Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Snakes and Fire

How are things with you?  I'm still aggrieved, agitated and appalled by the Supreme Court and their arrogance and atrocious behavior.  Today, they ruled in favor of the republicans in Louisiana.  The population of Louisiana is about 30% Black.  The pub-tards created a redistricting that only had one district favorable to Black voters.  The governor vetoed it, and the pub-tards over rode the veto.  The SC ruled in favor of the pub-tards, so now the Black population has less of a voice than they did.  I hate these people.

We've been out doing some things.  There have been a couple of rides to the lake.  We rode up to the Deep Creek Overlook.  Last year I wrote that this should be full of water, but I think I was wrong.  There is still no water, and the river is running pretty high, so I guess it's a canyon.

Look mid-photo on the horizontal axis.  That's a good sized snake.  Google Lens identifies him as a rattlesnake.  I looked them up and learned that after they molt, they have to re-grow the rattle.  I'm pretty sure this is a recently molted rattlesnake.  Identification would have been better if I'd leaned over the rock and gotten a shot of his head, but I decided not to do that.

When we used to ride in Bend, OR we would see these piles of tree debris everywhere.  They are also along the Centennial Trail here.  We always wondered why that was.  There were some fire guys out picking up branches and putting them on the piles, so we asked them why the piles and what were they doing.

They don't want stuff like this all over the forest floor.  So, they pile it up, and then other fire people come out an set fire to it.  It's not clear to me how they burn these piles without setting fire to the woods, but apparently they do.

Yesterday it was hot, it hit 93F.  We were up and out early to ride to the lake while it was still cool.  There's a lot of shade on the trail so it was pleasant.  Then, when we got home we decided we would stand out in the blazing sun and dead head the rhododendrons.  They're lovely when they bloom, but then they make work.  Jim and I worked on them together, using scissors instead of pruners, so it went fairly quickly.

The muck bucket full of pink.

Today was extremely windy.  Windy days when it's hot are bad.  Below our neighborhood there is a facility for children between the ages of 10 and 18.  They're kids whose parents can't control them, but they're not bad enough for juvenile detention.  So, they live there.  It's an open campus, you can't force the kids to stay there.  In the last four years they've set four fires.  They set one today.  I will say, that once 911 is called, the fire fighters are out here in the twinkling of an eye.  Between the sick and dead pine trees and the build up of pine needles on the forest floor, there is much material to burn.  The people across the street are at the most risk.  Fires never really entered my head when we moved here, now it has. 

Anyway, I was out on the deck this afternoon and I smelled smoke.  Went in to the house and asked Jim what kind of idiot burns on a day like today?  Right after that we heard the fire trucks coming up the street.  So, we all went out to gawk.

A fire person dragging the hose to a hydrant.  This is how they fill up the truck.

Now he's going back, running flat out.

There's a fire down there.  I was standing on a neighbor's patio; we could see the flames, but the camera could not pick them up.

Fire people are going down the embankment with shovels.  They will put dirt on the hot spots and we also saw them digging a trench, which I am assuming is a fire break.

More fire fighters with shovels.

So, that was today.

Twitter has informed me of more fall out from the SC decision about Roe v Wade.  Women who are pregnant now have to be very aware of in which state their connecting airport is when traveling.   If a pregnant woman is in an anti-abortion state on a layover, she's subject to their draconian laws, including no abortion to save the mother.  There are many worst case scenarios that can happen very quickly in pregnancy.  Professional conventions in anti-abortion states are now fraught with peril.  It appears that the OB-Gyn boards will be held in Texas.  In person attendance is mandatory.  If you were pregnant, would you set foot in that state?  Anti-abortion states are going to attempt to pass laws forbidding pregnant women from leaving the state - this is an unbearable burden on people who allegedly live in a free country. 

In closing, here is a happy thing.  Remember James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense and four star  Marine general?  Did you ever see him smile? No, no you did not. "Mattis, who served as defense secretary from January 2017 until December 2018, wed physicist Christina Lomasney on Saturday, Garrett Ross of Politico first revealed. The couple were reportedly married by a priest and then they had a second ceremony at Las Vegas’ Little Church of the West that involved an Elvis impersonator in which Retired Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward was the best man. Politico posted pictures of both events."  The article is here.  Look how happy they look.

So, that's it.  That's all I've got.

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Wretched Supreme Court

Welp, SCOTUS has had quite a time taking rights away from the citizens.  The change to Miranda rights, for the worse, did not get much attention in the press.  It should have.  Nor did the change to habeas corpus, which resulted in a possibly innocent man being executed by the state of Arizona get that much coverage.  In their infinite wisdom, they decided that states were not equipped to regulate access to guns, that should fall to the federal government.  So, the New York gun laws are now moot.  Roe is getting all of the ink, but it's even worse than we think.  Read these words from Justice Thomas.  The article I'm quoting from is here.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas would like to see the court revisit decisions that legalized same-sex marriage, contraception and sex acts between consenting adults.

