Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Who watched the debate last night?  Calling that a debate stretches the meaning of the word.  Anyway, I saw the first 15 minutes and the last 15, and that was quite enough.  I saw this on twitter and I think it summed it up quite nicely.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Evil and Plants

Long time, no post!  I've been irritable, cranky, even.  It just never ceases to amaze me that people voted for that man and continue to support him.  Why his approval rating is over 5% is a complete and total mystery to me.  The republicans have remained mysteriously mute on the fact that the wombat basically does not pay taxes, owes $421M to someone, and if his tax audit goes against him, he'll owe the IRS around $100M.  So much winning!  If you haven't read the NYT article, you should.  It's incredibly researched and well written, and long.

Last Thursday we planted the blue sage we bought to replace the dying bottle brush plants.  We thought it wouldn't be all that difficult since the bougainvilleas had been removed and holes had been dug for the bottle brushes.  Wrong! It was a bigger root ball so we had to dig deeper.  There were rocks the size of my head in the dirt.  The two ladies from Alaska who now run a landscaping business were down the street.  I walked down to see if they had a caliche bar on the truck.  They had something much better.

It was a jack hammer!  The thing weighed 40 pounds, it was all I could do to get it home, but it was worth the effort.  It's a very effective tool for getting out rocks and caliche.  It had a spade attachment which is like a little shovel.  Jim ran it, I was too tired.

This is next door, it's a red fish hook cactus.  It's odd to see a cactus blooming this time of year.

Here is the rest of my political commentary for this post.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Plants and Animals

It's still hot, it will be hotter by the end of the week.  Sooner or later this will break, but sooner would be better.

We got flu shots today, the old person's dosage, which has more zing to it than the regular vaccine.  As we age, our immune systems don't respond as well to vaccines, so more is better.  It's also knocking me on my butt.  My arm hurts and I'm sort of achy.  It doesn't last and after having pneumonia in 2016, I'll get the flu shot to decrease the chances of pneumonia.

We have had much wild life in the yard.  We finally gave up on the little cactus garden because the javelinas came back and chewed on them again.  So we pulled them up, redistributed the rocks that outlined the planting area and raked it over.  Javelinas are why we can't have nice things.  Farewell little cactus garden.

Yesterday we had birds and bunnies.  The palm tree is dropping little tiny fruits everywhere, the birds come and eat them.

In the lower right hand corner is the juvenile bunny that comes to spend time under the palms.

Yesterday we were driven out of the house by sheer unadulterated boredom.  We went to a nursery out on the east side, Mesquite Valley Growers.  They're huge, they recently added new space and are now very huge.  This is one of their bougainvilleas.

A cool looking cactus with pink fruit.

Another good looking cactus in a very nice pot.

These people have containers!  If they don't have it, you probably don't need it.

We bought a blue sage to go where the dying bottle brush plants were.  They were very frustrating, of the four we planted, they started out looking the best and then began their long inexorable slide into the grave.  So, they're gone, too. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Going Back to Legacy Blogger

How much do you really hate the new blogger? I'm posting this in old blogger, despite not having the "revert to legacy" button available.  It's not a perfect workaround, but it's better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Use this url after editing it. 

Replace the x's with your blogger id.

You get your id by going to the dash board and looking up in the url line.  I've x'ed out my id, you need your own.

Replace the x's with your blogger id in the LegacyBlogger=true url, then cut and paste all of it into the url line.  I bookmarked the altered URL which is not a great solution, since it's hard to find in the list.  It's not that hard to just paste it in if you're doing a new post and then paste in the blogger id over the x's. It also restores the way comments used to work as well as navigating through older posts.

Who knows how long the legacy version will be accessible, but I for one, am hanging on to the old version until the bitter end. 

Many thanks to a blogger in Denmark who came up with this. I got there via Cup on the Bus and then on to Elephant's Child and then to Denmark.

Update:  if you have the notepad app, you can paste the url in there in a saved file on your desktop and it's easy to get to.
Update 2:  apparently this only works on the dashboard page.  If you view blog, you can't go back to legacy unless you re-input the edited url.


