The More Things Change…

…the more they stay the same.

Yeah.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

PastorPriestRabbiBar

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.

BernieMeme

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.

RedWingBlackbirdVortex

COVID19Tax

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. 

EarthAirWater

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.

720px Antipodes LAEA

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.

0 DNP CHP 130121Slug 5466 World s shortest streetJPG

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Photography, Reality Based Blogging, WIldlife | Leave a comment

Third Time’s The Charm I Reckon

Yep…I sat down to write this post 2 times before and got a couple paragraphs in and was so disgusted with the whole situation that I deleted it and quit.

Life at home first…still not doing much…went to the Elks a couple times for tacos and Show Me The Money as well as Bingo last Sunday. I’m not real popular with the management there right now…there’s a fella named Al who’s been the host/caller for Show Me The Money for a long time and apparently he decided he was retired from that. Neil volunteered to do it since he was told that Al was out with the COVID…and he had previously told Al that he would substitute if Al had a conflict. So he did it one week and management said that he had volunteered to do it full time and they thought he wanted it that way…Neil thinks that’s just a cover for the fact that they tried to pressure him into doing it every week. We like tacos and he doesn’t mind helping out…but neither Connie or he wants to eat tacos every Thursday night or have a permanent commitment for that night. He offered to do it every other week…which is about as often as we go to tacos anyway…but apparently they’re not interested in that. He’s deliberately not interested in running for office in the Lodge…he’s seen how many hours and how much volunteering officers are expected to do and frankly he’s got other interests that preclude him from wanting to be that involved…but management would like you to volunteer when and how they want you to do, not what you’re willing and able to do. He’s doing the bingo calling which is 2 Sunday afternoons a month…but that’s an after lunch and before dinner thing and it isn’t every Sunday so it’s a different commitment.

We’re still eating good…made some chicken curry last week and had baked halibut with jazzed up mashed taters last night.

Other than that…same-o…same-o.

Oh yeah…the post title.

I’m talking about the last couple of weeks of course…and tangentially about the last 4 years.

Four years ago…we were reluctant supporters of then candidate Trump…because we didn’t trust Mrs. Clinton who’s demonstrated an affinity for dodgy behavior and decisions and because she’s a smart enough politician to have easily used the position to enrich her family through their foundation which is a very nice way to collect money for influence but without violating any laws. We figured that he was the lesser of two bad choices…and once again Neil wished that his idea of “none of the above” being on the ballot and if it wins there’s a new election and none of the previous candidates can run in the new election…was the way these things work…but alas, it’s not so one chooses your poison so to speak. We figured that if he won he would act a little more presidential and quit tweeting stupid things.

Well…he won and didn’t stop…and because he had stacked his administration with a bunch of yes-people…even though some of them were clearly up to the jobs they held…nobody told him no and forced him to act like the President instead of a game show host and twitter rabble rouser. Still though…a lot of his policies were exactly what he ran on and while the left and media didn’t like those policies the people that voted for him and the people in the flyover states away from DC, NYC, and the left coast tended to agree with what he wanted to do. He also had some policies we didn’t like…the elimination of DACA for instance without making some provision for those unfortunate individuals who are in a legal limbo situation because of circumstances and decisions their parents made…we’ve always thought that getting the 11 million or whatever it is illegal immigrants out of the country was both politically and physically impossible…the government doesn’t have the infrastructure to deport all of them and even if they did they don’t have the competent and efficient mechanism to (a) find all of them, (b) make sure they had the right people, and (c) deport them since their mere presence in this country is illegal…what part of that do the liberals not understand. Add in the sanctuary cities and states and the absolute refusal to assist in enforcing valid federal law by those jurisdictions and…well you can see it just won’t work. Still though…there’s a way to solve this problem…but it would require compromise on both sides. The right would have to agree to some form of legal path to citizenship for both the DACA folk and the rest of the illegals…some combination of paying taxes, waiting a required period of time, perhaps paying a fine for breaking the law…whatever. The left would have to agree to actually enforce immigration law, secure the border, and put a stop to illegal immigration and letting the refugee convoys in and all that. As I said though…compromise would be required and there’s precious little of that on either side of the aisle any more.

There were other decisions he made that we didn’t really agree with…but there were also decisions we did agree with.

Chief among the disagree ones was the whole brouhaha and blather about the stolen election…yes, any losing candidate can and should contest the election…but you need evidence to convince the courts and over and over there was no evidence and the case was dismissed. Even states with Republican governments did not find any systemic voter suppression or voter fraud in anything like the numbers required to change the outcome…it just wasn’t there. Despite this…he continued his rants that quickly turned him into looking like a sore loser instead of the President.

Then came January 6…and while you could never convict the man of inciting a riot or insurrection…and it really was a riot and not a serious attempt to overthrow the government but insurrection sounds more ominous and anti-Republican to the left so that’s the term they keep on using…and you can’t convict him of accessory to murder as Pelosi wants either. The reasons he can’t be convicted are…just like OJ…and just like Mrs. Clinton (although she was never charged)…are twofold as I see it. First…finding an unbiased jury is guaranteed impossible…anybody that says different is either lying or in a very small minority. Neil thinks he’s unbiased enough to evaluate the facts…and to evaluate the requirements that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt and thus would be able to vote guilty or innocent fairly…but he’s the minority; almost everybody already has their mind made up. The second reason is that whole…guilty beyond a reasonable doubt…requirement. If you go and read the actual transcript of the speech he gave at the rally…and what the words mean…any halfway decent defense lawyer would be able to generate reasonable doubt in our opinion…and thus he would not be convicted.

That doesn’t mean he didn’t do it…just like OJ and Mrs. Clinton he probably did but knowing he did it and proving it beyond a reasonable doubt to an unbiased jury is a whole different animal…and is precisely the reason that she wasn’t prosecuted and that OJ got off. The requirement to fairly convict somebody requires that the prosecution prove each and every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt and given his actual words that doesn’t seem very likely to me.

Calling the rally on the same day the EC votes were being counted…stupid is as stupid does as Forest Gump said…it was a really dumb idea, but no dumber than continuing to insist the election was stolen even when all the evidence says it wasn’t.

So instead…he got impeached again…and as everybody knows impeachment is not a legal thing, it’s a political thing. Should he be convicted? Frankly I believe there is a lot to be said for just letting him sink into obscurity and for the House to never formally present the charges to the Senate…in the first place he’s not in office any more and in the second place the trial will take place immediately on presentation of the charges to the exclusion of all other Senate business…including things like approving President Biden’s cabinet choices and that whole compromise thing on his proposed legislative agenda.

On the other hand…the man and the far right that he incites don’t really represent what we’ve always thought of as America’s Republican Party any more than the far left represents the Democratic Party. Despite the claims of the fringes on both sides…most voters are actually pretty centrist. Believe it or not…Neil actually thinks some of the reasonable wants of the Democrats are a good thing…and he would be willing to compromise to get some of the Republican good things…but then as I said before compromise is pretty much down the toilet these days.

Let there be no mistake…what the former President did was reprehensible and what the assholes that invaded the Capitol did was reprehensible, illegal, and generally what we would call a bad thing. However…to be fair one should also agree that what the BLM and George Floyd protestors did was reprehensible and illegal. Not all of them on either side…I’m sure that 98% of the folks at the rally did not invade the Capitol and were peacefully protesting what they were told was a stolen election…because idiots believe whatever they’re told. Likewise…98% of the BLM/Floyd protestors were peacefully protesting what they perceived as a wrong. It’s the 2% on both sides who took over property that wasn’t their’s, attempted to find and kill police or politicians, and attempted to burn down an occupied courthouse out west. Both of those are absolutely, fundamentally wrong…and should have been stamped out with extreme prejudice. I’m all for peaceful protests…I’m also for riots and violence to be immediately and forcefully terminated. Frankly…the Capitol police were…in our opinion…criminally negligent in not having the riot squad prepared and in the basement just in case…and I would have recommended opening fire as soon as the first window was broken in the Capitol or the first firebomb tossed at the courthouse…security forces would have only had to shoot a couple criminals before the remainder had second thoughts about continuing.

Go read
this column from Mike Rowe
…I’ll wait because he says it a lot better than I do.

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Oh, I see you’re back.

So…President Biden was inaugurated yesterday and immediately signed 17 Executive Orders…mostly undoing what his predecessor enacted by EO…and I do wonder about some of those.

Can anybody explain how…for instance, this is just an example…DACA was enacted by President Obama because he couldn’t or wouldn’t try to get Congress to solve the problem. Nothing wrong with doing things by EO…but in the past EOs could be summarily cancelled by the next President. So President Trump EO’ed DACA out of existence and the illegal immigration apologists promptly sued…and got injunctions to prevent enforcement of the EO and essentially ran out the clock on his administration. How along comes President Biden…and he issues an EO to overturn President Trump’s EO and reinstate DACA…and tomorrow the right will sue over it being reinstated…and I wonder if the same court that injunctioned Trump’s EO out of existence because his administration didn’t follow the Administrative Procedures Act and have proposed regulations and public comment…I just wonder if this EO will be similarly held up or if it will be upheld because progressives want it. Doesn’t seem fair to me…

Similarly…another EO issued yesterday cancelled the construction permit for the Keystone XL pipeline expansion. So let’s talk about that a bit. First off…this isn’t a new pipeline…the original Keystone Pipeline is already constructed and delivering oil from Alberta in Canuckistan down to Oklahoma where it went into another pipeline to refineries in OK, TX, and down on the Gulf Coast…this part already exists and is pumping oil today. The XL expansion was in the original plans for the original pipeline approved 15 years ago. So back in the Obama Administration…the XL expansion came up for permit approval…and according to what I read 5 separate studies found that construction of the expansion would be better for the environment than expanding capacity through rail and truck transport of the oil…there would be far less carbon impact or leakage problems from the pipeline expansion than there would be from the rail/truck alternative. So did the Obama Administration follow the advice of their own EPA? Of course not…the permit was denied for political purposes to appease the Green people who want to put the fossil fuel industry out of business no matter how many jobs it costs. So along comes the Trump Administration…and they proceed to follow the Administrative Procedures Act this time and after appropriate comment and deliberation issued the permit. Both private industry and the Canadian government have invested heavily in both the original Keystone pipeline and the XL expansion…and construction was in progress. Until yesterday. President Biden immediately cancelled the construction permit for the XL expansion…but again failed to follow the Administrative Procedures Act…so I wonder if this EO will be upheld. In addition…he’s screwed a trading partner and friendly government…and for nothing. Oil will continue to flow from Alberta through the already in operation original pipeline to OK and more by rail and truck due to expanded production in Alberta…and it will eventually get to the refineries and be refined and used. The only thing positive is that President Biden has tossed a meaningless bone to the anti fossil fuel people.

