I Guess I Just Don’t Understand

According to the what you read in the media, protesters, and pretty much every Facebook or Twitter feed…you would believe that every law enforcement officer out there goes to work thinking to himself “hey, I hope I can shoot a person of color today or beat a protester with my baton and then spray innocent peaceful protesters with tear gas.”

What are these people thinking? Most cops more likely go to work every day thinking 3 things. First…I hope I live to see my wife and family after work today. Second…I hope my partner and fellow officers do the same thing. And third…especially in these times…I hope I don’t have to arrest a person of color today because if he/she resists arrest I might have to use force and I know that somebody with a camera will video it, selectively edit the video to remove his/her conduct which resulted in my using force, post it on the internet, and I’ll get criminally charged for doing my job…and my department will more likely than not refuse to back me up even though I was following orders and policies.

Despite what you read…cops shoot very few people. Last year in Chicago…there were 550something homicides…and exactly 3 of them involved the police shooting somebody. I’ll get to the rest of them in a minute.

So…BLM. Now I understand what it says…and I sympathize with Mr. Floyd up in Minneapolis who was killed…and I understand the protests. However…the cops involved have already been convicted in the media…protesters are demanding first degree murder charges, and one has been charged with second degree murder. Now I went and looked up the Minnesota statute on murder…and here is what it says consists of second degree murder.

  • Killing a human intentionally but without premeditation
  • Killing a human while participating in a drive by shooting
  • Causing someone’s death without intention while in the commission of a felony other than criminal sexual conduct or a drive by shooting (those would be first degree)
  • Causing a death unintentionally while attempting to or intentionally inflicting great physical harm when the accused is restrained by a protective order and the victim is under the protection of that protective order.

It looks pretty clear to me that of those 4 specifications…only the commission of a felony one has any relevance to the Floyd case at all…and even that is questionable and proving it beyond a reasonable doubt is questionable…but for the fact that the media has already convicted him and the chances of getting an unbiased jury of his peers is essentially zero.

Looking only at the facts of this case…Mr. Floyd was a convicted felon who was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. He passed a counterfeit $20 bill in a local store and the police were called. Given that the bill has been described by witnesses as having running ink and looking like Monopoly money…it is unlikely that Mr. Floyd was unaware it was counterfeit. He was detained by police, handcuffed, and taken across to the squad car and placed in the back. Apparently he was beating/kicking the windows and the police opened the door to try and calm him down…at which point he got out and was struggling with the police who took him to the ground and additionally restrained him using approved and authorized techniques…and while those may have been techniques that should not be allowed is a debatable question the fact is that they were approved and authorized. At some point…Mr. Floyd died although he was not pronounced dead until over an hour later at the hospital. The autopsy showed no evidence of traumatic asphyxiation and found the cause of death to be cardiac and drug/alcohol related. Given all of that…I think that meeting the beyond a reasonable doubt criteria for some underlying felony would in a fair jury trial be pretty tough…which means that second degree murder is out as well. Frankly I think that the state Attorney General has overcharged hoping to get him to plead to a lesser charge so that the AG can declare victory…but we’ll see.

OK…another thought on BLM. After the whole movement started…people in the middle and right politically started additional hashtags…All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter…meaning everybody and police respectively. Until yesterday…I thought those hashtags were completely correct…but according to the Vox-splaining and Guardian-splaining (those are both very close cousins of man-splaining…google it if you don’t know the term) anybody that says that is racist and is viewing things from “white privilege”.

Gee…I never knew I was racist…I’m really glad somebody ‘splained it to me.

Bull crap…I am not racist and just because somebody has a deluded opinion that I am doesn’t make it true. 

There are obviously some bad cops…but I do not agree that they’re all racist murderers…the vast majority of them just want to do their job and go home at the end of their tour tonight. There are also some bad protesters, and some bad activists…but again not the vast majority. 

Oh yeah…those 550something homicides in Chicago…the vast majority of them were young black males who were killed by other young black males. FBI statistics bear out the facts that victims are for the most part killed by criminals of the same race and that murders are committed by blacks at a higher rate than by whites. The reasons for the higher rate are nuanced and subject to a lot of interpretation…but facts are facts.

But back to BLM…mebbe somebody can ‘splain this one to me.

If Blacks Lives Matter…why is it that only some matter and some don’t?

  • Mr. David Dorn…a black retired St Louis MO police captain was at his friend’s pawn shop during the riots and was attempting to protect his store and stock…well he was shot in the head by a young black looter over a used television set.
  • Homeland Security Officer Patrick Underwood…again, another black man…was murdered by rioters in Oakland CA
  • In Chicago…93 people were  murdered between 1/1 and 3/31 this year…the vast majority of them were young black males murdered by other young black males

If Black Lives Truly Matter…where are the protests over these deaths? Where are the protests over the 18 murders in a single day in Chicago…a city record…which again were mainly black men murdered by other black men?

Could it be that those young black men who were murdered don’t fit the agenda of the “police are murdering racists” crowd?

What happened to the outrage over the death of Mr. Arbery down in New Brunswick GA a few weeks back…it was all you read about in the news and Benjamin Crump was all over it…but it just disappeared after the incident in Minneapolis.

And now we have this movement afoot to “abolish the police”…in fact 8 of the 12 Minneapolis City Commissioners which is a veto proof majority…have pledged to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department and instead send nurses and social workers. I wonder if those commissioners talked to the grandmother down in the hood or the single mom trying to raise her kids to be honest citizens to see if they really wanted to have the drug pushers on the corner, the whores standing on the street, and the drive by shootings and gang fights…I bet they didn’t.

I’m sorry for Mr. Floyd…I really am. However…I’m also sorry for the hundreds of businesses…primarily minority owned…that were looted and destroyed in the riots. I’m also not implying that all of the protesters are rioters or looters…in fact most of them were likely not. However…the police have a hard time figuring out who is the rioter and who is the non violent protester when rocks, bullets, and Molotov cocktails start flying out of the crowd at them. 

One more thing…late breaking news. As you might be aware from the news…Mr. Flynn who pled guilty to lying to the FBI when he was actually determined by the Justice Department to have been entrapped and the DoJ was unable to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Well…a couple months back when all that came out…he applied to withdraw his guilty plea and the DoJ decided to dismiss the charges. This went to the judge…who decided that he and he alone would punish Mr. Flynn for his wrongdoing. Since he wanted to appear “impartial”…he enlisted another retired judge to evaluate the submission and determine whether Mr. Flynn should be charged with perjury and found guilty of criminal contempt of court by the trial judge so he can be sent to prison. Unfortunately…the “impartial’ retired judge he selected had written an op-ed before he was appointed saying that Mr. Flynn was a traitor (he’s not…both of these judges need to go and read up on the definition of treason) and should be sent to prison. The DoJ appealed to a higher court to attempt to force the trial judge to dismiss the case as requested by the DoJ…this is done routinely just as defendants frequently and routinely plead guilty to a lesser crime that they might not have actually committed so as to get a lesser sentence or as part of a plea deal. The higher court gave the trial judge until today to respond back to the higher court and just about 1400 today the impartial judge who already branded Mr. Flynn a traitor…well, amazingly enough he announced that Mr. Flynn was guilty of perjury. No trial, not jury…just this retired and obviously biased judge saying he’s guilty. I wonder what the higher court will say now…and what the trial judge will say.

OK…enough of that. Let’s get on to something more interesting.

As you know…the spring is pretty much the dry season down here in FL then about mid to late May it turns into the rainy season…and while it doesn’t rain every day it rains a lot of days late in the afternoon with some thundershowers…you can go from cloudless blue sky to pouring rain to cloudless blue sky again in an hour. As a result of the dry season…ponds and such get pretty low in water and then they fill back up when it starts raining…and I gotta tell ya the one out back has filled up at least 3 feet from what I can see. Here’s some before and after photos.

This one was taken back in early May…notice the reeds and grass at the close end of the pond across the narrow end and how far the trees just to the left of center are from the water line.

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This one was taken Monday…the grass and reeds that were out oof the water in the first shot are now completely flooded and the waterline has moved probably 20 feet back down the long axis of the pond. The trees across the way are now just 4 or 5 feet from the edge of the water.

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Here’s a shot taken facing across the pond from just about where the bank goes out of sight on the right side…90 degrees from the shot above.

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You can’t see it in the shot above…but just about in the center running vertically there is a concrete structure that forms part of the drainage system…in the shot below you can see it with Lagatha on top. This shot was taken in April sometime…and by the time it started raining the concrete ledge there just in front of Lagatha was 18 inches out of the water. The same concrete is in the shot above…slightly left of center running from 7 o’clock to 1 o’clock and is under the surface about 2 feet from what Neil can tell.

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I’ll sure be glad when we get out of the current weather pattern…the afternoon rains happen a lot here but the past 10 days or so we’ve gotten an awful lot from Tropical Storm Cristobal that made landfall over by New Orleans which is 500+ miles west of here. It sort of sat offshore of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico a couple of days after it made it’s way over from the Pacific side and with the size and counter clockwise rotation it sent a lot of moisture our way.

We got our new pellet grill yesterday…so today we assembled and tested it and also hung some pegboard in the garage…Neil thinks that in another 3 days of a couple hours work early before it gets too hot he will have the garage squared away and we’ll be able to put the car in. 

The Elks Lodge is opening back up today…they’ve deep cleaned and arranged the tables for social distancing so we’ll plan on going down for tacos tomorrow afternoon. 

And since it hurricane season…Neil tested our portable generator, we’ve got some bottled water for emergency supplies, and will get somer more batteries for our emergency lights…our stove is electric but we’ve got the propane gas stove and grill and the new pellet grill out on the lanai so we can cook and keep the beer cool if we need to. All of our power lines here are underground in the neighborhood and the local power company does a good job at keeping the transmission lines clear…the neighborhood did not lose power in either Hermine, Michael, or Irma so we’re really not all that worried. The pond would have to come up another 8 or 10 feet to get to our lanai and we live in a concrete block home so we’re really pretty safe here. All of the flooding and damage from Irma…which was the worst of the bunch to his this area recently…was south of us and mostly on the other side of the river.

Interesting stuff found on the net.

Our friend Bill sent us this…and while we’re not RVers any longer…you have to ask yourself “What could go wrong with this 50 amp power hookup?”


If she hasn’t…she will soon.


A little risqué…but what a great word.


Ya’ll young’uns probably won’t get these two.



Google “The Man in Black” if you don’t get them.

This one caused quite a stir on Neil’s Ugly Hedgehog Photography forum…apparently some of the high and mighty there (a) didn’t see the humor in the double entendre and (b) have no life.


Of course…those same grumpy old people also have a problem with the comments in the Boudoir Photography section on the forum…you have to specifically click the box to get that forum but it concentrates on bedroom and erotic photos…but not porn…just necked (or mostly so) people. A lot of the shots are quite nice but they are primarily female models and there’s this one older guy that typically comments “Nice t***s” for the really attractive one…and every time he does the PC police get all riled up about it…even though he’s admitted he keeps doing it because they keep griping about it.

There was also this long thread about the Post Office…one of the forum categories is General Chit Chat which is for non photo related stuff…unfortunately it all too often descends into political arguments…this one poor fella started a thread about why the USPS could not tell him where his package was even though the tracking info said it was in his local station for delivery…and then the resident Trump hater started in with the President’s “completely misguided attempt to destroy the post office by privatizing it and appointing a postmaster general with no post office experience”. Several of us tried to tell him that the USPS was screwed up long before the current administration, that the USPS Board of Governors actually appoints the Postmaster General and not the President, that the Board had been allowed to reduce from it’s legally specified 11 members down to a single member because the previous administration appointed no governors in 8 years in the White House, and that maybe it was time to let a business man instead of a postal veteran try and fix the problems. We also tried to tell him that the primary reason they were in trouble was that when the USPS was turned into a government owned agency and not a cabinet department they lost government funding but not government control…the USPS is not allowed to charge what it actually costs to deliver a letter, they are required to fully fund their pension obligations annually despite no private/public company being required to do that…they should be required but they are actually not…with union work rules, pay rates, and pension plans largely left over from the Cabinet Department days…is where the problem lies. I gotta tell ya…there’s a lot of things wrong at the USPS…just ask Neil’s brother or Jen’s mother and stepfather…but few of them come back to rest at the feet of the current administration.

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Quarantine Day 80

There was a day 79 post but I deleted it…even though it was factually correct I decided it might be a bit too much of a rant.

The quarantine down here is starting to break up…bars (which means the Elks Lodge for us) can reopen starting on Friday. We’ll likely start going out a bit but I think we’ll hold off on getting completely back to normal until we see if there is a spike in cases.

Let’s see…hmmm.

We finally got a haircut and Connie got her bangs trimmed on Tuesday and Wednesday…we really needed them. Also got a couple of items from Home Depot…picture hangers, some pegboard for the garage, and a new stopcock valve for the master suite toilet…it sounds like a foghorn every time you flush it. We also ordered a new pellet grill for the lanai…for those of you who aren’t familiar with these they’re a relatively recent take on the backyard grill. Whereas before you basically had a choice of propane or charcoal…with the former being much more convenient and the latter being much better tasting according to some but Neil’s never really been sure on that front. A pellet grill uses wood pellets for fuel out the size of cat litter pellets. There’s a screw feeder arrangement that feeds them into a burning chamber under the grill surface and you set the desired temperature and amount of smoke you desire on the control panel. They get hot enough to really give you a nice sear on your steak…and also low enough so you can use the smoke and low heat to make your traditional smoked meat BBQ. The pellets come in different flavors…we ordered mesquite based ones as well as an oak/apple mix.

The big news this week is obviously the death of Mr. Floyd up in Minneapolis and the ensuing riots…let me see if there’s anything else comment worthy in the headlines.

Nah, not really…corona and Floyd and cops murdering innocent protesters and it is all the President’s fault…so nothing new there. The only new news today is the release of the autopsy report on Mr. Floyd…which says he died of a heart attack brought on by fentanyl intoxication, heart disease, and methamphetamine use…and oh yeah, he was CoViD-19 positive as well although that was from a month ago and he was not symptomatic so apparently he had a mild case and recovered previously. Hard to see how the MN Attorney General gets second degree murder out of that…but we’ll see what happens if/when there is a trial. Naturally the “independent” autopsy found that Mr. Floyd was murdered…exactly what the guy who paid for the independent autopsy wanted it to find…and that doctor is (a) the host of an HBO show named “The Autopsy”, (b) a high profile investigator of high profile deaths, and (c) the same guy who found that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered. Yeah…right.

The DoJ and the judge in the Flynn case are still arguing over the DoJ’s dismissal of the case…the judge thinks that he should be able to single handedly determine that Mr. Flynn committed perjury when he submitted his guilty plea, find him guilty of criminal contempt and keep him in jail. From my reading of the various facts in this case…and you have to really read articles that cover both sides and try to nugget out some real facts instead of the BS that both sides put out…sort of tell me that the FBI overstepped their grounds and got close to or across the line of being a legitimate investigation and that they got close to or across the line on entrapment. This…along with some threats to prosecute his family…convinced Mr. Flynn to plead guilty to a lesser charge…which happens all the time. Then when more evidence of malfeasance on the FBI’s part came out Mr. Flynn got new lawyers and withdrew his guilty plea…again this happens often. Then the DoJ…based on the loss of credibility of most of their original evidence…decided they could not win this case and wants to dismiss it.

