Saturday, May 28, 2022

Paint and Plants

What's new in your neck of the woods, other than the weekly massacre with guns, or Russia's perfidy and malfeasance.  Then there is climate change, fires raging over 500 square miles in New Mexico which appear to have been started by controlled burns done by the Forest Service, and all the usual signs of a planet going off the rails.  But enough of that - I have a few photos. 

This was taken May 19, it's been sitting in my email, waiting for me to upload it.  Pretty cool sky.

We hiked up the big hill the other day, which was Monday.  It's good that the dates are on the pictures, or I would never know what happened when.  The weather was iffy, as to whether it would rain.

This is the first time since last fall that Jim and I have been outside in shorts.  It was marginal, but we were determined not to hike in long pants.

Later there was a decent sunset.

Thursday it hit 70F.  First time this year!  This is one of the latest first 70 degree days ever.  It's been an abysmal spring.  So what did we do to celebrate this wonderful event?  We started painting the garage.  Of course we did!  Here is Jim on the ladder, wearing ancient shorts.

The next day we had to take the big car in for a new battery, we're not driving it enough.  The dealer wants to install a battery tender, also known as a float charger, but it's $175 for parts and labor.  That seems like a lot.  I think we'll drive it more.

Last night the setting sun was lighting up the trees.  We haven't seen this before, it will be interesting to see how long that sticks around.  Look at the tree glow on the right side.

Today we were back at it, finishing up the painting.  Jim is wearing a hat because it's cold in the garage.  I ended up in a sweatshirt and the fuzzy mandalorian pants.  Summer can not come soon enough.  Notice that Jim is in jeans.

The baby quail have hatched.  The neighbors came over to tell us they're out.  We'll have to keep an eye on the window wells.  If the chicks fall in there, a human must come and get them out until they can fly.  We looked at their back yard, which is an amazing example of horticulture, terracing and building of retaining walls.  They love doing it, so hats off to them.   This is one of their succulents in the back yard.  It's an amazing specimen.

Note the alligator in the pond.

Coming back to our house we got a good look at the maple tree.  This tree has been topped twice by the previous owner.  It's not a happy tree.  Last year we cut it back some and then felt bad about it.  This year we have resolved to no longer torture the tree.  However, we've noticed that the branches that used to be in the vertical are now flopped over.  I have no idea what to do with it now.  Actually, nothing can be done until fall and the leaves have dropped.  Aaargh.

Other than painting, not much is happening.  The geraniums are still sulking because they are cold.

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Uvalde, Texas

What the hell, America?


In 1994 assault weapons were banned, but the legislation expired in 2004.  Congress would not re-up the ban due to pressure from gun activists.

From the NYT we learn the following:

Among the countless chilling details to emerge from the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday was this: The authorities had asked parents waiting in agony for news about their children to give DNA samples.

The request suggests that some of the 19 children who were killed may have been so severely wounded and grouped so closely together that they were difficult to identify, according to experts in medical forensics.

 We used to have rational thought on this subject, but those days are over.  What is it going to take?

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Cold, Haiti, and Stupid

 Greetings Fellow Humans.  How are you doing in these perilous times?  We're water logged, which is further depressing our spirits.  It's currently raining and cold.  At 3:30 in the afternoon it's in the low 50s.  Due to the jet stream and a lack of high pressure systems, there's no end in sight for this weather pattern.

The weather models are predicting this to go well in to June.  Kill me now.

There is an amazing article up on NYT about Haiti and how France, the US and Haiti's internal corruption have ruined the country.  While there was and is corruption within the Haitian government, I would have to say the greatest fault has to be laid at the feet of France and the US.  When Haiti over threw their enslavers, France required the Haitian people to recompense the former enslavers.  The debt compounded over the years, leaving nothing for nation building.  Mistakes were made by the Haitians, but I think the French have much to apologize for.  The French do not accept that any of this happened, oddly enough.  Anyway, it's here.  There is a paywall, but if you haven't used up your monthly allotment of free articles, this one is worth reading.

We have not done much that is worth writing about.  In part because of the weather.  We started up the big hill the other day, but the wind picked up, we got cold and gave up on it.  