I’m not opposed at all to the expansion of renewable energy sources…not at all. What I am opposed to is putting a bullet into the head of the US economy when shifting to solely renewable sources is (a) not a technically or engineering achievable goal at this point in time…sun and wind only work when there’s sun and wind and…news flash…the sun isn’t out at night and the wind doesn’t always blow so what happens when there’s no power in the grid and (b) we don’t have the grid infrastructure to deliver the solar/wind power from where it’s primarily generated…which is in all of those flyover states the left doesn’t care about…to the places that are the highest users of the power in the grid…which are the Northeast and CA which the left only cares about. Frankly…nuclear power is the only way that we can reasonably achieve a carbon free grid anytime soon…and even some of the lefties like the Sierra Club now agree with that reasoning.

President Biden has also demanded another $2 trillion in stimulus spending for the COVID…and while I agree that some additional spending to help counteract the effects of the virus should be considered…there’s a whole pile of things in his proposal that don’t have anything to do with the COVID.

  • Raising the federal minimum wage will reduce employment. Yes…it will make some of the jobs that aren’t lost pay more but the left ignores the jobs it will kill.
  • $480 billion in bailout money to states and local government is also in the proposal. Now while I think that perhaps…in the spirit of compromise…helping states who lost tax revenue due to the COVIC is probably ok…the total impact on tax revenue for states is only something like $20 billion…and while I suspect that number might be a bit low depending on who calculated it it’s certainly not $480 billion. This has nothing to do with COVID…but is just a bailout of profligate states who provided exorbitant benefits and retirement to unions there and who were irresponsible spenders of public money. Why should Florida…or Kansas…taxpayers bail out NY or CA. Simple…they shouldn’t and it’s nothing do with COVID anyway.
  • He wants to provide an additional $400 per week in unemployment benefits…over and beyond state paid benefits…until September…this means that for a lot of those workers they’ll make more staying home than they would by going back to work. How many of those people will choose to sit on their butt and collect free money. Plenty of them will and that doesn’t help get the economy running again.
  • Another $1,400 cash payment to every person in the country…this should be targeted more towards people who are actually hurting and provided in a way that it will be spent and not put into savings or paying down debt like a lot of the previous payments were.
  • Student loan forgiveness…again this has nothing to do with COVID and he can only forgive (maybe, the laws on it haven’t been fully litigated yet) federal student loans which is not the majority of them.

I’m…again…all for reasonable actions to help combat the COVID crisis but this is just shoveling out cash to every Democratic lobbying group.

He also claims that he’s going to get 100 million people vaccinated in the first 100 days…unfortunately that’s unlikely to happen because of vaccine production capacity…and using the doses that were saved for the second shot to give a few more people the first shot isn’t the best medical usage of those doses.

He’s also rejoining the Paris Climate Accords…even though the Constitution says that treaties need to be approved by the Senate. President Obama ignored this requirement and claimed it was an agreement and not a treaty…bull crap. I wonder if President Biden will likewise ignore the requirement as well.

I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt…for now…until I see what he actually does. His inauguration speech talked about compromise and coming together…but every inauguration speech since Kennedy has said that and it never happens much on either side. Yes…he won the election but let’s not forget that 75 million people voted for the other guy…and for a lot of them it was a policy vote and not a do I like this guy vote…they were voting against the demands of the progressive left. Ignoring those 75 million people and ramming through policies that take us a long way down the socialist path would not be good. I’m waiting to see.

Now that Big Red is gone…we’re looking for a second car…we have second test drives scheduled for the 3 finalists in the next couple of days.

Neil did get a couple photos today…these were both taken with Connie’s new mirrorless Nikon Z50 as it was the first one he grabbed.

Sunrise over the pond…the sky color is known as sky-blue-pink…from back in the days when we were in college with our friend Joe…I’m not sure which one of the 3 of them actually came up with the expression…

Z50 004

Red Cockaded Woodpecker…and yes, I know there’s no red to be seen. Only mature males have the red and it’s just a little patch behind the eye. Even in mature males it’s only about 5% of the size of the black area around the eye and is generally not visible…so this is either a female or a juvenile. It’s a pretty good shot considering he shot it through the lanai screen…it only stayed long enough for about 6 or 7 shots before flying off and it was about 3 feet the other side of the screen with zero possibility he could have snuck out the door to get an unobstructed view. I’ll have to try and send him out one day before dawn to sit in a chair with a blanket hiding his form since we see woodpeckers right after sunrise frequently. 

Z50 003

Things that might interest only me.

We’ve all seen the size comparisons between the earth, Jupiter and the sun and how the earth would fit into the sun roughly 1.3 million times…but the sun is only a white dwarf so how does it compare to other stars. Take a look at
this video
to see…Cassias Majoris which is one the largest known stars is somewhere between 1,400 and 2,000 larger than the sun in diameter (depending on the estimate)…and we’ve only scaled a fraction of the stars we can see…who knows what might be found in galaxies that are so faraway they appear as simply a dot even to the strongest telescopes we have.

Speaking of galaxies…scientists have announced that they made a slight error in their estimate of the number of galaxies in the universe…formerly it was at least 2 trillion but it’s been revised downward to only a couple hundred billion. Still a lot though.

Speaking of NASA…the tested the core stage of the SLS (space launch system) which is…yeah, right…going to deliver us to the moon by the end of 2024 last week. The SLS is essentially a larger version of the old space shuttle external tank with 4 space shuttle main engines at the bottom and two larger versions of the solid rocket boosters strapped to the sides. Instead of the shuttle strapped to the side of the tank…there’s a second stage on top of the tank and then it will have the Orion capsule mounted on top of that. Anyway…the test last week was just of the core state strapped in a test stand…and the test firing was supposed to last 8.5 minutes to simulate the length of time the engines will burn during an actual launch. The test was going to include the throttle down sequence for maximum dynamic pressure during an actual launch as well as gimbaling the engines like they will in an actual launch. The test shut itself down after just over a minute and achieved essentially none of the goals for the test. Nonetheless…NASA has declared it a success and that they have enough data to properly evaluate the core stage performance and send it to Florida…because we gotta launch it this year ya know in order to meet the 2024 deadline. The problem is that the core stage is only rated for 9 fuel load and offload cycles of the cryogenic fuel and oxidizer…and they’ve already used 3 of them I believe along with a couple of practice runs before launch then they need to save some of the cycles for a potential launch delay. So far…we’ve spent $9 billion on this which is a third more than originally thought and NASA has conveniently ignored another $3 billion of overruns due to some financial hand waving and it’s yet to actually launch. Meanwhile…SpaceX and Mr. Musk have launched over 100 Falcon 9 missions with exactly 1 failure at an average cost of $62 million for a new booster launch and mid $40s million for a reused booster…several of their boosters have flown 5 times. Nobody knows what the cost of an SLS launch…NASA’s current estimate is over $2 billion in recurring costs for the vehicle and launch over and above the development cost. Granted…an SLS has greater payload capacity…a maximum of about 100,000 pounds to lunar transfer orbit  while a Falcon 9 Heavy has about 60,000 pounds to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and 140,000 to low earth orbit (LEO)…the lunar transfer orbit is in between LEO and GTO. Seems to me that some sort of dual launch of the reusable Falcon 9 Heavy system or even the Falcon 9 which is 50,000 pounds to LEO and then a mating of the vehicles would be a lot cheaper to achieve and given NASA’s overall success rate compared to SpaceX likely more technically achievable as well. Private industry has clearly shown itself to be more efficient and reliable than most NASA systems have been…but here we are essentially wasting money on both the SLS and going back to the moon. Musk wants to go to Mars instead…but achieving anytime soon that is likely beyond even his dreams. It isn’t that we don’t have the technology to send spacecraft that far…but a Mars trip would take about 260 days each way plus however much time you spent there and that’s an awful lot of fuel, food, water, oxygen, and spare parts you need even for a minimal crew of 4 or 5 people. The Orion spacecraft which would supposedly be eventually used for Mars missions doesn’t have anything remotely close to enough payload capacity for a mission of that length. I wonder why…other than just because…we need to go back to the moon anyway. Considering the cost of the ISS already…about $150 billion to date…and the difficulty of getting there…just why are we spending money to go back? Until we figure out a cheaper way to get weight out of the earth’s gravity well and into orbit than we currently have…the cost of going back to the moon or to Mars is simply prohibitive. Of course…it’s less than the cost of the blue state bailout in the proposed COVID bill…but then we can’t afford that either.

Interesting things found on the net.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all.

RedneckEngineering

MotherViceGrip

TrustIssues

HowToIdentifyTruth

IkeaLogCabin

TheSameDress

HaveToFireDave

LightsCameraFiction

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Crimson Tide…National Champs…Again

Once again…the post title pretty much says it all.

