Groundhog Day

Yep…just like in that famous movie…we keep reliving the same thing over and over. The covid flared up in case numbers but is now coming down again in Florida and especially over here on the SW Gulf coast…but it’s still spiking up and down as one looks around the country and nobody here at home really feels like much traveling is in the cards yet. International travel is still pretty iffy and has a lot of requirements so that’s out too.

Local Fun Stuff©…well it’s been hot and humid for going on 6 months and that means it’s too miserable to really go outside and do anything strenuous for any length of time…and in the summer there isn’t nearly as much wildlife to see and photograph and a hot, sweaty hike all by itself is kind of uninteresting.

So…Neil’s been settling for a bike ride every other day except for the past 3 weeks due to having some abdominal pain. That started a bit before my last post back in October. We originally thought it might be a bit of diverticulitis since his colonoscopy back in January revealed that he does have some diverticulosis which when it gets infected causes the former…Connie’s had it several times over the years and the location and type of pain sent us down that path. He contacted the GI guy and was on first an antispasmodic for 2 weeks then a week long regimen of double antibiotics…then a CT scan which revealed no diverticulitis and also eliminated other possible GI related issues…so the GI guy says to go back to the primary care guy. He’s had a similar pain a couple times over the past 25 years or so…back then it was diagnosed as mostly some scar tissue from vasectomy surgery back in the late ‘80s and what one retired navy physicians assistant said was sort of a pre-hernia condition. The PA said that a surgeon would recommend fixing it that way but with 2 instances in what was about 15 years at that time he didn’t think it was worth it…Neil agreed and did the Advil regimen for a couple weeks and it resolved itself. So…he’s trying that again and hasn’t biked in a couple of weeks but thinks he will start again this week but keeping it easy and low pressure. If that doesn’t help…he’ll try the primary care guy and see what gives.

We do have some updated IT gear in the house…3 of them although only 2 are actually here so far. Back just after my last post the SSD (solid state hard drive for those that might not know what that means) in his laptop died. It was a third party one that he installed himself to get more capacity. Not much of a worry…the folks at Otherworld Computing sent out a new one under warranty. He reinstalled the original Apple SSD back in temporarily while the bad one went in for evaluation and replacement and restored from backup…when the replacement arrived he cloned the original restored Apple one back to the replacement then swapped it back into the laptop.

He has been waiting on Apple to release updated Apple silicon MacBook Pros ever since Connie got her new M1 MacBook Air earlier in the year…despite it being the lowest end model with Apple’s new system on a chip it ran rings around his high end 2015 model MacBook Pro. However…he wanted the larger screen model and more external ports so has been waiting on this release. Add in the fact that most of the keys on his current one no longer have legible markings (good thing he touch types) and it was clearly past time for a new model. Apple released the upgraded models last month so he’s got a new one on order…at last check it was still noted as being “in transit” in Shanghai with no status updates since 3 days ago…very unusual for UPS…they’re usually much more informative on status. It isn’t anything to do with the container ship backlog over on the west coast…they get shipped on airplanes and generally go straight to the UPS hubs in the midwest rather than to the coast. It’s supposed to be here by Thursday according to Apple…UPS’s status page says “check back tomorrow for a delivery date update”.

We also upgraded our router…taking the single Archer model we had out of service as it only has 802.11ac wifi capability and once Neil’s new laptop gets here all of our devices except the iPhones will be capable of the faster and better 802.11ax standard. So…we upgraded to a mesh router system from Netgear named Orbi that supports the faster standard and since it has both a main router and a satellite wifi point that allowed him to switch the iMac file server and photo processing computer back in the office (editors note: we always call it ‘back in the office’ despite the fact that the office is actually in the front of the house facing the street…we figure it’s because we live in the great/family/kitchen room on the rear side…that’s our story and we’re asticking to it.)…anyways…he put the satellite Orbi in the office back there and that allowed him to put the iMac and printer on ethernet cables rather than wifi. Their network traffic still goes over wifi to the main router…but the Orbi has a separate 802.11ax channel between the two Orbi units so effectively those two slower wifi devices get upgraded to faster wifi since individually they’re on gigabit ethernet.

Apple also updated their iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and HomePod software last month…and released updated macOS 12 Monterey which supports both the new Apple silicon hardware as well as older Mac hardware back to prior to 2015. The IT department here at Casa de Laubenthal went ahead and updated everything but the Mac mini connected to our TV out in the entertainment center and the iMac file/photo processing computer. The former will eventually get done but it mostly serves as a network backup destination for our laptops and for the iMac he was waiting on the upgraded RAID software before doing that one. 

Based on the performance increase of the Apple silicon chips over the preceding models that run on Intel chips…basically the high end MacBook Pro introduced 2 weeks back is the best performing laptop of any brand by a wide margin and betters most desktop computers as well…the new chip is just that good…in fact several publications including some that have been traditionally anti-Apple oriented have said that the new laptop outperforms the current Intel powered Mac Pro professional workstation. Anyway…he’s probably going to upgrade the iMac to the Apple silicon powered one when the second generation iMac ships hopefully early next year. Apple has released the Apple silicon iMac already…but it’s only the low end model with a 24 inch screen and he needs the larger screen for photo processing. It’s a want more than a need of course…but he can afford it so why not is his thought.

Connie’s started back at choir…the middle of last month they started up Tuesday afternoon rehearsals and they’re back singing again. The good news is that she really likes that…the bad news for her is that since she is also a cantor and since St. Therese shifted back to 3 masses on Sunday and one on Saturday she is doing 2 masses most weekends. The bad news for Neil is that unless she is cantering at a non-choir mass he doesn’t get to sit with here like he’s been doing for over a year. For choir masses…he will return to sitting over near the choir in what he and the other choir spouses call the ‘choir groupie section’.

We continue to mostly minimize contact with outside people as much as possible…the Elks is pretty much the same group all the time so we go maskless there…in fact most places in our area have gone to no mask required…and while we’ve returned to eating out for Date Night on Mondays instead of Neil getting takeout we still are trying to eat al fresco in the quasi-open air seating area or maintaining social distancing if we eat inside.

Several interesting news items this week to talk about though.

There was an
article this week
 from 9News which is a TV station down under that talked about the coveted “Bird of the Year” award in Aussieland. Now I’ve never heard of this coveted award…but apparently it’s a thing down there and is sponsored by the New Zealand’s Forest & Bird association…and this year’s edition (it’s a public vote thing) attracted a record 56,733 votes. Last year’s winner was the kakapo…a fat, flightless, and nocturnal parrot…in fact the kakapo is the world’s heaviest and largest parrot family member. It was on the critically endangered list back in the 1990s but has recovered from near extinction to just endangered. Anyways…that was last year’s winner. The winner of the 2021 edition of the award was announced in the article…and here’s a portrait of the winner.

Long tailed bat 2021

Yes…your eyes do not deceive you and you do not need an emergency eye exam…this year’s winner is that famous Aussie bird of prey…the long tailed bat. Now never mind that this is a BAT…a mammal that gives birth to live young and does not lay eggs…it’s still the winner of the coveted Bird of the Year award.

You probably read about the COP26 climate conference over in Scotland this week. Mostly it was a bunch of greenies and progressives demanding that we end using coal, oil, and gas and shift completely and immediately to renewable energy sources despite numerous technical, physics, and economic challenges to doing so. I don’t really want to get into a long discussion about climate change…but suffice it to say that yes, climate is changing but despite what some claim it is essentially impossible to determine whether this is random variation that has happened ever since the earth was formed or what factors might be causing it. It is not “settled science” as some say since there is no such thing as settled science. Also…yes, use of fossil fuels does contribute to some extent to changes in climate…but how much, how much can really be done about it, and whether those things are either physically possible to achieve or economically possible to achieve is subject to a lot of debate. That’s not the real story here though…or the reason for this section…

The first bit is the sheer hypocrisy of those attending the conference. In their zeal to be woke and claim to be “fighting climate change tooth and nail”…everybody that was anybody decided that they needed to show up. The hypocrisy part is in how they got to Scotland for the conference. Attendees used in excess of 400 private jets to fly in because their time was too important to waste on things like commercial airliners or trains or electric cars or whatever. Yes…some of the attendees were coming from overseas so airplane travel was probably necessary…but one would think that the political optics would have pushed them to use commercial transportation rather than private jets. Commercial aircraft cause the same issues as private ones do…but the impact is spread out over many more passengers per flight. This is just another case of hypocritical “rules are for thee, not for me” attitude that progressives tend to demand.

The other issue about the conference is that…and I never thought that I would type these words…Neil actually agrees with one thing  one of the greenies said this week…but he says it’s ok because the very next thing said was completely the there’d of the loony spectrum.

You’ve probably heard or or read of Greta Thunberg…she’s the 18 year old Swedish Aspergers foul mouthed climate activist that’s been the star of the green movement for more than 3 years…but her accomplishments have been far outweighed by her press and the media darling adoration she has received. Anyway…she said earlier this week that the current in vogue by lots of big companies and ‘community leaders’ of using carbon offsets…essentially donating money to causes to offset their use of carbon fuels for their limousines, Hummers, and private jets…anyway Greta said that carbon offsets are a “dangerous climate lie” and is “hypocrisy…risking human rights transgressions and to harm already vulnerable communities.” All of those are absolutely correct…and that’s the part I never thought I would type…that normal people like Neil would actually agree with her.

Of course…the next thing she said after “storming out of a session” was that the entire conference was “greenwashing” as she accused banks and fossil fuel firms of “trying to scale up offsetting and give polluters a free pass to keep polluting.”

there is this
…Dr. Fauci was testifying Thursday at a Senate hearing into the origins of the COVID-19 virus and pandemic. Dr. Fauci denied…again…that the NIH promoted or paid for what is known as “gain of function” research. “Gain of function” is a currently controversial method of trying to modify viruses in the lab to get them to mutate and gain function in effect or propagation to help prevent or predict natural mutations that might do the same thing…kind of a heads up thing on potential future virus variants. The good news is that sometimes it works…the bad news is that there is a distinct possibility that the lab modified virus might escape from the lab. That doesn’t mean the lab was trying to weaponize it or that it was deliberately released…there is still a lot of controversy about the origins of this particular virus and I doubt that we’ll ever get a definitive answer. There is considerable evidence that it could have been accidentally released due to improper lab biosafety precautions that infected a worker and they carried it home to the community in Wuhan…and there is considerable evidence that it could have naturally mutated…but there is no smoking gun or incontrovertible evidence of either alternative.

The additional bad news is that Congress…some years back…passed legislation making it illegal for US government funds to be spent on gain of function research. I guess that is the reason for Dr. Fauci’s continuous and repeated denials…or else the fact that he doesn’t want to admit that he lied to Congress under oath before when he denied it was being done. Additionally…while he is currently the COVID Tzar…he technically works for and is paid by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)…and the NIH has admitted that they do and did pay for gain of function testing at the Wuhan lab…but the NIH claims it wasn’t against the law because they gave a grant to a non governmental organization who then used the grant to pay for the gain of function testing, Whether that dodge is also illegal is still under investigation. When challenged by Senator Rand…Dr. Fauci attempted to explain away the definition of gain of function by pointing that the definition on the NIH website no longer said that…it had been changed earlier in the week. Dr. Fauci has repeatedly denied that the pandemic started as an accidental escape from the Wuhan lab…and I have no real proof either way…but if one looks at the preponderance of the studies, evidence and the interpretation thereof with an unbiased eye…it appears that the accidental release has a higher probability of being correct than the naturally mutation theories. We’ll never know the truth…partly because it’s almost impossible to determine for sure but also because even if the government was internally sure that it was an accidental release the official US government position is that it was a natural phenomenon and they’ll bury any conclusions that are contrary to that position.

Neil did get a few photos for ya out back…the wildlife is starting to return as the weather gets cooler…and we’re able to turn the A/C off and get the windows and doors open most days now…yay for that.

This is a Red Shouldered Hawk from our time out in Cody WY in 2019…Neil’s reprocessed it with a new version of Lightroom which includes some AI ability to automagically figure out the actual subject of a photo and select just it…I have no idea how it works but it does. This allowed him to blur out the background more than in the original shot from when I posted it back then…giving that nice creamy bokeh background make your subject stand out.

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Our neighborhood Green Iguana is back…though it probably never left but just hid in the shade a lot.

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As is our favorite pretty much human habituated Great Blue Heron…again the Select Subject feature in Lightroom made processing these a lot less time consuming than before.

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OK…that’s enough headlines, let’s see what we can find in the category of…

Interesting things found on the net.

This is what is known as the Wärtsilä-Sulzer RTA96-C…it’s a two stroke, turbocharged, inline, low speed diesel engine built in Finland for use in large container ships that run on heavy fuel oil. This is the largest version which has 14 cylinders and is 44 feet high and 87 feet long…producing 107,390 horsepower. The cylinders are 38 inches in diameter and the piston stroke is 100 inches…maximum speed is a whopping 120 rpm. Engine displacement is 1,828 liters per cylinder or almost 112,000 cubic inches.In other words…it’s a danged big engine. Fuel economy sucks though…it burns about 10.5 tons of fuel per hour or about 277 gallons per hour. Container ships speed range from 10 to 25 knots but average around 18 or so for fuel economy…which when you do the math results in about 22 mph so the ship gets about 0.08 miles per gallon. Like I said…it sucks but it’s still overall the cheapest way of transporting large quantities of anything.