In a concurring opinion in the court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Thomas said, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

The Griswold ruling gave married couples the right to access contraceptives. It's been on the books since 1965.

In 2003, the court ruled in favor of Lawrence, saying states could not outlaw sex acts by consenting adults.

Thomas was on the bench when the Obergefell case came before the court in 2015. In a 5-4 decision, the court granted same-sex couples the right to get married. Thomas was among the justices who dissented.

This is so depressing, the nation we were is disappearing.  I expect to lose the right to vote any day now. 

Thursday, June 23, 2022

New Plants, Dead Plants Gone

The backyard is currently done - unless something dies.  Actually, I guess it's the side yard, who can say.  

This is what it looked like before.  See the tall dead arborvitae?  There were more that we took out.  It is so pleasant not to look out and see the dead trees.

Now we have this.  It's not a great picture, too much bright sun and shade.  The camera does not know what to do with it all.  There are two elderberries in there.

We had planned to put a tree on the high point off the berm next to the giant rock, good thing we did not.  The "berm" is actually a tree stump that instead of grinding, the builder covered it in dirt and lava rocks.    The men who came out and did the work were nice and they did a good job for about 10% of the original bid from another landscaper.

Yesterday Jim scrubbed the awning that extends out over the deck.  It took awhile to get all of the mold and mildew off it.  It is now once again pristine.  I'm kind of surprised by how good it looks.  This is a during picture, not after.

The weather appears to have turned, it's been warm and nice for the last three days.  Monday is supposed to be 92F, but I'll believe it when I see it.  Weather forecasting here seems to be hit and miss.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Firefox Enhanced Protection and Blogger

 Greetings!  Is your blogger blog looking strange?  Is it freaking you out?  Are comments behaving badly on other people's blogs?  If you're using Firefox this could be happening due to a recent change in cookie management.  This is the change in a nutshell.

Any time a website, or third-party content embedded in a website, deposits a cookie in your browser, that cookie is confined to the cookie jar assigned to only that website. No other websites can reach into the cookie jars that don’t belong to them and find out what the other websites’ cookies know about you ... This approach strikes the balance between eliminating the worst privacy properties of third-party cookies – in particular the ability to track you – and allowing those cookies to fulfill their less invasive use cases (e.g. to provide accurate analytics).

Thus far, I've seen a couple of issues with this change.  First, my blog looked funny.  It looked like this, back in 2020 and again this afternoon.

Look upper right, it should say more than "create blog" or "sign in", it should say "new post" "design" "sign out."    If your blog looks like this, you've fallen victim to the Firefox change.  Look to the left of the url at the top of the screen.  See the shield outline?  Click it, and turn off enhanced protection by clicking the slider button.    That will also bring back the pencil, if it's gone missing.

If you go to comment on other blogs, and you're intercepted by a google message telling you to log on to google, or that if you don't log on to google you must comment anonymously, again, go to the url line and click on the shield next to the url for the blog you want to comment on.  Both times, on separate blogs, it has worked for me, and let me comment.  You can read more about this here.

Hopefully this is the worst that is going to happen because I really hate Edge and Chrome.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Flowers and the Right Wingers

Greetings people of Earth.  How are you all doing in your respective climates?  Much of the world is overheated.  Europe is hot and on fire.  Swifts (the little birds) are leaving their nests in 100 degree temperatures and dying shortly thereafter.  Monsoon is coming to Tucson and as far north as Yellowstone, with flash flooding predicted.  Locusts must be on the way shortly.

Here in the Inland Empire (I did not make this name up), it has been dreary up until about an hour ago, then the sun popped out.  Here are flower pictures.  The previous owner planted peonies.  The ones called Fried Egg peonies have bloomed.

These are the neighbors'.  Are they not magnificent?

Two days ago we rode to the lake.  It was good, a little breezy, but nice weather.  Since we've been riding the mountain bikes and not the road bikes cross winds do not bother us because the bikes act like anchors.  Of course, they do that on uphills, as well.

There was an end of school event in process.  I think they were middle schoolers, they were noisy as all get out.  I feel bad for them, they'll be growing up in an authoritarian regime with limited prospects.

This comes under the heading of "you gotta want to do it."  There are two enormous tents, as well as the open air cook out station.  Look at all of the stuff.  There are solar panels leaning against the vehicle, so they're well prepared for everything.

Remember the following comment, left on another blogger's post after January 6, 2021?  I re-posted it here.