Our neighbor with the giant agave took it outside for the summer.  I'm wondering how the agave is feeling about leaving its west facing window in the warmth of the house.

This is ours from when we got here.  I took this outside when it had just been repotted.

This is him now.  The color is different because he's under grow lights.  Anyway, this winter, several new petals have emerged, so he's happy.  We're afraid to try to move him, so now he is a house plant.

The neighbors had some maintenance done on their roof this morning.  It just gives me the willies to see people unharnessed on a roof.  This one does not have a really steep pitch, but still.  Here they are, scraping off moss.

He did not fall.  A split second later, he grabbed the edge of the roof and arrested his departure into space.

I'm not sure how I feel about pressure washing a composite shingle roof.  I think I'm against it.

They finished up just before the rain got here.

From the department of you can't fix stupid, we have this quote from Bill Cassidy, senator from Mississippi.  As you know, Mississippi rates pretty much at the bottom of every list by which states are ranked.  Maternal mortality is one of those lists.  However, according to the senator, things are not really that bad.  The below is from Vanity Fair.

In an interview with Politico, the following words came out of Cassidy’s mouth: “About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear. Now, I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be. For whatever reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality.”

What, oh what, could those reasons be?  Lack of pre-natal care?  Refusal to expand Medicaid post-partum care?  Systemic racism in the medical profession?  One does wonder about this higher incidence.  Vanity Fair wrote about the interview, which you can read here.  Or you can read the longer article on Politico here.

I will leave you with a picture of one of our cute quail.  They're California Quail.  I'm going to spare you the picture of the marmot poop we picked up off the front yard.  

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


Welp, it looks like there will be no trips to Idaho for us.  If we ever go east, I think maybe we'll drive around the state.  HuffPost has published a long article about what's happening in Idaho.  As you no doubt recall, Hayden was a hot bed for the Aryan Nation back in the 1990s.  Yep, Nazis.  They eventually petered out, but that's the kind of place it is.  It's actually worse now.

Far right activists are hard at work, taking over local politics.  Moderate Republicans, tired of being harassed and threatened are quitting.  Billionaires are paying conservative Californians to move to the state.  White Nationalist Vincent James Foxx, who is leading the charge to reshape Idaho had things to say about the over turning of Roe.

Christian nationalists across the country were thrilled last week after news that Roe v. Wade is likely to be overturned by the Supreme Court, setting the stage for banning abortion in places like Idaho.

Foxx was especially worked up, posting a livestream in which he listed off his hopes for the wave of policies the decision could unleash. “They’re gonna ban sodomy!” he said. “They’re gonna ban gay marriage! They’re gonna throw gays off roofs! Women lose, God wins. Christ wins,” he said, smiling, before adding: “We shall have our theocracy soon.”

Earlier this month, in an interview with Stew Peters — a conspiracist who has called for Dr. Fauci to be executed — McGeachin shared a similar sentiment. “God calls us to pick up the sword and fight,” she said, “and Christ will reign in the state of Idaho.”

McGeachin is the Lt. Governor of Idaho.  Every time the governor leaves the state, she implements things that he has to undo upon his return.  Apparently the force of bat shit crazy is strong in Idaho, I do wish they were farther away from Washington. 

It's a long article, but it's worth reading.  It gives you an in depth view of what's at stake.

Monday, May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Well, here I am with another depressing article.  However, it's news you can use if you or someone you love has had Covid.  The article is in Nature and details a records study conducted on Veterans Affairs patients.  They found this:

Even a mild case of COVID-19 can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems for at least a year after diagnosis, a new study shows. Researchers found that rates of many conditions, such as heart failure and stroke, were substantially higher in people who had recovered from COVID-19 than in similar people who hadn’t had the disease.

What’s more, the risk was elevated even for those who were under 65 years of age and lacked risk factors, such as obesity or diabetes.

This does not make me happy. 

