Saturday, October 28, 2023

First Hard Frost of the 2023/2024 Cold Season

This morning was the first hard frost.  And yet... the steenking maples stalwartly refuse to drop their leaves.  We won't be here to shake the snow off the trees,  so I guess there will be broken branches in the spring. 

Later, the rabbit came to visit.  He sat in the sun, and eventually took a little nap.  Cuuuuute. 

Other than that I have nothing to say about the new Speaker of the House, who is currently deleting all of his old podcasts, whose wife runs a gay conversion therapy company and compares being gay with bestiality, and who believes the planet is 6,000 years old, and dinosaurs were on the ark with people.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

It May Be the End of the World as We Know It

The republicans have elected a new speaker.  Mike Johnson, from Louisiana.  I think this is what he envisions for the future.

This is a start on listing his vile beliefs.

Here are some notable quotes from Mike.


I always thought the US would remain a democracy.  Now, I'm not so sure.  If Biden wins 2024, which is increasingly in doubt, the orange ectoplasm will have a lot of backing in the House to over turn the election.  Then we'll cease being a democracy.  At present, I'm fairly disheartened.

Well, that is all.

First Snow of the 2023/2024 Cold Season

This is what we woke up to today.  It was not in the weather forecast.  But, here we are.  Fortunately it is too warm for it to stick to the roads.

 We're making beef stew today, it's a good day for it.


Monday, October 23, 2023

Inflation, Coffins and Perfidy

Ho hum.  Same republican disarray, different day.  However, first I would like to discuss prices.  I keep reading that inflation is down to 3%.  I wonder how this number is calculated.  The antihistamine eye drops I used to buy at Target doubled in price for no apparent reason.  Then there is this at Safeway.

These jars of preserves used to be $3.89, and we complained about the price back then.  Now they want $9 for 15 ounces of preserves.  Costco has a 2lb 10oz jar of strawberry spread for $11 that tastes better with less sugar.  Safeway has just gotten stupid expensive.

Thirty dollars for a mediocre fruit cake.  Feh, I will forego fruit cake at these prices.

I saw this on twitter the other day.  It's interesting.

Here is a link to the annual Crawford Coffin Race.  It's a big tourist attraction, and people dress for it with clothing and coffins.  There is a youtube as well.  I guess this is how small towns generate tourist dollars.  Speaking of small towns that rely on tourist dollars, Sedona has had enough.

The republicans now have nine nominees for speaker.  There's more red (no) than green here.  None of these people are non-lunatics.

Finally there is this.  My PBM for Plan D has informed me that they do not cover anything Covid related.  Apparently Part B Medicare will cover Paxlovid for awhile, and then it won't. Please make a note of this.

It's good to be an oligarch.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Back to the Lake

Another day, another ride to the lake.  It is very fall-ish now.  The fuzzy black and brown caterpillars are scurrying across the road.  I always wonder what makes the other side so attractive that they're willing to risk their lives, crossing the pavement.  Googling on brown and black caterpillar reveals that they live in many places in the US.  They're everywhere.  Here is an article about them.  And here is what they look like.  According to the article, they're born black, and develop the rust colored band as they mature.

The lake was lovely today.  It's really nice that no one is there.  Soon they will lock the gate at the road into the park, and it will only be available to bicyclists and walkers.  Of course, by then, it will be getting too cold to ride.

This is a pretty cool boat.  It had a small engine, and they were cruising along, enjoying the day.

This is what's growing on one of the arborvitae stumps in the backyard.  It's fairly impressive.

Welp, Jim Jordan will not be the next speaker of the House.  After failing to accumulate enough votes after three rounds of public voting, a secret ballot was held at his request, and he lost bigly.  The vote to remove Jordan was 112 to 86.  Being held in secret, as it was, allowed all of the cowards and chicken shits to vote against him without fear of death threats being directed and them and their families.  They're still trying to blame the Democrats for all of this.

I recently unearthed a photo of one of the quilts I made.  It's made of replica antique prints that were very popular in the 1990s.  Quilting went by the wayside after we retired.  Now that we're back in a house with room for a craft table, I find that I don't want to do this anymore.  I'm glad I had the hobby when I did, many babies received adorable crib quilts.

Other than this paltry offering, I have not much of interest to say.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

More Autumn, More Wheels Falling Off

Today was the Ring of Fire eclipse.  Spokane was under a heavy cloud cover, so we saw none of it.  It did seem darker than was warranted by the clouds, we suppose that was due to the eclipse.  About noon, the sun popped out and all was bathed in sunlight.  We decided to not waste the day and got the bikes on the car and headed out for the trail head.  

Yesterday was also a gorgeous day, but we decided it was time to cut the hydrangeas back, as well as the peonies.  There was also removal some of the wretched dead flower blossoms dropped by the wretched Rose of Sharon.  We have a piece of shade cloth over the window well closest to the hibiscus, the spent flowers are sticking to it which makes clean up difficult. 

I have some photos.  This was about a week ago, when the trees were turning yellow.

The hydrangeas have turned brownish and are dropping their leaves.

Our neighbor is growing these.  They're very cheerful, what ever they are.

These are from the lake today.  It turned out to be a very cold ride.  As soon as we got on the bikes the clouds rolled in and it was not nearly as pleasant as we had hoped it would be.  However, we went anyway, rode fast because we were cold, and ended up with our second best elapsed time ever on this route. 

Well, once again the wheels are coming off everywhere.  The republicans can not get their act together to elect a speaker.  All it would take is for five moderate republicans to vote for Hakeem Jeffries for speaker and work could actually be done.  Currently funding for Ukraine and the United States of America are in jeopardy.  Apparently Israel is asking for aid, as well. 