Oh my. This requires a little more research. It was not Trump supporters but ANTIFA carrying Trump flags. You can't believe everything you see on the news any more. That lady was a veteran standing outside on the lawn and was shot by the police by mistake. Where is the outrage about that? What about all the killings, looting and burning in Portland and Seattle? Where was the outrage then? News stations used to tell the truth. Now they tell you what they want you to believe. Sadly, people do believe it without further investigation.

The woman who was a veteran and was killed was Ashli Babbit, who was killed as she broke a window into a hallway which would have allowed the mob access to the area where law makers were hiding. 

These are recent comments on the same blogger's posts about the US.  The blogger, who is Canadian, used to spend winters in Quartzsite, so he's not a stranger to the US.  The first was left after a post in which he said he had been watching the January 6 hearings, and that the day's hearings had focused on the danger VP Pence was in because the mob wanted to kill him.  This is the response to that post.

Why oh why are you waisting time on the railroading of Americans? It was nothing of what they are saying. There are 1400+ hours of video that is not being released. The police killed a women, Roseanne Boylan, in the tunnel leading to the set-up. Please do not believe this fake narrative. It is NOT THE TRUTH! Roy Epps and his FBI buddies were responsible. Epps was on the FBI watch list until it was brought to their attention that people knew who he was. He is on video telling people to "go INTO the capital". He is no longer on the watch list and was never EVER questioned. What they have done to the political prisoners they are holding is horrendous and cannot believe they are getting away with going against our constitution. They even hired an abc producer to create a show trial. Please don't believe it and stop giving them ratings they don't deserve.

Please note that Roseanne Boylan was not killed in the tunnel by the police, she fell and was trampled to death by the rioters.  Epps's name is Ray, not Roy.

This was left today, by the same writer of the first comment I referenced.  I thought maybe after some time had passed that she would have recognized that she was wrong about January 6, that things Fox had told her were wrong, but no.  She's still in the bubble, and unable to entertain a different viewpoint.

It is interesting. I watched a live video of the same event where the uniformed guards opened the doors to the buildings and actually waved people inside. Just because three news stations show one side and one shows a different version, doesn't mean the three are telling the whole story. You are only seeing what they WANT you to see.

The level of wrong-headedness in this country is just depressing

Well, on this happy note, I think I'll stop typing.  

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Whining About the Climate

Mellow Greetings, citizens.  I note that I haven't posted since the 8th.  There's a reason for that, we're just that boring.  Since my last update, Jim painted the frame for the door that goes in to the house from the garage.  It looks much better than it did.  Remember the photo of the Hickman Bridge I posted awhile back?  I ordered a 12 by 18 inch print from Costco, bought a very inexpensive frame for it and hung it in the downstairs bathroom, which displaced another framed print which is now covering up holes in the wall left by the previous owners.  I swear I don't know what those people did when they pulled out nails, each one has a raised ring around the hole.  We're not planning to paint that bathroom, so strategically placed art is important.

My main topic of discussion is how awful the weather has been.  Actually, it's only been the last two days, it just feels like a year.  This was taken the 11th, which was actually a decent day.  Jim spent time in the garage painting, and I pulled weeds.  At the end of the day, we lamented that we'd wasted a day that could have been spent riding.

So, the next day we did the ride to the lake.  It was a nice day and we enjoyed it.  There are still a couple of hills that leave me breathless, but overall I'm ok with how we're doing.  This was taken from where we park the car.

Here we are back at the lake, sitting closer to the water, looking back at the RV park.  There are only two RVs up there, and it's a Sunday.  I fully expected it to be packed.  The things sticking up out of the grass down slope from the RVs are power and water pedestals for tent campers.

Yesterday it rained without ceasing.  ALL DAY.  It was amazing how wet it was.  There was a system parked over Spokane rotating counter clockwise.  Really, we were expecting the end of days it was so dark.  It never got out of the 40s.

However, one must keep in mind that things could be so much worse.  Today it's windy and cold, but it hasn't rained. 

So, that's all I have to report from the home front. 

I've been watching bits and pieces of the January 6 hearings.  Ivanka was previously recorded saying that Bill Barr had told her that the orange ectoplasm did not win the election and she had no reason to doubt what he said.  Left unsaid was "despite the ravings of her lunatic father."  The twitterverse was transfixed by her appearance.  Why did she look like this?  Why did Jared look the way he did?  It almost look like she's had filler in the lips, but her entire face looks odd.  Inquiring minds really want to know.

I thought this was amusing.

One of the things that came out of the hearings is the fact that the ectoplasm raised $250,000.00 before, during and after January 6.  The emails asking for money said it was for an election defense fund.  It was not.  The bulk of the money went to his hotels.  That's wire fraud.  If they feds don't want to prosecute for high crimes and misdemeanors, then the state of NY should go after him for fraud.  It carries a 20 year sentence.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

The Rhodies Are Out

It has warmed up enough to make the rhododendrons bloom - finally!  Ours are pink, we were wondering what they would look like.  This was yesterday.