The day before yesterday, we filled holes in two window casings.  Something used to be installed there, later replaced by cellular shades.  Instead of doing a nice job of filling and sanding, the installers just goobered some spackle on the wood, and moved on.  We sanded those down, and filled two holes they'd done nothing with.  The people who make the pink spackle that dries white, also make wood filler that does the same thing.  It works well, requires minimal sanding.  Yesterday was painting.  We're done now.  They were driving Jim crazy, so that's off his to do list.

Are these not beautiful bread crumbs?  We've been making yeast dinner rolls, and I have to say they grind up much more nicely than the no-knead bread.   That's my new mini-food processor. 

The turkeys are out, roaming the neighborhood.  This one was up the street, he's a big bird.

Here is an old picture of a beautifully restored house in the Tucson barrio.  Jim and I have spent some time looking for three photos to go on the giant recently painted wall.  We decided that one enormous piece of art would look stupid, so we're trying three framed canvas prints from Costco.  I ordered one to see if we like them.  This is one of the pictures we decided against because it's too beige, but it's still pretty.

So, other than wondering why Fox "news" tries to pass off a white supremacist mass murderer as a confused "teenager" driven crazy by too many violent video games, and why it is that the minute I heard they took the shooter alive, I knew he was white, and why Elise Stefanik continues to promulgate the great replacement lie, I have not too much to say at present.  Vote blue, it's all you can do.

Update to post 9/6/2022:  I've been doing some Covid history spelunking, deciding whether or not to challenge someone who just told me that flu kills more people than Covid.  Anyway, I discovered that May 16, 2022 was the day the official death count hit one million.  It took about 2.5 years to get there, but it did.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Spring and the Special Operation

Greetings from Spring NotSpring.  It got down to one degree above freezing last night.  Today was actually nice.  Light snow is in the forecast for tomorrow.  I realize this is normal for many locations, but we have not experienced spring for decades, it's just weird.

Last Saturday we were wallowing in our malaise and ennui because it was cold and windy, and we didn't do much of anything all day.  It's not good for a person to sit that much, sitting is the new smoking.  Sunday dawned not much better, and so we decided that we would paint two walls upstairs that were bothering us.  One had water stains on it from what we think was an old window leak.  The other had "dabs" from where I had touched up some holes from picture hangars in the wall and the paint was a terrible match.  So yes, we were so bored that we decided to paint.  It's good that we did it.  The dabs are no longer visible and the water stains are gone.

Here is Jim on the ladder on day two of painting.  I spent day one on the ladder cutting in the ceilings and walls. 

This sunset was from day one of the painting.  It's a pretty cool cloud.

Yesterday wasn't bad.  We walked up the big hill.

Here is Jim, looking up.

We have recently learned that there are marmots here.  I saw this one in the neighbor's front yard, eating grass. 

They've recently left hibernation, and are very hungry.  I thought they were really cute until I read this: "Marmots, also known as whistle pigs and rock chucks are omnivores. They eat insects, flowers, grasses, grains, and ripe vegetables. They will not only cause major damage to crops and gardens, but they can also spread ticks that cause Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease. It’s also possible for them to transmit rabies and hantavirus."  They live in large communal burrows which have been known to go underneath peoples' houses.  It's always something!  Here is a better picture of a marmot local to Spokane.

If you've been following the special operation Putin is pursuing in Ukraine, you've noticed the large number of Russian tanks with their turrets blown off.  There is an extraordinary video up on twitter that shows a turret being ejected after being hit by a Ukranian weapon.  Go here for the video.  It was filmed by a Chinese crew.  If they had been three minutes down the road, it would have been bad for them.  Update 9/10/22:  Unfortunately the video has been removed.  It was amazing, the tank gets hit, and the turret of the tank goes straight up in the air.

Why, you wonder, do the turrets fly off like this? 

The Russians have no protection from their ammunition when they're hit.  US and German survival rates are much better because the ammunition is behind a blast door. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

The Weather and Domestic Supply Issues

The weather for the last two days has been awful.  The spring weather round up has really been dismal.  February and March were sort of nice.  April sucked and now May is truly vacuum enabled.  Last night a funnel cloud was spotted in Spokane.  It didn't touch down, but really - funnel clouds?  This did happen, however, due to high winds.  I believe that's a mobile home on its top, and there is a boat that was removed from its trailer.  That is just sad.