Screen Shot 2021 01 12 at 11 40 19 AM

 

Last night ‘Bama and Ohio State met for the championship in Miami with the Tide being favored by 8 our 10 points. OSU’s quarterback had some cracked ribs from a targeting hit he took in the semi final against Clemson but it didn’t seem to affect his performance much as he passed accurately when he had the chance and ran the ball successfully a few times What did affect his performance was the dominance of the Tide’s defense…which was pretty dominant overall. OSU ran for 147 and passed for 194 on 17 of 33 passing but was only able to muster 2 long drives in the first half and they lost the time of possession 22 minutes to 37 minutes. Bama…with Mac Jones going 36 of 45 with 5 TD passes rolled up over 620 yards of total offense and pretty much dominated the game 52-24 and it was never close or in doubt after about the first 5 minutes of the second quarter.

After early scores by both Bama and OSU and another later in the quarter…we opened the 2nd quarter with a score and then 2 more before halftime. OSU only was able to get a field goal and a short TD drive of 20 yards after they recovered an uncharacteristic fumble on a strip sack…and they were down 35-17 at halftime. Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith finished the first half with 12 catches, 215 yards, and 3 scores and didn’t play after the 2nd play of the second half due to a dislocated finger. Didn’t matter though…OSU lost the second half 7 to 17 and they were simply outmanned on the O-line and in the secondary.

The Tide now has 18 national championships…although one has to admit that some of the ones back in the Stone Age of the 20s and 30s are a bit sketchy as there was no real way to determine champions back then other than random papers or magazines declaring it so. Of those 18…Saban and the Bear have 13 of them. The NCAA credits them with only 16 though since they only count starting in the poll area which puts them in first place in that category…the NCAA counts Yale as having 18 but none in the poll era. Going back through the 23 seasons of the playoffs and the Bowl Championship Series that was the 2 team championship game that preceded the playoffs and started in 1998…

On the other hand…in the 7 years of the current playoff system they’ve been it 6 times and in the finals 5 times winning 3 of those giving Nick Saban his 7th championship which moves him into the all time lead over Bear Bryant and others…and he’s done it in a lot fewer years. He won his first at LSU and has picked up another 6 in 14 years with the Tide…and as he says it’s simply a matter of the teams following “the process”.

I’m not going to claim they don’t recruit highly rated folks but beyond talent he and his staff look for attitude. To do well for him…a player needs to not worry about stats or scores or sacks but to worry about doing his job each and every play to the best of his ability…and that the team and winning is what is important over individual stats…if you do that then a lot of good things follow. This years big 3 on offense…Smith, QB Jones, and RB Harris…all could have turned pro last year but each made the decision…as did numerous others…to return for their senior year and chase another trophy.

Those guys all have played their final college game…but the talent pool is deep with QB, RB, and WRs all in plentiful supply along with line and defensive folk…in fact next year’s D will probably be better as most of them should be returning and have more experience.

Connie’s off to a Ladies of Elks meeting this AM…Neil finished taking down the Christmas tree and decorations and got all them packed up…we’ll tote them up into the attic over the garage this afternoon when she’s back. We also had a great Date Nite last evening before the ball game…ribs and sides from Smokin’ Pit BBQ down Tamiami trail about 7 miles from home. Their BBQ is better than Hogbodies…but only a bit…and Hogbodies has wings as well so which we pick depends on exactly what we want to eat. 

Cyas…off to do some more jobs round the house.

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We’re Officially Out Of The RV Business

The title says it all. After selling our rig last month we’ve still been looking to move Big Red along to his new owners. Neil had emailed Tom Martin up at Classy Chassis to see if he was interested in it…he was and a day or two later we had an offer and 3 days later (yesterday…Sunday)…he flew in and picked it up.

We picked him up from the airport and went out to the cell phone waiting lot, did the paperwork, swapped the keys for a check and headed home in our newly single vehicle state. He drove over to the gas station at the waiting area to sanitize the interior…with the covid that makes perfect sense for him even though we’ve all recovered from it and were nowhere near Big Red while we were infectious.

He only paid wholesale…since he’s going to resell it and needs to make a profit…but buyers have been few and far between down here for used 5th wheel tow vehicles so Connie and Neil decided to go that route and not worry about it. Now we need to buy a second car for ourselves…Neil has a few picked out and we’ll check them out in the next week or so.

Here are a couple shots of Tom and us during the turnover…the past 3 days have been the coldest of the season so far and it was only in the mid 50s when we met at 2000…so we were all bundled up for the weather. Tom stayed overnight with some family up north of Tampa before heading back to Indiana.

IMG 3729

IMG 3728

Other than that…same-o same-o down here. The Elks Lodge did open back up last week so we went down for tacos and Show Me The Money…it’s Bingo for Dummies or Bingo for people with a short attention span…the games go much quicker than bingo and you don’t need as many players to make money for the lodge. 

Neil took down the outside holiday decorations over the weekend…they got rules ‘bout that sort of thing here in the HoA…and Connie will do the tree this afternoon. 

Let’s see…we did get the rest of the office setup over the holidays…Neil went through his old computer bins of parts, software, and such and tossed 3 huge garbage bags of things that weren’t worth keeping and software that won’t run on any computer he still has. He went from 3.5 bins down to about 1/3 of one so that’s a good thing.

On to the news…

I reckon you saw the news about the ruckus up in DC last week…and do have a few things to say on it.

First off…the majority of the blame for the riot belongs to the President with his continued insistence that he won the election and that it was stolen from him…despite the complete lack of evidence and numerous recounts and court cases affirming the lack of evidence he keeps on with his me, me, me attitude. I don’t know if he really believes his advisors who tell him he won and got cheated…or if they’re lying to him…or if he’s just too egotistical to accept that he lost so somebody else must be at fault…but his rally and speech gets pretty close to inciting a riot. I don’t know what will happen over that…I’m sure that a Democrat administration can indict him for the crime but there are problems with having a trial…first off finding an impartial jury about the case is absolutely impossible…and anybody that claims they’re unbiased is either lying or in a seriously small minority…and lastly if you read his actual words and parse exactly what he said…assuming you could have found the impossible unbiased jury a good lawyer can generate reasonable doubt. The other alternatives are either impeaching him or just letting the term expire…impeachment has the advantage that if he was convicted he would be barred from running for reelection and perhaps the Republican Party can get back to what most of it’s members want instead of the far right wing bS that he has inspired.

However…some portion of the blame falls to the other side…not specifically inciting the riot part…but they’re definitely culpable (as are the Republicans) for the current political climate. The Ds never accepted Mrs. Clinton’s loss in 2016 and have been going on about “he’s not my President”, trying to impeach him since the day after the election in 2016, and filing suits over every executive order the man signed…not to mention calling him a liar, sexual predator, Putin’s puppet, and every other nasty vile thing they can think of. They never gave him the respect that the President deserves from the opposition…you have to at least respect the office and thus the office holder even if you disagree with him.

I think a lot of heads need to roll over the ill preparedness of the Capitol Police, DC Police, the National Guard, the Army who declined to immediately activate the Guard when asked, Congressional staff, and anybody involved with security. After all of the BS the man has spouted since the election and the incessant roar from his supporters about “stopping the steal” and so on…a complete moron would have figured out that the probability of an incident during the EC vote counting was pretty darned high. I understand that they didn’t want a line of soldiers with weapons and uniforms across the Capitol steps…but not having the Guard activated, in garrison and ready to roll out if needed…and not having the riot squad mustered, kitted up, armed, and stealthily brought into the Capitol basement just in case borders on criminal negligence to me…how freaking stupid can they be?

I guess just about as freaking stupid as the idiots…legislators, off duty police (apparently), far right wing people, and some military members (both active and retired) who invaded the building and let themselves have pictures taken…luckily most of the idiots have been identified and arrested.

Me…it’s a good thing for the rioters that Neil wasn’t in charge of security…because he would have had the riot squad ready and once the first window was broken and the first individual invaded the building he would have had the riot terminated with prejudice as they say. At that point…lethal force is perfectly justified in his opinion…and security would only have had to shoot the first few invaders before the rest of them turned tail and ran. I hate to say that they needed killin’…but they needed killin’.

On the other hand…he would have put down the protests in Portland, Seattle, et. al., just as definitively.

His internet buddy Pete from Alaska wondered on his blog why there was non stop media coverage, declarations of domestic terrorism and such while nothing similar happened during the peaceful protests out in Portland, Seattle, et. al.…his observation was that it depended on who was rioting. That’s about 110% correct in our view…and it’s a sad state of affairs.

Of course…our elected officials are all taking political advantage of the situation…not to mention demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of how the government is supposed to work.

Pelosi…well first off she took it upon herself to call the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to demand that he make sure that no orders from the President to start military action or use nuclear weapons be carried out. However…she is completely wrong on that one for many reasons. First off…the chairman of the JCS is not in the operational chain of command and has no authority to direct what the heads of the various armed services do. Second…we have civilian control of the military in this country…and the President is the Commander in Chief of the military forces. Third…the military will carry out all lawful orders that the President issues including the use of nuclear weapons. They can refuse to carry out unlawful orders…but that’s a difficult situation for them to be in and is certainly a step they would not take lightly. In addition…her attempt to tell the military what to do is clearly a violation of the separation of powers as specified in the Constitution…it just isn’t her job too do that…and it’s not the military’s job to refuse to obey orders because the Speaker of the House demands it.

Pelosi…again demonstrating a complete lack of understanding or ignoring of the separation of powers idea…then demanded that the VP invoke the 25th amendment to remove the President from office. Again…this is not her job. That amendment provides the guidelines for how the VP and a majority of the cabinet…all of who are members of the Executive branch…can do so. The legislative branch has zip squat nothing to do with this…and she again severely overstepped her bounds.

