Not really much going on today but Ima bored so figured I would blather on about something or other.
We’re having some A/C problems here at the homestead. It quit working in early March and the troubleshooting showed we needed a new coil…we were pretty impressed with the ability of that technician to figure out what the problem was but the part needed to be ordered. We got a call 3 or 4 days later that the part was in and on the 15th of March a different guy came to do the install. If you’ve ever seen the old Bob Newhart as a dentist show where there was Larry with his brother Daryl and his other brother Daryl…and between the 3 of them they probably had 4 or 5 functioning brain cells…well, that description almost perfectly suited installer dude.
First it turned out the new coil he brought was actually a bad/used one…they put them back into the box, tape it shut, and send them back to Carrier for figuring out what went wrong. After 30 or so minutes of fumbling around trying to figure out what to do…his boss came out and called for a different tech to go pickup another coil and bring it out…so another hour or so delay. Then boss and new coil delivery guy left…as best as Neil could figure out installer dude picked up the wrong part.
Next…he had the wrong type of flux for welding the freon supply/return pipes to the new coil…he blamed it on the parts department giving him the wrong stuff and really had no answer as to why he didn’t figure it out when they gave it to him. Anyways…he soldered in the new coil, did the pressure and vacuum test to see if it was good (both failed), then repeated steps 1 and 2 3 more times before it “passed” the tests. Filled with freon, reassembled, and left…getting out of here just about quitting time so in retrospect it probably wasn’t an actual pass but it was time for him to go drink a Bud with his buddies or something. We left the next morning with the unit on for our trip up to central FL to Titusville and Lakeland and when we returned it was cool in the house. With nice weather predicted we turned the A/C off and opened up until the next hot day…which was just about a week later. Turned it on…no cool. Called and complained and the company sent out a tech the same day…but unfortunately it was installer dude again. We showed him the puddle of oil under the inside unit which clearly indicated it was a freon leak since there’s oil mixed with the freon to lubricate the compressor. After another 3 or 4 soldering attempts he again pronounced it fixed, filled with freon, and left. We left the A/C on for a stress test and all seemed fine for a few days…until Neil opened the door to look at the unit again today and found…you guessed it…another puddle of oil under the unit. We called again and asked for a different tech who showed up in about an hour or so and found another leak which he’s working on fixing as I type. Turns out that installer guy’s name is Chuck and the different tech thinks that he’s sick or something as his performance seems to be slipping…he’s been doing HVAC work for 25 years and hasn’t been fired so obviously something is up. In any event…hopefully Isidoro will figure it out.
We’ve had a parade of issues today…Neil went out biking early and found out on US-41 a turned over dump truck of gravel and a lot of backup. When he got back he told Connie to leave 15 minutes earlier than he had planned for her dental appointment. She did that but ended up turning around as the backup was now over an hour long and the road was noted as closed on the traffic report. Neil was supposed to go pick up some vittles from Walmart but obviously with the A/C issue and the traffic that didn’t happen…we missed our scheduled pickup time but he will try again a little later to see if things have improved because Walmart certainly doesn’t restock your order that quickly if you miss your scheduled pickup time. We tried both the Walmart app and calling to see if we can reschedule…nothing available in the app despite the help page saying there was but the button that help claims is there ain’t…and nobody answers the phone at the local store when you call.
Over in Ukraine…Russia keeps claiming that they haven’t killed any civilians and it’s all a conspiracy led by the US to make them look bad…despite numerous videos and verification by news sources outside Russia that they’re killing civilians indiscriminately, leaving land mines behind when they retreat, and basically getting their ass handed to them by the Ukrainian military.
Then there’s our politicians…and really we’ve become more and more convinced ‘round here that there is almost no party for those of us in the middle right to center to middle left as the idiots on both sides have seized control of both of our political parties. You’ve got AOC, Ilhan and the squad on the left and Taylor Greene and Cawthorn on the right in the House and all of those plus others are about as far out to the extremes as you can get. It’s not just the House either…there are far right and left Senators also doing and saying stupid things for political gain.
And then…there’s the current brouhaha over the President’s SCOTUS nominee and a side brouhaha over Justice Thomas and whether he should recuse himself from cases because of his wife’s political maneuvering.
Now to be fair…we’re not fans of the President…but we don’t believe all the “stop the steal” crap, stolen election, and related BS topics about the 2020 election either. And to be fair…we weren’t really fans of the previous Oval Office occupant either…he was the least bad choice we had in 2016 but still not a good selection. And we understand that the Democrats were pissed about Garland not getting a vote and we understand that the Republicans were pissed about the treatment that Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett received at the hands of the Democrats…and we understand as well that the Democrats are pissed about the way that Brown Jackson was treated during her committee hearings.