The judge however…thinks differently. While he may be technically correct that Mr. Flynn lied under oath when he pled guilty…defendants plead guilty all the time even when there is significant evidence that they are not to get a lesser sentence or as part of a plea deal.

Me…I dunno, seems like if the prosecution and defense sides both want the case dropped then it’s not legal for the judge to determine that a “trial by a jury of his peers” is appropriate and substitute his and only his judgement to put the defendant in jail…especially when the “expert” the judge picked to help him published an op ed opposing the DoJ before he was appointed to help the judge…it doesn’t sound like unbiased to me.

I got no new photos so here are a few from the past.

Waterfall in the youper (upper peninsula) of MI…about 40 feet high.

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Osprey with lunch over our rig in Seminole.

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Harriet the eagle taking flight from the pond near the nest.

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Lake Superior shoreline at the National Seashore there.

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The chicken sculpture about 20 feet tall that is one of the few tourist attractions in Chicken AK…a small town about halfway between Tok northeast of Fairbanks and the border of Canada…Chicken is where you stop overnight while you’re heading across the Top of the World Highway to Dawson City Yukon.

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Sunset in Gulf Shores AL near Mobile where Neil grew up.

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Cliffs of Mohr in Ireland

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OK…on to interesting things found on the net.

Sort of a ruff on the website on the web named Will It Blend?…which attempts to see if various things like cell phones or computers will blend into dust or clog the blender. Anyway…if you could blend all of the humans on earth so that they filled the smallest amount of space they can…





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Quarantine Day 64

Ok…something other than political stupidity in the news today…but there is just a slight political tie in.

You’ve probably seen news reports about the President blaming the FBI for lying about him…while that may or may not be true…there is truth behind a statement that the FBI lies when it behooves their interest.

To wit…today’s stupidity is about privacy…or the lack of privacy…in your electronic devices.

As you probably recall from the terrorist incident out in San Bernardino…the couple that killed their co-workers had a couple of iPhones which the FBI was unable to crack…their words…and they demanded that Apple provide them access to the phone contents.

Brief technical aside here…Apple does not have access to the data that is stored solely on an iPhone…by the design of their hardware and software that information is private to the device owner and is fully encrypted and protected against just trying random passwords until you guess the right one. They do have access to some data that was uploaded to the iPhone associated iCloud account. While it is likely technically possible that Apple could…if provided the physical phone that was seized by law enforcement…crack the encryption on the phone it would require developing a special version of the iOS software that the phone runs be developed to include the back door that would be used to gain access to the phone.

Now there’s been a long standing battle between Apple and phone makers on one hand and the government on the other hand about encryption…essentially the government has stated numerous times in court that critical evidence from iPhones was unavailable to the government and demands that Apple and other phone makers be forced by law to include a back door into their operating systems for “law enforcement use when authorized by a warrant”. Apple and other phone maker’s stance is that the 4th amendment protects you from unlawful search and seizure, that numerous court decisions have made it perfectly to plead the 5th and not divulge information that is in your head, that smart phones are an extension of the “information in your head” and are thereby constitutionally protected against disclosure without your consent. Apple has further stated that a back door to law enforcement essentially provides an open security hole for law enforcement usage…but that that security vulnerability would be quickly figured out by hackers and utilized for nefarious deeds. Indeed…much like the pro/con gun debate…if Apple were to develop a way to open phones but require that they be submitted to Apple and only the resulting information gained be provided back to law enforcement…well that would be good enough for the first case but the FBI would quickly demand that the FBI be able to extract the information themselves, and then the state police and then the NYC police and eventually constable Billy-Bob down at the county sheriff office would have the ability…and it would quickly find it’s way into criminal hands.

The trouble is…Apple is 100% correct…a vulnerability for law enforcement is a vulnerability accessible to everyone…you can either have encryption or you can not have encryption but much like pregnancy there isn’t any such thing as a little bit.

So anyway…FBI lies. Back during the San Bernardino incident…the FBI stated in court several times that it was “impossible”…again, their words from their legal filings…to access the iPhones of the terrorists unless Apple was forced to create the back door the FBI wanted. Unfortunately…this statement is a lie…and it was a lie when the FBI made it.

All computers hardware and software have vulnerabilities…that’s just a fact of life. While we would like them to be perfect…it jus’ ain’t so. At the same time that the FBI was making their “impossible” claim in court…they were negotiating with an Israeli security company to open the phone for them…and sometime after the FBI lost their court case they paid something close to $1 million bucks to said security company to crack the phone for them.

Fast forward to this week. You may remember back in December 19 a Saudi pilot who was training at Pensacola Naval Air Station went on a terrorist rampage shooting people on the base and was killed. On investigation…the FBI recovered several iPhones belonging to the shooter…and again issued a subpoena to Apple who provided every bit of information that Apple had…but as in the San Bernardino case they declined to put a back door into the iPhone software to allow access. On the day the iPhones were recovered…they were identified and the FBI already knew of methods to get into them…and likely had already purchased the GrayKey device used to crack them. Nonetheless…the FBI again…and again with the support of the US Attorney General…demanded that Apple be forced via legislation to provide a back door “for legitimate law enforcement use”. Again…another straw man…the FBI and DoJ knew that Apple had provided the information they had and that the FBI could crack the phone without Apple’s help…but in the “never let a good crisis go to waste” mentality most politicians have they will try and try again to get encryption essentially banned.

So this week…the FBI announced that they had definitively linked the shooter in Pensacola with muslim terrorist organizations…and again stated that Apple provided “no help”…again their words even though Apple provided all the information in Apple’s possession and offered technical help but would not built the back door the FBI was demanding despite the FBI’s ownership of one of the GrayKey devices.

What actually protects the iPhone encryption is that by design it prevents anyone not knowing the password from just trying passwords until they guess right…it does this by lengthening the time between attempts for each failed password and irrevocably wiping the encryption key after 10 failed attempts…and without the encryption key you’re just not going to crack the encryption as the key is long enough to make the brute force technique (the only one that will work if you don’t know the key) take thousands of centuries to find the correct password. All good criminals and terrorists know this…because Apple (and Google who writes the Android software used by essentially all other smart phones whose names don’t start with a lower case i)…tells folks they should set it that way. I don’t know if auto erasure is selected by default on installation but it should be in my opinion.

So…with this GrayKey device…it essentially bypasses the 10 bad attempts and it gets erased limitation in the software. I have no idea how it does this…the company that makes it is very secretive about their technology and they only sell to law enforcement agencies but these things have ways of making their way into unauthorized hands.

What the GrayKey doesn’t do is crack the phone…it simply allows the cops to keep trying passwords until they guess right. If one uses the default 4 digit number passcode…it apparently takes from December until May to try passwords and get into the phone…all of Neil’s devices have much longer passcodes and he’s tried but so far failed to convince Connie that she should make hers longer as well.

So…again this week the FBI lied when they stated that Apple had provided “no help”…they provided plenty of help but just didn’t provide the FBI a probably unconstitutional tool.

Think about your smart phone…it’s got your bank account data on it if you log into there passwords, maybe scantily clad pictures of your wife/significant other and all sorts of other stuff the government has no right to. If that stuff were in your head…they can’t force it out of you and Apple’s position (along with most other tech companies) is that your smart phone or device is an extension of your head and you’re entitled to privacy. In any event…even if you aren’t a criminal you have a right to your private information. Yeah…the government can get a subpoena for it…but they have to go through proper channels in order to do so…do we really believe that they would always go through those channels? Me…I think that they would do what they thought was right…and assuming a case where a terrorist had planted a bomb that would go off in 2 hours they would do whatever it took to get information to save lives and worry about the rightness or court admissibility of that information later. While in the bomb in 2 hours case I might be convinced that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few and agree with that assessment…where does one draw the line? We’ve got a strong feeling about the Constitution ‘round these parts…and I’m certainly not willing to substitute the wants or justification of a single law enforcement person over the thoughts of the founding fathers.

Apple and tech companies are rightly opposed to putting in these sorts of back doors…because they will get discovered by bad people just like the many other hardware and software vulnerabilities that inadvertently exist are discovered…there is entire industry out there of people who search for these vulnerabilities…some of whom do the right thing and responsibly notify Apple or whoever so they can get patched and others who sell them to the highest bidder for real money…for instance a zero day root vulnerability of iOS, Android, macOS, or Windows can fetch the discovered upwards of a million bucks from these people…who then turn around and sell them to law enforcement as well as criminals or countries who want to use them for their own purposes. A great example…you probably heard about the Stuxnet virus that was used to disable the centrifuges the Iranians were using to enrich their uranium to weapons grade stuff back in the 2017-2018 time frame. That virus was almost assuredly written by some 3 letter named agency or a contractor who they paid to write it…and was introduced into the centrifuges through a previously unknown vulnerability and the centrifuges quit working…I suspect they simply had their speed increased until they destroyed themselves but have no real idea exactly what the outcome was.

In summary…in both of the high profile cases the FBI and DoJ tried to use the “terrorist” threat to weaken encryption…and they’re still trying today…they would be very happy if Congress were to essentially outlaw encryption by requiring the vendors to put in a government mandated back door. And in the long run…that simply won’t work because the bad guys will find ways around it. The simplest thing for them to do…and likely what any halfway professional terrorist would do if this back door was mandated…would just be to use offline encryption and then only put the encrypted stuff into the phone. Sure…it would make their communications a little more difficult…but encryption is just math and trying to outlaw it would be like passing a law to prevent the sun from coming up in the east…jus’ ain’t gonna work.

So mebbe the President ain’t all wrong when he says the FBI doesn’t always tell the truth…

On to interesting stuff found on the net.




This is getting serious.


The power of the human brain.







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Quarantine Day 59…New Wildlife To Report

Well…not actually *new* wildlife, just a whole ‘nother side of the wildlife we already know about and have shown before. But ya’ll are gonna have to wait jus’ a bit for that.

There are a few ongoing stories in the news that need a little commenting on…although I gotta admit reading the comments on the articles is usually more entertaining than the articles themselves…folks on both sides of whatever argument the article brings up say blindingly stupid things and tie themselves into knots insulting the other commenters.

First…the corona virus. Now naturally…if you read the news it is all the President’s fault, he has completely botched the response, he’s opening the country against medical advice, and will be responsible for 100s of thousands of additional deaths due to his incompetence.

The trouble is…the reality is probably a lot more nuanced than what you read in the news…but that’s not unexpected since there is very little politically unbiased news these days…the Wall Street Journal is about the only one left and they don’t really cover all the news one might like to read…so you read a bunch of different web site and try to sift out the bull dung and keep just the few kernels of fact that are presented…then take the bits of fact from here, there, and wherever and try to figure out the real facts and come to your own conclusions. Real journalism…where the journalist just tells you the facts…is sorely lacking these days…and I don’t think the conservative view that the overall main stream media is leftist is far off the mark. Fox and the National Review tend to skew the other way but the headlines are largely lefty and Democratic leaning.


I’ll be the first to admit that the President’s response hasn’t been perfect…he’s said some dumb things, and he’s given a non technical version of several other things that have been ridiculed by the press generally…but the reality is that no government in the world has been adequately prepared for the virus or has taken foolproof actions.

It is important for public health to try and flatten the curve and not overwhelm the medical system…but flattening the curve doesn’t mean not losing any lives…it means losing them at a lower rate so that the medical system can keep up and perhaps lower the death rate of the seriously ill but not terminal ill patients. To this end…closing a lot of businesses, states, and whatnot temporarily is the right idea. However…any President has more to worry about than public health…he’s gotta worry about the economy, world situations, keep the peace, deploy the armed forces where necessary to either assist with public health or confront potential adversaries, protect our national interests…in other words a lot of stuff.

What is not correct in our view is the one size fits all approach to quarantining. Yes…NYC has had severe problems, 325K cases and a lot of deaths (28,000)…but then NYC is a crowded, densely populated area where it’s hard to not get exposed. On the other hand WY has 688 cases and 7 deaths and SD 3700 cases and 39 deaths…those two states clearly have not had a serious outbreak but the entire country is pretty much shut down, millions are off work and not collecting paychecks, and that lack of money flows back into paying rent/mortgage, buying food and all the other normal uses for your paycheck. The President has to consider all these factors and make the best overall decision for the country.

We can’t stay closed until we have a widely available vaccine for this virus…that will take a long time, somewhere between 6 months and 3 years depending on who you believe, how much money gets tossed at the problem, and how much streamlining of the approval process the FDA is willing to approve. So given that…we need to figure out how to get the economy restarted and people back to work. I won’t pretend to have all the answers but a cookie cutter approach simply won’t work. I’m not even sure that the federal government has the authority to make national decisions in any event…if you read the constitution public health really falls into that ‘all other powers are reserved to the states’ clause there which is why governors in different states are trying to…again…make the best decision for their state given numbers of cases and all those other factors.

Nonetheless…it’s all the President’s fault…even though in reality it’s not.

I’ve seen several reports in the media this week that tout what a great job Governor Cuomo of NY is doing and what a horrible job Governor Desantis of FL is doing…one is a Democrat and one is Republican so let’s look at the overall epidemic for both states.

NY has a population of 20 million of which 18 million are in the NYC metropolitan area. The state has roughly 325,000 cases and 28,000 deaths for a death rate of 0.86 percent with almost all of the cases and deaths in the metro area, the remainder of the state has been relatively unaffected. Now that rates is actually a bogus number…we wont’ know the true number of deaths or the true number of cases until way after the crisis is over (if even then) because the number of cases only counts confirmed cases by diagnostic test. It does not include the unknown number of minor to no symptom cases that never got a test but recovered on their own  which would drive the percentage down…but it’s the best guess we can get currently.

FL has a population of 22 million but it’s more spread out over the state, about 7 million live in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties and it approaches 10 million if you count the next two most populous counties. FL has 42,000 cases and 1,800 deaths for a death rate of 4.2 percent, about 5x that of NY.

What the numbers don’t include is the fact that FL has a much larger percentage of old people with preexisting health conditions…particularly in the most populous 3 counties. In actual numbers though…looking at the state population NY has lost 0.14% of their population while FL has lost 0.008%…an order of magnitude smaller than NY.

One can measure the statistics a whole bunch of ways…but all you see in the media is what a great job Cuomo is doing and what a horrible job Desantis is doing. Again though…the reality is that neither of them is as doing as good as their proponents say or as bad as their opposition says…but the miscues by Mr. Cuomo get pretty much ignored by the media.

Speaking of corona…today…May 14…is celebrated in the Roman Catholic Chuch as the feast of Saint Corona…who…I kid you not…is the patron saint of epidemics. Saint Corona lived in the 2nd century CE and was martyred by the Romans for comforting a previous martyr during their death. She was tied between two palm trees that were bent to the ground and then released to tear her apart. King Otto the 3rd of Germany brought her remains to Achen Cathedral in Achen Germany in the late 900s where she was buried in a tomb under the cathedral until she was moved to a shrine in the 20th century. Achen Cathedral…for those of you who aren’t up on your ancient history…is also the burial place of Emperor Charlemagne…who just happens to be Neil’s 33rd great grandfather…so as Connie said today she married into royalty.

OK, moving on.