Next up…impeachment. Pelosi…again…has said she’s going to institute impeachment charges and she has the majority to pass them through the House. She’ll have to ignore the whole investigation part and the send it to committee part…but she’s willing to ignore the rules once again. However…there are a couple of problems with an impeachment. The rules say that once the impeachment charges pass the House they must be delivered to the Senate when the Senate is in session. It is not in session now and by Senate rules cannot be brought back into session without the unanimous consent of every member. The next regularly scheduled session is January 19…so the earliest the charges can be presented to the Senate is that day…and the trial must start the next day…so by the time it can happen the President will no longer be in office.

So…in another demonstration that the impeachment talk is just political BS…Mr. Clyburn announced that when charges are approved they won’t be presented to the Senate until after Mr. Biden’s first 100 days in office so that “his agenda can be enacted”. Any impeachment of the guy that was President 100 days ago is purely an exercise in political BS.

Speaking of Mr. Biden’s agenda…they Democrats are going to have trouble with a lot of the farther out demands the left wing is demanding…because with a tied senate and the VP breaking the tie that only gives them 51 votes. With the Senate having the filibuster…they need 60 votes to move forward with anything…which means that negotiation…everybody getting something and giving something…and bipartisanship will be the only way they get anything done. Yes…there’s the reconciliation process…but that only applies to budget, spending, and revenue bills…and can only be used once for each one in a year. So…if they come in and use reconciliation to immediately pass say the $2000 per person give away at a price tag of another half a trillion dollars…they can’t use reconciliation for any other spending bill this year…and that means that the filibuster will keep them from passing other spending priorities. Senator Manchin has already said he won’t vote to eliminate the filibuster…so that puts 51 votes in the “keep the filibuster” category.

I keep seeing articles about the “biased SCOTUS” we have as a result of the President “ramming through activist judges who will repudiate Mr. Biden’s goals”…along with the requisite packing the courts articles and the why we need to get rid of the EC articles, and the why we need to ban guns articles…but again I refer the liberals back to the constitutionally prescribed method for changing the constitution…follow it. Yes…it’s hard…but it was deliberately designed to be hard so that a 50% plus 1 majority did not run roughshod over the rights of the 50% minus 1 minority.

Enough about that…can our leaders just get back to doing their jobs and doing the people’s business. Nobody will be completely happy with bipartisan legislation…but they won’t be completely unhappy either.

Interesting things found on the net.

OldPersonFromSchool

NudistDarkSelfie

LetsSeeWhatHappens

Neil likes this one.

GrowingUpBy50

AAAAmbulanceRide

DamnTacos

105YearOldHealthAdvice

Determination

MathNotYourThing

And finally…this is as accurate as it gets.

AccurateAsItGets

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, RV, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Happy New Years

…or whatevers. Nothing really going down here. We got some good stuff for presents…a new camera for Connie and a Roomba for her…hey, she wanted one…and a new tripod and fancy head for Neil.Also got some new bike shorts and tops, slippers, and assorted stuff. 

I can report that the sous vide duck that then got crispied on the grill for Christmas dinner was pretty spectacular. Neil took the skin and fat off and rendered it the day before then we used some of the duck fat to sous vide the duck breast and also to make the roux for the creamed pearl onions we had along with the duck and sweet taters. Dessert was cheese cake since we wuz full by that time and we had a nice bottle of wine to go along with it all.

We ended up sending 2 presents back…Connie’s slippers were the wrong size since she and Neil failed to communicate as the sheriff in Cool Hand Luke said way back when…and Neil’s tripod came with the spike feet for mud and dirt. They weren’t indicated on the “in the box” section on the web site so Connie ordered them and we ended up with 2 sets as they were actually included…so we sent those back as well.

We also got new iPad Airs…Connie’s earlier model Pro than Neil’s one was at the end of it’s battery life so she got a new one from him…and as the IT guy it’s illegal for him not to have a new one as well so he bought a pair of them. We sent the old ones back to Apple as trade ins…we’ll get a total of $440 back on them once they’re checked in.

Dinner today will be Cornish game hen…although in the US of A they’re really just young chickens rather than actual game hens…Ima not really sure what the difference is…google says that it’s a young hen that is a cross breed between a Cornish chicken and a White Plymouth Rock chicken…so maybe these really are those and not just a young chicken…anyways they taste like chicken. Neil brined it for a day…then spatchcocked it…that’s a fancy cooking term that means he split it down the breast only ad laid the two sides out flat. Onto the smoker it went about1230 and when it gets up to almost done he’ll put it on the grill for a few minutes to crispy the skin and make it delicious instead of just chewy. We’re having turkey stuffing alongside it and another nice bottle of wine…this one is Mondavi Butter Chardonnay so hopefully it will be good. Then we’ll tune into the Alabama vs Notre Dame playoff semifinal game…luckily the Rose Bowl…which has been translated to Texas by the way…is the early game and it starts at 1620. The other semifinal starts past 2000 and won’t be over until past midnight and we’re never up that late. We had some merlot dessert wine last night…tastes really more like port than dessert wine…and have the other half of the small bottle left for later on tonight.

Ok…let’s get to some pictures…we got a bit o’ additional wildlife this week…nothing we haven’t seen before but at least one of them is the first appearance outside our lanai.

These first three were taken with Connie’s new Nikon Z50 mirrorless by Neil…it’s about half the size of her old D7100 DSLR and with 2 lens giving her a huge increase in focal length so that she has some telephoto capability…and with 2 lens it weighs less than her old D7100 with just a wide angle zoom.

Z50 0059 AuroraHDR2019 edit 2

These two were done using the auto area auto focus mode which amazingly enough figures out what subject you actually want to be focused on most of the time.

Z50 0039 2

Z50 0092 2

Over to some taken with Neil’s D7500 and the bird lens…this is a female Anhinga and while they’re pretty common down here this is the first one at our pond.

D75 6575 2

D75 6612 2

Tricolor heron.

D75 6588 2

Anhingas dive under the water to hunt and sit on the bank or branches a lot to let their wings dry out.

D75 6616 2

D75 6617 2

One of our resident Great Blue Herons…this is the non skittish one and you can see the mating plumage hanging off the front in some of the shots.

D75 6646 2

D75 6622 2

While he was getting the shots above this squirrel attracted his attention about 40 feet away on our side of the pond.

D75 6684 2

D75 6663 2

Interesting things found on the net.

More math nerdism…what is it with those people.

This is a countdown to 021.

CountdownTo2021

Yeah…I know it’s the Fibonacci sequence…but so what?

Fibonacci Series

VikingQuarantine

PlanesCrash

TeacherWinterBreak

TurkeyFeeds12

TestinginRear

YardSafety

NoMatterHowStupid

NeverSnortViagra

NotNatural

ItsCooties

SevenDwarfsMeeting

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

It’s Christmas

And I won’t say Clarence like the Boss does in his song…

Merry Christmas…or happy holidays or Kwanza or whatever holiday greeting ya’ prefer…I’m trying to be as non denominational as I can here.

It’s actually Christmas Eve as I write this…Neil and Connie went over to the 3PM Midnight Mass at St. Therese where she cantored in her beautifully festive red dress with matching heels and a spiffy green holiday scarf. There’s another Midnight Mass at 5PM…hey, there are lots of old people in Florida who can’t stay up late enough for real Midnight Mass…so Neil came home and had Happy Hour without her. He’ll run over and pick her up when it’s done…it’s only a mile from the house…and then we’ll have leftover Lobster’ Mac and Cheese from Date Night on Monday.

I can’t believe how the elites and progressives keep up with their ridiculous “do what I say, not what I do” attitude…and it’s not really limited to folks on the left…there are just waaaay too many darned idiots who expect us peons to do what they require us to do while they act like the rules just don’t apply to them. Although…I have to admit it seems that a lot more progressives, WAMM members, and Democrats are getting caught than Republicans…here’s a list of the ones that google found for me.

  • The governor of the People’s Republic of California
  • The mayor of San Francisco
  • San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
  • Senator Feinstein of the PRC…notice a pattern here…mostly progressives, WAMM, and Democrats
  • Doctor Fauci
  • Doctor Birx
  • The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
  • Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland
  • The Earl and Countess of Wessex
  • EU Commissioner Phil Hogan
  • Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture Dara Calleary
  • New Zealand’s health minister, David Clark
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings
  • Author Neil Gaiman
  • England cricketer Jofra Archer
  • Numerous English Premier League soccer players and managers
  • Austin Mayor Steve Adler
  • Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
  • Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Ingrid Lewis-Martin
  • Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
  • Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser
  • Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker
  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • White House senior staff…to be fair Republicans are guilty of elitism as well
  • The President
  • Minnesota Republicans fly Delta home from D.C. after COVID-19 exposure
  • Kirk Cameron actor and evangelical Christian
  • BLM protestors and counter protestors
  • Conservative protestors and counter protestors
  • Mask and anti mask protestors
  • So called super spreader events…although you rarely see much about progressive ones other than when they’re caught on camera

Yes…each and every one of the people on the above list has violated their own coronavirus restrictions, said one thing for the public while doing something completely different for them selves, or just generally been an asshole about the whole masking/social distancing thing. I know I’m not supposed to call them that…but let’s call a spade a spade and condemn them all for telling us to do one thing while ignoring the same rules and precautions they keep insisting are required for the public to minimize the coronavirus problem.

‘Nuff said about that.

