calculating the value of pi to more than a dozen or so decimal places…yes, it’s true but who cares.
And finally…the world’s shortest street.
In Wick Scotland there is a street named Ebeneezer Street which is 6 feet 9 inches long and has a single address on it…the Mackays Hotel which was built in 1883. The property it was built on by Alexander Sinclair was situated so that the entrance had to be on the narrow end of the building as two almost parallel streets came together…and the postal gods decreed that it needed an address on that side of the building and therefore there had to be a street for the address to be on. Here’s a shot from google street view. Yep…that’s Ebeneezer Street you can see there and it’s officially recognized as the shortest street in the world. The narrowest street in the world is also in the UK…maybe I’ll dig that one up for ya next time.