Well, evil blogger cut my access to legacy blogger today.  I am now marooned on a platform of stupid user interface and bad ju-ju all around.  I'm very unhappy about this.  Of course, I'm pretty despondent about just about everything today.  I had to abandon reading the NYT and WAPO, I just can't take it.  I have not felt this way since Hillary lost.  

 When I link to something, I always want it to open in a new window.  Old blogger let you make that a default, new blogger makes you click on it every single time.  New blogger makes everything take more clicks.  Anyway, do any of you know how to make that a default?

There is nattering to be done, inconsequential things to be said and all of that which makes up daily life in a pandemic.  Yesterday we stopped to snoop in the house that's going up down the street.  I previously discussed construction techniques in AZ here.  They've progressed to the stage of applying stucco.  It's not sprayed, they have to have to hand trowel it on.  There is a mixer on the job site.  They load bags of Portland Cement and shovel sand in to it to make the stucco.  This has to be brutal in the heat we've been having.

The front wall with stucco applied.

Looking down the side of the house, we notice the scaffolding they are using.  The boards just sit on the scaffold with no point of attachment.  It looks like an accident waiting to happen, but what do I know?

The trichocereus next door has bloomed again.  It's surprising to see this since there has been no rain and it's not getting any water.  I like the yellow stripes on the second layer of petals.

When we ride up to the end of Lone Star, up the hill that hurts way more than it should, we see the quilt house.  We call it that because there will frequently be a quilt hanging in front of the garage.  The why of this is not known.

I can't tell if it's pieced or whole cloth.  Since it's their driveway I don't feel comfortable walking up and looking at it up close.  Look how the blue sort of meanders across the field. 

If this is pieced, it's really astonishing work.

In sporting news, Tadej Pogačar beat the expected winner of the Tour de France, Primož Roglič, by putting 1:56 minutes on him on the final time trial.  Jumbo-Visma had really controlled the race up until the time trial, and then it all went bad.  Tadej Pogačar ended the day with the White jersey (best young rider), the Polka Dot jersey (most mountain points) and the Yellow jersey (over all race leader).  It's an amazing result for a 21 year riding his first Tour de France.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today.  She was a giant among people and we will miss her terribly.

March 15, 1933- September 18, 2020


NPR has an excellent summary of her life here.  I did not think it would be possible, but 2020 just got worse.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Doves in Repose

Here is a moment of repose in the yard.  The dove on the right has made a depression in the dirt and is enjoying a cooler surface.  The rocks we put in between the hop seeds are keeping them from doing this next to the flag stones, which flings gravel everywhere.  Success!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Haze and Baby Squirrels

The haze moved out this morning, there was a switch in the wind direction.  The world is a little brighter - and hotter.   Currently there is zero air movement, after a very windy morning.  I really don't understand the wind patterns here.

This is what we had been seeing for awhile.  It was actually more red, but the camera wasn't seeing it.

This morning I kept seeing movement in the palm tree, but I couldn't tell what it was.  Walking out on to the patio I could see it was a juvenile squirrel, trying to right himself on the palm frond.  It was difficult to see if he had impaled a paw on the sharp thorns or what the problem was.  We put on leather garden gloves to see if we could help.  I put a hand under him to take the weight off of his paws.  He immediately flipped over, tried to bite me and dropped to the ground and ran off.  My current theory is that he did not have the arm strength to pull himself up and get back on the top of the frond.  Hopefully he can learn from this and stay out of the palm trees until he's older.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Crazy People

Crazy people are in positions of power in this country.  Yesterday Michael Caputo surfaced as a nutter, and the orange wombat confirmed it once again.