We’re having duck breast for dinner tomorrow…after some home made cinnamon buns for brunch. Neil’s gone back and forth on how to cook it several times but he’s settled on sous vide and then toss it on the grill for some caramelization and color before we eat it. He pulled the skin and fat off today and put the nekkid breast in a brine overnight…then rendered the fat out of the skin because rendered duck fat is like liquid gold for cooks…and ended up with some nice crispy skin. Tomorrow that will get chopped up into duck skin croutons and re-crispied in a skillet before going on top of the duck after the application of some mushroom Madeira sauce. There’ll be baked sweet taters to go along with it and some creamed pearl onions on the side…Ima bear and it even sounds good to me…although not as tasty as a fresh elk carcass or some grubs and berries that bears usually eat. Then for gedunk afterwards…we got a choice of carrot cake or dulce de leche cheesecake…both of those came from the bakery at Publix since we only wanted a slice or two of each.

Interesting stuff found on the net…Neil got a couple wildlife photos but they ain’t been pulled off the camera card yet so I canna’ show ‘em to ya.

LeftoverMoneuy

In case ya didn’t notice it or see it…Jupiter and Saturn almost had a conjunction on Dec 21…as they moved in their orbits they came within about a half a degree of each other…this happens about every 20 years or so but this is the first time in 800 years that it happened where people on earth could see it. And no…it’s not the Christmas Star that the magi followed to Bethlehem…it happened in AD 3 or so but since Jesus was born in 3 BC if you read that it’s the Christmas star on the interwebs it just ain’t so. Neil got a shot…but again it’s still on the camera card so I cribbed this one from the astronomy picture of the day website.

GreatConjunction Peach 960 annotated

More useless math trivia…apparently some guy named Viete figgered out that this endless summation gave the value of pi…but as previously noted anything more than 15 digits or so is essentially useless…but just in case you ever need to calculate it for yourself instead of just looking at your iPhone here it is.

VietesFormulaForPi

CreativeDentFixing

SkyGators

 

Cyas…gotta go with Neil to pick up Connie soon.

Posted in Food, Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

It’s Been Awhile…

since we had some nice photos of things so I thought I would do a post and both have a few blasts from the past as well as some images Neil got in the past week or so.

Before that though…I need to provide a slightly more lengthy explanation of Alton Brown getting cancelled as I discussed in my previous post.

Apparently…it’s even worse than we thought…well, actually what the WAMM thought as I think that he just said the truth and that the WAMM is way too interested in cancelling things they don’t agree with.

So…I reported before that Mr. Brown had been cancelled because of anti-Semitism since he told a joke about the Holocaust…when in actually he did not say Holocaust but merely talked about concentration camps.

What his actual twitter sequence included was blame for both the left and the right after the election. He blamed the left for their hatred for anything they don’t agree with and for their cancellation of people who say or do things they don’t like…and he used a concentration camp analogy to illustrate that with an attempt at humor. Really…is asking whether the uniforms would have stripes or if plaid would be allowed…anti-Semitism? Doesn’t seem so to me…it’s a joke. The trouble with most people these days is that only politically correct humor is allowed unless it’s humor directed against a group that the WAMM and progressives don’t like in which case it’s just fine. Then he went on to blame the right for saying the the President has the right to contest the election results…although he really didn’t explain why it was evil for the President to do so but just fine for the Iowa Democratic congresswoman to contest things.

See…the thing is…every losing candidate has and should use whatever means are specified for the election to contest the results if he/she doesn’t like the outcome. That doesn’t mean the end of democracy or life as we know it…it just means that just as Mr. Gore and Ms. Abrams did in the past one complains and litigates and eventually it all works out.

Apparently though…and especially since he admitted that he usually voted Republican…and had admitted that as far back as 2012 when he was flogging a book…his outrageous conduct has resulted in the need for his cancellation…and as of today he’s still not returned to twitter or anything else on social media as far as I could figure out.

Get over it people.

Ok…so much for that…what’s going on here? Not much really…Christmas package are arriving although Connie and Neil had to carefully coordinate who answered the UPS/FedEx/Amazon guy to take the package so as to preserve as much secrecy in the process as we could…even to the point of asking the delivery guy (since our door is open almost all day this time of year)…what the first name of the addressee on the package is since some packages have vendor names on the outside. Amazon is OK…but some would give the secret away just by the name on the outside of the box.

Yeah…I know…first world problem.

We had our friends Gail and Frank over for munchies the other day…homemade eggnog and some scrumptious Pecan Pie Brownies. Trust me…google that name and get this recipe and you’ll never make any other brownies ever again. Gooey, chewy, and chocolatey…with nice sweet pecan pie filling and pecans on top. They’re best served either naked or with some whipped cream…ice cream really overdoes it since they’re so rich.

Neil’s doing duck breast for Christmas dinner and trying a new way of doing it…a combination of sous vide and crispy-ing it afterwards…I’ll let ya know how it works out later.

That’s it…let’s get some photos.

Female anhinga from a couple years back down at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

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Gold crowned night heron…this one was actually in the middle of downtown Austin TX on their riverwalk.

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Osprey with dinner…this was right outside our rig as we wintered in Seminole Campground a couple years back.

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Great Blue Herons up at Venice Rookery 2 years back…the second pair have all their mating plumage.

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Barred Owl with breakfast down at Corkscrew.

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Hummingbirds out in Fulton Missouri.

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Atlantic puffin up in Alaska.

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Monarch butterflies over in Cedar Key FL at the Low Key Hideaway…which is apparently for sale again. Frank and Mo burned out (I guess) just like the previous owners did since you never get a day off in the hospitality business.

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Great Egret in mating plumage…up in northern FL or southern GA…can’t remember and I was too lazy to go and figure it out since Neil didn’t remember either.

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Snowy egret…same place as above.

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Black crowned night heron…ditto.

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Red winged blackbird…out west someplace.

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Prairie dog…or Varmint Kong for those who remember the movie Caddy Shack…out at Devil’s Tower National Monument.

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These are out back of the lanai on the pond.

Great Blue Heron.

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Ragnar.

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A couple of our resident turtles…yellow bellied slider on the left and Florida soft-shell on the right.

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Interesting things found on the net.

Another completely useless math trick…the number e is like pi…an irrational number that’s important for a lot of math, science, and engineering things.

AnotherUselessMathTrick

Christmas humor.

BanCarrotsNow

AngryRudolph

IndoorBathroom

ItsMyJob

MenWhoNeedSupervision00001

MenWhoNeedSupervision00004

And finally…we been getting a lot of calls from these people lately so this seemed apropos.

CarWarranty

Cyas.

 

Posted in Blast From The Past, Critters, Homebody, WIldlife | Leave a comment

Ima Goin’ With Random Stuff ][

Yeah…seemed like the right title to me.

Nothing much going on new here…’cept we do have some different wildlife for ya in a bit.

First though…a couple of items from the news.

There’s
this
…seems that the mayor of San Francisco has ordered new crackdowns in his city due to the Covid spike…and the governor of the PRC has also ordered statewide crackdowns. Nothing wrong with that…but this is the same mayor and same governor that ignored their own rules to go and have dinner…with no mask and in a group…at the French Laundry high fallutin’ eatery up in Napa county. I’m just fine with masks and reasonable limitations…but this “do as I say, not as I do” attitude that they have is just a bunch of BEP.

Then in
another example of PRC justice
…back in last December, police in SF were responding to reports of multiple break in attempts to both apartments and police cars…and they came across a fella named Hampton who…according to his lawyer now…was experiencing a “crisis state due to a pre-existing behavioral health condition”…whatever that means…who was identified as a potential suspect and ordered to get on the ground. Disregarding this…he first fled from officers…so yeah, he probably was the guy they were looking for since innocent people generally don’t run from the police…and he was then cornered and pepper sprayed to no effect. So Hampton attacks the officers with a vodka bottle, bashing one of them in the head repeatedly and fracturing his skull…and then he charged the officers again resulting in his getting shot. He fell to the ground and then got up to charge the officers again…at which point he was again shot and went down. The officer was hospitalized for his fractured skull and Hampton survived but his leg had to be amputated as a result of the shooting and Hampton also has “permanent nerve damage”…again according to his lawyer.

So…this guy runs from the cops…pepper spray has no effect…attacks and injures the cops…and gets shot…and the cop gets indicted? I guess in SF it’s now open season on cops.

Seems that the WAMM has a problem with free speech and the Wall Street Journal. Late last week on their…opinion page…which typically means that you can express your opinion…one of their long time contributors wrote and op-ed that basically said that Jill Biden…the President Elect’s wife…should drop the Dr. From in front of her name since…in the opinion of the writer…not to mention longstanding practice by the WSJ on the use of the term…only medical doctors should be referred to by the word “Doctor”. Naturally this was condemned by WAMM as being sexist and demeaning of both women and academia as well as insulting Mrs. Biden by calling her kiddo…today the WSJ op-ed page editor responded and basically told them to screw off. He included a bunch of facts in his rebuttal including the longstanding WSJ policy and that neither Henry Kissinger or other folks with Ph.Ds were referred to as “Doctor” and referenced both Mr. Biden using the term kiddo for his wife as well as having previously said that the only reason she got her Ph.D. was because she was tired of being second class in her mail…previously mail addressed to both of them came to “Senator and Mrs. Biden”…and she wanted it to say “Doctor and Senator Biden”. Anyway…much ado about nothing…but typical of the left with their “do what I say and not what I do” attitude and their belief that the only free speech that is allowed is speech they approve of. Anyway…good on ya to the WSJ op-ed editor who refuses to back down and not publish content that should be published. You don’t have to agree with the author of the op-ed piece or the editor of the page…but free speech means just that…and the WAMM doesn’t get to cancel you for exercising your rights.

Speaking of getting cancelled…Alton Brown has apparently cancelled himself. Connie follows him on the twitter and we were watching their YouTube livestream named Quarantine Kitchen where they drink…a lot…and cook something along with witty repartee between Alton and his wife Elizabeth. Apparently about a month ago…he tweeted something that was deemed anti semitic…although having seen the tweet is was just a barely funny line about uniforms at camps during the Holocaust and didn’t seem bad to me other than being a bad and not funny joke…but the WAMM got all over him about it and he’s essentially cancelled himself it seems. No tweets, no updates on his blog, and no more livestreams since then. Strange.  