As you may have seen…a woman named Tara Reade has accused presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexual assault back in 1993. While this will remain a he said/she said story since there is no conclusive evidence or video to back up her claims…she does seem to have a much better case evidence wise than Ms. Blasey Ford did against Judge Kavanaugh. She has contemporary witnesses who corroborate her claim, there is legal evidence from her divorce in 1997 or so by her husband who said that she told him she was assaulted, and employment records bear out her employment by his Senate office and she was abruptly demoted and then terminated in 1993.

As I said…another he said/she said story but there are two significant differences.

First…assuming both her claim and Ms. Blasey Ford’s are both true…there is a world of difference between sexual contact between two drunk high schoolers and sexual contact between a sitting 50 year old US Senator and a member of his staff in the workplace.

Second…where is the outrage. The Me Too crowd, Democratic National Committee, and senior Democratic leadership have been conspicuously silent regarding demands for an FBI investigation, no televised congressional hearings have been conducted, and there has been no “believe women” outcry. Numerous Democratic leaders…including those who publicly demanded the summary execution of Judge Kavanaugh…have come out in support of Mr. Biden. He of course has denied that it ever happened…exactly as Judge Kavanaugh did…and Democratic leadership and potential vice presidential selections are lining up saying “I believe him and don’t believe Ms. Reade”. 

How is this not simple hypocrisy? I dunno…maybe somebody can ‘splain it to me.

Finally…there’s the “innocent man of color who was brutally murdered by those crackers in GA…Ahmaud Arbery. Again…if you read the news it is hard to figure out the actual facts and there are a bunch of demonstrably inaccurate claims by both sides. But briefly…

In the state of GA…the law allows citizens arrests to happen under certain circumstances…and depending on how you read and interpret the applicable law…the armed citizens may or may not have crossed the line by detaining Mr. Arbery. Depending on who you believe, which videos you’ve seen, and your political persuasion…Mr. Arbery may or may not have been jogging either 2, 13, or 20 miles from his home (again depending on who you believe) and was simply minding his own business…or he may have been casing the joint for a later burglary.

However…Mr. Arbery did legally trespass, and potentially break and enter depending on the state of the door…into a house under construction shortly before the confrontation. There was also previous videotape from earlier instances of someone trespassing into the same house under construction at various times between October 2019 and Mar 2020 when the confrontation happened…and while this video has not not been forensically examined…it is on the Internet and the individual in it has clothing, size, physical characteristics, and tattoos almost identical to Mr. Arbery.

Mr. Arbery is also a convicted criminal…he tried to carry a firearm into a high school basketball game back in 2010 or so…and was on probation at the time of the confrontation for burglary.

Now…none of that proves anything…but you can clearly see from the video that while he had no firearm of his own during the confrontation…he did charge the armed citizens and had his hands on the firearm trying to take it away from them at the time he was shot…so he was legally armed during the confrontation. The armed citizens were also legally armed and conducting a citizens arrest that arguably was legal under GA law…but the nuances of citizens arrest are far too complex for me to try to (a) figure out and (b) explain them clearly.

Another he said/he said story…naturally the left and folk like Ben Crump and Al Sharpton are calling it the “illegal lynching of an innocent black jogger” while the far right are calling it “apprehending a criminal” but all of that will get worked out in court at some point. There is also the alleged suppression of prosecution by several DAs in the area when actually it appears that they recused themselves because they know and used to work with the armed citizens.

Having looked at the video…at least the parts easily available on the interwebs…it appears to me that Mr. Arbery did charge the guy with the gun…and initiated the physical part of the confrontation…instead of just continuing on his way. Did he panic because as a criminal on probation he didn’t want to go back to jail? Was he afraid for his life? Who knows, certainly not me.

So what should you take away from these comments about the sad state of our media. Simple…don’t read a single source…read both ones that you agree with and those you don’t agree with and try to ferret out the nuggets of fact from the chaff of political bias…and form your own opinion.

OK…moving on.

We’ve really not done much ‘round here since my last post…Neil is trying to get at least an hour or so a day trying to clean/organize the garage so we can actually use it for a garage should we desire to. I’m not sure we’ll be able to keep it empty enough to store both cars in it once we sell the rig and truck and Neil gets something to drive…guess that will depend on what he gets and how much he can reorganize the stuff out there.

He’s been biking pretty much every other day or so…at least until this week since his bike is in the shop getting the broken spoke replaced (the odds he could properly get the wheel trued up after replacing the spoke are essentially zero, not to mention he doesn’t have either the parts or the special tool for removing the gear cassette from the rear wheel)…and it’s getting an annual tuneup and chain/gear cassette replacement while it is in the shop. Hopefully it will be ready as scheduled tomorrow and he can go pick it up.

We continue to have really good meals…there are enough groceries available in the store and he’s imaginative enough to keep us from getting bored with what we eat.

Connie is working on getting our wall artwork sorted out and distributed around the house leaning on the wall where it will be eventually hung…once she’s done they’ll see if he has any suggestions for improvement but otherwise he is largely leaving the arrangement up to her.

OK…wildlife…yeah, I know it was a couple thousand words back…but work with me here.

We’ve previously had some shots of the turtles in our pond out back but today’s shot is of one of the females…we now know them to be Florida Softshell Turtles…laying her eggs. We noticed something tossing sand up in the air and took a look with our spyglass and spotted her so Neil headed out to get a shot.

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Ya can’t see the eggs poppin’ out…or is that poopin’ out, I dunno…but trust me, they’re there as that’s pretty much the only reason she would crawl up almost into the woods about 8 or 10 feet above water level and toss sand into the air. After she was done…she scraped some sand over the top and headed back for the water about 25 feet away. Before she was there the birds where there digging up the nest with their beaks to eat the eggs…Neil spotted a couple of mockingbirds and a crow/raven/grackle…he wasn’t sure which and didn’t have the camera out any longer so he could get a shot he could carefully compared to his Peterson’s Birds of North America.

And while we can’t have any new Fun Stuff©…here are a couple of shots of old Fun Stuff© to satisfy your craving.

This is a lighthouse in New Brunswick from our trip there in 2018…he got himself a new photo processing app to go with Lightroom and it allows you to easily replace the sky…so he replaced it with a less boring sky than the original shot had.

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Here’s what it looked like before…but he figured taking some of the cars and folks out of the image as well as replacing the boring overcast sky with how it might have looked the day before or the day after he was there.

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This is…I think…it’s really hard to tell them apart unless they are sitting side by side and then overall size is the clue as female bald eagles are larger than males…M15. There is a section on their website
 that details how to tell them apart…but again unless you’re either an expert ornithologist or they’re side by side the differences are very subtle. M15 is Harriet’s second mate after Ozzie passed away…guess that makes her a cougar…and this is the 5th year they’ve been together and the first that they tried again after losing both of the eggs from the first mating/hatching…one never hatched and the other died to an injury in the nest possibly inadvertently inflicted by one of the parents. 

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We have found some great entertainment while under house arrest…Alton Brown and his wife Elizabeth have a live YouTube show every week on Tuesday at 7PM EDT called Quarantine Kitchen. They drink, sing, drink, cook, drink, and eat something…this week it was pizza…but they used kale pesto for the sauce and kale and onions for the topping (she’s supposedly a vegetarian). Check it out if you’re bored. We get it on our Xfinity X1 account since it has YouTube built in, just search for Alton Brown YouTube Channel with the voice activated remote (which is pretty cool) and it shows up…but it’s also available on your Roku, Apple TV, or other electronic device of your choice that can connect to YouTube.

OK, on to Interesting Stuff found on the net or in our email.

For those of you who may…or may not…be religious…here are a couple of pointers in how to remember the differences between religions

**Protestants do not recognize the authority of the Pope

**Jews do not recognize the divinity of Jesus

**Muslims to not recognize the non-infidel-ness of any other denomination

**Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store



Quarantind Day1Day14










And since we always have to have an Official Whatever of Whatever We’re Talking About…if you rearrange the letters in corona you get…



Posted in Critters, Homebody, WIldlife, Ya Can't Fix Stupid | 3 Comments

Quarantine Day 51…or…How The Heck Did It Become Italian

[Editor note: had some issues posting this yesterday and some of the images got turned into some kind of a gallery of icons instead of images…should be fixed now.]

Yeah…really not much going on these past 2+ weeks…the highlights were Friday April 24 when we drove Big Red down to Wally World for some groceries at the pickup and Tuesday May 5 when we drove Li’l Red over to Seminole to check on the rig then stopped by Winn Dixie for a few things and 80 bucks at the liquor store and 321 at the Winn Dixie came back home.

At least yesterday was both Cinco de Mayo…and Taco Tuesday…more on that in a bit though.

You’re probably wondering where in the heck that “or” part in the post title came from…those of you of our vintage will recognize it as a riff on the tagline from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons but beyond that just where did it come from.

So…this was part was originally about 5x as long but I cut it down as it woulda bored the quarantine right outa ya. It started out with Neil making some carne asada a couple weeks back, just after the last post. As a side dish…he figured that Mexican Rice would be pretty tasty but as fate would have it (a) he didn’t have a box of Zatarain Mexican Rice in the pantry and (b) waited too late to make it up from scratch. Thinking quickly…he did spot a box of Zatarain Jambayala which as an aside ain’t bad…it isn’t as good as scratch made but it is a heck of a lot easier and is almost as good if you spice it up with a few additions like Andouille sausage and canned green chillis along with some onions. Anyway…Jambayala ain’t too different from how he makes his scratch Mexican rice except ya use Mexican spices rather than Cajun so that’s what he did and it went pretty great with the carne asada…but there was leftover rice that went into the fridge. A couple days later…we ate some of it in tortillas with hot sauce for lunch and it was still Mexican…then a couple days after that he mixed it up with some leftover chicken stuff he made…but it was just sautéed chicken and some green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and a bit of pizza sauce to give the veggies some body…the original chicken dish tasted a bit like pizza. The goal when he mixed those leftovers with the rice leftovers was (a) to have enough for dinner and (b) get rid of all the remaining leftovers in the fridge…oh yeah, he tossed in some extra steamed corn he also had leftover. We sat down the other night to eat the rice/leftover extravaganza and were amazed that it tasted Italian instead of the original Mexican or the pizza like from the chicken leftovers.

Anyways…it was mighty tasty no matter why/how it ended up the way it did.

Neil decided to reorganize his Lightroom Catalog and photo processing workflow…turns out that doing things on the iMac back in the office has a bunchy of advantages over the laptop on his lap in the recliner…it’s a lot faster as the photos aren’t out on a network drive and the iMac is newer and hence faster than his laptop…the iMac has a much larger screen which makes things easier as well…and sitting in the office chair with the keyboard on the desk is a lot better on his neck and back which tend to get stiff from looking down towards the laptop screen. To that end…he bought himself a RAID external drive for the iMac…so it now has 12 terabytes of main external storage…moved all the Lightroom stuff over there, redid his whole on and off site backup scheme, and is in the middle of doing a complete reorganization of his photos, collections, and keywords to make things easier to find.

Oh yeah…Cinco de Mayo, we celebrated this with some Mexican food and since it was also Taco Tuesday we made it fish tacos made out of some tilapia filets from the freezer, some onions and green peppers sautéed together, and a sauce of onion dip, cumin, wine vinegar, mayo, and cilantro…then Neil poured hot sauce on his while Connie had some salsa…all served on toasted yellow corn tortillas…quite yummy.

There were a couple of SCOTUS decisions this week that were unusual and merited a comment.

First up…a 6-3 decision sending the case in NY back to the circuit court for rehearing. NYC back in 2016 passed a law that mandated that while firearm ownership was legal by a previous SCOTUS decision…it could only be in your home or moved to a half dozen or so approved gun ranges for target practice…but specifically barred both other gun ranges or transporting it out of NYC to say your vacation home and back. The city got sued over this, lost in court, lost at the circuit level and it was headed to the Supreme. Now the anti gun crowd didn’t want to have a SCOTUS decision against them…so they (a) got NYC to rescind the specific clauses in the law that were called out as unconstitutional in the original court decision and (b) got the state of NY to enact a state law that prohibited the now defunct clauses from being reinstituted. This allowed them to petition SCOTUS that the entire case was moot and should therefore be dismissed…while the pro gun crowd wanted to proceed and get a SCOTUS decision. The court…rightly I believe in this case…determined that the specific case was moot but did not dismiss it entirely…just sent it back to the circuit court for rehearing to see if the law was still unconstitutional as now written. Neil thinks that the real reason they did that was to prevent having to issue a decision during an election year…but whoever loses in the circuit rehearing will appeal again and in a year or two it will be back up to them. The strange thing about this decision…well there are actually two strange things…first is that the liberals and conservatives were split between both sides in very strange combinations rather than being a majority of one and a minority of the other. Naturally though…the anti gun crowd and media are all over this as a “tremendous victory for gun control” when in fact it is not a victory of any sort for either side…the court just said the question isn’t one that they need to decide until the lower courts rehear the case. The pro gun crowd also lampooned the decision as a “retreat from the meaning of the 2nd amendment”…again an exaggeration as the court rightly said that the petition before them as written and previously heard in court no longer existed…in other words, go back and try again.

Second…another 6-3 strange combination of justices decision that requires a unanimous guilty verdict in a criminal trial. Previous to this…OR and LA had laws that said that a majority was all that was required. The specific case in question was a 10-2 guilty verdict in LA in a murder trial…although LA has changed the law since then to eliminate this possibility anyway but it was still in effect in OR. The majority stated that while the Constitution was not clear one way or the other in it’s wording they examined what the term guilty meant in criminal trials in the 1780s and used that to make their decision. Kind of a strange mix of both liberal/conservatives in the majority as well as the strict/loose construction of the document thought…the majority used the strict interpretation of the word guilty but then examined the general legal principles in place in the late 1700s to determine what guilty actually meant.

Let’s talk sexual assault…this part is not political at all but merely an observation on observed facts.

Remember back last summer when Justice Kavanaugh was nominated for a seat on the SCOTUS…and Christine Blasey Ford came out of the woodwork to claim he sexually assaulted her when they were in high school? Remember how there was no real evidence either way other than he said/she said…and the witnesses she claimed she told about it back then had no recollection? Remember how she could not remember the date of the party in question, how she got there or home, or where it was but was definitely sure she was assaulted despite her having consumed booze while under age? Remember how Ms. Ford is a democratic and social activist? Remember how the Me Too crowd and the media gave her live interviews on the evening news to explain her claims…and how Me Too, media, and Democrats demanded that you should *always* believe the woman in these cases and demanded that his nomination be defeated simply because she said he sexually assaulted her in high school…despite the complete lack of evidence, FBI investigation into him multiple times as he rose through the judicial ranks?

Yeah…I remember all of that too…and it all came down to he said/she said, no evidence to support her claims so the Senate looked on his record as an adult lawyer and judge and approved the nomination.

So now…in the past couple of weeks the shoe has shifted to the other foot. A woman named Tara Reade says that in 1993 then Senator Joe Biden…ya know, the guy running for President these days…sexually assaulted her in a Senate office building hallway by…well, this is mostly a PG blog so I won’t say exactly what he did but unless you’re blind you’ve read the particulars on the internet. The facts show that at the time she was in charge of interns in his office, was on his payroll, and was shortly afterwards demoted from her position. The facts also show that a woman from her mother’s hometown called in to Larry King’s radio show to talk about her daughter who was assaulted by an unnamed Senator. The facts also show that several of her friends who she said she told about the incident at the time agree that she told them…and that they were her neighbors/friends at the time.