However…while we agree that SCOTUS confirmation hearings have gotten way more contentious over the past 30 or so years…it seems like almost every one starting with Bork has gotten way too political…we did watch some of the hearings for Judge Brown Jackson…and while the Republicans did ask some hard, pointed, political/policy/philosophy questions…they mostly were respectful. In our view…Justice Kavanaugh was treated far worse by the committee but the Democrats and Justice Coney Barrett was also treated badly but not as bad as Justice Kavanaugh was. And the media outcry in support of Democratic nominations and against Republican nominations is just appalling and shows once again that honest journalistic integrity is pretty much a rarity any longer. Today’s top headline is a story about Taylor Greene attacking the 3 Republican Senators who have announced they will vote for Judge Brown Jackson…but you never see the crazy things that AOC or Ilhan or the other far left House members say. AOC actually threatens to impeach Justice Thomas over his wife’s texts last week despite the fact that there is pretty much no chance of that happening…and the article was far down from the top of the web page.
Then there’s the ongoing argument tangentially related to the SCOTUS hearings about the definition of a woman. Judge Brown didn’t answer because she said she was not a biologist…which is correct but most folks in basic science courses over the past 100 years or so have learned that whether you are a male or female is determined by whether you have X or Y chromosomes in the two pieces of DNA that were contributed by your mother and father. Further…males have male reproductive parts and females have female reproductive parts. Thus…whether you are male or female is predetermined at conception and since you can’t change your chromosomes you pretty much are the gender you are from conception to birth.
That’s not an attack on any person either…it’s just a fact of gender. Now whether you want to have sex with men or women or both or not at all…and whether you wish to dress in clothes that society generally considers as masculine, feminine, or generic…that’s a whole different issue and frankly we don’t really care about that…have sex with and dress however you prefer. However…just because…for instance…you have male productive parts but prefer to be dress as a woman and tell everybody you’re female…doesn’t actually make it so. Changing your biologically determined gender is about as crazy as changing your biologically determined species and claiming that you’re no longer a Homo Sapiens but are instead a cephalopod…saying it doesn’t make it true.
The traffic finally cleared about noon and Neil ran down and picked up our groceries from Walmart. While he was gone Isidoro finished soldering the A/C properly…he says…and put in 6 pounds of refrigerant. It only holds 7 so he was amazed that it was working at all. He even cleaned up all the oil that leaked out…much better than installer dude chuck.
Then there’s the so called “Don’t Say Gay” bill that Florida passed…which doesn’t mention the word gay at all but only bans teaching about so called gender dysphoria issues with children below the third grade. I think that both sides in this particular debate are inventing worst case scenarios in order to beat their political drum of persuasion. Yes…I don’t think that teachers should be teaching early elementary students that you need to decide whether you’re a boy or girl and you can easily become the other one if you decide you are…kids that young aren’t sexually mature and really have no idea of what it really means. However…the teachers unions and one son of a gay couple who was interviewed in the news today claim that this means that (a) teachers and students can’t talk about parents who are gay at all, and (b) since there can be no reference to gender (which isn’t what the bill actually says by the way) that bathrooms can no longer be labeled boys and girls…both sides are splitting hairs and interpreting things to suit their political agenda. And as I said…this isn’t anything against being gay or effeminate/masculine/metrosexual at all…we’re fine with all of that but some of the more activist gay folk want to stick it in the face of heterosexual people and then the other side gets mad and it’s all tit for tat/he said she said after that. Both sides are wrong.
Whatever happened to the principle of compromise in government or policy…back when I was growing up the two parties in Congress could each give a little and get a little and be friendly afterwards…instead today it’s a my way or the highway adversarial approach and the most important thing for any politician to do is make the other side look evil and belittle their position. Heck…former Justice Scalia and Justice Ginsburg on the SCOTUS were polar opposites in judicial philosophy but outside the courtroom were best friends and usually vacationed together. No more though.
In other news…today there is a report of an aggressive red fox…nope, not in the country where you might think one would find a red fox but on the US Capitol grounds in Washington DC. Yep…we been there…right in the middle of downtown with no trees other than ornamentals for probably going on 2 miles…I just looked on the map and there are literally nothing even remotely resembling woods for miles. WTH?