There are 14 axles on that trailer so assuming that it is a dualley that’s 56 tires carrying a load of 2300 tons of engine plus the trailer which has got to be at least another 40 or so tons…that would be 42 tons per tire…so I’m guessing there’s a lot more tires under there than that.

In astronomy…you’ve probably all seen the image known as the Hubble Deep Field…


This image was taken back in 1995 and included 340 separate exposures. It covers an area about as large as a tennis ball at 100 meters distance and almost all of the 3,000+ objects are complete galaxies. It’s an impressive shot and shows how much is really out there in the universe. However…the folks at NASA and JPL decided that isn’t good enough so they tried again…and the result is the Hubble Extreme Deep Field image.

The Extreme Deep Field image is smaller in area and is about the size of a marble at 100 meters…this image contains about 5,500 objects and every one is a galaxy. Wow. However…the overpriced and designed to be relatively short lived compared to Hubble James Webb Telescope to be launched next month will be…assuming it survives it’s launch and the extremely complex path to deployment a million miles from earth and including something like 340 single points of failure. It’s being launched down in South America by the French Ariane 5 booster because NASA doesn’t have a booster with large enough satellite fairing for it. The Webb telescope is way over budget…it started at $500 million and is now over $10 billion…and something like 10 years behind schedule…so far behind in fact that it’s been completely redesigned twice over the years since it’s inception. Hopefully nothing goes wrong.

Since it was Halloween last weekend…here’s a couple for the albeit a little late.



Some of these require a little more thought…


Physics 1, anatomy 0.

PhysicsOne AnatomyZero





Posted in Critters, Nature, Photography, Technology, WIldlife | Leave a comment

It’s Like Deja Vu…All Over Again

Yep…either that or Groundhog Day…it just seems like it’s the same old same old day after day. The title by the way…comes from a guy who had a lot of strange sayings…Yogi Berra.

Although…we did have a couple of newsworthy items…all it might depend on your definition of newsworthy. 

Last week…Connie’s choir rehearsal started up again for the season. She’s been sining alto for many years because she can actually read the music and sing the non melody line in the various 4 part harmony music the choir does…and altos are pretty rare in her choir…for a half dozen years or so there have really only been about 5 of them compared to 15 or so sopranos…but at least they’re not as minuscule a number as the men in the tenor and bass section, there might be 5 or so men total most of the time. And very few of them…men or women…can read music or sing anything but the melody line. In fact…most of the so called sopranos aren’t really sopranos at all but simply can’t do anything but sing the melody line.

Connie…on the other hand…is really sort of a mezzo soprano actually…she’s got a much better range than most singers do. So…the last time there was choir which was over a year ago…she was singing alto most of the time but came over and sang the soprano descant parts as well…that’s the part that goes really high and has the elaborate runs and such much like a coloratura soprano would sing…then back to the alto section for most hymns. Her director Marge decided that the soprano section really needed the help…so asked Connie to move over permanently and sing soprano and descant parts exclusively.

The good news is that she’s happy…the bad news is that now that choir is back in session Neil can’t sit with her when she’s cantoring unless it’s not at the choir mass…that means he will have to go back to what he and a couple of other husbands always called the choir groupie section of the congregation.

Neil’s got some sort of intestinal thing going on…not sure if it’s diverticulitis or a hernia or just old age at this point. He started hurting on his left side down low 3 or 4 weeks ago and is on his second round of “let’s try this drug before we do an office visit or more testing” this week with a double whammy of those scorched earth kill everything in your intestinal system antibiotics. Fortunately…they usually don’t tear up his stomach as bad as they do Connie’s…but it’s still uncomfortable and makes him feel crappy. The pain has subsided to just an ache/tender at this point rather than acute pain. We’re not sure why the doc didn’t have him come in before trying the drugs…maybe it’s the corona and minimizing office visits thing…or maybe it’s he fact that his PA is no longer there and he has to see all of his own patients…or maybe something else entirely. The bad news is that one of the antibiotics is Flagyl…which means no booze…which means no cocktail hour for him. Bummer.

He also had a crown prep last week and goes back on the 29th to get it installed…the filling there has been slowly deteriorating over the past couple of years and the dentist said it was time to replace it…and it was too large to put a new one in so it gets the crown instead. 

Things are pretty much same-o same-o outside of the above…so let’s see what else is going on.

As I said…it’s starting to be like fall with cooler weather and lower humidity…we’re able to open up for at least an hour or two about half the mornings now and are able to get out on the lanai and grill without being soaked through when we come back in although it’s not nice enough to actually eat out there yet…but we’re getting closer. 

In line with the cooler weather…the wildlife has started to return to our pond…and today’s missive includes the first 3 birds of the season…a Great Egret and a couple of different Great Blue Herons…photos below.

The Great Egret showed up first about 10 days back.

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Then a week ago the Great Blue Heron

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Then yesterday a different Great Blue showed up and he (Neil thinks it was a he anyway) seemed pretty acclimatized to humans as it let him walk up within about 30 feet and just ignored him. It was trying to eat an already dead fish…but his eyes were bigger than his beak and neck I guess as it never was able to get it down and finally gave up and moved on.

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Hopefully the critters will continue to return so we’ll have more photos to share.

Interesting things found on the net.

You might remember from back in high school chemistry that things were measured in moles and that a mole of any chemical contained the same number of molecules…it is called Avogadro’s Number which is 6.023 times 10 to the 23 power. Anyway…you might have wondered just how big that number is. Well…if you had an Avogadro’s number of dollars and spent them at the rate of 1 billion dollars per second…it would still take you 19 million years to go broke.

Then there’s this…we’ve talked before about the Fibonacci sequence which is a sequence of numbers such that each one is the sum of the two before it…you know 1 then 1, then 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…and so on. Anyway…if you take the fraction 1 divided by 89 and then look at the result…here’s what you get.


Much like the Pythagorean theorem, the Golden ration, Pi, and many other numbers…this Fibonacci thing keeps showing up throughout nature and science. 

Do you play chess? Most people have at least some familiarity with the game…but have you ever wondered if every possible chess game has already been played. Me…I never wondered that but darn it all…those geeks in the math world have thought about it for us and figured out the answer. 

The modern version of chess has been around for about 500 years and if we assume that about 1% of all the people who have lived in the past 500 years played a game a day for 50 years…when you do the math that’s about 10 million million games played or 10 to the 13th power. However…each move in a chess game opens up about 38 additional legal moves and the total possible number of moves is about 10 to the 126th power assuming the average game takes 40 moves. That number is more than the number of particles in the visible universe…so the answer is no, every possible game hasn’t been played.

Jen…make sure you ‘splain that last one to Alex.








And finally…

Apple TermsAndConditions


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It’s Starting To Feel Like Fall

Well…fall for southern Florida at least…there won’t be any leaf colors to be had but temperature and humidity wise we’re starting to see some changes for the better.

No post for 17 days…but ya know why doncha? It’s because you can only say nothing’s going on so many times before running out of ways to say it. Nonetheless…Ima gonna give ‘er a try.

We did have 3 somewhat momentous occasions since 9/11…a trip to the dentist for our semi annual cleaning, Connie got trained up as a volunteer bartender at the Elks Lodge, and we went to the FLoE (Florida Ladies of Elks) convention up in St. Augustine this past weekend.

Dentist…not much to say there. Cleaned and all is good but one of Neil’s fillings needs to be replaced and it’s too large so he’s got an appointment for a crown in a couple weeks and we’ve got appointments 6 months from now for our next cleaning.

Connie the bartender…well, she’s been doing a bang up job muddlin’ here at home but sometimes the Elks need some bartending help. There’s a paid one most of the time but whenever she’s not available one of the Elks members fills in as a volunteer…unpaid except for whatever tips they collect but that’s like 20 bucks tops. There are only 3 or so of them now so Connie volunteered to get trained up and help out. She spent parts of 2 nights learning the routine and last week she essentially went solo as the paid bartender just stood by in case she needed assistance and gave her the go ahead to work solo when it might be necessary. 

Oh yeah…there was Italian Night as well so I guess that makes 4 momentous things. Dinner was $20 and included spaghetti and meatballs, Italian sausage, shrimp scampi and tiramisu for dessert as well as a glass of house wine. All the food was cooked by some of the female Elks or spouses of Elks with the lodge picking up the cost of the ingredients…so a decent amount went into the charity kitty the Elks use to fund their various good deeds.

Last weekend it was the Florida Ladies of Elks…or FLoE…convention up at the Embassy Suites St. Augustine right on the beach. We drove up Friday morning and got there early afternoon. Connie had a practice for the passed members memorial service, then in the evening it was the banquet. For a banquet meal the food was actually pretty good…salmon for Connie and airline chicken for Neil and it actually wasn’t over cooked like most banquet chicken is. Neil had never heard of airline chicken but essentially it’s a boneless breast but they leave the upper section of the wing and its bone attached…the upper section is the one like a chicken leg and is roughly comparable to the upper arm on a people arm. Dunno why they leave that bone in but obviously it’s something that the airlines used to do back in the olden days when they actually gave you food on the plane…hence the name.

The other thing about the banquet was that Neil apparently inherited a harem…while we were sitting out at the free Manager’s Happy Hour before dinner a couple of the ladies were talking about how they always went out with this couple and referred to themselves as the man’s harem. Once we got into the banquet Neil was the only non female at the table so the group volunteered to be his harem for the evening since that other guy wasn’t around. 

Here’s s shot of them all…there were actually two more that came to the convention together but one of them started feeling disoriented after an afternoon on the beach and happy hour…it seemed like she was just dehydrated so Neil and her friend took her back to their room so she could rest. She was better by the next morning so all was good there.

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Saturday Connie had meetings all day and then the Delegate Reception in the evening. While she was gone Neil sat in the room until lunchtime…he was originally going to go and take some pictures of the lighthouse and fort a couple miles away…but by the time they finished breakfast the sun was well past the golden hour that photographers love so he blew it off. About noontime he walked across to the Circle K and got lunch then went down to the pool area and took a nap in the shade for a couple hours. Connie found him after the convention sessions, memorial service, and installation of officers and they met a couple of her friends from our LoE group for the Manager’s Happy Hour before the reception…no reason to turn down free cocktails ya know.

Sunday we were up early for 0800 Mass a couple miles south on the beach and then we headed home, arriving back about 1400.

And that’s about it…you’re now up to date with all the happenings.

This morning when we got up it was cooler outside than inside…first time that’s happened since April or so…so we opened up the front and back doors for a couple hours to get some fresh air. Dinner tonight will be leftover BBQ ribs from last evening’s Date Night feast.

And that’s about all the news fit to print. Still no wildlife to speak of although the sightings are starting to pick up a bit as the weather cools off…we’re really looking forward to being able to turn the A/C off and open the windows for fresh air. That will happen sometime in October and then we’ll essentially be open most of the time until the late spring.

We briefly considered flying over to the UK late this month for a Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony concert but decided to pass based on the testing requirements. At the time we were thinking about it…the UK required a negative covid test within 72 hours of arrival and the US required another one before coming home…and at the cost it just wasn’t worth it for a single concert. 

Interesting things found on the net…these are some old ones since Neil’s laptop drive crashed. Luckily it’s under warranty and even as I type the new one is winging it’s way back to us…but he doesn’t have easy access to all the good ones he had for ya…well, actually he does but he’s using a temporary drive in his laptop and doesn’t want to rebuild it twice so had to use some old ones.





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Remember Today

Today is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on NCY and the Pentagon…which ultimately were the initial reason for the debacle last month in Afghanistan…so a little history is in order.

Before I get into that…our update is pretty much the same as the last couple…we’re mostly staying home. Connie got trained as a volunteer bartender for the Elks Lodge so she can help out when needed. Other than that…it’s pretty much Groundhog Day ‘round here.

As everybody knows…3 airliners were crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that day with the loss of almost 3,000 innocent folks along with the religious extremists who hijacked the planes. A fourth plane was also taken over and the best guess is that it’s target was the Capitol building in DC but in those days the cockpit doors weren’t reinforced and locked and the passengers voted attempted to retake the plane…they knew they were going to die anyway at that point so decided to stop the last plane. The result was that the pilot rolled the plane onto its back and nose dived into the ground up in PA.

A little known story about that day is that a pair of Air Force pilots from Langley AFB took off to intercept the airliner that eventually crashed in PA…their orders were to bring the plane down…but there was one problem with those orders…their F-16s were unarmed and despite going to battle stations immediately after the first plane impacted up in NYC there was insufficient time to either mount missiles on the aircraft or load the guns with ammunition. Those two pilots were going to suicide into the airliner to prevent it reaching DC…the male flight leader was going to impact the cockpit and the female wingman was going to hit the tail. Their plan…as revealed in an interview Neil read this week…was to deliberately ram the airliner simultaneously to bring it down. Nothing in the article mentioned whether they would try to survive or not…but my guess is that they would have tried to hit the airliner with the bottom of their fighter at a sufficient closing speed to bring it down and then eject from their now unflyable fighters. However…both of them described it as a suicide mission so it might have been a ram straight into them to break the airliner into pieces. Neil’s guess is that hitting the bottom of the fighter into the tail and cockpit would be sufficient to bring the plane down while still allowing the pilots a possibility of an ejection…although whether they would have survived is questionable since the long time survival rate of ejecting from an aircraft is just about 50%. We won’t ever know as the brave folks on the airliner solved the problem though.

