Sunday, May 31, 2020

Bad Policing

Another day, many more examples of the police behaving badly.  It's everywhere.  I think much of it is because police have been militarized.  They dress differently than they used to, and they drive military vehicles.  When you're dressed like a hammer, the rest of us look like nails.

This happened in a residential area in Seattle.  Yes, there was a curfew.  No, the curfew did not require you to stay in your house.  It was specifically called out that you could be in your yard.  These people were on their front porch.  The police came up their street, screaming for people to go inside.  They had zero authority to give that order.  Upon seeing the family sitting on the porch, they were heard to say "light them up", and they began firing paint balls.  If you have ever played paint ball, you know how much it hurts to get hit with one.  You can view the video from twitter by clicking here.

A member of the Seattle PD maced this child in the face. 

This is part of the problem.

Police giving the white power sign, and yes, that's what it is. 

The Bulkwark published an article about qualified immunity which has morphed over the years from a stance of requiring police to be accountable for their actions, to the broad latitude they currently have to hurt people.  Here is an excerpt:
In determining the relationship between government and governed, one of the most important decisions a society can make is how accountable those who wield official power must be to those against whom that power is wielded. Congress made a clear choice in that regard when it passed the Enforcement Act of 1871, which we now call “Section 1983” after its location in the U.S. Code. Simply put, Section 1983 creates a standard of strict liability by providing that state actors “shall be liable to the party injured” for “the deprivation of any rights.”
Clearly enforcement has deviated from the original intent of Section 1983.  It's a short read and is worth the time.

I'm not saying that all police are bad or abusive.  I am saying that too many are.

Finally, I'm going to close out with this.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

The Neighborhood Here and Out There

Good grief.  Watching video clips of the police in various locales clubbing protestors, or throwing them on the ground and punching them in the head, or shooting pepper bullets at news crews while they are filming, or shooting a photographer in the eye, permanently blinding her has given me a lump in the throat that will not go down.  Barr has already decided that the looters are from the far left, despite the facebook pages of white supremicists calling for their ilk to come to Minneapolis and "get their loot on."  It's too bad Zuckerberg is not a human being, he could take those pages down.  Oh wait, he's dead.

I don't have the intestinal fortitude to rehash the day, I'm sure you've all seen enough of it.  Instead, I'm going to default to an inane post with little emotion behind it.

We had clouds yesterday as well.  There was a suboptimal sunset.

This afternoon it clouded up again, there was wind and rolling thunder.  It's so hot and dry very little rain made it to the ground.  It evaporates in the air.

This is on our bank, close to where the other plant spike is.  I don't remember seeing it before today.  Their growth rate is amazing.  It's always sad to know it will kill the plant.

I'm pretty sure this is a Hooded Oriole.  From the back, he could be a Yellow-headed Blackbird, but they like swampy areas which this definitely is not.  It's a crappy picture, not enough lens and the wind was whipping the branches around.

These are Tarantula Hawks feeding on the plant next door.  There were four of them.  Their sting is supposed to be the most painful of any creature on the earth.  Their reproductive strategy is to lay a single egg into a living tarantula, the egg hatches and consumes the tarantula.  It's gruesome to contemplate.

Did you see this photo today?  Look at his face.  I would really like to see the video leading up to this, but I haven't been able to find it.

In other news, Space X was able to lift off today, and everyone survived.  It's quite an accomplishment for Elon Musk and NASA. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020


Aargh, this hurts my heart.  One of the Welsh Cockerels has died.  The survivor is now on his own for the first time.  This photo was also borrowed from Going Gently.  There are some hens living down the way, so maybe he'll find some comfort there.