Connie had her Fort Myers Mastersingers concert on Sunday…after years of voice lessons when we lived in Fairfax VA and participation in the New Dominion Chorale up there she was really missing classical music since we moved into the RV. She made do with choir and cantor duties but her choir here is…well, let’s be politically correct and call them average at best…anyways they rarely sing the standard soprano, alto, tenor, base (or SATB) music she likes and after 2 years of living here she auditioned for and joined the Mastersingers. The concert was pretty good…excellent in fact. The first piece was a world premier of a song commissioned by the Mastersingers for orchestra, choir, and youth choir. Connie and Neil have probably heard close to a dozen world premiers of various music (well, most of them weren’t actually very musical) over the years and this was far and away the only really good one we’ve ever heard…and in fact would listen to it again. They sang some Mozart as well along with a John Rutter Mass for Children…all was good. Today she was back into rehearsing for her next performance…the Gulf Coast Opera is doing the Puccini opera Tosca and the Mastersingers are providing the onstage chorus for the production…and a dozen or two of the chorus will be onstage for the three performances. Now me…I don’t know much about opera since it’s never in English and it’s really hard to follow whatever the plot is when you can’t understand any of the words…but I do now that it ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. He did notice two things about the concert on Sunday though…first was the dress the soprano soloist had on. It was a very nice cocktail sort of dress but again…we’ve seen a lot of female vocal soloists over the years and her dress was about the most un-soloist-like dress we ever saw. Usually they’re floor length gowns and have lots of sparkly doodads on them…this was just a regular old cocktail dress…very nice but sort looked outa place. The second thing was the male bass soloist. Neil realized…and again we’ve seen a lot of male vocalists over the years…that they all have perfected that blank face thousand yard stare…dunno, maybe it’s a male vocalist thing as female vocalists don’t really do it.
Neil ordered himself a new computer and monitor…a Mac Studio and the accompanying Studio Display. Basically…his laptop is so much faster than our iMac for doing his photo processing that he feels antiquated when he’s back in the office…which is actually in the front of the house so why we call it back in the office escapes me but that’s what it’s known as…but the iMac has the large monitor which makes the job a lot easier. So he is updating to a desktop Mac Studio which uses the same Apple silicon M1 chip as his laptop except it uses the Max version instead of the Pro version in the laptop. Essentially all the M1 chips are similar but the Pro gets scaled up in number of cores compared to the M1 nothing and the Max scaled up over what the Pro has. There’s also an Ultra which is two of the Max chips welded together but that’s (a) overkill for his needs and (b) another $2,000 add on to the price which is already expensive enough. The Studio Display has the same display panel as our current iMac but some other goodies added and he’s looking forward to the combination. The iMac is getting traded in to Apple to cover part of the cost…once the new computer is shipped Apple sends a postage paid shipping box for the old one…that makes recouping some of the value a lot easier than having to find your own buyer. You don’t get quite as much money but a 5% to 10% reduction in price in exchange for losing the sales effort is worth it.
We received our Sarasota Orchestra subscription renewal paperwork this week…but are waiting to see how many of the normal Sunday matinee Masterworks concerts we attend conflict with her Mastersingers performances which are usually on Sunday afternoon as well. Depending on how many…we may have to shift back to Saturday evenings for the orchestra…but really prefer the Sunday afternoon ones for a couple reasons…they let out right about our dinnertime and we stop on the way out to the freeway for dinner before our hour+ drive home and also because while can always eat on the way to the Saturday evening performances their start time of 2000 means it’s going on midnight when we get back home and we would rather not stay out that late unless we have to. If the number that conflict with Mastersingers is low enough we’ll just swap those particular tickets for Saturday but if it’s most of them we’ll have to figure out what to do. An additional problem is that the Elks Lodge has dinners on Saturday a lot and we usually attend those so we’ll miss out on at least some if we totally switch to Saturday evenings.
Over in Ukraine…apparently late last week some Ukrainian helicopters flew across the border into Russia and blew up a fuel depot which left the Russian military awash in outrage and hurt feelings. The Russian propaganda press decried this attack as “an act of aggression and escalation of hostilities”…which seems somewhat laughable. In a war…things get blown up and people get killed, there isn’t a lot of square dancing or speed dating. Even better…the Russians claimed that it was a “civilian” fuel depot with no connection to the war. I dunno ‘bout you…but Ima thinking that a fuel depot with a bunch of military tanks means it ain’t a civilian depot at all. The Ukrainian press and administration response to the Russian claims was brilliant…one of their presidential advisors said “Maybe somebody smoked in the wrong place.” Maybe the Russians can post a video similar to the old Sergeant Shultz from Hogan’s Heroes saying “I know nothing!!”