I'm not talking about Israel and Hamas, anything I say is likely to be wrong or offend someone, so no talking about that.

Let's talk about Leonard Leo.  This guy is undoubtedly one of the biggest, if not the biggest, threats to democracy.  He's responsible for the six conservative judges currently sitting on the Supreme Court.  He's also working on filling lower level prosecutor and judgeships with people he likes.  He's unafraid to threaten governors who go against his will.  It's an absolutely disgusting abuse of dark money.  Propublica has done a bang up job of documenting the entire sordid mess.  It's worth reading.

Here is a nice photo of Leonides, a Mexican Hairless dog who lives with Molly Jong-Fast.  I was wrong!  He's a Chinese Crested.

Here is the Powderpuff form of the breed.

That's it!  That's all I've got.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Electrical Work and Changing Leaves

I was thinking this morning that I should do a blog post so ya'll don't forget about me, so I cast my mind back over the last few days to see if we had done anything interesting, and decided that nope, we had not.  

There has been packing.  We are so adorable, after buying the park model we were saying things like "all we'll have to do is pack some clothes and head out."  Nope!  I've got a sarcophagus sized box in the packing room which I am stuffing with extra blankets, yoga mats, a tea kettle for coffee, a Melita thermos for coffee (not sold in stores, sadly), kitchen odds and ends which may or may not be in residence in Tucson.  When we bought the park model I did not have the heart to look in any drawers or cabinets since the lady that lived there was obviously distressed about having to sell, so if it's a must have item (like coffee), I'm taking it with us.  The packing rule this time is that if it's coming back to Spokane, it travels in the car.  We are towing a 5x8 trailer which really did sound enormous, until you look at the foot print of the bike rack.  It will fit the rack, a new hitch mounted bike rack (still in the box) and the sarcophagus, and probably not much more than that.  Several items have already been deleted from the list.  As always, this would be so much easier if we still had the RV.  But we don't.

Yesterday the microwave died.  That was interesting.  There are no serviceable parts in a microwave, many appliance repair people will not even try.  The thought of having to go find a microwave, find someone to remove the old one and put in the new one, all of which would be done over a glass cook top was really giving me the willies, especially seeing as how we're leaving November 2.  However, we learned that circuit breakers do go bad.  It appeared that it was, indeed, the circuit breaker, it would not stay in the ON position for even a split second.  Today, the septuagenarians replaced the breaker.  We are not handy people, however we needed the microwave working.  I no longer know how to reheat left overs without a microwave.  Plus we lost the bright lights under the microwave and the exhaust fan.  Youtube is an amazing resource to learn how to do something.  It was not that difficult, the non-handy can do this repair.

If you need to replace a breaker, I recommend this video

Fall is in progress, I offer photographic evidence.

Jim took this photo night before last.  It was a great sunset.

That's it!  That's all I have to say.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Why am I Outraged Today

I think I should do a weekly post about what has recently pissed me off. This could be the inaugural post. 

Two developers of the mRNA vaccine have won a Nobel prize in medicine.  Dr. Kariko spent many years of her life working on a new delivery method for vaccines using mRNA.

Wired magazine has written an article about her journey to BioNTech.  I will excerpt a couple of paragraphs which will elucidate my outrage.

With an mRNA boom taking place on the other side of the Atlantic, Karik√≥ decided it was time to leave Hungary and head for the US. So in 1985, she accepted a job at Temple University and moved to Philadelphia along with her husband, two year old daughter, and a teddy bear with £900 sewn into it – the proceeds from the sale of their car on the black market. (The boom was the discovery of mRNA.)

It did not take long for the American dream to sour. After four years, she was forced to leave Temple University for neighboring UPenn after a dispute with her boss, who then attempted to have her deported. There she began working on mRNA therapies which could be used to improve blood vessel transplants, by producing proteins to keep the newly transplanted vessels alive.

But many other scientists were turning away from the field, and her bosses at UPenn felt mRNA had shown itself to be impractical and she was wasting her time. They issued an ultimatum, if she wanted to continue working with mRNA she would lose her prestigious faculty position, and face a substantial pay cut.

Karik√≥ has been at the helm of BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine development. In 2013, she accepted an offer to become Senior Vice President at BioNTech after UPenn refused to reinstate her to the faculty position she had been demoted from in 1995. “They told me that they’d had a meeting and concluded that I was not of faculty quality,” she said. ”When I told them I was leaving, they laughed at me and said, ‘BioNTech doesn’t even have a website.’”

Do read the entire article, it's a good read and isn't all that long. 

So, UPenn behaved badly towards Dr. Kariko.  It's not unusual for male academics to be dismissive of female academics' work.  But now, Dr. Kariko has a Nobel prize, for the very work they told her she needed to stop doing.  Let that sink in for a moment.

UPenn has an article up in which they try to claim Dr. Kariko as one of their own, where they supported her research and provided a supportive environment for her. If this were true, she'd be a tenured full professor there, but she's not.  They also have a video which is narrated by Dr. Weissman, Dr. Kariko's name receives a full two seconds of recognition.  There's revisionist history going on here.

Glamour Magazine ran a very good article on Dr. Kariko, which you can read here.  It was written before the Nobel, but it's a good read.  WBUR has an article written by one of the lab rats who used to work with Dr. Kariko, it shows what being a researcher is like, particularly the part about raising your own money.

So, it's good that Dr. Kariko got the Nobel and some recognition.   Too often women in science do not.  I give you Rosalind Franklin, the X-ray crystallographer who recognized the structure of DNA as a double helix.  Watson and Crick got credit for that.

More from Dr. Kariko on how to support marginalized scientists.