We (the US intelligence agencies) knew pretty quickly that it was primarily Saudi citizens in the terrorist group but that they had trained in Iraq and/or Afghanistan…hence our reason for invading to take them out. That part succeeded pretty well…but nation building in that part of the world is pretty much impossible. As I noted a couple blogs ago…countries over there can generally be grouped into -stan countries or -ia countries…the latter consider their loyalty to be to the country while the former consider loyalty to their tribe and clan to be of utmost importance. Add in the government corruption that is endemic in most third world countries (and even a lot of second world countries for that matter) and our likelihood of success in turning Afghanistan into a functioning country with a democratic government was pretty low.

But as I said the other day…although the occupation was initiated by a Republican President…he had almost universal support from the Congress…it passed 98-0 in the Senate which was 50/50 and 420-1 in the Republican (barely) controlled House…and for good reason…the US was attacked and at that point we were justified in responding. 

Unfortunately…after the initial goal was accomplished the whole operation went off the rails…and 4 Presidents (2 of each party) presided over the policy for the past 20 years. The honest answer is…it was way, way past time for us to leave and let the Afghan government sink or swim on it’s own merits…even though we knew that the government would not last against the rejuvenated Taliban, that the Taliban would take over and reestablish their repressive government with malice towards women and anybody that assisted the previous government of the United States and NATO forces. Yes…the previous administration signed the deal with the Taliban for us to leave…admit was a stupid deal for many reasons…not the least of which was that it was negotiated without the participation of the existing Afghan government…but it was a deal nonetheless. When the current administration took over…there was no hesitancy to stop the border wall, the suspension of DACA, various pipeline projects, and pretty much every other policy set into motion by the previous administration…mostly for no reason beyond they were set into motion by the previous administration. The sole exception to the “kill everything the Trump administration did” policy was the agreement to leave Afghanistan…this one was left in place purely and simply because President Biden had long opposed us being there going back to his role in the Obama administration…and because he wanted to be the one to “end America’s longest war”…although that’s not really true either…our longest war is Korea which is legally still going on since 1950…but I digress.

So leaving was and is the right idea…and I support the President for making the decision and sticking to his campaign promise despite complaints to the contrary. However…again as I said in previous posts…the conduct of the withdrawal is totally owned by the current administration and not any of the other 3 administrations involved in the whole operation. Depending on who you listen to in the administration…the Trump folks left either no plan, an inadequate plan, or a plan that was already in place and was executed by the Biden administration. No matter which one of those reports is correct…this one is on President Biden. If there was no plan or an inadequate plan…then his administration should have delayed the withdrawal and made a better plan. If they deemed the plan adequate and simply executed it…then they also own it.

Now if President Trump had won reelection…it would still have been the complete Charley Foxtrot as they say in the military that it turned out to be…and we would be reading in all the mainstream media how it was completely President Trump’s fault…but since he lost the media and administration are still blaming it on him. The truth of the matter is that whatever the plan was…it was driven not by military people but by administration policy people who simply don’t have a clue what they’re doing when planning a military operation. We saw this after the fact of Bin Laden’s death…President Obama in the bunker at the White House directing the attack from Washington instead of giving the military a job to do and letting them figure out how to do it and execute the plan.

At the very least…we should have informed the Taliban that we would be doing the following and to screw with us at their peril. Then…get all US citizens, green card holders, and authorized residents out of the country. Get all the Afghan people who helped us out of the country. And we should not have left any operable equipment behind. Tanks, helicopters, personnel carriers, HMMVs…drain the oil out of them, drain the transmission fluid, start the engine and put a brick on the gas pedal and drive them back and forth until the engine and transmission seizes…then set a thermite destruct charge on top of the instrumentation/avionics/whatever. Ammo, missiles, and such…EOD folks know how to blow those things up. Gas and diesel supplies…likewise EOD can handle that as well.

The whole withdrawal was…frankly speaking…an abortion. A riot would have been better organized.

Ok…let’s see what else is going on.

Oh yeah…apparently legal restrictions (at least in the state of VA) don’t apply any longer.

Back in 1889…a group of private citizens built a memorial to Robert E. Lee and placed it on one of the main thoroughfares in Richmond. Now before you go off on the “it’s racist” thing…whether it should or should not be there really isn’t the question here…so bear with me for a minute. The state legislature passed a joint resolution…which essentially makes it a state law…which said that the state would “faithfully guard” and “maintain” the statue if it was turned over to be state property. Then the private citizen owners deeded the statue and the land it sits on over to the state and the deed as signed and registered 150odd years ago contains those provisions. 

Now…just like when you buy a house…there are codes, covenants, and restrictions and HoA requirements that you must abide by…because the deed for your property says you have to. For private homeowners…simply saying that you don’t want to be restricted in the color you can paint your house will just get laughed out of court because of the CCRs and HoA restrictions. Unfortunately…at least in the state of VA…if you’re the government the law doesn’t apply to you.

So some 150odd years later our progressives have decided that we need to erase slavery, the Civil War, and the Confederacy from the history books. That’s a really stupid idea…it’s history after all and nothing can change the fact that it happened. However…progressives being what they are…there have been lawsuits for years over this and other Confederacy related statues on the same road in Richmond.

Long story short…a week or so ago the VA Supreme Court declared via unanimous decision that the deed no longer needed to be followed. Their justification was that “democracy is dynamic” and “the government of the commonwealth is entitled to select the views it supports and the values it wants to express”. In other words…since policy today is that anything associated with the Confederacy is evil and must be expunged…that overrides the legal deed requirements that a previous government agreed to. When you really get down to it…fundamentally the states that left the union said the same thing…but unfortunately they lost the Civil War and it’s the winners that get to write the history and make the rules.

This is simply legislating from the bench…it’s a bunch of progressives saying that “it doesn’t matter what the law says…this is what we want”…and that isn’t the foundation this country was built on. I agree that slavery was wrong…and in my view it would have died out anyway as the South transitioned into an industrial economy in the late 1800s and early 1900s and uneducated/unskilled slave labor really doesn’t work in an industrial economy…but the fact is that slavery existed…and it was legal…and it was supported and enabled by ship owners in the Northern states who sailed over to Africa and bought black people from other black people who captured them. All of that was legal back then…and all of that is illegal today. However…you simply cannot reasonably judge the actions and culture of any time period of any country in history by today’s standards. You must judge them by the social, legal, and moral standards that existed at the time. Yes…those standards are different from those in the 2020s…but what happened back before the Civil War was normal and acceptable by the standards of the time.

In other news…up in DC the Democrats are continuing to jam through their human infrastructure $3.5 trillion reconciliation social justice warrior wish list. This naturally includes a complete shift to electric vehicles and renewable electric power sources. They’re conveniently ignoring the fact that the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow…as well as the fact that the places that are best for solar or wind power are all located in the midwest and west and the heavy power demands are on the coasts, along with the fact that the transmission grid to get power from where it’s available to where it’s needed simply doesn’t exist. They’re also ignoring the fact that there is no currently technical feasible means of storing excess solar/wind generated power for when it’s needed at night or when the wind isn’t blowing…the bill says that technical advances will solve that problem…essentially they are legislatively mandating scientific progress…which anybody with 2 functioning brain cells know is impossibly stupid. President Biden announced this week that workers will earn high wages for preparing for climate change…according to the President these wages will be in the $45 to $50 an hour range and not the $7 to $12 range. For those of you keeping score at home…even $45 per hour is $93,600 a year…and this is in a country where the average salary is about $52,000 and the median salary is a bit over $34,000. So all of those jobs he’s promising will be about double the current average salary in the country. Right. 

He also says that they (progressives and Democrats) are going to “tax the rich and corporations” to pay for their plans…but we know that won’t be happening because even if you confiscated 100% of the assets of every billionaire in the country it doesn’t add up to $3.5 trillion. According to the IRS data…61% of US households in the US paid zero income tax in 2020…this is up from the 47% when Mitt Romney was running for President and was so roundly ridiculed for stating that correct percentage. That 61% is the largest percentage of zero tax payers since WWII when the income tax was expanded to all earners. The top 1% of earners pay 42% of all the income tax collected and nearly 26% of all federal taxes…that’s twice the share paid by the bottom 60% of earners. Yet the progressives continue to lie and say that the “rich aren’t paying their fair share” and “they need to just pay a little bit more”. As Mark Twain said…”Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

We are starting to observe some wildlife again as summer wanes and we get into mid September.

Connie spotted this iguana across the other side of the pond so Neil wandered out and got his picture from out back.

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Neil spotted this Red Bellied Woodpecker in the tree just outside our bedroom window…only about 6 feet from the house. He had to take this shot through the window and screen because (a) he didn’t have any clothes on as he just came in from biking and was on the way to the shower and (b) he (the bird) would have flown off by the time he got dressed and out and would have flown off anyway when Neil opened the door. 

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We saw a Black Racer snake a couple times but they move really fast so we were unable to get a photo…it seems to live in the bushes between our house and the one to the immediate south next door. It is about 3-½ feet long or so and they look like this shot Neil cribbed from the ‘net courtesy of

Yeah…it’s a snake, it’s black, and it moves fast…hence the name. It’s a constrictor and will eat anything it can kill…but instead of wrapping around it and crushing the life out of it like a boa constrictor or python does it presses it into the ground until it’s dead and then eats it.


Black Racer Rescue IMG 1956

These two aren’t wildlife…but illustrate one of the three really crappy things about being in southern FL in the summer. Yeah…there’s the heat and humidity thing but air conditioning mostly takes care of those. But the pollen is terrible. You can see across by the opposite bank the film laying on the water…and it’s like this every day. We’ll really be happy in another month or so when those three things are a thing of the past until May or so.

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Interesting things found on the net.

This was advertised as being either a marriage proposal or a drug deal…but the proposal was discounted as neither is on one knee. OTOH, the best comment on the thread was that one of them was drawing on his paw and saying “you sneak around the front of the camper and I’ll come in from the back”.


Next in line.


Elephant butt slide.


And a couple more math nerd ones Neil ran across.

Researchers from Kent’s School of Biosciences in the UK have discovered the universal mathematical formula that can describe any bird’s egg existing in nature, a feat which has been unsuccessful until now. Here’s the formula.


So…everybody knows about the Pythagorean theorem…it’s the one that says a squared + b squared = c squared where the letters are the lengths of the sides of a right triangle with c being the side opposite the right angle…it’s named that because it was supposedly invented by a Greek guy named…you guessed it…Pythagorus. Except…it’s not. The clay disk below is from the Babylonian period about 3700 years ago was recently decoded by an Aussie math nerd and it contains…you guessed it…the oldest known example of applied geometry using the same theorem…and this clay disk is 1,000 years older than the time of Pythagorus. Much like the light bulb being “invented” by Thomas Edison…this is another piece of history that in the words of Abraham Lincoln as quoted by Bill Lepp on the Man vs. History show on History Channel is “…only history if it’s true”. That’s actually a pretty good show…he takes things that are supposedly history…recreates some of them and investigates others and tries to determine if “it’s true, false, or somewhere in between”. Bill is a storyteller much in the same vein and stye as Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs is…I highly recommend giving it a whirl. He’s recently examined Billy the Kid, Steel Driving John Henry, Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, the Alamo, and the Hamilton vs Burr duel…and none of them are quite as stellar examples of true history as they seem. Really good show.

This is Viète’s formula is this infinite product of nested radicals representing the mathematical constant π. It is named after François Viète (1540–1603), who published it in 1593 in his work Variorum de Rebus Mathematicis Responsorum, Liber VIII.


Then there’s Euler’s Number…aka e…which again appears everywhere through mathematics, physics, and engineering…it was discovered in 1683 by Jacob Bernoulli (yep, the same guy the Bernoulli Equation for energy is named after…he was a busy guy).


CalculatingValueOfeYou picked a fine time to leave me loose wheels (paraphrasing the favorite song from Neil’s first submarine).




Our friend Gail sent us this one…and we noted that it’s the spittin’ image of her husband Frank. I wonder if she also sees the resemblance.


And finally…although this one might have been better in the math nerds section…



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

So…We Discovered The Strangest Thing Today

At least the humans Connie and Neil thought it was strange…Ima justa cuddly bear and don’t waste brain power trying to figger stuff like this out.

Lessee…updates from the house. We had the first death of somebody we actually knew from COVID…a fellow named Greg down at the Elks. He was early 50s but overweight and with some blood pressure problems but had moved down here several years back from up north someplace. His kids came down and one of them turned out to be positive and he turned up positive. Never got the vaccine…apparently he wasn’t much of a shot person…so when his symptoms got bad he went into the hospital, thence onto a ventilator…and passed away after a couple of weeks. We’ll have another one in the near future…the maintenance guy over at Saint Therese parish is also on a ventilator with failing organs.

Both of them were pretty nice folks…always a friendly conversation when we went into the lodge or the church. Neil and Connie actually sat next to Greg at the bar in the Elks (3 weeks or more back now so we’re just fine) the night before his positive test and he seemed just fine then. He was really a lot like most RV folk…strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.