Remember how Ms. Reade was interviewed on the news recently about these claims? Remember how the FBI investigated the claim to see if there was any evidence? Remember how the Me Too crowd demanded that she be believed and that Mr. Biden should withdraw from the nominating process? Remember how Mr. Biden has authorized access to all of his Senatorial records now owned by the University of Delaware by investigators? Remember how the Washington DC police conducted a criminal investigation to validate or dismiss the charges.

Yeah…I don’t remember any of those things either.

Now this is…clearly…another he said/she said case with no conclusive evidence either that she is lying or that he assaulted her. However…there are some troubling aspects that are completely different than in the Kavanaugh investigation.

No law enforcement investigation has been conducted at all…however, The NY Times has completed an “in depth investigation” and found “no evidence that it happened”. Trouble with the NYT investigation though…is that the article was (a) edited after publication on request of the Biden campaign, and (b) edited again later to make it sound unbiased as compared to the original posting. The NYT also somehow…despite their “in depth investigation” failed to find any of the witnesses who back up her claims. In fact…a more recent NYT opinion piece says that there should be an official law enforcement enquiry into the allegations…exactly the thing that their previous “in depth investigation” said was not needed. And let’s not forget that while Ms. Ford is a radical Democratic activist who politically opposes Republicans while Ms. Reade is a lifelong Democrat who has stated previously that she will vote for Mr. Biden for President if he is the nominee…she has no “he is in the other party” ax to grind.

Most astounding…is the complete lack of any demand by Me Too or any of the women’s rights groups that she be heard and believed unilaterally, completely different from the SCOTUS hearing time frame. Female senators who demanded a full FBI investigation into Justice Kavanaugh say there is no need for any law enforcement investigation as the campaign has categorically denied it happened and that is good enough for them.

Again…this is another he said/she said case…and while the FBI investigation of Justice Kavanaugh found no evidence to support his claim we simply have no idea whether her claims are backed by any evidence as determined by law enforcement. However…I think that there is a considerable difference…assuming for the moment that both allegations are 100% true…between the drunken sex by two high school age teenagers and a sitting US Senator and one of his staff.

Apparently…law enforcement investigations are only a good thing…and believing the woman is only a requirement…if the guy you’re trying to take down is a Republican but if he is a Democrat than his statement that “it categorically never happened” should be taken at face value and the woman is now lying through her teeth.

Do I think that Mr. Biden should withdraw from the presidential race? Not yet…I fear that he is declining mentally based on recent interview and debate performance compared to his days as VP and Senator but that’s a different question and I’m not sure that President Trump isn’t declining as well. However…Ms. Reade’s allegations deserve to be fully investigated as Ms. Ford’s were…and then Mr. Biden and/or the Democratic Party and/or the American people can decide the fate of his candidacy. As it is though…there will likely be no investigation because in the Democratic/media/progressive mind winning the presidential election takes precedence over everything else…I’m flabbergasted that the Me Too crowd isn’t all over this like they were back then. As I said though…Me Too apparently only counts if the man is somebody you oppose politically/economically/culturally.

I think that the corona has taken a toll on some long term friendships I know about. I have two travel blogging friends…names and urls deliberately not included…who have been buddies for probably 30 years or more…I’ll call them Tom and Jerry (not their real names). Neither has stated their political persuasion…but Tom has always struck me as a medium right of center guy and Jerry as a farther left of center guy. Both used to talk routinely in their blogs about the other one…but that has disappeared in the last couple of months. Tom has not said he knew anybody who died from the corona…but is a proponent of reading a wide range of web sites in order to determine for himself what he believes…and his belief is that there is something to be said for the “people die from the flu, car accidents, cancer, heart disease, and shark attacks but we just accept those risks”. Tom doesn’t think the shutdown is overkill…but thinks that government and Presidential leadership needs to take more than just public health into consideration…they need to consider jobs and the economy as well and figure out the right balance between social distancing/closing and not bankrupting the country’s economy. He also is a proponent of the anti malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine or HCQ. This is a drug that has long been approved for use in treating both malaria and Lupus and is known to be safe. There is a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence that it helps…in combination with antibiotics and zinc…to overcome the corona infection even though this is virus and technically these drugs aren’t supposed to help against a virus. There’s been a lot of debate on the interwebs about HCQ…with those opposing it saying that no full scale clinical trials have been done…not correct as they have been done, just not specifically against corona. Now both Tom and I understand the general importance of full scale clinical trials including double blind and all that stuff…but we both think that to dismiss HCQ as a potential treatment in the face of considerable…although anecdotal…evidence that somehow it seems to help is counterproductive. The vaccine for corona is somewhere between 3 and 18 months away depending on who you ask, how much money is thrown at the problem, and how demanding the FDA will be on full scale testing but short of the vaccine or herd immunity being high enough to stop the spread then tossing out treatments that seem to work seems…counterproductive. Jerry on the other hand…has lost 1 family member and 3 friends to CoViD and is completely at the other end of the spectrum. HCQ is “junk science” in his opinion and only a long term shutdown of the economy until we have all been vaccinated is acceptable…and Jerry has stated that his views have cost him long term friendships but that’s just too bad for the other guy as he’s not changing his mind.

I can understand both sides of this disagreement…again in normal circumstances full scale FDA approved double blind trials would be good but these are not normal times. I also see both sides of the “people die anyway” argument…yes, we haven’t outlawed cars because of traffic deaths but this is a new virus with no vaccine or human immunity in place. Looking at the death toll vs the flu argument…again there are valid arguments on both sides…but part of the trouble there is that nobody knows what the real death toll from CoVid is anyway. The death toll is the number of deaths divided by the number of cases…but neither of these numbers is really known with any statistical or scientific validity. For instance…people that die in car accidents but are corona positive either may or may not be a CoViD death depending on the state…and people who died in December/January from “unknown flu like disease” that may or may not have been corona related have not been counted. Similarly…how many cases have there been for the denominator…again, nobody knows. Since 85% of the cases have no/few symptoms…how many people caught the disease and recovered on their own but since they never got tested for the virus are not counted as “cases”.

All we can do is whatever we think is best…’round these parts we’re mostly staying in but that is in large part because the places we usually go…Elks, Legion, church, bars, and restaurants…are all closed. On the bright side…we have discovered that using Wally World pickup is actually a pretty decent way to buy groceries…although not so good for produce or meats as you don’t get to choose your own.

OK…let’s see what else there is to talk about…yeah, wildlife sightings.

This little guy hopped up right outside our lanai while we were computing out there the other day.

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Spotted this Blue Jay as well.

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This is our resident double crested cormorant…we named him “The C Man”.

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Tricolor Heron…although this is a different individual than before, somewhat smaller.

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We also had short term visits by a Little Blue Heron, a pair of female Mottled Ducks that wandered by, and Neil spotted a Swallow Tailed Kite up by the front gate on his bike yesterday…the latter is a hawk species easily identified as a large mostly white body with black upper wings…with a distinctive scissor shaped tail like a kite.Couldn’t get photos of any of those though.

Interesting things found on the net.

CoViD Lessons NineImportantFacts

West VA riding mower for sale

Eye test…tell me what you see.

Men usually notice the cleavage first, women and cops usually the donuts…but very few (including Neil) saw the mouse on the upper lefthand donut.

It is all about attitude.


T1 408917 pigeon smarter










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Quarantine Day 34

I gotta tellya…this whole quarantine thing pretty much sucks…we’re gettin’ pretty dadgum bored with da whole thing by this point…but hey; whatcha gonna do.

So…since my last post 11 days back…well, we had Easter. Connie found a nice Mass on the TV with some music to watch and we had my own personal cantor here at Long Pond Road. After that…dinner was lamb chops that Neil marinated in some Good Stuff© and grilled…they were so good that we had the leftovers the next night and then for lunch on Tuesday. Along with a nice bottle of wine…we had this more expensive (like $15 which is pretty expensive for us)…Pinot Noir that turned out to be so turrible we poured it out and opened a bottle of Connie’s favorite Malbec instead. It had spoiled or sumtin…if we had just not cared for the taste we woulda drunk it anyway but it was like it had been filtered through week old gym socks and then flavored with whatever dirt ya scraped off the bottom of your shoes…really nasty stuff. 

That’s about it though…we did get out Thursday this past week for the first time in almost 2 weeks…drove north on US-41 to the next freeway entrance, back south on I-75 to Bay Shore where we get off for Seminole Campground…then stopped by the Winn Dixie and got a bit of produce and some pastries so we could have something different for breakfast.

Neil’s been cooking some pretty decent meals…nothing overly fancy ‘bout any of em but while we’re not able to do anything fun we’re at least eatin’ decent.

Our two eaglets are going on 3 weeks old now…growing fast but still have the down they hatched with, we should start seeing some real feathers in the next couple of weeks I guess.

We ordered our subscription renewal for the Sarasota Orchestra for next year’s concerts…since the last 2 this season got cancelled we had a $200 credit so we told them to upgrade us to the front orchestra section…after some discussion and looking at the seating layout Neil gave them a 5 row deep and 9 or so seat wide section we would take but if not we would just keep our existing seats in row 19…the front orchestra season tickets are $200 more per seat and it’s not worth $400 if we’re only moving up a row or two.

Back last month as ya will recall we ordered a china cabinet via Amazon that arrived broken so we sent it back. Once that got credited to our card we ordered a different one from Rooms 2 Go…it will get delivered this week but they’ve got a local warehouse so it’s not really getting shipped a long way…the first one came from Malaysia and had clearly gotten something dropped on it along the way. We also ordered a new desktop scanner…with more space now one that has a sheet feeder is way more convenient than doing it with your phone…the phone works but it’s a bit of a pain if you need to scan a couple dozen pages. Also ordered a large hard drive for our iMac/file server and he’s going to reorganize his Lightroom photo management catalog and shift photo processing to the (a) much faster and (b) much bigger screen) desktop computer. Travelin’ photos will still get some initial processing on the laptop but it will be setup for easy export from the laptop catalog and import into the desktop one. He paid for and watched a 10 hour $28 Lightroom Importing video course and while a lot of it was review it also explained what some of the tools really did and how they worked…there are several that until somebody really explains how you should use them don’t really make much sense. He’ll need to go through and keyword all of the existing 75000+ photos in his catalog which will be a longer term project but again now has some ideas on how to use the available software tools in Lightroom to get that done more quickly than he was able to do them before. The new drive of course will mean new backup routines…but that’s pretty easy to setup. He’s also got to update our “We Got Hit By The Bus” folder that the human kids have access to…now that we’ve moved into the house and aren’t living in the rig the “where are things” and “what to do with our mangled corpses once they get extracted from the Amazon basin or wherever” documents need updating.

As you can see…not much is really happening…he gets out for a bike ride 2-3x a week and is still scouting out new routes he can take as just riding around Magnolia Landing gets pretty boring pretty quickly. Most days…the highlight of the day is either the “Official Long Pond Road Weather Report and Forecast” that Connie does while making coffee in the AM or the “Wildlife Report” that Neil does several times per day from the bayou out back. Heck…one day this past week Connie gave serious thought to dressing up to go out and see if there was anything in the mailbox for us.

Let’s see…what else is going on in the news.

The whole virus crisis is the President’s fault naturally…Ms. Pelosi griped yesterday that his delay had caused “thousands of lives to be lost” and his attempt to reopen the economy…ya know, that whole optimism and let’s not completely torpedo the economy unnecessarily thing he’s trying to do…would again cost thousands of lives.

Up in NY…Governor Cuomo said last month that the state only had 12,000 ventilators in hand including the ones that were in the state emergency stockpile…and demanded that the feds send him more…he stated several times that the state would need 30,000 to 40,000 and that they would run out of them by April 2. Turns out…not so much. Late last week he announced that the curve had turned in NY and that the worst was over as cases are apparently falling quickly there…and that they still had 6,000 or 8,000 ventilators in stock and were sending them to other states…like MD and CA who are also not of on hand ventilators.

All ya see on most media is how wrong Fox News anchors and commentators are…but then I kid you not this is what CNN had to say last week.


Come on guys…I understand you want to criticize the President…and that’s politics as usual…but at least admit that you’re really not looking for truth/facts here but looking to complain about whatever he did or didn’t do. I can’t and won’t say he’s done everything right…but it’s leadership’s job to keep morale up and be optimistic while taking care of the problem…and from what I’ve seen I don’t think any other administration would have done anything significantly different…they would just have been canonized by their media friends instead of condemned.

OK…a couple of pics for ya…this is Lagatha…who may or may not be actually a cow instead of a bull…the only way to tell an alligator’s sex is an internal examination of their ladybits or manbits…although once they turn into “Leviathans with a quarter sized kill spot” as the voice over guy on Swamp People says…anyway if they’re really big…more than 10 feet…then they are more likely to be male as generally females are almost always smaller than 10 feet.

Anyways…we call he/she Lagatha to go along with Ragnar who is 3 feet or so longer than she is…but speaking of Ragnar we’ve not seen him in almost 2 weeks so he might have moved over to another pond…apparently the gators in Magnolia Landing move back and forth between ponds at night sometimes.

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The shelf she is on is sort of on our side of the pond…it’s about 50 feet from the corner of our lanai and maybe 25 from the corner of our lot and Lagatha is the only one we’ve seen there…Ragnar generally hangs out over on the other side farther away. Lagatha is about 6-8 feet I guess…I didn’t go close enough to put a tape measure on her and she is much more skittish than Ragnar is. He doesn’t respond at all to movement on our side of the pond along the houses or to the lawnmower or gardeners doing their thing…but she is in the water almost immediately if she sees any movement…Neil tried to get outside and get a slightly better angle after the two shots above and at the creak of the door she was gone.

OK…interesting stuff found on the net…and in our email as well.



This one needs a little explanation…first off…your eyes do not deceive you…this is actually a weasel riding a woodpecker.
Onward my noble steed
 as the article is headlined reports that amateur photographer Martin Le-May was walking through a park in London hoping to show his wife her first Green Woodpecker and they spotted this one. This is actually not a scene from the Lone Ranger bur rather a failed attempt at lunch. Weasels are voracious hunters and the woodpecker landed 25 yards or so away from Martin and his wife…when the weasel jumped on it and attempted to kill it. The woodpecker naturally took exception to being lunch and flew a couple of yards before landing again with the weasel on it’s back…when it landed the weasel was momentarily dislodged and the woodpecker took advantage by flying up into a nearby tree.



How you gamble during the lockdown.




TP rationing.



You just have to have a positive attitude.


And remember…Bad Things© can happen during the isolation.




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

Quanantine Day 23

Well…part of that was self-imposed quarantine but whatever.

Connie…I could borrow my brother’s term SWMBO for her but since she’s already the DLETC mebbe not…anyways she wanted me to tell you ‘bout the most excellent dinner variation Neil invented. We had grilled a steak a coupla nights back… it was a bit over a pound NY strip so naturally we had some leftovers which were destined for dinner tonight. While Neil was out on a bike ride Connie googled “what to do with leftover steak”…and after the bike ride they walked a mile or so up to the  center road and back to get her some exercise.

One of our go to’s for leftover steak is hash…cubed up onions and taters fried up all crispy and golden brown with a couple fried eggs on top to make some sauce of a sort.

On the way…she asked what we were doing with the leftover steak for dinner and Neil said it was still under dynamic observation…although he did not tell her that he was envisioning some sort of beef/potato hash with a sauce of some sort instead of our usual fried eggs. She offered up her two googled alternatives…the first was hash with fried eggs which would be one of our go to recipes for leftover beef…but her second was a beef Marsala sort of thing.