Ima going to recommend you to a site you may want to visit. There’s a place on the internet called reddit and they have a subsection named “
Am I The A**hole” where people write in and describe a situation where they may or may not be one and asking for the judgement of the internet mavens. A lot of the scenarios seem clearly made up but both the original scenarios and the comments are frequently pretty hilarious. Check it out if ya like.
In the “
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it” category…up in the panhandle of Florida there’s this bar named Flora-Bama Lounge, Package, and Oyster Bar. It’s so named because the property it is on straddles the state line with Alabama just east of Gulf Shores. In late April…if you’re in the area…you should stop by and participate in the “Legendary Interstate Mullet Toss”…wherein starting in 1986 as a marketing gimmick one can pay $15 to participate and see who can toss a dead mullet…the fish, not the haircut…the farthest across the state line. They’re already dead and are purchased from a local market ready to cook…or toss. It’s apparently the busiest weekend of the year at the Flora-Bama…this year’s tournament runs fro April 22 to 24 from 0900-1600 CDT. In addition to the Mullet Toss they have Worship Service every Sunday at 0900 and 1100. These are official Christian services conducted by the Central Flora-Bama Church…whatever that is…they say they are a refuge for those who are surviving, struggling with addictions, battling depression, and seeking help for a number of other issues.” I have to admit…any church with a motto of “It’s OK not to be OK” is…well…OK. BTW, the owner of the Flora-Bama bought the place in 1978 on his birthday and at the time had $100 in his checking account
Speaking of SCOTUS…you might think from reading the media that everything there is controversial when in fact most of their decisions are 9-0 or 8-1 and really reflect how they read and interpret the Constitution and are not the politically based statements the news wants you to believe. To wit…today a case was decided 8-1 regarding who can order the vacation of an arbitration decision. Justice Kagan writing for the majority said “that the Federal Arbitration Act authorizes parties to an arbitration agreement to ask a federal court to compel arbitration, but applications to confirm, vacate or modify awards don’t necessarily fall under federal jurisdiction.” In other words…the court read what the law actually said and then decided…yup, that’s what it says. Most of the non controversial issue decisions the SCOTUS makes are pretty similar…and one thing I’ve found pretty interesting over the last few years is that Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, or Coney Barrett vote with the liberals on significantly more cases than those that see Justice Kagan, Sotomayor, or Ginsberg before her death vote with the conservatives…which tells me something, I’m just not sure what.
Justice Coney Barrett was giving a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library yesterday…she made both an interesting suggestion and then dealt with a heckler. She said that rather than just blast the court for political bias based on the decision…no matter which way a particular vote went…that people should read the opinions and see why the individual justices voted the way they did. Usually…this comes down to either what the law says or in the case of a Constitutional question whether a particular justice believes in strict or loose interpretation. Strict constructionists…similar to originalism which believes the words should be interpreted based on the understanding of the words when it was adopted…believe that the Constitution says what it says, no more and no less…and that decisions pretty much come down to the words in it and while they agree that a document written in the 1700s might not take into account today’s cultural views or the advance of technology but since there’s a method for amending the constitution that’s just fine. Loose constructionists are harder to define…but essentially believe that the words mean what they think they should mean today and that unless something is specifically prohibited it is allowed…this is the theory that was used to generate an awful lot of constitutional rights today that don’t exist in the a actual document. Her suggestion was to read the reasons and not just the numbers. Her thought was that rather than seeing it as a political decision…is the decision based on dreading the law and constitution even if it is a decision you personally disagree with. During her remarks…she was interrupted by a heckler…her response was “As a mother of seven, I am used to distractions — and sometimes even outbursts.”
Ok…guess that’s enough. Let’s see what Interesting stuff Neil found on the net.
These are Green Bush Vipers or Atheris Squamigera which is a poisonous snake endemic in west and central Africa. There are no subspecies.
And yes…I realize they’re not green…which is why I question the competency of whoever chose that name.
Math nerdery…you may have noticed that
Notice the symmetry in the numbers on the left and right side of the equations.
Some Star Trek humor. The lady on the right is Nurse Chapel who was played by a lady named Majel Barrett…she is the wife of Gene Rodenberry the creator of the series Her voice was also used for the computer voice in all of the movies and most of the series in the Trek universe. Bugs shoulda taken a right at Albuquerque.