So in the last 24 hours, the orange man has retweeted a video saying "the only good democrat is a dead democrat".  This was followed by him tweeting "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."  That quote is from a Miami police chief in 1967 who had no problem with police brutality.  Orange man tried to walk it back, but he's lying.  After Twitter fact checked him on the incidence of voter fraud with mail in ballots, he retaliated with an Executive Order to revoke Section 230.  That's the law that shields social media platforms from lawsuits based on what other people post.  If that shield is removed, then Twitter could be liable for the lies told by the orange man on their platform.  They'd have to think twice about letting him lie in public.  Predictably, Zuckerberg said it was not up to social media to be the arbiter of truth.  Given that, I think there should be more of this on Facebook.

Today he took us out of the World Health Organization.  If they get the vaccine first, I guess the US is going to be out of luck.

I've been making masks yesterday and today, I have 1 3/4  masks finished.  I used the elastic that arrived, and I don't think I like it.  Ties better customize the fit IMHO.  Today I followed a pattern that said to cut four 18 inch strips, 3/4 of an inch wide for ties.  Fold in half length wise, and then fold the edges to the middle and stitch.  Not doing that again!  My fingers got too hot from the fabric, the ironing board and the steam from the iron.  I ordered more bias tape from Amazon.

Here is Jim in his new mask.  The pattern called for seven inches of elastic per ear loop, which was too much.  We cut the loops and tied it to his head.

Today's forecast was for 108, I think it only got to 106.  In the afternoon we got clouds and a couple of spits of rain.  It's still hot enough as it is.

Every day I think it just can not get any worse and every day it does.  And I still hate the new Blogger.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The New and Unimproved Blogger

Have you all seen the new Blogger?  I noticed it today.  I have to say I really and truly hate it.

In the current version, you can skip through old posts 100 at a time.  So if you want to edit something from 2008, you can get there reasonably quickly.  No more, my friend, you have to page down, or use the scroll bar all the way down.  It loads more posts as you go, so you may grow very old before finding 2008.

If you mouse over existing posts, it puts icons up on the right for actions you can take.  I'm not clear if "return to draft" is the same as "edit".  I kind of liked the words appearing under the post title, so it was clear what action you were taking.

I also do not like what they did with comments.  You can't just click on a bunch of spam comments and then go to the top and click "spam."  Nope, gotta click on each one individually.

Check it out, if you don't like it, please let them know by clicking on the question mark in the clear circle at the top of the page, not the question mark in the black circle.  It probably won't do any good, Google has never been known for its customer facing posture, but these changes are not an improvement.

I realize this is a first world problem, but when companies make random changes to what was a properly functioning user interface, it makes me very angry.  Color me angry.


And THIS is what the new editing screen looks like.  It's just stupid.  They hid the HTML button up and off to the right.  Why?

Update 2:  So I'm editing this published post.  The edit button has been replaced with "unpublish this post.  That's what "revert to draft" means.  Adding pictures is also terrible.  It used to be that when you added a bunch of photos, they would go into a bucket and you could go back and insert them at your leisure.  Now they just dump them randomly into the post.  Not an improvement!  This just pisses me off.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Another Day in This Life

We ventured out today, two watches needed batteries.  We saw this agave blooming next to a parking lot in a strip of gravel covered dirt.  They're tenacious.  See the hummingbird off to the left?  He was feeding alone, no bees disputing territory.  We wanted to go to Home Depot, but they're limiting how many people can be in the store.  There was quite a line to get in, and since it was close to 100 degrees we decided to forego.

This happened today.  It was due in August, but the death count is here, now.

This also happened.  Mr. George Floyd, who was handcuffed, died because the police put a knee on his neck, cutting off his blood supply and air.  Four officers have been fired.  I hope they will be charged with murder.

From the "karma's a bitch" department, Amy Cooper, who called the police claiming an African American man was attacking her in Central Park has lost her job and her dog. Christian Cooper (no relation) was bird watching and asked her to please put her dog on a leash.  Rather than just obeying the on leash area rules she had to pretend to be in distress and call for help. 

The orange man has again been tweeting about mail in ballots being voter fraud.  Twitter finally fact checked him and put a link to sources saying it's not true.  He's still tormenting the family of Lori Klausutis by tweeting that Joe Scarborough had something to do with her death.  He widower asked him to stop, but he refuses.  The cruelty is just barbaric.