Remember the last couple posts with the thought that math geeks have way, way too much free time on their hands? Yeah…ya guessed it…they’re at it again. This time it’s a problem posed in 1911 by an Indian fella named Srinivasa Ramanujan…he posed a problem composed of a never ending square root radical…here it is. He didn’t…apparently…solve the problem himself, just posed the problem.

Screen Shot 2020 12 14 at 11 41 11 AM

Turns out the answer is exactly three…you can see both text based and video based solutions
here
.

Again…a completely useless problem with no known applicability to…anything. What will those people think of next?

Then there’s
this
…you’ve probably seen on the news about a couple of alligator attacks down here over the past few months on people or dogs and the incident a year or two back up at Disneyworld in Orlando where a child was killed by one. Well…turns out that gators aren’t the only predator down here in the Sunshine State.

Yep…we got vicious Great Blue Herons too…and they eat gators as you can see in the link above. It isn’t clear whether the gator was alive or dead when it was swallowed…but it’s small enough so that the heron could have killed it before the photo sequence started.

That’s the same bird that we see…well, the same species but not the same individual…all the time ‘round our pond out back…and of all the wildlife we see the Great Blue Heron is the largest bird we see regularly…in fact it’s one of the larger heron/wading birds period. The one we see is also the most skittish bird we see. All the others…tricolor, ibis, little blue, snowy, great egret, woodpecker…they all pretty much disregard people wandering around their yards…especially when the birds are on the other side of the pond from the people. Not this Great Blue though…as soon as Neil opens the door to sneak out and get a photo he almost invariably takes off pretty quickly. The other day Neil decided to be tricky and went out the front door, over next to the next house where he was in the shadow of the house as he walked back and as soon as his shadow emerged from the house shadow…even though he wasn’t far enough back to actually be seen by the bird yet…off it flew. He’s gotten a few images for ya as you’ll see later…but not that many.

So…word to the wise…don’t mess with the Great Blue Herons in FL…they mean business.

Over in France…they love their regulations, procedures, and paperwork…so much that even dead people need passports to enter the country. Back in 1974…the 3,000 year old mummy of the pharaoh Ramesses II needed to be shipped to Paris for repairs…although I’m not sure that repairs are the precisely accurate word. Anyways…Egypt issued him a passport for the trip.

Don’t know if I toldya before…but we got ourselves a nice fake tree in the house. Between that, the small tree we brought over from the rig, and some lights I put out front we’re about as Christmas-ey as we can get. Got all of our shopping done too…thank goodness for Amazon and other such places so we did it all from the comfort of our recliners. The only difficult part is that we have a shared Note in macOS, iPadOS, and iOS named Deliveries…usually it has all of our deliveries listed by who, date, and what so we can check things off. At this time of year we just put Neil Xmas or Connie Xmas for the what…and then the right person gets up to bring in the package. This works great for Amazon but not so great for companies that use boxes printed with the name of the company…that makes it kinda hard to successfully prevent the contents from getting divulged ahead of time…but we’re working through it.

Connie would not be happy if I didn’t put in some shots of our decorations so here they be…

A shot from across the street to get the whole thing in, the green dots on the garage door are from a laser light thing we bought but never used while we were in the rig and the blue on the far right is our glow in the dark penguin.

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Close-up shots.

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Here’s our Penguin…we used to have a Santa but his battery that the solar cell charged wimped out and it didn’t work any more.

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The best part about this tree is that Neil’s role in decorating has always been to put it in the stand and hang the lights…but this one has permanently attached lights so that all he needs to do is put the 3 sections together on the stand…and then he has to install Grim…yeah, that’s her name…up on the top. Grim is supposed to be an angle and was made by Bryan back when he was in grammar school…she was immediately named the Grim Reaper by Neil which eventually got shortened to just Grim.The berries and pine cones are also permanently attached so this is like a 2 minute job for him to finish his role…then Connie takes over with the decorations.

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Ok…let’s see what wildlife we have for ya…

Turtle…this is a Florida Soft-shell as you can tell from the pointy snout. We had one of these a few months back when she was headed up the far side of the pond to lay eggs…this one looks larger than the one before but it’s hard to tell for sure.

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Our resident Tricolor or Louisiana Heron…you can easily see the red, white, and blue which results in the Tricolor name…the male has a gold tuft on his head during mating season but not this one.

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And our resident Great Blue Heron or GBH as we call it…

This is usually the shot we get as it flies off.

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Sometimes we get lucky and he stays around…or maybe this is a different individual…dunno.

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And a new sighting for us here…a Green Iguana…this one is about 4 feet long or so. Connie spotted him out the window coming back from the bedroom…the bright green caught her eye…and Neil was able to get a couple of shots before it got into the tree line. Supposedly they are good eating…tastes like chicken I’m told…but we’ve never eaten one.

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Interesting things found on the net.

WordsOfWisdom

Christmas tradition…as you know there is a long standing tradition that Christmas trees have an angel on top…but have you ever wondered just how that tradition got started. Settle down and you shall hear…how this all got started.

Back in the days of yesteryear…when four of Santa’s elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.

In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor.

He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn’t this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”

And thus began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

And now…ya know.

And did you know that all the reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh are female…including Rudolph?

Yep…reindeer are genetically just caribou that are raised domestically. Both male and female caribou have antlers but the males lose theirs right after the mating season as they’re only necessary for fighting over the ladies if ya know what I mean. Females…well, they need to make sure that they have feeding areas through the winter until the calves are born in the spring…they scrape areas with grass or whatever they eat free of snow with their hooves and then…naturally…they have to defend those eating areas from other females who are not as industrious so they keep them until the snow melts.

Since the mating season is in the early fall…the males would have lost their antlers by December…hence…as can be seen by every painting you’ve ever seen of Santa and his sleigh…he only uses females.

Roly polies…ya know, those little black bugs sometimes known as pill bugs…that roll up into little balls when you touch ‘em. Well…they’re not actually bugs…they’re crustaceans and most closely related to shrimp.

PfizerVaccine

How to trim your hedges.

MenWhoNeedSupervision00003

ChickenCrossTheRoad

And finally…

HereIsTheStraw

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Random Stuff

Yeah…random stuff.

Not much new going on ‘round here so just a random assortment of stuff from the web, corona, old people, and what have you. No new wildlife to report.

Connie and Neil are both slowly improving from the Covid…the get-tired-really-easy thing is still going on and the GI-tract-just-ain’t-right thing is also still going on…but overall we continue to improve and are really glad to be out of Covid jail as we were calling it.

The weather here in Fort Myers has cooled off a lot…highs mostly in the upper 70s the last week and in the 60s and 70s next week…so we’ve got the windows and doors open and are enjoying the best time of the year in SW FL.

We got ourselves a bed for the spare bedroom on order…thank goodness for online ordering at Rooms2Go…but it’s not getting delivered until late February…guess there’s a lot of people buying furniture down here after moving in. The one we picked shows as in stock so maybe it’s just the delivery folks that are backed up. Last week after we were out of Covid jail we did get out and order a mattress and box spring to go on the aforementioned bed…they’re getting delivered on Wednesday but we could have had them as soon as the next day when we ordered it…so maybe the bed isn’t actually in stock and they are awaiting delivery…either than or Rooms2Go delivery is just inefficient.

After we ordered the mask we ran by Home Depot and got a bunch of assorted minor stuff for some projects…an additional light for the lanai so Neil doesn’t have to grill by flashlight, a 7.5 foot pre-lighted fake Christmas tree since there are no you-cut-em places down here and the ones in the lots got cut so long ago and are sitting around in the heat as they traveled to FL and sit in the lots…they look pretty scraggly and not worth hauling home. The fake one isn’t as nice…but it is what it is I guess.

I saw this week
where the Squad
…ya know, those 4 ridiculously left women reps including AOC…anywhere they want Mr. Biden to cancel student debt completely. Now actually he can’t do this…he might be legally able to cancel federally owned student debt but even that is questionable…and the vast majority of debt is held by various financial institutions and not the federal government so that debt can’t be cancelled under the takings clause of the Constitution unless the government makes the financial institutions whole…which requires Congress to appropriate the money. Student debt is on the order of $1.6 trillion and at least $1.2 trillion of that is not government owned…so that’s another $1.2 trillion of money that we don’t have…and there’s simply not enough money held by the “rich” people to finance that sort of bailout on top of climate change bailouts, failed Democratic state bailouts, health care bailouts, USPS bailouts, and all the other bailouts the progressives are demanding.

But the real kicker…is that the 4 members of the Squad would personally benefit to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars.

And the cancellation would only apply to those people who have not repaid their loans. It isn’t the government’s fault they took on loans they couldn’t afford to pay…and it is simply unfair to wipe away the debt of the deadbeats while telling those who worked to pay off their student loan tough nuggies.

Speaking of progressive demands…so far Mr. Biden seems to be pretty much ignoring their demands for all the far leftists to be put into his cabinet simply because the progressives do not represent the majority of the people in the country and their agenda is just too socialist for the vast majority of the population.

President Trump gets routinely blasted for appointing conservatives to the bench and for mostly appointing white male people to his administration…so then why aren’t the WAMM up in arms over Ms. Harris appointing a 100% female communications staff. It isn’t that there aren’t qualified women…there certainly are…but appointing only women is misandry…which is the female equivalent of misogyny. Appointing only women simply because they are women is just as reprehensible as appointing only white males or only black males or whatever other group one might pick.

