Friday, March 27, 2020

It's Cold

The weather just sucked today.  The HOA is having all of the roads in the neighborhood sealed.  This consists of spraying hot black goo on the roads to seal the asphalt.  Our day was to have been today.  They had to cancel BECAUSE IT IS TOO COLD.  It's March!  We just put the hat on the new cactus, and threw a flannel blankie over the bougainvillea because it will be cold tonight.  That bougainvillea is just covered in new growth and I'm going to hate it a lot if it's damaged.

Yesterday was warmer, but the clouds were really thick all day.  It actually was ok because we spent the day smearing spar varnish on the viga poles and some of the headers over the gate, garage and a window.  It's tiring, up and down the ladder, move the ladder, paint over your head, and like that.  The western sun pretty much toasts everything.

This was the sunset last night.  It was pretty good.

For some time, Jim and I have wondered who the president would blame when things went to hell in a hand basket.  Originally we thought it would be the vice president, but it's looking as if it will be the Democratic governors.  He's already lit into Washington and New York's governors because they have not been suitably deferential and grateful.  Now he's after the governor of Michigan.  Currently Michigan has the fifth highest death rate in the country, and they're not getting any help from the feds.  They're trying to buy from domestic and international vendors, but with no success.  The president was on Hannity last night and opined that the new governor, the woman, was difficult to work with.  Later in the show, he allowed as how Governor Cuomo is overstating his need for ventilators.  He's just not buying it, his gut tells him that.  He's going to kill us all.

Oddly enough, today he said he activated the Defense Procurement Act to order GM to make ventilators.  What he doesn't seem to grasp is that ventilators are made from a lot of parts that come from pretty much everywhere.  It takes a while to get your supply chain in place.  They also have tens of thousands of lines of code running them.  They're very sophisticated machines, they force air in, they remove CO2.  It's a non trivial task to stand up a factory.  It's going to take more than a few tweets in all caps.  Currently Medtronic makes them in Ireland, and there is a factory in Washington state whose name escapes me.  The time to have begun this effort was in January.  We can't blame the virus on the president, but blame for the crappy response sits squarely on his shoulders.  Here's an interesting article.

The whole situation is just amazing.  The president gets on a podium everyday at 5:30 and tells lies and attacks reporters.  A previously credible scientist, Dr. Birx, is now standing up and downplaying the severity of the virus.  Data modelers send in best (unlikely) case, and probable case forecasts.  Dr. Birx is presenting the best (unlikely) case as gospel.  How do you get people to stay at home when the criticality of this is being undercut everyday?  People are sending Dr. Fauci death threats.

Daniel Dale is live tweeting and fact checking the daily presser.  Once again the great gut over rules science.

And there was also this.

I could go on, but I think I won't.  This is giving me a headache.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bored Spitless

I miss shopping, I miss leisurely strolling up and down the grocery store aisles to see if there is anything new or interesting.  Generally there is not, but one can always hope.  Now, we are in and out as if we were shoplifting. I also miss strolling through Williams Sonoma.  Next door to them is a West Elm (furniture) that recently opened.  Quelle domage.

We got up at 6:30 in the morning.  That's way too early for us.  By 7:00 we were at Safeway.  It was pretty much a waste of time.  No eggs, no paper products of any sort, limited produce.  There was meat in the meat counter, but nothing that we would buy.  We got some vegetables and other stuff and then left, and went to Fry's.  Fry's was stocked.  Produce looked good and there was a lot of it.  The had eggs, I got two packs of 18 eggs.  There was kleenex, no toilet paper.  We were able to procure 10 pounds of sugar, and 5 pounds of flour.  Safeway has neither.  So, I guess we're going to be shopping at Fry's.  The store drives us nuts because they play the music too loud, and then too frequently break in with exhortations to buy one thing or another.  They're owned by Kroger's, their warehouses must be better.  As we were self checking out, I looked over to the left and saw five packages of toilet paper sitting on the sill of the big front window.  They're the old fashioned really small rolls.  We got two packages.  We contemplated buying all of it, since no one was watching it, but decided that would be too anti-social.

Here it is, in all of its glory.

Now we will discuss lemons.  I'm giving Covid-19 and the administration a rest for a day.

Look at the size difference between our neighbor's lemons and ours.  Ours is the small one.  The big one is some sort of a Meyer lemon.  We don't know what our tree is.