After a bit o’ thought…he decided we would combine those two ideas and came up with what we actually had. Here’s how to do it…although there’s nothing magic about any of these proportions, basically it’s whatever you got hanging around…and we don’t have any Marsala wine but it’s a sweetish red like a port so he figured he would whip up some rough equivalent.

Taters and beef got cubed and fried up crispy per usual…then set aside while he went in a whole ‘nother direction. Some sliced mushrooms, diced onion and green pepper and once that was pretty much cooked he tossed in some corn starch so it would get thick when it boiled and added his combo of Cabernet Sauvignon, honey, and balsamic vinegar. Once it was hot and thick he reduced it a bit and then poured it over the potato/meat mixture in our serving bowls.

We sat out on the lanai to eat…Neil finished up his rum cocktail and Connie had another glass of the Cabernet and it was really, really good. Both of them said it was about 100x better than our normal drive tater/beef/onion hash with a fried egg on top…but then as Neil always says…almost everything can be improved by sauce.

We had another few visitors to the pond during dinner…Neil got some nice photos of the Cormorant, a Tricolor Heron although it’s not (we think) the same individual we saw last time)…and we had a visit from a Bald Eagle that was in the middle of going from juvenile to adult plumage…he was not able to get a shot of it as it was being harassed by common grackles…it made two attempts to snag a fish from the pond but both were unsuccessful and happened so fast that he was not able to see it coming far enough ahead to train the camera around. Bummer.

We had dessert later…and while we thought it would be tasty…it turns out that leftover pineapple slice/onion dip/cheddar cheese salad when chopped into small chunks and poured over a combination of vanilla bean and caramel praline ice cream…well, it’s spectacular.

In related
…USA Today has analyzed a bill that was submitted in identical versions in both the House and the Senate. Determined not to let a good crisis go to waste…this bill is known as Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020 and according to the authors is designed to curb gun violence. The NRA and other gun rights groups have naturally come out against this stating that it is an attempt to ban guns…so USA Today took a good look at determined that the position of the gun rights organizations is true and correct…this bill would ban most guns. For instance…all, meaning every…firearms purchase would require the acquisition of a federal firearms owners license before purchase…this is what is currently required if you want to purchase a fully automatic weapon and it takes months of paperwork including a justification for why you need the weapon to get approved. Second…it makes it illegal to “import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a semiautomatic assault weapon.”…and then goes on to define an assault weapon with “the capability to accept a removable magazine” and possesses “either a pistol grip, forward grip, grenade launcher, barrel shroud, threaded barrel or a folding, telescoping or detachable stock.” Bolt action, lever action, or single shot firearms are exempt. So…under the definition in this bill…every semi-automatic handgun, you know, the ones that look like the military’s 45 caliber sidearm from most of the 1900s…well, they would be illegal. In fact…every handgun except a single shot one or a revolver would be outright banned under the law…and it is not clear from the article whether those that were purchased before the ban would be seized or grandfathered…but almost assuredly the former. And not to mention all those scary looking guns would be illegal. 

Don’t these people read the constitution and the numerous Supreme Court decisions affirming that the 2nd amendment provides a guaranteed individual right to possess firearms? Not to mention the completely BS made up term “military style assault weapon”…which really means any “scary looking gun”. Actually…a “military style assault weapon” is already illegal to own unless you have a Federal Firearms License and a demonstrated requirement for why you need to own one…but then an actual “military style assault weapon” means a weapon capable of fully automatic fire…i.e., you hold down the trigger and it fire continuously. They aren’t actually used in that configuration as it just wastes ammo but they do have a 3 round burst with one trigger pull mode that is used frequently.

What the anti gun folks call a MSAW (I’ll abbreviate military style assault weapon since Ima gettin’ tired of typing all them words) is really just a semiautomatic weapon…i.e., it fires one round for each trigger pull. There are 100s of thousands of these in private hands already…the ones that don’t have those “scary looking gun” part are more commonly known as deer or varmint rifles. What the manufacturers do is meet the demands of their customers…they asked for lighter, more dirt/mud proof models with a folding stock, extra grips, and a bipod on the front to allow prone shooting. Since this is what the market wants…the makers produced it and also make them out of plastic instead of the traditional wood stock material for better mud/water resistance. However…the guts of what makes them work is exactly the same as the non scary looking deer rifles.

I understand that some people don’t like them having large capacity magazines…but under the 2nd amendment…well, that’s just tough cookies. As I’ve said before…I understand the arguments of the anti-gun crowd and I encourage them to follow their passion and attempt to rid the country of firearms. What I do not encourage is their continual attempts to end run the constitution to get their way. It is well established in the constitution that US citizens have a right to “keep and bear arms” and SCOTUS decisions have affirmed that it is an individual right. If the anti-gun crowd doesn’t like the 2nd amendment…why then the constitution has a method detailed therein for how to change the constitution…in fact the process has been successfully followed 27 times so far. However…the founding fathers deliberately made the process hard because the constitution should only be changed if a majority of the country demands it…and so far that just isn’t true or else the 2nd amendment would have been overturned…and given that Prohibition was originally enacted by amendment and then terminated by another amendment it is possible. However…as I said the rules are deliberately hard…and the anti gun crowd knows that they can’t follow them to get what they want…so we see an interminable succession of nibble around the edge erosion attempts on the right.

Nope…if you want to ban guns…do it the correct way. I wonder how the press would feel if before they could get a job at a newspaper and print whatever drivel they want they were required to get a Federal Press Article License…or how the Antifa crowd would feel if they needed to have a Federal Right to Riot and Cause Civic Mayhem license…I don’t think they would like that at all and would scream to the heavens about their “rights being violated”.

On to non political stupidity…we’ve previously talked in these pages about the aircraft CO that got fired for…according to the media…”attempting to assure the safety of his crew” by blasting out a 4 page memo demanding action during the corona crisis…and who is being canonized in the media for his brave actions.

Well…not so much as it seems. According to the
today…he deliberately took several actions that were resulted in his relief for cause…in fact I’m amazed that the Rear Admiral in charge of that particular carrier battle group didn’t fire him on the spot when the news broke. According to this article as well as others amplifying the situation today…the carrier was already being given support for the virus cases on board and action to help relieve the situation was already underway. No matter though…this CO decided that things weren’t proceeding fast enough to suit him…so instead of submitting a formal request via his chain of command (a matter for which he would most assuredly not have been relieved)…he decided that his admiral in charge would not allow him to send such a request. That is factually incorrect…as the CO of the ship he is within his rights to make requests as he deems fit. They need to go via his chain of command…and even if his admiral did not approve of the actions the admiral is required to forward it up the chain…because the admiral is part of that chain and his superiors are also the CO’s superiors. As a retired submarine commander said today in an opinion piece…a classified SECRET Immediate precedence Personal For from the CO to his off ship superior with the very same recommendations and requests would have potentially increased the speed of his superior’s actions and would not have resulted in any action against the CO. Back in the day…Neil was involved in sending several Personal For messages on his submarines to superiors and received many more coming down the chain…this is the proper method for handling this.

However…since the CO decided the admiral would not support him…he sent out a blast email to 20odd fellow aviators (all carrier COs are aviators first and ship drivers second) demanding action…and as I said before either he sent it to the media or one of his buddies did and if the latter it may or may not have been at the request of the CO. The ship has many classified communications systems on board…and discussing the claimed loss of capacity by his ship to folks not in the chain and via unclassified communications is enough in and of itself to get him fired. 

So what happened was the CO panicked and got the news media involved…and then rightly was relieved of command for his transgression.

No matter what you read on the news about his bravery, his willingness to sacrifice his career, or how right he is…it is simply not the case. The man was completely, 100% wrong…and while I understand his thoughts that we are not at war and the safety of the crew needs to be paramount…the honest truth is that the safety of the crew takes second place under Naval Regulations to the accomplishment of the ship’s mission. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the crew…it simply means that the mission is what the carrier is there for…and it is not the CO’s discretion to unilaterally decide that the mission is less important than grandstanding and getting the ship to shore and the crew isolated on shore to the extent that is possible. As of today…only 93 of the crew have tested positive and only a dozen or less have symptoms…so it looks like the problem isn’t as major as the CO decided it was.

Uncle Joe Biden…well, he says that the firing of the CO of the carrier “borders on criminal” and he “should be commended instead”…and this is a guy who thinks we should make him Commander in Chief? The man doesn’t understand the first thing about how the military is organized and the concept of chain of command.

And today the acting SecNav resigned because he told the truth to the crew and said the captain was stupid and naive…but unfortunately it was recorded and leaked to the media.

Some of the states who have shelter in place orders are allowing churches to remain open…and some are not. Here in FL, the bishop has closed Roman Catholic churches and we are celebrating Mass via the TV or internet and that’s what needs to happen. In fact…up in central FL a Protestant pastor continued to hold services in violation of county orders and was arrested. So…when our governor here in Florida issue his shelter in place orders…albeit after the college kids spent their money during Spring Break and infected who knows how many other folks…well he specifically allowed churches to remain open and conduct services…and mandated that no city or county could issue more stringent guidelines. Meanwhile up in NYC…Mayor de Blasio rightfully ordered churches closed as well and states that if they do not comply action will be taken up to and including closure of the building permanently…which naturally has the left up in arms because he is “violating the 1st amendment right to assembly”…Neil thinks that “hoisted on their own petard” is about right as the left is not up in arms about a leftie mayor. He doesn’t like much that the good mayor does…but he is right in line with him on this one.

We file our 2019 taxes today…yay! Getting a nice refund eventually…we file electronically and it usually only takes a week or two to show up in our account but it might be a bit longer as the IRS is probably understaffed at the moment, not to mention they’re trying to figure out how to send out the corona checks.

Ima still trying to figure out how or why…golf of all things…is an essential activity. I can see bike riding or running by yourself…but hopping in a golf cart with a buddy and being next to each other on the course doesn’t seem like adequate social distancing or essential to me.

Then there’s the mayor in San Francisco…who has issued stay at home directions for his city…and his order includes both of the following statements…”travel, including walking is banned”…and “walking your dog or for exercise is essential and not banned”. 

I’m trying to figure out the difference between walking your dog walking and traveling walking too.

My buddy Greg White over at
Our RV Adventures
has been blogging and researching about the corona thing…and he had some interesting results on death rates and models today. Turns out that even the folks who develop these models believe that they’re inaccurate until the event is over so that they can validate them…and the models are now showing that because most folks are being reasonable and distancing themselves the predicted death rates are far, far below the “up to 2 Million” you read about a. Week or 10 days ago. Sure…it’s still going to be in the high 5 figures probably…but from 2.2-2.7 million a week ago it was down to 100,000 to 240,000 yesterday and 41,000 to 81,000 today. Part of this is because the death rate is the number of deaths divided by the number of cases and with more testing the number of positives is getting bigger and that’s in the denominator of the fraction. Another problem…and this one goes back to the National Center for Health Statistics…which is telling doctors how to use the new ICD code U07.1 to fill out cause of death on death certificates. The guidance says that this code indicating the person died from the corona if it caused or is assumed to have caused death…and that no testing should be done to verify if the assumption is actually correct. So…under this guidance…if the person filling out the certificate assumes it was corona it will be reported as such…which means that you probably can’t really trust the numerator of the death rate fraction either. Doctor Birx was quoted yesterday at the daily briefing “Just to be clear, we won’t know how valid the models are until we move all the way through the epidemic,” 

It’s obvious why they’re saying the word assume and not requiring a test to confirm…they’re trusting doctors judgement and not wasting testing time on dead patients…but this just seems like a way to make sure you’re not getting accurate data. Add in models that nobody fully trusts and it’s no wonder there is so much confusion…but naturally the media trumpets the highest numbers it can find in the ever present race for clicks and continues to misquote whoever they need to make it “all the President’s fault”. It is obvious that the federal government was not fully prepared but that is the fault of numerous administrations…and the President isn’t the most presidential acting one we’ve ever had…but come on…gimme a break…I know he’s a bit of a blowhard but all politics aside he’s doing the best he can and like the Queen over across the pond the job of the leader is to keep people’s morale up as well as fight the crisis.

On to a couple of city mayors…I’ll leave it to you to decide which one believes in practicing what they preaches and which one is the elitist that thinks the rules don’t apply.

In Illinois…the governor of issued a stay at home order which says that essential businesses can remain open but non essential are to close but that other than that citizens should stay at home except for essential movement like groceries, medical, walking your dog, and hiking/running/biking. At the time…Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago echoed and approved of the restrictions…which also state that law enforcement will monitor for violations and take appropriate action.

So…in Alton IL (a city of 25,000 or so 15 miles north of St. Louis)…Mayor Brant Walker went on TV and begged his citizens to realize that these are serious times and to stay home…and told his police force to enforce the restrictions. Accordingly…less than 48 hours later a unit drove by Hiram’s Tavern in downtown at 0100 in the morning after receiving several citizen complaints that it was remaining open in violation of the governor’s order…and noticed a parking lot full of cars. The officer went in and found a number of individuals having a party in violation of the governor’s restrictions. However…due to the identity of one of the individuals he contacted his chief for guidance…and the chief…due to the identity of one of the individuals…contacted the mayor. The mayor told the chief that nobody at the tavern should receive any special consideration…and hence all of them were arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal complaints for reckless conduct. Oh yeah…the name of the aforementioned “identity of one of the individuals”…Mrs. Brant Walker, the mayor’s wife. As the mayor said in his statement…”My wife is an adult capable of making her own decisions, and in this instance she exhibited a stunning lack of judgement. She now faces the same consequences for her ill-advised decision as the other individuals who chose to violate the ‘Stay At Home’ order during this incident.”

Meanwhile…in Chicago…Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said in her statement about the incident “I take my personal hygiene very seriously”…well, she went out and got a trim and style at a salon on Saturday afternoon…but was unfortunately for her given away by the salon owner who tweeted about having given the mayor a trim. Mayor Lightfoot’s response as to why she violated both the governor’s and her own stay at home guidance? She’s “a public figure and needs to look good on TV. Deal with it.” She then tried to divert the interview into the significant health disparities of people of color.” She was apparently asked about a video that was posted to the city twitter feed as part of the Stay Home Save Lives campaign to encourage compliance where she said “Getting your roots done is not essential”…but had no further comment on that. Even the Democrats on the city council are coming out against her…”This is a bad example for our city, she has no obligation to look good on TV or to book national interviews, what she has an obligation to do is follow and promote social distancing to save lives.”

Mayor Lightfoot is the same mayor who has flip-flopped at least 3 times on whether Jussie Smollet is an innocent victim or the perpetrator of a hoax hate crime…and who thinks that Kim Foxx the Chicago DA is doing a bang up job despite her prosecutorial misconduct over the entire Smollet incident and aftermath. 

Governor Pritzker of IL…he who issued the guidance with the varying mayoral interpretations…when asked for comment on Ms. Lightgoot’s trim said “I’ve not had a trim since the stay at home order went into effect…I’m going to turn into a hippie at some point”.

Wisconsin had their Democratic primary election (the Republicans in WS don’t have a primary) yesterday…which also serves as the election for some judges, school board members and other related state and local offices. The governor of the state was against postponing it until about a week ago but after demands by Mr. Sanders that it be postponed started 10 days or so ago he flip flopped and wanted it postponed. Unfortunately…under the WS election law only the legislature can change the timing or rules for an election. 