This was today, taken with an actual camera. 

They're really pretty.  Here is one with a bumble bee.  So far this spring we have not seen any honey bees.

Currently the south west and parts of Texas are under extreme heat warnings.  As much as I have been complaining about spring (and yes I know it was endless) I am very happy not to be in Tucson anymore.

I love how they make the really hot places look like burned toast.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Weather, Plants and Sunsets

Greetings People of Earth.  It did not rain today, if feels like it has been raining forever.  I employ hyperbole; however, we've had the kind of rain where it sounds like roaring on the roof.  We are in eastern Washington, separated from western WA by the Cascade mountain range, which normally acts to wring water from the clouds, which is why we're the dry side.  It's so dry in southeast Washington, that unless the land you buy comes with water rights you can't plant crops.  Anyway, the recent multi-day weather system here was a sneaky devil, and came up from the Pacific via the Columbia Gorge, which is at the very base of the Cascades, where they flatten out.  It is Western WA that gives the state the reputation of being perpetually wet.  

So, it did not rain today, but it was cloudy.  The air mass is still cold, so when the sun is obscured it feels cold.  We went to a nursery to look at plants.  The next photo is the current bane of my existence - the "back yard."  Note the two dead or dying arborvitae.  There are stumps of the other three corpses we've already removed that you can't see.  Look between the two short arborvitae, see the brick?  That's the property line.   We'd really like to have some screening there, we like the neighbors, but it's awkward to be on the deck when the kids are out making kid noises.  We have spent a lot of time looking on the web for a good replacement for arborvitae and there really aren't any.  The bulk of screening evergreens are too wide and will encroach next door.  Today I had an epiphany.  We will cut down the two dying trees with a chain saw.  We will also level the stumps already there.  Then we will plant something behind the short arborvitae on the left because there is room closer to the deck to plant something with a trunk.  To the right of the large dying tree we will plant one or two Black Lace Elderberries.  They're an interesting looking plant and will give the eye some respite from all the green around here.  Then we will be done until the next arborvitae dies.

The nursery is good, they sell to a lot of landscaping contractors.  I don't know what this is, but it has an interesting blossom.

The ever popular Foxglove.

Last night, in celebration of the end of the recent storm system, we had a pretty good sunset.


Later still.....

That's it!  That's all I have on offer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

First Outdoor Ride of 2022 and Etc.

Finally!  It's the first day of June, the sun was warm and so was the air.  The night time lows are higher than they have been, so the day warms up; it was a perfect 80F day.  We took the mountain bikes out to the Centennial Trail and rode up to Long Lake.  It's a nice ride.  There were more people on the trail than last fall, but it was not crowded at all.  We were on the no cars allowed stretch.  The river had some visible current.

They're impossible to see, but this is a field of the yellow flowers that look like tiny sunflowers and what appears to be lupine.

The trail ends at Long Lake.  Notice the adorable RV park.  They are full hook ups, they are on the lake and there is much soft grass.  What more could people and dog ask for? 

There is a boat ramp off to the right, watching people getting the boats back on the trailer is endlessly entertaining.

This is a maple tree, which is covered in maple seeds.  They are everywhere.

It was a good ride.  There's climbing.  I think there was a little cross over between riding a very heavy mountain bike with a lot of rolling resistance and the spin bike.  My cardio was better than it has been on first rides.  It was kind of weird being on a bike that moved, after the months in the basement doing spin Youtubes.  Outside really is more fun.

Also this past week, we got the art in the room we don't use up on the wall.  We have a laser level now which really aids in getting the art at the same height.  So, we can measure and level, we are fully functional in the laser department.

We are pleased at how they turned out.  They're framed canvas, and since there is no glass, they do not weigh very much.

As I previously mentioned, we painted the garage, which was very tedious due to the ceiling height.  That's all done now, and we'd like to not be marking up the walls with the mountain bike handles.  They leave black marks.  We got these.  They're infant mittens.

They fit the handle bars very well, and keep the walls from being marked.  Pretty cool, eh?

We also received a new cast iron skillet from Amazon.  The one we bought in 2019 developed two cracks.  One is in the helper handle off to the right.  The other is off to the left in the side of the skillet, they both go all the way through.  I think we are responsible for those.  We were putting the cold skillet in a 450F degree grill to heat up the pan.  After reading up on the subject, we learned that this causes thermal shock and should be avoided.  So now we will put the cold pan in the cold grill and let them come up to hot together.

Here is an interesting chart on shootings.  Recall that the ban on assault rifles expired in 2004.  The results of that decision are pretty clear.

As of this writing there are shootings unfolding simultaneously right now in America: At a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma; a Walmart in Pittson, Pennsylvania; and a high school in Los Angeles, California.  What's it going to take America?