I have a lot of lemons, they're taking up too much space in the refrigerator.  My eggs need space.

I bought an citrus reamer on Amazon.  Allegedly it will catch the seeds and pulp, but it does not.  Pouring the juice through the colander removes most of the seeds.

I have enough room in the freezer for one ice tray, so I'm juicing and freezing for the long famine ahead.  No wait, that's the plague.  I just hate to see the lemons falling on the ground and rotting.  The neighbors left abruptly yesterday for Wisconsin.  We didn't know they were gone until we saw all of the blinds pulled.  So, we're harvesting; waste is bad.

We saw this yesterday on the way out to Trader Joe's.  That's a giant yucca in someone's front yard.  They generally to not get that big.  It was impressive.

Who knows what borosilicate glass is?  It's what Pyrex used to be made of.  It's not anymore, they went to soda-lime glass in 1998.  It's cheaper, it's also not as resilient to thermal shock as borosilicate glass.  The glass can, and sometimes does, explode.  Gizmodo did a very interesting article about exploding Pyrex.

Also interesting is the fact that Ford is using their seat ventilation fans to make respirators for medical people.  Road and Track did an article about it.  They're using drill battery backs to run the fans.  GM is developing the hoods.  That's pretty cool.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Cactus and Covid

This is a yard down the street, he's done a very nice job of planting cactus.  Several of them are trichocereus whose blossoms last more than one night, most bloom for not many hours.  Foreground we have a pin cushion cactus in bloom.  Isn't that the cutest thing you have seen? 

This is a volunteer in our side yard.  It's about as big as my thumb.  We don't know what it is.

We had a beautiful day today.  It clouded up late and looked like this.

We did venture out to Trader Joe's today.  We got pasta and dairy products.  For some reason, we forgot to look for eggs.  I have noticed that our thought processes are somewhat disordered these days.  They were holding people outside the door, and letting one in when one went out.  They had tape on the sidewalk and on the store floors keeping people six feet apart.  The woman in front of us was talking in the ear of the man in in front of her.  I would have shoved her back, it was inappropriate behavior under normal circumstances, but even more so now.  You can see her here, less than six feet away, then she moved in.

And then there is this.

Have you read about what the Senate has put in the recovery bill?  As you might expect, it's heavy on help for industries and banks, and not so much for people.  Huffington did a good piece on the subject, which is here.  It's a poorly titled article, but it's worth reading.

Our fearless leader has decided that this should all be over by Easter.  Easter!  He wants to see the churches full of people sitting shoulder to shoulder.

I just can't stand it.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Sunsets and Stupid

We had a sunset last night.  It was lovely and unexpected.  Of course, the sun always goes down, but some days in a more spectacular fashion than others.

I do have an interesting factoid.  There is an article in NYT about it.  It's also being discussed on med-twitter.  Multiple ERs are reporting this symptom.

I've been sniffing a Sharpie occasionally to see if I can still smell.  Kidding, just kidding.

From the department of "you can't fix stupid" we have the following.

Dr. Oz was on Fox and Friends this morning.  He was opining about the chloroquine and azithromycin combination.  He personally talked to the French doctor who had treated 36 people, and their viral levels all went down.  OK, that's not what the initial reports said, he did have a control group.  But the study was not double blinded.  Anyway, here's Dr. Oz, on TV touting stuff that no one knows will work, that does have significant toxicity.  Oz plans to do his own clinical trials in the next couple of weeks.  Clinical trials take months, if not years, and sometimes decades.  Not to mention the fact that Dr. Oz is a former cardio-thoracic surgeon, who now hosts a talk show and wouldn't know how to structure a decent trial.  The Surgeon General came on after Dr. Oz and called bullshit on everything he said, but people hear what they want to hear. 

From the same department of stupid we have this.

This came from Fox. Two or three days ago, there was an essay on Medium written by someone who is not an epidemiologist.  Basically his point was the costs of a million people dying was less than the costs of shutting down the economy.  It was astounding to see a couple of doctors I thought were smart retweeting the article.  Apparently Fox picked up on it, talked about it on TV, and now the president is thinking about relaxing all of the restrictions.  I would link to that article, but it has been replaced with this.

Today on twitter there has been a disturbing number of young white men saying things like it's better to keep the economy running, and if some people die in the process, it's sad, but that's the cost of doing business.

Here's an old white guy spouting the same line.

The stupid here is just baked into the marrow.