Michael Caputo is the assistant secretary of public affairs at HHS.  Caputo reports to Azar.  Sunday he did a live Facebook event during which he said some really weird stuff.  Caputo has been interfering with the CDC weekly release of the Morbidity and Mortality reports.  These are the reports that quantify deaths.  Up until now, no one outside of CDC saw them until they were made public.  Caputo has inserted himself into the process with demands for changes to the data.  During his Facebook event he accused the CDC of harboring a resistance unit whose goal is to undermine the orange wombat.  Caputo went on to suggest that he personally could be in danger from opponents of the administration. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he urged his followers.  Other remarks were as follows (this is excerpted from the NYT article).
C.D.C. scientists “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops” to plot “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump next,” Mr. Caputo said. “There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.”
Over all, his tone was deeply ominous: He warned, again without evidence, that “there are hit squads being trained all over this country” to mount armed opposition to a second term for Mr. Trump. “You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,” Mr. Caputo added.
He said his physical health was in question, and his “mental health has definitely failed.”
“I don’t like being alone in Washington,” Mr. Caputo said, describing “shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.” He also said the mounting number of Covid-19 deaths was taking a toll on him, telling his viewers, “You are not waking up every morning and talking about dead Americans.” The United States has lost more than 194,000 people to the virus. Mr. Caputo urged people to attend Trump rallies, but only with masks.
The only believable part of that was that his mental health has failed. If you are blocked by the NYT paywall, there is more reporting here.

Huff post reports that Caputo has extensive ties to Russia.  He worked for Yeltsin 1995 to 1999.  Later he had a position improving Putin's image. 
Caputo’s Kremlin ties were so concerning that he became a target of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. He was questioned but was not charged with any offenses. He also testified before the House Intelligence Committee that he had no contact with Russians while serving on the Trump campaign.
Caputo has attempted to scrub his links to Russia in his Wikipedia bio — and insisted in an interview that his work doesn’t make him a “Putin stooge.” He told his hometown newspaper, The Buffalo News, that “at the time, Putin wasn’t such a bad guy.”
So this is the guy that's in charge of communications from the CDC.  Apparently all of this is just fine with the wombat, and Caputo's job is secure.

Speaking of the wombat, he went to California today to discuss the fires.  At the airport he did a press gaggle, during which he said that when trees are downed, after 18 months they dry up because no water is running through them; and then they explode and cause fires.  Oh and there are the dead leaves, leaves are also a danger.  He went after California for not raking the forests.  During the table discussion, Governor Newsom pointed out that only 3% of the forests in California are state.  The rest are federal, overseen by the US Department of Agriculture. When another member of the California delegation mentioned that California is hotter all year round, the wombat replied with his thought that the earth would begin to cool and that the scientists don't know anything. Politicalflare has a piece on this I guess this explains why a climate change denier was just appointed to NOAA.

CNN has an article up about how the wombat could end social security by 2022.  I have been making the "la la la la la" noise on the subject because I though that Congress would have to do it, because SS is a federal law.  Nope, I was wrong.  The IRS gives the wombat the authority to suspend payroll withholding when a disaster is declared.  And so, he's suspending withholding for federal and military employees.  The private sector declined to participate.  He can just  declare another disaster.  This is so bad, how many millions of people will be thrown in to poverty because of one psychopath?  I really hope the article is wrong on this, social security is a big chunk of our income.

This guy has got to go.  Sorry I have no pictures today, it's been a slow day in lock-down.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

People, Cats and the New Unimproved Blogger

I'm writing this with the new blogger.  I really, really hate this software.

One of the (many) things I hate the most is they have taken away your ability to easily go back in time to edit an old post.  In legacy blogger you could skip through the old posts 100 at a whack until you got there.  Now you have to continue to scroll down as it loads more posts.  It's really time consuming and it makes me crazy because there was a better way to do it until the geniuses at Google decided we didn't need that functionality.

I read somewhere that new wretched blogger puts your photos in the post in alphabetical order.  I can't confirm this yet, but if true, this is also stupid.  I also hate the way they are displaying html.  It makes it very difficult to figure out how it relates to the actual text. 

This is a mule tail deer in the yard across the street.  The guy who lives there puts out water and food.  Both of these are forbidden activities in the neighborhood.  He's the reason why we have so many javelinas roaming around here.  For awhile he was putting out meat which was attracting coyotes and bob cats, which were facing off and defending turf.  Anyway, this is why we can't have flowers, only spiky things.

The lemon tree has set fruit, which is still very green.  It will be months before it's ripe.  It has also put out one solitary blossom.

This is part of the project to armor the gravel so the small animals don't make wallows in the dirt.  We did two more sections the other day.  So far they haven't moved the rocks around.

Steve Reed's post this morning was thought provoking.  There are too many people, which is tough on the animals.  In the Aleutian islands the sea otters are disappearing.  Their populations have dropped by about 90%.  The salmon are gone because people ate them and destroyed their habitats.  The orcas are starving and eating the otters.  Because the otters are not there, the sea urchin populations are exploding.  The sea urchins are eating the kelp and the algae reefs.  The entire ecoystem is collapsing.   More is at NYT.

Meanwhile, the otters in California are in decline.  Why?  Toxoplasmosis from house cats, and feral cats.  People clean out the litter box and flush it down the toilet.   The toxoplasmosis makes it through the waste water treatment plants and ends up out at sea where it accumulates in the kelp and the otters pick it up.  It destroys their brains.  So, put the poop in the trash so it goes to a land fill.  More is at NYT.

Meanwhile in Oregon, the right wing militia dudes are convinced that Antifa is in the area setting fires and looting.  So, they are manning road blocks and stopping people they think are suspicious.  They have guns and they're not blessed with an abundance of critical thinking skills.  Why do they believe Antifa is on their way?  They've been listening to police and fire scanners.  The Bureau of Land Management has been involved in discussions.  What do we call that bureau?  BLM.  That's it, there is a strong suspicion that the alt right guys heard BLM and figured Antifa was on the way.  It would be funny if there wasn't such a potential for tragedy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Yet More Perfidy and Malfeasance

It has been a day.  In local news of the weather, it was 72 degrees this morning.  We almost were cold heading out on the bikes.  There was cloud cover and it was such a nice change from being so dang hot.

Thus ends anything positive I can say.

In addition to California burning, now Washington and Oregon are, as well.  Small towns have been wiped out, major evacuations are in process.  It just feels like the end of the world as we know it.  Strong off-shore winds are fanning the flames.  They bring dry air to the fires.  Fires are erupting in places that never burn, places that are heavily populated.

This is the view of San Fransisco Bay from Treasure Island.

Eugene, Oregon.

The National Guard has been doing an outstanding job of rescuing people surrounded by flames after CalFire told them they were on their own.  On your own pretty much means you'll be burning to death.

Bob Woodward dropped his new book, and Lordy there are tapes.  The orange wombat knew in February that Covid19 was lethal and airborne.  He elected to sit on that information.  Instead of explaining the coming danger at the State of the Union, he instead chose to tell the country it would all go away when the weather warmed up.  He's a murderer.

Also from the tapes is Woodward trying to explore the wombat's views on Black lives in the US.
Mr. Woodward pointed out that both he and Mr. Trump were “white, privileged” and asked if Mr. Trump was working to “understand the anger and the pain, particularly, Black people feel in this country.”
Mr. Trump replied, “No,” and added: “You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”
He's a murdering monster.

In other news, E.Jean Carroll's defamation suit will be moved from a NY State court to a Federal court.  The US Department of Justice will take over defending the wombat, based on the fact that his comments that are the basis of the defamation suit were made when he was president, doing his presidential due diligence of defending his honor.  It's highly likely that this will kill her lawsuit. You can read more legal speak at Reuters.

DHS has re-confirmed that white supremacists are the most dangerous group in the US.  You would never know this listening to the wombat.  His rhetoric about "really fine people on both sides" has fanned the flames for these people.  Some of them are now calling for shooting Democratic politicians.  DHS is also involved in tailoring intelligence briefings to conform with the wombat's world view.  "Brian Murphy, the former head of the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence branch, said in the complaint that he was ordered this spring by Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of the department, to stop producing assessments on Russian interference and focus instead on Iran and China. That request, Mr. Murphy said, was routed through Mr. Wolf from Robert C. O’Brien, the White House national security adviser." More on this is here.