At some point early last week…three things happened. First…the governor called a special legislative session to change the election date…the legislature meant and ended the session declining to make any changes. The primary reason for this refusal was stated by the legislature as being the number of other offices that needed to be elected in addition to the Democratic primary. The unstated reason…well, it is because the Republicans who control the legislature wanted to pee in the governor’s Wheaties and not give him what he wanted. In my opinion…they were just playing politics and being jerks…but that’s the way politics works these days…so IMO the legislature should have delayed.

Second and third…after the legislature didn’t act as he demanded…the governor issued two executive orders…the first delaying the election to May or June and the second stating that mail in ballots could be postmarked as late as 7 days past the Election Day in contravention of the legislature approved voting rules. These two orders naturally resulted in legal action to overturn them…which for whatever reason happened once in state court and once in federal court. Early on Monday this week…the state Supreme Court overturned the first order because…and I’m amazed that the governor and Democrats don’t understand this…it is against the law which states that only the legislature can change the election date…it’s an open and shut case and despite the corona and and despite the legislature acting like children that the law is on their side. 

Later on Monday…the Supreme Court overturned a lower court decision in IL that allowed the acceptance of mail in ballots postmarked up to 7 days after the election. In a 5-4 decision the court held that precedent SCOTUS decisions held that election rules should not be changed by federal courts on the eve of the election and that precedent also held that states are primarily in charge of election rules. 

Thus the election went on as scheduled albeit there have been no results announced and they won’t be until next week.

So…what really happened here. The governor tried to change the rules at the last minute, the legislature didn’t go along with it, and he issued orders that violated state law and legal precedent. Now as I said before…the election should have been postponed but the legislature decided to act like children…however it appears to me that both courts acted either based on law or precedent. The liberal wing of the SCOTUS and their media friends are decrying the “sabotage of the election” and the “disenfranchisement of voters who have to choose between safety and voting”…and naturally predicting that the same thing will happen in November.

The House…and media…and Democrats in general…want to change the November election to almost exclusively mail in ballots. The Senate and Republicans and conservative media…well, they are jumping on the voter fraud bandwagon to oppose this. I’m quite sure that a system to allow mail in balloting could be expanded to allow more absentee ballots to be ordered…but it would require changes to election law in some states and I’m also quite sure that government can figure out a way to screw it up. It is also true that if the corona is still going on that having fewer polling places will likely reduce virus transmission. However…it is also true that when the government screws the mail in process up there is a possibility of voter fraud on both sides. How much actually happens can’t be known at this point.

Regarding the condemnation of the two court decisions…it all comes down IMO to the old strict vs loose constructionism argument by constitutional scholars. Strict means that you read the constitution and law and see what the words actually say…and that is the way you rule. Loose means that you “reinterpret” what the words say to meet today’s social, cultural, and technical norms. The Strict folks say that loose means “the law means whatever I want it to mean” and the Loose folks say that strict “cannot possibly be right since the founding fathers didn’t know about the internet, multiple genders, abortion, or more than single shot weapons”. Me…’round these parts we’re mostly strict constructionists…because the founding fathers put a mechanism in place to actually change the constitution when necessary and we think the liberals/progressives do far too much legislating from the bench simply because they are convinced they know better than ignorant folk in those flyover states.

OK…enough of that…let’s get some photos in here.

Turns out we have some Date Palms in our yard…but instead of being regular old Date Palms that you can get actual edible dates off of…we have Pygmy Date Palms…and their fruit is almost all seed with little to no edible date part. Anyway…they get these bud pods once a year which then turn into a flower and then into the dates that you can’t eat. We have none of the latter yet…too early, but we do have some pods and flowers so you can see how the progression is going.

The pod…they’re about a foot long or so.

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Our Bougainvillea is also blooming.

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 Cormorant…or C-Man as we’ve started calling him. There are a couple of these that hang around our pond a lot lately…we believe they are juvenile males based on coloration.

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And the Tricolor or Louisiana Heron we saw there other day…we think this is a different individual than the first one as the back of the head spike breeding plumage isn’t yellow like the other one was. No real way to tell though…and they’re relatively uncommon in SW FL so it might just be the same one later on in the season. Neil went back and did some side by side comparisons with the photos from then and it looks different at the color transition points like from the blue/red on the neck to the white belly…but it could just be that he’s gotten wet and the feathers just got groomed differently. Don’t really matter though.

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You can see the breeding plume in these last two is whiter than the first one we spotted a couple weeks back.

D75 5784

D75 5815

He’s kinda bummed that we didn’t get the bald eagle…it’s a sub adult in the middle of transitioning from juvenile to adult…that takes most of six months to a year we’ve read. It swooped over the pond thrice looking for dinner but (a) we were inside the lanai cooking and not standing outside with the camera in hand and ready to go and (b) it was being harassed by grackles both times so pretty much it was one pretty lowpass over the pond and it was gone…we had visibility on each pass for 5 seconds or less and what with the trees and limited sightlines we would probably have missed the shot anyway…he’s good, but not that good…and a sub adult just really ain’t that interestin’ lookin’ unless he’s doing something cool like grabbing a fish or something.

Eaglet report

Both E15 and E16 appear to have passed the initial just after hatching and starting to eat phase…they’re 8 and 5 days old respectively and both appear to be eating well. Both are gaining weight and the difference in size is getting smaller…which bodes well for E16 to continue to get enough food to grow and fledge assuming that Harriet and M15 are able to bring in enough to eat. Given the spring into summer weather that should not be much of a problem. They’re subject to being predated by some other hungry critter but Mom and Dad should be able to protect them from that…and obviously the broken blood feather than killed the original hatching eaglet this year can happen but the overall odds of both surviving to fledge are probably 60% to 70% once they get past the hatchling phase.

Interesting stuff found on the net.


Some innovative face masks to help prevent corona spread…these are not intended as actual recommendations for implementation.






I can’t decide whether this maxi pad or the sponge above is my favorite one.



Home schooling progress.




Tuscaloosa Alabama (Home of the Crimson Tide) recommendation for social distancing.




Ikea toilet paper…some assembly required.



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

Let’s Try Something Different Today…Or…I’m Still Bored

Yeah…instead of looking for political stupidity in the headlines…I’m going to try and ignore all political stupidity and only look for your basic garden variety stupidity.

Eagle news first…as I last reported a couple days ago…the second egg had not hatched but a bit after the post there was a sighting of a pip (i.e., a hole) in the second egg but it just had a wing sticking out of it up a little past the elbow. Things stayed that way overnight and when I looked the next morning…the hatching had been completed and now there were two baby chicks in the nest. They’re about 2 days and a little apart in age…which means that the earlier hatched one will get more of the food since it is big enough to take it away from the other…which means that depending on how much food mom and dad bring in the younger one will have a bigger struggle to make it to fledging.

So far…they’re both getting fed and both Harriet and M15 are making them work for the food a bit to encourage greater independence and muscle development. 

Here’s a screenshot of them under M15 just now…cute little buggers they are.

Screen Shot 2020 04 04 at 11 13 36 AM

Yesterday we heard a new bird outside and after some binocular work and delving into Peterson’s Birds of North America…Connie determined it was a loggerhead shrike. Then in some sort of serendipitous voodoo or sometin’…she retweeted the photo below from the National Audubon Society, who said that it was a formidable predator but a study reveals they are even fiercer than they thought. According to the study
…they grab their prey by the neck, pinch the spinal cord to induce paralysis, and then shake them violently to break the neck…the resulting 6 G’s of acceleration is plenty to kill the prey…so alrighty then…I guess we’ll put this one under…

Badass of the week…not our photo, credit to original photographer in the image.


Ok…looking through the news for everyday ordinary stupidity…

From the BBC…there’s a story about a Venezuelan navy vessel with an unfortunate outcome from trying to get their way. There was this Portuguese flagged cruise liner with special hull reinforcement as it goes on arctic and antarctic passenger cruises in the vicinity of the icepack so basically it’s got an icebreaker like hull. It was lying too…that’s nautical speak for not moving…about 13 miles off of La Tortuga Island which is a Venezuelan protectorate and about 35 or 40 miles off of the coast…and international maritime law states that anything farther than 12 miles from land is international waters. Anyways…the cruise liner…according to the owners…was conducting routine engine maintenance…which is probably a euphemism for it broke down…when the patrol boat Naiguata radioed them asking them for their intentions and then demanding they follow it to port on the Venezuelan coast. The cruise ship declined at which point the patrol boat opened fire…and then the stupidity happened. Remember…this involves a cruise liner and a patrol boat. So the patrol boat decides to ram the bow of the liner to force them to turn toward the coast and proceed into port. In the resulting collision…the patrol boat naturally lost and as a result sank an hour later. After the collision the liner tried to radio them to take on survivors and got no answer so eventually the liner departed after talking to the rescue folks in Curacao. The Venezuelans have announced that the liner was carrying mercenaries to attack Venezuelan military sites on the mainland and that they cowardly and despicably first rammed the patrol boat and then abandoned the crew.

So…let’s examine the levels stupidity here. First…even a landlubber would know that a patrol boat, which was about 260 feet long and 1,700 tons…if it collides with a 375 foot 8,500 ton ship that is reinforced for ice operations is gonna lose. Also…under international law an unarmed cruise liner cannot commit piracy against an armed naval vessel the the shots fired makes this even less likely that the Venezuelan claims are correct. Third…a 1,700 ton ship is not going to be able to force a ship 4 or 5 times in size to change course by ramming. What were they thinking?

Looking at the pictures of the cruise liner…the damage is to the bow and the extending bulbous dome underneath…it’s really not possible to tell whether the patrol boat rammed the liner or the other way around…which could have happened if the patrol boat tried to force the liner to turn by essentially cutting it off. Again…under international rules of the road there are designations of what used to be called the privileged and burdened vessels but have been changed to stand on and give way vessels…essential there are rules for determining which ship has the right of way and which one has to get out of the way. Despite these rules…and this frequently happened back in the Cold War days between US and Soviet naval vessels and which eventually resulted in a special “Rules for Preventing Incidents at Sea” agreement between the two countries…anyways Soviet vessels would typically like to play chicken in which they would maneuver so as to present the possibility of a collision but position themselves in the encounter as the privileged or stand on vessel…basically forcing the US ship to maneuver out of the way and…at least I guess in the Soviet’s mind…winning this game of chicken. The intelligence gathering “fishing trawlers” that used to hang out off of US submarine ports did this quite often and Neil had more than one encounter with them back in his submarining days…but that’s ‘nother show as Alton Brown would say.

Depending on which article you read…the patrol boat might have been attempting a boarding and got herself rammed by the cruise liner…but the stupidity remains…one should never deliberately collide with another ship at sea…Bad Things© will happen.

I saw some guy who made himself a corona mask out of a 2 liter soda bottle that he got out of his bin…he’s British so that’s the trash to us Americans. His idea was to turn it into some sort of shield over his face, attach a hose to the original opening, and stick the hose down inside his clothing to allow the clothes to filter out the virus. And no…this isn’t an April Fools joke as it was posted on the third.

Mr. Schiff…well he’s apparently moved on from impeachment and wants to implement a post election 9/11 style Independent Commission…oh, never mind…that’s political stupidity.

You probably saw on the news about the aircraft carrier captain who wrote a “scathing memo” to his superiors demanding that his ship be brought into port and essentially abandoned at the pier to treat the corona patients on board…but there is apparently a little more to the story than that. SecNav said the other day that the CO had a “direct line to his office” and could have contacted him…which shows how much both SecNav and the media know about these things.

An aircraft carrier CO has a chain of command above him…well, actually there are two of them. First is the administrative one…which in this case was the admiral commanding the battle group then various others that handle administrative matters. Then there’s the operation one…which again goes through the onboard admiral, then to Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet, and then to Commander in Chief Pacific then eventually to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The operational chain of command handles things like…well, operations of the ship, where it goes, ensures it gets proper supplies, makes sure it’s in whatever place it needs to be to accomplish the ships mission as determined by national command authorities, arranges for a replacement (if possible) if it can’t handle it’s mission and things like that.

So the ship had recently had a port call in Vietnam…and this was in mid March after the virus was known in Wuhan and had started to spread…personally I think that the visit should have been cancelled in view of the situation and the ship remained at sea where it’s safe. It has plenty of food on board, plenty of fuel in both it’s onboard tanks for aircraft and in accompanying logistics vessels for escorts and is well away from viruses. During the visit…the sailors naturally were allowed liberty…and as sailors are wont to to they went to bars and establishments with hookers, partied, got infected, and went back to the ship.

Infections multiplied…and the CO apparently felt that in his mind the mission should be abandoned, the ship returned to port in Guam, and almost all of the crew evacuated…and that his superiors were ignoring his demands. The problem with this is that the chain of command has to worry about other things in addition to crew safety…like do we have carriers where they are potentially needed, can we slot another one in to take over, can we get sufficient medical assistance to the ship…in other words they need to think things through and do the best to meet both medical and security needs.

Anyway…so the CO writes this memo which he sends to his chain of command essentially stamping his feet and making his demands for what he has decided is best. Nothing wrong with that at all…absolutely not…he’s perfectly within his rights as CO to do so albeit at some risk to his further career prospects depending on which seniors he pisses off. He would have been fine there…but instead of just sending it up his chain…he apparently sent copies to 20odd other people. I’ve not seen any list of who those 20odd other people were…but the words used were “broadly distributed” in the articles. Either one of them was the paper in San Francisco or one of the recipients sent it to the paper…who then broke the news about how the “heartless Navy was recklessly endangering life and limb of the crew by ignoring the outbreak” or some similar nonsense.

When Big Navy found out about this…naturally they were pissed because (a) the CO went outside the chain of command and (b) made Big Navy look bad so he was relieved of his command due to lack of confidence in his ability to command which is the wording that is almost always used.

I don’t think we know all the facts…and despite the media and congressional demands for an investigation I think that is even true for Big Navy as well as his chain of command. However…somehow the story got to the press so either he caused it to happen or he gave it to somebody who caused it to happen or he gave it to somebody and then asked them verbally or whatever to make sure it got to the press. In all 3 scenarios he is in the wrong and in my opinion deserved to be relieved. If he had done everything absolutely by the book and somebody without his consent in the chain of command leaked it then perhaps he would have survived although given the political and media hits the Navy is taking even then he might have been fired. Since it happened so quickly…I’m guessing that his chain of command knows who those 20odd people outside the chain are and blind siding your boss is a guaranteed way to get yourself relieved. His career is now over…he will be temporarily reassigned while the JAG and/or NCIS investigates things. My guess is he will either get a slap on the wrist at an Admiral’s Mast (non judicial and not public proceeding) and then allowed to retire quietly and keep his pension. After all…he did serve for 28 years and a single mistake…even a misguided one…shouldn’t outweigh that.

But you can basically ignore all the hoopla in the media and from our Democratic Reps and Senators…they’re trying to make it political when this is really a Navy matter. That doesn’t mean that the CO didn’t have valid concerns and it doesn’t mean that the Navy did everything right…we just don’t know about that…but the chain of command and Big Navy have a lot of things to worry about…the health of the crew is certainly on that list but being ready to defend the country and not leaving gaping holes in our capabilities is also on the list as well.

As to the carrier…it’s now in port in Guam and at least some of the crew has been evacuated to hotels or barracks on the base for a quarantine period…I haven’t seen any word about what happened with the active cases beyond the original few (3 I think) that were airlifted off before they docked. Of the 5,000 or so crew…probably around 2,000 or so although wikipedia says 1,500…are the air wing and they can be taken off the ship with zero impact on the ship while it is in port. Of the remaining 3,500 or so…they simply can’t all be taken off…a ship isn’t like a car that you park in your garage and walk away. The reactor plants are obviously shut down and likely are in cold wet layup condition instead of hot standby condition since they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon…but unless they’re doing maintenance requiring everything be cold then the norm (at least for submarines and Neil believes carriers are similar) would be in hot standby. That means the reactor is maintained at temperature close to operating temperature even though the reactor is fully shut down. Temperature is maintained by decay heat from fission products inside the fuel but that fades off over time so at that point temperature is allowed to drift slowly downwards and maintained by heat input from the main coolant pumps that are always circulating the primary coolant through the core. Back in the day…subs routinely maintained hot standby conditions for up to say 6 weeks to a month…it can easily be maintained longer but for longer in port periods you try to figure out what maintenance you need to do and then do it, which may require cool down to ambient.

In any event…there are requirements for watch standers in the engineering spaces even with the reactor shut down and the numbers of them (at least for submarine plants) don’t vary for cold vs hot shutdown conditions. A submarine with a single reactor and engine room has at least 3 watch standers which means a duty section needs 9 of them total…but more typically there would be a dozen or so in the duty section. Add in another roving watch for the forward end of the ship and the topside security watch and that’s another 9 people…plus the chief and officer duty folks  so a typical submarine duty section is 30 or so people…which means an individual stands watch every 3rd or perhaps 4th day.

A carrier has many more required watch standers…they have multiple reactor plants and much larger engineering spaces…Neil really has no idea but can’t imagine the nuclear duty section being less than 150 or 175 people total. Add in many more non engineering duty section folks…security requirements for weapons and all and that’s a good number of people who are always on board. Neil vaguely remembers one of his carrier buddies back when he was at the NROTC unit in Auburn AL that a carrier was normally on a 5 or 6 section duty rotation for the crew…which for a crew of 3,500 means 500ish people onboard 24 hours a day. I don’t have any idea what they’re doing for duty section rotation, whether they are keeping the off duty sections on board or putting them in the hotels/barracks or whatever…but there are still significant numbers of folks getting on and off the ship (probably).

What does this do for US security? In a pinch…the ship could recall symptom free crew and get to sea in a day or three, perhaps 4 if they needed to load food. Normally the air wing flies the aircraft off to a shore base before the ship docks for any extensive period…this may or may not have happened in the case since the air wing pilots and maintenance folks are among the potentially infected. What likely happened is the Navy has the other deployed carrier in the Pacific out at sea and it is sort of hanging out in the most likely areas of potential stuff happening instead of just being responsible for say half of the western Pacific.

Apparently…the corona relief bill part 3 that got passed and signed a week ago has some dumb things in it. That’s true…and a lot of the dumb things are political so I’ll ignore them. However…one requirement is that any of the airlines that get aid must keep on flying planes to and from all destinations they served before the crisis, although this may be a Department of Transportation requirement rather than an in the law requirement…the article isn’t clear. However…these planes are flying pretty much empty since nobody is flying, and even after reducing the number of daily flights from say a half dozen to 1 to meet the requirement the planes are still empty. Spending the money on staff, fuel, landing fees, and maintenance to fly empty planes seems pretty stupid to me…but why do I know.

What’s new in the corona today? Hmmmm…

Our governor here in Florida finally initiated a stay at home order…that was signed with much fanfare and publicity on Thursday. This is after ignoring the calls from many to cancel all spring break related activities here in the state which almost certainly helped in the increasing number of cases both here and elsewhere. There are just 2 problems with this order. First is that it is not as strict as the one that Dade and Broward counties over on the east coast (think Miami and Fort Lauderdale which have most of the cases in the state already). Second…right after the public ceremony he went back to his office and signed another far less publicized order stating that no locality, town, county, or other local government may issue any shutdown order that is more strict than what the governor issued…essentially telling the local governments that “mine is bigger than yours”. Dumb.

His order shuts down all but essential activities…then lists things like medical, food, and essential business activities and most of the examples of essential make sense. But then there’s the essential activity of…you guessed it since this is Florida…golf. Yes, golf is an essential activity and is specifically allowed to continue under the “recreation is allowed as long as you maintain social distance” limits. Funny though…Neil was out yesterday on a bike ride…carefully maintaining his distance from all people as he cycled around Magnolia Landing…and noticed at least 4 carts of people with 3 or 4 people on them and another 2 groups of 4 that were close together on the greens talking to each other. 

He’s still trying to figure out how…golf…is essential. But according to the governor’s office it is included under “recreating”.

Yesterday’s grocery pickup at Wally World went well; we got just about everything on our list and stopped by the Winn Dixie (less crowded and people were staying away from each other) to get the last few things so we’re good for probably 2 weeks on bread, dairy, and produce and probably a month for staples.

On to interesting things found on the net.

In the apparently this is happening department…a reporter for one of the Detroit TV stations interviewed an employee of the Amazon warehouse there on how things were going…and the employee was complaining that folks ordering essential items was one thing…but that he was risking his health to ship…his words here…a massive number of dildos.


In other news…out in
Cascade Michigan
…police have finally broken a decades long crime spree…they caught the guy known as “The Cascade Flasher”.

Screen Shot 2020 04 04 at 1 09 24 PM

Scientists in Japan
have figured out that in the year 774/775 there was a massive bombardment of the earth by cosmic rays from the sun. They discovered that Carbon 14 in tree rings from those years  is higher than it should be. Neil thought the article present some pretty cool findings in the way they figured things out. 

This is cool too.


Speaking of essential business…in most states that have implemented this liquor stores have been deemed essential. Leave it to the Italians to figure out what is really essential though.


And speaking of recreating…I guess both of these fall into that category.


Corona humor

My neighbor stopped over.


This one requires a bit of thought.








Posted in Critters, Homebody, Nature | Leave a comment

Eaglet Update

Alert…Alert…we interrupt your regularly scheduled posting to bring you and urgent update…wow…posts only 2 days apart which is sorta quick given our current dindunuffin status but we have news.

As you know…our local eagles Harriet and M15 laid 2 eggs back before Christmas of which one hatched and the second never did, but the eaglet that hatched died back in late January or early February as it broke a blood feather overnight somehow and bled out. The humans ‘round these parts figured that they were done for the year and Neil wondered every time he drove by the nest site why there were still people out taking pictures and watching the nest with no eaglets to see and the adult eagles rarely being seen when he went by.

Well…turns out that the eagles got it on again and Harriet laid another 2 eggs in late February…we didn’t know this until on the evening news 2 days ago there was a live report from our local NBC affiliate that Harriet and M15 had a new baby in the nest. We checked the eagle cam (google Fort Myers Eagle Cam or go to
Eagle Cam
 and sho’nuff…there was an itty bitty eaglet there along with another egg with a pip (crack where it is starting to hatch) on it.

We checked back this morning…we wuz up early to be able to reserve a pickup time at Wally World for vittles…and the first eaglet (E15) is now 2 days old with the second egg having a wing outside the shell as of yesterday afternoon just before sunset. I dunno whether that’s a good sign or not…sun hasn’t come up yet and the camera doesn’t have night vision…we’ll have to wait and see what happens…mebbe by the time Ima done with this missive there will be enough light for a live report.

Hmmmmm…oh yeah, Wally World pickup. Given the crowds in the store we figgered we would give the pickup thing a try. Essentially you go their website and select your home store…then search and add stuff to your cart. Searching for say black beans gives you a list of choices so you can pick the brand you like (we generally get Bush’s or Goya) and add the items to your cart. There’s some minor issues with the site…for instance searching for pork chops gives you assorted ham options and no other search term will get your basic pork chops as an option…but whatever. Once you get your cart full you can reserve a pickup time…the options are restricted to today and tomorrow with new slots being released “every morning” whatever that means…and when we filled our cart yesterday evening there were no slots available. Since we are up by about 0600 anyway most days albeit usually we’re still dozing in our recliners, praying, twittering, or doing various other highly important web browsing for whatever…we went online and lo and behold there were slots available for pretty much anytime Friday. We selected 1000-1100, added a couple more items to our cart that we figured out after we wuz done yesterday, and checked out. Got an email with our order listed and we’ll get another one tomorrow when it’s ready. Once we receive that you check in with their Grocery App and show up to pick up your stuff. 

There are options to either allow substitutions or not…this allows the shopper to give you a different brand or whatever if a particular item is out of stock. You can either allow the substitutions globally when you order or disallow them for particular items. You’ll always pay the price for what you ordered even if a substitute is more expensive, they apparently tell you at pickup what they substituted, and you can reject any you don’t want. Sounds good…but the proof is in the puddin’ as they say…we’ll have to see how things turn out tomorrow and I will let y’all know.

After our pickup…we’ll update our grocery list on our phones…and then run by the Winn Dixie to get anything that Wally was out of as well as run into the likker store and get some more hootch…with no outside social activities we just have Happy Hour at Connor O’Laubenthals Pub here on Long Pond Road.

Speaking of grocery lists…if ya’ll are still using that ole pencil and paper thingy to keep track of it…ya gotta move into the digital age. If you check out the App Store on your platform of choice…there are a multitude of both free and paid apps that will do this for ya…but after trying a whole bunch of the free ones and determining that…well, they suck…Neil figgered out the optimum solution and I will tellya what it is so you don’t have to redo his research. Anylist is what you want…it’s available on both iPhones and Macs as well as SOB (some other brand) and on the web. Anylist is free and lets ya make up any number of different lists…we got Groceries and Home Depot. It lets you sort by department, remembers previous items ya put on there so you can type Bl and it will offer black beans, and includes a basic list of items so’s you can type in sumtin’ ya never bought before…Brussel Sprouts for instance and I can pretty much guarantee that has never appeared on our list…and by the time ya get Bruss typed in it offers ‘em up.

Now obviously the Anylist folks gotta make some scratch somehow…so’s what they do is this. If’n ya just want to use it say on your phone…then it costs ya nothin’, nada, zilch, zippo, absolutely no cash outa your pocket into theirs. However…if ya pay em the outrageous sum of like 7 bucks a year with one of dem “in app purchases”…then it will synchronize to however many things ya want. We got it syncing to both our iPads, both our iPhones, both our ‘puters, and the web so anything we pickup has our current grocery list on it and we can add sometin’ to it from pretty much anyplace…and poof, Shazam it practically instantaneously shows up on the other places. We tend to separate sometimes in da store to minimize wasted time and walkin’ round and if Connie is over in say the laundry aisle and pics up bleach or whatevers…she double taps it on her phone and it either gets a red line through it or disappears if you have “unchecked items only visible” selected on her iPhone…and if Neil is over in say da produce are gettin’ limes for cocktails at Happy Hour den bleach or whatevers disappears off’n his list too. Pretty darn slick if’n ya ask me…but Neil tells me it ain’t magic, just the miracles of digital devices with cloud synchronization in da internet age.

Connie’s been keeping up her dead people research…also known as genealogy on ancestry.com and she keeps finding out all dis cool stuff ‘bout our ancestors. For instance…Neil is a direct descendent of Emperor Charlemagne…ya know, da dude that ruled most of Western Europe back in the late 700s and early 800s. Figgering 20odd years per generation…dat makes him something like Neil’s 60th great granddaddy. He’s also descended from the bastard son of some French nobleman back in the 1600s or 1700s. And then there’s Humphrey Bogart…although not a direct descendant there…she didn’t figger out the ‘xact relationship there but it’s something like the 18th cousin 6 times removed…or sumtin’ like that. I understand the cousin thing but the whole times removed, which has something to do with how many generations apart the cousin thing happens…well, that just don’t make a lick o’ sense to me…but then Ima bear and we don’t have ‘nuff brain cells to keep track of stuff like that. On her side…well, she’s unhappy that she ain’t found anybody famous yet…but she did find a couple of first cousins that got married…back that ain’t even legal nowadays but it ‘parently wuz back in the 1600s or whatever in Sweden. She also found out that her sainted mother was not 100% Swedish as she always thought but only 98.64% or sumtin’ like that cuz there was this lone Frenchman who moved to Sweden and seduced one of female ancestors.

Well…da sun be up now and I can see the nest on the eagle cam…but alls I can see is Harriet brooding the eaglet and egg…it’s only 60something degrees this AM…so no further report on the progress of hatchin’ for da second egg…Ima gonna have to let ya know ‘bout that next time I reckon.

In today’s Corona news…

Yep…only in the People’s Republic of Californiastan…this numbnuts train engineer yesterday deliberately derailed a train into the hospital ship USNS Mercy as it was docked in LA…ran da train at full speed off the end of the tracks, through some concrete barriers, through some chains (like that’s gonna stop a train, what wuz they thinkin’), crost a parking lot and slides to a stop 250 yards from the ship. He…Eduraro Moreno age 44…ran from the scene but wuz ‘rrested and taken to the big hoosegow fer questionin’…where it said that he dun did it all bys hisself cuz he wuz suspicious of the ship’s intentions and was sure it wuz a gummint takeover. He missed the ship but did spill a passle of diesel fuel all over da docks and into the harbor…but den dat water in the LA harbor ain’t very clean anyways. Send him off to da big house…or better yet just string the sum’bitch from the nearest light pole.

Wackaloons…the PRC is full of em.

One of our travel blogger buddies…Gary…well, he put up a post yesterday ‘bout 11 rarely visited National Parks in North America that ya could visit during the lockdown…but then with the lockdown nuttin is open and all of em require some various combination of boat, train, plane, ATV, and dogsled to get to…so Ima thinking that he didn’t quite think that idea through ‘fore he wrote ‘bout it. Dey would be good for social distancing once ya got there though…a couple of them had massive numbers of visitors in 2019 like 175.

Over in Texas way…there were these 70 Gen Z college student idiot morons who…after the lockdowns started ya know…chartered demselves a plane and flew down to Cabo for Spring Break ‘afore flying home. Yup…ya guessed it…28 of dem dumbasses now got da virus…but heck, dey ain’t skairt of nuttin’ since brain dead teenagers are immune to death ya know (and yes, I know they’re actually over the age of 21 and technically not teenagers anymore…but typically the brain dead teenager mental mindset extends to at least 25, mebbe even 30 in some cases).

Best Korea…ya know, da one ruled by Rocketman Kim…they report they dun got no corona…nope, none atall.

Speakin’ of dumbasses…Representative Jim Banks of Indiana has demanded that the State Department investigate the disappearance in China of 3 Chinese citizen “journalists” who were investigatin’ the origins and numbers of cases of the corona in Wuhan. Now mind ya…these are Chinese citizens and while they may (or may not but probably have) been disappeared by the Chinese gummint…they’re in China for crikey’s sake and we in the US ain’t got any jurisdiction over there so just what in the heck does dis idiot think we can do about it. Sure…if dey wuz disappeared dat would be a bad thing under our laws…but dem Chines jus’ don’t give a frick ‘bout our laws since we ain’t in charge of them.