I don’t know about Greg and why he didn’t get vaccinated…but the guy at church is a pretty far right wing guy and I imagine got all caught up in the political BS over being vaccinated or not…terrible to do something that seems really dumb and end up on a ventilator because of ridiculous political disagreements.

It turns out that Connie has never in her life had the southern dish shrimp and grits…mostly because back in the day it was a southern only thing and not seen much outside the south and then later on by the time it was more widespread on the menu she had discovered her allergy to shrimp…well, actually the preservative that gets dumped on the shrimp (most of the time) right after they come out of the water and go on the ice. She discovered back in her laboratory inspection days this allergy…for several years before that she sort of got tingly lips when she ate shrimp but was off on an inspection trip and had a plate of 30 shrimp scampi at the restaurant…then discovered her skin getting blotchy and hands swelling up. After a quick all to the local hospital…they told her to come straight to the emergency room and report immediately to the check in station. She did so…the nurse took one look at her and yelled down the hall “we got an anaphylactic shock here” and within 3 minutes. She was on a gurney with an IV, some adrenaline or whatever they give you for that and they were lubing up her rings to get them off before they had to cut them off.

The only reason we know it’s the preservative is because of Neil’s mothers’s ancient allergist who…after Connie went through lots of allergy testing to figure it out and they told her it wasn’t shrimp she was allergic to and they had no idea what caused the problem…his mother asked her old time allergist and he told her it was the preservative…he called it ShrimpFresh but it probably comes in dozens of brand names of the same chemical.

Pro tip here…if you ever have a stuck ring and it won’t come off…you probably tried cooking oil or vaseline or some similar sort of lubricant and found it didn’t work all that well. The solution here…is Windex…yeah, the stuff you clean glass with. Spray that on the ring and finger and it slips right off. We learned this not at any medical facility but at a jewelry store in the upper midwest someplace where Neil needed to get his wedding ring stretched a little a couple years back.

So…back to the story…after that episode in Birmingham AL she doesn’t eat shrimp any more…only had it once since and that was some that Bryan’s father in law caught himself so we knew it was clean.  That means that Neil never gets shrimp either unless we are out at a restaurant because he’s just too lazy to cook both shrimp for him and something else for her…that means twice the work and twice the pans as the pan that cooks the shrimp gets contaminated and that would not be Good Eats© for her.

He was reading one of his travel blogs the other day and the author’s wife made him shrimp and grits for dinner…and Neil thought…heck, I’l just make scallops and grits instead…thanks Nick. Basically you cook yourself some grits…Neil used some instant ones he has flavored with cheese and jalapeño peppers but he cooked them on the stove for awhile with milk and butter instead of water and then added some cream so they were much more like fresh made. For those of you not familiar with the dish…you cut up some bacon and cook that and set it aside, then cook the scallops in the bacon grease. Set those aside and add some onions, roasted garlic, and basil pesto along with a spoonful or so of pizza sauce and some white wine…so you end up with a relatively thin and slightly red sauce. Plate the grits, bacon on top, then the scallops and top with the sauce. Then you take your good $50 a bottle really thick aged balsamic vinegar and do the swirly presento thing and grate some Parmesan Reggiano on top, add a glass of wine…and voila.


Mighty darned tasty…you coulda put that in front of them at an Eye-talian restaurant and charged them 30 bucks a plate and they would have gladly paid it.

Ok…the strangest thing.

Ya know how if you put a bunch of women working together in the same office their periods tend to synchronize? Yep…if you didn’t already know that…they do. And ya know how if you put a bunch of out of synchronization metronomes on a table that can move slightly they’ll synchronize? Yep…they really do that too.

Today we found out that your T-shirt pile will do exactly the same thing. Now Neil has two stacks of T-shirts in his closet and the one that gets worn is the top on on then right hand pile. When it gets low the top of the left pile gets moved to the bottom of the right pile and freshly washed ones go on bottom of the left pile. (Yeah, I know that’’s weird…but it’s because he has CDO…which is very similar to OCD but it’s in the RIGHT DARNED ORDER.) He can do this because all of his T-shirts (and all of his Hawaiian shirts as well…they get worn from the right side and put back from the laundry on the left because…well just because) all go with all of his shorts so color matching isn’t really an issue for him. Actually…it wouldn’t be an issue for him anyway since he’s male and just doesn’t care if his shirt and shorts match or not. His only exception is that if they’re going out someplace nice he picks a Hawaiian shirt shirt that doesn’t clash with her dress or skirt/blouse but other than that it’s top of the right pile or rightmost hanger. Connie’s scheme is similar but she doesn’t pick the top of the pile…being a woman she has to be color coordinated so she gets the closest to the top of the pile that goes with the s shorts/capris/skirt. 

Anyways…after his bike ride today…he had to stay in the neighborhood and go between rain showers and literally got back 3 minutes before it poured again…she had showered while he was gone and he did the top of the right hand pile thing…and well…just look.

IMG 3863

Eerie…ain’t it? And yeah…I know their heads is cropped off but you needed to be able to read the T-shirt words and his arm just ain’t long enough to get a better usie than that. Yeah…an usie, that’s what I said…it’s like a selfie but with more than one person in it. Stole the term from another of his travel blogging buddies…thanks Clarke.

So’s…the Democrats are lumping all their progressive demands into the $3.5. trillion reconciliation give away bill…and they’re going to raise taxes on corporations and the “rich” to pay for it. You know…you’ve heard it before…the 1% just need to pay a little more so they’re paying their fair share.

Anyways…I just googled it and the total wealth of ALL billionaires in the US is just about $4 trillion…in other words if you completely seized (which is unconstitutional) 10% of their assets…there would not be enough money to pay just for the current progressive wish list bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

Then there’s
…based on data from the IRS…61% of US households paid ZERO federal income tax in 2020…this is up 40% from 2019. So…tell me again how rich people need to pay their fair share? Funny you don’t see statistics like this from the progressive side…and when conservatives bring them up the left says “they still pay employment tax and sales tax so that’s all they need to pay”. Sounds like BEP rationalization to me (BEP = Bovine End Product, it’s a clean way to say BS).

Out in the great (well, maybe not so great after all) state of Oregon…they’ve got a new law that
rescinds the requirement to show proficiency in math or reading
in order to graduate from high school.

Then there’s the almost constant complaints from the Democratic Party about how those evil Republicans are gerrymandering the House districts to maintain control…followed by Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) who says that
“the Democratic party should resort to gerrymandering in blue states like Illinois and New York to maintain its majority in the House in the 2022 midterms”. 
 Hypocritical liars.

Then there’s
this report
…which reports that…according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature anyway…a fish known as the Giant Sea Bass is critically endangered…and that we need to take drastic action to stop the decline of this species. The article goes on to report that the Union based their conclusion based solely on data gathered from US waters…despite the fact that 73% of the range of the Giant Sea Bass is located in…and I kid you not…Mexican waters. The fellow that wrote the article…is a marine ecologist named Arturo Ramírez-Valdez who works at UCSD…reports that the Giant Sea Bass…which gets up to 9 feet long and 700 pounds…is plentiful both in the water and in the fish markets…they’re everywhere. Data shows that the largest ever harvest in Mexican waters was 386 tons in 1933 and a generally accepted definition of a collapsed fishery is “less than 10% of the maximum ever harvest”…the ongoing Mexican catch is a steady trend of about 55 tons per year…so in his opinion the fishery has not collapsed and the fish is not critically endangered. The thrust of his article is that conservation organizations should actually research the facts before making conclusions rather than coming up with the conclusions first and then cherry picking data to support their findings.

Interesting things found on the net.





In 1985, Dr. David L. Goodstein published a thermodynamics textbook named States of Matter…with a very strange opening passage. It’s highlighted below.





And the best two of the week.


and since we hate cats.



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

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Yeah…but we’ll get to Forrest in a couple minutes.

We’re not doing much these days…as you probably saw the COVID case rate in FL is going up and I really have to question some things the governor’s office says down here but that’s in the Forrest section. Anyways…we’re mostly staying home the past couple of weeks until things start to die down again…and we’re really tired of it raining almost every afternoon and of the heat and humidity…but that’s just SW FL in the summer time. We got lucky last summer and had much less rain and heat/humidity but this summer has been much more typical weather for down here.

We’ve had 2 storms pass us by…Fred just sort of skated by as a tropical storm off shore and was really a non issue here before heading inland north and wet of us. Ida on the other hand…again passed well off shore here but we did get some pretty good rain from it…3 inches or so and some 20 to 30 knot winds but it was also pretty much a non event for us. Not so up in New Orleans…it’s getting there this evening and despite being told to get out of town most of the idiots are still there. Hopefully the dikes and pumping stations will handle things better than with Katrina…which coincidentally was 16 years ago today. Henri on the other hand stayed over in the Atlantic and went up to the northeast.


You probably recognize the quote from the movie Forrest Gump…or to say it another way “You can’t fix stupid” as comedian Ron White said but that saying’s been around a long longer. Anyways…there’s quite a bunch of stupidity gathered from the news the past couple of weeks…and the tendency seems to not respect political party lines as both of them are up to it.

First…there’s the mask/no mask mandate or not…and the vaccine mandate or not…and I think its safe to say that the current brouhaha over it has blame on both political parties. Yes…there are stupid people on the right who refuse to get the vaccine or wear a mask…but the left then gets on their high horse about those ignorant Republicans and then things go all to hell pretty quickly as folks get defensive on both sides. Frankly…the idea that there’s a secret tracking nano thing in the vaccine or that it doesn’t work or that the virus is fake…well, those people just ain’t thinking right. Instead of trying to educate them and convince the doubters that their fears are nonsense with science and that it really isn’t a control/freedom thing…the insults start. Case in point…up at Ole Miss university the football team members, staff, and coaches are 100% vaccinated as of earlier this week…they got to the 80% or so range and then had individual meetings with the 20% to ask questions, help them understand, and use persuasion instead of insults. Turns out that most of the unvaccinated were mostly just too lazy to go and get the shots so the team brought in folks and handled it at practice.

Then there’s the mixed messages you get from both sides. The left has been using “My body my choice” for decades to justify abortion and when the unvaccinated uses it for not getting one they’re pilloried in the media with statements like “abortion doesn’t hurt anybody and your non vaccinated status does”…completely ignoring the fact that (no matter your opinion on the morality of abortion, that’s too hard to figure out here) an abortion is certainly unhealthy for the fetus.  On the other hand…anti abortion folk are adamantly against the same argument when the abortion proponents use it but happy to use it when convenient for them.

Speaking of mixed messages…I keep wondering how come one side is all gung ho for vaccine passport IDs but adamantly against voter ID…and the other side is likewise gung ho and adamantly against but in the opposite order.

We’ve got state governors mandating masks/vaccines or not, mandating that local mask/vaccine mandates are illegal. I think that doing either of those on a national or state level is too broad of a brush…there are places where having a mandate for either makes sense…and then again there are places where the case rate is such that it doesn’t make sense. Such decisions should be left to the local level of government (if government at all)…personally I would rather that school districts, businesses, organizations, and whatever make their own decision and people going those places need to respect the decisions the individual organizations make.

I could rally rant on and on with the stupidity just in this area…but there’s lots more of it to pass along.

Out in the PRC on the left coast…there was a move afoot to declare math racist and change how it was taught in the schools. The changes sought included saying that getting the right answer was not important and that math needed to be taught using peaceful protests as teaching aids and scenarios. Seems to me that getting the right answer is the whole point of math education…but what do I know. I think this one got nipped in the bud but a quick google didn’t reveal any final decision on it. According to the WSJ…the proposed framework says that “addressing student mistakes forthrightly is a form of white supremacy”, that “requiring them to show their work is discriminatory”, and “grading them on demonstrated knowledge of the subject matter” is not required. Also included…”The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false” and “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuates ‘objectivity.’” Nuts I say.

But it’s not just math that’s racist…it’s rocks too. 

Up at the University of Wisconsin…there is this 70 ton rock about the size of a pickup truck named Chamberlin Rock. This rock has been removed from the Madison WS campus who view the rock as a symbol of racism. The rock’s crime…it was referred to with a racially derogatory name in a single instance in 1925 in the Wisconsin State Journal. Yep…a single instance…even through university historians were unable to find any other instance of this rock being referred to in a racial slur manner the rock has been summarily removed in the search for a “more inclusive campus”.

You probably read about the march on Washington DC yesterday demanding an end to voter suppression…and about the wicked attempts by the Texas legislature to pass Jim Crow 2.0 laws…as well as about the heroic stand of the Democrats in the Texas legislature who left the state to deny a quorum. Yep…they essentially used a filibuster like technique to avoid passing legislation…and then went to DC to demand that the US Senate abolish the filibuster.

And the laws they’re so vehemently against in both TX and GA? Well…they merely restore the voting rules that existed prior to the 2020 election. Yes…with the pandemic going on the rules needed to be relaxed but both states laws are just taking things bad to the way they were before 2020. Specifically…the Texas law bans 24 hour voting and bans drive in voting unless you’re disabled…exactly as existed prior to 2020. According to the WSJ again…in the single county containing Austin that actually implemented 24 hour voting…something less than 1,000 people actually voted between the hours of midnight and 7:00AM…and the vote turnout in the county was in the 1.something million votes cast…so it doesn’t seem like 24 hour voting is really needed. And the kicker…the new laws in Texas and Georgia are *still* less restrictive than the voting laws in the President’s home state of Delaware or in Connecticut and Massachusetts…but you don’t see the progressives kicking up a fuss about those states.

