2022 Wrap-Up — Part I

Well…it’s January 3rd in 2023 now so Ima bit late on doing my wrap-up post for the much lamented…not…2023. Warning though…this post (Ed. Note…actually this and the next one since the bear ended up splitting the Wrap-Up into two parts.) is image heavy…but hey, whaddya expect for a recap for a whole freekin’ year?

Nothing really new going on since my last post on Dec 28. The humans did have Date Nite Friday at Restaurante Fabio…an Italian place down on Hancock Bridge Road. It’s not quite as good as the one up in Port Charlotte…but it’s only about 1/2 the price and is a whole heckofa lot closer. Connie started with a glass of Merlot because she was originally going to have the Manicotti which has tomato sauce on it and Neil got a half carafe of Pinot Grigio since he knew he was having the Veal Marsala, although he was mightily tempted by the Veal Francese with lemon, butter, and wine sauce (but he’ll have that next time he sez). They split an order of bread with their wine and ordered the herbed garlic dipping oil…it was seriously…Ima talking *seriously* loaded with raw garlic and although it was tasty Neil thinks they should get the Parmagino Balsamico version next time for lightness…it was almost too much garlic. Then the waitress came around and told us about the specials…and Connie found out that she “choose poorly” as the aged knight said in the Indiana Jones movie…because she dropped the manicotti selection like week old bread when she heard the salmon with deep fried mushrooms and spaghetti with some wine garlic herb sauce. So she ordered a glass of Chardonnay and Neil eventually ordered another half carafe of the same so they wouldn’t run out of wine before dinner was done. All was excellent and there were leftovers of both that became lunch the next day.

New Years Eve was bike day and he did a nice 15 miler in the nice weather in the morning…that finished his year at 141 rides and 1,647 miles for an average distance of 15.11 miles in an average time of 58:07 for an average speed of 15.6 mph. Fastest speed was 23.55 mph (downwind of course). Average heart rate was 136 with maximum of 154…his calculated maximum is 152 so he’s in better shape than your average old geezer I guess. Target rate for exercise is 64-76% of maximum…so with a range of 118-143 for vigorous intensity workouts he’s well above average. He’s trying to bike every other day and at the recommendation of the fellas at the LBS (local bike shop) who live and breathe this stuff he worked this year on increasing his cadence (pedal revolutions per minute)…the experts (but they’re all youngsters) said that 75-85 is where you want to be…he increased his about 7 revs for an average of 58. To do that one basically gears down which makes pedaling easier but at a slower speed unless you pedal faster…he’s going to keep working on it but faster cadences make for a much harder aerobic part of the ride…which reduces the fun part so who knows.

After the ride…Connie and Neil watched the Sugar Bowl…Alabama was in it for the 17th time playing Kansas State (Big 12 champs) and as was typical in some of their games this year they started slow and were in a 0-10 hole late in the first quarter compliments of an early 1 for 4 passing effort by QB Bryce Young (he missed wide open receivers twice that would have been TDs) and an 88 yard TD run by the KSU back (the guy was super short…his head was below the rest of the team’s shoulders)…his size let him get sorta lost in the pile and he got past the line and turned out to be really fast as he outran the defense to the end zone. Things turned bad then…Young only missed 2 more passes the rest of the game and ended up with 5 TD passes as the Tide scored 35 before KSU scored again. Final was 45-20 and it really wasn’t as close as that seems.

It being New Years…they did their usual thing and went to bed around 2300…watched the first half of the Georgia-Ohio State game but they were too tired to stay up that late to watch a team not named Alabama. Georgia ended up winning and will face TCU in the championship game next week after TCU upset favored Michigan.

Trips…well, we did have a couple of those although nothing super exciting…but hey, Fun Stuff© is Fun Stuff© ya know.

First up in early February was a trip up to Tavares for the Elks Quarterly meeting…Connie had a bunch of stuff to do so Neil popped over to Circle Bar B Preserve near Lakeland by himself while she was off Elk-ing.

Sun coming up o’er the marsh.

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Great Blue Heron…or GBH as it’s known as.

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Osprey with his takeout breakfast.

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And he/she landed to eat.

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Snowy Egret…aka Snowy.

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I canna ‘member what this is and am too darned lazy to look it up again.

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Later on in the month…another several day trip up to Titusville for Black Point Wildlife Drive then over to west of Orlando for Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Both of these drives are better in the first half as (a) the light is better earlier and by the time you get to the second half it’s past golden hour and (b) the bird and wildlife concentration falls off after the halfway point.

Wood Stork.

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Male Little Blue Heron with its red mating coloration. Despite its name it’s actually much more closely related to the Snowy Egret than the GBH.

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Red-winged Blackbird.

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Lazy strikes again.

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Snowy that missed breakfast.

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Roseate Spoonbill.

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Green Heron…which actually has a much longer neck than it looks like. Don’t see many of these out in the open, they usually hide a lot better.

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Tricolor Heron (aka Louisiana Heron in some parts) takeoff.

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Black Crowned Night Heron.

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Peregrine Falcon…look at the talons on it…the whole bird is 16-20 inches in size. It eats mostly birds and mostly takes them on the wing…and is the fastest flying bird reaching 230 mph in it’s diving stoop.

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Kingfisher…long range shot since they’re really skittish.

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GBH with a gator cruising by…and yes, they really were as close as it looks.

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We’ve seen Anhinga and Cormorants doing this wing drying thing…but never seen a GBH do it. This shot is out back at our pond and we’ve seen this specimen throughout the year…and have still never seen another GBH do this.

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Pair of Glossy Ibis, both juvenile but the one on the right is farther from maturity.

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The next week…a trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

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Great Egret with breakfast.

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While Connie was getting the one above Neil saw a different individual Great Egret taking flight.

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Black Crowned Night Heron.

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And then a trip over to Fort DeSoto which is on the end of the peninsula with St. Petersburg on it.

Again…sun coming up.

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Over on the west side of the park they found a little lagoon with quite the bird population, Roseate Spoonbill here.

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And all of his friends.

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Breeding Reddish Egret (note pink beak) in one of it’s two favored feeding postures…this one creates a shadow that allows it to see past the reflections on the surface and attracts the fish into the cool in the shadow. It’s about the same size as the GBH is.

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The Reddish Egret’s s second feeding posture…running around chasing down the prey.

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And got one…

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Snowy on a bad hair day that totally messed up his breeding plumage.

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While Neil was getting that one…Connie spotted this White Ibis having a crab for breakfast.

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Willet unless I’m misremembering.

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In late March…another trip to Black Point and Circle Bar B.

Kingfisher.

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GBH.

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More laziness.

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Breeding Tricolor Heron…blue beak is it’s attraction and I think this is a female, the male has a little gold curl feather thing at the back of his head…although I may have this backwards.

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Male Cardinal with breakfast.

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Yawning Moorhen that just woke up.

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Moody and mossy canal.

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GBH with breakfast…some sort of eel.

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A mated pair of Sandhill Cranes talking to each other…or mebbe to other Sandhills for all I know to tell them to get out of Dodge as this area is spoken for.

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Mated pair of Red Shouldered Hawks…their nest was about 50 yards away from this pole across a canal and the chicks (hawk-lets mebbe?) must be old enough to have both parents gone for a bit…or perhaps they just delivered breakfast but are no longer feeding the young and letting them dismember and fight over it amongst themselves.

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Next up…Corkscrew…again…but Ima gonna stop here and save the rest of the year for next time.

Interesting things found on the net.

CorrectAmountOfPasta

I have no idea what Chinese refers to when talking about sexual orientation.

ChineseSexualOrientation

CowMoonAccident

RadiologistSelfie

And finally…

NeckPillow

Cyas.

Posted in Food, Photography, Travel, WIldlife | Leave a comment

Four Calling Birds

Yep…we didn’t have the full 12 days of Christmas but we did get the 4 calling birds part.

After my last post it kinda got chilly…so much so that Neil had to put on tights, Gore Tex jacket, and ski glove liners under his bike gloves when he went riding…and with the wind being in his face on the way home pretty much every day the last week or so it was pretty darned chilly the last 3 miles on the way home.

Saturday afternoon we did Midnight Mass at 1600…because…Florida and old people ya know…they mostly don’t like to drive at night so it has to start early. The choir was doing their usual Christmas concert before Mass starting at 1530 so we got there about 1445 figuring that the church would be packed as it usually is but it was amazingly sparse at that point. It got a lot fuller later on but was never to the jammed point…and she reported after singing again the next morning at the 0900 choir mass that there were very few people there…that’s strange as usually all of the Masses are pretty full on Christmas. Anyways…they finished up and came home…split a turkey pot pie for dinner and that was it for the Eve. 

Sunday she was out early about 0800 for the 0900 Mass and Neil went out on the aforementioned cold and chilly ride. When they were both home he baked some home made cinnamon crescent rolls and fried up some bacon for a brunch…he had plans for an early dinner. Early afternoon they had a snack of a few crackers, cheese, and prosciutto while he worked on dinner. He had some lamb chops that he had marinated for about 24 hours that he put on the grill. Side dishes were both something that Connie had found on the web…potato pancakes made out of sweet potatoes with a topping of berry balsamic sauce and goat cheese and this thing called melted onions…essentially you cut the onion in half and put them in a muffin tin…bake for about 20 minutes then brush with ghee (that’s clarified butter which means you melt it and pour off just the yellow fat part and leave the milk solids behind…then pour into a jar and keep in the fridge…the milk solids burn when you cook with it so you just leave them behind). Then put them back in the oven for another 30 or 40 minutes until they’re sweet, soft, and excellent. He figured out the right time to start everything so that the onions finished up while the lamb was resting and he fried the sweet potato pancakes. Put all of that on a plate and then had a very nice bottle of La Creme Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to go along with it. She even broke out the good china and we ate at the dining room table instead of our normal sit at the island routine.

IMG 3446

And earlier in the week while she was over at practice…she noticed some wild pigs in the yard outside the church…they look like in the 200 or so pound range and there are a lot of them ‘round these parts.

While we were working on dinner we spotted the aforementioned 4 calling birds out at the pond…a Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and a Double Crested Cormorant…all of these have been given nicknames except the Great Egret…they’re LBH, GBH, and C-Man respectively. Connie took some photos with her iPhone and tweeted them but on further review they just aren’t good enough to be blog worthy…although I do have some of a different Great Egret for ya a bit later on. All of them were making their normal noises…except for the Cormorant which doesn’t make much noise at all and sounds vaguely duck/goose like when it rarely speaks.

Monday we stayed home…originally we were going to clean up and do some prep work for a visit by our friends Bill and Linda…but we got a text in the early morning that she was sick up in GA and they were going home for her to get better rather than continue their trip and potentially infect everybody. Turned out to be not serious so that’ a good thing…although it did spoil our second attempt to get together with them since the fall…the previous attempt was part of our aborted trip to AL/VA/NC/NJ that hurricane Ian put the kibosh on.

Tuesday we went ahead and made the dinner we would have made for them…it was already thawed out and some of the prep work done. Neil made Beef Bourguignon mostly following Julia Child’s recipe from “The Art of French Cooking”…Beef Bourguignon translates as Beef in Wine Sauce but it’s essentially French for Pot Roast…except it doesn’t have any carrots in it…just mushrooms, pearl onions, spices, and a bottle of red wine. He made some pan fried red potato cubes to go with it so it would have a little more texture…and this time he made it in a dutch oven on the stove top instead of the crockpot because (a) it’s bigger and he was cooking for 4 vice 2 and (b) he wanted to see if doing it that way would keep the beef from falling to pieces while cooking. You actually want it to fall apart but not while cooking…it should fall apart when you eat it. And the stove top version was better everybody that ate it thought. There’s left over for tomorrow but we moved Date Nite from Tuesday to Wednesday this week since we were going to have guests and she decided not to move it back since we needed to cook the Beef Bourguignon anyway.

That’s about it I guess.

This is a different Great Egret than we saw on Christmas…but this one is in his/her breeding plumage although there’s no way to tell if it’s male or female as both look the same. Those wispy white feathers hanging down are the breeding plumage…and the area right behind the beak will get a bit more greenish when it’s in full bloom. 

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20221225 LPR 4

Interesting things found on the net.

One day a Viking named “Rudolph The Red” was looking out the window when he said: It’s going to rain.

His wife asked: How do you know?

He answered: Because Rudolph The Red knows rain, dear.   

SantaScrabble

56339 snowman

SantaAndWife

BadKitty

280 million years old but it has an expiration date.

SaltExpirationDate

What a world we live in.

SelfieToaster

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Homebody, Photography | Leave a comment

It’s Official…Connie Is The NFL

Yep…and Ima not talkin’ ‘bout that football league thing that we don’t watch…for her the acronym means No Fun Laubenthal…although to be scrupulously fair Neil occasionally deserves the same thing so Ima not pickin’ on just her.

Ya’see…she’s been griping for years about it not being cold for Christmas because she likes the fluffy white snow. Unfortunately…the fluffy white stuff just jams up the roads and then after the trucks go by it just turns into brown slush and ice and is just yucky. Nonetheless…she’s got this romanticized fantasy about snow and White Christmas and all that jazz.

So…looking at the forecast for this weekend…itsa gonna be 32 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday and just smidge warmer at 33 on Christmas. So…seein’ as it’s gonna be cold…Neil offered to just toss some flour over her out in the yard and she could have her dadgum White Christmas after all…but nooooooo, she ain’t having any o’that…no siree-bob she ain’t. 

Ima tellin’ ya…sometimes there’s just no pleasing people. I have to admit…she can be fun sometimes he says but any more details will get him and me into the deep kimchi as they say in the Navy (that’s the doghouse for you non military types)…and don’t ask me how what is essentially the super spicy version of sauerkraut they have in Korea turned into being in trouble. They make kimchee with onions and garlic and hot peppers and cabbage and let it ferment for months…but it at least is edible. They also make this fish head sauce out of again…onions, garlic, and fish heads…all put into a metal garbage can then they let it ferment for months before draining out this really hot condiment that goes on pretty much everything in Korea. It stinks to high heaven while it’s being made…but then it is fermenting fish heads…but the final product actually doesn’t have much smell outside of the obvious heat you can tell is there when you sniff it.

OK…what else is happening.

We got our estimate for lanai screen repairs and Neil ordered the material which will be here tomorrow or Saturday according to FedEx…then John and Amber will put us on the schedule for the installation…might not happen next week with the holidays and all but early in the new year at least.

We got all our decorating for the season done…trees up, presents are kinda sorta wrapped (well, one of ‘em is done but Ms. NFL is a bit behind but she had to do the cards to mail out and get her nails done to be gorgeous for the holiday and is still in the late recovery stage from diverticulitis so she gets a pass…after all there’s 2 more days to get ‘er done as they say.

Our friends Bill and Linda will be here next week for a short visit…and we got a very nice present from our friend Cynthia up in the DC area…some high quality hand forged chef’s knives and a filet knife…they’re quite sharp and we’re glad to have them. 

Date night on Tuesday was sort of a bust…Connie picked out this dive bar but it was full of…let’s call em good old boys…and we normally wouldn’t have minded that at all but with no seats at the bar it just weren’t worth it…so we ended up at Longhorn Steakhouse and had appetizers. We’ll try again on Friday…she said she’s picking the Mexican place but who knows what she’ll really do. 

She missed both of her caroling gigs with the Mastersingers last week…she was early in the antibiotic phase of her diverticulitis attack and didn’t feel well enough to stand for a couple hours…she was sorta bummed about that.

And that’s about it I guess…oh yeah, we’ve finalized our post London choral tour UK travel plans and the travel lady is doing her thing to get hotel reservations.

No new images for me to post…although we are seeing some of the birds out back at the pond now so I’ll have him get some for me.

Interesting things found on the net.

This is what’s left after the owl hunts in the snow.

LunchEvidence

So…not bottomless then I guess.

SoNotBottomless

Morons

Beer is one of the oldest drinks that humanity produced…this is a 4,000 year old receipt from 2050 BCE from the Sumerian city of Umma in Iraq. It’s a receipt for a beer purchase.

BeerReceipt

This is either Greek mythology gone wrong…or a panoramic photo gone wrong.

GreekMythology

FYI…when one loses weight it comes from the fat located in the body…but just how do the calories in the fat leave the body? Actually…it’s not what you probably think…about 80% of them are exhaled as carbon dioxide.

FatLeavingTheBody

And finally…since it’s the holiday season…we have to sneak in one holiday related image…and the joke is so much better when you have to think about it a bit.

RudolphReportCard

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Learn Something New | Leave a comment

The Strangest Thing Happened Friday Night

Yeah…never had this one happen before.

Not much has really happened since the Polar Bear post but lemme review the couple of weeks and see what went on.

Connie’s choral group the Fort Myers Mastersingers had their Christmas Deck the Halls gala concert with the Gulf Coast Symphony…Neil didn’t go because it was (a) $150 for a ticket, (b) it was more of a pops type concert with a couple of other singers besides the Mastersingers, and (c) they’re singing some of the same pieces (plus more classical vice pops music) today at the church where they practice…and this one is free (or perhaps a pass the plate $5 donation or something since it is a church).  

She also had a caroling gig at the Edison-Ford Estates for members of the estate only so he wasn’t invited to that one…but they’re singing again there this week with the public invited on Wednesday so he moved Date Nite from Tuesday to Wednesday and he’ll take her out after the caroling. Then on Friday there’s more caroling down at one of the ritzy well to do enclaves way down the south end of town in the high rent district. 

She’s also had a couple of additional rehearsals for all of those and also choir masses and cantor duties at other masses…those are mostly normal things but December is a busy time in the choral business ya know…so she’s getting a vocal workout this month.

Between all of that…ordering presents…putting up decorations and assorted other household things we’ve been pretty busy…and he keeps making her work on our summer trip to the UK as well…she needs to handle her DLETC duties to make sure that the number of days he’s got in the schedule in various places matches up with what she wants to see and the other things on the “go do this” list so that it doesn’t become a marathon vacation trip but a more leisurely Fun Stuff© trip. He’s got good reason for doing that though…the travel agent needs to get the various hotel reservations for us and where they’re visiting (after the London choral tour thing) are vacation spots for the Brits and a lot of them book up early so she needs to do her part to approve the tentative schedule for him.

We’re still waiting on getting our lanai screen repaired…but at least we have an appointment for an estimate now so I guess that’s an improvement. The HoA landscaping people also finally dug out the stump from the downed tree…so now we’ve got a 10 foot diameter dirt area instead ofd a stump/root ball thing…so again I guess that’s an improvement. Sod to cover the dirt…well, they’re supposed to “come and give us an estimate” on that…but given their not so much efficiency in stump removal mebbe they need to have a Snickers since it’s gonna be awhile.

And…that’s about it so back to that strangest thing thing…

As you know…Tuesday and Friday nights are Date Nite for Connie and Neil…she gets dressed up and he takes her out for dinner and last Friday she picked Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner. They got there about 1700 and sat at their usual places at the bar…and ordered a cocktail. A few minutes later this friendly guy named Rudy sits next to them and is waiting on his friend to arrive. He and Neil got to chatting about how you always sit at the bar because you meet a better class of bum that way as Neil says and turns out he is an engineer who does a lot of work on facilities for the Navy as a contractor and is in the area for a few months. Neil suggested a couple places for him to go eat since he’s not that familiar with the area and Rudy opined that he shoulda joined the Navy as well as he thought it would have been better for the country to serve in that fashion rather than just doing facilities. Connie had a steak and Neil a steak and shrimp combo…as per their usual they ate about half of the Caesar salads and got a box for the rest for lunch and he ate the shrimp which was what he really wanted and kept most of his steak, her leftover steak, and his potato (since the shrimp comes with this really good rice pilaf combo and a potato on top of that is just too much) to eat later. With wine, cocktails and dinner the tab was most of a hundred bucks but when he pulled out his card to pay the bartender lady said “thanks for your service to him” and that there was no bill. He did his best to weasel who paid for them out of her so he could at least get them a drink and thank them…but she declined. He asked Rudy if he had done it but he denied it…but Ima not so sure he wasn’t just admitting it. It coulda been that he thought they were old broke people since they were taking leftovers but that’s just what they do…or it coulda been that he just wanted to do a nice thing for a veteran. In any event…that’s never happened to us before and we offer our thanks to Rudy…or whoever else was kind enough to spring for our dinner.

Interesting things found on the net.

In the troubled time we have today with the snowflakes and all not wanting work, demanding to work from home and not return to the office, and generally participating in the “great resignation” as it’s called in the news…we have the story of the late Tsutomu Yamaguchi who passed away in 2010 at the age of 93. Now you’re probably wondering just who Tsutomu Yamaguchi was…and why he was so different from today’s snowflake me-me-me generation…so here goes.

According to
this
…Tsutomu got up early one morning back during WWII. He was a 29 year old naval engineer on a 3 month business trip for his employer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and he got up on the last day of his trip to return to his home, his wife Hisako, and his young son Katsutoshi. Suddenly…out the window he heard the drone of a bomber and saw it drop something on a parachute…and then the “sky erupted like a magnesium flare’ in his words. Yep…he witnessed the bomb falling over Hiroshima but headed to the shipyard to find his coworkers. They were mostly still alive and after putting out some fires he left the next morning and headed to his home. 

He arrived home and since he was injured from the explosion in Hiroshima he went to the hospital for treatment…then went home…then got up the next morning and went to work at his home shipyard. As he was describing how a single bomb destroyed the whole city of Hiroshima…to his boss and co worker’s amazement and disbelief…there was another huge explosion and bright flash in the sky…yep, he had returned home to Nagasaki just in time to be near his second nuclear weapon detonation. Again…he survived and rushed home to find that his wife and son were only slightly injured  because they had taken shelter in a tunnel when they heard the bomber because of his description of the devastation in Hiroshima. 

Despite his double dose of radiation exposure…he eventually recovered from his injuries, taught school, and then returned to his job at Mitsubishi until his retirement. He was one of 4 acknowledged survivors of both blasts at the end of WWII…there are another 160 that may have been in both but he was the only person designated by the Japanese government as a nijyuu hibakusha or twice-bombed person.

So when you think that your life is too hard because you have to go back to the office and do your job…mebbe you should instead think like Tsutomo and just do your job and quit whining about it.

Over in
India
…an 8 year old boy was bitten by a cobra…so being an 8 year old boy he did the most 8 year old boy thing possible and…bit it back…twice….killing it…take that cobra. Luckily it was a dry bite (i.e., the snake didn’t inject venom…some snakes do that because it takes them a long time to produce the venom so they don’t want to waste it in defensive strikes but only for getting food strikes. As Neil would say…well, actually he does say…frequently…the only good snake is a dead snake.

Speaking of whiners…
how about this woman
…she claims to be the sole breadwinner and head of household who will make…I kid you not…$350,000 for the year 2022. She says that she’s living…her words from the article…paycheck to paycheck. Then she goes on to say that she has $88K in student loans and…again I kid you not…$170K in auto loans for 2 electric vehicles and a $4,500 mortgage payment. It doesn’t say where she lives…but a quick trip via a mortgage calculator website says that’s a $1.25 to $1.5 million dollar house and since she’s got 2 car loans she’s obviously got a stay at home wife/husband/partner/whatever who isn’t working.

The thrust of the article is to get financial advice on whether she should take out a $200,000 home equity loan to pay off some of her car loans and student loans…and the financial advice lady in the article goes on to offer her some…but amazingly enough she doesn’t give her very good financial advice IMO. This woman’s problem is that she and her family are living far, far beyond their means even if she does make $350K a year…her problem is that she doesn’t need either a million dollar plus house and 2 $85K electrical vehicles at all…mebbe she and her whatever should have been a bit more frugal in their choices and/or the whatever could…I dunno…get a job maybe?

So I guess you read in the news how Elon Musk is publishing some of the internal Twitter files on whether or not to allow tweets about Hunter Biden’s laptop…and
apparently
…the White House has declared that this is “unhealthy” and “a distraction”. Eventually…as you know already…the files and reports and any reporting about them was suppressed under Twitter’s hacking policy. Now I have no idea whether Hunter Biden is actually a crook or not but we do have our suspicions and there seems to be a lot of smoke about him, his drug use, his alleged selling of influence to “the big guy” (that’s what it calls somebody in the email on his laptop), and his alleged illegal possession of a gun which may or may not (depending on who you believe) have been tossed into a dumpster by his then girlfriend who just happened to be the widow of his brother. However…it sure does seem strange that the DoJ doesn’t seem to be all that interested in investigating whether or not he committed any crimes. Me…I think they should put him, Trump, and Hilary all in the same jail cell because…smoke ya know…and there’s usually a reason for that.

Speaking of smoke…did you know that it’s magic? Yep…every computer and electronic device has deep within its innards a reservoir of “magic smoke”. Now…as a former computer guy Neil could probably tellya just exactly what it does…and since Ima a bear with no technical edumacation I ain’t able to do that. However…I can tell you affirmatively that the magic smoke is *vital* I tellya to the operation of the computer. How do I know this? Well…it’s simple. If you’re looking at the computer and see the magic smoke leak out…the dang thing is broke for sure.

So…how big do ya figger the smallest inhabited island in the word is? Me…well, I never thought about it m’self but it turns out that somebody did and up in the Saint Lawrence River…right in between Heart Island and Imperial Isle (wherever they are, I didna google it) you can find this small island…it’s only 3,300 square feet. Best of all…it’s name is…wait for it…Just Room Enough Island.

JustRoomEnoughIsland

Found this on the web too…tells ya how to “write good”.

HowToWriteGood

And finally…a couple of math nerd ones for ya…I keep finding these…and I keep trying to figure out just why anybody would bother figuring them out because most of them serve exactly zero useful purpose.

Take the number 115132219018763992565095597973971522401…and then think for a moment and tell me what is so special about this number.

It’s a 39 digit number…and if you take each of it’s digits and raise each one to the 39th power…and then add those results up…you get the 39 digit number.

Next…consider the number 69. Now I know that some of you…particularly those that grew up during the sexual revolution in the 60s or 70s…went immediately to the gutter…but I’m not talking about *that* 69 but the actual number 69. Turns out that if you do 69 squared and then 69 cubed…then look at the results which are 4,761 and 328,509 respectively…each digit from 0 through 9 is used exactly once in the results…and this is the *only* number for which this is true.

Now what purpose either of those actually serves is left as an exercise for the student as they say…mebbe Jen can tell us.

I know I said finally already…but here’s one more for ya.

What’s the smallest ship in the Navy. Well, turns out they got a bunch of ‘em but they don’t have names…just numbers. They’re called Barrier Boats or Dozer Boats and are built by…Chuck’s Boat and Drive out in Washington state…what a great name for the company. They are pretty powerful for their size with a diesel engine and are run by a craft master and do things like move protective barriers in seaports, help submarines dock…and even move the USS Constitution up in Boston during it’s annual turn the boat around to put the other side to the pier underway evolutions. 440 horsepower and 1,800 ft-lb of torque provided by a Cummins QSM 11 diesel engine, a 10.7L turbocharged inline 6-cylinder power plant.

Dadgum thing looks like it’s below the catch and release size limit to me. Length is 16-19 feet depending on which model you buy.

SmallestBoatInNavy

Cyas.

 

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

Just checking in…

Quickie here…there’s a new version of the app we use for posting (MarsEdit) and it’s got a quick post keyboard shortcut for posting short text only posts on what’s going on and Neil decided to check it out.

Comments Off on Just checking in…

Polar Bears

Yep…that’s the subject of today’s post…but before I get to that just a few of the idiotic, stupid, ridiculous, moronic, they’re on crack statements I found in the news the past 2 days.

I’m not going to defend any of these morons…just ain’t happening…because they’re…well…morons.

AI (artificial intelligence) has been deemed to be racist. The only evidence provided was that facial recognition software doesn’t do as good a job on brown skin as it does on pink skin. The reality is that despite the best efforts of the programmers…brown skin simply has less contrast than non brown skin and thus is harder to recognize. I’m sure the developers are doing their best to improve things…but much like the demands of some in politics…you just can’t rush or legislate scientific progress.

The tech industry has “put extinction of humanity” on the table. No justification at all for this one.

Hurricane Ian was a deep state government run plot targeted against a Red state. No evidence how the deep state actually figured out how to generate and direct the path of a tropical storm provided…but like I said…morons.

Half of Americans that make over $100,000 salary per year say that they are living “paycheck to paycheck”. While this is probably true…the purchase of $70,000 to $90,000 Teslas and Hummers and other luxury vehicles…combined with sending their kids to private only schools that charge $25,000 a year for tuition and their insistence that every one of their children have $150 Nike sneakers, the latest iPhone 14 Pro, and designer clothes just might…I think…have something to do with that. The real answer is that if you have $100,000 income and are living paycheck to paycheck…you’re simply doing something wrong.

President Biden announced on Thanksgiving (or maybe the day before) that he was going to ban semi-automatic weapons…yeah, that’s what he said. Not content with the gun hater’s usual claim of “military style assault weapons” when really they mean “scary looking weapons that shoot the same ammunition as hunting rifles or target practice rifles”…he’s going to ban semi-automatic weapons. I guess that he really doesn’t understand that with the exception of revolver handguns, pump action shotguns, double barreled shotguns, and bold action rifles…which probably total 10% or 15% of all the legally owned weapons in the US today…every other weapon is a semi-automatic weapon. I guess he also doesn’t understand that the SCOTUS has already made numerous decisions on gun laws…and that he doesn’t understand “shall not be abridged”. Seems like politicians and fringe party supporters on both sides…they want zero restrictions on constitutional rights they like and maximum restrictions on ones they don’t like as much. The left talks about common sense gun laws and the right about common sense voting laws…and I have to admit that some of the suggestions on both sides really do make sense. So…rather than just use their argument as a cudgel at election time…how about the more centrist pols in both parties get together and put some of those common sense gun and voting laws into a single bill…get it passed…and get it signed. Unfortunately…both of our political parties and the vast majority of our politicians aren’t interested in doing their jobs and compromising…their most important wants are to make the other side look bad and to be automatically against whatever the other side wants.

Our former President announced today that due to the “criminal voting operation” in AZ that Ms. Lake should be installed as the governor of the state…despite the fact that she’s behind by 17,000 votes out of 2.5 million cast…and despite the fact that no evidence has been introduced that points to any voting irregularities.

President Biden has announced that he is going to outlaw “resort fees” in the US…these are those fees that hotels use to artificially inflate their prices without raising the price of the rooms that are for parking, the gym, the pool, and assorted other amenities at the hotel. While I…well, Neil and Connie do, bears aren’t allowed in almost all hotels…think resort fees are an abomination…this is another one of those useless announcements and clearly would not be held to be legal…companies selling services like hotels are free to charge whatever they want and that the customers will pay.

And in another stroke of stupidity…especially for a Democratic President because that party *always* defers to union demands and thinks that unions are the best thing since sliced bread (note, I think unions have some uses but they’re not the panacea that his party claims nor the abomination that the other party claims…the truth is a lot more nuanced than that and unions have both good and bad points). Anyways…the White House sat down with the unions and the railroads a few weeks back after the direct negotiations went nowhere…and again both the railroads and the unions have some reasonable asks in their demands…and essentially directed both sides to do what the White House said and sign the contract the White House told them to. Naturally…this did not go well with either side but more so with the union side…and the union refused. So now the President…the great protector of union jobs…is demanding that Congress pass legislation to impose a settlement on the unions and railroads. The real problem here is…well, the same as the overall political problem…neither the unions or the railroads are interested in compromising and seeing what of the other side’s wants they can accommodate but are demanding essentially “my way or the highway”…unfortunately with both sides doing this it’s what ya call an impasse…and it’s really rich that the “pro union” party is demanding that Congress impose a settlement.

Connie’s birthday is Friday……and it seems that the Air Force and Northrup Grumman have decided to give her a nice present…because that’s the day for the public rollout of the first B-21 Raider bomber…this is the next generation of the bat wing B2 stealth bomber that we currently hav in service. It looks pretty much the same but apparently it’s more stealthy and all that…and it gives the Air Force a nice new toy to spend billions of dollars per copy on. They’re planning to buy at least 100 of them and are planning for up to 250…but this is the same Air Force that originally wanted to buy the same number of B-1 bombers and stopped at 23 (I think) and at least 750 of the F-22 tRaptors before cancelling the program at 187…both of these were cancelled based on costs. The Navy doesn’t do much better…they originally wanted 32 of those and stopped at 3…and the Army has had similar grandiose plans that eventually became too expensive to accomplish. And it isn’t just the Defense department…NASA has so far spent over $23 billion to develop the Space Launch System that costs over $2 billion per copy and has essentially no reusable parts while SpaceX has launched the Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy close to 200 times with reusable boosters and capsules at a cost of about $50 million for a reused booster launch. Granted…the SLS does have a larger payload than a Falcon 9 but it’s only about 50% more and it seems like using 2 SpaceX launches and docking the parts once in orbit is way, way cheaper. Anyway…the B-21 rollout is a nice thing for them to do on her birthday…I guess.

Ok…polar bears…and yes, the reason for this topic will…eventually…become clear.

Way back in Neil’s Navy days…heck, it was actually so long ago (1984) that not only was it in the last century but it was actually in the last millennium…he worked at the office that bought heavyweight torpedoes that submarines shoot at enemy vessels and they were in the process of operational testing of the latest version…something called the Mk 48 ADCAP or advanced capabilities version…essentially an upgrade of the 1960s designed torpedo that used the same engine, fuel tank section and warhead but replaced the antiquated sonar and homing algorithms section with advanced computer controlled software and added some more sophisticated warhead detonation techniques to make it more lethal. As part of this testing…he supervised shooting a lot of these test torpedoes at an acoustic range down in the Bahamas…but because some other Cold War adversary countries operated submarines in the Arctic they needed to do some testing up under the ice in the Arctic Ocean. The Navy does an Ice Camp every other year and for the year he was involved one sub each from the Atlantic and Pacific fleets were sent up to the area about 300 miles north of the Alaska-Canada border where the camp was setup and a temporary acoustic range was constructed to track the subs and the torpedoes. I’ll have to dig through his archived photos and see if I can find some from his trip there.

Now naturally…once you get out on the ice pack north of Alaska…there are polar bears and that required that people going to the ice camp get some polar bear training.

You’ve probably heard of polar bears…they’re those white bears that eat seals up in the Arctic…but there are probably a bunch of facts about the that you’ve never really heard of.

  • Despite polar bears being white, Alaskan brown bears being brown, and grizzly bears being either black, brown or blonde depending on the individual…they’re actually pretty much the same animal genetically…but the 3 populations essentially developed in separate geographic areas so they’re basically sub-species of the same bear species…and they can all successfully mate and produce viable offspring that can reproduce with the other sub-species.
  • You probably think that polar bears are white…and I gotta admit that they do look like they’re white…but actually their skin is black and their fur is translucent like a frosted light bulb…the black skin helps them absorb the maximum amount of energy/heat from the sun and the fur color helps hide them from the seals as well as being a really good insulator.
  • You probably also think that polar bears can’t move very fast…but I gotta tell you they really do.
  • They’re also really good swimmers and can easily swim long distances…best guess is that they can do 100 kilometers or 62 miles in 4 days easily and at least one female is known to have swum 400 miles in 9 days at a pretty much constant 2 miles an hour speed since it was being tracked by a radio collar…this was a swim in open water during the summer from the coast of Alaska out to the sea ice.

As part of Neil’s polar bear training…he learned that up in the Arctic you never, never, never go anywhere unarmed…and usually you carry two weapons. The weapons of choice are .44 Magnum pistols (what Clint Eastwood used in the Dirty Harry movie series…the most powerful handgun in the world although the .50 Desert Eagle is actually more powerful) and 12 gauge pump shotguns using these special $40 apiece sabot rounds like an M1 Abrams tank shoots.

He also learned that a polar bear outside of 20 yards is not going to charge you…one inside 10 is…and one between 10 and 20 might…and that firing a warning shot for those in the 10-20 range might precipitate a charge and might scare it off. However…the training emphasized that your .44 Magnum (which Neil carried up there) only has 5 shots in it…and the shotgun only has 5 shots in it…and that if you fired a warning shot you only have 4 left…so the instruction said that whether you fired a warning shot or not was a personal decision…but he personally recommended against it.

He also learned that if you shoot at the polar bear…killing the bear is NOT the object of opening fire. The object of opening fire is to stop the charge…because if he/she gets to you…well, you lose and die. To wit…the recommendation was not to shoot the head at all…the way the bear’s skull is built means that any round will just bounce off of it. So…instead you shoot at the shoulder because if you hit there it can’t run and will fall down…thus stopping the charge which is the goal of the exercise. If you knock the bear down…you should walk around the back side and empty the rest of your rounds into the back of the head to try and kill it…then go back to camp and get more ammo. Under no circumstances should you closely approach the bear…because…many people have been killed by dead polar bears.

To emphasize the suggestion above…the instructors then played a video of some biologists from New Zealand that had been up in the Arctic back in the 1960s. They flew in via helicopter and landed on the ice to do whatever New Zealand biologists do up there…the pilot stayed in the chopper (smart man) while the 3 biologists each armed with a 6 round fully loaded .44 Magnum pistol got out to do their work…and then discovered a polar bear…who eventually charged the 3 scientists. To stop the charge…they fired all 18 rounds at the bear…and it successfully stopped the charge…but did not put the bear down. It got to within 15 feet or so (guessing based on Neil’s recollection of the video) before turning to run away because I guess those rounds hurt. 

Now every body thinks that the ice out in the ocean up there is flat…but nah, it’s not. There are these things called pressure ridges that might be 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide with almost vertical sides. The bear in the video turned and ran away from the scientists…and in the video it bounded up a nearby pressure ridge in 2 bounds with the third landing over the top in 2 or 3 seconds before it ran off. The video reported that the scientists climbed up the ridge to look for the bear and it took them 5 minutes or so to climb up and over (as compared to the 2-3 s seconds it took the bear). They did not sight the bear…but because leaving a wounded animal to suffer is a Bad Thing© as they say…they got back on the helo and followed the blood trail on the ice to find and dispatch the bear. They found it…dead…5 miles away…with somewhere between a dozen and 15 gunshot wounds…the scientists were pretty good shots as it turned out.

This is why your only goal in the charge is to stop the charge. If the bear had enough time and health that despite being wounded seriously enough that it eventually died to bound over the pressure ridge and run 5 miles before it collapsed means just one simple thing…if the charge is not stopped and the bear gets to you…then you’re dead and the fact that the bear might bleed to death later doesn’t really change that fact.

In short…polar bears are bad asses…much like grizzly bears and brown bears…Neil’s seen 2 of the 3 in person and Connie’s seen grizzlies and they hope to eventually get up to Churchill in Manitoba to see polar bears…but I digress.

I thought about pulling up some old shots from their Alaska trip of brown and grizzly bears but decided not to…call me lazy I guess.

Interesting things found on the net.

StopThatDoris

So…looking up at night…assuming you’re in a dark area of the world without light pollution and no moon…just how many cars can you see. Well…if you discount the Andromeda galaxy (our closest neighbor galaxy) because you really can’t see it with the naked eye…you can see a maximum of about 9.100 stars…all of which are in the Milky Way galaxy in which we reside…but how many is this actually. Well…it’s about 0.0004% of all the stars in the Milky Way…and you can see zero stars (with the naked eye) in any other galaxy. To illustrate how few this actually is…these are all the stars you can see…most of the stars in the Milky Way are in the central core and you can’t see any of them.

TheStarsWeCanSee

Out in Arizona just outside the city of Page there’s a place called the Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River…you’ve seen plenty of pictures it and Neil/Connie were there back in their RVing days…but this shot sorta shows you how tall it really is. The river is about 1,000 feet below the rim which is reached by about a 1.5 mile round trip hike from the parking lot. Neil’s actually stood right at the edge just about where this shot was taken from and there is no fence at all…nothing except common sense preventing you from walking right off the edge (note, he stayed a few feet back because he’s got plenty of common sense). In the main shot…you can see the little white dot the arrow is point to and the inset shot shows the about 18 or 20 foot both that the little white dot actually is. And it’s pretty much a straight down drop…if you fell off you would bounce off the cliff about halfway (500 feet) down before hitting the river. It’s a pretty cool place and if you’re ever in Page AZ…I highly recommend stopping by.

HorseshoeBendBoat

They need to give the subtitle person a pay raise here…

SubtitlePersonPayRaise

And finally…I did promise you I would get back to why the polar bear was the subject of this post…so saving the best for last.

The largest polar bear ever recorded…was shot at Kotzebue Sound in Alaska in 1960. They didn’t weight it at the time but later calculations estimated it’s weight at 1,002 kilograms or 2,204 pounds and once it was mounted in a standing position it was 3.39 meters or 11 foot 1 inch tall. Now I’ll grant you that it’s mounted on a pedestal for display…but looking at the right side of the image the pedestal is only about knee high on the man standing there…so that’s one big dadgum bear…heck, he even puts me to shame. Back when Neil flew through the Anchorage airport on the way to Deadhorse where he got on the flight out to the ice pack (Deadhorse is the actual name of the town that most people think of as Prudhoe Bay…it’s on the northern coast about 2/3 of the way from west to east)…there was a different mounted polar bear in the terminal except that one’s arms were raised over it’s head rather than being down like this one…and standing on the floor he was not tall enough to reach the forward paws…and that one is smaller than this one is.

By contrast…the world record grizzly bear was shot near Fairbanks and was about 1,200 pounds and 9 feet tall and the world record brown bear is about 1,500 pounds but height wasn’t specified…and the brown was taken by a bow hunter which is pretty darned amazing as well.

UntitledImage

Pro tip…don’t mess with no polar bear…because he’s the meanest SOB in the valley.

Cyas.

Posted in Blast From The Past, Learn Something New, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | 2 Comments

Gridlock

Yeah…that, and the “it was fine when we did it but not when you do it” attitude of our politicians is about it.

Before that though…and update on us.

When last I posted, I neglected to talk about Connie’s performance with the Fort Myers Mastersingers and the Gulf Coast Symphony. On Sunday 11/13 the symphony did a benefit concert to raise money for folks that were rendered homeless by the hurricane. Neil had a nice seat in the orchestra section and Connie had an afternoon dress rehearsal. Since it’s about 30 miles down to there from the house…he went along with her and sat in the Green Room (backstage area where performers gather before a performance…and in this case it was actually painted green) but it was cold enough in there to hang a side of beef so he was glad when the rehearsal was over. We headed over to a nearby place to grab dinner…the University Grill as the concert hall is on the campus of Florida Southwest University…Neil had a couple of Old Fashioned cocktails and Connie a single glass of wine as she was singing. Neil had a gourmet burger and I can’t remember what Connie had. Once dinner was done we headed back to the concert hall…Connie had her performing dress and heels in the car so she changed in the concert hall and he put her other stuff back in the car…then he headed out to the lobby to wait on doors opening.

The concert was…mostly…a pops type concert with a lot of Broadway tunes and included both the Mastersingers and a pair of local singers…a soprano and a tenor who both sang movie/Broadway tunes. The Mastersingers selections were a variety of slightly more classical pieces and the concert was topped off by the 4th movement…well, parts of it anyway…of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony which is also known as the Choral Symphony and includes the text of the poem Ode to Joy by Friedrich Schiller. You’ve heard both the tune and the singing a bunch of times but may not recognize the words…but then they’re in German so that’s not really surprising I guess.

The entire symphony takes ab out 70 minutes to perform and the 4th movement which is the only one the soloist (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and bass) and chorus participate in is about 25 minutes out of that…so since the audience was mostly not a classical music audience but a pops audience they severely limited (i.e., cut out the preparatory parts) the movement down to about 5 or 6 minutes…essentially they started the movement at the point where the entire chorus (there were no soloists for this part) comes with the triumphant ending section which still takes about 5-6 minutes. 

A good time was had by all…and money was raised for those hurt by Hurricane Ian…and we headed home afterwards.

The remainder of the week…as I previously discussed last time…was pretty much a bunch o’ nuttin’. Connie had another Mastersingers concert on Wednesday night…mostly it was the sub-group attached to them called the Intermezzo Group which is composed of folks with Alzheimers so they sing mostly simpler songs. The Mastersingers helped them in a couple of songs…and the concert was at a local Presbyterian Church that is completely round and has brick walls. The Intermezzo group was up near the sanctuary area and the Mastersingers were around the rest of the outside of the circle…and with the 3 dozen or so Mastersingers there and the brick walls the sound was pretty darned spectacular…especially in the couple of songs they did that were sort of a round kinda thing (like row, row, row your boat of kid’s groups) with a lot of contrasting layers.

We had dental cleaning appointments on Thursday…yay.

Sunday was Neil and Connie’s 46th wedding anniversary so they went out to a place down south a ways named Deep Lagoon. They had cocktails, wine, and essentially a series of small plates from the appetizer menu…raw oysters, bacon wrapped scallops, lobster bisque (Neil) and clam chowdah (Connie) before finishing dinner with oysters Rockefeller with spinach and cheese and garlic. They sat at the bar…naturally, they almost always do that because you meet a much better class of bum sitting at the bar as Neil says…and then headed home where we had a couple of chocolate lava cake sort of things heated up in the microwave to make them lava like again then he added chocolate and butterscotch syrup and whipped cream. They both thought it was an excellent dinner and an even more excellent anniversary celebration.

Ok…on to gridlock.

With the Republicans in charge in the House and the Democrats in the Senate without a filibuster proof majority…and a Democrat in the White House…we can look forward to no real changes in anything for the next two years. Of course…the House will investigate Hunter Biden and the Democrats will claim that it’s just a political witch hunt…which truth be known it’s probably not…and the Senate will try and impose ethics requirements on the SCOTUS…which truth be known probably isn’t within their constitutionally granted powers and would not be approved by the House anyway…and both sides will spend the next two years pointing fingers and blaming the other side.

Meanwhile…fixing the issues facing the country…which include the imminent bankruptcy of both the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, the economy, foreign policy, abortion, and the myriad of other political issues that neither side agrees on but are of importance to the majority of voters who are mostly in the center instead of being out on the fringes…just ain’t gonna happen.

I see today that the likely incoming Speaker of the House says that he will bar some of the most strident Democrats from their desired committee positions…and naturally the Democrats are all butt hurt over that. Seems to me that the Democrats did the exact same thing to Marjorie Taylor Green (who is admittedly a total moron and idiot) and with the Jan 6 Select Committee…but Democrat leadership says that isn’t the same thing…the Republicans are engaging in political bias and islamophobia while they were just taking committee assignments away from insurrectionists…and the Republicans say the exact opposite things.

In reality…the Republicans are playing politics now that they’re in the House majority…just like the Democrats did when they were in the majority…and in reality neither of them are paragons of virtue. Denying duly elected people committee memberships is just stupid…but at least in this particular situation the Republicans are just responding in kind to what happened when they were in the minority. That isn’t right…but it’s the way politics is these days.

I’m pretty disgusted with the whole lot of them…very few of them are either honest or care about getting things done or doing their jobs…and that goes for both sides who are essentially held hostage to the extreme members of their caucus. Most people are more towards the middle of the spectrum politically and either left of or right of…but are mostly center. Unfortunately…the wacko extremists on *both* sides rule the roost and the primaries and we end up with shitty candidates from both parties in the general election to a large extent.

No photos this time…but a couple of Interesting things found on the net.

AskNot

We are gathered here today for…

WeAreGatheredHereToday

Count me in!!

CountMeIn

Thanks Captain Obvious.

ThanksCaptainObvious

ThanksCaptainObvious2

This kid gets it.

ThisKidGetsIt

NinjaTurtleSearch

So…what’s in the bag then?

SoWhatsInTheBag

Cyas.

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

Another Month Gone By

…and heck, I really wish I had something to report on life.

Unfortunately…the Fun Stuff© bank has been pretty empty the last while but as they say…it is what it is…and I got what I got…so here ya go.

After surviving Ian…we then had another storm…Nicole…but it came in over on the eastern coast of Florida, passed north of us, back out to sea in the Gulf temporarily but it paralleled the coastline and then made landfall again north of Cedar Key someplace before heading on up into GA, the Carolinas and essentially petered out. It was pretty much a bust here in North Fort Myers though…winds got to maybe 25 or 30 and we had a little rain but…again…not nearly what one would expect for a storm…this one was Cat 1 and then Tropical Storm once it made initial landfall. Daytona Beach and surrounding areas got pretty beat up at least along the beach though but Neil’s blogging buddy over in New Smyrna Beach had pretty much nothing where they are.

Our reaction to the second storm was pretty much the same as this pizza place though (this image goes better here but it’s really part of the “interesting things found on the net’ section)

HurricaneOfTheMonth

As I may…or then again, maybe not…talked about before…Connie is going to be in a choral tour group to London next summer. They’re going to do a concert led by John Rutter who is like the Arthur Fiedler of the choral world…she says he’s a big deal but to Neil he’s just another Tunesmith©. In combination with that we’re working on some Fun Stuff over in the UK…looks like Wales, Yorkshire Dales, and Lakes Districts as of now…and we’re going to…we think…work in a Saint Saëns Symphony #3 “Organ” concert as well.

Our Elks lodge has been closed for over 2 months now. It wasn’t Ian that did it…membership voted to move because of the high rent they were paying. The story to members of the whys and wherefores kept changing along with the financial concerns…but they’re moving into a new location highly recommended by and promoted by one of our local politically minded members. In addition…it doesn’t appear that everything was carefully thought out ahead of time as the new building remodeling is done but they’re still waiting on permits and liquor licenses and such before reopening. We haven’t been involved in any of it but at least from the sorta outside it doesn’t seem like things have gone as smoothly as they could have. Hopefully not too much longer…Ian may…or then again may not…have contributed to the delay.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and we’re having smoked duck breast with maple cream cream sauce and a couple of side dishes and desserts that we picked up from some of the cooking shows we watch.

Connie went to the Ladies of Elks district meeting yesterday and was officially elected and/or sworn in as the Senior Delegate. That means she gets to vote on stuff at the statewide meeting and probably some to her stuff that I don’t know about. Here’s a snapshot of her…and her spiffy new (well, additional really) gavel. She’s already got her local chapter’s gavel as she’s currently the President…so I guess she can pound on the desk with both hands now.

IMG 2698

Now that the weather is getting a little cooler…the wildlife is starting to make a little more presence at the pond out back…and Neil even saw a Roseate Spoonbill around the corner on his bike ride the other day but he had no camera so no picture of that.

We thought that after Election Day the other week that all of the name calling, blaming the other side, misinformation, and outright lies would stop…but nah…it didn’t happen. I guess it will never end…and Neil still thinks that his idea for elections should become a constitutional amendment. He says that whenever there’s an election that in addition to the various candidates that “None of the above” should be on the ballot…and if None wins then there has to be a new election…and none of those original candidates can run again. That way we might get rid of some of the idiots on both sides and maybe…just maybe…get some government people that believe in doing their job and compromising to get good things done for we, the people. All I’ve seen so far is that being against whatever the other guy wants and making the other guy look bad is the primary goal of just about every one of our ‘leaders’.

We did get a couple different Tricolor herons…

DZ97199 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 7083 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

And a Great Blue Heron this norming…it was about 60 degrees so it was sorta fluffed up and hunched down to stay warm.

DZ97195 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

And one of our resident gators showed up yesterday.

DZ9 7124 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

That’s about it for wildlife though.

Interesting things found on the net.

In our ever popular Bad Ass of the Week category…

An
8 year old named Deepak in India
was playing in the back yard when this snake bit him…(well, not actually exactly *this* snake but the same species).

Cobra

Yep…a King Cobra. Luckily it was a dry bite which means that the snake doesn’t inject any venom…this is apparently a thing for snakes since venom is produced very slowly and they don’t want to waste any. Anyways…what makes the kid a Bad Ass is that he bit it back and killed it.

The second entrant for this category today is this pig…

OnlyInAustralia

And the third entrant…

BadAss2

MoreFoodFromTheOcean

 

Tobleronistan

They recently renamed a school in New Orleans and…amazingly enough…they asked the public to vote on it (why would they do this after recent history of public choosing names I dunno)…and these were the top vote getters. It didn’t say what the school board actually chose.

RenameTheSchool

At the Coventry Cathedral…in the UK I presume…they want to be inclusive and welcome all their visitors…it says so right here on their sign.

CoventryCathedralWelcome

And only in Russia.

AnOrdinaryDayInRussia

PrehistoricGoogling

And finally…just in case you have trouble finding the state of Kentucky on the map…somebody has put together a little explanation of how to do so.

FindingKentucky

Cyas.

Posted in Critters, Photography, Travel, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | Leave a comment

Dun……Dun……

In the internet world the people are represented by two separate but equally important groups…the idiots who say stupid things on the internet and the folks with a clue who are responsible for ridiculing them. These are their stories.

You’ve probably…well if you’ve watched the boob tube anytime since 1990 and seen any of the various incarnations of Dick Wolf’s show…seen and heard that line…and you’ve probably read about how their stories are “ripped from the headlines”.

So…today’s post will offer up a few of those loony tune stories…and being an equal opportunity user of the clue stick…race, gender, political party or any other way you can categorize people is irrelevant…today’s stories are just about idiots. As Neil has noted on several occasions…you just can’t make this sh** up.

Storm wise…we’re pretty much back to normal. Our two downed trees are…mostly…gone…and the remains removed. The landscaping folks still need to do the stump grinding part and the putting down sod part of the fix but they’re concentrating on getting the heavy debris and dangerous trees gone first then they’ll be back around to do the rest. We also need to still get our lanai screen fixed but that’s probably going to be awhile since about 100,000 of our closest friends need the same sort of repair. And since we lost almost all of our shrubbery out front…we’re going to put in some earth tone gravel instead of mulch out there and either new, more storm resistant plants or perhaps just some lawn decorations of some sort…we haven’t fully decided yet. Of course…being in a community with an HoA…we have to get approval for all of that…so Neil submitted the online application today for the gravel and new shrubs, of which there’s an already approved list to choose from.

Ok…on to our idiots of the week…each and every one of these stories came straight from the keyboards of our ‘journalists’…and believe me, journalism is today almost an extinct profession. Back in the day…Walter Cronkite told us the news without commentary because in his words “that’s the way it is”…and the man never, ever let his personal biases impact on his reporting of the facts and news. He was actually pretty darned far left politically and was pretty socialist in outlook…but you simply couldn’t tell it by his wording on the CBS Evening News. Today…journalism is about dead…almost every one of the so called journalists we have today are really political commentators on one side or the other and the facts aren’t really relevant to them professing their desired point of view and/or outcome. Add in the tendency of media on both sides to deliberately mis-state whatever facts they actually provide or to insinuate they’re really worse than they actually are by their choice of wording…and I guess almost everybody would agree that journalism is a lost art.


This person
…reports that they make $350K per year but because they have $88K in student loans, $170K in car loans, and a 4,500 per month mortgage that they’re living paycheck to paycheck and simply need help and financial advise to survive. Now I dunno about you…but I find it hard to feel sorry for a person with a $350K annual income who says they’re broke. A pair of cars costing $85K each…mebbe they shoulda got cheaper cars instead of Teslas? And how about buying a cheaper house…or perhaps establishing and sticking to a budget?

Out in Michigan…
this mother
…apparently had some discussions with her local school board over their remote learning during the pandemic. Her son has special needs and his GPS went from 3.5 down to 1.5 during the shutdown…so she was advocating for returning to in-person schooling. According to the article…the author has seen the zoom recordings and emails and finds nothing threatening in them…but nonetheless the school board retaliated by contacting her employer and the Justice Department for her ‘threats’. 

I know you’ve all read about those horrible conservatives trying to suppress the vote…but it turns out that the
State Supreme Court in Delaware
has tossed out…unanimously…a new state law that allows same day voter registration and extends vote by mail to every registered voter. The court said simply that the law violates the state constitution…so don’t you think that perhaps the legislature would have thought about that and researched it before passing an unconstitutional law? Naturally one party in the suit there is happy that the court followed the state constitution and the other side (that lost) is decrying the limitations on the right to vote. Seems to me that any legislature that passes and any governor that signs a clearly unconstitutional law…well, they are just morons.


Out in the PRC
…a man named Phillip White has filed a class action suit against Winston-Salem NC based TW Garner Food Company who makes a product you may have heard of…Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Turns out that this stuff is actually made in NC…but because it’s got a star on the label as well as a lassoing cowboy…not to mention the name…anyways old Phillip has been woefully wronged by the fact that it’s not actually made in Texas…but he thinks if they give him a lot of money he can be made whole.

Over in
Italy
…the incoming government has stated they will crack down on border security and illegal immigration…because it’s the law of the land over there. The Pope however…has declared this action to be criminal according to the article. Seems like following the law is the exact opposite of criminal…but what do I know.


Another one for out in the PRC
…and this one is obviously designed for people that already have everything and have way too much disposable income…digital license plates. Yes…apparently your standard painted metal plate is no longer adequate for the Tesla crowd…so you can now have a digital license plate…for the mere price of another $215 a year in addition to your normal license fees.


CVS
…yes, the drug store chain…has decided to reduce the price of menstrual products by 25% to…you guessed it…but then actually you probably didn’t actually guess it…combat the dreaded “tampon tax” that Texas has…or at least one might think that based on then article headline. On actual reading of the article…it turns out that in the state of Texas menstrual product purchase incur sales tax just like most other things you buy in the state. Now this isn’t a “tampon tax” at all but just your normal everyday sales tax. But never mind that…something called the Texas Menstrual Equity Coalition…anyways they want the state to stop charging sales tax on these products and instead classify the products as “wound care products” on which one does not pay any sales tax. Now I understand that in some cases a state may choose to not charge sales tax on certain classes of goods…and really that is a matter that individual state legislatures are have authority in…see the section in the Constitution about ‘all others not granted to the federal government are retained by the states’…but really…classifying menstrual products as ‘wound care’? Now granted Ima boar and now a sow…so I have essentially no need for these products…but I’m pretty sure that most humans of the feminine persuasion would not classify their ‘that time of the month’ as a wound. Pain in the butt…sure…but not a wound. Mebbe there should be a counter organization established in Texas…maybe the Texas Condom Equity Coalition…I dunno.

And the last one for today come from the
state of PA
…and I really have trouble understanding why they have such a hard time following the actual law. Now…like it or not…state election rules are (according to the constitution) delegated to the states to establish with the exception that Congress may levy additional requirements (which they have not done in this case). And like it or not…the state legislature established long ago a requirement that mail in ballots must be properly dated and signed on the outer envelope. For state elections officials to follow this law is…completely legal in this case…and the requirement is not aimed at voter suppression…it is simply a requirement that your mail in ballot be signed and dated or else it will not be counted. Now despite this requirement…during the pandemic somebody decided that the requirement was an extraneous administrative requirement and therefore was not required to be followed. I’m not sure how whoever decided this figured that they personally had the ability to direct elections to NOT FOLLOW THE LAW…but they did. Naturally…lawsuits ensued and both the state Supreme Court and the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the state was not required to FOLLOW THE LAW…which seems insane to me. If the law is constitutional then it must be obeyed until it is repealed…that’s the way the law works. And naturally…this decision was appealed to the US Supreme Court who ruled that the case is moot and that the state should…umm…follow the darned law as written. Not to be dismayed by this…the acting secretary of state in PA has directed local elections officials to disregard both the US Supreme Court, the law, and the US Constitution which says that election laws are to be established by the legislature. Nuts I tellya.

I’m actually just fine with mail in ballots…and frankly don’t care if a state allows everyone to use one regardless of reason…but making sure that the ballot is properly executed in accordance with state law and that rules are in place to ensure that each citizen votes once and only once…seems perfectly reasonable to me. State elections officials telling their subordinates to simply ignore the law rather than getting the legislature to repeal or change the law is just nuts…but then at least to those of us in the middle the far left isn’t interested in following the law as written but in getting their way…but then to be fair the far right seems to have the same view. Me…I think the law is the law and the constitution is the constitution and they say what they say…and if you don’t like what they say there are legally established methods of changing either the law or the constitution…and insisting that it’s “too hard to do it the right way” is just insane.

See…I toldya ya couldn’t make this up…

Ok…on to interesting things found on the net.

IranianMarineRadioComms

So…guess what this…

MusicalNoteSkiers

Yeah…I know what it looks like…but it is actually not a picture of some musical notes…it’s a drone shot taken from directly overhead of some cross country skiers either early in the morning or late in the afternoon so there shadows are really long. Once you know that…then it’s pretty easy to figure out that’s what it really is.

Well…except for the guy who actually wondered what the music the notes the skiers were making would sound like…which
you can find here
.

Somebody…had a really, really bad day here.

AReallyBadDay

Lockers in a Roman Catholic school.

CstholicSchoolLockers

And over in Utrecht, The Netherlands…there’s a building named the Stationsplein which has…
12,500 parking places
…for bicycles.

FaceLift

GrilledChicken

Neil thought this one was interesting…it shows all of the river basins in the US and the areas they drain…the Mississippi and it’s tributaries are by far the largest.

USRiverBasins

This is the control room of the German submarine UB-101…it was a WWI class boat ab out 175 feet long and 500 tons in displacement. The little hatch is the opening to the periscope well where the CO went to aim his torpedoes. There aren’t that many valves in a nuclear submarine control room…and today the valves are numbered and color coded to help identify what is what.

UB 101SubControlRoom

SelfEmployed

CommasSaveLives

And finally…one from our recent storm down here in FL. Our trusty weather woman…Kyla Galer from station WBBH in Fort Myers was out in the story doing her live shot thing…and decided she needed to keep her microphone dry.

UntitledImage

An anchor back in the studio for another station WZVN…Jeff Butera…tweeted her picture and wondered just what that was on her microphone.

Kyla’s response…it’s a condom…nothing better to waterproof your microphone.

Cyas.

Posted in Homebody, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | 2 Comments

Finally!!

Yep…Neil finally got off his recliner and worked on processing photos from our last trip…so I can *finally* update ya’ll on that trip.

Quick hurricane recovery catchup first though.

Power continues to come back in the area…but recovery is essentially in two different categories. There’s the ‘we can fix this pretty easy’ category and based on reports we see on the news most of these people should be back by the middle of next week or so. Then there’s the ‘there is no infrastructure left or there are no habitable homes and businesses in the area’ category (like the barrier islands…in those cases the poles and wires are all down and the substations are damaged or destroyed. Power companies keep some spare parts for all of that of course…but they don’t have enough to rebuild 50% of the substations or replace 50% of the poles immediately…and you can’t run down to Home Depot and get those things. They’ll be shipped in from other states or the people who make the components but that will be a longer term fix and those areas are basically uninhabitable anyway currently.

Water is up though all of Lee County but we’re still under boil water notice…that means you can shower but anything you’re eating off of or using water for cooking needs to be boiled first…this is more of a pain in the butt than an actual problem.

Sewer is up but not all lift stations are fully back up…so we’re still being asked to minimize sewage usage and only do laundry as necessary.

Groceries and gas are available…not everywhere yet but there’s enough stores open that feeding yourself is pretty easy…we went to Publix the other day and it was reasonably crowded but not packed and register lines were short to non existent…but then they had more registers open than normal. Food supplies on the shelves were pretty good…some were sold out but plenty of toilet paper, bread, and bottled water on them and that’s what usually runs out first in the panic buying phase.

Here at Casa de Gunther…we’re basically back to normal…power, water and sewer all working and we have plenty of food, wine, and chocolate. Removal of our dead tree is on the schedule of the landscaping folks so that just leaves the lanai screens and we’ll be a bit before that happens I think. The only drawback to that delay is we can’t open up our lanai doors for breeze but there’s two large windows adjacent to them that we can open so we’re about 80% on the breeze availability scale. We can grill and cook outside if we want and Date Nite is on for this evening as eateries are coming back online with the power restoration.

Ok…back to our previous trip.

We left here 2 weeks ago yesterday and headed up to Daytona Beach for the semi-annual Ladies of Elks convention. That’s mostly meetings for Connie but there was a dinner on Friday we had tickets to and the delegates reception on Saturday that she was also invited to with Neil as her +1. He however…didn’t have much to do so he planned a trip on Friday out to Black Point Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island NWR again…about 40 miles away. He originally had a trip over to a Lake on the schedule for Saturday morning but that is ab out 80 miles away and the other side of Orlando so he decided to punt that one rather than deal with the traffic…which meant he got to sleep in on Saturday a little later.

We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel right on the beach.

IMG 3388

It was pretty nice and the convention rate even covered the $15 a day parking fee at the self park lot across the street. 

The dinner Friday night was OK but not outstanding…pretty much what you expect from most banquet dinners. They both had the beef short ribs which were better than expected but the mashed taters and gravy were just OK. Desert was chocolate cake which was also pretty good…so I’ll reverse my previous ruling and call it a better than average banquet dinner.

Saturday evening came and we headed down to the Hospitality Suite area for cocktail hour before the delegate reception. When Connie got into the elevator one of her high heels got stuck in the crack between the elevator and the floor and she landed on one knee…and worse than that spilled her wine. There was a bellman in the elevator who helped catch her and along with Neil got her back up…he said it was only wine so no worries. She was then…naturally…embarrassed and unhappy so they sat down on a couch for a bit waiting on the reception to start.

IMG 4070

As you can see from the photo…she’s less than fully happy at this point. Neil stuck his ‘formal hat’ (i.e., what he wears in lieu of his baseball caps when they’re not appropriate) on her and told her it actually looked pretty good on her…she wasn’t convinced but on further review he still thinks it looks good on her.

Once the reception started we grabbed some food and a complimentary cocktail and sat down with a couple of friends. The hostess of the reception is the new state president of the Ladies of Elks…and every year the president picks a couple of colors and a symbol to represent her time in office…in this case the colors (for the outgoing president) were fuchsia and yellow…hence the reason she picked this dress for the reception. The incoming symbol was a rocket ship…which as you’ll see in a minute was quite apropos.

Shortly after we sat down to munch on the terrace overlooking the beach…Neil spotted a fire in the sky to the south.

IMG 4071

Yep…it’s a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch at about a minute and 15 seconds after launch (he’s watched a lot of these recently)…at that point it’s going about 3,000 miles per hour at an altitude of 100,000 feet or so and climbing on the first stage booster. We asked…well Connie did anyway…the incoming president if she arranged this just for us, she said no but would take credit for it anyway.

Connie got another shot…this one is zoomed in more and about 15 or 20 seconds after the one above so it’s probably getting on towards 7,000 mph and 200,000 feet, by this point it was almost due east of us and maybe 30 miles or so offshore.

IMG 3401 2 Edit

Shortly after that…a couple things that happen in quick succession about 2:15 after launch. First stage engine cutoff, stage separation and ignition of the second stage followed shortly by ejection of the two fairing halves that cover the payload…about 15 or 20 seconds for all of that to happen. She got a shot of that too.

IMG 3413 2 Edit

Looking at the above shot you can see the cutoff location of the booster just at center as the rocket travels to the left…then the exhaust of the second stage after it ignited. At the far left of the exhaust trail you can see…starting from the4 front…the second stage engine exhaust, the two really faint dots immediately to it’s right are the fairing halves, and the single brighter dot right of them is the booster as it starts to orient itself for recovery on the drone ship off of Jacksonville. The booster coasts up to about 65 miles high before starting back down and does a first reentry burn to slow its from 7,000 mph or so down to about 5,500 then air drag slows it most of the rest of the way down as it reenters the atmosphere’s denser sections. Then about 20 seconds before landing it fires one engine (out of 9) again to bring it from about 300 mph at 4,000 feet or so to a landing on the drone ship…it’s then returned to report and after a brief maintenance period it’s used again. This is what makes a SpaceX launch so much cheaper (about $150 million less the payload) than anything else that is launched…the Atlas rockets that the ULA uses are ab out $300 million less payload or the $2.5 billion or so (less payload) that the SLS or Space Launch System being developed by NASA costs. The SLS is the Artemis you see on the news which uses a single tank like the space shuttle did plus a solid booster on each side with all the payload atop the fuel tank. Cost and reusability are the reason for SpaceX’s cheaper cost per launch and for the 40th or so launch they’ve had this year with a 55 by the end of the year…in fact they’ve launched 2 in the last 3 days and have another one scheduled for this evening.

The fairing, 2nd stage, and booster are kinda hard to see in the shot above so here’s a better crop…sorry all of these are such low resolution but they’re all iPhone shots and are fairly well zoomed in…and phones are excellent for a lot of images but telephoto lenses they’re not. You and see the 2nd stage at left better…the two fairing half dots one over the other just in the middle, and the booster at the right…all clustered towards the left hand end of the exhaust plume.

IMG 3413 2 Edit copy

That was the excitement for the evening though. We finished the reception and a good time was had by all…and Connie was in a better mood afterwards.

OK…shifting back one day to Friday morning…they got up at about 0530 and Neil left just about 0600 so that he would be at the wildlife drive just about for 0712 sunrise which is when it opens. He stopped by a Krispy Kreme donut place they had spotted on the way into Daytona Beach and grabbed himself a pair of glazed donuts…the Hot light was on which means the donuts are still hot from frying and a hot Krispy Kreme glazed is guaranteed the best donut you’ve ever eaten in your life…war, soft, and very light compared to most glazed donuts…something about the way they make the batter I guess. He got a cup of coffee as well and poured it in his travel mug which he had previously charged with creamer and headed on down the road. He arrived right on time and set off on the drive.

Right away…wildlife started showing up…first up was this Little Blue Heron.

DZ9 6809 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Followed shortly but this Tricolor Heron…I wouldn’t have put this one in since it was sort of hiding behind some reeds…but it’s the beginning of this sequence where one of his friends/competitors/whatever decided that it wanted to be where the first one was.

DZ9 6816 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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He then turned to the right…and although this is a not a great shot overall since it’s completely behind him…Neil likes the symmetry between the bird and the reflection.

DZ9 6845 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Another Tricolor and then a Little Blue a little farther along.

DZ9 6855 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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And another Tricolor…guess he had an itch he needed to scratch.

DZ9 6851 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

He stopped at the parking area and got a couple of nice sunrise shots…these are about 20 minutes after sunrise. All of these were taken within about 5 minutes or so but he varied the focal length and the processing a bit to get some different looks…the last one is the most true to the morning one but he likes the other interpretations as well.

DZ9 6886 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 6882 NEF DxO DeepPRIME Edit

DZ9 6882 NEF DxO DeepPRIME Edit Edit Edit

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Leaving the parking area he spotted a couple of Reddish Egrets off to the west. They were hunting but not in the usual manner for a Reddish. Usually they spread their wings to provide some shade that attracts the fish…it makes them look like they’re dancing and you’ve seen some of his shots of that behavior before. Here’s what that behavior looks like.

Z72 3240 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Not this pair though…they’re hunting much more like a Great Blue or Great Egret does. Neil thinks it’s because of the low light just after sunrise so there’s no way for it to cast the normal shadow so it reverts to a different hunting style temporarily.

DZ9 6925 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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This one isn’t using the normal feeding behavior…it’s just scratching an itch.

DZ9 6956 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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Stopping at the second parking area where the bathrooms are…he spotted a Green Heron just about 10 feet away off of the path. Pay carefully notice to the obvious fact that Green Herons are pretty short necked for wading birds…they’re almost always seen looking like this…but jus’ hold on a sec’.

DZ9 6987 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

After leaving the parking area he spotted this Great Egret…unfortunately back lit but it is what it is…and he got a little feather glow around the edges.

DZ9 6973 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

So…a sec is up…and here’s another Green Heron…different individual but same species. This sequence took about 2 seconds to happen…thank goodness for 12 frames per second on his Nikon Z9 body so he could pick the climactic moments in the breakfast grab.

DZ9 7036 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

DZ9 7057 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

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DZ9 7057 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

Hmmm…Green Herons actually have pretty long necks but they keep them retracted most of the time but the length makes this strike sequence to catch prey a lot easier. Neil couldn’t tell if it was successful or not but it flew off right after this and a Tricolor Heron took over the spot…so it must have been a prime buffet location I reckon as this was about 4 or 5 feet to the left of where the Green Heron left from.

DZ9 7074 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

He left that spot and drove around the corner. Stopped the car and started to get out to look at something to see if was anything.

Pro Tip…when stopping the car on the road through the swamp and you’re about 2 feet max above water level and the driver’s door is about 3 feet from the water…always, always, always…look before you open the door.

He didn’t do that…and when he popped the door open and put his foot out there was this tremendous splash right next to his driver’s door…twas a gator and based on the splash size it was probably 7 or 8 feet long…he probably scared the crap out of it because it certainly scared the crap out of him. 

Finally…a bit down the road he spotted this Moorhen.

DZ9 7020 NEF DxO DeepPRIME

That left about 3 miles or so on the drive…but the sun was now well up…the golden hour light was gone…and there wasn’t anything to see in those miles because there never is on that part of the drive. He’s not sure if there’s never anything there or if it’s just a matter that it’s 90 minutes or so after sunrise and they’ve all eaten and gone to roost for the day…but he’s never been willing to pass up opportunities on the early part of the drive on the off chance that he’ll find something later on…bird in hand ya know as they say.

He finished up the last of the drive and headed back to the hotel for shower, lunch, and nap before the dinner on Friday evening.

In between all of the Ladies of Elks stuff we observed that Ian was heading up across the west end of Cuba and as of Sunday morning it was aimed at the coast north of Cedar Key but almost every update moved the landfall prediction east and south…so we decided to punt the trip to Tuscaloosa for an organ symphony concert, NC to visit friends Bill and Linda, VA to see Alex and the kids, and NJ for Connie’s 50th high school reunion…and instead head home to put the hurricane shutters up…and the rest of the storm I’ve already reported on.

Interesting things found on the net.

This just in from this morning…apparently banning gasoline powered cars and natural gas and all the other dumb ass laws I talked about last time (or maybe the time before…whatevers)…out in the PRC they’ve also banned parking spaces

Yep…parking spaces…according to another new law cities, counties, or towns are prohibited from requiring developers to provide a minimum number of parking spots for any new construction…but only if the building is within a half mile of a transit station or bus line…or in other words just about everywhere that’s not out in the country. I guess that promoting mass transit is a good idea in theory…and it is for trains or subways but taking the bus (or buses) to work and back would easily turn a half hour to 45 minutes each way commute into 2-3 hours and nobody is going to want to do that instead of drive. Besides…since they’ve banned gasoline powered cars and expect everybody to buy a Tesla…where are those people supposed to park? But…it’s the PRC…and you can never, ever accuse them of thinking before acting because making a politically correct policy decision without researching the facts is way more important than actually governing the place in any manner that makes sense.

So…last time we talked about Jerk, Snap, Crackle, and Pop…so today we’re going to talk about a Shake…and well…this wasn’t actually found on the net, Neil learned it from his days dealing with nuclear power and nuclear weapons in his days in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club driving submarines.

Ya need a brief discussion about nuclear weapons first though. They contain either uranium or plutonium and that material is generally shaped into a sphere and surrounded with high explosives. The explosives are set off at exactly the same time so that the bang compresses the fissile material equally toward the center…and at the same time the force of the explosives starts moving outward toward the casing of the bomb…with about a quarter or maybe half inch between the explosives and the inner side of the case. But remember…physics happens way, way, way faster than shock waves do. Shortly after the bang goes off the uranium or plutonium reaches critical mass and the fissioning process starts. Each fission produces additional neutrons which go on to cause more fissions…and the time between each fission cycle in the chain reaction is about 10 to the minus 17 power seconds. When you do the math…it turns that in about 30 nanoseconds the entire fission process is complete…and all of the energy of the explosion has been produced already but the bomb case is still intact because in 30 nanoseconds (10 to the minus ninth seconds) the shock wave from the high explosive has only traveled about about 0.007 millimeters or the thickness of a couple sheets of paper. See…told ya that physics happened really fast. 

Now a lot of this energy is gamma rays and neutrons and other radiation types so the casing of the bomb actually gets broken and/or vaporized by the light speed radiation rather than by the excruciatingly slow (compared to the speed of light) speed of the shock wave from the high explosive.

The physicists who figured all of this out decided to have a little fun…so they invented a unit of time called a Shake…and defined it as 10 nanoseconds. When asked years later why they did this…one of them replied that it was so when somebody asked them how long the ‘nuclear part’ of the bang took they could say it only took “Three Shakes of a lamb’s tail”.

BTW, the pressure at the center of the uranium or plutonium sphere (which is normally hollow) approaches 100 million degrees and the pressure is about 1 million million million PSI…so if this was a hydrogen or fusion bomb then just before the high explosive goes off some Deuterium and Tritium (which are hydrogen isotopes) gets injected into the hollow center and the really high pressure and temperature causes those to fuse into helium…and the fusion process is about as much faster than the fission process as fission is compared to high explosives…again physics happens really fast.

In summary…the high explosive in the bomb is probably 100 pounds maximum…no idea really but it isn’t much In a fission only bomb like was used during WWII…all of the energy comes from fission. But in a hydrogen or fusion bomb…just as the high explosive is used to compress the plutonium so it will fission the heat from the fission is used to compress and heat the hydrogen enough to make it fuse. And there’s generally some lithium surrounding the sphere (or pit as they call it) to enhance both fission and fusion output…the total output of a fusion bomb is about 90% or more due to fusion and only a small amount from fission.

This is what a hummingbird’s nest and eggs look like.

HummingbirdNestEggs

If only there was a product that might help in this situation.

ProductThatMightHelp

Didja ever wonder why Greenland looks so big on the map? It’s because the earth is round and most maps are produced using what is called a Mercator projection to put the round earth on a flat piece of paper. The Mercator projection means that as you go north from the equator the number of physical inches on a map that represent any given number of miles goes up. To illustrate this…each of the 3 circles on the map below are 500 miles in diameter. In actuality…Greenland is only about 4 times the size of the state of Texas. And now…ya’know.

500MileRTadiusMercaturProjection

Quick question…if you’re standing at the northernmost point in the country of Brazil…are you closer to the southernmost point of Brazil or to Canada. Almost everybody would say the southernmost point of Brazil…but then almost everybody would be wrong. It’s 4,279 kilometers to Canada and 4,393 kilometers to the south end of Brazil.

BrazilCanadaDistance

KilledByBears

And finally…but I mighta used this one already…

GermanyIditarod

Cyas.

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