Welcome to life and death in America.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Hot and a New Plant

Greetings Earthlings.  Check out this weather forecast.  Friday will 108!  I can't believe it's this hot this early.  It'll probably be 120 by July.  I think we're going to move the rowing machine into the master bedroom.  There is a mini split air conditioner in there, and it's an extremely efficient cooling device.

The agave flower spike was covered in bees this morning.  There was a hummingbird trying to zip in and feed, but the bees wouldn't let her.  If you look to the right of the flowers, you can see a couple of bees.

Friday we felt like we had to go somewhere, anywhere.  So we went to Home Depot.  Jim wanted more gravel to go around the air conditioning unit that was disturbed when the parapets were re-done.  I got a plant.  We spent all of our time outside in the garden department, where there were very few people, so it did not feel too life threatening.  It's an agave paryi.  It's small, and they're slow growing, so he went in a pot.  The geranium and gerbera daisy did not perform, so they went over the side awhile ago, thus freeing up a pot.

So cute.

This afternoon after repotting, Jim discovered this depression at the base of a palm tree.  It looks like a wallow, but it's a small wallow.  Javelinas make small ponds when they wallow, so I don't know what did this.

I've seen a priest before in the news shooting parishioners with a squirt gun filled with holy water during drive by church events.  I guess the practice has moved into the baptismal.

The front page of the New York Times today. Each person got a five or six word obituary.  It's just heartbreaking to contemplate the losses and the families that have been affected.

Our commander in chief spent the day retweeting insults and slurs against Speaker of the House Pelosi, former Secretary of State Clinton and voting rights activist Stacey Abrams.  He also suggested again that Joe Scarborough had something to do with the death of his aide.  He's calling for re-opening the case which was closed by the coroner.  After ordering the governors to re-open churches, I thought for sure he'd be heading out for services.  Guess not.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Doldrums and Bloodlines

I spent most of the week in the doldrums.  When we bought the house we never intended to spend summers here.  When we sold the RV, that was still the plan.  There were places we wanted to see that did not lend themselves to getting there in a 41 foot long motor home towing a pickup truck. Then the plague came and now we are in the beautifully air conditioned house and I personally am going stir crazy.  Summer wouldn't be so bad if the pool were open, or if we felt safe going to the gym or if we could just go shopping now and then.  You know, stroll and fondle the merchandise.  However, we are where we are until there is a vaccine.  Despite the orange man's magical thinking, I am not holding my breath for this to happen.

Part of my doldrums is being tired.  This house is going in down the street.  The street curves to the extent that we can see into that yard, and clearly hear the hammering, the crew talking and the head banger music.  I swear they were playing Slayer one day.  Anyway, they start at 6:00 and there is no escaping the noise where they're on site.  It's going to be a long summer.

The agave in the neighbor's yard has opened up its blossoms some more.

The amount of energy they expend on this is pretty phenomenal.

This is a really cool house on a cul de sac at the other end of the neighborhood.  I love the orange sun sail in the court yard and how the orange blooming plant hanging over the wall matches it.  The shiny metal gate is really good looking.  Over on the right there is a mimosa tree.  That is the first one I have seen in Tucson.  Who ever did their landscaping did a really good job of it.

I took this last night with my 200 mm lens on my Panasonic Lumix.  Because I am so lazy, I did not dig my tripod out of the closet.  I think it turned out pretty well for being hand held.  The phone informs me that the lowest brightest object in the sky is Venus.  The one to the left, and the one at the top of frame on the right (look closely) are a mystery to me.

Last Thursday, the orange man visited the Ford facility in Michigan where they are making ventilators.  Despite being told that masks were required in the plant, he put his on briefly, and then took it off.  He said he didn't want the press to see him wearing one.  If he would model better behavior, perhaps more people would be wearing the masks and slowing the spread.  But noooooo.  Then he addressed the factory workers.  One of his opening statements was about the "good bloodlines" of Henry Ford.  If you missed the video, you can see it here.

Henry Ford owned a newspaper.  He used it to publish hate and vitriol about Jewish people.  He went on to write the "International Jew", which purported to discuss the way the banking industry was controlled by Jewish people.  Hitler was very fond of him, as Henry was of Hitler.  Here is a picture of Ford receiving the Grand Cross award, the highest honor Germany could bestow on a non-German.

This is dog whistle speaking.  The orange one is signalling the white supremicists that he's on board with their agendas of hate and exclusion.  We should expect better of the chief representative of the government.  He never disappoints.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Forty Years and One Day Ago

Mt. Saint Helens blew up.  I wasn't in the area yet, my arrival was 1984.  In 1984 we were still having drills of running down to the server room and covering the mini-computers and disk drives with plastic when there would be a puff of ash coming our way.  Since they weren't totally covered, it didn't seem like it was that worth while, but they said do it, so we did.

There was some back story to this photo, but I can't find it.  The climbers had been up for hours, summiting Mount Adams, and when they got there, they saw the explosion.  A National Geographic photographer was on scene and took the picture.  It was an amazing thing to see, not just the ash, but the mud flows.  Jeff Renner, a retired Seattle weather person, was camped out near St. Helens.  They had decided to take a break and go home, not realizing the event was imminent.  Jeff said in an interview that had they stayed they would have been killed.

Our neighbor's trichocereus is on round two of the bloom.  It's an amazingly prodigious plant.

It's windier today than it was yesterday and hotter.

This is funny.

Monday, May 18, 2020

More of Political Sameness

The agave flowers in the neighbors' yard are starting to open up.  If you look at the one on the left you can see flower parts peeking up.  It seems like it's taking forever.

What do I want to remember about this day?  The orange man says he's taking hydroxychloroquine.  I wonder how many other people will take it and develop long QT syndrome.  He, of course, will take zero responsibility for that.

Doctors who warn against hydroxychloroquine are probably Democrats.  Is that a bonkers statement or what?  Many Republican doctors are also on record as saying don't do it.

There was some speculation that maybe they're giving him Pez, or M&Ms.

It should be noted that IG Steve Linick, was investigating Pompeo and the orange man for phonying up the emergency requirement to sell Saudi Arabia all those weapons so they could bomb Yemen back into the stone age.  Obstruction of justice much?  Pompeo says he didn't know he was under investigation.  These guys are such terrible liars.

States are opening up their economies.  The governor of Georgia had to fess up that their charts showing the number of cases had been presented so that the stacked graphs showed a downward trend.  The dates, however, were not in numerical order.  Bad chartsmanship, bad.  Texas is also seeing a trend up.

This has been circulating on Twitter for awhile.  It struck me as appropriate for the current clamor for shopping and manicures.

Vanity Fair did an article about how the virus loads would drop significantly if people would just wear a damn mask when they're out and about.  I can't comment on the validity of their simulation software, but it seems reasonable.  And really, how hard is it to wear a mask to the grocery store?

We rode this morning, it was very pleasant except for the little black bugs.  They're some sort of a gnat.  The internet doesn't seem to know of their existence so I can't find out when they're all going to die.  It can not be soon enough.  They make a bee line for the insides of one's ears.  Very annoying. The wind came up shortly after we got home.  There have been formidable gusts in the afternoon.  It's like standing in a convection oven.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Packages and Fabric

Well!  Yesterday and today have seen a plethora of packages arriving on our doorstep.  Yesterday my new three cup measuring cup arrived.  It's three cups, with markings in ounces and liters.  It had a giant label glued on it which said it was a three cup measuring cup with markings in ounces and liters.  The paper half of the label soaked off, the glue did not.  Jim finally got the goof-off out and removed the glue this morning, but not before I took an abrasive sponge to it in a fit of pique and scratched the crap out of it.  I didn't mess up the markings so it's all good, I'm taking it as an object lesson to be a little bit more patient with things that are really pissing me off.