Out in Missouri…the legislature passed some legislation that basically says the state will not enforce federal gun laws…naturally the Department of Justice immediately announced that these laws were unconstitutional. Funny though…last time I checked the DoJ wasn’t the arbiter of what is constitutional or not…and the same DoJ said not a single word when the PRC said that they would not enforce federal immigration laws and declared themselves a sanctuary.

Oh yeah…there’s hypocrisy too. Representatives Talib and Pressley are co-sponsors of a bill to cancel rent for the remainder of the pandemic. However…on both of their financial disclosure forms filed recently they reported significant amounts of rental income they received from property they own…gee, I wonder if they gave their tenants a break on the rent they were owed. Apparently not as the figure ranges both reported were the same in 2020 as in 2019.

Some hypocrisy from the White House as well. As you probably saw earlier in the summer, the CDCs eviction moratorium ended up at the SCOTUS and was upheld in early July because it was ending at the end of July anyway…but the decision specifically noted that absent authorization from Congress any new moratorium would be illegal. Not to be deterred…the White House and CDC announced a “targeted moratorium” (their words) that covered over 90% of the country. At the time it was announced, the President admitted on television that it would not stand up to legal challenge…but that he was doing it anyway so that they could give more of the funds out before the courts acted. Now I’m sure that previous Presidents have gamed the courts before…but publicly admitting it is a new level of hypocrisy.

And finally…out in Orange County in the PRC…a public school teacher removed the US flag from her classroom because it “made her uncomfortable”. The school she teaches at has announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance during third period and she told her students that they could stand or not and recite the Pledge or not…and when the students asked which way they should face during the Pledge since no US flag was in the room…she pointed to the gay pride flag she chooses to display instead of he district mandated US flag and said face that one. The school district is “investigating” whatever that means…but how does this woman still have a job?

And finally…I wonder what our governor down here in Florida is thinking. He’s against both mask mandates and vaccine mandates and has issued executive orders saying that no local versions of the same have any effect. Personally…I think he’s making a mistake but that’s not really the stupidity here. The stupidity arises from his announcement this week. The University of Florida announced that they wouldn’t be enforcing a vaccine mandate or negative test mandate for attendance at games on campus this fall…because in their legal opinion the university does not have the authority to do so. The governor announced that they certainly have the authority to require either proof of vaccination (despite his earlier executive order) or a negative test for admission. The stupidity arises when he told them (a) they can required vaccination even through his order says they can’t…and (b) I don’t understand why he’s ok with a negative test mandate but not a mask/vaccine mandate…seems like he would have been against the negative test mandate as well…I really don’t understand his thinking.

OK…on to interesting things found on the net. Sorry…no wildlife since we ain’t seen any.


The Hamptons up in NY were obviously hit hard by Hurricane Henri.





This is a map of all the potentially hazardous asteroids that might affect the earth…defined as being more than 140 meters in size and passing within 7.5 million kilometers (about 20 earth to moon distances) of the planet. Seriously…we’re eventually going to get smacked by something but at least none of the known ones will hit us for at least 100 years. Don’t get too excited about that…we’ve had several reasonably close passes…including one that was 30something meters in size that passed within 25,000 mile of us…in the past year or so. That one was actually not discovered until *after* it had passed us. Scary. The earth orbit is the bright white circle and the largest circle is the orbit of Jupiter.


After the President’s miserably incompetent performance during the Afghanistan withdrawal the past couple of weeks…this seems apropos.


This guy is in serious trouble…or as Neil used to say in the Navy…deep kimchi.


And finally…





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

I Am Appalled By Recent Events

You probably heard in the news this week about the US pulling out of Afghanistan and the Taliban taking over…and I thought I would pass along Neil’s thoughts on that debacle since he used to be in the military and then the intelligence business.

Update from the home front first…not really much to report there. With the increase in COVID cases over the past couple of weeks…we’ve gone back to take out for Date Night the past couple of Mondays and are limiting our out and about activities as much as possible. We continue to go down to the Elks as it is a small group normally there and we’re all fully vaccinated…and we carry masks with us whenever we go out for those places that are now requiring them again. Although we don’t really need to protect ourselves since we’re both recovered and vaccinated…it’s possible we could get reinfected although the likelihood is low and the symptoms would be likely correspondingly low but we could shed virus if we were reinfected…so we’re complying with the wishes of businesses or whatever if they ask customers or visitors to mask up.

Connie’s off this morning to her district meeting for the Ladies of Elks and we were out to the board of directors meeting for the lodge last night but other than that it’s pretty much normal.

We did have a bit of excitement yesterday morning…she heard a noise out front which Neil later determined was the front screen door rattling on the hinges a bit…we’ve been keeping it about an inch ajar since the latch is broke and they hadn’t gotten around to installing the new one yet. When she opened the front door to look…she discovered a snake on the front porch…and it was definitely not a good snake as it was still alive. So Neil evicted it…turned out to be just a garter snake. He flipped it over to the edge of the street to get it away from the house and then it crawled out in the middle of the street…where at some point it got run over and was transformed into a good (i.e., squished and dead) snake.

Here’s a mugshot of this particular offender…it was still in the bad snake category at this point…it might look close but Neil took the shot with his 200mm lens fro about 5 feet away and he had verified that it wasn’t venomous by that point…but it’s still a bad snake. He feels like he gave it a chance by putting it away from the house but still near enough to the grass to hide…not his fault it crawled out into the street.

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Yeah…I know that snakes are supposedly good things for some of ya’…but as far as Neil is concerned there is no such thing as a good snake. It goes back to his college days of cruising timber during the summer working for the paper company. Ya see…if you are a landowner with say 50,000 acres and you want to sell the timber you get the paper companies to bid for it and they bid so many dollars per acre. Now trees can become one of 3 things once the paper company buys them…they can become pulp wood for making paper and a pulp tree is worth maybe a quarter. Next up…they can be worthy of being lumber and that’s worth a few dollars per tree. Finally…if they’re good for making a telephone pole out of they’re worth about 20 dollars. So…as you can see the landowner says they’re all pole worthy and the paper company says they’re all pulp worthy…so the only way for the owner to get the maximum return and the paper company not to lose money on the deal is to count the trees. Yep…I said count the trees…but as you can probably imagine counting the trees on 50,000 acres is pretty much impossible so one turns to the miracle of statistics. Statistics says that for 50,000 acres if you count 1% of the land and multiply by 100 you’ll get a number pretty close to actuality…the percentage you need varies with the number of acres. So…a survey crew goes out and counts the trees on 1% of the the land…or in this case about 500 acres. In each area selected for counting they measure the diameter of the trees, the number of each, and whether they’re pulp, lumber, or pole and then go along to the next area selected. And therein lies the difficulty in cruising timber as it’s called and that whole snake thing for Neil. In order for the statistics to work at a 1% survey…the areas selected for counting have to be equally distributed over the whole area of the land in a grid like pattern. So…the crew starts at one edge of the property and then goes in a cardinal direction (N, S, E, or W) to the other side. Every 170something feet they stop and count the trees in a radius or something close to 30 feet…he can’t remember the exact numbers as it was 40something years ago. Then they go another 170something feet in the cardinal direction and repeat ad nauseam. On reaching the other side…they move left or right the specified distance and then go back the other direction repeating the previous measurements…and continue in these straight line treks until they run out of land and the numbers work out that they’ve counted trees on 1% of the total area. The problem is that whole go in a straight line in a cardinal direction thing. You don’t follow a trail or game track…you go in the cardinal direction no matter what’s in the way. One person on the 3 man crew stays still and the other two walk out pulling a long tape measure with them and when the distance gets to 170something feet the one left behind tells them to stop. He then winds the tape back up as he walks up to the other two. Meanwhile…one of the remaining two stands there with another tape measure and they measure out the 30 feet radius and the third guy walks in a circle at this distance measuring and classifying the trees inside the circle which the guy in the middle of the circle writes down.

So…as you do this for days on end…you naturally walk through the brambles and forest…and across the streams…and right into the arms of the waiting snakes…which in this case happen to be water moccasins, copperheads, and various kinds of rattlesnakes depending on exactly where you are (southern AL and MS in his case). Which means you end up walking up on all of those poisonous critters…who naturally defend themselves by striking you. It’s safe enough…you wear thick leather pants similar to a cowboy’s chaps over your jeans and high top boots so you never actually get snakebite…but frequently the snake’s fangs get stuck in your leather pants and you end up killing the snake as you beat him away from your leg with a stick. Neil says that when a snake hits your leg it’s not a love tap…but then figure the snake weighs 3-4 pounds and is traveling 20 miles an hour when it hits your leg. Anyways…after a summer of getting struck at repeatedly by snakes…he came to his completely accurate…for him…conclusion that there’s no such thing as a good snake.

OK…’nuff about that…so let’s talk about Afghanistan.

Neil read a piece this week that talked about the countries over in that region of the world written by an expert in the area…and it said that generally speaking you can divide the countries over there into the -ia countries like Serbia, Bosnia, etc…and the -stan countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and all those others that are really hard to spell. Generally speaking…the -ia country population consider themselves as citizens of whatever the country is…while the population in -stan countries are generally much more tribal in nature and have loyalty to their tribe and clan but relatively little loyalty to whatever the current government calls the country. Nothing wrong with either of those approaches…they’re just different. This is what makes a lot of the -stan countries practically ungovernable.

So…should we have been in there in the first place? Who knows…we entered Afghanistan back in 2001 after 9/11 with overwhelming support from both political parties to root out Al Queda for the terrorist attacks…and we’ve been there through 5 administrations…Bush, Clinton, Obama, Trump, and Biden. The responsibility for still being there is shared by all of those administrations of both parties and each of them did some good things and some stupid things. So…arguing about whose fault being there is irrelevant.

The US policy there had several overall failures. First and foremost…the occupation was more political than military and the military was never turned loose to win the war…because that would have resulted in dead people and broken things and none of the administrations wanted that on the evening news…so just like Vietnam the military was hamstrung and given an impossible mission…win the war without killing anybody. Second…we tried to implement a US style democracy with country loyalty in an essentially ungovernable tribal region. Third…it turned out to be a guerrilla warfare situation…and just like Vietnam and the Soviet Union against the Mujahideen winning that war is not really possible unless you’re the guerrilla side.

So…back in 2020 the Trump administration decided to leave and executed the Doha agreement with the Taliban and without involving the Afghan government…which was stupid on it’s face as how can the occupier and the guerrilla forces have a peace treaty without involving the government? President Biden ran on the promise to “end America’s longest war”…which is just a lie since Korea is America’s longest war…it’s been going on since 1950. 

Anyways…after Jan 20, 2021…President Trump was no longer in charge…President Biden was…and since his administration overturned almost everything the former administration said or did he could easily have tossed out the Doha agreement as well. However…he decided to continue the withdrawal…which frankly is the correct choice and we would have withdrawn no matter who won the election in Nov 2020.

The problem is that the withdrawal was completely FUBAR for those of you familiar with that military acronym. Let’s consider the Taliban. They’re known to chop your head off if you disagree with them…and are well known for treating women as chattel and stoning them to death for what they consider an offense…in other words…the Taliban are not good people. Now 10s of thousands of Afghan people believed the bill of goods they were sold and supported the US efforts in country as translators, helped with logistics and supplies, drove trucks, joined the Afghan armed forces, and so on. Anybody with half a brain clearly should have known that when we left those people and their families would be killed for their assistance to the “enemy”.

In a properly planned withdrawal…we would have done something like this. Choose a location…say the air base at Bagram for instance…and put sufficient forces into it to defend it from the Taliban if necessary. Tell the Taliban that we would use that air base to evacuate our friends in the population and our military equipment…and that when that was done we would leave. Tell them we would be flying helicopters over the country to transport those friends and equipment back to the air base…and that if the Taliban shot at our aircraft or attacked the base, our friends being evacuated, or our equipment we would respond with overwhelming force. All they had to do was leave us alone to get our people, friends, and equipment out and we would leave. Period…end of problem. At the end…the Taliban and the government forces could duke it out in their civil war over the future of the country…which as we saw this week meant that the government forces would essentially abandon the fight, the president would leave the country with $169 million in cash, and the Taliban would be in charge.

Instead…we screwed the pooch on just about the whole departure. Our friends were left behind due to the lunacy of how hard we made it to validate who our friends were before we got them out. Heck…we knew who they were already as we were paying them…so why all the administrative rigamarole? We screwed the pooch on getting US citizens out of the country…according to what I saw yesterday the only area we now control is the Kabul airport which is blockaded by the Taliban and there are on the order of 10,000 (more or less) US citizens outside the blockade with no way to get to the only way out of the country. Lastly…we abandoned huge numbers of military equipment…drones, Humvees, armored personnel carriers, small arms, and who knows what else…all of that is now in possession of the Taliban who can either use it against us or sell the technology to Russia or China or Iran. We actually used air strikes and drone strikes to destroy some of this equipment after it was left behind.