According to
this from the CDC
…the actual Covid-19 infection rate is likely 8 times the reported rate. Now I’m not minimizing the threat of the disease but it does seem that with that being the actual infection rate the death rate is way less than 1%…and of the same order of magnitude as the seasonal flu. Again…I’m not comparing Covid to the flu as they’re distinct infections…but on balance it seems that we just might…might…be over reacting to the problem with shutdowns, middle seats being closed on planes, bars being closed and all the other economically harmful things various states and cities have done. Yes…we need to be careful but a Presidential administration and government has to take a lot of factors into account…deaths are bad obviously, as is overloading the capacity of the medical system to treat patients…but keeping people employed so they can pay rent, buy groceries, and pay the power bill also needs to be considered. It’s a hard problem…but too many people don’t realize all the factors that need consideration and government needs to make the best overall decision. 

Only in Seattle…
they’re slashing the police budget there
…despite homicide levels being the highest in the past decade. Now I’m sure that there are some bad apples in the law enforcement business…just as there are bad apples in the progressive movement, lawyers, doctors, computer guys, car repairmen, and every other segment of life. I’m also sure that the vast majority of law enforcement doesn’t go to work in the morning hoping to shoot a person of color today…in fact I’ll wager that their two highest priorities are (a) to be alive and go home to their family at the end of their shift and (b) that they don’t have to shoot anybody because shooting people is generally not career enhancing and shooting a person of color is even worse. I’m not suggesting that all police shootings are justified…but in the vast majority of cases they turn out to be justified…and part of the trouble is that people of color commit crimes at a far greater percentage than their percentage of the population…FBI statistics bear out that his is true. As the 40s and 50s bank robber Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks…”That’s where the money is”…perhaps some of the blame for people of color getting shot is because they commit crimes. Not all of them…and not every situation…but the “white cops just want to murder innocent black men” trope is simply not true.

Anyway…seems like slashing the police budget in the midst of a homicide pandemic…well it just seems stupid to me.

Facebook…well they’ve decided to just be Facebook and let their political opinions influence their policies.
According to this
…FB has long had a hate speech algorithm that is race blind…in other words whether a particular post was hate speech and got banned was not racially influenced…it was language and meaning influenced. While we hate FB personally…that seems like a pretty good policy that would help eliminate all hate speech.

No more though. FB has gotten into trouble with the WAMM because they…shockingly…deleted some black user’s posts…because they were hate speech under the old algorithm. Not acceptable to blacks and the WAMM though…after all it’s only conservative white males that can possibly have hate speech. So the new FB hate speech algorithm will only go after the “worst of the worst” like blackface, Holocaust denial, stereotypes about Jewish financiers controlling the world, and other anti muslim, anti black, and anti LBGTQ posts. So in other words…it’s only the hate speech that progressives don’t like that will get banned…hate speech from their favored groups is just fine.

Another example of “do what I say, not what I do”. As we all know…the President has raised a whole bunch of lawsuits over mail in ballots, signature verification, counting procedures, and assorted other complaints about the election. Naturally…the WAMM and progressives have roundly condemned him for this.

Now personally I think that most of the lawsuits are BS and should never have been filed…but in America one can sue over anything and if a candidate wishes to sue over whatsoever that should be his right. We’ve seen all this BS ever since the election over whether the President would leave the White House willingly or not and frankly that’s just a bunch of hooey…there are enough certified EC votes so that Mr. Biden will be the next President.

What’s unacceptable is that the WAMM only chooses to condemn conservatives or Republicans who cry foul over elections. According to this article…the election for a retiring Democrat House member was originally called for the Republican candidate by 47 votes which triggered a mandatory recount. After the recount…the winning margin as certified by Iowa election officials was 6 votes and the Republican candidate was certified as the winner.

Under Iowa law…the losing candidate can contest the election and a panel of 5 Iowa state judges who would consider the matter and make a decision on who the winner is…which then could be appealed (presumably, the article doesn’t say) to the state Supreme Court. So…did the losing Democratic candidate do this?

Of course she didn’t…instead she is filing an appeal to the House of Representatives under the Federal Contested Elections Act…under this act the losing candidate can appeal to the House directly and the House will make the decision on who won rather than Iowa voters or the Iowa legal system. So…instead of following state law to contest the results…she is appealing to the Ms. Pelosi controlled House of Representatives who will almost surely find after their investigation that the election was corrupt and the Democratic candidate actually won.

So tell me again how interested in fair play the Democrats are?

So mathematicians…I’ve about decided that they have too much free time on their hands and spend it on completely useless information.

Recall my last post when we talked about the value of 𝛑…and how they wasted who knows how much computer power and electricity to calculate the value out to 50 trillion decimal places…despite the fact that 15 is plenty enough for NASA to calculate space trajectories and 49 is enough to measure the circumference of the known universe to the precision of the diameter of a hydrogen atom.

Not to be outdone by coming up with completely useless information…let me tell you about the Munchausen Number or more precisely the concept of Perfect Digit to Digit Invariant or PDDI. A Munchausen number is a number such that if you take each digit and raise it to the power of itself, then add the resulting values up you get the number itself. For example…

MunchausenNumber

As you can see…such numbers exist but according to Wikipedia there are exactly 2 known examples in our normal base 10 number system as shown above.

I guess they’re cool and an interesting concept…but even mathematicians admit that they are of no use whatsoever for anything other than…gee whiz, we found some numbers that exhibit this strange property. So my question is…since they’re useless then why oh why would anybody waste mental cycles on inventing the concept or figuring out which actual numbers fit their useless concept.

Then there’s Anagram Arithmetic…again a useless concept invented by math people for no other reason other than because.

The example is composed of the numbers 11, 2, 12, and 1…and as we learned in probably first grade

11 + 2 = 12 + 1.

Yes…13 equals 13. But wait, there’s more as Ron Popiel used to say. Taking the above formula and converting it to the words instead we get 

Eleven + two = twelve + one

And here’s where the anagram comes in. As you may (or maybe not) know…an anagram is when you take letters in a word or phrase and jumble them around into another word…for example spot becomes tops or heart becomes earth.

You guessed it…if you anagram the words eleven and two you get the words twelve and one.

Not to be outdone…the math nerds came up with another example

Thirteen + twenty – one = (ninety/two)-ten – three

Yup…another example with a grand total of 2 examples in the English language…and yup again…completely useless.

So…why?

Second hand smoke…that’s when non smokers health and welfare is compromised by breathing in the exhaled smoke containing tar, nicotine and all those other harmful chemicals from the ever decreasing percentage of the population that smokes. Now I’m not really interested in whether the rights of the smokers should outweigh the rights of the non smokers to remain smoke free…that’s another debate…but I only bring it up as an example of progressive hypocrisy.


Out in San Francisco
…it has been illegal for years to smoke in public except in dedicated smoking areas and they recently passed an amended ordnance to prohibit smoking in apartments because of the second hand smoke being moved by the ventilation system into neighboring apartments…and I’m actually just fine with prohibiting smoking in apartments for the same reason it’s prohibited outside…those of us who don’t smoke are the majority and we have the right not to have our health compromised and our hair and clothes stink from smoker’s disgusting habit. However…in an “only in the liberal utopia”…or perhaps “only in the Peoples Republic of California” decision…the law prohibiting smoking in apartments to protect others does not apply to marijuana. Yes…despite the drawbacks of that particular form of smoking both medically and otherwise…and despite the fact that it is perfectly legal in the PRC to smoke the disgusting stuff…and despite the second hand smoke effects on the other denizens of the apartment building…only tobacco smoking is prohibited in apartments…smoking dope is perfectly fine and legal.

Only in the PRC I guess.

Things that might only be of interest to me. 

Last time we had the giant caiman and but it’s not the only really big creature from back in the past. Back in the Carboniferous period (whenever that was) they had some dragonflies like this.

CarboniferousDragonfly

And then there is the Megalodon…which was a shark that lived some 2.5 million years ago…and no, I have no idea what period that was…go google it if you care. Here’s a shot of the fossilized jaw of the Megalodon.

Megalodon image

That little fish in the middle is a current era Great White Shark which gets 20 feet long and 5,000 pounds in weight with most females in the 16 feet range and males in the 12 foot range. The Megalodon…well it was some 60 feet long and probably 100,000 pounds.

Fifty one years ago this week there was an expansion in the internet…in a single day it grew by 33% to a total of 4 different sites. This is a map of the internet in 1969.

Internet in 1969

Speaking of really hard things becoming pretty much routine…

Today SpaceX conducted the 100th successful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with (I believe) only 2 failures. Today’s launch was the inaugural launch of the improved Dragon cargo capsule to the ISS and used a first stage which has now flown and landed successfully 4 times…including the Demo-2 mission a few months back which was the first launch of the manned version of the Dragon to the ISS. After a flawless 8 minute ride to orbit the cargo is on the way to the ISS and the booster successfully landed on the SpaceX drone ship off the coast of Florida.

I know space flight is hard…and I also know that Elon Musk is pretty much an arrogant asshole…but he did build a rocket company that launches rockets routinely for a cost of about $62 million per flight, recovers the first stage booster which is then reused in as little as a month after checkout, and has a better success rate and lower cost per launch than either NASA or the other companies trying to commercialize space launches. Gotta give the twerp credit for that…although I can’t say the same for his car company as it is still heavily subsidized and in the long term electric vehicles aren’t really going to cut it until or unless somebody spends a metric buttload of money on charging infrastructure.

We all know what a black hole is I figure…but in the astronomy world there is this thing called a super massive black hole…I didn’t bother to look up the precise definition but you can…again…google it if you care.

Anyways…the largest known super massive black hole is named S50014+81…and it’s a long way from our solar system…but just how big is it.

Well…the picture below shows you the calculated/estimated size of this thing. It is about 40 billion times the mass of the sun and approaches the theoretical size limit for black holes that formed via the conventional accretion disk method…and it has a diameter of 1,580 AU or astronomical units. 1 AU is the average distance from the earth to the sun or about 93,000,000 miles. The three circles in the middle represent the size of the solar system depending on how you define our solar system but it ranges from 80 AU to 180 AU depending on whether you define the solar system as the largest orbit of a body in the system or several other definitions of the edge of the solar system and the beginning of interstellar space. In any of the cases…this super massive black hole is really, really big.