Here we had thunder hail.  The lightning was of the sort that turns night into day, with great booming thunder as well as rolling thunder.  I did take video, but thus far am unable to get them to load and play.  I have no idea why this is.  Here are still pictures.

The back deck covered in hail.

The front sidewalk.

Sunset clouds between storm cells.

This morning.  We've had more cells push through with rain and falling temperatures, but no thunder so far.

So, the reason why abortion needs to be banned has become clear.  It's because the US needs a domestic supply of infants for adoption.  Apparently the foreign born babies are just not cutting the mustard.

Ms Barret agrees, she of the Handmaid status in her church.

So, fertile women in the US are to be classified as breeders. 

Is it just me, or does it seem like the wheels have really come off in the last two or three months?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Short Spring and More of the Awful

We had two days of spring,  Tuesday and Wednesday.  Both were just lovely, we were sitting in a neighbor's driveway chatting, facing into the sun, and I got a little bit sunburned.  Ahhh spring, we miss you.  Today it's windy and pouring down rain.  Rain is actually good, we need it.  However, next week every night is predicted to have lows in the 30's.  This is ridiculous.  It's not just me whining about the weather, everyone is.  It should be in the 70's by now.  Here are two photos from up the street.  Some people are serious gardeners.  I would not be one of them.

Now I will segue into doom and gloom on a few fronts.  My first issue is water, or the lack thereof in the south west.  From The Counter we learn, "In the desert west of Phoenix, the city of Buckeye is growing faster than almost any other city in the U.S. City leaders anticipate housing 1 million residents by mid-century. At current rates of water consumption, Buckeye would need over 100,000 acre-feet annually, or 90,000 acre-feet more water than today."  AZ law says you have to guarantee water for 100 years.  Buckeye is convinced it can do this by raising the level of an existing dam, and drawing up ground water, which may or may not be there in the amounts needed.  Water is a zero sum game these days.  Desalinization is not really feasible in a land locked state.  Collection and reuse of waste water is feasible and could be done, but there is not public enthusiasm for this.  Tucson runs waste water through purification and then into wet lands; that water grows fish so it's pretty clean.  Anyway, the level of denial is just amazing when it comes to the drought and the fact the climate change makes it unlikely to get any better.

Las Vegas is also in a world of hurt.  There are three water inlets in Lake Mead, used to draw water to be piped into Las Vegas.  This picture is the first of three.

This is not good.  The water level of Lake Powell has dropped to the point where there is fear that Glen Canyon dam will not be able to generate electricity.  That means no air conditioning in the summer. Water is being released from Lake Mead to Lake Powell to keep the turbines running which puts more pressure on Lake Mead.    Read more on the subject here and here.  It's amazing to me that humans can deny what's right in front of their faces and continue on a path that will lead to destruction.  Growth in Arizona is just not sustainable at the current rate.  However, property rights advocates, developers and their ilk will not consider any limits to rampant development.

Louisiana is rushing a bill forward that will allow for prosecution of a woman who aborts a fetus (including an ectopic) and the doctor who performed the procedure.  The full weight of the state's power will be used to bring murder charges.  Their definition of "life" is from the moment of conception, they don't even allow the 6 week period used in Texas.  Republicans are now saying out loud that the life of the fetus is more important than the life of the woman.  We're expendable in their world view.

Meanwhile, in Texas, Governor Abbot wants to do away with public education for the children of undocumented people.  Governor Greg Abbott, wants to do this by having SCOTUS over turn a ruling from the 70s — Plyler v. Doe, which established that every child in the United States has the right to a free public education, regardless of their parents’ legal status.  He doesn't like spending the money to ensure these kids can grow up, hold jobs and pay taxes.  He really is a horrible person.  He was just fine with costing the state four billion dollars by holding up truck traffic at the border for no good reason, he's also fine with stationing the Texas National Guard at the border for no good reason.  Since he called up the Guard, he has to pay them, not the federal government.  There appears to be a land rush towards the Supreme Court by the conservatives to over turn all the rulings from the last 50 years that they don't like.