Now I understand that stuff was going to get left behind in the completely unorganized rout of an evacuation…but how in heaven were the administration, State Department, and Defense Department stupid enough to not have a plan to blow up whatever was getting left behind and to get our people, citizens, and friends out.

This is the part that is completely the fault of the Biden administration…once they took over…blaming the Trump administration for the problem is no longer an option. They continued (and actually delayed) the evacuation…and were responsible for carrying it out in a fashion that resembled a properly planned military operation…not the complete cluster-f*** that we happened. 

As recently as a month ago…President Biden said that you would never see a helo evacuation from the roof of the embassy…and lo and behold we got one…photos all over the news. He said that it was highly unlikely that the Afghan government would collapse quickly…completely ignoring intelligence analysis that said that is exactly what would happen. Then he went on TV Monday…and said that he stood behind his decision…which I applaud him for since he took credit for continuing the withdrawal…but then he blamed everybody else except his administration for the debacle. When asked by a reporter about the Afghan civilians clinging to USAF planes as they departed and falling to their death…he said “that was 4 or 5 days ago”…when it was yesterday and the day before.

The administration completely bungled the evacuation and then completely bungled the PR fallout…and all of that falls completely 100% on them. Why we were there in the first place and why we stayed so long has plenty of blame to go around as I said above…but this past week is on them.

Even a lot of the liberal press is in agreement…as are most of our allies around the world. We simply didn’t consult them and abandoned our principles, people, friends, and equipment.

Disgusting. We’ve screwed ourselves out of the likelihood that in a future war…and you know there will be one, there always is…that the local population will buy into our assistance and do the things that the Afghan people did for us. And that’s a damned shame.

No interesting stuff from the internet this time…this is a serious subject and shouldn’t be lightened by anything humorous.


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

Silliness…and a Li’l Bit of Fun Stuff©

So…if it’s just a li’l bit of Fun Stuff©…does that make it fun stuff© instead? Dunno…but the thought did occur to me.

Anyways…what’s up with us.

Happy 231st Birthday to the US Coast Guard…or the shallow water Navy as real sailors say. That isn’t quite true though…they do have some actual ocean going cutters but mostly they’re on smaller ships and boats doing search and rescue, law enforcement and other related duties…and they go out in really big storms and waves in much smaller craft than I would be comfortable in.

We got the strangest phone call this week…it wasn’t identified as spam by the software on Neil’s phone…turned out to be a real estate agent checking to see if we had any property for sale in SW FL. Neil hung up…but the house market is pretty seller free down here right now…so apparently some enterprising agents are trying to get you to let them sell your house and then obviously you’ll need a new house so they’ll be able to collect 2 commissions. Seems to me that any idiot…even a real estate salesman…would be able to figure out that IF we had any property for sale it would already be listed with an agent and on the multiple listing service…since otherwise the for sale property would be something that no buyer would know about. 

Summer continues…it’s really been brutally hot and humid the last week or 10 days with most of them being in the low 90s but with heat indexes well into the 3 digits…114 was the highest we saw on Dark Sky which gives hyperlocal conditions rather than the ones down at the airport. It didn’t feel quite that hot to us but it was hot. We’ve taken for the summer to setting an alarm at 0530 on bike days so Neil can get out of the house after coffee and breakfast by about 0900 so he’s back before we get into the serious heat part of the day. It’s also been raining…a…lot…like…a…metric…buttload. Mostly in the afternoon but a couple times in the morning but fortunately so far not on his every other day Bike Day…it looked the evening before a couple of times like he would get rained out but one the higher rain percentage shifted to later in the day and the other it was raining seriously 50 miles or so north of us and 50 miles or so south but just slightly overcast here.

We had dinner at the Lodge week before last…it was ham and only 13 people showed up…a lot of people don’t like ham down here apparently. There’s another rib/steak dinner late this month we might go to…and we (well, Connie did and Neil figures he can be her plus one) got invited to one of those financial/retirement presentation things. We get these periodically and normally trash them…but seeing that this one is at Ruth’s Chris Steak House we might go anyway…it’s probably worth listening to their dog and pony show for a free steak dinner.

And…the lodge is closed again. After the ham dinner 2 Saturdays back…turns out the bartender and her significant other tested positive after being at a wedding where people were positive. Since the positive tests were either Sunday or Monday…they obviously knew they were potentially positive before she worked Saturday and he sat at the bar next to Neil for 45 minutes or so. Luckily…all the humans at our house are both vaccinated and have had it so no real worries for us…and it’s been 9 or 10 days so we’re fine.

The other local lodge that we transferred out of has gotten themselves into even more trouble. As I previously reported way back when…the Exalted Ruler over essentially drove away (in a lot of people’s opinion) many long term members due to personality, ignoring the rules, favoritism, nepotism and numerous other things…well they’ve gotten themselves into some more trouble…both with the national group and others. Later this month there’s a special meeting called for their membership by the national organization rep…we briefly entertained the idea of attending the meeting…which any Elk can do regardless of membership in a particular lodge…just to watch the fireworks. Haven’t made up our minds yet.

Speaking of Elks…this week Connie as president of the Ladies of Elks auxiliary in addition to being a regular Elk member…delivered a whole bunch of school supplies the LoE collected to a local school. Here’s a shot of her, one of the other Ladies, and 3 of the folks from the school.

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In other LoE news…Neil’s getting a bit irritated with several of the Ladies who declined to run for President but still want Connie as the President to do what they say…in other words they want to be President but without the responsibilities. She just ignores them and does the right thing under the rules and as the members voted on…but she keeps griping to him about it and he wishes the would just quit trying to boss her around…one would think that after them knowing her for years…they would have figure out by now that she doesn’t get pushed around much by anybody. He’s obviously not a LoE member since fails the lady part…so he doesn’t interfere…too much…but ya know he’s got an opinion on just about everything and he wishes they would leave it alone.


Oh yeah…Amazon and the Union. This isn’t an anti union report…it’s a silliness and anti-stupidity report.

You remember back in the spring…one of the unions tried to organize the workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama. Naturally both side kept claiming the other side cheated all through the run up to the election…but from afar it all just looked like political posturing to us. Anyway…the union lost the vote by 1,978 to 738 or 63% to 27%. The union…naturally…challenged the results of the election so after 576 votes were challenged and 76 of those resulted in rejected ballots the union still lost 71% to 29%.

Naturally…they didn’t like this so they filed another appeal to the NLRB stating that Amazon ‘illegally interfered with the vote” and included 23 or so actions that were “illegal” according to the union.

Now one of the things that Amazon did in the run up to the election was to offer to the NLRB folk running the election a drop box on Amazon property where workers could deposit their ballots…a box for which Amazon would not have the key…they were trying to make it easier for workers to submit their ballots directly to the NLRB while the union wanted to send people around door to door to collect the ballots. The former seems much less likely to result in worker intimidation to me than the latter…but no matter. Anyway…the NLRB rejected Amazon’s request and instead said that ballots needed to be either mailed in or dropped off at wherever the NLRB put the approved drop boxes. 

So Amazon…since ballots could be mailed…worked with the US Post Office to put a mailbox on Amazon property…again a box for which Amazon did not have a key…this mailbox was a regular mailbox which could get any mail dropped into it…and none of the articles I read had any information about whether workers did or did not use this mailbox to mail their ballots.

The NLRB official this week issued his opinion…which if accepted by the NLRB management means they’ll have to have a new election. Now remember…they lost the first one in a landslide…but essentially the union is now demanding a do-over…

Of the 23 supposedly “illegal” actions by Amazon that the union cited…exactly one of them was upheld in the opinion this week. Mr. Applebaum (the NLRB guy) said that despite the fact that the NLRB denied an NLRB drop box on Amazon property that Amazon “illegally worked with the post office to install one because it (editor: the mailbox) provided a clear ability to intimidate workers”. Amazon says that “they wanted all employees to vote” and that the union demanded a mail only election…so Amazon made it easy for the workers to mail their ballots.

So…the silliness. How does having a USPS owned mailbox…which Amazon has no control over and which can be used for any postal mail one might want to put in it…be illegal? But…according to Mr. Applebaum

Throughout the NLRB hearing, we heard compelling evidence how Amazon tried to illegally interfere with and intimidate workers as they sought to exercise their right to form a union. We support the hearing officer’s recommendation that the NLRB set aside the election results and direct a new election.

Further…Mr. Applebaum stated that the presence of the USPS mailbox…”violated the laboratory conditions” required for a fair election…whatever that means.

So…the union demanded mail in ballots…and got them…and Amazon made it easy for workers to mail said ballots…and the union overwhelmingly lost…and now they claim that the mailbox allowed Amazon to “intimidate workers”…and are demanding a do over.

Sounds to me like Mr. Applebaum is personally invested in getting the warehouse unionized rather than being a fair caller of balls and strikes at the NLRB. We’ll see what happens next…but sounds like somebody bought off the judge or else he has his mind made up and doesn’t want to be confused by the facts.

OK…on to the li’l bit of Fun Stuff©…or fun stuff©…whichever moniker ya prefer.

Down the road about 2 miles south of us is the Prairie Pines Preserve which is a state preserve. Neil went down a few months back as you’ll recall and got a few photos but the wetlands part of it was…well…not wet. With all the rain recently and this being the rainy season…it seemed like there would be some wet in the wetlands and hence some more wildlife. So…this week we got up early on a non bike day and got down there just a bit after sunrise…figuring that there would be some medium shallow wet in the wetlands and some birds eating breakfast.

Unfortunately…we wuz wrong…incorrect…out to lunch…whatever.

We saw precisely 2 birds, 1 rabbit, and 2 squirrels…and one of both of the 2s escaped without a picture…so I don’t got much for ya…but it is what it is as they say. We got in a nice hike of about 3/4 of a mile but both Neil and Connie needed a dry shirt when we got back…hot and humid even at 0700.

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Female cardinal.

Z72 006 2 Edit

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This is the same cardinal and squirrel as the above 2 shots but Connie took a wider shot of both of them.

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And her obligatory plants and flowers.

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Woodpecker nest…sans woodpecker unfortunately.

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Interesting things found on the net…or in our email.

Some southern humor…and yes…they’re all funny even to Neil who is as he says “American by birth…Southern by the grace of God”.


A group of Alabama friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of an eight-point buck.

“Where’s Henry?” the others asked.

“Henry had a stroke o’ some kind. He’s a couple of miles back up the trail,” the successful hunter replied.

“You left Henry layin’ out there and carried the deer back?” they inquired.

“A tough call,” nodded the hunter. “But I figured no one’s gonna steal Henry!”


The owner of a golf course in Georgia was confused about paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help.

He called her into his office and said, “Y’all graduated from the University of Georgia and I need some help. If I wuz to give yew $20,000, minus 14%, how much would you take off?”

The secretary thought a moment, and then replied, “Everthang but my earrings.”


A senior citizen in Louisiana was overheard saying … “When the end of the world comes, I hope to be in Louisiana ”

When asked why, he replied, “I’d rather be in Louisiana ’cause everythang happens in Louisiana 20 years later than in the rest of the world.”


The young man from Mississippi came running into the store and said to his buddy, “Bubba, somebody just stole your pickup truck from the parking lot!”

Bubba replied, “Did y’all see who it was?”

The young man answered, “I couldn’t tell, but I got the license number.”

North Carolina

A man in North Carolina had a flat tire, pulled off on the side of the road, and proceeded to put a bouquet of flowers in front of the car and one behind it. Then he got back in the car to wait.

A passerby studied the scene as he drove by, and was so curious he turned around and went back. He asked the fellow what the problem was.

The man replied, “I got a flat tahr.”

But, what’s with the flowers?

The man responded, “When you break down they tell you to put flares in the front and flares in the back. I never did understand it neither.”


A Tennessee State trooper pulled over a pickup on I-65. The trooper asked, “Got any ID?”

The driver replied, “Bout whut?”


The Sheriff pulled up next to the guy unloading garbage out of his pick-up into the ditch. The Sheriff asked, “Why are you dumping garbage in the ditch? Don’t you see that sign right over your head.”

“Yep,” he replied. “That’s why I’m dumpin’ it here, ’cause it says: ‘Fine For Dumping Garbage.’ “

And finally…at least for the southern jokes…

**Y’all kin say whut y’all want ’bout the South, but y’all never heard o’ nobody retirin’ an’ movin’ North.

And here’s some Irish humor…since Neil’s ancient ancestors were Irish river pirates…and no, he doesn’t remember how many greats back it was or whether it was grandfathers or 3rd cousins twice removed or whatever…you’ll have to ask Connie for those sordid details…but Neil says “ya had me at river pirates”.

Why Irish Eyes Are Full Of Laughter —
Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an
important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place. Looking up to
heaven he said, ‘Lord take pity on me. If you find me a parking place
I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me
Irish Whiskey!’
Miraculously, a parking place appeared.
Paddy looked up again and said, ‘Never mind, I found one.’
Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and asks the first man he
meets, ‘Do you want to go to heaven?
The man said, ‘I do, Father.’ The priest said, ‘Then stand over there
against the wall.’
Then the priest asked the second man, ‘Do you want to go to heaven?’
‘Certainly, Father,’ the man replied.
‘Then stand over there against the wall,’ said the priest. Then Father
Murphy walked up to O’Toole and asked, ‘Do you want to go to heaven?’
O’Toole said, ‘No, I don’t Father.’
The priest said, ‘I don’t believe this. You mean to tell me that when
you die you don’t want to go to heaven?’
O’Toole said, ‘Oh, when I die , yes. I thought you were getting a
group together to go right now.’
Paddy was in New York ..
He was patiently waiting and watching the traffic cop on a busy street
crossing. The cop stopped the flow of traffic and shouted, ‘Okay,
pedestrians.’ Then he’d allow the traffic to pass.
He’d done this several times, and Paddy still stood on the sidewalk.
After the cop had shouted, ‘Pedestrians!’ for the tenth time, Paddy
went over to him and said, ‘Is it not about time ye let the Catholics
Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in
the obituary column that he had died. He quickly phoned his best
friend, Finney. ‘Did you see the paper?’ asked Gallagher. ‘They say I
‘Yes, I saw it!’ replied Finney. ‘Where are ye callin’ from?’
An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for
speeding in Connecticut .. The state trooper smells alcohol on the
priest’s breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the
car. He says, ‘Sir, have you been drinking?’
‘Just water,’ says the priest.  The trooper says, ‘Then why do I smell wine?’
The priest looks at the bottle and says, ‘Good Lord! He’s done it again!’
Walking into the bar, Mike said to Charlie the bartender, ‘Pour me a
stiff one – just had another fight with the little woman.’ ‘Oh yeah?’
said Charlie, ‘And how did this one end?’
‘When it was over,’ Mike replied, ‘She came to me on her hands and knees.’
‘Really,’ said Charles, ‘Now that’s a switch! What did she say?’
She said, ‘Come out from under the bed, you little chicken.’
Paddy staggered home very late after another evening with his drinking
buddy, Finney. He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife,
Kathleen. He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading
to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step. As he caught
himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed
heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and
made the landing especially painful.
Managing not to yell, Paddy sprung up, pulled down his pants, and
looked in the hall mirror to see that his butt cheeks were cut and
bleeding. He managed to quietly find a full box of Band-Aids and began
putting a Band-Aid as best he could on each place he saw blood.
He then hid the now almost empty Band-Aid box and shuffled and
stumbled his way to bed..
In the morning, Paddy woke up with searing pain in both his head and
butt and Kathleen staring at him from across the room. She said, ‘You
were drunk again last night weren’t you?’ Paddy said, ‘Why would you
say such a mean thing?
‘Well,’ Kathleen said, ‘it could be the open front door, it could be
the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of
blood trailing through the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but
mostly , it’s all those Band-Aids stuck on the hall mirror.

Our friend Randy from…and you should really go and subscribe to his newsletter in either the free or paid versions…one of the weekly additions is the “honorary unsubscribe” which details the life and death of somebody that deserves some recognition. This week’s recipient was involved in the invention of frozen fish sticks, the microwave, StarBurst, and other food technologies…go read about his life at…it’s worth it. The newsletter specializes in “thought provoking entertainment via social commentary on weird news”.



And those math weiners have been at it again.



And the Hardy Ramanujan Number…which is the smallest number that can be expressed as the sum of two different sets of cubes…my thought on them is…who…cares?




I especially like the brand name on his grill.


Guess this answers the age old question…


And no matter which side of the argument you’re on…



And finally…we keep hearing about how the United States should shift to the metric system because it’s so much better and we’re the only major country that doesn’t use it…in fact there are three countries total including Liberia and Myanmar but who cares about these two. Now ‘round these parts we’re just find with either metric or imperial measurements and can use either…and we recognize that there are both pros and cons to both shifting to the metric system in the USofA or in sticking with imperial system…but the sentiment in this one is right on.


‘Nuff said.


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

Stupidity and Hyprocrisy

Yep…that’s today’s topic once I get past what’s new in ‘dese parts.

We had to cancel Date Night last night…again…that makes 3 weeks in a row. The first two times it was because Connie wasn’t feeling well but last night it was the rain. Right about the time we were thinking about going the thunderstorm started and it was moving pretty slow…we decided that it wasn’t worth driving as far as we planned in the rain down one of the major rush hour routes in the pouring rain with no visibility and people that don’t know how to drive.

So instead…we had the rest of the House Special Fried Rice that we picked up from #1 Wok on the way home from Bingo on Sunday. Connie won 3 or 4 times so it was a hit for her, but in deference to her tummy which was still a little less than normal we picked up the fried rice instead of our normal post Bingo pizza from Jet’s Pizza. Assuming she still feels better tonight Neil will run down and pick us up some ribs from Smokin’ Pit BBQ…two racks and sides of fried okra, fried mushrooms, and baked beans will give us dinner for two nights. It’s about the best BBQ we’ve found down here…it isn’t as good as Dreamland up in Tuscaloosa AL or Oklahoma Joe’s (now known as Kansas City Joe’s) out in Kansas City but it is pretty darned tasty.

Nothing else is really going on…Neil’s biking every other day…Connie had 2 funeral masses so far this week along with cantering both days over the weekend. We do have a trip to St. Augustine FL scheduled for late September for the Florida Ladies of Elks convention/conference…and are thinking about spending a couple days either there or up in Savannah GA before coming back home…but we’ll wait until later and check weather forecasts and hurricane maps before making a final decision on that. We’re all just getting so bored doing nothing that we need a break to do something…anything really.

We got a ‘Hold the Date’ for Neil’s 50th high school reunion next summer…put it on the calendar but no idea whether we’ll go or not. Personally he’s not really all that interested but perhaps we’ll need a trip out of town or something interesting.

Ok, let’s get on to the stupidity…most of this is government stupidity of course although the first one is private sector.

Ya’ll probably read in the news a couple weeks back about Mr. Branson and his trip up to space…he’s got a company named Virgin Space or some such that will take tourists up to ‘space’ for the slight feel $250,000 each. For that price you get a ride in a rocket powered airplane that gets carried up to 45,000 feet dropped off and then lights it’s engine before zooming skyward. After reaching a maximum altitude of about 52 or 53 miles it glides back down and lands about 14 minutes after it was dropped off and the passengers get to experience 2 or 3 minutes of ‘weightlessness’. Then today…Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame launched himself up in his Blue Origins rocket…which actually takes off vertically like a rocket does and after 4 minutes or so the engine cuts off, the capsule at the top separates and coasts up to about 63 or 64 miles before falling back earthward and sending up a couple of parachutes at about 5,000 feet to drift back to land in the sand of west Texas. His price for paying passengers…a bargain at only $200,000 each (according to reports). 

You probably notice that the maximum altitude of each of those is different…and that’s because there’s some disagreement on what constitutes ‘space’. So…just how does one tell if you’r in space or not? As you probably already know…as one increases altitude the density of the air gets less and less and eventually you’re in a vacuum which is generally how space is defined. For many years…the Kármán line was the definition of space at an altitude of 100 kilometers or 62 miles…hence Mr. Bezos’s rocket topping out at just over that. That definition worked just fine…until the US Air Force got involved. Back in the 50s or 60s…the Air Force decided that they wanted to be able to declare some of their high altitude test pilots…specifically those that flew in the X-15 rocket plane…as astronauts. Some of the flights of that craft exceeded the Kármán line at 62 miles but most of them only reached altitudes between 50 and 60 miles high…and those pilots felt discriminate against I guess and lobbied for a different definition. In order to please them…the Air Force…and in turn the FAA and NASA…redefined space as being higher than 80 kilometers or 50 miles. Thus…all of the X-15 pilots became ‘astronauts’. Unfortunately…most of the rest of the world, in fact just about all of it…still recognizes the Kármán line line as space.

Personally…I think that both are BS. In my view…you’re not in space unless you’re in orbit. To date…the only private company that has done that (and it has a pretty good record going) is SpaceX. While I don’t generally think much of Mr. Musk…he did build a company that successfully puts people in space and he will even take tourists along starting next year I believe…some to the space station and some just to orbit. His price will be slightly higher though…somewhere between $30 and $55 million depending on which source you believe on the interwebs.

Both Branson and Bezos have licenses from the FAA to take tourists to ‘space’…but I think that the first time one of them hits the ground at a thousand miles an hour and kills a bunch of rich people…the licenses will get pulled no matter how many waivers said rich people have signed. Maybe if they get to 100 flights without a failure…as SpaceX has…there might be a pause until they figure out what went wrong but I dunno for sure. In any event…Mr. Branson says that by late 2022 they will be sending up their craft at 350 flights per year and Mr. Bezos thinks perhaps several dozen a year by 2023…but the problem with both of those is scale. Branson has a single carrying aircraft and a single rocket ship that carries 2 pilots and 4 passengers. He wants to double the capacity but that means a whole new rocket ship to be designed and tested and probably a higher payload carrying aircraft…of which he only has one currently. I don’t know what the turnaround time on the rocket ship is or the maintenance schedule for the carrying aircraft is…but he’s not doing more than one flight per day with one of each. Bezos on the other hand has multiple rockets and capsules…so his projections by 2023 at least seem remotely possible but again it depends on turnaround time for the various components.

Rich boys and their toys I guess…both have a long way to go compared to SpaceX as far as doing anything actually useful in space.

As you know…I get the weekly newsletter with humorous stories from the news…one of this week’s stories was about a lady that lives over on the east coast of Florida who has something over $100K in parking fines…for parking on the grass on her property, for having a driveway that the city decided was inadequate, for having a fence that fell down in a hurricane and she waited on insurance payment before replacing it, and for parking on the grass after she no longer parked on “her own grass that she paid for” as her lawsuit against the city says. That reminded me of some of the stupidity here on the west coast of Florida…and why we deliberately did not look at any houses located within the city limits of Cape Coral. Again…in CC as thy call it…it is illegal to park on your grass for any reason despite there being basically no on street parking in any of the residential neighborhoods. In addition…it is illegal to leave your garage door open and illegal to leave your trash can or recycling bin out despite the completely random time that your collection actually happens. You’re supposed to bring your trash can back into the back yard rather than leave it out over night…but if the garbage man hasn’t come by sunset and you bring it in…and then he comes by afterwards as has happened in our neighborhood at least once…then your trash doesn’t get picked up. At least in North Fort Myers you put it out the night before and it can stay out until it’s picked up…that usually happens on Tuesday but occasionally it gets over to Wednesday depending on truck availability I guess.

Up in Punta Gorda…the city council has approved installation of a whole bunch of free electrical vehicle recharging stations…at least the first one is free. Seems they have a company that will put them in free of charge to the city and handle maintenance and pay for the power for some time period…but if the company goes out of business apparently the city will get stuck with the bill for maintaining them and the power bill. So…at least in Punta Gorda…real estate taxes might go to pay for the free charging stations for those ‘green’ vehicles…there’s also some consternation going on about road maintenance and what will happen when gas powered vehicles are deemed illegal. Current federal gasoline tax collects about $73 million per day…which goes to road construction and maintenance but for which electrical vehicles pay nothing. This (a) isn’t fair to the people who pay gas taxes since the EV for get a free ride…and (b) doesn’t explain how roads will get fixed when gasoline taxes go away. Makes me glad we didn’t get a house in PG either.

Ok…on to federal government stupidity…although the rest of these get into hypocrisy as well.

Up in Congress…as you know we’re currently proceeding down a dual infrastructure bill path. One ‘bipartisan’ bill which covers actual infrastructure that both political parties support…it’s about $1.5 trillion of which $700 million or so is new spending and the rest is leftover COVID money that hasn’t been spent…and the bill includes plans for how to pay for the spending. In parallel with that is the Democrats ‘human infrastructure bill’…whatever that is…that is currently at $3.5 trillion…even though the contents of the bill haven’t been written yet but Mr. Schumer is trying to force a vote on it this week. Apparently he’s trying to get the reconciliation budget resolution passed so that the Senate Parliamentarian…who gets to determine whether the individual parts are even eligible for reconciliation…can be bypassed as from what we read in the news about it some of it clearly does not fall within the reconciliation rules. Minimum wage, Medicare expansion, and just about every other progressive demand is included in their bill…which even the Democrats admit will be estimated by the Congressional Budget Office at around $5.5 trillion…most of which is not paid for.

Their spending plan covers 8 years because some of the provisions ‘expire’…but the payment part of the plan covers 15 years with not expiration of the higher taxes and budget deficits required to pay for it…and you know that assuming it passes they’ll try to make the spending a permanent entitlement next year.

The major things they’re using to pay for their bill are higher taxes on the rich and projected long term economic growth.

Taking the second one first…this is the same projected long term economic growth that the other side used to ‘pay’ for the tax cut back in 2016…and which the Democrats including Mr. Schumer labeled at that time as “fake math”, a “gimmick”, and “counting chickens before they hatch”…not to mention “voodoo economics”. No matter though…despite decrying the practice 5 years ago they’re all for it now. In reality…it was BS then and it’s BS now.

Taxes…I’m sure you’ve seen Schumer, et. al.…all taking about the “rich paying their fair share”…so let’s talk just a bit about who pays taxes.

Taxes are based on income…and wealth is a different animal than income…let’s take Mr. Bezos for example as he’s currently the world’s richest individual. He is a very wealthy man…but wealth is not taxable in the United States…it is specifically outlawed in the Constitution. In fact…even our current income tax required a constitutional amendment to make it legal…but that’s another blog post. His actual income is about $2 million dollars a year in salary…the fact that he owns a metric buttload of Amazon stock as wealth is irrelevant.

So…now that you’re up to date with the difference between wealth and income and which is taxed…let’s talk about who actually pays income taxes.

These numbers come directly from the IRS…and are for tax year 2017 which was the latest information available as of April 2021 when the
article I’m referencing
was written. Total personal income tax for that year was about $1.6 trillion.

  • The top 1% have 21% of the income total and pay 38.5% of the taxes
  • The top 5% have 36% of the income and pay 59.2% of the taxes
  • The top 10% have 47.7% of the income and pay 71.1% of the taxes
  • The top 50% have 89% of the income and pay 97% of the taxes.

Dividing just into two categories…the top 50% and the bottom 50%…the dividing line is $41,740 in income. This lower half pays 3% of personal income taxes while the top half pays 97%.

So…don’t believe what you hear from Schumer and company…they’re really good at spending other people’s money.

Yes…there are rich people; and most of them got that way through hard work by either themselves or their ancestors…and by running successful companies and taking risks. However…most of those people actually don’t make that much taxable income…nothing compared to their wealth which is prudently invested to grow and prosper.

Corporate taxes…you’ll also recall the horror stories about how big companies like Apple and Amazon don’t pay enough taxes…but there is no legal requirement to pay any more taxes than necessary…the tax code is after all written by Congress and each and every on of those ‘loopholes’ the Democrats want to close were put there by a succession of both Democratic and Republican controlled Congress and administrations…and each was put in place for what seemed like a good reason at the time.

Our tax system is progressive…the higher your income the higher both your tax rate and your total payment becomes…personally I think we should put the IRS out of business and go to a progressive but flat tax. No deductions at all…zip, nada,  nothing. List your income…an again I emphasize income, not wealth…and then pay the required percentage on your total income. I could not find it again…but I ran across a web pate a year or so back that listed what flat rate tax brackets would have to be in order to collect the same amount of total tax from each percentile group that we have now…and the rate started at something in the 8% or 10% range for the low end and maxed out at 25% or so for the top 1% of income earners.

I’ve got some more on the voting rights controversies going on right now…but this has gotten long enough so I’ll save them for another day.

In the “What Were They Thinking” category.

Over at the Fort Lauderdale airport last week…a 74 year old Canadian citizen got into some sort of dispute with the airline employee at the counter and ended up walking away. The employee told him that he would have to take his luggage with him…at which point he told them there was a bomb in it and continued walking away. Net result…3 of the 4 terminals were evacuated and the airport was shut down for several hours with 50ish flights cancelled…and he was charged with making a false bomb threat — a second-degree felony. 

Up in Atlanta…someone in a black neighborhood called 911 to report a shooting incident…and amazingly enough a whole passle of cops responded. One of the cars was occupied by a white officer…who upon exiting his vehicle with his partner because the center of a pop up peaceful protest with residents screaming things like “get that white pig out of here” and “take him down”…to the point where the senior officer on scene sent him without his partner back to his car. Meanwhile…the dude that got shot keeps yelling that he’s just fine with white cops being there as long as they don’t let him die.

How is this not racist…and how does it show support for the cops who put their lives on the line each and every day.

Like I said…What…Were…They…Thinking. Short answer…they weren’t and racism goes both ways.

This week…a documentary was released on the 3rd anniversary of the suicide of Anthony Bourdain…who I’ll admit we did watch his show back when it was on. I have to admit…the original No Reservations was worth watching but the replacement show Layover was not nearly as good but was decent…his third show Parts Unknown took a distinctly more political slant and became more commentary than travel related. No problem with that…his show so his ideas…but then eventually he killed himself apparently over depression because his girlfriend left him and then last week’s documentary. It included some apparently record quotes by him as part of the liberal canonization of the man…but it turns out that he never actually said some of those things. The producer/director/whoever was in charge took a bunch of excerpts from his email and then used an AI voice to mimic him actually saying them and presented them in the film as ‘quotes’. Not quite accurate and he was pilloried by even the liberal press…and apparently he thought and still thinks that there isn’t anything wrong with doing so…because it enhanced his ‘art’.

I did get a couple critter photos out back yesterday…but Neil ain’t processed them for me yet so they’ll have to wait ’til next time I reckon.

OK, enough of that for today…on to interesting things found on the net.

I really wish that ‘news sources’ would hire writers who can construct a sentence that makes sense and a headline that both makes sense and actually is supported by the article. Today’s case in point is an article from about one of the alternate US Olympic gymnasts who tested positive for COVID in the athlete’s village despite being fully vaccinated…that’s newsworthy but then about halfway through the article it says “the main team members…and then named them…are quartered together separately”.

Now I ask ya…do those bolded words above make a lick o’ sense? Nope.

This one was posted in the Attic section on Neil’s photography forum…and while I’m sure that one could have written a similar blurb about the Republican Party…this one was about the Democrats…and while it is pithy and written to slam that party…there’s a whole lot of truth in what it says.


This is a Green Tree Python…a 2 meter long snake found in South America.


Yes…I said Green Tree Python. 

But it’s yellow you say? Correct-amundo…the babies are apparently yellow.

The driver of this truck is sooooooo fired. No, the bridge did not fall on the truck…he hit it so hard that (a) the bed of the truck was detached from the remainder of the t ruck which is presumably either under or past the bridge and (b) the bridge structure was knocked 4 or 5 feet sideways.

You did know that most bridges are not actually attached to their support structure, right? For thermal expansion reasons generally they just sit on top situated in such a manner with slots, shelves and such so that they can’t fall off the supports.



These two require some thought…

Horse picnic


Another from the photo forum…that’s a 35mm film can for those of you who aren’t old enough to remember what they are.


How lost are they?


And finally…anybody who’s ever gotten a package from Amazon can appreciate this…a SIM card is about a half inch square and less than 1/8 inch thick.



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

Hurricane Elsa…She Sorta Wussed Out On Us

Before I get into all of that…sorry ‘bout not posting for the past going on 3 weeks now…but there just ain’t been anything worth yakking about…it’s been raining a lot so no wildlife out at the pond, we skipped Date Night the past 2 weeks once because Connie wasn’t feeling well and once for Elsa, and we haven’t been to the Elks in a couple weeks either.

We just have been staying home doin nuttin’ as they say.

We did have a nice dinner for Independence Day…some gourmet mashed taters, bison burgers topped with onions and mushrooms and cheese, and some corn on the cob…but it was way too hot too cook outside that day so we just steamed them inside…not quite as good as grilling them but it is what it is. Neil also made some of his famous Blueberry Crisp using the recipe that we got from Dogbite and Catscratch some years back…only instead of blueberries he used a can of peach slices and made it Peach Cobbler Crisp…we tried it with just whipped cream, then with caramel sauce and whipped cream, then with mint chocolate chip ice cream…and we’re going back wot the caramel sauce and whipped cream for the last one this evening as it was the best topping…next time he does peaches he needs to add a bit of sugar to the syrup and peach mixture before piling on the crisp part and baking it.

Connie got herself a new Apple Silicon M1 MacBook Air a couple weeks back…well, actually Neil got it for her…and then since he’s the head of the IT department he set it up for her. She got the Rose Gold case one to match her iPhone and iPad…she’s happy because it’s faster and since it’s got a better screen things on it are a lot clearer for her than before. He investigated trading her old one in…Apple takes them in trade…but it was only worth about 100 bucks so he’s keeping it for a spare on the shelf at least for now. Hopefully the new higher performance one will get released soon and he can upgrade his 2015 MacBook Pro as well…but her old one was from 2013 so she needed a new one worse than he does although his keys are a lot more worn off then her old one is…good thing he’s a touch typist I reckon.

So…Hurricane Else…guess ya read ‘bout it over the past week or so as it made it’s way through the islands down in the Caribbean…it mostly stayed just a tropical storm and after passing over Cuba heading mostly west it took a right just past Key West and headed up the west side of Florida. It turned into a hurricane category 1 just after it passed about 50 miles west of North Fort Myers and then weakened again before making landfall up the coast just east of Cedar Key and north of Tampa. 

Not knowing what it would do…we sort of rigged for storms at home…moved the plants inside from the lanai as well as some of the lighter stuff into the garage. The heavier stuff on the lanai got shoved over into one corner and he put a couple of tie downs around it to hold everything steady. We had expected…and were forecast for…winds of 40-50 knots but the highest wind we recorded was just 26 and that just once. Rainwise…we got about 4.5 inches over the 36 hours it rained…again mostly just regular rain and not your typical hurricane downpour. We were on the northeast side of the storm as it past which is the worst side usually but Elsa was a strange one. She really didn’t have a defined eye like most tropical storms/hurricanes do but sort of an oval center of circulation with no defined clear area in the middle. The strangest part was that our strongest wind and most of the heavy rain happened after she was past us and north of Tampa…we did get some thunderstorms in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and a tornado warning but as far as we heard no actual tornadoes on the ground.

Sure enough…by mid day on Wednesday it was no longer raining and by late afternoon the sun was back out and we were right back into Florida summertime weather. After Neil’s bike ride this morning (Thursday) we put the lanai back together after Neil took the opportunity to blow all the dirt and stuff out the doors since it was empty already.

Dinner tonight…he’s got a pork tenderloin marinating in some dry rub in the fridge and some corn he got from the Winn Dixie the other day along with a zucchini he’ll grill for her…he’ll probably do a couple of mushrooms for a side dish for himself.

I don’t have any Fun Stuff© to report on or cool wildlife photos for ya…but he did give me a few photos to illustrate how much our pond out back varies it’s water level over the year.

Normally…summer is the rainy season down here and winter is the dry season. Last summer…2020…however it really didn’t rain much in our neighborhood, it seemed like most of the storms coming in from the southwest from the Gulf (the typical direction) split and it rained north and south of us but not where we were. Consequently, the pond got pretty low and then even lower during the dry season this past winter.

None of these are really great shots…but they’re just helpful to show you the water level change. Pay attention to the notes in the captions as they’ll become clear later on. The first three were taken some last summer and some at the beginning of the dry season.

In this first one…note the position of the couple of clumps of grass at the far left side near the end of the lake, also the dry bank areas on the left side of the pond (across from our house which is just out of frame to the right) known as Ragnar Beach, and also the partial tree on the far right side, particularly how far it is from the water. Also all the dry clumps of grass on the right side of the lake (right of center in the image) just behind the house. This one was from last summer sometime.

D75 5595

Ragnar Beach at the end of the 2021 dry season…as you can see it’s a lot more beach than in the above…the top of the sandy bank is about 4 feet out of the water at this point.

D75 5117

This one is Alligator Shelf…in the first shot above it is underwater just about where the circular ripple is right the dark double clump in the first shot…this was taken at the end of the dry season in April or so and is about 3 feet or so lower than in the first shot which was already pretty low. 

D75 5837

The rest of these were all taken after Else passed through. First one…the grass clumps just left of center are the same clumps that were high and dry in the first shot…and Alligator Shelf is just about where the reflected sky is visible in the water right of the grass and left of the sign reflection in the water. The shelf is about 4 feet underwater today.

Z72 001 copy

Ragnar Beach…well it would be if it wasn’t under water. All of those grass clumps that are surrounded by water were high and dry a month ago.

Z72 003 copy

Remember that partial tree from the first shot…as you can see in this one it’s just about at the water line and the clump of grass you can see about even with it was dry a month ago and is now several feet under. All of those small grass tufts just below center of the image were also dry.

Z72 019

This is the bank just behind our lanai…about 12 or so feet from the edge and 4 feet down. The bank has about a 45 degree slope and the edge of the grass is about a foot deep.

Z72 024

So…you might be thinking that we’re about to get flooded but fear not…it would take a lot…a huge amount more…before it got up to us. The edge of the lanai is 4 feet at least above the current water level and with the bank the way it is every foot of rise increases the pond surface are by 25% or so…meaning it would take more water to go up another foot than it did for the previous foot. Even if it got to the lanai it would need another foot rise to get to the house and that would increase the pond area by 10 or 20 times…so we’re not worried.

We did not lose power at all…in fact I heard of no outages in the entire area but that’s because most of the power infrastructure to the houses is underground. The high voltage lines are kept clear of trees and once it leaves the substation for a development it’s underground in waterproof conduit.

And that’s about all the excitement for this week…sorry to ramble on about pond levels and such but it’s something for ya…

Interesting things found on the net.

I’m really puzzled why math people feel it necessary to figure out things like this.


and 296³ + 584³ + 415³ = 296,584,415 710³ + 656³ + 413³ = 710,656,413 828³ + 538³ + 472³ = 828,538,472

It turns out that if you square 99 and then take the reciprocal you get a very strange number as well.


And then there’s the number 2592…or the ABCD number. It is the only number known such that ABCD is equal to A to the B power times C to the D power. 

You might need to be a nerd from the 60s to get this one…think The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The books…a trilogy consisting of 5 books and then a 6th sequel)…was written by the late Douglas Adams and it also includes “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe”, “Life, the Universe, and Everything”, “So Long, and Thanks For all the Fish”, “Mostly Harmless”, and “And Another Thing”. On page 16 of the first book you’ll find that 42 is


Ima tellin’ ya…nobody understands mathematicians…nobody.










And finally…



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