Ms. Pelosi…well, she dun got herself a wundermous idea…at least she thinks so. As you may or may not know depending on how close you follow the tax laws and whether you are a resident of NY, CT, or CA…the tax law passed in 2017 limited the amount one can deduct form your federal 1040 for state and local taxes to $10,000…at the time those states screamed that the law was discriminating against them because their taxes were so high and the majority in the Congress said that your taxes are so high because you have so many bloated programs and the rest of the US should not subsidize your foolishness in tax policy. Anyway…that’s the law. So her…just ask her…brilliant idea is that this limit should be retroactively lifted to put “more money in worker’s pockets”. Unfortunately…there are more holes in this idea than a cheese grater…in the first place, it would only help those rich bastards that the Democrats love to hate on even through they already got theirs…in the second place it would only help blue far left leaning states who are the ones with the dumb tax policies…and in the third place if she thinks that this is anything but a partisan demand for liberal/socialist policies then she has gone even more senile than most Republicans think she already is. Even Business Insider…which is typically left of center but not wacko left of center…has said her idea won’t help those that actually need help but will benefit the rich…ya know, the people Democrats hate. She and Mr. Schumer are already demanding another stimulus bill to be passed and once again will try and pile all their partisan demands into it. Nothing wrong with partisan demands being placed into bills in normal times…both sides do it whenever and wherever they can…but these ain’t normal times and if you’re working on a virus stimulus bill then you pretty much lose all credibility if you try to pile a whole bunch of partisan demands that the other side doesn’t want and that have nothing to do with the virus into it…like funding for PBS, requirements for mandatory diversity on corporate boards, and more solar panel factories.

So the administration…they’ve got this new plan for regime change in Venezuela. In case you haven’t kept up with this…the Communist socialist dictator in charge Maduro keeps winning the elections…which his opposition says is because they keep rigging the elections. So …Guaidó…who is the head of the legislature and the head of the opposition…well, he appointed himself the real President of Venezuela back in 2019 under the legislature’s view of article 233 of their constitution. Based on my reading of that article…well, it depends on whether you’re on Maduro’s side or Guidaó’s side because the article says “when the president-elect is absolutely absent before taking office, a new election shall take place (…) And while the president is elected and takes office, the interim president shall be the president of the National Assembly”.

After Guaidó declared himself President, their Supreme Court declare Maduro President and the legislature null and void…both sides appealed to the UN which amazingly enough was deadlocked and did nothing…and countries around the world started taking sides. Those with democratic or non dictatorship governments say Guaidó…those with strongman governments say Maduro and there we sit with both sides down there taking pot shots at each other, the economy in a shambles, and the pro Guaidó countries implementing pretty severe economic sanctions which made the problems worse.

Then along comes corona…so the administration has proposed a new plan…but naturally this plan favors the side we like…funny how that happens. Under the plan…both Maduro and Guaidó will step down and an 5 person governing council will be formed. Four of these people will be appointed by the legislature (which is dominated by the opposition and Mr. Guaidó) and the 5th, who will be the head of the council will be appointed by the first 4. The council will rule the country until a new election for both the legislature and President is held…in such an election Mr. Guaidó may run but Mr. Maduro may not run…and the election must be monitored by “independent election monitors” who will be presumably appointed by either the US or countries who like the US are on Mr. Guaidó’s side.

Now while Mr. Maduro is a communist and socialist who has arguably bankrupted the country and enriched himself and his cronies according to everybody who’s not on Mr. Maduro’s side…but whether that’s true or not doesn’t really matter…what matters is should the US and the rest of the world who doesn’t like Mr. Maduro be in charge of regime change in Venezuela…and at least from what I’ve read Mr. Guaidó ain’t really that much of a white knight either but as I said that’s neither here or there

Anyways…in support of this idea, the administration will lift all sanctions on the country as soon as the new governing council is in charge…never mind that most of the sanctions that affect medical or humanitarian relief have already been temporarily waived.

Yeah…sounds like a really fair deal to me. Me…I don’t give a hoot ‘bout Venezuela or their government…it ain’t our country and while they do have a dictator and a lousy economy…so do a number of other places in Asia, Africa, South America and elsewhere and worldwide regime change ain’t covered in the US of A’s job requirements. Yeah…we’re the only superpower left and there’s some validity in saying that we need to be the official world police but until the rest of the world agrees with that idea I’m not sure how strongly we should take that job.

Last week in Texas…at a Sam’s Club of all places…an Asian-American family was attacked and 3 members were wounded including a 2 year old by a 19 year old nutcase who thought they were Chinese and were spreading the virus…it only took authorities 2 weeks after his confession as to why he did it to classify it as a hate crime. And no…before you think it…it wasn’t a white nationalist. Guy’s name is Jose L. Gomez. And no…again…before you think it was an illegal immigrant…no information regarding his citizenship was given so he could either be a natural born citizen with a Spanish name, a legal immigrant, a citizen who was a legal immigrant, or an illegal.

From the “HoAs will be HoAs” department…up in Jacksonville a couple whose husband works for the DoD and the wife is a nurse at the local hospital…she’s been working from home triaging calls and managing patients but because of staff illnesses will soon have to go into the hospital to work. They have a special needs daughter in the house and she might become infected at the hospital…so they moved their RV from storage to their driveway to pre-stage it as an isolation location should that happen. Now most HoA rules prohibit putting an RV in your driveway since they deem it to be a nuisance…and there’s no problem with that…but one would think that HoA management would use their noggins (yeah, like that’s gonna happen)…and talk to the owner. But no…after a couple of days the Magnolia Point HoA…no relation to our Magnolia Landing HoA…without talking to the couple…taped a note to it saying to remove it immediately or else they would get fined $1,000. The owners tried to talk to the HoA president who…according to the article at Newsweek.com…refused to negotiate with her. Newsweek reports that they reached out to the HoA president but she did not respond back in time for publication. Now I’m all for HoA rules…well, actually I’m not because they’re frequently stupid but they are the rules and if you move into a community with an HoA you’re bound by the deed to follow the rules…and really, the owners should probably have reached out to the HoA to get approval ahead of time…but then we’ve reached out to our HoA folks and they are mostly not very responsive at the best of times and even less so now that they’re short staffed and working from home…but once contacted one would think that the HoA just might see their way clear to be reasonable…but that’s about as likely as them using their noggins.

Yeah…dumbasses all the way ‘round the world…but then as Neil is fond of saying…”People are stupid”…he also says that they’re buttholes too…actually he says that first.

Looks like the lockdown will extend through April and May at this point… 

In good news though…hopefully it will become a trend…Shenzhen China has become the first city in the country to ban the sale or consumption of dogs or house cats.

Still no report on the second eagle egg hatching…and while the sun is well up now the camera just shows Harriet brooding on the nest with neither E15 or the egg visible.

Interesting things found on the net.

T-shirts you might need.





My fave of these…and it’s not even close.



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Like Sands Through The Hourglass

These are the days of our social isolation…at least that’s what the old soap opera introduction said.

Yes…we’re officially bored. Not so bored that we’re going to go out and be amongst people…not that there’s anyplace to go anyway…but the confirmed cases of the corona in FL are increasing and although we are relatively low so far in Lee County and North Fort Myers specifically it’s only going to get worse.

The President has extended the federal recommendation through April 30…and my guess is that it will be longer than that before things get back to whatever the new normal becomes…at this point I would not be surprised if the college and NFL seasons in the fall don’t take place. I also think the downward trend in the markets will continue…and while that’s not good, at least our monthly expenses are covered by our pensions and Connie’s social security check so we’ll just continue to be the long term investors we have always been and eventually things will turn around.

I continue to be amazed at the levels of TDS…or Trump Derangement Syndrome…that both the media and almost all Democrats are displaying. While I realize that our two parties have different agendas and think different things are important…and under the Obama administration there were some, maybe even many, Republicans that talked trash about the former President…there were also many Republicans that tried to work with the other side and that tried to give the President the respect and deference that the office deserved despite their not being happy about the current occupant.

The media and Democrats have been belittling the President since the day after the election in 2016…and demanding his impeachment since before he was even inaugurated. There have also been countless scare articles with headlines like “Will Trump cancel the 2020 election”…and “Will he have to be removed from the White House by force” and other similar claptrap.

The President says…and rightly so although he should really be a little more Presidential and not complain about such minor things…that everything the media and Democrats are doing is a “hoax”…and they’re looking for something else to impeach him over.

It seems different now…and especially in the current situation which many are likening to a wartime scenario. Back in the day…it was “my country, right or wrong” and while we might have wrangled during the election season once the election was over the losing side accepted it and got on with the business of running the country, making deals with the other side so that both sides got some of what they wanted, and you were allowed to say nice things about the other side. I remember Joe Biden…back in the Dark Ages of the late 90s to early 00s…saying that he admired some Republican senators and even named them. I remember both Republicans and Democrats in the House, Senate, and administrations of both parties trying to mend fences, largely stayed away from demonization of the other side, and trying to keep politics out of things to the maximum extent possible.

No more though…

Just looking at today’s news…

  • In “The 360”, there’s an article about why so many Americans do not vote. The headlined quotes all talk about voter suppression by the Republicans like this is a proven, widespread fact; how many Americans can’t get to the polling place and recommend same day registration, mail in voting, and other solutions which increase the ease with which non citizens can vote, and the like. There’s nothing balanced in the article.
  • There’s an article on Yahoo with the headline “Pelosi says Trump’s downplaying of the corona has cost American lives. No respect for the office, no actual facts, just political diatribe.
  • There is an opinion piece by John Oliver…a comedian for goodness sake, not anybody actually knowledgeable about anything…but a comedian with a liberal bent and a large social audience which somehow makes him worth reading…he says that “despite Trump’s claims (again, not the lack of respect) this is not the Hunger Games”.
  • Another article…this one from the BBC…says that Dr. Fauci says “Millions of Americans could be infected and 100,000 to 200,000 will die. While the headline is accurate…he did say that could happen but in the article itself there is reference to these being the outer bounds of the estimates and that the current actions we are taking should reduce the actual numbers. What he tried to do was bound the outer limits of the problem but the headline seeks to inflame panic by quoting the outer limits as his actual prediction
  • Hours after the President signed the $2 trillion corona relief bill…the governor of NY was already complaining that it didn’t do enough for his state…the ink wasn’t even dry on it when he and Pelosi demanded another even larger bill. Republicans who think that we should wait a bit and see how this 50% increase in federal spending this year works before saddling up generations to come with an even larger debt burden.
  • Speaking of the relief bill…Republicans and the President are being condemned in the media and by Democrats because it “bails out huge corporations at the expense of the working people”. However…loans to business to allow them to…you know, remain in business and not go bankrupt…well, who do those morons think produces the vast majority of jobs in both the US and the world in general. While we can and should take care of workers…and the bill does some of that…making sure that they have jobs to eventually return to and trying to blunt the effect on the economy as much as possible seems like a good idea to me.
  • And just to show I’m an equal opportunity stupidity basher…several churches out in the fly over states refused to halt services saying God would protect them…and then a bunch of folks tested positive. Yes…God will help you if you ask him…but sometimes you have to accept the help he sends you…LIKE A RECOMMENDATION TO CANCEL SERVICES TO KEEP INFECTED PEOPLE AWAY FROM CROWDS OF NON INFECTED PEOPLE THEY CAN INFECT.

I’m really getting tired of this bullshit…I have to tellya. I’m tired of reading articles about how the President “botched the response to the corona” when some of the policies that led to our so far less than perfect federal response were laid down during previous administrations.

Personally…I think the President should consider strongly a national lockdown to prevent travel and whatever else is needed to flatten the curve that the medical community talks about…but if he did, the same folks that are blaming him for incompetence and failure to do anything would be screaming from the rooftops that he had appointed himself President For Life.e

OK, enough of that…what are we really doing.

Not much.

We did get the second half of the broken hutch/china cabinet picked up by UPS today for return to Amazon so we’ll get that $1033 back and Connie picked out another one she likes almost as much from Rooms to Go online that we’ll see about ordering.

We have enough TP to last at least another 10 weeks or so…hopefully the supply chain will get back in gear and it will be available on store shelves by then. If not…we saved a couple hundred sheets of the 2 by 2 foot wrapping paper that some of our boxes in storage had stuff wrapped and cushioned in for emergency supplies.

We got food and booze and there will be enough food in the stores to keep us from starving. Last time we went out…Winn Dixie had pretty much everything we needed although the TP, paper towel, and sanitizer shelves were empty. Walmart has online ordering which according to some of Neil’s blogging buddies works pretty well so you just drive up and pick up your order…maybe we’ll try that. In reality though…we would run out of produce in probably another week and a half but we have plenty of noodles, pasta, rice, and enough so that we could probably go a month or 6 weeks without a grocery run if we had to…but at this point whether that will become necessary is up in then air somewhat. My guess is that the social distancing will help and we should start to see the infection curve turn flat and then down within the next 3-4 weeks.

That’s my story…and Ima sticking to it.

Neil did get a few photos since last time.

This is a Great Egret…identified by the black legs and yellow beak. Very similar to a Great White Heron but a different bird though.

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Some sort of lizard on our tree trunk…this is a male as evidence by the red pouch he expands under his neck.

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But mostly he just stood there.

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Scratching his itch.

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And his side which revealed his mating plumage a bit.

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This is Lagatha…the smaller of our two gators in the pond out back. About 5 to 6 feet compared to Ragnar’s 7-8…but I’m guessing on both the size as we didn’t go down and measure em and the sex is completely unknown…the only way to tell the sex of a gator is an internal exam of the reproductive tract.

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Interesting things found on the net.


New word.







This is an island on the tallest of 3 rocks about 6 miles off the coast of Iceland…notice the lighthouse on top. The lighthouse was built in 1939…well before the invention of the helicopter. Notice also the rock is about 120 feet high, has sheer sides, does not have any paths up the side, and doesn’t appear to have any place a boat can dock. Now ask yourself…(a) how the heck did they get the building materials up to the top since a floating crane would be bashed to pieces on the rock and isn’t tall enough anyway…and then how  do they get supplies and people out to the lighthouse. I have no idea…any more than I have about how the French built the lighthouse off the coast of Brittany in the second picture. The second one is only about 300 yards offshore so perhaps they built a temporary rock structure to provide dockage and crane footings…but the first one is 6 miles offshore and having spent many a week out in the North Atlantic Neil can tellya that it’s rarely calm out there…even on a calm day swells of 8 or 10 feet are pretty normal…and this is Iceland which is in the North Atlantic and based on his experience the seas in the photo are about as calm as it gets. I suppose given the amount of white water between the rocks that it might be shallow enough there for a temporary rock docking/crane area to have been constructed…and Connie thinks that once they got somebody to the top a hoist system could have been used instead of a crane although it would take many more lifts to get the job done. The third photo shows a wider view of the rocks…and according to the an old interview of the project director back in the 30s they carved a road out of the side of the rock.The lighthouse is named Þrídrangaviti…hey, it’s Icelandic so I don’t know what that first letter is and have no idea how to pronounce but I did see it anglicized as Thridrangar so mebbe that’s it…it has it’s own Facebook page…I’ve looked at all the photos there and I don’t see any signs of a road or even a spot where you could have built a road although down the right side in the first photo graph starting just at the helicopter pad there is a kinda/sorta/mebbe flattish are leading down and to the right/rear that could be the road remains, and given the arrangement of the 3 islets in the third photo that’s really the only feasible place to get a ship/barge with building supplies near enough to unload. I would fly out to visit it though…despite my figuring I’ve taken enough chances getting into a helicopter already.













Posted in Homebody, Reality Based Blogging | 2 Comments