Today we received the 55 yards of elastic I ordered April 3.  I think it really did come from China.  The pulse oximeter I ordered April 21 arrived as well, as did the shampoo I ordered yesterday.  The pulse oximeter was interesting, I got various messages saying it was delayed, then it was lost, then the track package button disappeared from the Amazon page.  Then it showed up.  I think their software is buckling under the strain of the pandemic.  So, I'm ready to make some more masks with elastic over the ears and check my oxygen saturation should I become ill.

I've read that if sats drop to 95 you should call an ambulance.  I question that because I was at that level for a week with pneumonia.  I didn't feel great, but I'm not sure it was an ambulance quality event.  When you should go to the hospital would be news we could all use.

When we disposed of most of our stuff, I let myself keep what ever fabric I could get in one box.  It was a good sized box.  So I have a lot of flannel (I used to make crib quilts), a collection of greens that I have no idea what I was planning to do with, and my batiks.  Although it just kills me to cut up my fabric, I think I'm using the lightly dyed batiks for summer masks.  The flannel lined ones are good, but they're hot.

I love the fish.  Love them!

I think I planned to do water color quilts with the batiks.  I can't actually remember, that all happened in 2007.  The fish pattern at the top might find its way into a wall hanging.  These all have too much dye in them to make good masks, they're sort of stiff.

Last night was a special night.  Under the cover of darkness Pompeo conspired with the orange man to remove the State Department Inspector General.  Mr. Linick had opened an investigation into Mr. and Mrs. Pompeo's use of staff to run personal errands for them.  Mrs. Pompeo is a "volunteer" to the State Department and has her own office and staff.  How delightful for her.  We are so doomed.  If he doesn't get voted out in November I can not even imagine what the next four years will be like.

 So, here we are and here we be. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

Tik Tok and a Sunset

Who is on the twitter?  If you're not, you do miss some interesting stuff.  The Guardian did an article about Sarah Cooper.  She's a comedian who has been doing tik toks lip syncing to the orange man and putting them on twitter.  I think she's hysterical.  If you're not a fan of the orange one, you may enjoy her humor.  It's visual humor, so you have to watch her face.

Today we rode, did two loads of laundry, and went to the grocery store so we didn't have to go on the weekend.  There was hand sanitizer again, I got more.  There was also toilet paper.  Score!

Last night there was a pretty good sunset, which was surprising.

Other than this paltry offering, I have nothing to write about.  We're good, but we would really like to go out to lunch.

Thursday, May 14, 2020


In the spring, the hop seeds bloom.  They put forth massive bunches of blossoms that weigh the branches down.  I generally have to cut off some of the ones that are about to break under the weight.  They have been there about twenty years.  The first owner who planted them kept them sheared as a low hedge.  Somewhere along the line, no one sheared and they're now about fifteen feet tall and totally unruly.  I like them better that way.  The internet says not to cut into the old wood, which would have to be done to return them to a hedge shape, so I don't. 

I think they're a beautiful flower.

This is the first year I've actually looked at them after they have dried out.  That is a crispy little flower.

On the right is one of the wings of the flower, resting on another wing.  You can see the center pocket which is empty.

Bottom right is what's inside.  There are two chambers, each with a little black seed.

Thank the heavens these seeds do not seem to germinate well or we would be up to our armpits in hop seed seedlings.  Or maybe it's the fact that we have spread Preen (a pre-emergent) everywhere so that the weeds and grasses don't get a start in the gravel.  I wouldn't mind having a few sprout, but that's about it.

Today was a better day than the previous.  We got some sleep, and went for a bike ride.  It was very pleasant until about 2:00 - then it got hot.  But that's what it does here.

The blossoms aren't opening at all.  Maybe this one is not like the giant blue agaves when they bloom.  That's a stetsonia cactus to the left of the agave.  Look at the length of those thorns.  Wicked!