SuperMassiveBlackHole

A little Christmas humor

I don’t mean to be a grinch, however…. to those of you who are placing Christmas lights/decorations in your yards, would you please avoid anything that has Red or Blue flashing lights together? Every time I come around the corner, I think it’s the police and I have a panic attack. I have to brake hard, toss my wine out the window, fasten my seat belt, throw my phone on the floor, turn my radio down, and push the gun under the seat. All while trying to drive. It’s just too much drama, even for Christmas. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Then there’s
this video
which shows you the hazards of launching fireworks during the holidays. Our friend Adrienne sent it along.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

I wonder why we really need step 6 in these directions.

Orthotics

HowTimesHaveChanged

NeverFacedThisBefore

CircleOfLife

Thought2020WasBadAlready

GotYourMask

PersonalAlarmClock

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Very Good News…Not So Good News…And Medium Good News

Yep…that’s what we got today so let’s get right to it after an update on generalized life in North Fort Myers.

Other than the aforementioned 3 bits o’ news…not much going on round here. We are staying home mostly but at least the election crisis is starting to recede as the various states certify their Electoral College totals and it looks like the demands by the far progressive left are pretty much getting ignored as Mr. Biden sets up his administration.

OK…Very Good News.

We sold our New Horizons Majestic today to a couple that lives 20 miles or so north in Punta Gorda. It’s been on the market since February and we didn’t get as much as we hoped we would but it went to a good home…Gary and Ruthie seem like nice folk and they’re going to live in it down in the Keys until they get old enough to retire. Here’s a shot of it as it went by the pool at Seminole Campground after we did the paperwork and Gary headed home with it.

IMG 3271

We believe they’ll be happy with their new home…and we’re happy that it’s moved on to the next chapter in it’s life.

Not So Good News…and the Medium Good News is mixed in with this.

Both Connie and Neil have had the Covid…the too long didn’t read version is they’re both better.

The longer version…

Back on Nov 4 we attended the Elks Lodge meeting, this particular one included an initiation but the problem turned out to be that it was also the District Deputy visit. This means that you have a lot more (4-5 times) people than a normal meeting and none of those extra folk are any of the regulars at our lodge. Turns out that both Connie and Neil had some misgivings about attending since we knew it would be a big crowd, it’s a small room, and there’s not much ventilation…but neither of them said anything to the other about it or else we would not have attended. They kept their masks on most of the meeting but 5 days later on Monday the 9th Neil came down with some sniffles that he thought were just allergies. By Thursday he had a fever and was feeling pretty lousy so went off to the doctor Friday AM. The doctor said he likely didn’t have Covid but a sinus infection since lungs sounded great but did a test anyway. His test was positive so he was in Covid jail at home until 10 days past symptoms and 24 hours with no fever per the CDC guidelines. Then on Sunday the 15th Connie came down with symptoms so she was either infected by Neil when he became infections on the 8th or 9th or by one of the also infected ladies she saw at the Ladies of Elks meeting on the 10th.

Both of them had pretty mild symptoms…lots of post nasal drip, low grade fever (mostly Connie, Neil didn’t have any after a couple of days but hers lasted almost the whole 10 day average) some GI issues (you don’t wanna know the details on those) and fatigue. What got us the most was how tired we were. We would literally get up and make a couple of sandwiches for lunch and then need to go rest for awhile and for over a week they were in bed by about 2100 or so every night and straight to sleep.

Neil got out of Covid jail late last week and Connie on Monday…so both of them turned out to be in the 98%-99% of patients that survive. I’m not meaning to minimize the deaths or the effect those had on their families…but the reality is that the vast majority of patients that are infected either have mild or no symptoms, don’t go to the hospital, and survive the disease. Based on the TV shows we’ve been watching the past month or so one might think that almost all patients died but I guess Hollywood does what they need to do for drama despite the actual fact of a pretty high survival rate. Again…not minimizing it but just recognizing the facts.

As of today…they’re pretty much recovered. The Covid infection part is over but some of the symptoms last a few weeks afterwards…in particular the fatigue but even that is starting to recede a little for us. The good news is that having been infected and recovered they’re immune through at least February or so. They’ll likely still get the vaccine when it becomes available but in the short to medium term they can’t get it again. Nonetheless…they’re still wearing their masks when going out and about.

That’s ’bout it for news so let’s see what else.

We did get some more wildlife this week…none of it is new except for the Ibis which we haven’t seen in our pond before. They’re likely not the same individuals of each species we’ve seen before but to a large extent each of the species is pretty standard looking so telling individuals apart is not possible.

Great Blue Heron

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Snowy Egret…we don’t recall when we’ve ever seen 3 individuals of this species this close together, but as some of the later photos show breeding plumage on the pair on the left they may be mated for the season and just looking for breakfast. We originally thought the one on the right was a Great Egret as the neck appeared longer but they’re all Snowy Egrets. Male and females look pretty much the same but the breeding plumage visible on the pair to the left indicates they might be mates.

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One of the mated pair flying off…the solo one had left earlier.

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White Ibis

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Things that might interest only me.

Take Pi for instance. We all know of it by the symbol 𝛑 but just what exactly is it? Pi is an irrational number which means that it’s decimal place continue without end and without repeating…the digits to the right of the decimal point never end. It’s useful for calculating the circumference of a circle when it is multiplied by the diameter and also has usage with circle area, sphere area and volume, and a bunch of other stuff. Most of us remember that is is about equal to 3.14159 or maybe even 3.141596728459045 if you’re really a math geek…but how many digits are really necessary and how do you calculate them.

There are a bunch of ways to calculate the value…but the most common one is known as the Chudnovsky formula which was developed by a couple of Russian brother mathematicians. Here’s the formula…and no, I have no idea how they figgered it out but it’s based on a formula from an Indian mathematician named Ramanujan.

ChudnovskyFormula

Since this is a summation formula…it’s readily calculable by computers and as recently as this past January somebody actually paid for the computer time to calculate the value of 𝛑 to 50 trillion decimal places.

Me…I can’t figure out why anybody would bother to spend that kind of supercomputer money other than to get into the Guinness Book of Records…but then somebody else will calculate it to 100 trillion places and bump them out…so whatever. What is really more important is how many decimal places do we really need.

Strangely enough…NASA has actually figured this out and they use only 15 decimal places for all of the calculations they use to aim spacecraft as they zoom ‘round the solar system and beyond. Here’s why 15 decimal places are enough.

Let’s take the Voyager 1 spacecraft which as of 2020 is about 12.5 billion miles or about 20 billion kilometers from the sun…the orbit of the formerly known as a planet Pluto varies between about 4.4 and 7.4 billion kilometers from the sun so Voyager 1 is outside the solar system and is about twice as far as Pluto. According to
this article
by the chief engineer for NASA’s Dawn Mission if we calculate the circumference of a circle centered on the sun at the distance of Voyager I then the circumference is about 125 billion kilometers. You can do the math to get the exact number if you like…but the important thing is how much error is introduced by using 15 decimal points of 𝛑 in the equation instead of the more precise metric buttload of decimal places (like 50 trillion or whatever).

Turns out that the error introduced in the value of the circumference…which again is about 125 billion kilometers…is about 1.5 inches or the length of your little finger.

Brought down to a more reasonable and relatable number like the circumference of the earth…using 15 digits results in an error of about the size of a molecule…or 10.000 times smaller than the diameter of a hair.

Taken out to the size of the known universe and figuring out the circumference of a circle that size…and if you wanted to have the number accurate to the size of a hydrogen atom…you only need about 39 decimal places even at that large distance.

So again…why 50 trillion…other than because they can?

So…any more than 15 digits is wasted…so why again would anybody spend the money to calculate it out to 50 trillion places other than…because? Got me.

Another that might only interest me.

Just how far away is space? By most definitions…the Kármán Line which is 100 kilometers above the surface is defined as the edge of space and the space station orbits at about 400 kilometers (250 miles) in height…and we typically think of that as really high. However…the earth is about 8,000 kilometers in diameter so just how high are the Kármán Line and the orbit of the space station. The image below which shows the southern part of North America occupied by Mexico shows you. The coin stack on the left represents the Kármán line and the one on the right the 250 mile height of the space station. Not that far up really.

HowHighIsSpace

Then there’s
this experiment
which is best known as Elephant’s Toothpaste…and the only way to appreciate it is to go watch the video…go ahead, I’ll wait. Essentially…this is the decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide into water and Oxygen using potassium iodide as a catalyst to speed things up.

Pretty impressive…eh?

Ok…on to interesting stuff found on the net.

This one is true…Kamala Harris failed the bar the first time and Amy Coney Barrett was first in her law school class at Notre Dame. USA Today fact checked this and agreed it was true but then diminished it by saying how hard the CA bar exam is and how class rank has nothing to do with legal competence…news flash…yes, it does.

BarResults

The evolution of the wolf

EvolutionOfTheWolf

Only math or science nerds will get this one

Tell SchrödingerISurvived

Ever seen Swamp People and how they talk about monster leviathans that are 10 or 12 feet long. This is the skull of a caiman (essentially a crocodile or alligator) from the Miocene period…now that’s a leviathan.

GiantMioceneCayman

Saving the environment.

SavingTheEnvironment

Speaking of Covid deaths…most people have forgotten about this.

ShortMemory

ChildIsDead

BarberExpressChair

DeadManWalking

DreamBig

HowDoYouBreathe

SocialMediaPopularity

HolyStuffStorage

StephenKingFirstStory

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, RV, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment