Assorted Ramblings of the Third Kind

Yeah…that’s what I said…the third kind. According to the Urban Dictionary…”third kind” means “an experience with a human that is so bizarre one might as well be dealing with an alien.” And that’s what we’re dealing with here.

Connie’s off to Bingo at the park tonight…and I’m bored…so on to the rambling.

First up…the cold weather up north. Yeah…I realize it’s cold up there…and it might even be colder than average…and the river in Chicago might have frozen over…but its winter in the North for goodness sake…you think it’s going to be tropical?

There’s a student in the upper Midwest somewhere’s…he froze to death in his dorm room apparently…and while that might be a tragedy for his family…and whoever was managing the heating in his dorm room might be…emphasis on might be…responsible…it’s winter…what did you expect?

If you don’t like cold weather…don’t live in the north. I’m getting sick and tired of the mainstream media naming winter storms and telling us how many millions of people…mostly those live in NY or other bastions of dense urbanism…are “under the gun of the polar vortex” and need to be protected.

Nanny state…get our of our lives…as I said before…look at the calendar. It’s January…which means its winter in the northern hemisphere…and…news flash…winter in the northern hemisphere means that there will be cold weather.

Even the US Postal Service has surrendered. Remember the old days…when the USPS creed…”Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” meant that…no matter what…the postman would deliver your mail to your mailbox. I remember back when I was just a cub…the postman came in AL even during a hurricane. Not so much now though…7 states had cancelled mail delivery today. Give me an elfin’ break I say.

Harden the f*** up and deal with it as the Australian bike racers say.

Moving on to Venezuela…we’ve been hearing for 2 years now how the Republicans aided the Russians with “hacking the election” in 2016 and participating in “collusion”…whatever that means. Now I understand that the Democrats didn’t like the outcome of the election…and frankly we’re not real fans of the President ‘round these parts either…but elections have consequences…and like former President Obama said…the losing side just needs to deal with it. Instead…we’ve seen 2 years of what Connie calls TDS for Trump Derangement syndrome…attempting to overcome the vote of the people. I don’t want to hear about how the Electoral College is bad…it’s the law of the land. I don’ want to hear about “collusion” or “hacking the election” unless you’ve got some actual evidence that either of those things happened. Just because Mr. Trump won the election…under the rules if I might add…doesn’t give the other side the right to claim it’s an illegitimate result.

I only got onto that tangent about the 2016 election in the US because of the current flap over the presidential election in Venezuela. While Mr. Maduro is s worthless scumbag communist in my opinion…the fact remains that…according to the courts in his country who have ruled on it…the official winner of the presidential election there. Despite this…the media in the US…aided and abetted any most of the foreign policy folks and various other talking heads on our media…insist on recognizing the opposition leader who has declared himself the actual president of Venezuela.

Now I don’t really give a damn about who the president of Venezuela is…no matter who it is the government there is corrupt and mostly interested in lining their own pockets…very similar to most of the politicians in the US. However…I do find it somewhat hypocritical that the same mainstream media that condemns our President for “hacking” and “collusion” doesn’t see any problem with advocating what is…essentially…the overthrow of an elected government in a foreign country. 

I agree that the election in Venezuela was probably rigged…and that Mr. Maduro is a scumbag dictator…but the fact remains that…according to the courts in his country…which may be rigged as well…he won. How is bitching about Mr. Trump’s alleged crimes while simultaneously trumpeting how Mr. Maduro is a bad guy anything but hypocritical?

Speaking of hypocritical…and dishonest…let’s move on to the curious case of Jussie Smollett.

Who you say?

I have to agree with you…I had no idea who he was either…so here’s the Cliff Notes version.

Mr. Smollett is a gay black actor…which we have nothing against. He’s the “star”…for lack of a better term…of a series on Fox named Empire…where naturally enough he plays the part of a gay black musician. ‘Round these parts…we don’t have anything against the man…or against black or gay or liberals…well, maybe liberals we do just a little…but that’s just who he is.

OK…last weekend…the aforementioned Jussie Smollett…who lives in downtown Chicago in the area known as the Loop…came home from wherever he was working that night…and then decided he was hungry. So…he headed out…at 0200…that’s 2AM for folks not familiar with military time…for breakfast…at of all places…a local Subway. Now remember that nothing good happens after midnight…but anyways…supposedly he was attacked on the way to the Subway.

According to Mr. Smollett…he was attacked by two white guys in MAGA hats…who said they recognized him as the N-word guy from Empire…and they beat him up, dragged him around by a rope around his neck and then ran off.

Mr. Smollett…well, he went home…with the rope supposedly still around his neck…and 40 minutes later his agent…who just happened to be at his home at the time…called the cops.

Immediately the media jumped on the “hate crime” bandwagon and further condemned anybody who has the unmitigated gall to wear a MAGA hat.

The police have been investigating ever since…and while if this story is true the low lifes who did it should be executed…it is starting to look more like a hoax than an actual fact. Here’s what has been in the news the past couple of days.

-Surveillance camera video in the area has been examined…with no evidence of any attack. They police did find a video of him walking down the street and out of sight…and a video of him walking…not running…in the next camera one minute later. So the assault must have taken less than a minute.

-In the second video…he’s seen wearing the rope “like a neck tie” according to the statement by the police…and he’s not in any manner appearing to be “fleeing” from his alleged attackers.

-He claims…backed up by his agent…who just happened to be at his house…that he was talking on the phone to his agent at the time of the attack. His agent claims that he heard the racial and homophobic remarks by the attackers…despite the fact the cell phones don’t pick up background noises that well. Both he and his agent…strangely enough…have refused to provide either their phones to the police for analysis or their phone records to document the existence of the conversation they were supposedly having.

While I have no evidence either way this claim is true or not…and if true it’s a crime and the perpetrators should be prosecuted…there’s a lot of things that just don’t add up here.

Despite all of that…the media is still talking about the “race and homophobic related” attack…the MAGA wearing white guys that allegedly attacked him…the the “hate crime” nature of it.

I wonder…if in days to come that it turns out this was some sort of PR hoax…if the media will be so quick to declare the white guys in MAGA hats innocent.

Given that he claimed that the white guys in MAGA hats recognized him as the guy from Empire…and given the most likely low number of conservatives that watch a black and gay oriented TV show on Fox…I’m still waiting on some actual evidence from either him, his agent, or the police. Call me crazy…but Ima not buying it yet.

Days later…still no evidence of anything happening.

Moving on to politically related things…the latest salvo from the liberal side is that from Senator Warren of MA…she’s proposed a 2% (or 3% depending on how wealthy your are) wealth tax on the net worth of “rich people”.

There are several problems with this…starting with its probably unconstitutional to tax net worth in the first place. After that…there’s the whole problem of determining…each and every year…what each “rich person” is worth…and that’s fraught with difficulty since things like privately held companies are inherently difficult to evaluate. But she’s not really interested in legality…or the amount of revenue that might be raised…she’s interested in scoring points with people who think that “rich people” need to pay their “fair share”.

Let’s ignore for the minute that “rich people” already pay far more of the overall federal income tax revenue than is their share…no matter how you cut the numbers when you’re talking about numbers like the US government’s annual revenue it’s not coming from poor people…it’s coming from people with higher salaries.

Connie saw an estimate today on the cost of “Medicare for all” that a lot of the liberal folks are touting as the solution to the health care issues in the US. This estimate…which was done by a business guy from George Washington University…and which used assumptions which he freely admitted underestimated the actual cost…came up with a cost of “Medicare for all” at about $6 Trillion dollars a year. Given that the current entire US budget is only about $4 Trillion per year…”Medicare for all” would raise the federal annual expenditure to about $10 Trillion a year…or an increase of 250%.

Folks…there’s just not enough money in either income or wealth owned by “rich people” to cover that.

OK…enough rambling…let’s see what interesting things we found the net this week.

Rules.

RulesOfCourse

Who’s the idiot here?

YourAnIdiot

You would think that a place named “Animal Planet’ would know the difference.

AnimalPlanetKnowDifference

And from over in the UK…after Price Phillip’s recent traffic accident…and yeah…I know the steering wheel is on the other side of the car in the UK.

OverInTheUK

Fire breathing polar bear…this photo was taken at either sunrise or sunset where the sun illuminated the water vapor the bear was breathing out.

FireBreathingPolarBear

This is how archeology in Canuckistan works.

ArcheologyInCanuckistan

And another example of how your brain can make sense out of mush…this one from famed physicist Stephen Hawkins.

StephenHawkingIntelligenceDefinition

The origin of evolution.

OriginOfEvolution

And finally…these worker guys wanted to get one final photo together before they get fired.

OneLastPhotoBeforeWeAreFired

Cyas.

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And More Whole Lot of ‘Nuffin Goin’ On

Yup…the title really says it all.

I’ve been watching the news the past few weeks with all of the government shutdown stuff with red line demands from both sides and I gotta tell ya we really need to throw the bunch of the bums out…it seems the art of political compromise has died and been stuffed and put up on the mantle as neither side seems to understand that if you give a little and get a little then things can actually get accomplished. Ms. Pelosi and her crowd do have a point that a wall (or fence or whatever) is a 4th century bit of technology and we can do better with 21st century technology like drones, sensors, and more Border Patrol agents. There’s something to be said for that argument…but her side refuses to concede that in some places…like say downtown San Diego where there are literally feet between US and Mexican territory…a fence is a perfectly valid way to control the border. On the other side…although it appears that the President is compromising by offering to extend DACA for up to 3 years…that’s not really much of a concession at this point in time as the courts are still battling things out over the executive order eliminating DACA…but it does appear that he’s at least trying to compromise a little but the other side is just saying no. Now we’ve got a 3 week long continuing resolution so that the parties can negotiate…but if one side says we must have a physical barrier in some places and the other side says we’re not approving any physical barrier at all…then come Feb 15 we’ll just be right back where we are now.

There was another series of articles over gun control the past week…with again progressives insisting that despite numerous Supreme Court decisions saying that the right to keep and bear arms is a guaranteed individual constitutional right that we need to have more licensing, background checks, limitations on magazines and “scary looking” guns and associated restrictions. Yet the same people continue to insist that…despite you having to present identification to buy alcohol, drive a car, get onto an airplane and the dozens of other instances where ID is required…that having to present an ID to vote…which is the primary duty of citizenship and is restricted to only those who hold citizenship…is an onerous burden and that no restrictions on the right to vote are acceptable. Seems like that on the 2nd amendment side progressives have no problem with anything that limits a constitutional right while on the 15th amendment side of things they keep insisting that even simply presenting an ID is too onerous and unacceptably restricts a constitutional right. I really wish they could get their thoughts in line on whether a constitutional right can be restricted or not…seems like they’re being a might hypocritical to me. Of course…that would require that they recognize the ability to compromise and read what the constitution says…which is probably asking too much…

Frankly…we’ve got lots of friends in our age group that are both progressive and conservative…and we continue to feel that both political parties have catered way too much to the demands of either the far left or far right…leaving the majority of the folks who inhabit the political center-left or center-right agreeing that both sides have some valid arguments no party to really vote for. The trouble is that the far left and far right can’t win a national race…but those in the middle have nobody to vote for.

This bears out what Neil has been saying ever since the first election he voted in back when he was 18…in addition to the candidates on the ballot there should be a choice for “None of the above”…and if None wins then you have to have a new election and none of the previous candidates are eligible to run. Seems like that would pretty quickly convince the parties to nominate candidates that are actually electable instead of just pleasing to their extreme wings.

I realize it’s probably heresy to say this…but progressive folks do have some ideas that center-right folks can support…DACA for instance. Those kids were brought here as infants…granted their parents did so illegally but the kids grew up in America and don’t know anything but America…deporting them just isn’t fair. However…in a compromise maybe we could actually enforce our existing immigration laws and prosecute employers who hire illegals…heck, maybe we could even give them work permits so they would be able to work legally. I’m even willing to entertain discussions about a path to citizenship for them…but remember the illegals are here illegally and why should they get a head of the line pass to citizenship over those who waited their turn for a legal immigration into the country. It’s a hard problem…and as long as both sides think that winning, demonizing the other side, and making sure the other side “loses” is more important than silly little issues like say…doing their job…and compromising…I can’t see much changing.

Ok…what else is going on…lessee…

We’re actually going to replace our awning canopy fabric along with the slide toppers we did a few weeks back…Neil noticed more seams starting to come apart and after 7 summers on the road the fabric has just been sun weakened to the point that it needs replacing…Neil let Gordon the repair guy talk him out of it before but it’s so much easier to do here rather than on the road and we don’t want to be awning-less in the travel season.

Bill and Linda were here for a week…we had some good times with them although we only cooked once each, the rest of the time we frequented assorted eateries ‘round the area instead. Bill and Neil did a few trailer projects but mostly it was just visiting with friends. They headed off after their week here to visit some more friends on the way back to NC.

Things are a-stirring down at the Elks Lodge…don’t want to say too much here but suffice it to say that we’re starting to check out the other lodges in the area to potentially visit instead of our local one. I can say that it doesn’t look like the upcoming election will be a “one slate of candidates” thing, there’s actually going to be a choice it looks like.

We’re well into our planning for the upcoming travel season. We’ll be leaving here in late April so as to arrive at our first real destination in Kerrville TX for the New Horizons rally a few days early…that will allow Bill, our friend Jim, and Neil to install hardwood flooring in our LR slide to replace the worn out carpet. New Horizons didn’t start doing hardwood there until 2 years after we bought the rig so we’ll just buy the materials ourselves and the three of them will do the install before the rally starts.

Once the rally is over we’ll head north to Kansas City and do the western half of US-50 out to the Sacramento area, head north to OR and then head eastward on US-20 until we’re in IA. At that point we’ll cut south to Jefferson City MO and then do the remaining eastern half of US-50 back to the east coast…although we will skip a short portion through the Appalachian Mountains that’s just not rig worthy…even though it’s a 2 digit numbered US highway it’s just too curvy and hilly in that portion of the country to safely get down it with a 62 foot long Big Red with the rig in tow. We’ll stop with the rig in the DC area and do the last couple hundred miles out to Ocean City MD with just Li’l Red on an overnight trip. After that we’ll stop by and see Alex, Bryan, and Jen…then probably visit Knoxville TN for the weekend to see Neil’s Baby Sis…then stop at Cedar Key at the Low Key Hideaway for the last 10 days in October before arriving back in Fort Myers Nov 1. Connie’s got most of the campgrounds figured out and he’s about 1/3 or so through making reservations…all the really hard ones like holiday weekends are finished. One thing we’re doing different this season is taking a vacation halfway through the travel season. Around Aug 1 we’ll be stopping for 11 days in Douglas WY…although we do have a few Fun Stuff© things to do there it would have been a 4 or 5 day stop for that…but we’re usually getting tired out by the end of travel season so we’re going to try just chillin’ out for an extra week there and see if that improves the fatigue factor.

It’s a rainy day here in SW FL today…highs about 60 and intermittent showers. It’s a bit unseasonal…but still way, way better than snow and 20s would be.

Oh yeah…we’re gonna be famous…er, maybe…sort of, I guess…or maybe infamous…who knows? Neil and Connie got interviewed for an upcoming article in Money Magazine about full time RVing. We chatted with the person writing it, sent in some photos of us and the rig, and signed a model release. The article is currently undergoing editing and will be published sometime…maybe…and our contribution may…or may not…make it to print. I’l letya know if anything comes of it…no money is involved for us of course. The author of the article is a freelancer and despite being hired to write an article on living in an RV…he knew amazingly little about actual RVs. He thought that only a class A (the bus type) was an RV and had no idea that class B, C, or fifth wheels existed until they edumacated him a bit. Hopefully they helped him to write a more useful and meaningful article.

Our eaglets E12 and E13 continue to grow…they’re 32 and 34 days old now and are starting to get normal feathers coming out instead of the down that they’re born with. Still another 40 days or so to fledging (first flight) though…but both appear to be growing normally. Here’s a shot of Harriet and one of the eaglets…the other must sheltering be under her left wing which is pooched out a bit.

Screen Shot 2019 01 26 at 2 20 23 PM

Ok…on to interesting things found on the net.

Did you know that “Yuor biran has teh alibtiy to mkae oderr out of caohs”? Even though the words are garbled your brain easily read that…right?

I’m not sure how this sign will help any illiterate drivers who see it.

Huhh

It’s on the Internet…it has to be correct.

LincolnAndHisPhone

I can get behind this sentiment.

FundingTheLazy

Debate settled…this is the illustration from the original patent application for toilet paper…we now know how conclusively which way it’s supposed to be rolled.

DebateSettled

Apparently there’s this bikini hiker chick in Taiwan…her name was Gigi Wu and she used to hike up the mountains in Taiwan in her bikini to the…apparently…immense delight of her Twitter and Facebook followers. Here she is on a previous summit visit.

BikiniHikerYushwanNPTaiwan

Now Taiwan runs from latitude North 21 to North 25…this is the same latitude range as central TX…and the mountains on the island range up to about 13,000 feet…and having been in the vicinity of 13,000 feet myself…I can tell ya it’s cold even in the middle of summer. So last week…well actually almost 3 weeks back, but I digress…she goes hiking…solo…in Taiwan’s Yushan National Park…in the middle of winter, falls into a ravine and freezes to death. Now it’s not clear whether she actually hiked in her bikini…or whether the hiked in normal clothes and just changed into her skimpy suit once she was at the summit…because one article I read said that she was found fully clothed. However…hiking solo…in winter…on mountain peaks…is just asking for trouble.

There’s a community center in Indian Hills CO…and apparently they keep putting puns up on their sign out front…here are a few samples.

ThatsAMoray

MRICatscan

Hillarious

ChangeMyName

WorldPeaceTurnSignal

MAGA

Ok…enough of those.

SmokinHotBody

Be careful what you ask retired people.

SeniorCostcoTrip

I found this one that perfectly encapsulates Neil’s outlook on life.

TheOlderIGet

And finally…

How much wood could a wood truck truck if a wood truck could truck wood.

Why this much of course.

HowMuchWoodWould

Cyas.

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On the Reporting of Actual News

Yes my friends…there’s actual news to report from the Home Office this week.

Last Monday…Alabama and Clemson played in the National Championship Game…and as you saw Clemson won the game pretty convincingly. I’m not convinced that overall the Tigers are a that much better team…but they were definitely the better team that night so congrats to them. On the other hand…not to take anything away from their performance…Alabama just didn’t play like Alabama that day. They were outplayed most of the game and a lot of that goes back to Clemson just having a better game plan but a lot of it goes back to just not “following the process” as Nick Saban says. After the first two early touchdowns…one by each team…we figured it would be a back and forth game with somebody making a play at the end to win. Alabama decided to run the ball a lot to shorten the game as Clemson’s offense is pretty good…they put up 300 yards passing and almost 200 rushing…but were terrible on third down and just didn’t finish drives they way they normally do. Given the offense on the other side…going 1 for 5 in the red zone just ain’t gonna cut it. Saban’s press conference after the game said it all…couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down on defense, mistakes in the red zone, and didn’t capitalize on opportunities. A lot of credit goes to Clemson’s game plan for that though…changing pass coverage looks after the snap to confuse the quarterback and they made the key stops they needed to to end scoring opportunities. 

I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them back in the playoffs next year…both return a lot of talent and both demonstrated this year that they’re the two best teams in the country.

Our friends Bill and Linda got here the day after the game for a week’s visit from NC…they’re glad to be here instead of up there in the snow and ice. We’ve been doing trailer projects all week and eating good food. They’ll head out Tuesday morning for visits to some other places.

We discovered a brake failure on Little Red this week…rear brake pads are shot and one of the rear rotors is toast as well…strange that after only 25K miles that pads are worn out and even stranger that it’s rear pads as usually they last much longer than front pads which do most of the braking. We have an appointment Tuesday morning and Neil will head down to get them fixed as well as an oil change.

The weather down here continues to be nice…mostly highs in the 70s to 80s and lows in 50s to 60s with occasional high 40s but it warms up pretty quickly in the morning.

Our mobile RV tech Gordon was by a week or so ago to replace the fabric for our slide toppers…the seams had failed due to sun and wind the past two summers. It’s a 2 person job to replace them…Gordon will provide a helper for a higher labor rate but Neil did it instead and they got them replaced in about 3 hours.

Connie’s getting closer to being done picking out campgrounds for the upcoming travel season…Neil will get to making reservations this week and also still has a few projects he needs to finish up…once Bill and Linda head out he’ll start knocking things out.

The eaglets are thriving…they’re growing rapidly although still don’t have anything but their downy feathers.

20190113 eaglets

Interesting things found on the net this week.

Remember the old grammar school pneumonic “I before e except after c.”…well, maybe not so much.

IBeforeEExceptAfterC

Not today they don’t.

NotTodayItAint

The rest of the story…as Paul Harvey used to say.

WhyChickenCrossedTheRoad

Food for thought.

GoodQuestion

Plants are amazing.

PlantsAreAmazing

Everybody thinks that Mount Everest is tall…and while it is the tallest mountain on earth located completely on land the volcano Mauna Kea in HI is actually taller…it’s total height above the sea floor is about 33,500 feet or nearly a mile taller. However…neither of those holds a candle to Olympus Mons which is located on Mars. The graphic below illustrates the relative height and size of Everest and Olympus Mons…it’s a pretty big hill I reckon. Everest is the foreground one…Olympus in the back and the scale is the same. Wow. Since Mars is actually smaller than the earth is…and since Olympus is over 60 miles wide…if you’re standing at the base you can’t see the top as it’s over the horizon.

MtEverestAndOlympusMons

And finally…you know what this is…right?

TheOldLangSign

No?

You sure?

..

..

..

..

Why it’s the Old Lang Sign of course…

Cyas.

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Happy New Year Everybody

Well…I guess in retrospect we coulda just cancelled the whole college football season and proceeded directly to the Championship game…as the two teams that everybody said back in August…Clemson and Alabama…were head and shoulders above the rest of them…anyways they proved everybody correct last Saturday by beating their semi-final playoff opponents. Clemson won 30-3 gradually pulling away from an overmatched Notre Dame squad. Alabama was up 28-0 with 2 minutes gone in the second quarter…as predicted Oklahoma had no defense and at least for the first 17 minutes of game time no offense either…before winning 45-34. Neil was kinda surprised that they jumped on the Sooners that much that early…and also surprise that given the ability of the Sooner offense to score bunches of points that Coach Saban took his foot off the gas as early as he did. Oklahoma scored 10 in the first half of the second quarter then the Tide used up the second half of the quarter on a long field gold drive to lead 31-10 at the half. In the second half…the Sooners did manage to find some offense scoring another 24 while our side mostly ran the ball and used clock to score twice and were on the verge of a third score after a 7 or 8 minute drive when time expired.

Clemson and Alabama will meet next week for the championship…they’ve met each of the past 4 years in the playoffs and they’re clearly the best two teams. The talking heads…one would call them headlets I guess…keep talking about Alabama and Clemson fatigue and want somebody else to win…but at least to this point over the past few years no other team has stepped up and shown they are in the same league.

We had a nice Christmas…then this past week got back to work. Gordon came in and he and Neil replaced the slide topper fabric on the rig…they were falling apart after 3 years in the winter sun down here in FL and summers spent in hot and windy places. They also worked on planning for next summer’s travels…as of today we have our route and stopping places all figured out and Connie will start picking out campgrounds next week sometime I guess.

The other big news…well at least it’s big in the space business…is that NASA’s probe New Horizons…and no, it wasn’t built at Camp Horizons in Kansas…anyway the probe passed an object known as Ultima Thule or 2014 MU69 as it’s astronomical designation today. Thule is a 20 mile long oblong object/planetoid Kuiper belt object about 4 billion miles from the sun or about 300 million miles past the minor space system formerly known as the planet Pluto. From there…because the probe had some fuel left after passing Pluto…it was given an extended mission to pass through the Kuiper belt to investigate whatever might be there.

Nothing much else going on down here though…

We did see the hatching of the second egg down at the nest of Harriet and M15…it hatched on Christmas Eve and both eaglets are alive and kicking as they say…here’s a shot of mom feeding the two of them a fish the was delivered a few minutes ago by M15.

Screen Shot 2019 01 01 at 2 17 38 PM

They’re still little bundles of gray feathers at this point…all they do is eat and poop.

Not much else to report…so let’s see what interesting things were found on the net this week.

As you can see from this graphic…the cost of getting things into space is coming down…but it’s still not low enough to make exploration of planets outside the earth any cheaper or more likely…Musk and his ilk keep talking about a mission to Mars…but the real problem is that it would take most of an entire year’s worth of all global launch missions just to get the vehicle, food, oxygen, water, and spare parts needed into orbit. At minimum a mission to Mars would take 200-250 days each way plus however long the crew stayed there for exploration. With zero possibility of external support…they would need going on two years of food, fuel, water, oxygen, and parts…and even the ISS only has 6 months or so of food, fuel, and oxygen onboard…and it took something like 70 space shuttle missions to put it together. 

SpaceLaunchCost

Another space related graphic…the closest galaxy to our own Milky Way is the Andromeda Galaxy at about 2.5 million light years away. It’s not visible to the naked eye…and I always thought that you needed a telescope to see it. Turns out that actually what you need is more sensitive eyes…here’s a graphic showing what Andromeda would look like to the naked eye if you could see it.

AndromedaGalaxy6xMoonSize

It’s over 6 times the angular width of the full moon…I never realized that.

Now we all know that the earth’s surface is about 80% covered by water right? So how much water is that exactly. Well…according to scientists…the earth has 330 million cubic miles of water on it…but that doesn’t really mean anything to most people. I found this graphic and it turns out that if you do the math 330 million cubic miles would be a ball of water about 800 miles in diameter. Again…that doesn’t mean much to most people but maybe this graphic will help. The earth is obviously on the right and the blue marble next to it is a sphere 800 miles in diameter…the other planet looking thing is the moon Europa which orbits Jupiter. Me…I would have thought the ball of water would be much larger compared to the earth than it actually is.

HowMuchWaterEarthAndEuropa

Borrowed from Real People of Walmart which is a series of photos by Greg White of http://www.ourrvadventures.com. Jammies…really?

RealPeopleOfWalmartGregWhite

From randysrandom.com.

DarkMatterDuh

Fixer upper snowman for sale.

FixerUpperSnowman4Sale

Heroes…like the t-shirts on this organ donor and recipient.

Heroes

That’s Christmas dinner sorted out.

ChristmasDinnerSortedOut

What’s the worst that could happen?

WorstThatCouldHappen

Mexican fire opal…when illuminated it looks like clouds with a sunset behind them.

MexicanFireOpal

This is a hybrid corn variety named Glass Gem Corn…pretty neat.

GlassGemCorn

Another size representation graphic…we all know that there are about 7.3 billion humans on the planet…if you put them all in one place how much space would they take up? Superimposed on the island of Manhattan below…turns out that a cubic building of 1.07 km on a size could hold all of them. The Empire State Building and the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa) are on the side of the cube for reference. 1.07 km is 3,510 feet so that’s how large this cube would need to be.

WorldPopulationDensity

Is this the best color name they could come up with?

BestTheyCouldComeUpWith

Lenticular clouds over Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

LenticularCloudsCapetownSA

And finally…not what you want to see at the airport.

NotWhatYouWantToSee

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And Even More Christmas

Hey…it’s actually Christmas now…and I found some more funnies for ya’…so it’s time for another post.

Yeah…I know it’s 2 in 3 days…but don’t get cocky and figger it will continue…once the holidays are over we’ll just be back to reg’lar ol’ life down here in the sunny climes of SW FL…and like I’a’toll’ya before there’s only so many ways to talk about Bingo at the lodge and ‘citing stuff like doing laundry and bike rides.

 

NickRusselXmasgif

The above was shamelessly borrowed from Nick Russell’s GypsyJournal.com website…but I figure it’s OK because he most likely borrowed it from somebody else.

For those of you who…agnostics or atheists or whatever who might not believe in Christmas…let’s have an appropriately politically correct greeting.

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

In addition, please also accept our best wishes for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2019, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make this country great (not to imply that this country is necessarily greater than any other country or area of choice), and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual orientation of the wishers.

This wish is limited to the customary and usual good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. ‘Holiday’ is not intended to, nor shall it be considered, limited to the usual Judeo-Christian celebrations or observances, or to such activities of any organized or ad hoc religious community, group, individual or belief (or lack thereof).

Note: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all.
This greeting is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. This greeting implies no promise by the wisher actually to implement any of the wishes for the wisher her/himself or others, or responsibility for the consequences which may arise from the implementation or non-implementation of it.

This greeting is void where prohibited by law.
 
 

OK…on to Christmas Eve stuff. Connie and Neil headed out about 1445 for St. Therese for Midnight Mass. It was scheduled for 1600…which might not be midnight but it’s what passes for it in SW FL…as most of the old people here don’t drive after dark. It was midnight in Dubai UAE when Mass started…so under the idea of “it’s 5 o’clock in Tel Aviv” that’s close enough. The choir performed for a half hour before Mass started…here’s a shot of them doing so. She’s the third one from the right in the front row…well, actually it’s the second row but work with me here and just ignore the front row that only has Mickey in it. She’s right at the aisle break in the middle of the choir section…you can see her long black skirt in the opening.

IMG 7221

Then there was this pair…Neil told him he was braver than Neil was…his response was that he lost the bet. He even had matching socks.

IMG 9021

After Mass we drove over to Che Tito’s for dinner…and they turned out to be closed. Our second choice was the Nauti Parrot…but after we ordered a pint o’ Guinness and glass of Merlot it turned out the kitchen was closing. Third choice was another place in the same area as Nauti Parrot named Sunset Grill…it was pretty good. Neil had a burger and Connie some conch fritters…then we headed home for TV and then off to bed.

Christmas morning we had breakfast…bacon and eggs on toast (cinnamon toast for Neil)…then opened presents. We got some tops, Argan oil for Connie, new slippers, a bike jersey, a new hoodie and ‘Bama ball cap, and a couple of ebooks…along with some new coffee mug warmers from the human kids.

Christmas dinner was lamb loin chops on the grill…pretty good although he should have put some more spices in the marinade, scalloped taters…again pretty good but would have been better without the fennel seeds, and ginger/orange glazed carrots…Connie liked them but Neil wouldn’t do them again…along with a nice bottle of blackberry wine we got up in PA during last travel season. Afterwards Connie headed up to the rec hall for Bingo here at Seminole. 

Oh well…on to other things I guess.

They used to laugh and call him names…emphasis on the used to.

UsedToLaugh

Google it if you don’t understand…most millennials won’t but more seasoned and experienced people will. (Editor’s note…Connie was clueless about this one so obviously not all more seasoned and experienced people will understand.)

ErnestChristmas

Best Nativity scene ever.

BestNativitySceneEver

Little known fact…about the origin of fruitcake as a Christmas tradition.

FruitcakeFourthMagi

Ok…quiz time now.

Everybody knows that after Jesus was born…well Christians know for sure and I’m pretty sure that most Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and insert_other_religion_here folks are at least familiar with the concept…anyways…after he was born there were the shepherds out tending their flocks in the field with night watch…and an angel of the Lord appeared to them to tell them to go and visit the manger to see him.

So the quiz is…what was the name of the angel that appeared?

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Give up yet?

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OK…I’ll tellya…the angel’s name was Lo.

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Yeah…Lo…that’s his name…still is since angels are immortal ya know.

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‘Cuz it says right there in the Bible…right there in the Gospel according to Luke…in the King James version it’s chapter 2 verse 9…in the Catholic version the angel’s name isn’t specified…”And, Lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.”

She did say she wanted Frozen© stuff for Christmas.

FrozenStuff

Conspiracy theorist dies…

ConspiracyTheory

I have to inspect your load.

HaveToInspectTheLoad

Are these Christmas lights…or just XXXXXXXL panties?

XmasLightsOrPanties

How kids write to Santa in 2018.

SantaLetterIn2018

This is the rare Elk Cat…the most common pet at an Elks Lodge.

RareElkCat

And finally…the changeover from reg’lar time to Daylight Savings Time (AKA just foolin’ ya…there really ain’t any savings involved, just a parlor trick) is obviously much more difficult in the UK.

StonehengeDST

Happy holidays to one and all…

Cyas.

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Merry Christmas Ya’ll

Yeah…I know it’s only Christmas Eve Eve today…but work with me here.

Lemme see what we’ve done in the almost three weeks since my last post.

Neil’s been struggling with getting his bike fixed; just after we got here to Seminole he discovered that if he gets into the smallest cog on his rear cassette…that’s the highest gear for you non bicycle types…that it kept trying to shift to the next smallest cog every 10 seconds or so. He took it into the local bike shop JRA (for Just Ridin’ Around) since they had done a tuneup, cable replacement, brake pads and adjustments back in the spring. He ended up going in 3 times trying to get things right…the first time the co-owner told him that it was a bad chain…he found this strange since the chain was replaced in the spring and he’s only ridden less than a hundred miles since then. So they replaced the chain for free…but it didn’t solve the problem. Took it back in and the other co-owner said it was because the rear wheel wasn’t properly seated into the lugs it fits in. So they reseated it and said it’s fixed…again it wasn’t. Took it back in the 3rd time and they said it was the rear derailleur bracket that was bent…so $30 for the bracket and $25 for installation…and they claimed it was fixed…and you guessed it…it wasn’t.

At that point…they became so fired and he asked Tommy on the Seminole staff who bikes a lot who was good and they sent him to Paradise Bicycles about 6 miles down the freeway. He went in there, described the problem and the failed attempts to fix it…they asked him who worked on it and when he told them Greg said “Ugh.” He didn’t want to badmouth another shop but said that he had heard more than one complaint about them. So Greg went out for a test ride behind the shopping center and came back with a diagnosis of worn cassette…that’s the gear section that is on the rear wheel and contains the cogs. He put one on order and also suggested replacing the derailleur itself as it’s springs were worn and it wouldn’t shift smoothly anyway. So another $112 for the parts and installation and lo and behold…it’s fixed. Paradise has earned his business down here from now on.

Connie went out and sang Christmas carols at one of the local retirement homes last week…she was supposed to go again on Thursday but it got cancelled due to rain…the old ladies in the choir convinced the director that going out when it was raining was too dangerous.

We had the strangest rainstorm this week though…high winds both Thursday and Friday along with rain both days. Thursday it was pretty much steady all day rain but Friday was really strange. It would go from dead calm winds with a beautiful blue cloudless sky to 40 knots of wind, ugly dark gray skies and deluge rain in 15 minutes…then another half hour later it was back to beautiful again…this happened 3 or 4 times throughout the day. Very strange weather indeed.

Neil made a few campground reservations for us…while the detailed planning is still in progress for the upcoming travel season…we know where we’ll be for Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day so he went ahead and made those reservations at Cañon City CO, Foster OR, and St. Louis MO respectively. Others will come later on. He also changed our arrival date at the NHOG Rally in Kerrville TX to arrive Tuesday before the rally rather than Thursday…he’s got a floor project and several fellow NHOGers have graciously volunteered to assist…for pizza and beer naturally.

Connie had her annual eye checkup since she had retina and cataract surgery on her good eye…all looks great so she’s clear for another year. We also had our bi-annual dental cleaning…the hygienist down here is much more gentle that the ol’ Tooth Nazi that we used to go to up in Fairfax.

We’ve been watching the news with all the hubbub about the Wall, the government shutdown, fixing DACA, immigration reform, and all the various other topics of the week. While I have to agree that sometimes the President says dumb things on twitter…he did win the election after all and elections have consequences as a former President used to say. Seems to me from what little we watch and read of the various talking heads…would that be headlets…on both sides that the left is now against what they were for 2 years ago just because they don’t want to give the President a victory on anything. What the hell happened to reasonable discourse in politics and the ability to compromise and give a little/get a little in return so that good legislation can get passed. I wish I thought it would be different now that the other side will be running the House in the new year…but I’m pretty certain that all we’ll hear is impeachment and let’s hold some more hearings into “what did the President know and when did he know it”. I dunno…methinks we should implement the election requirement that Neil has proposed since he was 18 and could vote for the first time. He thinks that in addition to the candidates names on the ballot…there should be a choice “None of the above”…and if None wins then there must be a new election and none of those candidates can run in it. Maybe that way we could get some common sense back in DC. Unfortunately…the folks in DC, NY, and CA think that they should run everything and everybody in flyover country in the middle should just let them do it…they seem to forget they work for we the people…and getting reelected and making the other side look bad is more important than actually getting their job done.

Connie’s been on a roll at Bingo…she won 3 times at the lodge 2 weeks back and in two of those games she had two winning cards. She also won the jackpot at Seminole Bingo this. Week…$80 for that one and about another $75 for the ones at the lodge so she’s keeping ahead of her expenses.

She also joined the Resurrection Choir at St Therese…well she actually joined up last year…this subset of the normal choir sings at funeral and memorial masses as required. There’s a lot of old people down here so she’s been pretty busy with that since we arrived.

Nothing much else really going on I guess…and no Fun Stuff© to report on so let’s see what else I can babble about.

Here’s a photo of the two eggs with Harriet down at the eagle nest nearby…this was taken 2 days ago.

Screen Shot 2018 12 23 at 2 37 28 PM

I just noticed when I was there to get this image that as of 1126 today (Dec 23)…the first egg has hatched and E12 made its entrance into the world. The second egg is about 2 days behind based on when it was laid.

Neil looked at the live eaglecam…M15 is sitting on the nest but the li’l guy…or gal…is nowhere to be seen. Not surprising since it’s only about 65 degrees today and he’s all of 3 hours old at this point…I’ll keep an eye out and if I can catch a baby photo I’ll put it up for ya.

Ok…let’s see what interesting stuff was found on the net this week…holiday related and otherwise.

This is what a Nativity scene would look like if Jesus had been born in 2018.

IfJesusWasBornIn2018

What a rack.

WhatARack

This is a Russian tank modified to have two jet engines on it…it’s used to generate wind to blow out oil well fires.

BigWindOilWellFires

No words necessary.

SantaInstagram

Owls not only have very silent flight due to their wing and feather design…but they’re smart enough to attack from the blind side of their prey…this guy has no idea what’s in store for him.

NoIdeaWhatIsComing

Interesting factoid…I did not know that tropical cyclones don’t cross the equator…but then I guess it makes sense since those in the Southern Hemisphere rotate the other way from those in the Northern.

CyclonesDontCrossEquator

Another interesting one that illustrates how much space humans take up on the earth.

WorldPopulationDensity

This is an actual un-retouched photo…not a painting…from a park in Namibia. The trees are Camel Thorns and there is a dune in the background.

CamelThornTreesNamibia

Again…no words necessary for this one.

Askhole

Cyas.

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Nothing Much Going On Really

Well…another going on 2 weeks gone by and while I wish I could tell ya ‘bout all the cool Fun Stuff© we been doing the fact of the matter is that it’s mostly just been life.

The adults celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary on November 20…the destination for the evening after Connie slipped into something more comfortable was Che Tito’s Steakhouse down on Cleveland Avenue right before you cross the bridge southbound into Fort Myers. It’s an Argentinian Italian steakhouse…they thought it was a strange combination but as it turns out there’s a significant Italian immigration presence in Argentina so in addition to steaks the cuisine there has a lot of Italian. They arrived promptly for their 1800 reservation and seated themselves at the bar for dinner…because you meet a much better class of bum sitting at the bar doncha know…but the place was pretty deserted as it was Tuesday night. The bartender was a really friendly lady and opened a fresh bottle of Argentinian Malbec wine for the first two glasses…which she then finished for the second round…quite a generous pour.

After poring over the menu a bit…they decided on Proveleta for an appetizer…basically a plate of oven baked Provolone cheese with some marinara sauce on top and some really nice bread to smear it on. Quite tasty…but rich and filling. In fact it was so good that they considered just having a couple orders of empanadas before dessert…but since it was a steakhouse went for meat instead. Connie had a ribeye and Neil a skirt steak…both were grilled to perfection and topped with chimichurri sauce on top…that’s a combination of shallots, garlic, and jalapeño peppers mixed with wine vinegar, oregano, cilantro, and olive oil…it’s sort of like a really thick Italian dressing. Fried plantains came with both of them and although they gave it the old college try there were leftovers…but they made a great dinner the next day. Neil had the brilliant idea to get an order of tiramisu to go for later and they headed home. They considered stopping by American Legion post 336 for a cocktail but were too stuffed and tired so headed on home…followed a couple hours later by the aforementioned tiramisu…it was scrumptious and light but made a perfect ending to the day.

The following Saturday was the Iron Bowl where ‘Bama hosted Auburn…it was close at the half at 17-14 but pulled away with 5 scores in the second half. Next up was Georgia in the SEC Championship the following weekend…and the men in crimson iced the game in the fourth quarter with 2 scores…scoring the winning TD with just about a minute to play. It wasn’t over yet though…Georgia got to about the 45 yard line and a Hail Mary pass into the end zone to tie the game was knocked down as time expired. Another thrilling game…although both Neil and Connie would prefer not to have last minute heroics…they’re much happier with a 30 point win. With the win the Tide clinched the top seed in the upcoming playoffs and will face #4 see Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

Lessee…other exciting stuff. They got their teeth cleaned, Connie had Lunch with Friends out with 17 of the other ladies from the Elks Lodge, she sang with the choir at several funeral and memorial masses over at Saint Therese…and that’s about it.

Neil set up an appointment to get our slide topper and awning fabric replaced…went on a couple bike rides…made 2 (going on 3) trips down to the local bike shop to get some adjustments to his ride as it won’t stay in the small cog on the rear derailler correctly…the owner of the JRA (Just Riding Around) Bicycle Shop here has some parts on order for that.

Sunday December 2nd was Connie’s birthday…there was a scheduled Sarasota Orchestra concert at 1430 (they are season ticket holders) and afterwards they headed to Duval’s Fresh Local Seafood up in Sarasota. They had a complimentary glass of champagne for their anniversary and Connie had a complimentary glass of wine with her dinner…both are Duval’s traditions along with Scallops Rockefeller for Connie and Shrimp and Lobster spaghetti for Neil…the latter had a wine and lemon sauce with a metric buttload of garlic in it. They skipped dessert afterwards and had a couple of Chocolate Lava Cakes from the freezer later in the evening after they had driven back from Sarasota.

Can’t really say much more about goings on…the weather has been mostly hot requiring us to close up and put the A/C on but there have been a couple days where it was nice enough to open the windows and door…and even a couple of days that required wearing jeans instead of shorts…yeah, I know it’s tough and Neil in particular really doesn’t like it.

They’re working jointly on plans for next summer’s travel season…we’ll start off with heading from Fort Myers via Gulf Shores AL and across I-10 to Kerrville TX for the New Horizons Owners Group rally in early May…then north to Kansas City. From there we’ll follow US-50 west to the San Francisco Bay area, up to Oregon and then head eastwards on US-20. Depending on how the schedule works out…we’ll either stay on 20 all the way to Elkhart to get the rig bearings repacked or head south to Kansas City from Nebraska and continue eastwards on 50 from there…eventually we’ll get to the east coast on 50 before heading southwards via Richmond to see Alex and his parents as we head back to Florida.

With no Fun Stuff© photos to show ya…here’s a couple from our recent travels. All are from the north of the border in Canuckistan portion of the summer.

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Ok, interesting things found on the net.

For the techie’s out there.

DeleteYourCookies

When you’ve just survived a grizzly bear attack but darn it you really need a smoothie.

BearAttackNeedSmoothie

Take that metric fans.

TwoKindsOfCountries

In view of the recent spate of E. coli infected romaine lettuce…I knew this day would come.

IKnewThisDayWouldCome

Neil’s thinking about installing one of these.

BarInTheShower

And finally…in case you’ve ever wondered about it…

GermanyIditarod

Cyas.

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