The Vanity Fair Hive has an interesting take on Alito and his reasoning to over turn Roe.  It's all over twitter, as well, but this has the better formatting and punctuation.  I'm extensively quoting in case it's behind a paywall for you.

As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern notes, the draft—which could change before a the final ruling, as could the various justices’ votes—doesn’t just lay out the case for why Roe should be overturned, it goes full scorched earth. Alito, Stern writes, “does not seek out any middle path. He disparages Roe and its successors as dishonest, illegitimate, and destructive to the court, the country, and the Constitution. He quotes a wide range of anti-abortion activists, scholars, and judges who view abortion as immoral and barbaric; there’s even a footnote that approvingly cites Justice Clarence Thomas’s debunked theory that abortion is a tool of eugenics against Black Americans.” The opinion is an appalling, heinous attack on people who have relied on Roe for nearly half a century, and the most sickening part is that the conservative justice clearly doesn’t give a shit that obliterating the landmark ruling will ruin countless lives. In fact, one might argue, that’s all part of the plan. And if you needed further proof that Alito is pure evil and wants to take the U.S. back to a time when women’s bodies were property for men to control, know that one of the people he cited in his opinion was an English jurist who defended marital rape and had women executed for “witchcraft.”

Yes, Alito literally quoted this guy, who was born in 1609, as a defense for ending Roe v. Wade in 2022. “Two treatises by Sir Matthew Hale,” Alito enthusiastically writes, “described abortion of a quick child who died in the womb as a ‘great crime’ and a ‘great misprision.’ See M. Hale, Pleas of the Crown.” As Jezebel notes, The History of the Pleas of the Crown “is a text that defended and laid the foundation for the marital rape exemption across the world” and reads: “For the husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband which she cannot retract.” Again, Alito used the arguments of this man to bolster his case.

Finally, there was a horrible article in WAPO this morning, but it is news you can use.  For most of us, ability to obtain an abortion is mooted by age.  However, for many this is not the case.  Smart phones will likely be an enforcement tool for states who outlaw abortion.  There are apps that track your menstrual cycle.  These apps sell that data, it's not protected by HIPPA.  Police can get that data and use it to determine if you've missed enough time that you might be pregnant.  I think it's Missouri that either has or will be passing a law to make it illegal to leave the state for an abortion.  This is one way that they will know to be looking at a particular woman.  Location data is tracked and sold, they know where you've been.  In 2017, prosecutors used Internet searches for abortion drugs as evidence in a Mississippi woman’s trial for the death of her fetus.  The extent to which we're under surveillance becomes more clear when you read the WAPO article.  Young women need to learn to clear cache and cookies and delete history every time, and get a burner phone if they're in red states.  I did not expect to ever write that sentence.

There are two twitter threads I don't want to lose, so I'm sticking them here.  They're long.
First is a thread
about Matthew Hale, the 17th century jurist quoted by Alito.
Second is a thread about SafeGraph and the men who plan to profit from it.  SafeGraph was called         out in the WAPO article.  This may or may not be inflated in its awfulness.

Well, if you've made it this far, I salute your tenaciousness.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

The Wretched Leaked Decision

I have hatred, flaming in my heart with the heat of a thousand suns.  Three Supreme Court nominees recently lied under oath that Roe was settled law, it was precedent.  Now it's not.  Truly, I hate these people.  It's only the start.  They'll come after Griswold next, they'll go for same sex relationships, birth control, inter racial marriage (and how would you define that these days?) and anything else that offends them.  Will condoms be taken off the shelves?  Will hysterectomies be banned?  How about the decomposing remains of an incomplete miscarriage?  Must a women go septic carrying around a doomed pregnancy?  What about IVF which creates more clumps of cells than are implanted?  Don't even get me started on this utter crap about how ectopic clumps of cells being removed from the fallopian tube and placed ever so gently in the woman's uterus will result in a viable pregnancy.  I could go on, but I'm grinding my teeth too much.

From the twitterverse we read the following.


If this doesn't get people out to vote blue, I do not know what will.