The USPS Board of Directors had a meeting with DeJoy regarding his changes to mail service.  They are reporting that they are just beside themselves with joy at his progress.  So, I guess this is how it will be from now on.

The orange wombat announced today that Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton would be his picks for the Supreme Court if someone on the bench dies, and he's re-elected.  Think about that.

If you see the September issue of Vanity Fair on a magazine rack, it's worth buying.  The entire issue is dedicated to Black Lives Matter and why the police are the way they are.  One particular article has really stayed with me.  It's long, but worth reading.  The link to the Vanity Fair article is here.  It's a piece on the Fraternal Brotherhood of the Police titled "Blue Bloods", written by Eve Ewing.  The article traces the roots of modern policing to the Reconstruction era, when the Black codes were implemented to provide legal cover for White people to make Black people do what they wanted.  She also traces the formation of police unions, which have achieved more power than any union has ever had. 
This is a brotherhood. It abides no law but its own. It scorns the person hood of all but its own brethren. It derides all creatures outside its own clan. And for that reason, the brotherhood is not only a hurdle impeding reform. It is the architecture of an alternate reality, one that seethes and bubbles just beneath the surface of our own. And it’s a reality in which none of us are human.
Curiously, the Republicans are just fine with the wombat lying about the virus.  They're a bunch of spineless monsters.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Still Hot

Today's high will be 110 according to KOLD.  I just went out to retrieve an Amazon package and I think it's already true.  It's really really hot, and windy.  We have four more days of really hot and then it drops into the 90's.  Hopefully it will STAY there.

Sabian404 retweeted this picture of a Boeing 777X at Boeing Field.  It's a cool picture.  This plane has some serious winglets.

There was a boat parade today in Austin on a lake there.  The bigger boats were going too fast, generating too much wake.  In the process, four boats sank and one burned.  I know it's a personality flaw to take pleasure in others' misfortune, but it's hard not to.  No one was hurt, so I am partially redeemed.

At 7:05 this morning it was 90 degrees when we set out.  It would be nice for it to be cooler so we could ride longer.  That's not happening yet.

Here is a bucket of yard work in waiting.  Some small creatures are making wallows in the side yard.  They displace the gravel and dig up the sprinkler lines.  The plan is to put a rock in each wallow and hopefully dissuade them from doing this.  We went to Sonoran Materials and bought two five gallon buckets of rocks.  We're limited by what we can carry.

The wind has taken all of the petals out from under the bougainvillea and moved them into the entry way. Jim will need to get the leaf blower out and move them down the street into the wash.

From the current episode of "you can't make this up", the niece of Osama bin Laden has endorsed the orange wombat for president.

OK then! Carry on.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Monster in the White House

The following is from an article in The Atlantic written by Jeffrey Goldberg.  It's been excerpted all over twitter today, so I guess I'm not feeling too awful about cutting and pasting here.  It's worth reading.  There is more in the article.
When President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, he blamed rain for the last-minute decision, saying that “the helicopter couldn’t fly” and that the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. Neither claim was true.

Trump rejected the idea of the visit because he feared his hair would become disheveled in the rain, and because he did not believe it important to honor American war dead, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day. In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

Belleau Wood is a consequential battle in American history, and the ground on which it was fought is venerated by the Marine Corps. America and its allies stopped the German advance toward Paris there in the spring of 1918. But Trump, on that same trip, asked aides, “Who were the good guys in this war?” He also said that he didn’t understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies.

On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.
He had to ask who were the "good guys" in WWI.  Think about that.  Of course, when he visited Pearl Harbor, he had to be told why it was important.  His lack of knowledge of history is astonishing.  Mr. Goldberg's reporting has been confirmed by the AP and a senior defense department official.  I wish John Kelly would come forward.

So, there you have it, another look at the perfidy and malfeasance currently in office.